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Causes of Group B Strep

GBS2

 

What is Group B Strep?

Group B strep are bacteria that can colonize in the vagina, rectal, and intestinal area of healthy adults and pregnant women. Statistically, about 25% of all healthy adults will at one time have a GBS infection.

While pregnant women do not often show symptoms of a GBS infection, there is a risk that they can transmit the infection to their newborn baby. Once transmitted, some newborns may develop complication which can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and even sepsis, so infants who are at risk need to be monitored. The best way to prevent this is through early detection in the mother and administration of antibiotics to treat it.

Group B Strep infections can also occur in nonpregnant adults who suffer from chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, or cancer. Typically those over 65 are at higher risk, but the incident rates of GBS infection in nonpregnant adults has been steadily increasing throughout the years.

Causes of Group B Strep

Healthy people can carry Group B Strep in their body at any time, it can also come and go or can stay permanently.

GBS can be found in some pregnant women and if not treated can pass to their newborns. When newborns contract Group B Strep infection in the first week of life it is called early onset. For babies who are 1 to 3 weeks of age when they develop the disease, it is termed late-onset.

How Can Group B Strep be Transmitted?

Group B Strep is transmitted by a pregnant mother to their babies during a vaginal birth. Typically mothers who test positive will be given antibiotics during delivery to reduce the risk of transmission. This will occur in about 50% of mothers who have an active infection during birth.

Out of this 50%, only about 100 to 200 of these babies born will develop a GBS infection requiring treatment.

Who’s at Higher Risk for Group B Strep?

When it comes to having Group B Strep, the incident rates are higher among African Americans than Caucasians. While there are not many statistical differences with a mother becoming a GBS carrier, there are some instances where there is a higher risk of transmission to the infant, including:

  • Early onset of labor
  • Fever during labor and delivery
  • An active urinary tract infection
  • Premature rupture of the membranes
  • Previous Group B Strep infection
  • Positive GBS culture after 35 weeks or pregnancy

Symptoms of GBS Infection

When an active Group B Strep infection is present, there can be some symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include.

In Newborns

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Bluish color
  • limpness
  • Stiffness
  • Breath complications
  • Diarrhea
  • Fussiness
  • Problems with heart rate and blood pressure
  • Problems feeding

In Adults

  • Skin infections
  • Sepsis
  • Lung infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Meningitis
  • Joint infections

Treatment of GBS

While the most common form of treatment is to treat the mother with antibiotics during labor to prevent the transmission, once contracted a GBS infection is typically treated with IV antibiotics and sometimes a surgical procedure if a bone or joint infection is present.

While GBS infections can result in severe complications, they are often preventable in newborns with routine maternal screening which makes prenatal care essential to protecting your newborn against such infections.

 

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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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Understanding Strep Throat

strep-throat

Image is from betterdailyhabits.com

Streptococcus Pyogenes

Streptococcus pyrogenes is the microorganism responsible for what’s called Strep Throat. It’s not the only bacteria that can cause the same symptoms, though. Neisseria is also a prime culprit. It’s common that people misdiagnose Strep, and that’s one of the reasons a medical examiner has to swab the throat when symptoms are noticed. Neisseria isn’t contagious, but Strep is; and very easily. Transmission methods include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Touching

If you or your child has come down with Strep, the right thing to do is get checked out, and recover. Though symptoms may not be severe, their spread can become a scourge to the local community.

Symptoms

Symptoms can be similar to influenza or the common cold, but have a few key differences. In aggregate, primary symptoms of Strep infection include:

  • A sore throat that comes so quick, it may seem to hit from nowhere
  • Swallowing is more difficult
  • A headache
  • Fevers that can get past 102 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale
  • The raw, red look at the back of the throat may be the most notable symptom
  • Tonsils can have a white pus on them (but not everyone has tonsils these days)
  • Lymph nodes high and tender on the neck
  • Strep can also include a rash
  • No cough, no stuffy nose, no upper-respiratory difficulties
  • Abdominal pain (but not usually nausea)

With the cold or flu, you may have a sore throat sweep in out of nowhere. You may get headaches from mucous backing up in your sinuses, and mucous drainage could make swallowing become difficult. Fevers will likely develop, you might get tenderized lymph nodes, and you might have abdominal pain that forces evacuation of the stomach or bowels via nausea. But if you’ve got a cough, stuffy nose, or it’s hard to breathe, then it’s not Strep. Contrariwise, if your throat is red or there’s white puss all over your tonsils, you can be sure you’re probably not besieged with the cold or flu.

Causes

Certainly the bacteria is the primary cause, but tertiary causes which lead to that infection usually cumulate in a weakened immune system. Any given day, your body is assailed by an unknown–but doubtless high–number of microorganisms which don’t cause infection. You only get sick when your immune system drops the ball. That’s going to happen if you’re undernourished, overworked, or emotionally compromised. The extremely old and extremely young are at the highest risk for any kind of cold, because their immune systems aren’t functioning at full strength. Basically, stress of any kind can weaken the immune system. When this is coupled with poor diet and exercise, a difficult living arrangement, and the natural exigencies of life which come at even the best players in this game of existence, you’re at an increased likelihood of contracting an illness. There may be no way around contracting such sicknesses, except to maintain your health at its highest possible levels at all times so that when inevitable illness comes, it lasts for a shortened period of time, and its consequences are less dire. So yes, Streptococcus Pyogenes does cause the immune system response characterized by the symptoms of the sickness. But it isn’t the sole cause. Taking care of yourself and those around you in a sustainably healthy way may be the best method you can adopt against Strep. Fortunately, in most cases you’ll be through the sickness within 24 to 36 hours. Unfortunately, free clinics may take up to a week to give you results! If you suspect you have strep, drink lots of fluids, get the right vitamins, and rest for a few days.

 

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