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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:
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.
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.
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
- 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.