Some of these environmentally content bacteria in your body are actually good for you, it is only less than 1 percent that are not. Take lactobacillus acidophilus for example, this bacterium helps you digest food, destroys disease causing organisms and provides nutrients to your body.

However, when the “not good” bacteria invades, these misery creators rapidly reproduce, many producing powerful chemicals (toxins) that damage tissue cells at the site of their invasion, and that’s what makes you ill.

Some examples of the sickness these bacterial invaders cause are:

A virus is a capsule containing genetic material, even smaller than bacteria. The main mission of a virus is to reproduce. However, viruses need a suitable host to multiply, unlike bacteria.

So what a virus does in its invasion, is it takes over some of your cells and instructs these overtaken cells to make what it needs for reproduction. These host cells are then destroyed in the process.

Examples of these viral illnesses are:

Molds, yeasts and mushrooms are all types of fungi. They can live in your body, usually without harm and some offer benefits.

For example, penicillin is derived from fungi, and this “life saving” antibiotic kills harmful bacteria. Fungi are also required to make certain foods, such as bread, cheese and yogurt.

Other fungi aren’t as beneficial and can cause illness. Examples are:

You can prevent infection through regular hand washing, vaccinations and, in some situations, appropriate medications. Also, healthy diet, exercise and rest helps keep your immune system charged up and ready for battle.

Seek medical attention when infection is suspected and you experience:

  • a bite
  • swelling
  • 100.4 F or higher
  • persistent vomiting
  • breathing difficulties
  • over a week long cough
  • rapid heartbeat episodes
  • severe and unusual headache
  • a rash accompanied by a fever
  • blurred or other vision difficulties

Prevent the preventable by keeping your body’s front line immune system in shape to defend bacteria, virus or fungus invasions.

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The flu spreads very easily from person to person. Even before you notice symptoms, you may spread the virus to others. If you have the virus, you can spread it to others by:

These actions release tiny droplets containing the flu virus into the air.

You can become infected if these droplets land on your:

Infection can also happen if you touch any of these body parts after touching objects contaminated by infected droplets. Common contaminated objects include:

  • doorknobs
  • phones
  • television remotes
  • someone's hands

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Influenza: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Transmission & Prevention

Influenza: Index

What is Influenza?

Influenza, more commonly known as flu is a medical condition that results from infection of influenza viruses (RNA virus of an orthomyxoviridae family).Influenza mainly affects respiratory tract, nose and the throat, which may spread to the lungs and bronchi.

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[A] Do you have constipation?
[Q] No constipation.
[A] It’s tough to diagnose this remotely. What exactly are you looking for? Do you want to know some home remedies for typhoid? Do you want to know about typhoid symptoms?
[A] You must most certainly follow your doctor’s advice and get your blood check up done to detect what the problem is – whether its typhoid fever or something else
[A] Here are some home remedies I can suggest – but use them only after you have consulted your doctor:

  • Take a lot of rest
  • Cold compress if your fever goes over 103
  • Drink more water; even orange juice will be good as that will give you more energy
  • Stick to easily digestible foods – liquid diet is good if you can tolerate it.
  • Warm eater enema may also be administered for some people during typhoid fever.

Question: About a week ago I was suffering from constipation & stomach ache with occasional fever. Last 2 days, I have continuous fever of around 99-100 degree F. My widal test (not from reputed lab ) is +ve.

Answer: Since the Widal test has been done and the result has been positive, your diagnosis is typhoid. Diet and hygiene will play an important role in your treatment.
Here are a few home remedies for treating typhoid:

* Drink 2 tall glasses of warm milk to which Psyllium seeds have been added. Psyllium seeds help in the easy and smooth passage of stools and check constipation.
* To settle a disturbed stomach, drink 2 tender coconut water everyday. Coconut water is alkaline and rich in essential nutrients.
* To battle fatigue and exhaustion, eat 5 dates daily. Soak them overnight in water and eat the next day. Dates provide great strength and vigor.
* Stomach pain can be relieved by consuming a mixture of 1 spoon cumin seed powder and 1 spoon of powdered sugar.
* In order to manage fluctuating temperatures, drink raisin water. Raisins are an excellent tonic during fevers. Avoid popping anti-pyretics.
* Avoid foods which derange and upset the stomach. Stay away from spicy food, tea, coffee, aerated drinks, refined foods and alcohol.
* Increase your fluid intake to prevent typhoid.

