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When to worry about a fever?

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm
has-your-kid-got-a-fever
What is a fever? — A fever is a rise in body temperature that goes above a certain level. The level that is considered a fever depends on how you take the temperature. Here are the values that are considered a fever:
  • Oral (mouth) temperature above 100ºF (37.8ºC)
  • Armpit temperature above 99ºF (37.2ºC)
  • Ear temperature above 100.4ºF (38ºC) in rectal mode or 99.5ºF (37.5ºC) in oral mode
  • Forehead temperature above 100.4ºF (38ºC)
  • Rectal temperature above 100.4ºF (38ºC)

 

What is the best way to take my temperature? — Armpit, ear, and forehead temperatures are easier to measure than rectal or oral temperatures, but they are not as accurate.

Here is the right way to take an oral temperature:

  • Wait at least 30 minutes after you eat or drink anything hot or cold.
  • Wash the thermometer with cool water and soap. Then rinse it.
  • Place the tip of the thermometer under your tongue toward the back. Hold the thermometer with your lips, not your teeth.
  • Keep your lips closed around the thermometer. A glass thermometer takes about 3 minutes to work. Most digital thermometers take less than 1 minute.

 

The height of the temperature is less important than how sick you feel. If you think you have a fever and you feel sick, your doctor or nurse might want you to double-check by getting an oral or rectal temperature.

What causes fever? — The most common cause of fever in adults is infection. Common infections that can cause fever include:

  • A cold or the flu
  • An airway infection, such as bronchitis
  • A stomach bug

 

Most of these infections are not serious and get better on their own.

When should I see a doctor or nurse? — Call your doctor or nurse if you get a fever and you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Recently got back from a trip to Africa, Asia, or Latin America
  • Just got out of the hospital, or had surgery or another medical procedure
  • Get infections often
  • Are on chemotherapy – Call your doctor or nurse if your oral temperature goes above 100ºF (37.8ºC) for more than 1 hour. Also call if it goes above 101ºF (38.3ºC) even just 1 time.

 

You should also call if you have:

  • Fever that lasts several days or keeps coming back
  • A recent bite from an insect called a tick – Infections you can catch from tick bites can cause fever and other symptoms.
  • A serious health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus, or sickle cell anemia
  • Fever plus 1 or more of these symptoms:
  • Rash
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe headache or neck pain
  • Seizure or confusion
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe pain in the belly, back, or sides
  • Any other symptom that is unusual or worries you

 

Will I need tests? — Maybe. Your doctor or nurse will do an exam and talk with you about your symptoms. You might also have the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Chest X-ray or CT scan – These imaging tests create pictures of the inside of the body.

 

Your doctor or nurse will talk to you about any other tests you might need.

Can I do anything on my own to feel better? — Yes. You can stay home, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. You can also take acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) to relieve fever.

How are fevers treated? — That depends on the cause. Many people do not need treatment. If you do, treatments can include:

  • Antibiotics to fight the infection. But antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria, not infections caused by viruses. For example, antibiotics will NOT work on a cold.
  • Medicines, such as acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin). These medicines can help bring down a fever. But they are not always necessary.

Source: Uptodate

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COMMON COLD: EVERYONE GETS IT

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

COLDWhat causes coughs, runny noses, and other symptoms of the common cold? — These symptoms are usually caused by a viral infection. Lots of viruses can take hold inside your nose, mouth, throat, or lungs, and cause cold symptoms.

Most people get over a cold without lasting problems. Even so, having a cold can be uncomfortable. And if your child has a cold, it is hard to know when the symptoms call for a trip to the doctor.

What are the symptoms of the common cold? — The symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sniffling and runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Chest congestion

 

In children, the common cold can also cause a fever. But adults do not usually get a fever when they have a cold.

How can I tell if I have a cold or the flu? — The common cold and the flu both cause many of the same symptoms. But they also have some important differences.

