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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Signs of Glaucoma

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Glaucoma is the term used to describe a group of eye disorders which will eventually cause blindness. There are two common types of glaucoma: open-angle and acute angle-closure. Both types have their own unique symptoms.

Both types cause irreversible damage which can be treated if detected early. Glaucoma can be prevented with regular eye exams.

Here are several warning signs of both types of glaucoma:

  1. Sudden Eye Pain: Sudden eye pain accompanied by a headache behind the eyes is a sign of late-stage acute angle-closure glaucoma. Seek treatment immediately.
  2. Sudden changes in vision: If you experience a sudden change in your vision, make an appointment with your eye doctor. These changes could be a sign of retinal damage or an early sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma.
  3. Redness or swelling: If you have bloodshot or swollen eyes, it could be a symptom of pressure buildup behind your eye. This is another sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma. The eye pressure you feel is caused when the iris becomes inflamed.
  4. Nausea: While nausea is most commonly linked to stomach problems, it can also be caused by impaired vision. If you have eye pain accompanied by vomiting and nausea, this could be a sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma. The eye pain will most likely be in the form of a headache; often, this headache and upset stomach combination is mistaken for the flu. However, if it lasts for more than two weeks, it could be a vision problem and should be checked out by a medical professional.
  5. Tunnel Vision: Tunnel vision is a narrowing of your peripheral vision; it literally seems as if you are looking through a tunnel. Typically, tunnel vision occurs during the late stages of primary open-angle glaucoma. It will hinder your ability to see the edges or corners of anything you look at directly. Often people don’t realize their sight is becoming limited or narrowing until the late stages of the disease. If you notice any changes to your peripheral vision it’s important to see your eye doctor right away.
  6. Blurry Vision: While blurry vision is usually just an indication of poor eyesight, something which can be cured with glasses or a new prescription, it can also be a sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma. If your vision becomes blurrier as time goes by, this could be a sign. Generally, this gradual decline doesn’t present itself until the later stages of the disease, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as you notice your vision becoming blurry.
  7. Halos: Many people will notice halos when they drive at night. They will begin to have trouble seeing clearly or see a rainbow-type effect when headlights shine into their eyes. This may be accompanied by painful headaches due to extreme pressure behind the eyes.
  8. Physical Changes: Usually, we cannot detect glaucoma with the naked eye, but there can be a gradual change in the appearance of your eyes, which could be an early sign of glaucoma. People with acute angle-closure glaucoma may notice a reddish tint to their eyeballs or they may notice they’ve developed larger pupils that won’t dilate in light. Your cornea may also look cloudy or swollen. If you see any of these changes, make sure to seek treatment right away.

Regular eye exams can help you prevent glaucoma, but if you notice any of these signs, be sure to make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.

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What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus yields its name from its crown-like structure of spikes, first identified in the 1960’s. Most forms of coronavirus yield mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, primarily affecting the upper respiratory system. These mild forms affect most people at some point during their lifetime with no long-term effects.

Forms of Coronavirus

There are also more serious forms of coronavirus which can cause much more severe symptoms. To understand the coronavirus better the CDC explains there are four main subgroups of the virus: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. Alpha and beta are the most common, with the following four types being responsible for many colds worldwide:

  1. 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  2. NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  3. OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  4. HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

There identified coronavirus that can create more severe symptoms have more common names we may know, including:

  1. MERS-CoV (beta coronavirus that causes MERS)
  2. SARS-CoV (beta coronavirus that causes SARS)

While not all coronavirus will mutate and lead to more serious infections like SARS, it is helpful to understand the symptoms and prognosis of each of these viral infections.

Common Coronavirus

The four most common forms of coronavirus lead to symptoms often referred to as the common cold. Mostly affecting the upper respiratory system, these symptoms last for a short period of time and include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

Some infections may also involve the lower respiratory system causing illness like bronchitis or pneumonia. There is no specific treatment, but most people will recover on their own. Symptoms can be eased with fever reducers like acetomenaphin, humidifiers, rest, and consuming extra fluids.