Control Typhoid:

* Take rest for a period of 1 week. Your body needs to recover and recuperate.
* Drink boiled and filtered water only.
* Wash hands and feet thoroughly.
* Always keep food in covered containers.
* Eat steaming hot food.

Question: I am suffering from high fever for about 25 days. Recently I have been diagnosed with typhoid. I was being treated for malaria. I have constant high fever which drops after I take Crocin. I have lost my appetite and feel so weak I cannot stand for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. My stomach pains after I take medicine or food. My physician has prescribed Ofloxacin tablet 400mg, twice a day and Efixime tablet U.S.P 200 mg.

Answer: Typhoid is an infectious disease, caused by a microbe salmonella typhii which is transmitted by feco-oral route. Nutritional correction is most critical for ensuring a lasting cure. Typhoid is notorious for becoming a chronic case, so it is of very important that you follow a judicious diet, healthy lifestyle and hygienic practices to prevent a relapse or a progression of the disease.

  • Avoid popping too many anti-pyretics like crocin. Also, avoid treating yourself randomly without a definite diagnosis.
  • Take adequate rest. Your body needs to recuperate.
  • Drink only boiled water.
  • Wash your hands and feet after you get home. Wash you hands clean before you eat.
  • Always keep food in closed containers.
  • Prefer hot food.

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Different people become addicted at different rates. Some addicts try to prevent addiction by letting time pass between usages of strong opiates and others feel compelled to use the drug continuously once they start, which walks them straight into addiction. Those coming off heavy fentanyl abuse will often be weaned down to a lower level before going through withdrawal, as unsupported withdrawal from strong opiates can be brutal.

If you suspect someone you care about is abusing opioids that may include fentanyl, get them help right away. Waiting until tomorrow could be one day too late.

Recovering from Opioid Addiction at a Narconon Rehab

The Narconon drug and alcohol rehab program located around the world has developed a humane way of helping a person through withdrawal and then taking them all the way to lasting sobriety.

If a person does not need weaning or medical detox, he can safely and tolerably come off his drugs through in the Withdrawal unit at a Narconon center. Each person is immediately given generous doses of nutritional supplements that help alleviate the worst of the body’s reactions to withdrawal. A person coming into a rehab is normally in a severely depleted condition, and these supplements begin the rebuilding process. They also assist the body in starting to eliminate the toxicity that exists from the drugs that were used.

A number of methods and exercises have been developed that help a person both mentally and physically during withdrawal. Specific supplements can help with diarrhea, vomiting or other symptoms. Assists are simple and gentle procedures that help relieve physical pain and mental anxiety. Objective exercises calm a person’s mind and enable him to direct his attention toward recovery and the future and get attention off pain and the past. Those going through this process often remark on how manageable this withdrawal procedure is.

This is followed by an innovative detoxification step. Opiate abusers experience a mental fog from using these drugs (as do users of many drugs). Drug residues that are not fully eliminated from the body can cause this fog to persist, even long after drugs are discontinued. The Narconon New Life Detoxification combines sauna, exercise and nutrition to activate the body’s ability to flush out these residual toxins. The result is clearer thinking and an improved outlook on life. Most people also state that their cravings for drugs are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

A person who wishes to stay drug-free for the long haul must then overcome a mental or psychological need for drugs. This means building the skills to deal with life as it is, without hiding or trying to escape. This is the final phase of the Narconon program.

Learn how this program can help someone you love recover from an addiction that may seem hopeless.

About Virus, Bacteria and Fungus Types of Germs Causing Infection Symptoms

Bacteria, virus, fungus and other infectious germs are inescapably everywhere. These germs are the cause for your fever, runny nose, ache, pain and other signs and symptoms of your cold or flu misery.

Not all germs cause harm, but knowing more about the bacteria, viruses and fungus germs that do, will help you avoid their illness causing effects.