Is it a cold or the flu?
Cold Flu
Symptoms
Fever Rare Usual; high (100°F to 102°F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Rare Common
General aches, pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Usual; can last up to 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe
Treatment Antihistamines

Decongestant

Pain/fever reliever (eg, ibuprofen/Motrin®), naproxen/Aleve®, acetaminophen/Tylenol®

Antiviral medicines – see your doctor

Pain/fever reliever (eg, ibuprofen/Motrin®), naproxen/Aleve®, acetaminophen/Tylenol®

Prevention Wash your hands often

Avoid close contact with anyone with a cold

Annual vaccination; antiviral medicine – see your doctor

Wash your hands often

Avoid close contact with anyone who has the flu

Complications Sinus congestion

Middle ear infection

Asthma

Bronchitis

Bronchitis, pneumonia; can be life threatening

When should I call the doctor or nurse? — Most people who have a cold do not need to see the doctor or nurse. But you should call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • A fever of more than 100.4º F (38º C) that comes with shaking chills, loss of appetite, or trouble breathing
  • A fever and also have lung disease, such as emphysema
  • A cough that lasts longer than 10 days
  • Chest pain when you cough, trouble breathing, or coughing up blood

 

If you are older than 75, you should also call your doctor or nurse any time you get a long-lasting cough.

Take your child to the emergency room if he or she:

  • Becomes confused or stops responding to you
  • Has trouble breathing or has to work hard to breathe

 

Call your child’s doctor or nurse if he or she:

  • Refuses to drink anything for a long time
  • Is younger than 3 months
  • Has a fever and is not acting like him- or herself
  • Has a stuffed or runny nose that gets worse or does not get better after 2 weeks
  • Has red eyes or yellow goop coming out of his or her eyes
  • Has ear pain, pulls at his or her ears, or shows other signs of having an ear infection

 

What can I do to feel better? — If you are an adult, you can try cough and cold medicines that you can get without a prescription. These medicines might help with your symptoms. But they won’t cure your cold, or help you to feel better faster.

If you decide to try nonprescription cold medicines, be sure to follow the directions on the label. Do not combine two or more medicines that have acetaminophen in them. If you take too much acetaminophen, the drug can damage your liver. Also, if you have a heart condition, or you take prescription medicines, ask your pharmacist if it is safe to take the cold medicine you have in mind.

What should I know if my child has a cold? — In children, the common cold is often more severe than it is in adults. It also lasts longer. Plus, children often get a fever during the first three days of a cold.

Are cough and cold medicines safe for children? — If your child is younger than 6, you should NOT give him or her any cold medicines. These medicines are not safe for young children. Even if your child is older than 6, cough and cold medicines are unlikely to help.

NEVER give aspirin to any child younger than 18 years old. In children, aspirin can cause a life-threatening condition called Reye syndrome. When giving your child acetaminophen or other nonprescription medicines, never give more than the recommended dose.

How long will I be sick? — Colds usually last 3 to 7 days, but some people have symptoms for up to 2 weeks.

Can the common cold lead to more serious problems? — In very few cases, yes. In some people having a cold can lead to:

  • Pneumonia or bronchitis (infections of the lungs)
  • Ear infections (in children)
  • Other infections

 

How can I keep from getting another cold? — The most important thing you can do is to wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol hand rubs work well, too. The germs that cause the common cold can live on tables, door handles, and other surfaces for at least two hours. You never know when you might be touching germs. That’s why it’s so important to clean your hands often.

Sexually transmitted diseases

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on January 4, 2013 at 10:13 am

std

Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease is restricted to conditions that are largely dependent on sexual contact for their transmission and propagation in a population. The term venereal disease is literally synonymous with sexually transmitted disease but traditionally is associated with only five long-recognized diseases . Sexually transmitted diseases occasionally are acquired nonsexually, but in adults they are virtually never acquired by contact with contaminated intermediaries such as towels, toilet seats, or bathing facilities. However, some sexually transmitted infections are transmitted primarily by sexual contact in some settings and by nonsexual means in others

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) is a term used to describe more than 20 different infections that are transmitted through exchange of semen, blood, and other body fluids; or by direct contact with the affected body areas of people with STDs. Sexually transmitted diseases are also called venereal diseases.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are viral and bacterial infections passed from one person to another through sexual contact.

