Chicken Pox What You Should Know About This Infectious Disease
Chicken Pox is the common name for Varicella simplex, classically one of the childhood infectious diseases caught and survived by most children.
Chicken Pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It starts with moderate fever and then characteristic spots appearing in two or three waves, mainly on the body and head rather than the hands and becoming itchy raw pox (pocks), small open sores which heal mostly without scarring.
Chicken Pox has a two-week incubation period and is highly contagious by air transmission two days before symptoms appear. Therefore, Chicken Pox spreads quickly through schools and other places of close contact. Once someone has been infected with the disease, they usually develop protective immunity for life. It is fairly rare to get the Chicken Pox multiple times, but it is possible for people with irregular immune systems. As the disease is more severe if contracted by an adult, parents have been known to ensure their children become infected before adulthood.
The disease can be fatal. Pregnant women and those with immune system depression are more at risk. Death is usually from varicella pneumonia. In the US, 55 percent of Chicken Pox deaths were in the over-20 age group. Pregnant women not known to be immune and who come into contact with Chicken Pox should contact their doctor immediately, as the virus can cause serious problems for the fetus.
A Chicken Pox vaccine has been available since 1995, and is now required in some countries for children to be admitted into elementary school. In addition, effective medications (e.g., aciclovir) are available to treat Chicken Pox in healthy and immunocompromised persons. Calamine lotion is often used to ease itching and paracetamol to reduce fever. Aspirin is not recommended in children with Chicken Pox, as it can lead to Reye's syndrome.
Chicken Pox is highly infectious infection that spreads from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person's coughing or sneezing. Touching the fluid from a Chicken Pox blister can also spread the disease. A persons with Chicken Pox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. This may take between 5-10 days. It takes from 10-21 days after contact with an infected person for someone to develop Chicken Pox.
The Chicken Pox blisters start as a small red papule which develops an irregular outline in the shape of a rose petal. A thin-walled, clear vesicle (dew drop) develops on top of the area of redness. This "dew drop on a rose petal" lesion is very characteristic for Chicken Pox. After about 8-12 hours the fluid in the vesicle gets cloudy and the vesicle breaks leaving a crust. The fluid is highly contagious, but once the lesion crusts over, it is not considered contagious. The crust usually falls off after 7 days sometimes leaving a craterlike scar.
Although one lesion goes through this complete cycle in about 7 days, another hallmark of Chicken Pox is the fact that new lesions crop up every day for several days. Therefore, it may take about a week until new lesions stop appearing and existing lesions crust over.
Second infections with Chicken Pox occur in immunocompetent individuals, but are uncommon and rarely severe.
Vaccination Japan was among the first countries to routinely vaccinate for Chicken Pox. Routine vaccination against varicella zoster virus is also performed in the United States, and the incidence of Chicken Pox has been dramatically reduced from 4 million cases per year in the pre-vaccine era to approximately 400,000 cases per year as of 2005.
The vaccine is exceedingly safe: approximately 5% of children who receive the vaccine develop a fever or rash, but there have been no deaths, as of May 2006, attributable to the vaccine despite more than 40 million doses being administered.
41 of the 50 US states require immunization for children attending government-run schools. The vaccination is not routine in the United Kingdom. Debate continues in the UK on the time when it will be desirable to adopt routine Chicken Pox vaccination, and in the US opinions that it should be dropped, individually, or along with all immunizations, are also voiced.
The CDC and corresponding national organisations are carefully observing the failure rate which may be high compared with other modern vaccines - large outbreaks of Chicken Pox having occurred at schools which required their children to be vaccinated.
Catching wild Chicken Pox as a child has been thought to commonly result in lifelong immunity. Parents have deliberately ensured this in the past with pox parties and similarly for some other diseases such as rubella.
Historically, exposure of adults to contagious children has boosted their immunity, reducing the risk of shingles.
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The Hepatitis B Virus
Hepatitis B is what we used to originally known as just simply serum hepatitis. Hep B has been recognized as this new name since World War II. The virus is responsible for current epidemics in parts of Asia and Africa. Recognized as endemic in China and various other parts of Asia, the Hepatitis B virus has infected over one third of the world's current population.
Hepatitis B is in the Hepadnavirus family. Meaning that it consists of a proteinaceous core particle that has the viral genome inside of it in the form of double stranded DNA. It also has an outside lipid-based envelope that contains embedded proteins. These envelope proteins on the outside are involved in viral binding and release into susceptible cells. Where as the inner capsid refinds the DNA genome to a cell's nucleus where it transcribes viral mRNAs. Although HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and Hepatitus are not related they are both viruses that use reverse transcription process. This also include HTLV. Hepatitis B's genome is DNA, and reverse transcription is one of the latter steps of the entire process which results in making new viral particles. HIV on the other hand has an RNA genome and reverse transcription is one of the first steps in replication of the virus.
Hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted through direct exposure to bodily fluids that contain the virus. This is a wide category but in most cases includes:
- Re-using contaminated needles and syringes
- Uncleanly Blood transfusions
- Unprotected sexual contact
- Direct transmission from mother to child during childbirth
The dominant mode of transmission depends largely on the prevalence of the disease in a given area. For example if areas such as North America drug abuse and unprotected sex are the primary mode of infection. Where as in areas such as such as China where Hepatitis B is very prevalent, the vertical transmission (mother to child) is the most common. A mother who is positive for the Hepatitis B surface virus has a 20% risk of passing the infection to her offspring during birth. That percentage can rise to as high as 90% if the mother is also infected with the hepatitis B e antigen.
The older a person is at the time of infection, the greater the risk that their body will not clear the infection. Hepatitis B infection can lead to a permanent inflammation of the liver, the result of this inflammation leads cirrhosis. These affects largely increase the likelyhood of developing liver cancer.
Rubella Of Many Names
Rubella has many names: Roseola, German measles, three-day measles to name a few. Rubella is often mild which means that in several cases initial attacks will go unnoticed. This initially is not a bad thing; Although it does make the virus very hard to properly diagnose. In most cases the Rubella virus will enter in the human body through the nose or throat. Rubella can last between one and five days. It has been proven through studies that children can cover from the virus more quickly than adults as their immune system is more active, or just more simpy in better shape.
Common to most viruses that live in the respiratory tract, Rubella is passed from person to person by tiny droplets in the air. These are droplets that are breathed out during normal respiration. It is important to note that the Rubella virus can also be transferred from mother to developing baby in the bloodstream by way of the placenta. Generally the incubation period for Rubella is two to three weeks. That is how long it takes to establish itself.
Above I said that another name for Rubella is the German measles. That's funny because the name "German Measles" actually has nothing to do with the coutnry of Germany. Instead it comes from the latin, which means 'similar'; This is because rubella and measles share common symptoms.
Symptoms of rubella include:
- Swollen glands or lymph nodes
- Joint pain and swelling
- Inflammation of the eyes
- Flaking (caused by dry skin
- Nasal congestion
- Pain in the testicles
- Loss of appetite
Celiac Disease And Loosing Weight
Many celiacs lose weight before they are diagnosed; indeed it is often one of the reasons people go to their doctors in the first place.
Once on a gluten-free diet the symptoms disappear, and as a result of better absorption or simply eating more, some people gain too much weight.
Losing weight should be based on eating sensibly rather than lurching from one diet to another. Be wary of low carbohydrate diets, as high protein diets can cause acidosis, which in turn can lead to calcium being lost from the bones.
You should always check the ingredients of any low calorie / low fat / low carbohydrate products as they may use ingredients containing gluten to thicken or stabilize the product. These are often wheat based.
Moderation is the key. Don't deprive yourself but be honest with yourself. Snacking and raiding the fridge can add huge amounts of empty calories.
Consider the relationship you have with food - if you are using it to compensate for feeling unhappy it is better to deal with the underlying problem rather than use food. You end up with both the unhappiness and a weight problem.
It is quite useful to keep a food diary for a week before attempting to change your diet. (This refers to weight loss only, you must stick to your gluten-free diet at all times.) Look for empty calories, hidden fats and sugar. How much alcohol are you drinking? Be absolutely honest. Cut down on convenience foods as they are usually high in fat, sugar and salt.
The best way to lose weight is to:
Eat regular meals, particularly breakfast.
Consider your portion control, and use a smaller plate.
Don't feel you have to eat everything on your plate. Always stop eating when you are full!
Eat lots of fruit and vegetables - at least 5 portions a day,
Fill up on vegetables - if it is green and leafy or red you can eat as much as you like
Eat potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and parsnips in moderation
The way you cook food is important -
Remember frying, roasting or putting loads of butter on vegetables adds lots of fat and calories - beware
Cut out the snacks - they are often very high in fat and or sugar. If you must eat between meals eat fruit, carrot or celery sticks
Be sensible with carbohydrates -chose wholemeal rather than white bread, rice and pasta as it takes more calories for the body to digest, you feel full for longer and they have a higher level of vitamins and minerals. Eat them in moderation
Trim fat off meat and don't eat the skin of fish or poultry - there is a high concentration of fat just under the skin
Beware hidden calories in drinks / snacks - a single tin of non- diet fizzy drink contains the equivalent of 7 teaspoonsfull of sugar
Crisps / biscuits / cakes / chocolate / sweets should be a treat they are laden with fat, salt and sugar
Alcohol is high in calories; approximately 80 calories for a small glass of wine. (1 unit).
