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Autism Risk Factors

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Image is from Spectrum

What is Autism?

Autism was first defined in 1943 by Leo Kanner as the inability to create normal, determined, emotional contact with others. Other definitions surround this primacy of lack of social reciprocity. Over the years, there has been major improvements in the conceptualization of autism and related disorders.

Risk Factors for Autism

There has been a lot of awareness that has been created concerning autism due to the rising number of autism cases in the last decade, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to establishing what puts unborn babies at risk of developing this disorder. With 10-15% of all babies being born with one neurodevelopment disorder or the other, it is crucial for people to be knowledgeable on the avoidable and unavoidable risk factors.

Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are mold byproducts that are mostly found in wine, grains, coffee and pork. Several studies have been able to positively link the presence of mycotoxins in these foods with autism. Mycotoxins are known to put males at a higher risk of developing theses disorder. Although there are numerous studies being conducted on the effects of mycotoxins on animals and human beings, the jury is still out on the long-term effects. This does not mean that mycotoxins are not a risk factor just that you need to be careful with foods that contain them.

C-Sections

There has been a new study that has shown that babies who are born through C-Section, rather than other traditional methods stand a higher chance of developing autism-related disorders. This study is important because 1 in 3 babies in the United States is born via C-Section. The reason for the increased risk is because the babies are born before their due date. It is therefore important for parents to pursue other methods of giving birth before settling on C-Section.

Maternal Antibodies

This is an unfortunate risk factor since our own bodies produce these maternal antibodies which attach themselves to the baby’s proteins that are used for cognitive and neurological development therefore hindering the normal process of fetal development. Scientists are now working on ways of separating these antibodies and prevent them from causing autism.

Placenta abnormalities

Studies have established a relationship between placentas that have an abnormal structure and children who have neurological disorders such as autism. It is therefore advisable to check the condition of the placenta at birth so as to predict whether the child will have any neurological disorder.

Smoking

Tobacco smoking comes with a plethora of health issues and unfortunately, smoking while pregnant can lead to autism in children. Although a direct link has not yet been established between smoking and autism, women who smoke while pregnant stand a higher chance of birthing children suffering from Asperger’s (an autism spectrum disorder).

Air Pollution

New evidence has come out suggesting that some particles in polluted air may increase the risk of autism. By reducing air pollution indoors and doing our part as the society to deal with outdoor pollution, we can contribute to an overall healthy society.

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors affect chemicals that are crucial in the development of the thyroid and many experts believe that they are hormone related since males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

Vaccines

Thimerosals and aluminum found in vaccines have a causal relationship with autism. Vaccines have the power to save lives but we need to do more research so as to establish a clear relationship between ingredients in vaccines and neurological development.

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Keep Your Family Healthy This Holiday Season

Young mother and her daughters by a fireplace on Christmas
Once you or your family is infected with the flu virus, it is not easy to treat the infection. Just as in many other conditions, prevention of the diseases is the surest way to stay safe. With just a careful attention to hygiene, you can prevent the various flu viruses from reaching your family. As well, the inclusion of immunity boosters can come in handy for you and your family. Moreover, you can always avoid a full blown illness by acting quickly when you notice the first symptom. Here are some of the ways to prevent the flu from catching your family.

Taking up good hygiene practices

There is a myriad of means to observe proper hygiene and consequently keep off the flu and other diseases. One such way is by ensuring you wash your hands. It is an easy way to prevent both contraction and the spreading of the flu virus. Washing hands reduce significantly the proliferation of bacteria ant the flu virus from cold surfaces. Ensure your family follows these steps in washing their hands

  • Before applying soap to your hands, ensure you wet them. Scrub your palms vigorously for about twenty seconds ensuring that under your nails, the spaces between your fingers and the back of your palm are reached properly.
  • Use running water to rinse your hands and use a clean towel to dry them
  • If you can’t locate and soap and water, rub your hand on a hand sanitizer.

Ensure everyone in the family covers their nose and mouth whenever they cough or sneeze.

This should be done by putting their hands in both the nose and mouth whenever there is the need to sneeze. Doing this will considerably mitigate the risk of spreading the germs and viruses

  • Each time you develop the urge to sneeze or cough consider doing so into the crook of your elbow. This will help to avoid contaminating you’re going all over spreading germs to other people.
  • After doing so, throw away the tissue you used immediately and embark on the hand washing process.

