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What to do if someone has an asthma attack

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Asthma is a serious, yet treatable condition. Most people with asthma carry around their rescue inhaler at all times just in case they start having an asthma attack. In most cases, the inhaler will work and the person will be able to breathe. It is when a person with asthma suffers an attack and they don’t have their inhaler where things can become dangerous. If you are with a friend who is having an asthma attack and they don’t have their inhaler, there are a few things that you can do to help save their life.

Get Your Friend To Stop and Sit Up

If your friend is having an asthma attack, you should make them stop what they are doing immediately. If they continue doing what they were doing, it will only intensify the attack. Next, you should have them sit up as straight as possible. If they are bent over trying to breathe or if they are lying down, it can cause their breathing to become even more constricted.

Call For Help

Once you have your friend sitting up straight, you should call for medical attention. If you wait to call for help hoping that the attack will subside, you could be putting your friend’s life at risk. Even if they start to breathe better and the attack is over, they will still need to see a doctor after the asthma attack.

Give Your Friend a Hot, Caffeinated Beverage

If it is possible, you should get your friend a cup of hot coffee. This is not a cure, however, it can help to open the airway slightly. This will give your friend some relief and it will give them a fighting chance while you wait for help to arrive.

Advise Your Friend To Take Long, Deep Breaths

While you are waiting for help to come, it is up to you to help your friend control their breathing. You should instruct them to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. This can slow down their breathing which can make it easier to start controlling it. Also, it will keep your friend from hyperventilating.

Keep Your Friend Calm

If you ask anyone with asthma what an attack feels like, they will tell you that it is unbelievably frightening. If your friend is having an asthma attack, you need to try to keep them calm. If they are afraid that they are going to die while they struggle for breath, it can tighten the chest muscles which can make the attack even worse. You should do everything that you can to keep your friend calm until help arrives.

Get Your Friend Away From the Trigger

Asthma attacks are often triggered by something. Severe stress and anxiety can be triggers. A few other common triggers include cigarette smoke, pet dander, and dust. There are also chemical odors that can trigger an attack such as the smell of sulfur dioxide, ammonia, and chlorine gas. As soon as the attack begins, it is important to get your friend away from the trigger as quickly as possible. If the attack was triggered by extreme stress or anxiety, try to calm your friend down. If it was caused by an environmental trigger, you should get your friend to an area where the air is clean as quickly as possible. The longer the triggers remain, the worse the attack will be.

It is important that anyone who has asthma always carries their inhaler. If your friend is having an asthma attack and they don’t have their inhaler, the tips above could save their life.

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What is COPD?

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a very serious lung disease that causes breathlessness and can make breathing difficult. It is actually the combination of two diseases. The first is chronic bronchitis, which causes the airways that carry air to the lungs to become inflamed. It also causes you to produce more mucus than you should. When the airway becomes narrow, it can be difficult to breathe. The other disease that makes up COPD is emphysema. Emphysema causes damage to the air sacks that get larger and smaller as you breathe in and out. When the air sacks lose their stretch, less air goes in an out of the lungs, making you feel short of breath. COPD is a progressive disease that cannot be reversed when the damage to the lungs has been done.

COPD Symptoms

COPD causes a variety of symptoms that can make you uncomfortable and over time, the symptoms can make regular daily activities difficult. These symptoms include:

  • A constant, nagging cough that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling of breathlessness especially when you are exerting yourself
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughing up mucus

People who suffer from COPD often have flare-ups. These are times when the symptoms become worse and often require a visit to the hospital.

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that can make a person more susceptible to developing COPD than others. The most common risk factors include:

  • Tobacco Use: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes will all increase your chances of developing COPD.
  • Asthma: While asthma and COPD are completely different conditions, you have a greater risk of developing COPD if you have asthma.
  • Air Pollution: The air inside and outside of the home can cause COPD. Indoor and outdoor air pollution can also cause a COPD flare-up for those who are already suffering from it.
  • Occupational Hazards: If you work around high levels of dust or chemical fumes, you are at risk of developing COPD.
  • Family History: If a family member has COPD, your chances of getting it greatly increase.
  • Premature Birth: Premature babies often need to have oxygen therapy for long periods of time because their lungs are not fully developed. This can cause minor lung damage that can get worse later in life, and can cause COPD later.

