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Importance of National Health Center Week

NHCW17

Image is from North Carolina Community Health Center Association

More Healthy Communities

One of the most important things for proper health in a given community is education. People must know which activities are healthy, and which can be potentially harmful. According to the National Health Center Week (NHCW) 2017 website, more than 25 million in the United States are served by health centers. The site goes on to point out that throughout the fifty states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and outlying U.S. territories, there are some 9,000 sites of delivery. That is quite a few options.

Now there are a little over 19,000 incorporated places in the United States, which means almost every other town or city has some kind of health center–statistically. Though many Americans aren’t aware of the available services which can be attained at a health center, it should be no surprise that a large number of U.S. citizens rely on health center services to survive.

Crunching Numbers

You may not have thought about this, but what an economic indicator! An ill community won’t be able to labor at the same quality as a healthy one. Furthermore, if the illness besetting a given community has a communicable quality, passerby could spread infection. Think about catching a cold and being knocked out for a week. You would work, but can’t. If you averaged $100 a day, you’re out at least $500. The business is out at least three times that; because if you’re making $100 a day, be assured whomever you’ve allied with in an employment capacity is making thrice that.

If a local health center can cut illness down ten percent, it’s likely that a 30% or higher economic stimulation feeds the community hosting the health center. When you consider that health centers in the U.S. provide for all individuals, regardless of economic or insurance affiliation, the picture becomes even more clear.

Communal Economic Energy

Another thing to consider is longevity of service. If you go onto the NHCW website, you’ll find health centers in the United States have been serving the country some fifty years. That’s half a century, and worth a whole lot of accolade.

For those attending NHCW events, there are quite a few very interesting features worth considering, too. Technology expands at a predictable, regular pace. This means medical solutions available to all through a health center are often paraded past the public during NHCW events. There are some truly innovative services designed to provide for the community, and worth exploring. Also, each health center presents itself to the community in its own, unique way.

The healthier a community, the more productive that community is. Greater production leads to greater economic growth, which leads to better jobs. Better jobs mean more economic growth for a given community. A good health center acts almost like an economic mitochondrial fulcrum–if you want to wax medical. The mitochondria is basically the energy center of a given cellular structure. A fulcrum is the “support” around which a given lever “pivots”.

Explore Local Options

Health generally acts in this capacity: the economy can positively pivot when good health silhouettes a community. But not everyone can afford top-tier health solutions. Especially when you consider low-income families and single mothers, health center solutions are integral to proper community functionality.

As NHCW approaches, it makes sense to take a moment for appreciation and reflection. For the last fifty years, these areas of medical care have helped keep America’s economic engine functioning. Additionally, there are many services you may not have realized were available. Be sure and look into your community’s NHCW events. You may just learn something that changes your life.

 

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Understanding HIV

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Image is from scienceblog.com

What is HIV?

HIV is an ellipsis for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that provender in the human body fluids such as blood, breast milk, saliva and the sexual fluids. The virus prompts Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDs). The virus targets your immune system, therefore, weakening it and weakens the way your body would fight other common viruses, fungi, germs and other assailants causing diseases.

How HIV is spread

HIV is often spread by having unprotected sex with the folk who is infected with HIV. It is also spread through unsupervised childbirth, blood transfusion, and deep kissing. The researchers have identified that a person who is HIV-positive can pass the virus within the first week of infection throughout their lifetime. Once you contact the virus, it will multiply in your blood leading to what is referred to as ‘the viral load.’ This Viral load will reduce CD4 counts in your white blood cell hence weakening the strength of these cells in fighting the HIV together with other diseases which manifest into your body. If the Virus is not properly managed and no prior treatments are accorded, it will eventually lead to AIDS.

What Are the Stages of HIV Infection?

As indicated earlier, if you don’t treat the HIV, it will advance in various stages, taking control of your immune system and develops into AIDS. These stages are; acute HIV infection, clinical latency, and finally AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Acute HIV Infection Stage

The first stage of HIV infection is the Acute HIV. This is the period of two to four weeks of infection. During this period, many folks develop symptoms which are flu-like symptoms. Other Symptoms may include swollen glands, sore throat, fever, rashes, and pain in the joints and muscles, and most likely severe headache. This stage is sometimes referred to as acute retro-viral syndrome (ARS) or primary HIV infection. In this stage, the body is going under natural reaction to the virus. Medics advise that people who see these symptoms should seek medical attention right away since they can get the much-needed cure.

