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Tonsils

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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What is Oral Cancer?

OralCancerAwarenessMonth_infographic

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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Understanding Strep Throat

strep-throat

Image is from betterdailyhabits.com

Streptococcus Pyogenes

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

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Touching

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

Symptoms

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

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

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

Causes

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

 

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