It is your immune system that protects you against these infection causing agents, but sometimes they make it across its barrier. When an infection causing germ enters your body and begins to multiply, your immune system immediately goes into action to it fight off.

Sending out white blood cells, antibodies and other environment adjusting resources in its effort to get rid of whatever is. For example, this is why your body reacts with fever, coughing and sneezing in its battle against a common cold virus.

There is a notable difference between infection and disease. Infection occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungus or other microbes multiply in your body. Disease is the resulting cell damage of this infection. It is at this cell damage point when your signs and symptoms of an illness are noticed.

Bacteria is a very small, self-sufficient, one-celled organism that thrives in a variety of environments. However, many bacteria thrive in the mild 98.6 healthy body environment.

Some of these environmentally content bacteria in your body are actually good for you, it is only less than 1 percent that are not. Take lactobacillus acidophilus for example, this bacterium helps you digest food, destroys disease causing organisms and provides nutrients to your body.

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Pneumocystis Carinii — This condition occurs when a fungus infects the lungs. Symptoms may include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, weight loss, night sweats and fatigue.

It is most likely to occur when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. Preventative treatment may be administered when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. Treatment is usually trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also called Septra or Bactrim, dapsone or atovoquone.

Recurrent Pneumonia — People with AIDS are at risk for recurrent bacterial pneumonia. Bacteria can infect the lungs, which may lead to problems ranging from a mild cough to severe pneumonia. Recurrent pneumonia is most likely to occur when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.

Tuberculosis (TB) — This is a serious, and often deadly, bacterial infection that primarily infects the lungs. TB is transmitted when a person with active TB coughs or sneezes, releasing microscopic particles into the air. If inhaled, these particles may transmit the condition.

Once infected by TB, most people remain healthy and develop only latent infection. People with latent infection are neither sick nor infectious. However, they do have the potential to become sick and infectious with active TB. It can occur at any CD4+ T cell level but especially when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 350 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma — Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a disease in which tumors develop from white blood cells in the lymphatic system. It is another common disease associated with AIDS. See AIDS-related lymphoma.

Candidiasis — This is the most common HIV-related fungus infection. It can affect the entire body, but most commonly occurs in the mouth (thrush) or vagina. An overgrowth of yeast causes white patches on gums, tongue or lining of the mouth, pain, difficulty in swallowing and loss of appetite. Candida in the esophagus, trachea, bronchi or lungs is AIDS defining.

Herpes Simplex — This virus causes cold sores or genital herpes, which are painful blisters in the genital area. Chronic herpes simplex virus (HSV) lesions and severe mucocutaneous HSV disease are common in the advanced stages of AIDS.

Kaposi's Sarcoma — This is the most common AIDS-related cancer. It causes reddish-purple lesions that usually appear on the skin. They also can appear on the lymph nodes, mouth, gastrointestinal tract and lungs.

Shingles — Shingles are caused by a reactivation of the chicken pox virus. It may cause a painful rash or blisters that follow the path of nerves.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

A sore throat is often the first sign of a cold and may get better after a day or two; other cold symptoms such as a runny nose and congestion may follow the sore throat. The primary symptom of tonsillitis is a moderate to severe sore throat lasting longer than 2 days and involves inflammation of the tonsils. Other symptoms of tonsillitis may include:

  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Swollen and tender glands (lymph nodes) on the sides of the neck
  • Bad breath
  • Fever and chills
  • Tiredness and headache
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Enlarged and reddened tonsils with spots of white/yellow pus
  • Mouth breathing, noisy breathing, and/or snoring (due to enlarged tonsils blocking the airways).

Avoiding close contact with people who have tonsillitis is advisable to prevent passing on the infection. Children and other family members should be kept away from people with tonsillitis as much as possible. Hygiene measures should also be used to prevent spread of infection. These include:

  • Regular and thorough washing and drying of hands
  • Using a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequent and through washing and drying of hands
  • Not sharing foods, liquids, or eating utensils or drinking vessels
  • Frequent cleaning of surfaces particularly in the kitchen and bathroom.