Treating COPD

While it is impossible to reverse the damage that COPD has done to the lungs, it is possible to limit the symptoms, prevent and treat flare-ups, and improve your overall health. The most common treatment is Pulmonary rehabilitation. This treatment will train your heart, muscles, and mind to get the most out of your damaged lungs. Oxygen treatment, medication, and eating healthy are also great ways to help prevent flare-ups and keep the disease from progressing.

COPD Complications

While COPD can cause its own set of symptoms, it can also result in several complications that can be dangerous to your health.

  • Frequent Illness: COPD makes you more susceptible to developing colds, the flu, and pneumonia.
  • Heart Problems: While the cause is still unknown, COPD can put you at a higher risk for heart disease and heart attack.
  • Depression: The idea of being seriously ill and not being able to do things you enjoy can result in depression.
  • Lung Cancer: COPD puts you at greater risk of developing lung cancer.

COPD is a very serious disease that continues to progress over time. Unfortunately, there is no cure, however, there are treatments available which make it possible to live a full a life with COPD.

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How can you diagnose a drug allergy

Switching or starting a new drug prescribed by a doctor can be scary with the long line of side effects that come along with most of them these days. One of the possible serious side effects being a drug allergy, which can cause severe and even life threatening side effects.

With that said, when a drug allergy occurs symptoms appear within an hour, but in rare cases allergic reactions can occur with prolong use of a drug as late as a month. Either way, knowing the side effects of a drug allergy is a helpful way to diagnose one.

What are some of the side effects of a possible drug allergy?

Some of the most common side effects of a drug allergy are:

  • Constant runny nose
  • Swelling in the face and body
  • Watery itchy eyes
  • Breathing complications such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and an asthma attack
  • High fever
  • Skin reactions such as rashes and hives

Rare, but a severe condition that can occur with a drug allergy is anaphylaxis, which is a condition that causes side effects such as:

  • Tightening of the airways
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal discomforts
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unbalanced blood pressure levels
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration

Reactions that occur from a drug allergy weeks or even months later from long exposure to a medication can cause drug allergies known as:

  • Serum sickness that causes flu like symptoms
  • Drug-induced anemia causing fatigue and blood loss
  • Nephritis a condition that causes inflammation of the kidneys
  • Drug rash eosinophilia and systemic symptoms also known as DRESS

What should occur if a drug allergy develops?

If a drug allergy occurs or you are experience a negative reaction to it, you must call a doctor or seek out medical attention immediately. Some allergic reactions to medications can cause death if not caught and treated in time.

With that said, if the allergic reaction is occurring rapidly just dial 911 from your home phone, cell phone or any landline. Medical responders can reach you faster than you can reach a hospital, which increases your chances of stopping the reaction sooner rather than later, and in life threatening cases saving your life.

What are some end thoughts to keep in mind?

Some end thoughts to keep in mind with a drug allergy are sometimes mood changes can be one of the side effects of a drug allergy, but are rare. Muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, high white blood cell counts, extreme fatigue and heart complications are also rare, but possible allergic reactions that can occur with medications, which are also important to keep in mind and tell your doctor.

Remember, every bit of information you remember and can give your doctor will help diagnose your drug allergy. After a proper diagnosis, your doctor will take you off the drug and prescribe you a new one to help get you feeling better.

