October 21, 2009 at 6:04 am Comments (0)
Now that the swine flu has begun to affect US citizens many are beginning to relax about the virus thinking that its effects won’t be as serious as first laid out by the World Health Organization earlier this year. For some this presumption may be true but for others who are at much higher risk of developing the virus, like small children, ignoring the early warning signs can be deadly.
What are those signs and what should parents look out for? There are many children who have the virus and come away with little harm but for others the symptoms worsened quickly and overcame them before the parent truly realized anything serious was going on.
If any of the following warning signs develop seek an ER quickly!
- Lack of Thirst
- Fast or Labored Breathing
- Blue Tinged Skin
- Fever Accompanied by Rash
- Grouchiness and Avoidance of Being Handled or Held
- Doesn’t Wake up Easily and Acts Listless and Unresponsive
- Improved Symptoms that Return as Fever and a Worsened Cough
Children who fall under the following categories are at highest risk:
- Are Younger Than 5
- Who Have High Risk Conditions Like Asthma or Other Lung Issues
- Cerebral Palsy
- Neurological Diseases Like Epilepsy
- Liver, Heart or Kidney Problems
Even if your child has none of these issues keep a very close eye on them if they develop flu symptoms, at least 1/3 of the children who passed away had no underlying health problems to worsen the virus. If at all possible it’s best if you get your child immunized for both types of flu. It’s fine to keep your child home with cold or flu symptoms but if they worsen in any way they should see a doctor as soon as possible.
October 12, 2009 at 1:50 am Comments (0)
Some hospitals are taking a rather dramatic step to decrease the risk of spreading flu to other patients. In the wake of a quick and early spread of the swine flu several hospitals are setting up drive-thru clinics (or tents) to treat those who’ve contracted the flu. Largely school age kids that got the virus before the vaccine was made available in the US, these patients are being treated separately to help prevent the virus from spreading to other patients in ERs.
Dealing with large groups of these kids (some have treated patients numbering about 400 while others are treating as many as 5,500) the ER’s are dealing with cases that have thwarted over the counter medicines and left parents concerned enough to consider it an emergency. The separation is helping the flu victims too by making the process streamlined and efficient versus typical ER treatment which can stretch on for hours while they try to determine the cause.
Patients that are currently dealing with them are impressed by the level of efficient, quality care they provide despite the smaller space. The new way of handling swine flu could actually help hospitals to establish methods of treating surplus numbers of patients efficiently when space is limited in the main ER wing. This is omething that could really help in the face of the current H1N1 epidemic and with other viral and physical disasters in the future.
October 10, 2009 at 1:41 am Comment (1)
Concerns arose after news swept the headlines that a 14 year-old had died shortly after receiving the anti-cervical cancer shot despite reports that the death was believed to have resulted from an existing health condition rather than a direct reaction. But those concerns could soon be twofold as it comes out that another girl was and is still ill after receiving the shot at their school in the UK.
While the school has taken the measure of ceasing vaccination and quarantining the batch until the sample can be tested, not much else is known about what happened including just what the health condition was that Natalie Morton is said to have had. The FDA has also delayed their approval of the vaccine in the US shortly after the incident although it isn’t clear if it was as a direct result.
The 2nd girl sickened after getting a Cervarix shot experienced weakness, nausea and dizziness very shortly after getting it. Her reaction was very severe prompting paramedics to run a blood test and ECG test in a room of the school. The girl’s mother claims that she is still suffering some sort of reaction with back and chest aches as well as a loss of appetite. Up until now no major side effects had been reported for the drug. Gardasil the other HPV vaccine faced its own battle over side effects which doctors labeled minimal while those who suffered them warned against the drug’s use.
October 1, 2009 at 10:51 pm Comments (0)
Over 100 wells in Morrison, Wisconsin are polluted thanks to uncontrolled runoff from dairy farms leaving residents ill and dealing with symptoms like chronic diarrhea, severe ear infections and stomach illnesses. Water there was tested and found to have been contaminated with things like E.coli and coliform bacteria among other contaminants more commonly found in cow manure.
How did this happen?
There are few regulations that make efforts to control things like this. While there are laws that were made to protect and regulate water and wastes that pass through ditches and pipes the same can’t be said for above ground wastes like manure which is sometimes used for fertilizer on farms. Larger cattle farms are meant to be regulated (the EPA has made laws to help regulate them) however most farms don’t bother to fill out paperwork that makes the EPA aware of them. To make matters worse laws passed by the Bush administration allow many of these farms to self-certify their lack of pollution making it easier to bypass any regulation that might prove otherwise.
Agricultural runoff is the greatest pollutant of U.S. streams and rivers, sickening at least 19.5 million Americans every year. Parasites, bacteria and viruses travel in these waters coming from animal and human wastes pumped into them from various sources throughout the nation. The problem has only recently gotten much focus, inspiring a major article from the New York Times last week.
New York Health Screening
September 27, 2009 at 10:43 pm Comments (0)
Some rather frightening news has come to light about older shower heads and it isn’t pretty.
Apparently bacteria grows inside the head and the space inside is a great place for it to develop and grow, getting worse. When researchers tested the germ levels of the gunk that sits inside the head and the water both before and after it went through it they found that the levels of Mycobacterium avium was at least 100 fold higher than any other bacteria in the water. While there isn’t much known about the microorganism it does pose a threat to patients with illnesses that affect the immune system such as AIDS and lung diseases like emphysema.
One of the larger concerns is that many of these microorganisms (along with pathogens and microbes) are small enough to be breathed in, an issue that becomes twice as worrisome when you consider that the shower makes them aerosolized making it even easier for them to get into the body as we shower.