Severe Coronavirus

The terms SARS and MERS can be alarming. SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, represented a global epidemic scare that spread across more than a dozen countries in Europe, North America, and Asia in 2003. While considered a serious threat to public health, there is no current need to worry. The SARS outbreak has been considered contained, and there has not been a reported case anywhere in the world since 2004. Even the CDC web page has been archived.

MERS represents a more recent threat to public health. An acronym describing a Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, MERS has spread to many other countries (including the United States) since discovery in 2012. MERS is marked by acute respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Different from other types of coronavirus, MERS is also characterized by a high mortality rate — 3 or 4 of every ten cases.

The good news is that all non-middle eastern diagnoses of MERS have been linked to travel from the Arabian Peninsula. There is not currently a high risk associated with this virus domestically or with other foreign travel.

Prevention of Coronavirus

While there is no known vaccine to prevent a coronavirus infection, there are many steps you can take to help prevent yourself from catching colds this year. Coronavirus is typically transmitted through a cough or a sneeze and by close personal contact. Touching an infected object or encountering infected fecal matter and then touching your face can also transmit infection.

Avoid contagion with regular hand washing. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and always wash your hands before you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid contact with people who are sick.

If you think you may have the coronavirus, try to avoid infecting others. Stay home if possible when you are sick. If travel is unavoidable, use tissues or a mask when sneezing or coughing and dispose of soiled material in trashcans. Use sanitizing disinfectants to wipe down surfaces.

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January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness in order to help raise awareness of ways women can protect themselves from the human papillomavirus, or HPV, and cervical cancer.

Cervical Cancer

Every year, over 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the US, and nearly 4,200 die from the disease every year. However, cervical cancer is preventable. With proper vaccinations and screenings, women’s lives can be saved, which is why raising awareness is so important.

HPV is a common infection which is spread through sexual activity; HPV is the cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Right now, around 79 million Americans are living with HPV and many of them don’t even know they’ve been infected.

How Cervical Health Awareness Month Makes a Difference

The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV, and cervical cancer can be prevented with regular screenings and required follow-up care. These screenings can detect abnormal cells early before these abnormal cells turn into cervical cancer. Screenings can help prevent most of the deaths caused by cervical cancer.

During January, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition wants everyone to help get the word out. It’s important for women to know what steps they need to take to stay healthy.

The NCCC and the American Sexual Health Association encourage all women to get their well-woman visit annually. They want to make sure women know that most insurance plans will cover both well-woman visits and cervical cancer screenings. Which means women can typically get these services at no out-of-pocket cost.

Another way to spread awareness this month is to talk to pre-teens about the vaccination. Parents should know how important it is for their pre-teens, both boys and girls, to get the HPV vaccine.

Wear Teal

Like most events, Cervical Health Awareness Month has its own color. Wear teal and white ribbons to bring awareness to cervical cancer. Or show support for a friend or loved one by purchasing Cervical Cancer Awareness month products, like jewelry, hats or t-shirts.

How Can You Help?

If you are interested in helping get the word out, you can be an advocate for Cervical Health Awareness. You can help educate friends, family and your community, sharing your knowledge of how to prevent cervical cancer and HPV. You may even want to contact your local representative or your mayor to ask them to get the word out, bringing public recognition to Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Share Cervical Health Information on Social Media

Another way to help promote the importance of Cervical Health Awareness Month is to share information on social media. There are a number of downloadable resources on the American Cancer Society’s site, and on the NCCC site, that are perfect for sharing. The more you get the word out about cervical cancer prevention, the more people will how to prevent this deadly disease.

Across the US, the American Cancer Society is working to fight cervical cancer on a number of different fronts. Every day, not just in January, they help women get tested for cervical cancer, assist them with follow-up care and treatments, and understand their diagnosis. They are also working every day to fund new research that will prevent, and treat cervical cancer.

Spread the word, January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

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Understanding Parainfluenza Viruses

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Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) are respiratory illnesses that can affect children and older individuals. Young children and adults with compromised immune systems may also be at higher risk of developing one of the four different types of human para influenza viruses.

HPIVs spread through the air and are transmitted through coughing. Close personal contact like shaking hands with someone infected with HPIV is also a key way that the virus is transmitted from one person to another.

Touching objects like door handles or surfaces and then touching your own mouth or nose is another way that you might pick up the parainfleunza virus. Frequently washing your hands is highly recommended.

