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The Infamous Zika Virus

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In the past few months there has been an outburst of Zika Virus in the world.  One of the most dangerous things about this virus is that very few people know much about it.

What is Zika Virus Disease?

Zika virus disease (Zika)is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The symptoms are usually mild and last for several days to a week after exposure. People rarely get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very few people actually die of Zika. Because of the mild symptoms, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects including microcephaly (abnormally small head at birth), as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, they are likely to be immune from future infections.

Treatment

  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus.
  • Treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
    • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
    • If you have Zika, try to prevent further mosquito bites for the first week of your illness because during the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

Is Zika in US States?

  • No local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in US states, but there have been travel-associated cases.
  • With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase.
  • These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States.

Areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus

  • Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil.
  • Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries and territories.

Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time.

 

We hope this blog educated you about Zika virus and, in return, helps you stay safe and healthy.

 

For more information about Zika Virus Disease you can visit:

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/index.html

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May – National Awareness Month: Physical Fitness and Sports

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As a part of our May national awareness month, our blog this week will be covering the importance of physical fitness.  We will highlight several different sports and their benefits.

Why is Physical Fitness Important?

Physical activity is essential to prevent and reduce risks of many diseases and improve physical and mental health. It can even help you live longer—research from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine indicates that regular exercise can add up to five years to your life. The researchers also examined how life expectancy changed with the combination of both activity and obesity. Obesity was associated with a shorter life expectancy, but physical activity helped to mitigate some of the harm. People who were obese and inactive had a life expectancy that was between five to seven years shorter (depending on their level of obesity) than people who were normal weight and moderately active.

Physical activity also keeps you in shape so you can enjoy leisure activities and safely perform work and home chores. It offers great mental and social benefits as well. The Lancet released a series of studies that attribute positive outcomes to physical activity, including “a sense of purpose and value, a better quality of life, improved sleep, and reduced stress, as well as stronger relationships and social connectedness.”

Sports and what they can do for you

Sports, whether it be a solo or team sport, also plays a crucial role in physical fitness, psychosocial health, and also other several health benefits that are less obvious but still important such as lowering chances of future health problems arising. They also teach people about important life morals to live by:

* Many athletes do better academically, but it always varies from individual to individual.

* Playing on a team teaches individuals how to use teamwork in order to reach a goal.

* Sports help people make goals and dreams that can raise their self esteem and self confidence when they see the hard work they put in to achieve that dream.

12 important reasons to be physically active

1. Be healthier

2. Increase your chances of living longer

3. Feel better about yourself

4. Reduce the chance of becoming depressed

5. Sleep better at night

6. Look good

7. Be in shape

8. Get around better

9. Have stronger muscles and bones

10. Achieve or maintain a healthy weight

11. Be with friends or meet new people

12. Have fun

Physical activity reduces risk for eight conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control, exercise can reduce your risk of: * Heart disease

* Stroke

* High blood pressure * Type 2 diabetes

* Obesity * Depression * Breast and colon cancer

* Osteoporosis

* Anxiety

* Stress

* ADHD

* PTSD and trauma

For more information about physical fitness and sports check out these websites: * http://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/PhysicalActivityLifeExpectancy * http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/health/physical-activity-fitness/why-physical-activity-fitness-important * http://www.muhealth.org/services/pediatrics/conditions/adolescent-medicine/benefits-of-sports/

We here at Breton Village Pediatrics and Family Medicine hope that this blog helps you to see the importance of being physically active, or that you take steps in order to be more active and live a healthy and happy life.

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May: National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

UnknownIn the last blog we sent out, we wanted to highlight some of the health issues for the month of May.  This week’s highlights are asthma and allergies.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is characterized as the inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes.

Sometimes asthma symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with asthma medicine. Other times, symptoms continue to get worse.

When symptoms get more intense and/or more symptoms occur, you’re having an asthma attack. Asthma attacks also are called flareups or exacerbations (eg-zas-er-BA-shuns).