Adolescence is a time of opportunities and risk when many health behaviors are established. Although many of these behaviors are health-promoting, some are health-compromising, resulting in increasingly high rates of adolescent morbidity and mortality. For example, initiation of sexual intercourse and experimentation with alcohol and drugs are normative adolescent behaviors. However, these behaviors often result in negative health outcomes such as the acquisition of STDs. As a consequence of STDs, many adolescents experience serious health problems that often alter the course of their adult lives, including infertility, difficult pregnancy, genital and cervical cancer, neonatal transmission of infections, and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Some symptoms of STDs affect the genitals and reproductive organs:

  • A woman who has an STD may bleed when she is not menstruating or has abnormal vaginal discharge. Vaginal burning, itching, and odor are common, and she may experience pain in her pelvic area while having sex.
  • A discharge from the tip of the penis may be a sign that a man has an STD. Males may also have painful or burning sensations when they urinate.
  • There may be swelling of the lymph nodes near the groin area.
  • Both men and women may develop skin rashes, sores, bumps, or blisters near the mouth or genitals. Homosexual men frequently develop these symptoms in the area around the anus.

Prevention

Prevention of STDs involves primary and secondary approaches. Primary prevention aims to educate individuals about the advantages of discriminate and safe sex (prevention by the use of condoms), about the symptoms of the common sexually transmitted diseases, and about how to seek care for them. It is also important to point out that some conditions may cause no symptoms, so that regular check-ups are advised for those who often change their partners.

Secondary prevention aims to encourage people to seek care without delay once the symptoms of a disease are recognized, to stop sexual intercourse until medical advice has been sought, and to adhere to the advice and treatment given. The final aspect of control is the tracing of the sexual contacts of the infected patient, who may have infection without being aware of it.

STD

 

 

 

Urinary Tract Infections: What You Need to Know

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

Did you know that urinary tract infections affect more than half of all women?

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract. Bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs. Normally, bacteria that enter the urinary tract are quickly removed by the body. But sometimes bacteria overcome the body’s natural defenses and cause infection.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

Symptoms of a UTI vary. For young women, UTI symptoms include a frequent and intense urge to urinate and a painful, burning feeling during urination. The amount of urine may be very small. Older women and men are more likely to feel tired, shaky, and weak and have muscle aches and stomach pain. Urine may look cloudy, dark, or bloody or have a foul smell.

Who gets UTIs?

People of any age or sex can get UTIs. But about four times as many women get UTIs as men. Women who use a diaphragm are more likely to get UTIs than women who use other forms of birth control. Others at higher risk for UTIs are people

  • with diabetes or problems with the body’s natural defense system
  • who need a tube to drain their bladder
  • with problems in the urinary tract that block the flow of urine
  • with spinal cord injuries or other nerve damage around the bladder

What should I do if I think I have a UTI?

If you think you have a UTI, see your health care provider. Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and then test a sample of your urine for bacteria. Your urine will be checked with a microscope for bacteria and white blood cells, which the body produces to fight infection. UTIs are treated with bacteria-fighting medicines called antibiotics.

How can I prevent UTIs?

Changing some of your daily habits may help you prevent UTIs:

  • Eating, diet, and nutrition. Drinking lots of fluid can help flush bacteria from your system. Water is best. Most people should try for six to eight, 8-ounce glasses a day. Check with your health care provider to learn how much fluid is healthy for you.
  • Urination habits. Urinate often and when you first feel the urge. Urinate shortly after sex. After using the toilet, always wipe from front to back.
  • Clothing. Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing. Avoid nylon underwear and tight-fitting jeans.
  • Birth control. Women who use a diaphragm or spermicide and have trouble with UTIs can try switching to a new form of birth control.
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