COUGH & COLDS

A cough and a sneeze is a defensive reflex of the body that functions to keep the airways clear of irritating or obstructing substances so that breathing and the intake of oxygen is effective. It occurs in a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. DEFINITION A cough is the body’s way of responding when something irritates your throat or airways. An irritant stimulates nerves that send a message to your brain. The brain then tells muscles in your chest and abdomen to push air out of your lungs to force out the irritant. A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It’s very common and usually clears up on its own within a week or two. The main symptoms of a cold include: • a sore throat • a blocked or runny nose • sneezing • a cough CAUSES Common acute causes — 1. Common Cold 2. Influenza (flu) 3. Inhaling an irritant 4. Strained or pulled abdominal muscle 5. Whooping Cough Common chronic causes — 1. Allergies 2. Asthma (most common in children) 3. Bronchitis 4. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) SYMPTOMS Other than the cough and cold, other associated symptoms can be: • Sore throat • Nasal congestion • Slight body aches • Mild headache • Sneezing • Low-grade fever • Watery or mucoid nasal discharge DIAGNOSIS Most people with a common cold can be diagnosed by their signs and symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have a bacterial infection or other condition, he or she may order a chest X-ray or other tests to exclude other causes of your symptoms. The distinction between Upper and Lower Respiratory Tract Infections is also important. When to see a doctor For adults — seek medical attention if you have: • Fever greater than 38.5 C (101.3 F) • Fever lasting five days or more or returning after a fever-free period • Shortness of breath • Wheezing • Severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain For children — in general, your child doesn’t need to see the doctor for a common cold. But seek medical attention right away if your child has any of the following: • Fever of 38 C (100.4 F) in newborns up to 12 weeks • Rising fever or fever lasting more than two days in a child of any age • Symptoms that worsen or...

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HYPERTENSION

Hypertension is considered as the biggest single risk factor for deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension causes 7 million deaths every year while 1.5 billion people suffer due to its complications. According to the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) in 2012, 21 percent of Filipino adults are hypertensive.  Hypertension is defined as physiologic conditon where there is an increase in arterial blood pressure above normal. It is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against the artery wall is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.                           Other factors which places the person at risk: Increasing age ( above 40 years old for males and menopausal age for female) Smoking Being overweight Heavy alcohol consumption High serum cholesterol level Family history of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease SYMPTOMS Often hypertension has no symptoms, that’s why it was also called a “silent killer.” But some may develop the following:                                                 DIAGNOSIS Blood pressure is taken by placing an inflatable arm cuff around your arm and measure your blood pressure using a pressure-measuring gauge, a sphygmomanometer. A blood pressure reading, given in millimeters mercury (mm Hg), has two numbers. The first or upper number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second or lower number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories:               Two to three blood pressure readings each at three or more separate appointments should be taken before diagnosing one with high blood pressure. This is because blood pressure normally varies throughout the day, and sometimes specifically during visits to the doctor. TREATMENT Anti-hypertensive medications to control and maintain blood pressure are given, depending on the existing condition. It may be any or a combination of: • Diuretics • ACE Inhibitor • Angiotensin Receptor Blocker • Beta Blocker • Calcium Channel Blocker • Aldosterone Antagonist HOME CARE Home blood pressure monitoring can help keep your blood pressure normal, show if medication is working, and even alert you and your doctor to potential complications. Home blood pressure monitoring...

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ACUTE GASTROENTERITIS

Acute Gastroenteritis is diarrhea or vomiting, or both, of more than several episodes or days duration.   FACTS: – Viral gastroenteritis is a leading cause of severe diarrhea in both adults and children. – Many types of viruses can cause gastroenteritis. Rotavirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide in children and vaccination will have a major impact on disease incidence. – Most people with acute gastroenteritis are not dehydrated and can be managed at home. – Dehydration, electrolyte disturbance and other complications can be prevented and treated by fluid therapy – Those with mild-moderate dehydration can be treated with oral rehydration solutions. – Severely dehydrated or shocked usually need intravenous fluids and hospital admission – Drugs are usually unnecessary and may do harm SYMPTOMS Most often appear within 4 to 48 hours after contact with the virus. Common symptoms include: – Abdominal pain – Diarrhea – Nausea and vomiting – Chills, clammy skin, or sweating – Fever – Joint stiffness or muscle pain     – Poor feeding – Weight loss DIAGNOSIS The health care provider will look for signs of dehydration, including: – Low or no urine output; concentrated urine that looks dark yellow – Dry or sticky mouth – Severe weakness – Low blood pressure – No tears – Sunken eyes   Tests of stool samples may be used to identify the virus that is causing the sickness. Most of the time, this test is not needed for viral gastroenteritis. A stool examination may be done to find out if the problem is being caused by bacteria. TREATMENT The goal of treatment is to prevent dehydration by making sure the body has enough water and fluids. Fluids and electrolytes (salt and minerals) that are lost through diarrhea or vomiting must be replaced by drinking extra fluids. Even if you are able to eat, you should still drink extra fluids between meals. Try eating small amounts of food frequently, including cereals, bread, potatoes, lean meat, plain yogurt, bananas, fresh apples, vegetables. Drink small amounts of fluid (2 – 4 oz.) every 30 – 60 minutes. Do not try to force down large amounts of fluid at one time, which can cause vomiting. Use a teaspoon or syringe for an infant or small child. If you have diarrhea and are unable to drink or keep down fluids because of nausea or vomiting, you may need fluids through a...