 

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Possible causes of autism

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Combined Causes

It is very important that condemnation should not come prior investigation, as William Paley once pointed out. With that in mind, some have posited autism derives from several different things working together, rather than a singular distinct cause. Factors could include:

  • Frigid, Or Absent, Parenting
  • Too Much Technology Too Soon
  • Unproven Medical Techniques
  • Genetic Proclivities
  • Health And Nutrition
  • Poverty

Causes Examined

One of the originally suspected culprits of autism was defined as “refrigerator mother theory“. Autism and schizophrenia used to be often diagnosed together. Since then, mechanistic explanations have replaced the theory; but the basic concept is parents don’t properly bring up their children, resulting in this strange behavior.

It’s easy to see how there may be some level of truth in this. Imagine two parents who work online, and are part of the online gaming community. Imagine they have a young child who doesn’t receive proper levels of attention, as a result, and must initiate its own psychological coping mechanisms to feel loved and entertained.

This could very well produce an individual with an inward self-focus who isn’t good at socializing. Feral children have been linked to autism before; and neglect is the prime culprit. However, there are plenty of conscientious parents who love their children and do their best to socialize them, only to see a sudden change later.

Technology

There are those who include their children technologically. Smartphones and tablets can be very entertaining. Autistic children definitely love them, and those who aren’t autistic are likewise fascinated. A combination of lackluster parenting and over-stimulation of technology early on could be linked to autistic tendencies in later life, according to Psychology Today.

Diet

Another area seen to contribute to autism involves diet. Some foods are bad for those who have autistic behaviors. Gluten and cassein are often good to reduce in the diet of a child with autism.

Medical Complications

Inoculation theory is sound, but doesn’t always take into account certain chemical compounds sometimes contained in vaccines like Measles, Mumphs Rubella (MMR), such as thimerisal, which is mercury-based.

The FDA classifies mercury in greater quantities than 1 part per million as dangerous. While thimerisal has been removed from many vaccines, it still can be found in some. Also, CDC guidelines would have parents provide children 49 doses of 14 different vaccines by age six. If some of those have chemicals in them that are dangerous, it could adversely affect development.

Additionally, 49 vaccines in 6 years averages to a vaccine every 1.46 months. A vaccine introduces an inert antigen into the body’s immune system so the body can “learn” it and be better fortified for when a non-inert antigen infiltrates. What this leads to is a sickness, or pseudo-sickness, more mild than the full-blown sickness, after most vaccinations. Do that every six weeks or so until a child is six, and that could be bad for their developing immune system. It could over-tax it–especially if the child isn’t getting proper nutrition, has distant parents, is using technology too much, or part of a poor household.

When you add to that hereditary links seen to be involved in autistic development, it becomes more clear why autism has jumped from 1 in 10,000 during the 1980s, to about 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls as of 2014.

Treatment
The solution? Well, there may not be one; but what you can do is have as close a relationship with your children as possible, allow ample time between vaccinations, restrict too much technology, and avoid feeding them too much gluten or cassein–depending on doctor orders, or course.

 

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Symptoms of gluten intolerance

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Symptoms of gluten intolerance

Gluten sensitivity, otherwise known as gluten intolerance can manifest worse than IBS like symptoms and stomach problems. It can affect other bodily processes and not just the digestive system. It wreaks havoc on your skin, the largest organ, bones, mouth, and endocrine system. You may have a myriad of symptoms that don’t make sense to the physician and may mean they are clueless you’re reporting back to them with symptoms of gluten sensitivity. The currently available drugs only tend to treat symptoms and looking taking care of the underlying issue. This is why doctors are quick to give medication that might only ease your current suffering.

If you feel that the physician is not attending to you like you would wish i.e. they don’t listen to you properly, then it may be time to visit a new doctor.

Below are some symptoms you would want to look keenly

Depression and anxiety

Depression is a grave concern for many. There are myriad symptoms of depression

Including

  • Hopelessness,
  • Appetite changes,
  • Low energy,
  • Anger
  • Sleep changes

While some patients may need medical attention to correct the never ending imbalances with depression, others may not necessarily need. However, the underlying causes of depression are often not investigated. The study has confirmed that glutamic intolerance has a hand in anxiety, depression and mood disorders. The moment you remove gluten from the diet, depression, and anxiety shall have been solved.

