Food Safety and Food Poisoning

What is food poisoning? It is an acute illness, usually sudden, brought about by eating contaminated or poisonous food. The symptoms of food poisoning are:

1. nausea – a queasy feeling as if you were about to be sick

2. sickness – vomiting

3. Pains in the bowl – gripping pains in the area of the stomach

4. Diarrhea

5. Fever

The main causes of food poisoning are:

1. Bacteria – the commonest

2. Viruses – which are smaller than bacteria, are normally found in water

3. Chemicals – Insecticides and weed-killers

4. Metals – lead pipes, copper pans

5. Poisonous plants – toadstools, red kidney beans (insufficiently cooked)

Bacteria is the most common form of food poisoning and so it is important that we know more about them. Bacteria are tiny bugs that live in the air, in water, in soil, on and in people, in and on food. Some bacteria causes illness. They are called PATHOGENIC bacteria. Some bacteria cause food to rot and decay, they are called SPOILAGE bacteria. There are four things that bacteria need in order to grow. These are:

Warmth. They love body temperature of 73 degrees but can happily grow at 15 degrees. They grow most readily between 5c and 63c. This is known as the DANGER ZONE

Time. Each bacteria grows by splitting in half. This takes time, on average every 20 minutes. This is known as BINARY FISSION. Imagine, one single bacterium by splitting in half every ten minutes can become more than a million in 3 and a half hours.

Food. They like high protein foods for example, poultry, cooked meat, dairy produce, shellfish, cooked rice, stews and gravies.

Moisture. They need water and most foods have enough water or moisture to let the bacteria thrive.

Some bacteria can form a hard protective case around themselves, this is called a SPORE. This happens when the ‘going gets tough’, when it gets too hot or too dry. So they are able to survive very hot or cold temperatures and can even be present in dried foods. Once the right conditions (5 – 63c) return, the spore comes out of its protective casing and becomes a growing, food poisoning bacteria again.

Bacteria and food poisoning

We have established that the presence of bacteria is one of the most common causes of food poisoning – the presence of poisonous chemicals can also cause food poisoning. There are a number of potentially toxic chemicals present in food. For example, potatoes which have turned green contain the toxic substance, Solanine, which is only dangerous when eaten in excess.

Rhubarb contains Oxalic Acid – the amounts present in the stems which are normally cooked are relatively harmless to humans, but the higher concentration in the leaves makes them very dangerous to eat.

A toxin is a poisonous substance that may be produced by the metabolism of a plant or animal, especially certain bacteria. Toxic food poisoning is mainly caused by Staphylococci in the UK and more rarely in this country, Clostridium Botulinum.

Foods most commonly affected by Staphylococci are:

• Meat pies

• Sliced meats

• Pies with gravy

• Synthetic cream

• Ice-cream

50-60% of people carry Staphylococci in their noses and throats and are present in nasal secretions following a cold. Staphylococci are also present in skin wounds and infections and find their way into foods via the the hands of an infected food handler. Hence the importance of keeping all wounds and skin conditions covered. Although staphylococci are themselves readily destroyed by thorough cooking or re-heating, the toxin which they produce is often much more heat-resistant and may need a higher temperature or longer cooking time for its complete destruction.

Food poisoning from Clostridium botulinum – known as botulism – is extremely serious. This produces a life-threatening toxin which is the most virulent poison known. Foods most commonly affected by clostridium botulinum are:

• Inadequately processed canned meat, vegetables and fish.

During the commercial canning process, every care is taken to ensure that each part of the food is heated to a high enough temperature to ensure complete destruction of any clostridium botulinum spores that may be present.

YEASTS & MOULDS – microscopic organisms some of which are desirable in food and contribute to its characteristics. For example, ripening of cheese, bread fermentation etc. They are simple plants which appear like whiskers on food. To grow they require warmth, moisture and air. They are killed by heat and sunlight. Moulds can grow where there is too little moisture for yeasts and bacteria to grow. Yeasts are single celled plants or organisms larger than bacterial, that grow on foods containing moisture and sugar. Foods containing a small percentage of sugar and a large amount of liquid such as fruit juices and syrups are liable to ferment because of yeasts. Yeasts are destroyed by heat.

