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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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Importance of National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month

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Image is from nccapm.org

This entire month is national cleft and craniofacial awareness and prevention month. July is a time to draw awareness, funding and support for the hundreds of infants and teens afflicted with congenital issues like cleft lip and cleft palates.

Many adults likewise suffer from cleft and craniofacial disorders through sometimes life-threatening conditions of the craniofacial region as well as trauma. A car accident, for example, could leave an individual suffering from a cleft palate, otherwise known as an opening in the mouth and lip.

These kinds of issues can erode the self-esteem of children and adolescents and cause significant developmental issues. Cleft and lip palates have been associated with breathing issues as well as some problems with language development and proper speech.

Appreciating the Differences and Encouraging Support

Some craniofacial defects are caused by abnormalities during gestational development. These kinds of defects break down into two broad categories – orofacial clefts and craniosynostosis.

The former – orofacial clefts – is characterized by the mouth and lip not forming as they should whereas the latter occurs when a young baby’s bones meld together too early for proper development to take hold.

In terms of craniofacial issues beyond cleft lip and cleft palates, national cleft and craniofacial awareness and prevention month is about drawing attention and funding towards issues like anotia (where the external part of the ear is absent) and microtia (characterized by a deformation in the external portion of someone’s ear).

  • Early Treatment is Highly Beneficial

Although treatments can vary somewhat depending on the age and health of the child, as well as the medical severity of the issue and lifestyle impairments (e.g., breathing issues), appreciating the pain and struggle that these disorders can cause is important.

Just cleft lip and cleft palate issues account for over 4,000 new cases of craniofacial issues in infants every single year. Cleft palates account for over 2,700 new cases annually, and that number is only growing.

Many of these issues are completely treatable and incredible charities like Smile Train and put in place so that everyday people can make a small contribution that can literally change lives.

If possible, these issues should really be treated early since doing so can mitigate some of the detrimental effects of living with congenital or acquired craniofacial issues. These can include physical, developmental, and learning issues that can be severely reduced or eliminated entirely with the help of craniofacial surgeons and improvements in technology.

Many children afflicted with craniofacial issues like cleft lip and cleft palate are, tragically, teased for having the condition. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that children suffering for these conditions can face health and social problems.

On the health front, issues can range from an increased rate of dental issues and hearing problems (including ear infections) whereas social problems among children with craniofacial and cleft issues can range from issues pronouncing certain consonants in their everyday speech to school problems.

Researchers have long noted that children with cleft lip and cleft palate face an erosion of self-esteem in more severe cases and long gaps missed during the school year because of one or more surgeries to address the condition.

How Everyone Can Help: Treatment and Research Funding

There are a number of steps that you can take online, in your community, and through donations to chip away at the negative hold that these craniofacial and cleft disorders can have over too many children.

Asking your local city council or local house representative to include funding for research or simply making a small donation to ACPA can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

 

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Significance of International Group B Strep Awareness Month

AwarenessMonth_Twitter

July the Awareness Month for Strep B

July is the awareness month that helps educate expecting moms and individuals about Strep B. Strep B stands for Streptococcus a dangerous bacterium that can cause illness in newborns and individuals with weak and even strong immune systems.

Most of the time there are no symptoms presents when a person is infected with the bacterial infection, which is why it is essential for expecting moms to be screened for it before they give birth. If the infection is not caught before the newborn arrives and it is present, the infection can pass right onto the newborn during delivery. If a newborn ends up catching the illness there is potential for it to become serious and even fatal.

Why is Strep B so dangerous?

Strep B is so dangerous because it can turn into meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia without proper diagnoses and treatment. People with strong immune systems can typically survive and fight off these types of infections, but newborn babies during the first weeks of life tend to struggle. This is due to their weakened immune systems, and why so many babies who contract the Strep B illness pass away. Other health problems that can arise from suffering from a Strep B infection are hearing loss, and mental and physical disabilities.

How is Strep B tested?