Autoimmune diseases

Consumption of gluten has been linked to several autoimmune diseases. You can always know when autoimmune issues are developing before they can show up and their symptoms start to manifest. This will give you ample time to adjust your dieting and lifestyle to alleviate chances of developing full blown autoimmune disorder. Below is a list of some autoimmune diseases usually known to be relating to glutamic sensitivity.

  • Celiac diseases
  • Vitiligo
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Type 1 diabetes

Vital to mention is that this condition is very prevalent.

Low immunity

If you have noticed that the frequency in which you fall sick is relatively higher than normal, then think about gluten being an issue.

IgA is a group of antibodies which occur in the tears, saliva as well as the gastrointestinal tract. Reflect on this class of antibodies as your first line of defense whenever an infection comes to attack you. When you have a sensitivity to gluten, the first sign is a reduced number of IgA antibodies. This means you don’t have a proper defense in place to keep you safe.

Dental issues

Cancer sores, cavities, tooth decay and broken teeth are all indicative of gluten sensitivity. The levels of calcium of gluten sensitivity can be waveringly level due to malabsorption which may lead to weak bones and teeth. A DEXA scan is, therefore, imperative. It’s one of the surest ways of determining calcium levels and the overall health of your bones.

Migraine headaches

Though gluten doesn’t have a hand in all migraines, it has often been linked to many cases. A research was carried out to gauge the migraine headaches in individuals sensitive to gluten. In those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, there was a report of chronic headaches on 56% of the individuals, 30% of those suffering from celiac disease and then 23% of the patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

The above are some of the symptoms of glutamic intolerance.

 

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The different type of allergy tests

Allergy-Testing

You Think You’ve Got An Allergy–What Do You Do Now?

There are a number of different tests which can help doctors determine what allergy you have, how severe it is, and how to treat it. Primary allergy tests are:

  • Skin Tests
  • Blood Tests
  • Challenge Tests

Which test you should take is usually be determined by a practicing medical professional who asks a number of questions about your condition, and consults available medical history. Even the most professional doctors can come across unique allergy situations. You should be advised that, even though some of these tests may be something you could approach yourself, it’s often best to leave testing to the professionals.

Skin Tests

Skin tests have four basic categories: the skin prick test, the intradermal test, the scratch/scrape test, and the external application test.

Skin Prick Test
With the skin prick test, your doctor will put a bit of water which contains suspected allergens like cat dander or pollen at strategic points on your skin. You’ll then be pricked so said allergens are able to enter. If you’ve got a food allergy, the prick–which is technically called a lancet–will be dipped in the food before you’re “stuck” with it. Your skin will usually turn red, or a little bump may appear, if you’re allergic to the substance.

Intradermal Tests
The intradermal test is similar, but a suspected allergen will be injected, rather than pricked, into the skin. The allergen is in a liquid solution of some variety. These are used for detection of allergic reactions which aren’t as strong. Intradermal tests are kind of a second resort if prick tests are inconclusive.

Scratch Tests
Scratch tests are also used if a general prick test isn’t clear. A tiny portion of skin is excised, after which the allergen is rubbed over that area. Deeper tissue layers can be reached this way than through other tests, facilitating stronger, more visible reactions. Scrape tests do the same, but don’t penetrate so deeply.

Patch Tests
For allergens that take longer to manifest–as in half a day to three days–a patch will be applied to your back and left for a day to see if you have a reaction of any kind.

External Applications
External applications for a suspected allergic reaction can be simply rubbed on the skin without any need to break it. Now this may take longer, but it’s not likely to be as unpleasant, and if you have a strong allergy, could be the best way to go.

Blood Tests

What if you’re allergic to the metal in the needles used in a skin prick test? Well, then you’ll have a reaction to everything! How does a doctor get around that? The solution is a blood test which measures antibodies in the blood after allergens are exposed to it. This isn’t totally conclusive, but it can indicate allergic tendencies. Skin tests are more conclusive because other conditions can result in increased antibodies.