Cut your intake of salt - sodium can increase blood pressure.
Eating and weight are like the seesaw at the park. One end represents the calories you take in - what you eat. The other end is the calories you use in your daily activities including exercise.
If you eat more calories than you use you will put on weight. The seesaw will go up - as will your weight.
If you eat fewer calories than you use you will lose weight. The seesaw will go down - as will your weight.
Drink plenty of water - it will purify the system and help to make you feel full.
Drinking ice-cold water will burn off more calories than drinking water at room temperature.
It is vital that you follow a sensible balanced diet when you are trying to lose weight, ensuring you get enough vitamins and minerals if you want to remain healthy. We all know that is good advice, but for celiacs yo-yo dieting can seriously damage your health!
Where Are The Greatest Risk Area For Bird Flu
With Bird Flu in the news, people are wondering where it may be safe to avoid this deadly virus. While the answer to this question may be very simple now, in a few weeks or months, it may be a different story.
The first outbreak of the deadly strain of bird flu in humans was in Hong Kong in 1997. A major outbreak then occurred in January of 2004 in Vietnam and Thailand that resulted in the virus popping up in most of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Recently, a low pathogenic form of H5N1, the dangerous form of bird flu, surfaced in Canada. From this, it may be assumed that southern parts of North America, South America, and other countries distanced from Asia are safe. However, with the track record of this virus, that may not be the case.
Without a doubt, the area of greatest risk for Bird Flu currently is Vietnam, where the largest number of infections and death has occurred. Any area in Asia with a large poultry population, from farming or agriculture, is at risk, as consuming infected meat has been a primary cause of becoming infected. On the same note, many countries in Asia, Europe, and recently the Middle East, should be concerned with the possibility of ingested infected poultry. As migratory birds may also carry the disease, it may be extend over widespread areas as well as from agricultural sources.
Likewise, considering the rapid spread of bird flu, the case in Canada should be of concern for residents of North America as well; in less than two years, Asia and Europe were consumed with the disease. Although the case in Canada was a low pathogenic form of H5N1, meaning it is less dangerous, the fact that it made its way to the continent should not be taken lightly and the possibility of the virus spreading south is a very serious threat.
As long as bird flu is being transmitted from poultry to humans, and not from human to human contact, the areas of concern will surround large poultry populations, from wild or agricultural birds. However, if the strain mutates and is passed from human to human, the risk area will grow rapidly and be concentrated in places with high or dense populations. Likewise, areas of particular concern will be those with limited medical care. Areas with advanced medicine that may be able to produce a vaccine may not be as devastated by the mutated strain of the virus.
Acid Reflux Treating It With Diet And Lifestyle Changes
It seems that one of the major culprits causing acid reflux is alcohol. Not good news for the drinkers amongst us. Take heart though, it is probably only excessive drinking that's to blame - perceived wisdom is that a couple of glasses of wine with your dinner won't hurt you, although there is some argument as to whether red or white is better. Personally, I find white wine more acidic and therefore assumed that it would be more likely to cause acid reflux. However, as alcohol prevents the oesophageal sphincter from working properly and thus allows stomach acid to reflux into the oesophagus, the acidity of the alcohol may be irrelevant. Notwithstanding that, when drinking alcohol, limit quantities and dilute spirits with water or a mixer. Wine may also be diluted with water or lemonade. Gassy drinks like champagne and beer should be avoided if possible.
Alcohol is not the only culprit - chocolate, peppermint, coffee, tea, caffeinated soft drinks such as colas and citrus fruit juices also inhibit the normal workings of the oesophageal sphincter so keep intake of these to an absolute minimum, if you can't give them up completely.
Chewing gum and eating hard sweets cause excessive air to be swallowed, thus causing wind and reflux.
Fatty and fried foods also delay the emptying of the stomach so steer clear of any fatty meat, particularly those found on the delicatessen counter, such as salamis, sausages and pat
Acid Reflux Disease In Infants
The lower end of the esophagus is protected by a valve called the Lower Esophageal sphincter (LES). This valve opens to allow food from the esophagus into the stomach and then closes up to protect the esophagus from the acid content of the stomach. Several conditions can compromise this valve, allowing gastric content into the esophagus. As in adults, infants also suffer from heartburn on occasions. This is mainly attributed to the fact that infants consume essentially liquid and soft foods, which tend to be rich in diary proteins. The most unfortunate part of infant acid reflux disease is that, unlike in adults, it is very difficult to determine if an infant has developed chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease. An infant is most unlikely to be able to complain of heartburn or any symptoms of the disease.