It is at this stage that a large amount of virus is produced. This virus load destroys the CD4 cells in the body. The white blood cell will respond by producing more CD4 cells, but it will not go back to the prior counts. Further, throughout this period, you are exposed to the risk of transmitting this infection to other people. Thus, you are advised to take appropriate medical steps to reduce this risk.

Clinical Latency Stage

Immediately after the acute retro-viral syndrome, the virus leads to the clinical latency stage. During this period, the virus will continue to reproduce in your body without necessarily showing any symptom. The virus may not be detected at this juncture even with the standard laboratory tests. People at this stage are still able to transmit the virus: however, the risk is significantly abridged.

AID is the last stage of HIV which severely destroys the immune system. If you are taking ART, you can live for many years without advancing into the AIDs. Those who are not on ART can still live to a maximum of 10 years. However, research shows that others may advance into AIDs faster. During the virus evolution, the viral load continues to increase leading to an ensuing diminution in the CD4 counts.

How do we prevent HIV transmission?

The perfect channel for Preventing and Controlling the transmission of HIV is by getting tested and revealing your status to the uninfected person. Using condoms for protected sex or simply abstaining is also recommended.

 

 

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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention

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Image is from National Hemophilia Foundation

Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Prevention

New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.

 

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Hepatitis Types & Significance

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Hepatitis Types

Hepatitis in the inflammation of the liver and can be caused by many different conditions and illnesses. Hepatitis is caused by viruses that target the liver. There are different types of hepatitis viruses, and they can all cause acute hepatitis. There are several types of hepatitis viruses, and infections including A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis A to E are the main types that have been discovered. Hepatitis G is a recent discovery and research is still being conducted to find out if there are other hepatitis viruses out there. Hepatitis viruses multiply in the liver and prevent it from carrying out its functions. Here is an overview of the hepatitis viruses.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A causes an acute illness that rarely becomes chronic. It can easily be spread among people just like other viral infections. The virus can be spread through ingestion of water or food from places where the conditions are unsanitary. It occurs in places where the water or food is contaminated with human waste that contains the virus. It can also be spread through sharing bodily fluids and spreads fast among people who do not observe good hygiene.

There are vaccines for preventing hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B was initially thought it only be spread through infected blood. However, it can also be spread through sexual intercourse. Hepatitis B can be spread through sharing piecing or cutting objects and also from infected mothers to their newborn babies.

Although it starts as an acute infection, hepatitis B can turn chronic and cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

There is a vaccine used for the prevention of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C initially did not have a specific cause since it was different from A and B. it is spread through sharing needles and other piercing objects, blood transfusions, needle sticks and hemodialysis. Transmission through sexual intercourse is rare. The majority of people having an acute HCV infection develop a chronic infection and can continue infecting others as long as they have the virus.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D is also referred to as agent or delta virus. The reason is that the virus requires the presence of hepatitis B for it to survive and thrive. The mode of spreading is through direct contact with infected blood and also through sexual intercourse just like hepatitis B.

The virus requires the presence of hepatitis B since there is a protein HBV makes that makes HDV have the ability to multiply in the liver cells.

A combination of HBV and HDV is difficult to treat and causes rapid liver cirrhosis. Those who have both develop a chronic infection rapidly.

You can acquire the two at the same time or acquire HDV when you already have HDV.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is similar to HAV regarding symptoms and disease. However, HEV occurs mainly in Asia where it thrives in places where there is contaminated water.

Hepatitis G

Hepatitis G is similar to hepatitis C in many ways. It is abbreviated as HGV or GBV-C. It was recently discovered, and test are still being carried out for the virus. The role of the virus in causing an infection is still unclear although those who have the virus develop symptoms of Hepatitis C.

Non-infectious Hepatitis

Noninfectious hepatitis is not caused by viruses. However, this form of hepatitis can be caused by the following:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption that causes alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Bodily response to drugs or drug misuse/abuse
  • Auto immune response where the body’s immune system attacks the liver cells thinking it is a harmful object.

 

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National HIV Testing Day

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Image is from women

Every year, many people participate in the National HIV Testing Day, which takes place every June 27th. This is in line with the government’s HIV awareness campaign. The objective of this annual event is to identify people with HIV and educate them about various treatment procedures. This will also enable HIV patients to find community support to reduce the effect of the disease.

