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4 Illnesses That Are Common in the Winter

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Images is from Live and Learn

Learn about the most common winter illnesses and what you can do to fight them.

As the leaves began to fall off the trees and temperatures drop, illnesses such as the flu peak. Many viruses are more likely to spread in the winter. There are several reasons for this. Dry cold air makes it easier for viruses to get into your nasal passages and some germs, such as influenza, are more stable and stay in the air longer when the air is dry and cold. Plus, more people are indoors in the winter. Being indoors with all the doors and windows shut make it more likely that you will be exposed to germs. Here are some of the most common winter illnesses and ways that you can prevent them.

Flu

Influenza, also called the flu is a respiratory virus that is caused by influenza. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the flu virus is at its peak from November through March in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu is prevalent from May through September.

Symptoms of the flu include body aches, high fever, coughing, sore throat and runny nose. Flu is contagious and spreads from person to person by sneezing and coughing. It may also spread through infected surfaces. Populations most susceptible to serious complications from the flu include the elderly and very young as well as those with impaired immune systems.

The best way to prevent the flu is to make sure that you and everyone in your house is vaccinated against the flu. The flu can be treated with Tamiflu if it is diagnosed within 48 hours. Otherwise, the illness has to run its course.

Asthma

Cold air can trigger asthma symptoms and causes wheezing and shortness of breath. Allergens are often a major contributor to asthma. Being indoors leads to breathing in mold, dust and dander, all of which are asthma triggers. Wind and rain also stir up allergens. Working out in the cold weather can also exacerbate asthma, making it more difficult to breathe. Ways to deal with asthma in the winter include:

  • Understand and avoid your triggers-If you are allergic to dust mites or mold, keep your house cool and dry.
  • Exercise indoors
  • Cover your face when you go outdoors

Norovirus

Noroviruses, also known as the “winter vomiting bug” is notorious for ruining cruise passenger’s vacations and causing entire ships to turn back around for port. Noroviruses strike not only cruise passengers, but those on dry land, as well. It is common on cruise ships due to the fact that they are highly contagious. Noroviruses spread through contaminated food and surfaces. Cruise ships provide the perfect setting for noroviruses due to the large number of people confined to a relatively small area. The symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. The best way to prevent norovirus is to wash your hands frequently.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is the irritation and swelling of the air passages of the lungs. This illness most often occurs in winter and is often a complication of another illness, such as the flu or asthma. Frequent coughing is the most common symptom of bronchitis. Although it is usually not a serious illness in healthy individuals, it can lead to pneumonia in certain individuals. If the condition does not go away in two weeks, contact your health care physician. To reduce the risk of bronchitis, wash your hands frequently and get vaccinated for the flu.

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5 Top Most Common Indoor Air Pollutants

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Image is from whole Health Insider

The quality of indoor air, whether it be at home or at the office, is very important to one’s health. We spend our entire lives breathing and when we are inside, it is important that the quality of the air we are breathing is just as fresh as the outdoors. There are some very common indoor air pollutants that can harm the integrity of indoor air. Luckily, these pollutants can be avoided.

Cigarette Smoke

While many counties and states have banned indoor smoking at restaurants and other public buildings, people still smoke in their homes. The carcinogens in the cigarette smoke is not only inhaled by the person who is smoking but also everyone who lives there. This smell and toxicity can linger in the air and be absorbed into furniture, clothing, etc.

Mold

More common than people think, mold can lurk in both small quantities and large quantities inside of a building. Common in high moisture areas like bathrooms and showers can harbor mold, but there can also be mold lurking inside of walls and such if there is a plumbing concern or structural concern with the building itself. Mold can be extremely hazardous to your health and even more so if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Keep humidity at normal levels in your home or office by using a dehumidifier if need be.

Chemicals

This is one of the most prevalent indoor pollutants around. Harmful chemicals can off gas from so many different sources. Paint, cabinets, flooring, carpets and cleaning products are all sources of chemicals. You can even introduce chemicals into your indoor air from scented candles, air freshener and perfume. Breathing in these chemicals can cause allergies, asthma, an increase in illnesses and even cancer.

Pesticides

Nobody wants rodents or bugs in their home or office so in these cases exterminators are called. What people don’t often realize is that the pesticides that are used to rid locations from these pests are very harmful and toxic. Usually the application process is done when people are not around but the products still off gas for many days or even weeks afterwards; often with no real smell to alert you there is something in the air.

Asbestos

While asbestos is no longer used in the construction of new buildings, there are plenty of older builds that still have asbestos present. There are specially trained companies that can detect asbestos in a building or in the air. They can then properly remove the product without putting people at risk.

Proper ventilation is key when trying to maintain a healthy indoor air quality. Opening windows each day, running vent fans and reducing chemical exposure are all ways you can protect your health and the health of those around you. Whether you take a good look at the cleaning products you are using in your home or the structural integrity of the building, maintaining a healthier indoor air is ideal.

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How Does Blood Pressure Medicine Relate to Health

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Image from www.foxnews.com

High blood pressure is a condition that, unfortunately, is a condition that many people suffer from. High blood pressure can result in serious health and heart issues. If left untreated, high blood pressure can result in death. When the doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure, they will often prescribe a medication. There are several types of medications, and each one will have a different effect on your health.

Diuretics

Diuretics are a popular type of high blood pressure medication. They are designed to flush the extra water and sodium from your body. While diuretics can treat your high blood pressure, they can have adverse effects on your health, including:

  • Frequent urination: When the water is removed from your body, it has to go somewhere.
  • Erectile dysfunction: Some men have trouble getting erections when on these medications.
  • Weakness in the legs and cramps: Diuretics can decrease the levels of potassium in the body, which can result in leg problems. This lack of potassium can also result in fatigue.
  • Sudden, intense foot pain: While this is rare, diuretics can result in gout.

Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed for high blood pressure. They make your heart beat less forcefully and more slowly. These medications are quite effective in treating high blood pressure, but they can cause certain side effects.

  • Asthma symptoms: Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Unusually cold hands and feet.
  • Depression
  • Erection problems in men
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitor

This type of medication will prevent the formation of a hormone that causes your blood vessels to narrow, helping the vessels to relax. Many high blood pressure patients have had great success with this medication, however, there are some side effects.

  • A dry hacking cough that doesn’t go away. Patients who suffer from this side effect are often required to try another medication.
  • Skin rashes
  • Loss of taste

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

this is another medication that causes the blood vessels to narrow. It also allows your the blood vessels to stay open by shielding the blood vessels from dangerous hormones. Many patients are prescribed this medication and it has just one side effect.

  • Dizziness: This often occurs when you get up quickly. It is also often very mild.

Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)

This is a commonly used high blood pressure medication, which keeps the calcium from entering the blood vessel cells and the heart muscle. This allows the blood vessels to relax. There are a few side effects associated with this medication, including:

  • An irregular or rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen ankles
  • Constipation

Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-blockers allow the blood to flow through the heart more easily by reducing nerve impulses to the blood vessels. Some of the side effects associated with this medication includes:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Dizziness and lightheartedness, especially when standing up quickly or waking up in the morning. This is due to a reduced blood pressure.

Alpha-2 Receptor Agonist

This medication is not prescribed as often as some of the other high blood pressure medications. It works by decreasing activity in the part of the nervous system that produces adrenaline. The side effects are very mild and rare. They include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

There are many people who avoid taking high blood pressure medication in order to avoid dealing with the side effects. What they may not know is that the dangers of high blood pressure are much worse than the side effects that they may or may not experience. The medication that your doctor prescribes would depend on your particualr condition and any underlying health issues that you may have.

 

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