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ZIKA

ZIKA is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. TRANSMISSION Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.             SYMPTOMS Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are: Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick    enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Once a person  has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future  infections.           DIAGNOSIS Infection with Zika virus may be suspected based on symptoms and recent history of travel (e.g. residence in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission). A diagnosis of Zika virus infection can only be confirmed through laboratory tests on blood or other body fluids, such as urine, saliva or semen. The Zika virus testing centers in the country are in place such as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and six other DOH-retained hospitals. TREATMENT Zika virus disease is usually mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available. PREVENTION There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. The following are the recommendations for prevention: 1. Insect repellent – Use insect repellants with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. – Always follow the product label instructions. – When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. – Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old. – Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old. 2. Clothing – Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. – Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items....

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TUBERCULOSIS

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that grow best in areas of the body that have lots of blood and oxygen. – contagious and airborne – most often found in the lungs, called pulmonary TB, but TB can also spread to other parts of the body, which is called extra pulmonary TB. – mortality has fallen 47% since 1990 – effective diagnosis and treatment of TB saved an estimated 43 million lives between 2000 and 2014 Despite these advances and despite the fact that nearly all cases can be cured, TB remains one of the world’s biggest threats. The Philippines is 8th among the 22 TB high-burdened countries in the world in terms of TB cases. Tuberculosis ranked as the 8th leading cause of sickness in the country (based on 2010 data) and the 6th leading cause of death (based on the 2009 Philippine Health Statistics) SYMPTOMS Although your body may harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between an inactive state which cause no symptoms. It is also called inactive TB or latent TB infection, which is not contagious. Active TB, on the other hand is a condition which makes you sick and can cause spread of disease to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later. Symptoms include: – Coughing that lasts three or more weeks – Coughing out of blood – Unintentional weight loss – Fatigue – Loss of appetite – Fever – Chest Pains – Chills – Night sweats DIAGNOSIS Making a diagnosis of TB among people identified as TB suspects involves referral for a diagnostic test. The primary diagnostic test to confirm the most infectious form of pulmonary TB is sputum smear microscopy; chest X-ray is also important and will often detect pulmonary TB. The National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) requires three-samples be taken, when possible, at least one should be an early morning sputum sample. TREATMENT Cases of TB should be classified to ensure that correct treatment is administered, in accordance with NTP guidelines. Classification is based on a number of factors, including the site of TB, degree of infectiousness of pulmonary TB, similarity in clinical presentation, and previous history of TB. The NTP provides a standard treatment regimen for each category. The aim...

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INFLUENZA

What is Flu? Influenza is an contagious acute viral respiratory infection that affects mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes. Influenza circulates worldwide and can affect anybody in any age group. Influenza is a serious public health problem that causes severe illnesses and deaths for higher risk populations. Symptoms of Flu – fever (often high 38-40˚C) – headache – extreme tiredness – dry cough – sore throat – runny or stuffy nose – muscle aches – Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea How Flu Spreads? Person to person – coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Cross contamination – touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. * Healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. – That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Treatment – Paracetamol is taken for fever. – Adequate rest. – Increase intake of oral fluids and eat nutritious foods. Consult your physician if symptoms persist. – Use of antiviral agents within the first two days may halt the course of influenza illness. – Antibiotics to be given only to complications of influenza such as Pneumonia or Otitis media. Flu Prevention Tips Take everyday actions to prevent the spread of influenza and other infections: • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or the inside of your elbow — not your hand. • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner. • Don’t get too close to people who are sick. • If you get sick yourself, avoid close contact with other people. • Stay home from work or school until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without fever-reducing medicine. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get VACCINATED each year. Benefits of Flu Vaccination – Decreases the number of episodes upper respiratory illnesses 25%-34% – Reduces days of sick leave from work due to upper respiratory illnesses by 32%-43% – Lessens work absenteeism due to illness by 36% – Decreases Physicians visit for upper respiratory illness by 34%-44% – Reduces influenza like illnesses by 25% Reference: Nichol, KL et al. The Effectiveness...

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