Sanitize the places you share

Cold and flu virus spread very easily especially on shared surfaces and spaces such as bathrooms and kitchen. Disinfecting these areas of your house will take you a long way in ensuring the flu virus does not spread.

  • Focus the cleaning on shared areas including bathroom sinks, kitchen counters toilets and the kitchen sink. As well, do not forget the door handles.
  • There are a variety of surface disinfectants available in local stores. In shopping for the disinfectants, you may want to consider one that will provide you will protection against the several strains of the virus.

Boosting your immunity

Even as there is no cure for influenza, you can always get a vaccination against the disease on a yearly basis. This can significantly help to strengthen your immunity against the influenza virus during cold seasons. Ask your doctor whether getting the vaccination would be a good idea for you. When opting for the vaccination, you may want to consider the following in mind

  • Ensure you get the vaccine yearly. The vaccine you had in the previous year can never carry over into the next year.
  • Be aware that you may feel some soreness at the injection site.
  • Report to your doctor any side effects including fever, soreness and body aches.
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Eating Correctly During Sick Season

Sick woman

Image is from Huffington Post

When winter arrives, you know it’s the flu season. In this season, be sure to brace yourself to avoid the disease. While some people will still go for their regular workouts in the gym, it is not recommended. However, you must maintain your health not only during the flu season by all year round. You do this by not only regular and consistent fitness regime, but also a healthy diet that keeps you strong and healthy as well as helps you in fighting the disease. You may have probably wondered how can keep yourself healthy during this season. It is possible to take steps to prevent illness and also to avoid the spread to others.

Wash your hands

Foremost before thinking of anything else, you must wash your hands with clean water and ensure they are clean. Regular hand washing is one of the surest methods of avoiding the spread of germs to others. During the winter months, it is cold, and that means flu is all over and can easily be contracted. The following are some of the important tips to note

  • Ensure you are well versed with hand washing techniques. Rub your hands together while running warm water on them for about twenty seconds. Use a mild hand soap to do this.
  • Whenever you touch your mouth or nose, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. As well, ensure you wash your hands before taking any meal.

Eat healthy

The various kinds of foods you take into your body have a significant impact on your overall health. Eating a well-balanced diet is vital as it can help in support of your immune system. Ensure you eat right to assist in the staving off of flu and other winter diseases.

  • Aim at getting multiple servings of vegetables daily. Carrots, parsnips, and turnips are good vegetable servings for winter. You can take them in various forms including roasting them or just mixing them into warnings of soups.
  • Increase your dairy intake. Milk and dairy products contain lots of vitamins including A and B12 which are vital in keeping you healthy during the cold winter.
  • Try to find low-fat milk as well as reduced fat cheese. Greek yogurt and light cottage cheese is another meal you can try as well.

Limit sugar intake

Limiting sugar intake can significantly strengthen your immunity system. If you have a diet which is low in refined sugar can be of great assistance in getting rid of the influenza virus and colds. These are some of the steps you can take to ensure you limit your sugar intake

  • Watch what you are drinking. Drinks such as sodas and fruits drinks do contain large amounts of sugar.
  • Switched to iced tea or water. These beverages will quench your thirst minus adding sugar to your diet.
  • Whenever you feel that you have a craving for anything sweet, try a piece of fruit. It contains natural sugar that is better for your body than the refined sugars.

Try home remedies

Zinc can be of great help in speeding your recovery. Another important thing you can try is essential oils. They have a myriad of healing properties. Just ensure they are properly mixed. Make a mixture of rosemary, peppermint lemon, eucalyptus and lemon oils. You will need water to mix a few drops of each.

Flu can be very discomforting. Use the nuggets above to help you with quick healing.

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Myths About Flu Shots

Syringe

There are many myths surrounding the flu vaccine that may prevent people from getting their annual flu shot. This can have dire consequences for at-risk populations such as seniors, infants, and the immuno-compromised. At best, the flu is no fun. At worst, it can be deadly. Why then do people skip or avoid a flu shot?

Help protect these vulnerable populations by increasing your knowledge of the of how the flu vaccine works and what the risks are of taking and avoiding the annual vaccine by separating fact from fiction.