VIRUS – microscopic particles transmitted by food which may cause illness. For example, Hepatitis A (jaundice). Unlike bacteria, viruses cannot multiply or grow in food.

PROTOZOA – single celled organisms which live in water and are responsible for serious diseases such as malaria, usually spread by infected mosquitoes and dysentery. These food-borne infections are mostly caught abroad.

ESCHERICHIA COLI – E Coli is a normal part of the intestines of man and animals. It is found in human excreta and raw meat. E Coli causes abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea and vomiting. High standards of hygiene and through cooking of foods must be applied. Raw and cooked meat must be stored at correct temperature and cross contamination must be avoided.

SALMONELLA – is present in the intestines of animals and human beings. Foods affected include poultry, meat, eggs and shellfish. Prevention should include:

• good standards of personal hygiene

• elimination of insects and rodents.

• washing hands and equipment and surfaces after handling raw poultry

• not allowing carriers of the disease to handle food.

Control of Bacteria

There are three methods of controlling bacteria:

1. Protect food from bacteria in the air by keeping foods covered. To prevent cross contamination, use separate boards and knives for cooked and uncooked foods Use different coloured boards for particular foods. For example, red for meat, blue for fish, yellow for poultry etc. Store cooked and uncooked foods separately. Wash your hands frequently.

2. Do not keep foods in the danger zone of between 5c and 63c for longer than absolutely necessary.

3. To kill bacteria, subject bacteria to a temperature of 77c for 30 seconds or a higher temperature for less time. Certain bacteria develop into spores and can withstand higher temperatures for longer periods of time. Certain chemicals also kill bacteria and can be used for cleaning equipment and utensils.

The main food hygiene regulations of importance to the caterer are: Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 and Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995. These implemented the EC Food Hygiene directive (93/43 EEC). They replaced a number of different regulations including the Food Safety (General) Regulations of 1970. The 1995 Regulations are similar in many respects to earlier regulations. However, as with the Health & Safety legislation, these regulations place a strong emphasis on owners and managers to identify the safety risks, to design and implement appropriate systems to prevent contamination, these systems and procedures are covered by Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and/or Assured Safe Catering. The regulations place two general requirements on owners of food businesses:

• To ensure that all food handling operations are carried out hygienically and according to the ‘Rules of Hygiene’.

• To identify and control all potential food safety hazards, using a systems approach either HACCP or Assured Safe Catering.

• In addition, there is an obligation on any food handler who may be suffering from or carrying a disease which could be transmitted through food to report this to the employer who may be obliged to prevent the person concerned from handling food. Catering establishments have a general obligation to supervise and instruct and provide training in food safety & hygiene commensurate with their employees’ responsibilities. Details with regard to how much training is required, are not specified in the regulations. However, HMSO Industry Guide to Catering provides guidance on training which can be taken as a general standard to comply with legislation.

Prevention of food poisoning

Almost all food poisoning can be prevented by:

• complying with the rules of hygiene

taking care and thinking head

• ensuring that high standards of cleanliness are applied to premises and equipment

• preventing accidents

• high standards of personal hygiene

• physical fitness

• maintaining good working conditions

• maintaining equipment in good repair and clean condition

• using separate equipment and knives for cooked and uncooked foods

• ample provision of cleaning facilities and equipment

• storing foods at the right temperature

• safe reheating of foods

• quick cooling of foods prior to storage

• protection of foods from vermin and insects;

• hygienic washing-up procedures;

• Knowing how food poison is caused

• carrying out procedures to prevent food poisoning.

This has been just a brief overview of food safety. If you are in the catering trade or are planning do become a cook or chef, it is essential that you learn all there is to know about the subject. The following links should help to fill the gaps.

Essentially, you need to know the Food Regulations appertaining to your own country. Its pointless following the Food Safety Regulations of the UK if you live or work in Australia, Spain or New Zealand.