Expecting moms and individuals are tested for Strep B through a genital swab test. Sometimes testing can be done with a simple urine or blood test. Pregnant women get this test done by their OBGYN or midwife at 37 weeks of pregnancy. Those who suspect they may have it can ask their family doctor to test for the infection.

With that said, the only true way an individual can know for themselves that they could be potentially infected with the bacterium is by experiencing symptoms. Without symptoms, individuals don’t usually suspect any can of infection until it becomes so serious staying in the hospital is essential for intense treatment to help rid the infection from the body.

What are some of the symptoms of the infection?

  • Infection setting into an area of skin
  • Painful urination with a UTI
  • Constant fever with chills
  • Lethargy
  • Skin rashes or infections
  • Vaginal discharge and discomforts
  • Inflammation in the lungs or joints of the body
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches and dizziness if the infection spreads to the brain

Where does the Strep B bacterium live within the body?

Strep B bacterium is found in the mouth, throat, genital area, rectum and sometimes even bloodstream of the body. It is passed through bodily fluid contact, or simply encountering the bacteria hanging out on an individual’s skin. If an individual does become infected with Strep B, thankfully there are treatments that work effectively with curing the illness.

What are the antibiotics for most useful for treating the infection?

The antibiotics most commonly used for treating the Strep B infection are ampicillin, penicillin, cefazolin and clindamycin. These medications are provided orally, but with serious infection they are given through IV in the hospital. You can only get these medications through prescriptions from doctors.

End Thoughts for the Significance of Strep B Awareness Month?

The best way to save lives from Strep B is by becoming educated and educating others about the infection. July’s awareness month is the perfect opportunity to get the word out there to help promote proper screening for it in individuals of all ages. After all, everyone deserves to know about potentially life threatening infections that are preventable through proper screening and testing and treatable with simple antibiotics.

 

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Men’s Health Week

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The International Men’s Health Week is an annual event that is held around the world. The Men’s Health Network led six leading men’s health organizations from around the world during a meet in Vienna, Austria in 2002 and they resolved to work as a unit in increasing awareness of men’s health issues. In addition, the group resolved to encourage intra and inter-national institutions in developing health policies and services that meet the needs of men, boys and their families.

During the Men’s Health Week, to be held from June 12 to 18 2017, communities across the world are expected to come together and create engaging and fun events, activities and promotions aimed at increasing the awareness of the needs of boys and men. The events are focused on maintaining and improving the health of the male members of the society, while having meaningful conversations related to body and mind health.

The Beginning

Men’s Health Week is a creation by Congress in 1994 as a response to increasing awareness of preventable health issues, while encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among male members of the community. The bill, sponsored by former Congressman Bill Richardson and former Senator Bob Dole, is a means of bringing in a significant shift from treatment to prevention in disease control. The week involves increasing public awareness and spreading information on disease prevention through nationwide screenings and events.

How to Participate

One way to participate in the event in your workplace is by encouraging both male and female employees to support the day by:

  • Choosing a day in the week to celebrate a the men’s health week
  • Set an amount of money you would like to raise, so that you have something to go for
  • Choose blue as the color-code for the day; from blue accessories, head to toe blue work attire or just give staff members an excuse to go casual, whatever works for your employees
  • Let your group members choose whether they would like to wear blue or whatever amount of money they would like to donate
  • You can also sell blue prostate cancer pins as support of fighting against prostate cancer

Show your customers and others what you have accomplished by posting photos of your event to your social media channels. In addition, to doing the above you could also consider some of the following suggestions:

  • Plan a health fair that can be held in the workplace, hospitals, churches or community centers
  • Plan a mini health fair by asking a local health educator, doctor or nurse to give a short lecture related to men’s health
  • Plan a fundraiser for MHN’s prostate cancer outreach efforts
  • Create awareness for men’s health through bringing together your neighbors or coworkers through walking, tennis, bowling, bicycling or even hiking.

How to Participate at Home

Whether it is your spouse, boyfriend, dad, brother or friend, show that you care about their health by wearing blue. If the last Friday of the Men’s Health Week will not work for you, then pick a date and have fun wearing blue all day. Use the Wear Blue day to escalate awareness on money for education related to regular checkups, testicular cancer education, skin cancer, lung cancer, gout, cardiovascular disease and more.