Challenge Tests

As the name implies, these are a challenge. Sometimes skin tests aren’t conclusive, so a bit of the allergen in a requisite quantity to cause reaction is put either in the eyes, in the nose, or in the lungs. The doctor can then determine the severity of reaction. These are only done under supervision, as reactions can be intense.

Getting Yourself Professionally Tested

As you can see, some of these tests can be done outside a medical facility; but the results, and the severity of those results, is unpredictable. Your best bet if you or a loved one has an allergy is to get tested in a professional capacity.

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What causes a stroke

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A stroke happens when the blood supply to a section of your brain is reduced or interrupted thus depriving your brain tissues of nutrients and oxygen. If this continues for several minutes, your brain cells start dying. A stroke is a medical emergency that still kills people worldwide and should be treated with urgency. You can minimize potential complications and minimize brain damage if action is taken promptly. Knowing what causes stroke could be instrumental in treating and preventing a stroke.

Types of Strokes

There are two major ways in which a stroke can happen. One is caused when something causes bleeding in the brain and another when something blocks the flow of blood.

  • Ischemic Stroke

This is the most common type of stroke as it happens in 8 out of 10 cases of stroke. This kind of stroke happens when the blood vessel responsible for taking blood to your brain gets plugged. It also happens when there’s poor blood flow from an irregular heartbeat thus form a blood clot or when fatty deposits contained in arteries break off and move towards the brain.

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke

A Hemorrhagic stroke is less prevalent than an ischemic stroke although it can tend to be more serious. This type of stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel in your brain leaks or when it balloons up and bursts. Taking too much blood thinner drugs and uncontrolled high blood pressure can also cause this kind of stroke.

  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Some few individuals experience this kind of stroke usually referred to as a “mini-stroke” which happens due to temporary blockage. Although TIA doesn’t cause permanent brain damage, it increases your chances of getting a full-scale stroke

Top Causes of Stroke

The following things can put you at risk of getting stroke;

Tobacco – Whether you’re chewing or smoking tobacco, you raise your chances of getting a stroke. Nicotine is likely to increase your blood pressure and cigarette smoke (even secondhand) makes fat build up in the main artery of your neck. Other than that, it thickens your blood thus making it more likely to clot.

Diabetes – Most people with diabetes are overweight and have high blood pressure and both these are risk factors for stroke. You’re also more likely to have a stroke when you have diabetes since diabetes destroys your blood vessels. The injury to your brain is also likely to be severe if you get a stroke when your blood sugar levels are high.

High Blood Pressure – Also known as hypertension, this is the most common cause of strokes. You may need to consult your doctor if your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.

Heart disease – Atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat and defective heart valves increase your odds of getting a stroke. In fact, irregular heartbeat is responsible for causing 25 percent of strokes among the elderly. Fatty deposits can also lead to clogged arteries.

Family – Strokes can be hereditary. Your family could be sharing a tendency to get diabetes or high blood pressure. As a matter of fact, some strokes occur due to a genetic disorder blocking blood flow to the brain.

Age – Anyone can get a stroke and that includes babies in the womb. However, your odds increase as you grow older. After you pass the age of 55, your chances double up every 10 years.

Gender – Men are more likely to have a stroke than women of the same age. But at a later age, women are less likely to recover and more likely to succumb to stroke.

 

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The best allergy remedy for you

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Everybody Is Different

Did you know that it’s possible to experience the development of an allergy after years of being allergy free? Allergies sometimes seem to come from nowhere, and to disappear as quickly. Sometimes this has to do with a change in location, sometimes it has to do with a change in health.

Say you’ve grown up in the same region of the country all your life, then at the end of summer, you move to a college two thousand miles away in a different climate. Every Summer in Southern California, you breathed easy, and had no allergic reactions to the climate. But during the spring in Iowa, where you’re pursuing a degree in some agricultural discipline, you suddenly start hacking, wheezing, sneezing, and itching your eyes until they became raw. Why? Is it an illness? Have you come down with something?