Antibiotics as a Cure for Stomach Ulcer

Stomach ulcer refers to open lesions and ulcerations at the level of the stomach. Statistics indicate that more than two percent of the people in the United States are diagnosed with stomach ulcer each year and it is estimated that around eight to ten percent of these people are at risk of developing various other forms of ulcer over the years. In the United States there are approximately half a million annual cases of stomach ulcer. The disorder has the highest incidence in the male gender, and it predominantly affects people with ages over 50.

Stomach ulcer is considered to be a serious disorder. In the absence of medical treatment, stomach ulcer can lead to complications such as stomach perforation and internal bleeding. There are many forms of treatment for stomach ulcer in present. However, the problem with most medications is that they only provide temporary symptomatic relief, allowing the disorder to reoccur soon after completing the prescribed medical treatment.

Stomach ulcer is a digestive disorder that occurs due to physiological abnormalities (poor stomach production of bicarbonate, poor integrity of the stomach’s mucosal protective cover, inappropriate mucosal blood flow, overproduction of pepsin and gastric acid) and infection with bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. Although these bacteria are known to be a major cause of stomach ulcer, most doctors neglect this aspect and only prescribe medications for normalizing the stomach’s production of digestive fluids. Although antacids and other medications commonly used in the treatment for stomach ulcer can keep the disorder under control, they can’t overcome the ulcer completely. Unless the treatment with antacids is followed on a regular basis, the symptoms of stomach ulcer are very likely to reoccur.

One of the most common medications used in the treatment for stomach ulcer is Tagamet. This ulcer drug acts by reducing the levels of gastric acid and pepsin inside the stomach. The problem with Tagamet and other antacids is that they only provide short-term effects. Most people affected by stomach ulcer experience a relapse of the disorder soon after interrupting the treatment with Tagamet.

Since the underlying cause of stomach ulcer is infection with Helicobacter pylori, people with the disorder should also receive a medical treatment with antibiotics. Research results indicate that people with stomach ulcer who have been prescribed a course of antibiotics such as amoxicillin or penicillin have experienced a considerable amelioration of their ulcer. In addition, most people with stomach ulcer who have followed treatments with antibiotics have been permanently cured. Unlike antacids, antibiotics can provide long-term effects for people affected by stomach ulcer, thus minimizing the chances of relapse.

A two-week course of amoxicillin is usually sufficient for overcoming the infection with Helicobacter pylori. Corroborated with antacids, antibiotic treatments can successfully cure stomach ulcers, minimizing the chances of relapse.

Foods to Avoid For Acid Reflux – Foods That Aggravate Heartburn

Acid reflux is a name of the condition that can give you a burning feeling in your chest behind the breastbone. This condition affects more than 60 million people in just USA. The condition of each patient can be different. Patients with severe heartburn may feel that their heart is “burning up”. This is why this condition is also called “Heartburn”.

This acid reflux condition happens when the stomach acids flow up to the mouth. The main cause behind this could be the foods you consume. Here are some foods to avoid for acid reflux.

Firstly, you should stop eating foods that can give you an extra weight. Fatty and junk foods are extremely dangerous for your body. They are the main triggers for acid reflux. This is because they are hard to be digested. Your stomach has to produce more acids to digest them. So, you can easily improve your condition by just avoiding these foods and have more fibrous foods because they are easily to be digested.

Alcohol, Carbonated drinks and Coffee are basic triggers. These drinks are very common for many people. They are addicted to them. In order to improve your condition, you might reduce them slowly and see the outcome.

Citrus fruits can also increase the acid level in your stomach and aggravate your condition. So, you may try non-citrus fruits such as bananas. Bananas have very good effect on acid reflux because they can significantly improve your digestive system.

Are you chocolate lovers? I have a bad news for you. Chocolate can affect the esophageal sphincter and cause acid in the esophagus.

Indigestion, Acid Reflux, Heartburn – Do You Need To See Your Doctor?

Probably three out of every four people who suffer from indigestion never seek medical advice: they relieve their symptoms by a few changes to their lifestyle and every now and then buy over-the-counter treatments, such as antacids or acid blocking drugs, from the chemist.