Acid reflux in infants is always as a result of a lot of factors, however, most of the causative factors tend to be aggravated by the fact that infants, spend a great deal of their days lying on their back or in a supine position and consume mostly liquid food. The tendency for liquid food to cause regurgitation, when combined with the pressure lying in a supine position exerts on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) constitutes a greater risk of reflux acid incidence in infants. The incidence, however, could also be attributed to some other factors like, the anatomy of the infant's stomach, improper or incomplete development of the lower esophageal sphincter during fetal growth, poor diet, overweight, food allergies and a host of other factors.
Because infants, unlike adults, cannot complain of symptoms or explain how they feel, it is always very difficult to know when an infant is suffering from acid reflux. The best bet is to consult a pediatrician. Nevertheless, there are signs and clues that you may look out for in your infant that could suggest the presence of the disease. Some of these clues are:
- Sleeping problems
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Spitting up frequently
- Unusual irritability
- Chest pain
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Acid reflux disease can also cause respiratory problems including pneumonia, strictures and ulcerations on the esophageal wall, and malnourishment. Although, these signs don't always mean your infant is suffering from acid reflux disease, but they constitute a good enough reason to go see your pediatrician.
Of course, there are a few things you could do to help your child avoid acid reflux. Simple things like changing the child's food, keeping him/her upright for some time, especially after eating, keeping a eye on the child for any sign of chest pain or heartburn and a host of others. This extra attention could be all your child really needs.
Mental Illness Getting Our Minds Around The Facts
A recent survey by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) found that many people know little or almost nothing about the warning signs, causes and effective treatments for mental illnesses-even though in any given year, one in five Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder.
Each year, more people suffer from a mental illness than from cancer and diabetes combined.
Research shows that mental illnesses are caused by genetic and environmental factors, traumatic events and other physical illnesses and injuries.
Yet one-third of Americans mistakenly believe emotional or personal weakness is a major cause of common mental illnesses and almost as many think old age is a major cause. As a result, many Americans may not get the help they need.
Mental illnesses are real and treatable. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the rate of successful treatment for depression (70 to 80 percent) is much higher than the rate for other chronic illnesses such as heart disease (45 to 50 percent).
Change in personality. Inability to cope with problems and daily activities. Marked changes in eating or sleeping patterns. Extreme highs and lows. These are just some of the warning signs of a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety disorder.
Only 47 percent of those surveyed felt well equipped to understand and identify the basic warning signs of a common mental illness, such as depression, anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
The great majority-84 percent-said they would like to know more about how to identify these warning signs.
By learning more, you may be able to help someone you know who may be suffering from a mental illness lead a healthier, happier life.
Twenty percent of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental illness every year. Can you recognize the warning signs?
Peyronie S Disease And Abnormally Bent Penis Causes Symptoms And Treatment Options
WHAT IS PEYRONIE'S DISEASE?
Peyronie's disease consists of hard, fibrous tissue, called plaques, developing within the penile shaft. The plaques are hard, thickened and stiff areas, actually a kind of internal scarring. In this fibroid tissue also calcium compounds can accumulate, making the plaques even harder.
The Peyronie's disease is also called cavernositis, and also sometimes plastic induration. There is probably a chronic inflammation process that leads to this scarring.
The thickened area has less blood flow than normal penile tissue, and do not fill with blood and swell as the normal spongy areas in the inside of the penis. Therefore the penis swells more at the opposite side, and gets a curvature towards the side containing the plaques when erected.
If the plaques are found at several places, more complex deformations will develop. The abnormal bending, twisting or swelling within the penis, often also lead to painful erections.
Any man from the age of 18 and upwards can develop Peyronie's disease. The average age of men suffering from Peyronie`s disease is 50.
THE SYMPTOMS AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE CONDITION
The three main characteristics of cavernositis are:
- One or more small hard lumps underneath the skin, or a continuous hard, stiff and thickened area.
- Abnormal bent or crooked penis when erect. All penises have some curvature, but by this disease, the penile bend increases, and one may get a very curved penis. The penis may be bent as a banana or in an angular fashion. The penile bending is most often up, but may be down, to the left side, to right or sloping.
-The bending is usually to the same side as that of the hard thickened area when the penis is erected.
-The hard areas in the erected penis may look like bumps, making the penis irregular.
- Sometimes the penis bends greatly enough to make sexual intercourse difficult, or impossible.
- Pain during erections caused by the pressure from the hard areas in the penis, or from the stretched skin at the opposite side of the penis.
- One may not notice the bend immediately, as it tends to develop over one to three months and later than the hardness and stiffness of the indurations.
- The plastic induration may progress and cause impotence. Sometimes the Peyroni's disease will clear up by itself, but this may take several years.
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