On the other hand, people with negative results should be aware about fighting HIV. The National HIV Testing Day is not just for HIV carriers but for all people who can make a difference.

Benefits of Participating the National HIV Testing Day

Know if You Have HIV

The ultimate benefit of participating in the National HIV Testing Day is, of course, to know whether or not you suffer from HIV. Most people usually would not initiate a move to visit a doctor for HIV diagnosis simply because it never occurs in their mind that they have HIV until they are suddenly or accidentally tested.

The National HIV Testing Day will help people find out whether or not they suffer from HIV. This will encourage not only those who suspect themselves to be carrying the disease, but also those who wish to ensure they are healthy all the time.

In the US, there an average of 45,000 people adding to the list of 1.2 million HIV patients every year. This shows that National HIV Testing Day helps discover more HIV carriers who even didn’t know they had HIV.

Know the Latest in HIV Treatments

In the past, there was virtually no treatment for HIV. Nowadays, there are a lot of medicines and procedures that can reduce the effects of the symptoms of HIV. Although there is no permanent cure yet for HIV, there are a lot of studies and research programs that are being undertaken to find the ultimate cure for HIV, and the National HIV Testing Day can be a proper way to get updates on them.

Most people think that having HIV is like the end of the world. However, if they are able to develop new technologies and treatment procedures for HIV, they will become more confident to move on with their lives and stay healthy.

Preventing HIV

The National HIV Testing Day aims to educate as many people as possible about the risk of HIV and how it can be prevented. Though some ideas about HIV prevention seem like common sense to many people, they can also serve as reminders, so they can give importance to HIV prevention.

However, there are also many people who are not even aware of the ways to prevent HIV. For instance, some people don’t know that blood transfusion may cause HIV if not handled properly. Another thing is that some people don’t know that they inherit HIV from their parents who don’t know they are suffering from such disease. The National HIV Testing Day is a chance to learn what to do in such cases.

Who Should Participate in the National HIV Testing Day?

Anyone between 13 years old and 64 years old. Male and female regardless of health conditions are encouraged to get tested. To participate, find a testing site near you or visit any organization that actively promotes HIV prevention.

Conclusion

The National HIV Testing Day is observed every year the way people observe a holiday. However, you don’t have to wait until June 27th just to get tested for HIV. You can do it anywhere it may be offered.

 

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HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

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Image is from www.iamicw.org

HIV vaccine awareness day occurs every year on May 18. This is a great day to learn more about why we need an HIV vaccine, how doctors are working to prevent HIV, and to take the time to appreciate those who are working hard to make it happen.

HIV Statistics

The good news is that HIV cases are declining. From 2005-2014, the number of HIV diagnosis declined by 19%, This is most likely due to education about how HIV is contracted. Many states also have needle exchange programs, which allow intravenous drug users to exchange dirty needles for clean ones. While these programs are controversial, sharing needles is one way that HIV is contracted.

Unfortunately, HIV cases among gay men continue to rise. Homosexual males make up 2% of the American population, yet they had 67% of the HIV diagnosis in 2014. Aids cases among homosexual males rose an average of 6% in the last decade, with the biggest increases seen in minorities.

Why We Need A Vaccine

Even though cases of HIV are going down in the U.S., it’s still a big problem. It’s also a problem in countries around the world. Many of these countries don’t have access to the same preventative measures that we do in the U.S., making finding a vaccine even more important.

Since the AIDS epidemic began, over 70 million people have contracted HIV, and 35 million have died from AIDS. To put it into context, there were 15 million deaths to soldiers and 45 million civilian deaths in World War Two. That’s 60 million casualties in total, and 10 million less than the amount of people who have contracted HIV.

Hope For the Future

Scientists have been trying to come up with a vaccine for HIV for many years. However, they may be getting close to success. A new type of vaccine that is hoped to be effective for many different strains of the HIV virus is set to begin phase two human trials this year.

This vaccine works using a genetically modified form of the dead HIV virus. This is the same method that is used to create many of the vaccines that we have today, including polio, flu, and Hepatitis A.

This vaccine in combination with the cancer drug romidepsin has also allowed five people to stop taking Antiretroviral drugs. Fifteen people were given the treatment, and ten of them quickly had to go back on the antiretrovirals. However, one man has been off the drugs for seven months, suggesting the vaccine holds promise as a treatment as well as a preventative.

