Category: Infectious Disease

June 22nd, 2016 by LiveMD

Meningitis

Meningitis is a type of infection that occurs within the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a fungus, a virus or most seriously, a bacteria. Meningitis usually occurs due to the progression of another infection in the body, such as in the ears, sinus or respiratory tract, that spreads through the bloodstream and infects the tissue (called meninges) that surrounds the brain. It is most common in children but can affect anyone of any age, especially those with a weakened immune system.

Bacterial Meningitis is the most severe form of this infection and if not treated quickly, could lead to permanent brain damage or even death. Other forms of meningitis are usually treated much more easily and have a better overall recovery rate than that of the bacterial form.

What are the Symptoms of Meningitis?

The symptoms of a meningitis infection may differ depending on the form of meningitis that has been contracted, whether it be bacterial, viral or fungal. Some of the most common symptoms, however are:

  1. Stiffness in the neck
  2. Pain when trying to touch your chin to your chest
  3. Fever
  4. Headache, often severe
  5. Sensitivity to light
  6. Nausea and vomiting
  7. Confusion or unusual behavior

How is Meningitis Contracted?

Meningitis is extremely contagious and is spread by coming into contact with the infection. It can be in contaminated food or can be spread by coughing or sneezing. An infection will usually start elsewhere in the body and then progress into the bloodstream where it can then travel to the tissues in the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. If these delicate areas become infected, meningitis occurs and immediate treatment is needed to keep the infection from getting worse and causing permanent damage.

To avoid getting sick it is best to stay away from someone who is known to be infected with meningitis. It is also important to practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently to stop the spread of germs. Vaccination is another excellent way to protect yourself and your family from contracting meningitis.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be exhibiting symptoms of meningitis it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. A visit to www.mylivemd.com can get you the advice that you need quickly from a fully qualified doctor or specialist. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate. Our doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are prepared to assist you with all of your healthcare needs.

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Posted in Contagious Disease, Infectious Disease

June 8th, 2016 by LiveMD

tetanus

LiveMD gives you the information that you need on the signs and symptoms of tetanus and how to keep you and your family safe from getting infected.

What is Tetanus?

Tetanus is an infection that is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. Also sometimes referred to as “Lock Jaw”, tetanus is very serious and can affect the central nervous system and the brain. The bacteria that causes this infection creates spores that can be found virtually anywhere but are most common in dust, soil and manure. When these spores enter the body, usually through a wound or opening in the skin, they have a neurotoxic effect which can lead to very severe and life threatening symptoms. There are treatment options available, however they are not always effective.

What are the Symptoms of a Tetanus Infection?

Symptoms will begin to occur anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks after the initial infection has occurred.

The most common symptoms of this infection are:

  1. Stiffness in the jaw
  2. Other muscle stiffness/spasms
  3. Difficulty swallowing
  4. Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  5. Fever
  6. Headache
  7. Rapid pulse
  8. In severe cases the spine may arch backwards

 

How Can I Stay Healthy?

Tetanus is most commonly found in hot, damp, tropical climates. This weather offers the best environment for the Clostridium tetani bacteria to grow and spread. The incidence of this infection is very rare in countries that have thorough vaccination policies however many developing countries are still not yet up to date on ensuring the entire population has been inoculated for tetanus or on using preventative measures to protect against this infection.

One of the most common forms of this infection is called neonatal tetanus and affects newborn babies. If the umbilical cord is cut with an unsterilized or infected utensil, a tetanus infection can occur. It is estimated that close to 200,000 deaths occur each year due to neonatal tetanus infections. This can be prevented by ensuring a clean and sterilized environment during delivery and using a sterilized instrument to cut the umbilical cord.

The best way to prevent tetanus in older children and adults is to get vaccinated every 10 years. By keeping up to date on vaccinations, tetanus infections are easily avoidable and serious complications are extremely rare.

If you would like more information on tetanus infections, how to prevent neonatal tetanus or information on getting the tetanus vaccine, visit us online at www.mylivemd.com. Our doctors can answer all of your questions and give you the best advice available to help you make the most informed decisions about your health.

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Posted in Infectious Disease

May 30th, 2016 by LiveMD

choleraLiveMD gives you the facts on Cholera

What is Cholera?

Cholera is a very serious bacterial infection that is contracted by drinking contaminated food or water. This infection can cause very severe diarrhea which can lead to dehydration and, if not treated promptly, can end in death. This disease is common in areas that do not have sufficient water treatment procedures in place and affects close to 5 million people worldwide every year.

What are the Symptoms of Cholera?

The symptoms of cholera can begin quite quickly after being infected with the bacteria. Some people will experience symptoms only hours after infection. Others may not have any symptoms at all. The first signs of cholera are usually severe, watery diarrhea. This diarrhea can lead to extreme dehydration if not treated. It can also cause loss of skin elasticity, nausea, headaches, extreme thirst and a fast heartbeat.

Cholera Treatments

The very first course of treatment for someone that has been infected with cholera is to quickly rehydrate them. Fluids and electrolytes should be replaced immediately. In severe cases this will be done intravenously and in more mild cases should be done by drinking plenty of fluids such as water, juices and electrolyte solutions. A doctor will then prescribe an antibiotic to help fight off the infection. Severe cases that are left untreated can quickly lead to death in just under a day.

How Can I Prevent Infection?

Cholera is spread by consuming food or water that has been contaminated with the Vibrio Cholerae bacteria. This bacteria lives in human feces and is spread to food and water sources through poor sanitation and filtration systems.To protect yourself from becoming infected it is important to only drink water that has been boiled or has been properly filtered and treated. Avoid having drinks with ice cubes in them and stay away from unpasteurized milk. Also, it is important to make sure that all meats are cooked thoroughly and are still hot when eaten. There are oral vaccines that can be taken prior to travelling to an area where cholera is common and a course of these vaccines should be started at least 2 weeks prior to travelling.

Getting the advice of a doctor quickly is very important if a cholera infection is suspected. Obtaining fast and reliable information and treatment may mean the difference between life and death. At LiveMD we pride ourselves on having a team of highly qualified healthcare professionals available to help you, with only the click of a mouse. By visiting www.mylivemd.com you can talk, chat or speak via live video with a doctor right away and get the care and treatement advice that you need immediately, without the hassel that a usual trip to the doctors would bring. Don’t wait until it is too late, speak with one of our doctors today.

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Posted in Infectious Disease