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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Understanding Hepatitis A

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Image is from Travel Vaccination New York

Guidelines for Understanding Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral disease of the liver that can be transmitted up to 14 days before you show any symptoms yourself, as well as during your symptoms. Diagnosing the disease requires a medical blood test. The typical painful and depleting symptoms indicating Hepatitis A include:

Contagion Factors

Hepatitis can be transmitted through contact with foods that have been contaminated with exposure to a diseased person’s urine, fecal matter, and polluted with foods, water, ice and bodily fluids contaminated by a person with Hepatitis A. This can be avoided by being careful to never:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, and any other foods that became contaminated during handling by infected workers,
  • Eat raw shellfish harvested from contaminated water,
  • Swallow contaminated ice,
  • Using shared hypodermic needles,
  • Unprotected sexual contact

Risk Factors are high for those residing with infected persons, traveling to areas with high concentrations of Hepatitis A and participating in sexual relations with an infected person.

Vaccine Immune Globulin

Getting vaccinated is your best defense against Hepatitis A. If you come in contact with someone with Hepatitis A, you should acquire the medication immune globulin within 2 weeks of exposure. Another defense is practicing good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, before and after handling food or contact with soiled diapers and undergarments.

The vaccine is administered by your physician in doses and is urgently recommended for anyone who may have been or may be soon exposed to the hepatitis virus. This includes all of the At Risk for Contamination persons as above referenced, plus persons with blood clotting difficulties or diagnosed with a long-term liver disease.

While there is no set treatment for this strain of hepatitis, your physician will monitor you to determine that your liver is strengthening and healing. In healthy individuals, symptoms will cease in about sixty days. If the liver does not heal and deteriorates without the availability of treatment, the only recourse for the patient is to become a candidate for liver transplant, a stressful and serious procedure that is not always successful and requires prescribing of drugs affecting the auto- immune system, increasing the patient’s risk for other diseases. Fortunately, you can only become ill with Hepatitis A once if you have a healthy body to begin with, as your healthy body will build its own defense against a future infection.

Child Care Liver Disease Dangers

The disease can spread quickly in children’s day care centers. Workers could spread the virus if they don’t wash their hands thoroughly after changing each diaper. Washing their hands and putting dirty diapers in a covered diaper pail will help prevent Hepatitis A spreading into all age groups attended as well as all staff and personnel.

Children also spread the disease as well as similar ailments due to children not yet being well trained in safe hygiene in their toilet habits. Contamination can spread very fast through a day care center if the hygiene of children and staff is not strictly enforced and watch-dogged.

Resources for Families

There are resource agencies for the education and counseling of patients and their families pertaining to viral hepatitis. They include:

  • American Liver Foundation,
  • Hepatitis Foundation International,
  • Hepatitis Branch of the U. S. Center for Disease Control.

These agencies provide educational materials and group support assistance for family members as well as patients affected by Hepatitis A.

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Understanding Polio

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Image is from GOOD Magazine

Poliomyelitis, popularly known as polio is a crippling, infectious and potentially harmful viral infection transmitted by the poliovirus. The virus can spread from a person to another and acts swift once in the body, infecting the brain and spinal cord.

The result is paralysis and potential death. Even though the virus isn’t common in most developed countries, polio could me a menace to people who travel out of the country often.

Poliovirus Transmission and Infection

The primary mode of transmission is via person-to-person contact. The virus resides in the human mouth or intestines meaning that it can be transmitted through contact with human excrement even in the tiniest bit.

A less common infection route is by inhaling sneeze or cough droplets. Any traces of feces in your hands when touching your mouth or putting infected items like toys into your mouth could lead to an infection.

Since infected people can be carriers for up to two weeks, it is hard to know who to avoid as apparently healthy people could be a threat. This combined with the fact that the virus can live out of the human body for weeks means that the risk of infection from contaminated food or water is very high especially in low sanitation areas.

Popular Poliovirus infection Symptoms

Most of the people with the poliovirus will show no visible symptoms. Worse still, up almost 25 percent of the infected will have nothing more than flu-like symptoms. These could be

  • A sore throat
  • Fever, nausea and tiredness
  • Headache and stomach pain

These symptoms could linger for a week or so before they ebb depending on whether your immune system was strong enough to fight off the virus or not.

If unaddressed the virus could develop into serious brain and spinal cord injury causing:

  • A constant feeling of pins and needles in your legs (paresthesia)
  • Meningitis (the infection of the spinal cord, brain or both)
  • Paralysis

Paralysis is the worst of the poliovirus infection symptoms. If the patient is lucky, the paralysis could affects limbs leaving the person disabled. In rare but more severe cases, the virus could affect core muscles, for instance muscles controlling your breathing hence leading to death.

When Does the Poliovirus Infection Become Polio?

Poliomyelitis, by definition, is a paralytic disease. Consequently, only people whose poliovirus infection results into paralytic disease are technically considered to have the disease.

With no actual control over how the virus will react once in the human body, it is always safe to stay clear of the virus.

Poliovirus Infection Prevention

As with most viral infections, preventing the infection is always better than trying to cure it. As of to date, there is no known cure for polio. The best medicine can offer to infected individuals is:

  • A proper nutritious diet
  • Bed rest with pain relievers
  • Moderate physical therapy to keep the muscles working
  • Drugs and medication to control the virus’ spread and effect

While things like improved sanitation and personal hygiene might reduce the spread of the virus, it is wise to take the polio virus at the designated times. There is a total of four shots in the regime.

  • When two months old
  • When four months old
  • Six to 18 months old
  • Between four and six years

Adults could also consider taking the vaccine when traveling to high prevalence areas. Even though the immunity gathered from childhood vaccines would be enough to keep you safe as long as you live, it would do you no harm to get an extra shot when you can.