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Die Zeit zwischen einer Infektion mit dem Influenzavirus und dem Ausbruch der Erkrankung beträgt normalerweise ein bis drei Tage. Danach kommt es schlagartig zu charakteristischen Grippesymptomen wie hohem Fieber (bis 41°C) mit trockenem Husten, Schnupfen, Kopf-, Muskel- und Gliederschmerzen sowie einem allgemeinen Krankheitsgefühl. Gelegentlich können auch Atembeschwerden auftreten. Demnach kann eine Grippe als Erkrankung des gesamten Atemtraktes beschrieben werden, die jedoch Symptome im ganzen Körper verursacht. Charakteristisch ist der abrupte Beginn der Symptome, so dass die Patientinnen und Patienten oftmals noch Jahre später den Zeitpunkt präzise beschreiben können.

Aufgrund der raschen Virusvermehrung ist die Infektionsgefahr für andere Personen mit dem Einsetzen von Husten und Niesen der Erkrankten/des Erkrankten am größten. Dabei ist die Virenkonzentration bei erkrankten Kindern meist höher als bei anderen Altersgruppen. Die leichte Übertragbarkeit der Influenzaviren kann in solchen Situationen bei Kontakt zu anderen Menschen zu einer explosionsartigen Verbreitung der Grippe führen.

Verläuft die Influenza unkompliziert, bessern sich die Beschwerden normalerweise innerhalb von zwei bis fünf Tagen. Ein Großteil der Patientinnen und Patienten hat die Erkrankung normalerweise nach einer Woche überstanden. Allerdings nimmt zirka jede fünfte Influenza einen komplizierten Verlauf. Die häufigste Komplikation bei einer Grippeerkrankung ist eine Pneumonie (Lungenentzündung), wobei von der durch das Grippevirus selbst verursachten „primären Pneumonie“ die größten Gefahren ausgehen. Diese äußert sich meistens in einer Verschlechterung des Allgemeinzustands ein bis zwei Tage nach Krankheitsbeginn mit Atemnot und eventuell einer Blaufärbung von Haut und Schleimhäuten (Zyanose). Da sich bestimmte Bakterien, wie beispielsweise Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae oder Haemophilus influenzae, direkt an die Influenzaviren binden können, kann es aber auch infolge der akuten Influenza zu einer sogenannten „bakteriellen Superinfektion“ kommen. Bei dieser Form der Lungenentzündung steigt nach einer zwei- bis dreitägigen Phase der Besserung das Fieber erneut an und geht häufig mit Symptomen wie Husten und einem eitrigen Auswurf einher.

Die häufigste Form der Influenza-Pneumonie ist jedoch eine gemischt viral-bakterielle Lungenentzündung, die sich entweder in einem allmählichen Fortschreiten der Erkrankung oder einer vorübergehenden Besserung und anschließenden Verschlechterung der Symptome äußert. Neben einer Pneumonie treten bei einer Influenza gelegentlich noch weitere Komplikationen auf. Dazu gehören beispielsweise eine Entzündung des Herzmuskels oder Herzbeutels, der Nasennebenhöhlen, des Mittelohrs, der Muskeln, der Hirn- beziehungsweise Rückenmarkshäute oder eine Schädigung des Gehirns.

Die Diagnose einer Grippe ergibt sich während einer Grippeepidemie aus der Krankengeschichte und der körperlichen Untersuchung der Patientin/des Patienten. In manchen Fällen werden auch spezifische Laboruntersuchungen zum Virusnachweis durchgeführt. Dadurch können beispielsweise Informationen über die vorhandenen Virustypen oder die Verbreitung der Grippe erhalten werden. Derartige Laboruntersuchungen spielen zudem eine bedeutende Rolle zur Identifikation der Erreger bei neu aufgetretenen Formen der Grippe. Damit können beispielsweise Mutationen der Gene von Influenzaviren analysiert und eine Abgrenzung gegenüber der saisonalen Grippe vorgenommen werden.

Für die weitere Diagnostik der Grippe stehen je nach Krankheitsphase verschiedene Untersuchungsmethoden zur Verfügung. Dabei kommen unter anderem Untersuchungen von Nasensekret und Auswurf, Rachenabstriche sowie Blutuntersuchungen zum Einsatz.

Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter Influenza-A/B-Schnelltest.

Ist eine Person bereits an Grippe erkrankt, können bei rechtzeitiger Therapie die Influenzaviren direkt bekämpft werden. Hierfür gibt es bestimmte Medikamente – sogenannte Neuraminidasehemmer (Oseltamivir und Zanamivir). Sie blockieren die Freisetzung von neu gebildeten Viruspartikeln aus bereits infizierten Zellen und hemmen so die Vermehrung der Influenzaviren im Körper. Da nach einer anfänglichen Phase der raschen Erregerausbreitung die Zahl der Viren 24 bis 48 Stunden nach Ausbruch der Krankheit wieder abnimmt, müssen Neuraminidasehemmer am besten innerhalb der ersten zwölf Stunden (allerspätestens innerhalb von 48 Stunden) nach Auftreten der ersten Symptome zur Anwendung kommen.

Die rechtzeitige Verabreichung von Oseltamivir oder Zanamivir lindert die grippebedingten Beschwerden (wie zum Beispiel Kopfschmerzen, Husten, Fieber) und verkürzt die Dauer der Grippeerkrankung. Außerdem senkt die Therapie das Risiko für Komplikationen (zum Beispiel Pneumonie). Oseltamivir gibt es als Saft oder Tabletten. Zanamivir kann dagegen nur inhaliert werden. Daher wird häufig bevorzugt Oseltamivir eingesetzt. Ergeben sich Hinweise auf eine bakterielle (Zusatz-)Infektion, muss eine entsprechende antibiotische Therapie eingeleitet werden. Bei Komplikationen ist mitunter auch die Gabe von Sauerstoff notwendig, bei Erschöpfung der Atmung muss maschinell beatmet werden.

Bettruhe kann Komplikationen vorbeugen

Die weitere Therapie bei Influenzaerkrankungen richtet sich allein gegen die Symptome. So können zum Beispiel gegen die Kopf-, Muskel- und Gliederschmerzen sowie das Fieber Schmerzmittel mit gleichzeitig fiebersenkender Wirkung (beispielsweise Paracetamol oder Ibuprofen) verabreicht werden. Allerdings sollten Medikamente mit dem Wirkstoff Acetylsalicylsäure (zum Beispiel Aspirin®) keinesfalls Kindern unter zwölf Jahren gegeben werden, da hierdurch in seltenen Fällen das gefürchtete Reye-Syndrom ausgelöst werden kann. Dabei handelt es sich um eine akute Erkrankung des Gehirns und der Leber, die unbehandelt tödlich verlaufen kann. Um Risiken in der Anwendung von Arzneimitteln zu vermeiden, sollten diese generell nur auf ärztliche Anordnung eingenommen werden.

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Negative results take longer to confirm (about 4 days) than positive ones. A negative result for a suspect herd also runs into thr problem of how many pigs should be sampled and for how long.

The tissues of choice for virus detection are the tonsils, but mandibular, maxillary and mesenteric lymph nodes and any other organs showing lesions can be useful.

In the UK epidemic, diagnostic tests commonly used for confirming diagnoses are RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction), fluorescent antibody test & virus isolation.

Immunotolerance to CSF is a recognised phenomenon. Infection during fetal life results in a lifelong high level of viraemia without any antibody response. These pigs are a dangerous source of infection and can only be detected by virus isolation, or immunohistochemistry after death.

In 1996, eight suspected cases of CSF were reported to the U.K. Veterinary Laboratories Agency. Five of these followed autopsies undertaken at regional Veterinary Investigation Laboratories. Two cases were subsequently diagnosed as thrombocytopenic purpura, the most common differential diagnosis for swine fever. Amongst the others were individual cases of erysipelas, Pasteurella infection and colisepticaemia.
The other three reported suspect cases were all negative for swine fever.

In 1995, 10 suspected cases of CSF were reported to the U.K. Veterinary Laboratories Agency. All were negative. In young pigs the commonest differential disease is Purpura haemorrhagica. Similar autopsy findings in older pigs are usually due to blocking of capillaries by immune complexes, mostly involving Erysipelothrix. The classic sources of mistaken CSF diagnoses in the 1950s and 1960s were Streptococcal septicaemia and Salmonella choleraesuis infection. These are only occasionally seen nowadays in the U.K.