Treating symptoms when you first notice them is important. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.

People who have asthma experience symptoms such as intense coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, pain or pressure but the symptoms vary for with every person.

What are Allergies?

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself.

Normally, the immune system would only react if a harmful substance, such as bacteria, attacks the body. For people with allergies, their immune systems are working too hard and react even when relatively harmless substances, such as pollen, are present. The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life threatening situations.

Allergens can stimulate an immune response when you breathe in or touch the allergen, or by ingestion of food or beverage, or from injections of medication.

Common allergies include eczema, hives, hay fever, and asthma. You can get an allergic reactions from food, pet dander, airborne pollen, and the venom of stinging insects, such as wasps and bees.

When you have an allergic reaction there may be a combination of the following allergy symptoms:

  • sneezing
  • wheezing
  • nasal congestion
  • coughing
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • runny nose
  • itchy throat
  • stomach ache
  • itchy skin
  • hives
  • fatigue
  • irritability

Weather plays an important part for many allergy sufferers.

How to Prevent Asthma or Allergies

The best way to prevent an asthma episode, or attack, is to follow your treatment plan. Learn your triggers and avoid them. Take your allergy and asthma medicines when you should. Use your quick-acting medicine as soon as you start to notice symptoms.

Many people live normal lives with asthma if it’s properly managed. With a good treatment plan and guidance from your doctor, you can still do much of what you enjoy. For example, many professional athletes have asthma.

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid your allergens. It sounds so easy, but you can’t always avoid them. For example, it’s not possible to avoid all outdoor activities if you’re allergic to bees and wasps. But there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of being stung and you can carry the medicine you will need if you are stung. It is important to prepare and have an allergy action plan.

Don’t let allergies interfere with your day-to-day activities at home, work or school.  You can live a normal life despite having allergies. See your allergist for treatment and guidance. Take steps to avoid your allergens. Keep medicine with you at all times so you can treat an allergic reaction. Use our tips to help you manage your daily life with allergies.

For more information about asthma and allergies visit these websites:

http://www.aafa.org

https://www.pollen.com/allergy/what-is-allergy

http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/what-is-asthma

Thank you for reading our blog and we hope that allergies and asthma no longer stops you from having a great day and an even better summer!

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Awareness of Awareness

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Here at Breton Village Pediatrics and Family Medicine we want to inform you of several health issues that are being highlighted this month. So here’s a list of several health awareness’ in the month of May. Throughout this month we will be posting several blogs about a few of these health issues for you all, and if there is any topic you would like us to write about please feel free to comment or leave a suggestion below.

May

  • American Stroke Awareness Month (promoted by the National Stroke Association)
  • Arthritis Awareness Month
  • National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
  • Better Hearing and Speech Month
  • National Celiac Disease Awareness Month
  • Children’s Mental Health Week
  • Clean Air Month
  • Global Employee Health and Fitness Month
  • Healthy Vision Month
  • Hepatitis Awareness Month
  • Lupus Awareness Month (promoted by the Lupus Foundation of America)
  • National Mediterranean Diet Month
  • Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
  • Mental Health Month
  • National High Blood Pressure Education Month
  • Older Americans Month
  • National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
  • National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month
  • Preecalmpsia Awareness Month
  • Ultraviolet Awareness Month
  • Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (first full week of May)
  • Food Allergy Awareness Week (second full week of May)
  • National Women’s Health Week (begins on Mother’s Day)
  • National Alcohol- and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week (begins on Mother’s Day)
  • National Neuropathy Awareness Week (second full week of May)
  • National Senior Health Fitness Day (last Wednesday of May)
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Parental Supervision: No Age Limit Required

Parental Supervision: No Age Limit Required

According to Dr. Terrill Bravender, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, adolescents whose parents monitor and are aware of their activities participate in fewer risky behaviors, including alcohol use – especially if they are females.  Parenting styles that include high levels of warmth and support, supervision and open communication yielded much more positive results and enhanced family connectedness.  This family connectedness also helps protect against a variety of risky adolescent behaviors including early sexual activity and tobacco and alcohol use.