No; your immune system is just encountering a new form of allergen that it has never seen before, and is accordingly reacting. Likely, you’re getting a ragweed reaction for the first time, or what’s commonly known as “hay fever”.

Reality

Now there are no known cures for allergies at this time, but that doesn’t mean cures aren’t out there. Scientists, especially in medicine, live in bubbles just like you did in South California before you went to Iowa. The scientists swim in scientific circles, and only accept new data from other similarly-minded individuals. While this does help them make breakthroughs, it also blinds them to certain possibilities because those have already been dismissed by their educational clique.

This is why it took so long for acupuncture to be admitted in western medical circles as legitimate therapy. So it is possible allergy cures exist which remain undiscovered or acknowledged. But regardless, there are definitely treatments as idiosyncratic to individuals as contraction of varying allergies ends up being. Even Web MD is reticent to say allergies are totally incurable.

What kind of treatments you end up using will depend on the kind of allergy you have. For certain allergies, your best treatment is to avoid the allergen at all costs and keep an epinephrine pin nearby in case you encounter it incidentally–this is the case for many with peanut allergies. For others, you can use a kind of “inoculation” approach to help diminish symptoms.

Remedies To Consider

For example, if you were the person who developed hay fever in their teens, a way that will likely work to help you get over it is eating a spoonful of local honey every day for a year or so. The bees make their honey from plants that are local, and likely this will include some of the plants initiating your allergic reaction. When you eat the honey these bees have made, it gives your immune system a chance to encounter particulates from these allergens in a setting that doesn’t compromise the body. Your body then “learns” not to have a “reaction” when it encounters said allergens.

You could depend on allergy medications like Benadryl, or Claritin. These can clear you up, but you won’t be cured, and you’ll have to rely on them. Allergy shots are in this category, and can also be useful. That said, there is a cure on the horizon for cat allergies. As yet it’s not been fully developed, but it may be in the near future–so that could be an alternative for some that experience pet dander allergies.

Possibilities

Once one cure has been developed, additional ones will likely come. The bottom line is, whatever allergy measures you take must be convenient and effective for you.

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How to Know if You Have Allergies or a Cold

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A Tricky Situation

When you’re sneezing and wheezing, it can be hard to tell the root cause of your ailment. Are you suffering from influenza, a common cold, or some adverse allergic reaction? Complicating the issue is this reality: allergies can sometimes develop seemingly from nowhere. It turns out the state of your immune system and your age may have an impact on whether or not you develop an allergy. Allergies can also come and go, though many do tend to sink their “teeth” in and hold on for a while.

Understanding this requires understanding what allergies are, and what causes them. To make it simple, an allergy is basically an “overzealous”, you might say, immune system reaction. The body becomes hypersensitive to certain things and when it contacts them basically throws all its defenses against them. In extreme cases this can cause choking, suffocation, and even death. In not-so-extreme cases, it can make your eyes itchy, or your nose run–you might even puff up a little, or get hives.

Allergies

Sometimes an allergy may feel just like a cold, but it will last for a few months. It may come in with a change in seasons, and leave with it. This is the case with ragweed allergy, or what’s commonly known as hay fever. Basically, when ragweed starts to pollinate, nigh-invisible spores are sent out, and these can get on your skin, in nasal passageways, in your mouth, or in your eyes. Those with hay fever then develop a sneezing sickness with watery eyes that become quickly raw if you rub them. In a strange way, the mouth can be felt to dry up, and as though the gums were receding from the teeth.

Avoiding contact with areas rife with ragweed spores will help diminish symptoms. Regular hygiene including thorough showers and nasal evacuation can also help one recover. Allergy medicines are definitely helpful.

One “folksy” remedy to seasonal allergies involves eating a spoonful of local honey every day for a year or so, if you can manage it. There is some basis in reality with this remedy: honey is pollinated by bees in the area, and trace amounts of allergens will make their way into the honey; but in quantities your body can deal with.