Remember, men are living sicker and dying younger. Wearing blue was created to raise awareness on the importance of men’s health and to encourage men to actively seek living longer, healthier lives. The response to this event has been overwhelming and thousands of people are actively participating in awareness activities in the U.S. and all over the world.

 

 

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Men’s Health Month

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Image is from Healthcare South

Wear the Blue!

The Friday before Father’s Day is approaching and on that day people dressed in blue will seek to bring awareness to Men’s Health. Do you have men in your life you care about? Support the cause and show your true colors when you don the blue. Even with all the medical advances that have emerged men are still struggling with chronic sicknesses and passing away earlier than women. Men’s Health Month seeks to provide tested health solutions to the men in everyone’s life!

Join in June

Supported by a congressional health program, Men’s Health Month is an outreach movement that strives to touch the lives of men and any loved ones affected by trying health issues. Early detection, screenings, and other proactive solutions are all a part of what makes June the one month out of the year that educates and brings awareness to the many men’s health issues that plague men worldwide.

Here are a few of the ways Men’s Health Month is making a difference today:

  • It draws attention to the diseases that are harming men everywhere. Many of these diseases might be preventable if caught and treated early on.
  • The spotlight is given to men’s health issues and encourages those in government positions to address the various problems afflicting men of all ages through policy making and championing awareness.
  • Media and individuals use the month of June to show their own concerns and support for Men’s Health by participating in special interest pieces or by encouraging the younger and older generation to participate in medical screenings, physicals, and monthly check-ups.
  • Participation in the “Plan to Wear Blue” that is embraced during Men’s Health Month encourages people from all walks of life to wear blue in united support of Men’s Health. It also encourages those interested to request allowing a day to wear blue at their job sites or to begin various “Wear Blue” events or fundraisers to raise money for men’s health.

What to Know

For men the need to stay informed and up to date on the state of their personal health is imperative. So what are some of the largest health issues men deal with now? Check out this list and see if you are, have or know someone who has faced or still deal with some of these terribly common health issues that affect men’s quality of life:

  • Cardiovascular disease- Hypertension commonly afflicts young men and close to 3 million men suffer from a stroke every year. Those incidents emphasize why periodic heart monitoring checkups are a must for men.
  • Respiratory disease-While most cases of lung cancer can be contributed to smoking, occupational hazards like asbestos are also known to cause lung cancer in men.
  • Various Cancers- Colon, throat, mouth, liver, and esophagus cancers are a higher risk for men who drink alcohol. They are hospitalized more than women for severe cases of alcohol use. It triggers higher death rates for males than females.
  • Depression- While women are more likely to attempt suicide more men are likely to die by suicide. Men, by comparison, are less likely to acknowledge they are struggling with depression and many will not seek help for it.
  • Diabetes- This disease lowers testosterone levels, increases depression and anxiety when left untreated. It can lead to kidney damage, heart disease, and vision problems.

Do you know someone who is struggling with tiresome and debilitating health issues? Are you? You are not alone. There is hope! Men’s Health Month is about giving men the ammunition they need to fight back against diseases that are destroying their quality of life.

 

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What is Oral Cancer?

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Image is from Market My Laser

Oral cancer is a persistent growth or sore inside the mouth that is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage. It will not go away on its own. It includes the following surrounding tissues:

  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Floor of the Mouth
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue
  • Lips

What are the Symptoms?

There are numerous symptoms associated with oral cancer. The most common ones are:

  • Any lesions or swelling on the lips, gums, or other areas inside your mouth
  • Unexplained oral bleeding
  • Unexplained numbness, tenderness, or pain in any areas of the mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth or the neck and face that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Red, white, or red and white speckled patches in your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change of voice
  • Earache
  • A change in your teeth or the way your dentures fit together
  • Large weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist or primary care physician as soon as possible.

Who is at Risk?

It is estimated that over 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Men face twice the risk than women, and men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of all.