Here are some of the most common myths about flu shots.

MYTH: The flu shot doesn’t work.

The CDC cites statistics showing a 74% reduction in pediatric intensive care admissions by vaccinating against the flu from 2010-2012. A 2016 study on seniors showed a 57% reduction in influenza hospitalizations. Studies also show significant reductions in severe influenza illness in people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease(52%).

The benefits go beyond these at-risk populations, with a myriad of studies showing significant reductions in flu-related illness based on vaccinating yearly against the flu.

MYTH: I got sick anyway.

If you’ve ever heard someone say they got a flu vaccine, yet still got the flu–they might be right. That doesn’t mean the flu vaccine didn’t work though. Flu vaccines are based on the previous year’s most common and virulent strains of influenza. With so many influenza strains, not every option will be protected against, especially as viruses mutate and new strains arise.

While it can’t catch every flu out there, the flu vaccine will help protect you from the worst known cases.

MYTH: The flu shot gives you the flu.

The flu shot gives you inactivated viruses. This form of virus cannot be spread (another common myth). This virus form also will not give you an active flu infection. The shot does, however, stimulate your immune response (which is a good thing). Many people will experience a mild reaction from this.

If you get a severe cold right after getting the flu shot, you’re timeline just doesn’t match up. As the flu vaccine takes a week or two to provide full protection, it isn’t responsible for your cold. Chances are, you were already getting sick and didn’t know it. The flu vaccine also does not protect against influenza, not other viruses such as rhinoviruses.

MYTH: The flu isn’t that bad.

Actual influenza is more than just a bad cold, although it may produce similar symptoms including sore throat, cough, and fever. In the United States alone 36,000 people die every year and over 200,000 are hospitalized from the flu annually.

MYTH: If I get sick, I can just get antibiotics.

Antibiotics work great for bacterial infections, unfortunately the flu isn’t an infection – it’s a virus. If you do catch the flu, there are treatments– but no one-size cure all.

MYTH: Vaccines cause autism.

There’s no need to go into detail here. Vaccines do not cause autism. According to the CDC, vaccines and vaccine ingredients do not cause autism.

MYTH: It’s too late in the season to get vaccinated.

Is it too late to get sick? Then it’s not too late to get vaccinated. While getting vaccinated at the beginning of the season provides you the best option to build immunity early, getting vaccinated at any time throughout flu season will still provide protection should you come in contact with the influenza virus.

For more information on flu shots, talk to your local health practitioner.

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Symptoms of Whooping Cough

child-getting-vaccinated

Due to the years of medical research, many of the ‘old time’ illness, such as the following showed rarity. Medical communities all agreed that there was no longer any need to vaccine children and adults due no incidents of these diseases reported for many years.

Now in recent years these ‘old time’ illnesses are starting to rear their ugly head because vaccinations stopped. Now the CDC is starting to urge you and your children to be vaccinated once again. A DPT vaccination is a combination of Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus.

Those vaccinated need a revaccination against this with a TDap booster. Whooping Cough is a serious disease and can cause death. Every age group should get a vaccination to protect them against this illness. It is hard to diagnose Whooping Cough because the symptoms are that of a common cold.

  • Whooping Cough
  • Chicken Pox
  • Scarlet Fever
  • Polio

Whooping Cough, Pertussis, or the 100-Day Cough

Whooping Cough is a difficult and challenging illness for any child or adult. This disease takes on a more difficult elimination, and the signs and symptoms become worse in seniors and infants.

If you, as an adult, or a baby is exposed to Pertussis it takes from five to ten days and sometimes up to three weeks to develop symptoms.

If you received a vaccination and then exposed to Whooping Cough, your cough would not last as long. If a baby contracts Pertussis and they are less than one year of age, hospitalization is usually required. Symptoms of this illness include,

  • A whooping type cough
  • Constant coughing fits
  • Instances of vomiting after coughing fits
  • Symptoms mimicking a cold such as, mild cough and low-grade fever
  • Periods of apnea in babies

Early on in the process of this illness symptoms can last for one to a few weeks and may include,

  • A mild and occasional cough
  • Low-grade fever
  • Episodes of apnea in a baby
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Common cold or bronchitis

If you have a baby with Whooping Cough, the chances of them coughing may not be apparent. Instead, a child displays apnea and cyanosis (bluish tinge to the skin) from lack of oxygen.