Symptoms of HPIVs

An HPIV that causes an upper respiratory illness may cause a fever as well as a cough and runny nose. A severe lower respiratory illness caused by HPIVs can result in any of the following symptoms: bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, or croup.

  • Croup (Upper Airway Infection)

Croup is an infection of the upper airway that blocks breathing and may have a distinctive barking cough that physicians are skilled at spotting. Croup is especially common in young infants and can cause a baby’s upper airways to swell to the point that breathing becomes difficult.

A raspy voice and a cough that sounds like a higher pitched dog bark are signs that an HPIV may have caused croup. The parainfluenza virus is the most common cause of croup, although croup itself may be viral or spasmodic in origin. Croup caused by an HPIV may start out as a cold before turning into a harsh sound indicative of upper respiratory distress – known as “stridor” to medical professionals.

  • Bronchitis and Bronchiolitis

Bronchitis is an infection of the main air passages going from your windpipe to your lungs whereas bronchiolitis is inflammation (“itis” meaning inflammation in medical parlance) and infection in the smaller air passages in your lungs. Both of these conditions can be caused by human parainfluenza viruses.

Bronchitis is technically inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Your bronchial tubes carry air to your lungs as well as take air away from your lungs. Colds and respiratory infections can cause acute bronchitis, and that’s often the kind of bronchitis that an HPIV will cause in a patient who’s been exposed to one of the four kinds of HPIV. Chronic bronchitis is a more serious condition requiring medical treatment.

  • Other HPIV Symptoms to Look For

A sore throat or constant wheezing might also be symptoms that manifest after being exposed to a human parainfluenza virus. Ear pain and decreased appetite are two lesser known, though still characteristic, symptoms that can accompany HPIV. So, if your child or an older adult displays a cough, fever, a raspy voice, and a sore throat, then it may be time to look into whether or not that individual has an HPIV-related infection.

Among the four main types of HPIV, HPIV-1 and HPIV-2 have been strongly associated with croup is babies and younger children. Both of these types of human parainfluenza virus can cause symptoms that resemble the flu or common cold in babies, children, and adults of all ages. It’s the HPIV-3 that can present more worrisome symptoms in older adults.

HPIV-3 has been more strongly associated with bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia among older adults. Although some respiratory distress has been associated with HPIV-4, the severity of symptoms with HPIV-4 is usually somewhat lower than HPIV-3. If you or a loved one has severe symptoms that don’t seem to improve on their own over about a week, then seek the care of a trained medical professional immediately.

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What is Adenovirus?

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An adenovirus belongs to an entire family of viruses that are collectively known as “adenoviruses.” This family of viruses can infect both humans and animals, most commonly resulting in illnesses affecting the respiratory tract. Here’s what you need to know about this family of viruses, and how to protect yourself against infection.

Adenovirus Symptoms

Adenoviruses cause infections by entering your body through your airways or your intestinal tract. In either case, the virus multiplies rapidly and begins to cause symptoms in as little as two days, or as long as two weeks, following exposure. Symptoms typically include:

  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Runny nose

Young children are most at risk, along with the elderly. Compromised immunity, such as occurs with the AIDS virus or during chemotherapy treatments, can increase the likelihood of infection, as well as the severity of the infection and symptoms. Anyone can be affected by adenovirus, but the infection is usually most severe in those with compromised immune systems. However, even healthy people can find themselves infected with adenovirus. Your relative health and personal habits will generally dictate how long the virus sticks around; for healthy people, the illness runs its course fairly quickly, possibly in as little as 48 to 72 hours.

Duration of Illness

Adenovirus is a fairly short-lived virus, with most minor infections resolving around three to five days after symptoms become evident. However, some infections may last as long as a week, and the effects of a serious adenovirus infection may linger for ten days to two weeks, or longer. Adenoviruses flourish in close-quarter communities like prison, school buildings, and communal-living situations like hostels.

Adenovirus Complications and Subsequent Illnesses

Some people who become infected by adenovirus may come down with associated illnesses, like bronchitis and croup. Other manifestations of adenovirus may include skin rashes, bladder infections, diarrhea, and pink eye (conjunctivitis). In addition, adenovirus infections may be complicated by serious problems like pneumonia or infections in the lungs. Other associated illnesses may include ear or brain infections, and even meningitis.