Prep For Now

Prep stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a pill that those in groups at high risk for contracting HIV can take daily to prevent themselves from getting the HIV virus. The pill has been shown to be up to 92% effective at preventing HIV when it is taken properly. However, it quickly loses effectiveness if it isn’t taken daily. It’s also expensive and has possible side effects. For those at risk of developing HIV, it can be a lifesaver.

The People Who Make It Happen

Scientists may come up with vaccines, but they would never get anywhere without people willing to test them. Testing these vaccines requires the participation of those who aren’t infected with HIV, and they should be appreciated for their efforts.

We are closer than ever to finding an HIV vaccine. In the meantime, we should all be aware of the things we can do to prevent the spread of this disease.

 

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Tips to Avoid From Getting Sick During The Holidays

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Image is from Search Engine Land

The holidays are supposed to be a time to gather with family and friends to enjoy good food, gift giving, and to have fun. If you get sick right before the holidays, it can put a huge damper on your plans. If you want to keep from getting sick for the holidays, there are a few steps that you should take.

Avoid Germ Hot Spots

If you want to keep from getting sick, you should try to avoid germ hot spots. If possible, you should avoid doing your holiday shopping when the stores are the busiest. If you can’t, you should take a bottle of hand sanitizer with you. You should use some when you touch the door to get in the store and again when you touch the door to leave. Halfway through your trip, you should give your hands another dose. If you touch anything that a sick person touched, you can get sick. The best way to keep these germs from infecting you is to keep your hands clean and germ-free.

Get Enough Sleep

With all the stress and running around that go along with the holidays, it can be difficult to get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough, your immune system can become compromised. This can make it very easy for you to get sick. It is important to give yourself a chance to relax at the end of the day and make sure that you get a full 8 hours of sleep.

Dress Warm

Most kids are told growing up that if they don’t wear a jacket that the cold will make them sick. This is not true. It is actually the cold that will weaken your immune system. If you are exposed to germs, your immune system may not be able to fight them off. When you go out during the holiday season, be sure to wear a coat, hat, and mittens. If your feet get wet in the snow, you should change your socks as soon as possible. The same is true with wet mittens. If you keep warm, you have a less chance of getting sick. If you have been out in the cold for an extended period of time, you should take a hot bath or a hot shower. It is the best way to get the chill out. Just be sure to dry your hair completely before going back out or going to bed.

Get Your Flu Shot

It is important that you get your flu shot before the holiday season. It is the best way to protect yourself from being sick in bed for several days. The flu can completely ruin your holiday.

Take a Multi-Vitamin

It is a good idea to start taking multi-vitamins before the holiday season. They will boost your immune system and keep you healthier. The healthier you are, the harder it will be to get infected by germs that you come into contact with.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

If you want to keep from getting sick, you should drink plenty of fluids, particularly water. Doctors recommend that you drink 8, 8 ounce glass of water. You should also avoid alcohol. Getting drunk will weaken your immune system and you could end up with a hangover.

Don’t Share With Others

If you want to keep from getting sick, you should avoid sharing forks, cups, toothbrushes, and anything else that a sick person can pass their germs on.

Getting sick during the holidays can completely ruin your plans. If you follow a few simple steps, you can avoid getting sick and ruining your entire holiday.

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Understanding HIV

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Image is from CDC

A Controversial Disease


The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, is at the root of AIDS; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It’s exact origins remain unknown, and most have heard quite a few stories which attempt explanation. Some think the disease came from certain relations between humans and primates, others attribute the disease to ingestion of bushmeat–which is to say: the meat of monkeys infected with the disease. How it crossed from the animal kingdom to the human kingdom is a topic that definitely ignites controversy. What is known is that it isn’t the only virus of its type in existence. FIV, or the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, is essentially the same thing; just in cats.

Politically Incorrect History


What’s sure is that the condition was originally noticed in primarily homosexual communities in the United States. This was so much the case that the original name of the disease was GRID, or Gay-Related Immunodeficiency. The press, when this disease began prominently sweeping through such communities, coined a more politically-correct term, “4H” disease. This referred to heroin-users, homosexuals, hemophiliacs, and Haitians. But as the disease spread, it was discovered it actually affected more communities. By 1982, the term “AIDS” had been coined.