Border disease virus occasionally infects pigs. In this past this closely related pestivirus has resulted in false positive antibody tests for classical swine fever

Reference: Lund, L.J., (1996), The Pig Journal, Vol. 37, p.55.

A new swine disease which closely resembles CSF is porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (PDNS). Many cases of PDNS are being reported as suspected swine fever outbreaks.

Chikungunya symptoms are similar to diseases such as Dengue, Malaria and Leptospirosis and hence misdiagnosis can occur in areas where chikungunya is not common. Chikungunya was known as Dengue fever for a long time. When it comes to symptoms, there is little difference between Chikungunya and Dengue. In some patients, symptoms of Chikungunya may persist for years.

Chikungunya is diagnosed by ELISA blood test. Blood test is the only reliable way to identify Chikungunya since the symptoms are similar to much more deadly dengue fever. Also co-occurance of these diseases are seen in many places.

Chikungunya is confirmed when symptoms such as fever and joint pain seen along with one of the following,

  • Four fold HI(Haemagglutination Inhibition) antibody difference in paired serum samples. This turns positive within 5 to 8 days of infection.
  • Detection of IgM antibodies. These antibodies persist upto 6 months of infection, but currently there is no commercial tests available.
  • Virus isolation from serum.
  • Detection of virus nucleic acid in serum by RT-PCR. This needs to be conducted within 5 days of infection.

Food Intolerance is caused when the digestive system is unable to completely break down food into smaller components due to insufficient amount of enzymes produced. Digestive enzymes are small proteins which break down food into smaller components that are possible to be absorbed by our guts. The unabsorbed food becomes a free meal for the bacteria that live in our digestive tract. As a result of its consumption by the bacteria we suffer the classic symptoms of bloating, tummy cramps, gas, wind and in many cases diarrhoea. The most common form of food intolerance is lactose intolerance which affects more than half the world population. Luckily this can easily be treated by digesting enzymes available from here see below.

Food intolerance is completely different from food allergy and the two should not be mixed. Food allergy is caused by a response of the immune system against food proteins, thinking they are harmful substances. Food intolerance is not food poisoning, which is caused by toxic substances that would cause symptoms in anyone who ate the food. Food intolerance is not life threatening either.

  • Lactose Intolerance - is caused when insufficient lactase is produced. Lactase breaks down lactose the sugar found in milk. Read More »»
  • Baby Colic - medical research established that half babies suffering from colic is due to decreased level of lactase production. Read More »»
  • Carbohydrate Intolerance - the inability to completely digest carbohydrates such as starch. It hinders overweight people from loosing weight. Read More »»
  • Alcohol Intolerance - particularly common by Asians from the Far East. Lacking the enzyme that breaks down alcohol can make people ill. Read More »»
  • Coeliac Disease - demonstrates symptoms for both food allergy and food intolerance. This is a very important topic and has a dedicated page. Coeliacs are not the only persons affected, simply drinking beer can cause bloating. It will also explain Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance. Read More »»

Food intolerances are rarely harmful but may cause unpleasant symptoms:

  • nausea
  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhoea - usually begins about half an hour after eating or drinking the food in question.

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    Discoloured lips can indicate a lung infection, which poses a serious health risk. Be sure to seek medical attention immediately.

    With news spreading that this year's flu virus may be more severe than in years past, it's understandable to feel some anxiety. In fact, the CDC is reporting that 29 states are experiencing a more widespread and virulent flu than last year's strain, though doctors suggest that the actual strains are not so different from each other.

    “Reports of influenza-like-illness (ILI) are nearing what have been peak levels during moderately severe seasons,” Dr. Joe Bresee, Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division, said in a statement. “While we can’t say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations."

    The measure used by the CDC to determine prevalence of ILI is based on reports from a sample of around 3,000 health care providers of how many patients are visiting them with flu-like symptoms. So far, about 5.6 percent of Americans have come in with some type of flu symptom. As Slate points out, that's fewer than the six percent who appeared in doctors' offices during the 2007/2008 season and definitely fewer than the 7.7 percent of those who appeared at doctor's offices during 2009's H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic.