When to take action

The aim of this article is to help you to decide whether and when to consult your doctor. You should make an appointment if any of the three following descriptions applies to you.

Sinister symptoms

See Your GP without delay if you have any symptoms of the kind doctors call ‘sinister’, by which they mean symptoms that might be caused by a serious disease such as stomach cancer.

Early diagnosis and treatment give the best chance of a cure, so get prompt medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Vomiting blood or a brown material that bears resemblance to ground coffee.
  • Passing altered blood in the motions.
  • Indigestion while you are taking non steroidal ant inflammatory drugs.

No improvement

Although indigestion without these sinister symptoms can sensibly be treated at home in the first instance by changes to your lifestyle and over-the-counter remedies such as antacids, you should not persist if there is no improvement. Consult your doctor if your symptoms have not cleared up within two weeks of starting self treatment.

Unusual symptoms

You should consult your doctor if you develop indigestion for the first time in your life after the age of 40, or if you develop a type of indigestion that you have not had before. Your doctor may need to arrange various tests and investigations before beginning treatment

Colitis Symptoms – What is it and How to Treat?

People are frequently got confused of colitis symptoms and Crohns Disease signs and symptoms as they are somewhat similar. Though both colitis symptoms as well as Crohns Disease affect the digestive system, in fact they are apparently different in different ways. This will be explained in this article to aid you tell the difference of both conditions.

What Is Colitis?

Colitis basically is a condition that is characterized by inflammation of the large intestines or colon. When this part of the body is inflamed, it can cause ulcers that bleed and produce a mucus or pus sometimes.

As regards the causes of this condition, there are a lot of theories arise. There are also many research have been done without definite answer, however. This condition frequently shows up in the form of flare ups.

Prescription drugs and dietary changes are two of the most common treatments for this condition. This would include removing the affected part of the colon. This is usually used only as a final resort.

Once it becomes apparent that the condition is present, you have to seek treatment immediately. Diarrhea causes the body to lose fluids faster than normal. Dehydration and malnutrition can result from this.

When coping with colitis symptoms, the way it affects a person’s daily life is another factor that is needed to be considered. This can also be a so embarrassing condition to deal with by reason of the part of the body that is affected. When treating colitis, it’s important to cope with the psychological affects and the physical.

Time and again, coping with colitis symptoms can lead to changes of major lifestyle and even can affect the quality of a person’s life hugely. Herein, the support groups are more common as a way of coping with this.

Answer all questions of yours in regard to colitis symptoms

The Correlation Between Oral and Overall Health

It’s often hard to avoid tantalizing your sweet tooth and while you may be concerned about your waistline your dentist is concerned about your smile and not because of cavities. The amount is said to reveal a lot about a person, the overall health and nutrition and several other details you couldn’t even imagine.

Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease and according to recent studies three out of four Americans have it, many don’t even know it, yet if left unchecked gum disease can lead to chronic conditions in the rest of the body. Periodontal bacteria has been linked to the hardening of the arteries so if you have gum problems you had a higher risk of heart disease.

Oral bacteria can also make it harder on diabetics to control their blood sugar levels and pregnant women who have gum disease are more likely to give birth early or have underweight babies.

The good news is that periodontal disease is easily prevented, just brush your teeth at least twice a day properly for a full two minutes and don’t forget flossing which should be done at least once a day, five days a week. Make sure you learn how to floss properly as many of the dentists said that when they asked their patients about how they floss their teeth the method is usually wrong, if you want to do it properly you should just get the floss in and out you should wrap around the tooth and that you go up and down a couple times in order to give a scrubbing motion and then you wrap around the backside of the next one.

Make sure you change your toothbrush often (every two to three months) and whatever you do don’t share it with others because periodontal disease can be spread on contact and that is definitely a kiss you do not want to steal — so to speak.

As you see the condition of your dental structure can affect more areas of your body that you previously imagined. Periodontal diseases have also been linked to severe conditions such as stroke, heart attacks and other diseases related to the circulatory system so the better care you give to your gums and teeth the lower your chances are of suffering from a serious condition at as most of the people think may not have anything to do with oral health.