Recent studies also reveal that early-maturing females are at higher risk of this kind of behavior, so parental interaction is of utmost importance.  Girls who begin puberty earlier tend to spend more time with peers who have already gone through puberty as well.  These older peers, by nature, are much more likely to participate in high-risk activities – putting the younger females, who are are often less able to assess the risks and benefits of their behavior due to a lagging maturity, at higher risk.

Parents of early maturing girls, take heart, though, because higher levels of parental supervision can help reduce the behavioral risks caused by their early puberty.  Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be true as well — the less parents supervise, the more teens drink, the more teens drink, the less parents supervise, and so on.  Bottom line: it’s never too late to supervise your children and confirm what they are doing.  The benefits could definitely outweigh the potential consequences.

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Good Friends Are Good For You

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“A friend is what the heart needs all the time”, and according to an Australian study by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, it is shown that good friends can also help you live longer too. The study took followed 1,500 older people for 10 years, and it found that the people with a large network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by 22%, but why?

The author of the study suggested that good friends discourage unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and heavy drinking, and the companionship provided by friends decrease the risk of depression, boost self-esteem, and provide a support system anytime.

Impact of Loneliness, is there a greater risk of dying because they are alone?

People who are lonely are at greater risk of dying only if they feel lonely. One study found that drug use among young people were higher among those who said they thought they were lonely. The same study showed that older people who were lonely tended to have higher blood pressure and poorer sleep quality. They also were more tense and anxious.

Researchers at Brigham Young University discovered that social isolation and loneliness can be as life threatening as obesity. The study, published in 2015 in Perspectives on Psychological Science, indicates that feelings of being alone impact on people of all ages and can be a precursor to premature death—even in individuals under 65. The study authors believed that their findings ultimately prove that more positive psychology means better overall health—emotionally and physically.

What we suggest is go out be a good friend and have good friends. Friends are so necessary in life not just to live longer but also because it makes us feel good knowing that we can have someone who’s there for you anytime and all the time. Social relationships provide meaning to our lives and might influences to take better care of ourselves and/or take fewer risks.

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Spice of Life

Have you ever eaten anything spicy? Something that makes your nose burn and your eyes water? Would you eat more spicy foods if I told you that they are actually good for your health? According to Lu Qi, MD, PhD, a professor at Harvard Medical school, they are. In fact, “if you eat more spicy food, it’s better for your health and lowers the risk for mortality, especially as it relates to cancer and heart disease.

Participants who ate spicy foods such as chili peppers once or twice a week were 10 percent less likely to die during the study period compared to those who ate such foods less than once a week. Eating spicy foods on a near-daily basis lowered the risk further.

Fresh chili peppers were specifically linked to lower risks of dying of cancer, heart disease, or Type 2 diabetes. Compounds in peppers have been shown to fight inflammation.

Peppers are also good sources of cancer-fighting vitamin C.

 

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11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic

11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic

Close up of purple garlic bunch

  1. Garlic contains property called Allicin that has medicinal qualities
  2. Garlic has few calories but is packed with nutrition
  3. It can combat sickness like the common cold
  4. Garlic’s active compounds can help reduce blood pressure
  5. Garlic can improve cholesterol levels
  6. It contains antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia
  7. Garlic may help you live longer
  8. Garlic may help improve athletic performance
  9. Garlic consumption can help detoxify heavy metals from the body
  10. It may improve bone health
  11. Garlic is delicious and can be easily added to your diet

For more details on these benefits, visit Authority Nutrition here.

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Flu Season: Prevention and Care

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Flu Season

Every end is a new beginning. As summer comes to a close and warm weather ends, the beautiful season of fall begins. The leaves in the trees change color and fall, apple orchards all across the Midwest overflow with customers, the temperature drops, and the seasonal flu outbreak begins. In a study done by CDC, it was shown that from October through the beginning of May the highest flu activity is seen, with peaks in the winter months. There are a few early steps and natural remedies you can use to help reduce the amount of flu activity per month and counteract the flu.