    It's important to look closely at that metric: people with symptoms that could be attributed to flu, who went to the doctor. Higher numbers may indicate a more widespread virus -- or more widespread concern over the virus, leading to more hospital visits. ILI is also not the same as confirmed flu cases -- many of the symptoms that can indicate flu could also be signs of a cold or another type of virus.

    "Think of the flu as a respiratory infection that causes systemic effects," explains Dr. Travis Stork, ER physician and co-host of "The Doctors." "In addition to a dry cough you can also have fever, body aches, chills, and a headache. The flu can make you feel miserable 'all over' and in some cases, can lead to serious illness in susceptible individuals. A cold on the other hand is a localized upper respiratory infection primarily with symptoms from the neck up."

    With that in mind, what are the symptoms of flu? And when is it time to see the doctor?

    The flu virus is a respiratory illness and can cause many of the symptoms that everyone has experienced at one time or another: fever, body aches, coughing, congestion and fatigue. Most of the symptoms that are caused by the flu virus could also just as easily be the result of a cold virus infection, according to the CDC.

    Some differences: the flu virus is more likely to cause fever -- and a higher fever, at that. Flu sufferers have more severe symptoms overall and are more likely to face fatigue, body aches and a dry cough. Cold sufferers, by contrast, more commonly have a stuffed or runny nose and respiratory congestion. Some flu sufferers also have intestinal symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

    Despite concerns about the gravity of illness, the truth is that most flu cases are mild and do not require treatment or hospitalization. Flu, unlike cold, can in rare instances lead to serious conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis, and it can even lead to death in vulnerable populations. People with a higher than average risk for complications include children under five years, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems and senior citizens. Asthmatics, those with blood disorders, congestive heart failure and even those who are morbidly obese are also at greater risk, according to the CDC.

    If you're in one of the high-risk groups listed by the CDC (check here), it may be a good idea to check with a healthcare professional if you begin to experience flu-like symptoms.

    "Reasons to visit the ER include severe dehydration, lethargy, confusion, or any other truly concerning symptom," Stork says. "What seems like the flu is not always the flu and vice versa and sometimes a visit to the ER is needed to properly diagnose and treat."

    Watch The Doctor's discuss the cold vs. the flu in this clip:

    La grippe est une infection des voies respiratoires qui se transmet très facilement. Elle est causée par le virus de l’influenza.

    Ce virus circule chaque année au Québec et ailleurs dans le monde. Au Québec, il circule surtout pendant la période allant de la fin de l’automne au début du printemps.

    La durée de la saison de la grippe peut varier. Ainsi, elle peut commencer plus ou moins tôt et durer plus ou moins longtemps selon les années.

    Les symptômes de la grippe, qui débutent soudainement, et leur gravité peuvent varier en fonction de l’âge et de l’état de santé. Les principaux symptômes sont les suivants:

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    He was reassured that these symptoms were due to his body trying to renormalize itself and eliminate the old toxins from the heart drug. Sure enough, after a few days his heartbeat became steady and regular as the drug toxins were finally eliminated.

    Every drug used, whether legal or illegal, leaves its mark upon the body. As the body regains health, the drug deposits are put into circulation for elimination. Since a combination of past drug deposits may enter the Bloodstream at once disconcerting symptoms may arise. Drug detoxification can be a lengthy process, but it will be aided by fasting and a diet high in fresh fruits.

    Be forewarned: Old drugs that were taken even many years ago may reappear in the bloodstream as they leave fatty tissues and the organs. Drug toxin elimination may express itself in a series of rashes as they leave the body through the skin.

    Heavy smokers or coffee drinkers may experience similar symptoms when they withdraw from their drug. Nervous irritability and emotional outbreaks are common symptoms of these drug addicts when they are detoxifying.

    Nicotine and caffeine damage the nervous system and upset the vascular system, so symptoms such as headaches, edginess, and extreme lassitude may be expected. Such symptoms from these drugs usually lessen after three to ten days.