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Symptoms of Stomach Flu

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Image is from NaturalON

Stomach flu also goes by the name gastroenteritis. Usually, the flu goes away on its own after a short time. You may confuse stomach flu as being caused by the influenza virus. However, that is not the case. The strain of flu responsible for the condition is found around the regions of stomach and intestines, unlike influenza which involves the respiratory tract, head, and lungs. The agents that cause it are bacteria, viruses, and parasites including Cryptosporidium among others. These organisms enter the regions they infect through the mouth.

Stomach flu symptoms will manifest themselves after you have had physical contacts with an infected person. Among the physical contacts that will also get you infected are; handshakes, sharing food with someone having the virus and maybe drinking from a cup that has been used by a patient. Once you have been in contact with an infected person, the virus will transport itself to the regions where it will cause the condition. In the stomach and intestines, the virus will cause an inflammation at different spots and thus will lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

This virus manifests itself through a myriad of symptoms. Before the symptoms start to appear and reveal themselves, the virus shall have taken several days in your body. The number of days the symptoms will take will largely depend on the type of infection. While others can stretch up to ten days, others take a shorter time, probably a day or two. Usually, the symptoms will go away even without the assistance of a doctor.

The symptoms of stomach flu and how the virus will manifest itself will differ among individuals. Moreover, the severity of the symptoms will largely depend on how resistant your body is to the virus. If your body is less resilient, you will get more severe symptoms unlike when you have excellent resistance to the infection.

Below are some of the symptoms that will show in a patient infected by flu virus:

  • Fever that keeps escalating daily
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Fainting spells
  • Muscle pains
  • Burning pains in the stomach
  • Blackouts

Stomach flu cannot be considered as a critical condition since it can disappear by itself. Though at other times, the condition may escalate and the patient may appear very ill to the point that it could be life threatening. At this point, you must seek the attention of a physician. You need to take great care when you start noticing the symptoms especially dehydration and its developments. This is because it is the most dangerous symptom of stomach flu. If you vomit and diarrhea continuously, you will lose water and electrolytes from the body and which eventually lead to dehydration.

Here are some of the symptoms of dehydration;

  • Sunken eyes
  • Increased thirst
  • Skin loses its elasticity
  • Fever shoots to above 101 degrees F
  • Mucous membranes in the mouth become dry
  • Bloody vomit
  • Bloody stool
  • Decreased urination
  • Drowsiness
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Constant vomiting

While it can be a less severe condition, stomach flu comes with symptoms that are life-threatening. You can, however, handle the symptoms by taking more fluids aside from seeking medication. Above all, ensure that you avoid as much as you can, the areas that may get you contacting the condition. This will help you stay safe and not worried about the discomfort that the state subjects you to.

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Understanding the Swine Flu

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Image is from Flowing Data

Obtaining A Diagnosis

The only way to accurately diagnose swine flu is through a flu test. This is because the symptoms of swine flu look exactly the same as those found in conventional strains of influenza. Even differences of severity aren’t always indicators of one strain or another. While it is possible to see increased symptomatic characteristics stemming from swine flu, it’s just as possible to acquire this strain and feel as though you’ve contracted a regular bout of the flu. How you are affected will depend largely upon your personal constitution.

The extremely young and extremely old, like with conventional strains of the flu, will be at increased risk; likely experiencing more severe symptoms. This is because older and younger populations have immune systems which aren’t as strong as those in the prime of life. That said, if you live an unhealthy lifestyle replete with regular contact to diverse people groups, lack of exercise, and a ubiquity of vice (like smoking and drinking), you’re at an increased risk of contracting more severe influenza strains.

A Distinct History

There are actually quite a few different kinds of swine flu, including:

  • H1N1
  • H1N2
  • H2N1
  • H3N1
  • H3N2
  • H2N3

Primarily, the strain commonly referred to as “Swine Flu” is the H1N1 virus. This is that which caused a pandemic which quickly became global seven years ago, in 2009. Since then, this strain of flu has become seasonal in humans, though it still regularly circulates in swine populations. Thankfully, if you’re planning on eating pork, so long as any pork products you consume have been properly prepared, you won’t get the virus. Proper preparation includes cooking; so if you like your bacon soft and rubbery, you might have to give that up to avoid swine flu.

Avoiding Swine Flu

While properly prepared pork will not get you sick, it’s very possible to acquire the virus through poorly prepared pork products. If you can tone down your pork intake during flu season, it’s a good idea; even though you likely won’t catch the flu this way. It’s more likely to get transmitted by a sneeze, a cough, a loud phlegmy laugh, or contacting a door handle/table/hand-rail that’s been touched by an infected individual. Regular hygiene practices go a long way toward preventing influenza. That means washing your hands when you’ve come into contact with areas that may have been compromised, eating a diet high in non-processed foods that include fruits and vegetables, regularly exercising, and retaining a high level of fluids.

Additional Preventative Measures

Getting a swine flu vaccine can definitely help reduce your risk of contracting this specific strain of the flu. But to get that vaccine, you should be advised that peak health is to be recommended. A vaccine initiates an immune system response which bears some characteristics of the sickness itself. This is because an inert (or weakened) antigen is injected into the body, giving the immune system a chance to deal with it and prepare for a future incursion of the same.

Times Of Maximum Risk

Flu season conventionally begins toward the end of September, though it can begin as early as late August. It usually lasts through early spring. Conventionally, you’ll find that influenza season picks up at the end of Summer/the middle of Autumn. Several things which contribute are regular vacation travels, the new school year, and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving where disparate people groups regularly mingle. For you and your family, retaining good eating and fitness habits, as well as a proper inoculation regimen, are great ways to combat this increasingly prominent strain of the influenza virus.

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