Avoiding Infection by Adenoviruses

Adenoviruses spread in a couple of very effective ways. The first is that the virus can hang around for a long time on inanimate objects. Door knobs, counters, and other commonly-touched surfaces can harbor adenovirus much longer than you might think. If you touch these surfaces and then eat, touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, or handle other objects, you can easily spread the virus and become infected.

Another avenue of infection is common to many types of virus: airborne droplets that are expelled in every cough and sneeze of an infected person. These droplets can land on surfaces, including dishes and utensils, countertops, computer screens and keyboards, and even your own skin. By touching these surfaces or your face, you can pick up the virus and become infected quite easily. You can even become infected just by breathing in just after someone has coughed or sneezed, or by those droplets coming into contact with any of your mucous membranes, or eating food prepared by someone who’s infected.

Staying Healthy

Avoiding people who are obviously ill and washing your hands regularly (and properly) can help you avoid becoming infected. Keeping the area around you clean and using disinfecting wipes on surfaces can also help you stay clear of adenovirus infection. Be aware of touching your face and try to reduce that behavior as much as possible. The symptoms of adenoviruses can be somewhat mitigated by medication, but there’s no treatment. Like most viruses, it must simply run its course.

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Symptoms of Allergic Asthma

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Symptoms of Allergic Asthma

Allergic asthma is a condition in which our immune system overreacts to allergens. When allergens enter our airways, our immune system releases chemicals that also releases histamine, which causes inflammation.

This is why people with asthma are those who experience tightening of airways. When allergens enter our body, the allergens trigger histamine to build-up in the allergic area. As a result, the histamine build-up makes the area to swell. If the inflamed area is the airway, the muscles around it will also be tightened. Therefore, allergic asthma is a strange sensitivity in airway.

  1. Runny Nose

Many of us experience runny nose, and it does not mean we all have allergic asthma. There are many factors that cause it. It could be fever, cold, or flu. However, runny nose must be coupled with other symptoms of allergic asthma to closely confirm it.

Even without the occurrence of other symptoms, runny nose can be associated with asthma at a certain level. This means that severe runny nose may no longer be normal especially when difficulty in breathing is already involved. Moreover, the occurrence must be consistent with presence of what may have caused it.

  1. Sneezing

Sneezing is the most common symptom of allergy not only of allergic asthma but also of other allergies. When we sneeze, it means we expel foreign substances that our body could not take. Our immune system is always alert when allergens enter our body. Since our nose is vulnerable to allergens, our naturally detects them and blocks them immediately. When too many allergens have already penetrated, we tend to sneeze over and over again until our nose is cleared temporarily. It may occur once again when mucus that contains allergens get through our nose.

  1. Itchy Eyes

Aside from nose, eyes are also vulnerable to allergens. In fact, our eyes are one of the most sensitive areas of our body. A grain of dust can make our eyes react, let alone allergens.

It is just normal to have itchy eyes when something suddenly enters it. What makes it a symptom for allergic asthma is when eyes get suddenly itchy immediately upon having a runny nose. It is caused by overproduction of histamine that inflames not just your nasal area but also nearby such as eyes and ears.

  1. Cough

Cough will always be one of the symptoms of all types of asthma. There are also many types of cough, but dry cough is a strong sign that it could be asthma-related. Just like sneezing, coughing is a natural reaction to expel allergens.

On the other hand, coughing cannot release the allergens the way sneezing does. What coughing can do is to try to expel mucus or phlegm depending on the severity. However, to expel mucus or phlegm is difficult when you have a dry cough. Symptoms for allergic asthma are usually a type of cough coupled with phlegm and mucus the way a runny nose is clogged with mucus.

  1. Difficulty in Breathing

Difficulty in breathing alone can be considered a strong sign of allergic asthma. This is due to the tightening of airway and the inflammation of muscles around it. Difficulty in breathing includes short breathing and breathing quickly.

Conclusion

Allergic asthma may be a permanent condition that can be treated. If you don’t know whether or not you have an allergic asthma, the above signs and symptoms may give you a clue. Nevertheless, it is still best to consult your doctor if symptoms persist.

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