Common Colds

By contrast, a cold may include any or all of the previously described symptoms, but have nothing to do with allergens. You can usually tell a cold by how weak you feel. If you’ve caught a cold, you might feel a “weakness” or “coldness” in your bones. It’s not necessarily a headache, and it’s not necessarily pain–it’s somewhere in between the two, and you will have a distinct disinclination to move.

The severity of this “under the weather” feeling will depend on the individual, and their immune system; as well as the strength of whatever virus has infected their body. Usually colds just make someone feel a little foggy for a few days to a week, and stuff them up. Influenza, by contrast, can knock a person out of the rat race so hard they catch pneumonia and die.

The Bottom Line

If your symptoms last longer than a week or two, but you’re not adversely affected in terms of weakness or clarity of mind, you may be suffering from a common allergy like hay fever. Eating local honey can help offset it, and avoiding situations where pollination is rampant also makes sense.

If your symptoms only last for a few days, don’t seem related to any allergens, and leave you feeling slightly more out-of-sorts, you’re likely dealing with a cold.

 

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How You Can Get STI’s and How to Prevent Them

Sexually transferred infection (STI) is the most current term used by professionals to describe the group of medial infections that are spread via sexual contact. Sexually transmitted infections do not consistently develop into a disease. People who have been diagnosed with an STI, may not have a sexually transferred disease (STD) but both involve a harmful bacterial or viral infection that is transferred by contact with infected body fluids. There are approximately 30 sexually transferred infections/diseases that have been identified across the world. Some of the more serious infections are well-known, and include gonorrhea, hepatitis, syphilis, and the HIV/Aids virus. There are lesser known diseases that are more widespread such as Chlamydia, HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and herpes. While these infections may be less serious than other STD’s, serious health consequences can arise if left untreated. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported record highs of STD cases in 2016 and the numbers continue to increase. For sexually active individuals, it is important to know the facts of how you get STI’s and how you can prevent getting them.

How STI’s are Transferred

The germs that trigger an STI are concealed in semen, vaginal secretions, blood, and saliva. Infections can be transferred by any contact with affected body fluids. While the transfer often takes place during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual activity, some infections, such as genital warts and genital herpes, can be spread during skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. Trichomoniasis, the most common, curable STI, is a parasitic infection that can be spread by coming into contact with clammy, or damp materials, such as towels, wet undergarments, or toilet seats. Hepatitis B can be gotten from using the personal items of an infected individual, such as their toothbrush or razor.

STI Prevention

Abstinence, is of course, a proven method of eliminating the possibility of acquiring an STI. This is not a realistic option by most sexually active people in the United States, as indicated by the increasing number of STI/STD cases. Some sexual behaviors put people at a much higher risk of getting an infection. These behaviors include:

  • Having two or more sex partners
  • Not using a condom or dental dam when having sex
  • Having sex with a person who has had numerous partners
  • Sharing needles when using intravenous drugs

Besides abstinence, there are several ways to reduce the risk of getting an STI, which still allows someone to enjoy sex and intimacy with another. These include:

  • Engaging in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested
  • Avoiding unprotected sex with anyone who has not tested negative for an STD in the last six months
  • Limiting the number of sexual partners that you have
  • Establishing that your partner has been tested if they have had new partners since their last test
  • Using a barrier method, such as a dental dam or condom, every time you have oral sex
  • Not engaging in sex with anyone who has genital sores, discharge, a rash, or any other symptoms
  • Using latex condoms correctly, and every time you have sex
  • Not sharing towels or undergarments
  • Washing or bathing prior to, and after, having intercourse
  • Getting vaccinated for hepatitis B

Several STI’s occur without any symptoms, so many people continue with sexual activity after becoming infected themselves, increasing the contagion with each new partner. Today, if one is sexually active, it is critical to take precautions if you want to stay healthy, and safe.

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