Oral cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, you are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nonsmokers.
  • Using smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip makes you 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the lining of the lips, gums, or cheeks.
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol. You are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, then you are more genetically predisposed.
  • Too much sun. If you have excessive exposure to the sun, especially when you are young, it increases your odds of contracting oral cancer.
  • If you have been diagnosed with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), some strains put you at a higher risk for contracting oral cancer.

It is important to note, however, that 25% of diagnosed cases of oral cancer do occur in nonsmokers and social drinkers.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Diagnosis?

There are some things you can do to lower your risk, such as:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun, and when you are out in the sun, apply UV-A/B sun blocking products on your skin and lips.

Early Detection is Key

The earlier you see any symptoms, the greater the chance of successful treatment. You can also take an active role in early detection by doing the following:

  • Do a Self Exam Once per Month – Use a bright light and a mirror to examine all the surfaces of your mouth and lips. Feel for lumps and thoroughly look over every part of your mouth, throat, and gums. Check for enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If you find anything suspicious, contact your health care professional immediately.
  • See your Dentist Regularly – No matter how thorough, you can’t always see everything, so ask your dentist to conduct an exam at your next visit.

Remember, understanding what oral cancer is and how to detect it increases your chances of successful treatment.

 

 

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How to Reduce the Spread of Germs

kid washing hands with mom

Image is from Healthy Tennessee

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

You need to worry about microscopic bugs, the bugs you cannot see with the human eye. These microscopic germs you cannot see are the carriers of a lot of disease and illness.

Deadly, Simple Routines

You never stop to think about how clean the person’s hands were who used your shopping cart before you.

  • What did that person do last before grabbing the shopping cart you are now holding in your hands?
  • Did that person have their hands in their mouth?
  • Did the person go to the restroom and not wash their hands?
  • Did the person sneeze or cough into their hands?

While many people wash their hands before leaving a restroom, there are still some people who do not routinely wash their hands.

As sad as this fact is, many people still visit the bathroom and do not wash their hands after they finish using the toilet. If this makes you cringe, it should, because this scenario is all too true.

What if someone had the flu symptoms and was coughing and sneezing into their hands and then placed their hands on your shopping cart where your hands now rest?

Oops, you have an itchy nose and reach a hand up to scratch your face with a hand that was holding someone’s sneeze or a cough.

We cannot see these microscopic germs, but these bacteria are present in and on everything we touch. You can feel pretty comfortable in your home; however, when you are out in the public domain with strangers all around, you must be cautious and think the very worst you can to stay relatively healthy.

Be Aware of Your Environment

While you cannot eliminate these nasty germs from your surroundings, you can take some steps significantly decreasing unknown microscopic bacteria in your environment by using some plain and simple common sense.

  • Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in a pocket or purse and use it before and after using a shopping cart, before eating, after leaving a public restroom and just because it is time to disinfect your hands.
  • If a store supplies bacterial wipes at cart corrals, grab some wipes and cleanse the cart handles before using. You can carry wipes wherever you go.
  • When a store display a bottle of hand sanitizer, use some.
  • When you have to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper arm or crook of your elbow, and use sanitizer afterward.
  • A sneeze is believed to travel, at least, 400 miles per hour. sanitizer afterward.
  • If you have the flu symptoms or a severe cold, never go out into the public, stay home.
  • If you must go out and you are ill, wear a mask.
  • Be sure to get your pneumonia and flu shot when due.
  • Never share eating or drinking utensils.
  • See your doctor if you are ill and not getting better.
  • Never use anything that you think could be contaminated by germs like towels, washcloths, and makeup.

How to Wash Your Hands in a Public Restroom.

  1. Turn on the faucet with a piece of dry paper towel.
  2. Wash hands well with warm soapy water.
  3. Rinse hands.
  4. Do not turn faucets off until you dry your hands well.
  5. Grab a piece of dry paper towel to turn the faucet handles off.

People leave germs on the faucet handles after using the toilet. These bacteria can penetrate wet paper towels and go back onto your hands.

Using common sense is the best way to help eliminate the spread of germs.

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