What is the flu and what are the symptoms?

According to CDC the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death especially in high risk groups. Symptoms can be:

  • Fever* or feeling cold and chilly
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffed up nose
  • Muscles or body aches
  • headaches
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Some people have vomiting or diarrhea, most common in children though
  • Also common: chest discomfort, head congestion, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, or swollen lymph nodes

*Not everyone with flu will have a fever

These influenza viruses spread through particles that come from when people cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose. And the flu can be spread before you even know you are sick, and also while you are sick.

How To Prevenfluseason2t and Fight the Flu

The single most suggested way to prevent the flu is by getting seasonal flu vaccines. Traditional flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available. In addition, flu vaccines that are made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines) also are available. Contact your doctor to schedule your appointment for a flu shot.

Another way is to avoid contact with sick people, and also sick people to avoid contact to stop possible spread. When you sneeze or cough please don’t forget to cover your mouth,  or use a tissue and dispose of the tissue correctly. Also not only washing your hands thoroughly with soap before touching anything, but also washing counters and infected surfaces also helps reduce the spread of germs. It truly is the little things that make a big difference.

The best thing to do though ward off the flu or  the flu is to drink a lot of fluids, and rest your body so your body can fight the infection naturally. To fight the flu naturally, make sure you:

  1. Blow your nose often, and don’t sniffle mucus back into your head. And after blowing your nose, wash your hands.
  2. Stay rested, very rested. This way your body can use the energy to fight the cold.
  3. Gargle saline water to relieve the throat.
  4. Drink hot liquids to prevent dehydration.
  5. Take steamy showers to calm you down and the moisten your nasal passages. Often people become dizzy and exhausted due to the flu, and steamy showers can help you feel a little better.

Overall

The flu can be very detrimental to your health, and to the people around you. So the best thing to do is try to prevent it by doing the small things: wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue away, sleep, drink water, etc. Not even the best drugs in the world can fight the flu or other illnesses as well as your body naturally can.

For more information about the flu and how to prevent or fight it go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

 

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Staph Infections 101

With recent cases of Staph infections and MRSA seen in our area, it is important to know what staph infections are, how they are treated, how they spread (and how you can prevent this in the first place!).

What is a Staph infection?bacterium

The name “staph” is derived from the group of staphylococcus bacteria, which lives on skin or inside the nose. They can be found in healthy people, but a Staph infection occurs when the bacteria find their way deeper into your system. Symptoms of a staph infection can range from a very mild skin infection to life-threatening.

How is a Staph infection treated?

Once the presence of a staph infection is confirmed by a lab test, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. There are both topical and oral antibiotics that can be used. However, there are strains of staph called MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) that may require alternative antibiotics.

Natural Staph Treatment

There are ways to treat staph naturally, too! It is important to attack the bacteria with anti-bacterial compounds, which are found in tea tree oil, garlic oil, and oregano oil. A high quality pure essential oil can be applied to the skin infection with coconut oil.

It is also important to boost your immune system while you are treating staph to help your body fight the infection naturally. Turmeric supplements and essential oils like clove, cinnamon, and orange will help support healthy immune strength.

How does Staph spread?

Staph is most commonly spread through skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected. Open areas on your skin are especially susceptible to the infection. If you have a weak immune system due to age, recent illness, or any chronic medical conditions, you are more likely to contract a staph infection.

Prevention

To prevent the spread of Staph, wash your hands! Other good hygiene tips include not sharing personal items like towels, bedding, and razors. Wash your sheets and blankets often, and keep any open areas on your skin covered.

Keeping your immune system strong by following the tips above will also prevent infection as well as many other common and seasonal illnesses. Striving for overall optimal health will be your best line of defense.

Sources for further information: Mayo Clinic & SearchHomeRemedy

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