The Difference Between HIV and AIDS


HIV is the retrovirus which makes the body susceptible to full-on AIDS, which occurs when the immune system begins to shut down. There is quite a bit of literature relating to the exact biological nature which predicates this shut-down. The abbreviated version is: when HIV is contracted, without medication, life expectancy is anywhere from 9 to 11 years; though in some cases, where health is already not nearly so good as it ought to be, this process can be sped up. Eventually, there’s a breaking point, and the body’s immune system begins to implode as AIDS takes the torch HIV brought into the arena.

How Is HIV Transmitted?


It’s not a kissing disease, it’s not a hugging disease, you’re not going to get HIV sharing food with an infected individual, giving them a handshake, or even going swimming. Even if an HIV-infected individual gets their blood on you, you still won’t contract it–unless you also have an open, bleeding sore and prolonged exposure. Even in this scenario, while contraction is possible, it’s unlikely. Primarily, HIV is spread through blood, semen, pre-ejaculate, breast milk, and vaginal fluid. Hemophiliacs and Haitians acquired the disease through blood transfusions in hospitals “behind the times” who had received donations from previously infected individuals. Direct transfusion was what caused the primacy of these infections. Meanwhile, heroin users acquire the condition by sharing needles with infected individuals, and the sexual acts involved in homosexuality are what spread it in that community.

Treating HIV


A complex cocktail of medicines is used to treat this adverse infection. ART is the primary method; this stands for Anti-Retroviral Therapy. There is no cure as yet, but this is a means of control. What’s involved is ingestion of a medical combination. This must be done exactly as proscribed by a reputable HIV doctor. What the medicines do is prevent replication of HIV, reducing how much is in your body. The less it is plaguing your immune system, the harder your immune system can fight, keeping cancers and infections at bay. Additionally, this reduces infected individuals’ risk of spreading the condition to non-infected individuals. Left untreated, HIV always leads to AIDS; meaning taking the ART approach is always recommendable. Some of the medicines can have strange side-effects, however, which may require preparation beforehand. HIV can’t be cured yet, but it is treatable. Magic Johnson’s been living with the condition since 1991.

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Understanding Foodborne Outbreaks

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Image is from stopdrugshortages.org

A foodborne outbreak occurs when there are two or more cases of confirmed illness after consumption of a specific food product. These outbreaks involve the CDC as well as other public health officials as staff members try to control, manage and prevent these types of occurrences. Many times, investigative work is needed in order to determine the scope of the outbreak, the extent and the original source. Learning from each situation is what helps prevent these outbreaks from occurring again in the future.

Investigation

Once reports are made that a foodborne illness was contracted, public health officials work with regulatory officials to collect a large amount of data. They want to know what the food or product was that caused the illness, what were the symptoms, what was the outcome, what batch was this from and so on. This information will be used long term for better quality control and regulations that are enforced by the U.S. Sometimes a recall will need to be issued in order to prevent more people from getting sick. Often times, a warning is all that is needed.

Some data will point specifically to a foodborne outbreak and this includes:

  • A pattern to the illness. Either all the cases were in a short period of time or from the same germ.
  • A larger number of people are ill within the same area than normal.
  • People who otherwise have no connection to one another are ill but ate at the same restaurant or purchased the same product.
  • Common point of confirmed contamination.
  • A certain germ of pathogen is found at a suspected restaurant or store.

Prevention

Ultimately, United States regulatory agencies want to protect the public and prevent foodborne outbreaks from occurring again. Investigation is important when an outbreak occurs, but ongoing research is also part of successful prevention. While not every case of foodborne outbreak is solved, many times there is at least a suspected source of the problem. This leads to better prevention at food producing facilities but also better prevention and investigation methods on a nationwide level.

Ongoing Reporting And Monitoring

An original complaint or report comes from a local or state level in most instances. From there, public health authorities will investigate the claim and involve the CDC when multiple states have become affected by a certain issue. Reports are compiled that include the number of illnesses that are present, hospitalizations, deaths, symptoms, toxins and chemicals that may have caused the issue.

Common symptoms of a foodborne outbreak typically include symptoms that are similar to food poisoning. Stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, aches, etc. Seeking medical assistance can help reduce the severity and danger of the illness and can also lead to preventing other people from getting sick. It takes many different people to prevent foodborne outbreaks from occurring. It starts with the farms that produce our food and ends with the location selling and manufacturing our food. Proper quality control and agricultural practices are ideal for keeping everyone in the United States safe.

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