As this illness progresses, symptoms become more intense after one to two weeks. These symptoms can include,

  • You have frequent, rapid coughing. Coughing fits come so frequently and violently it takes all the air from your lungs. To breathe you must try to take in a deep breath causing a whooping sound.
  • Vomiting, sometimes
  • Extreme fatigue

There is no quick recovery from Pertussis. Coughing fits last for weeks, usually up to and exceeding 10-weeks.

Vaccinations for Whooping Cough lessen the duration and intensity of a cough and time ill.

Recovery

Recovery is slow and agonizing. A cough starts to decrease and is milder. Symptoms can return over the course of many months, whenever you develop another respiratory infection.

Vaccination against Diphtheria,Tetanus, and Pertussis is essential to good health and lessens the symptoms should you get any of these illnesses.

This vaccination is essential to good health and lessens the symptoms should you get any of these illnesses.Vaccinations are highly safe, but you may experience some mild reactions such as in the following.

  • Mild pain and redness at injection site
  • Mild fever
  • Slight headache
  • Mild fatigue

When you consider full-blown Pertussis and the weeks and months of difficult recovery, these few possible reactions are minimal and you will be glad you protected yourself and children from Whooping Cough.

Pertussis is on the rise and proves a very contagious respiratory infection. Vaccination of adults and children every ten years is essential for a healthy life.

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Understanding Whooping Cough

girl-coughing

Image is from Live Science

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection also known as pertussis. The infection gets into your nose and throat, and it is very contagious. When a person with whooping cough sneezes, coughs, or laughs, small drops of the bacteria can fly into the air. When a person walks by and breathes in the air, they can develop the disease if they haven’t completed their series of vaccines or if they have not had a booster shot. Fortunately, there are vaccines such as Tdap and DtaP that can prevent both adults and children from contracting the disease.

Symptoms of Whooping Cough

The early symptoms of whooping cough start out like a cold. You can have a mild cough, sneezing, a runny nose, and a low-grade fever below 102. After about 7 to 10 days, the cough will start getting worse. A mild cough can turn into coughing fits. By the time the disease is full blown, you will create a whooping sound when you cough as you try to fill your lungs with oxygen. Since the cough is dry and not productive, you can have a coughing spell that can last for up to a minute. During this time, you face can turn red or purple. There are, however, some people who don’t have coughing spells .When an infant has whooping cough, they won’t have the whooping sound or the cough. They will just gasp, trying to catch their breath. Also, some babies will vomit.

Whooping Cough is Extremely Dangerous in Babies

If a child under 6 months old and they develop whooping, cough, they would need to be hospitalized. Even if you think that your child could have this disease, you should take them to a doctor immediately. When a child under 18 months old has whooping cough, they would need to be watched at all times. This is because the disease can cause the baby to stop breathing, and they would need help to get their breathing started again.

Preventing Whooping Cough

Babies get a series of DtaP shots when they are 2 months old, 4 months old, 6 months old, a 15 to 18 months old. They are then given a booster shot between 4 and 6 years old. Because a baby won’t be fully protected against the disease until they are 18 months old, the best way to prevent them from developing whooping cough is to make sure that any adult who will be around the child has been vaccinated. This includes parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members. If you baby is in a licensed daycare, the people who work in these facilities will have been vaccinated. It is the law.

Treating Whooping Cough

If you have whooping cough and it is diagnosed early, the doctor can put you on antibiotics to help stop the coughing and the other symptoms. The antibiotics can also stop the disease from spreading. Unfortunately, whooping cough is often diagnosed too late for antibiotics to work well. You should avoid using over the counter medications to treat the cough as they won’t work. Finally, if the coughing is so bad that you are unable to drink, you should contact our doctor. If you are unable to drink fluids, you could become dehydrated.

Whooping cough can make the life of an adult miserable. The constant coughing can make it difficult to sleep at night and even to hold a conversation. When a baby has whooping cough, it can be much more dangerous. Prevention, early diagnosis, are treatment are very important if you get whooping cough, no matter how old you are.

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