Researchers suggest that if you’re concerned about these contaminants you should take down your showerhead and look for higher levels of grit and grime. If you find that there’s a lot then it’s a wise idea to buy and install a new head. While healthy people aren’t likely to developed problems, those with lung and immune diseases should skip showers all together taking baths instead. The study was conducted in an effort to see what household factors could be affecting the health of those that lived there.
September 26, 2009 at 10:42 pm Comments (0)
Chikungunya virus has spread from Africa since 2005 affecting regions of India, France and Italy and in some cases becoming fatal. This new mosquito borne virus is far worse than West Nile which sickens only about 1 out of every 10 who become infected with it. Chikungunya virus will make those it infects very ill and it’s not uncommon for it to be fatal. The fact that there is no virus doesn’t help the outlook for the patient either.
Chikungunya, which was first discovered in Tanzania in 1952, causes fever, nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, vomiting, rash and joint pain. These symptoms can last for a few weeks and for some it can results in a pain like arthritis that lasts for months after the initial infection.
The mosquito that carries the virus, the Asian tiger mosquito, is found all around the world and is most prominent east of the Mississippi in the U.S. so the area where it can spread might seem small here. However it’s beginning to become a problem in the Islands of the Indian Ocean a popular tourist spot for Europeans. With all the planes going in and out infected tourist and mosquitoes are traveling to other parts of the world spreading the potential area of infection. Larger and more impoverished areas are more likely to face a problem but it could be a concern all across the world.
September 23, 2009 at 1:09 am Comments (0)
According to a new study at least 25% of kids aren’t receiving the full amount of pain medication prescribed by their doctors after common surgeries like tonsillectomy. While these numbers have been found the reasons for this parental limitation and the corresponding ramifications are less clear. What is known is that this practice could be slowing the healing process and putting these kids at risk. Many of these kids come back to be treated for unresolved pain issues and face trouble swallowing fluids which could lead to dehydration and eventually a return stay at the hospital.
Medication is handled more and more in the home due to the shorter stays all patients experience post-op. By no means should parents consider lessening or stopping meds simply because their children are home under the mistaken assumption that they no longer need them. These medications are part of the ongoing healing process and are vital for some time after returning home. Stopping their use or going against the prescription in any other way could have some serious consequences for the children involved.
It’s thought that these changes could be occurring out of a misplaced fear that children could become addicted to the pain meds they’re being given by their parents. If this is the case parents should know that they’re unnecessarily causing their kids pain that their children may not have the ability to express to them in words. As a result the emotional and physiological damage made by these changes along with the physical ones could put these kids in a pretty bad spot that could have been avoided by following the doctor’s instructions.
September 19, 2009 at 12:52 am Comments (0)
Sand and water samples from five different public beaches on the Washington coast have been found to contain dangerous staph bacteria and according to scientists they probably aren’t the only ones.
MRSA is a dangerous form of staph infection that was once only found in hospitals and is now increasingly and startlingly more common in public places like gyms, schools and locker rooms. Responsible for causing some unpleasant skin conditions and pneumonia among other health problems, the germ is spread rather easily through human contact and is suspected to have a potential for being spread via environmental sources as well.
While the news is disturbing it’s also only the most recent contaminant to be found in coastal waters and sand after fecal matter. Out of 10 beaches on the Washington coast tested by the group, 9 tested positive for staph bacteria and 5 came back positive for MRSA. What’s worse is that rather than the milder form commonly found in schools and gyms in recent years these beaches were contaminated with the more far more resistant variety that is more often seen in hospitals. Even so, going out to the beach doesn’t have to be a time for fear, say experts, as long as you wash up thoroughly once you’re done and cover scrapes or wounds with bandages before playing in the sand. Being buried or digging in the sand offers the highest risk factors according to researchers so limit this sort of play and be sure to get a thorough shower as soon as you get an opportunity to stay safe.
September 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm Comment (1)
It doesn’t seem like much when it starts, maybe it feels like a typical virus, after all you’re only dealing with a little fever, maybe a few trips to the bathroom to throw up, and some of those pesky chills too. Nothing you haven’t dealt with a time or two before right? The truth could be much worse than you suspect. Meningitis is fast, it’s one of the few infections that can kill you within 24 hours of getting it and many of those who do never suspected that they had it. 15% of those who catch it die and out of those who survive it about 1 in every 5 is left with debilitating brain damage, amputated limbs or deafness. And worst of all it strikes adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18.
Meningitis is a dangerous infection that most parents don’t think will ever happen to their child. After all they got a shot against it when they were small didn’t they? However in the last few years doctors have begun advising parents to get a booster shot against meningitis before they enter middle school, the prime age for meningitis to become a potential risk. While about 40% of parents are getting their kids vaccinated against the virus others haven’t and in the flurry and worry over the swine flu some parents might forget. The pre-teen years are a time when doctor’s visits become less regular and tend to be more for illnesses and injury than for regular checkups. Getting updated for meningococcal meningitis is just as important as getting inoculated against the flu, don’t let your child take that risk.
September 12, 2009 at 6:59 pm Comments (0)
The appendix is among a small collection of organs and veins long seen as worthless or expendable by the scientific and medical community. As it turns out however, the appendix could prove just as important as any other major organ.
In reality the appendix is a major storehouse of important digestion aiding bacteria. While most of the developed world no longer deals with the same level of parasites and bacteria that the organ was likely developed for long ago, it’s been found that in less developed areas of the world the organ is still vastly important. This is because it helps repopulate the intestines with beneficial bacteria after illness has depleted these bacteria in the body.
In reality it’s not organs like the appendix are actually vestigial as much as that we don’t always have a clear understanding of their function in the body. Recent experiences with health conditions and research into the body’s function have made some of the purpose of these “extra” organs more clear. We may someday soon find that there are no extraneous parts after all.