    Once salt use is stopped and the health improves, old salt deposits in the body exit through the skin and kidneys. Sometimes the elimination is so intense that a person may have a continual salty taste in the mouth for days. The skin may become crusted with salt or it may smell of the particular condiment that is being eliminated (such as onions, peppers, or vinegar).

    In Mexico, corpses have been found in the desert that were untouched by buzzards and hyenas. The reason? The people had eaten such large quantities of hot peppers all their lives that their skins were actually too spicy for the scavengers to eat. Condiments can never be used by the body, and so they must either be stored or eliminated when the health is improved.

    Salt elimination may also cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. People who go on salt-free diets may actually experience a slight increase in their blood pressure as the heavy elimination of salt begins. Later the blood pressure renormalizes itself and eventually becomes below the norm on a salt-free diet.

    Eliminating sugar from the diet may make a person feel slightly nervous and hyperactive until the energy levels adjust to a sugar-free diet.

    Mood changes, however, are usually more noticeable than any physical symptoms when sugar is eliminated. Reformed sugar addicts may feel periods of unaccountable depression as their blood sugar level tries to right itself. Getting off the sugar roller coaster, with its rapid rises and falls in blood sugar levels, is easier when a diet high in raw foods is followed. Such a diet renormalizes blood sugar levels and promotes tranquility of emotions.

    Almost every person is poisoned by deposits of heavy metals in the body. Lead, aluminum, copper and arsenic collect in organs throughout the body. Because of their heavy weight, they are difficult to eliminate, and may cause discomfort as they leave the body.

    Lead enters the body through auto exhaust, paints and canned foods. Aluminum may come from preparing or storing food in aluminum containers. Arsenic is present on sprayed foods, and so on.

    Since these metals are heavy, they, tend to remain in the body until a cleansing diet or fast is followed. As these metals come out, headaches and a general achiness all through the body may occur. The gums may hurt and the kidneys may throb as these metals leave the organs and bones.

    Occasionally, you can actually taste the metal that is being eliminated. Lead, especially often leaves a metallic taste on the tongue when it is leaving the body.

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    Late HIV can also cause numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy, which also occurs in people with uncontrolled diabetes.

    "This is when the nerves are actually damaged," Dr. Malvestutto says. These symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and antiseizure medicines such as Neurontin (gabapentin).

    Photo: Getty Images

    Advanced HIV disease appears to increase the risk of having menstrual irregularities, such as fewer and lighter periods.

    These changes, however, probably have more to do with the weight loss and poor health of women with late-stage infection rather than the infection itself.

    Infection with HIV also has been associated with earlier age of menopause (47 to 48 years for infected women compared to 49 to 51 years for uninfected women).

    Individuals pictured are models and are used for illustrative purposes only.

    Flu shot reduces risk of rare Guillain-Barré Syndrome in most cases, study finds

    Fear of developing Guillain-Barré Syndrome is often cited by health-care workers as a reason not to get a flu shot.

    It's flu season. File photo

    Fear of developing Guillain-Barré Syndrome is often cited by health-care workers as a reason not to get a flu shot.

    But new research suggests that in most cases the flu vaccine actually reduces the risk of the rare disorder by cutting the risk of influenza.

    Two Ottawa researchers — Kumanan Wilson, physician and senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, and Steven Hawken, a scientist at The Ottawa Hospital — were involved in the study published Wednesday in the U.S. Centre for Disease Control’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that assessed the effect of seasonal influenza vaccine on the risk of acquiring Guillain-Barré Syndrome (or GBS).

    Guillain-Barré is a rare, but serious, autoimmune disorder that causes muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. Most patients require hospitalization and about one-quarter require intensive care. Four per cent of patients will die within one year of developing the condition.

    About 20 people out of every million will develop GBS. In most cases, GBS is preceded by a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection. Studies have shown it is associated with influenza.

    Seasonal flu vaccines can slightly increase a person’s risk of developing GBS – from about 20 cases in a million people to about 21 cases in a million people, said Hawken. But flu presents a greater risk of a person developing the syndrome — about 10 times as much as the flu shot, he said.