Anasarca – What is This Form of Generalized Swelling?

Anasarca is a form of swelling which is generalized in the body of the patient. It is considered as a massive edema. A minor amount of swelling in one localized spot on the body is not considered the same as anasarca. The swollen area itself occurs by means of fluid build up in the tissue.

Different causes can lead to anasarca, as well as swelling in general. Below are some conditions and issues that can lead to one type or the other, or potentially both. This list is not exhaustive and does not contain all potential underlying medical causes.

Congestive heart failure – Typically occurring in instances of low cardiac output, or when the body begins to require more resources than the heart is able to give.

Kidney disease – This can occur due to chronic conditions like diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure, as well as others.

Clarkson syndrome – A rare condition involving the pores of the capillaries, this is also known as capillary leak syndrome.

Different measures can be used for diagnosis in the case of anasarca or more localized swelling. Some tests used may include electrolyte levels and blood albumin levels. Tests of the liver and kidney function, as well as measurements via urinalysis, might also be done. Echocardiogram and electrocardiogram, along with X-ray procedures, are a few other options.

Once the condition has been diagnosed, treatment may be considered. Depending upon the underlying medical issue or issues, as well as other factors, different selections for treatment may be chosen.

Artery Disease – The Killer Among Us

What do our arteries do?

The human body is an incredible machine and the thing that keeps it all going is the heart. This organ is our pump and the blood pumped around our body by this pump is carried around via arteries and veins. Therefore, it is imperative that any disease to these arteries is prevented or treated as a matter of urgency.

Diseases that can affect the arteries

Any form of arterial disease is dangerous due to the death of organs by oxygen starvation. This can happen when there is a blockage in the artery.

The most common artery disease in the Western world is hardening of the arteries. It is most commonly caused by age but can also be influenced by other factors as well, affecting the rate of progressive illness. Hardening of the arteries is called arteriosclerosis.

Another disease is atheroma which is a condition in which fatty deposits can be found on the walls of the arteries. This increases generally as the body ages.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring ingredient of the blood and, if it leaks into the inside of the artery, it forms a fatty streak that is the beginning of the atheromatous process. As this streak grows, its surface may break down, triggering a clotting mechanism that causes a mixture of fibrous tissue and fatty tissue to form in the arterial wall. This is called an atheromatous plaque. When this continues to grow, it begins to block the blood filled space of the artery.

Eventually, there are changes in the deep arterial wall where fibrous tissue forms on the wall side of the atheromatous plaque which then progresses to the stage where it is blocking the interior of the artery. Hence, a blockage of the artery occurs. Even when there is a partial blockage, the flow of blood past the obstruction is hindered and the resulting clot may cause a total blockage known as a thrombosis.

There is also the possibility of an embolism which occurs when parts of an atheromatous plaque dislodge and travel toward a smaller artery which may then become blocked.

Atheroma is most likely to happen in parts of the arterial wall that are most prone to stress and movement such as sites where arteries branch off into smaller arteries. The lining at these sites is subject to greater stretching which allows more cholesterol to invade the wall.

What happens if the artery is blocked?

Every organ in the body is a likely area of arterial disease because oxygen is supplied to them via the arteries. If atheroma disrupts blood supply to any limb or organ, then it will certainly die. If this happens to tissue, it is known as infarction. If it happens to a limb, it is commonly known as gangrene.

For obvious reasons, the most severe problems from the effects of atheroma are those affecting the heart, the brain, the legs, and the aorta.

Heart attacks

Because the two coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart are under more stress than any other artery, this organ is particularly susceptible to atheroma or blockage of the arteries. When a coronary artery becomes blocked, it may be called a coronary thrombosis or a myocardial infarction. The myocardium is the heart muscle; thus, when it is deprived of blood, it dies and is called an infarction.

Another problem which affects the heart is when the atheroma is causing a partial blockage where there is only enough blood getting through to keep the heart supplied when it is at rest. When the body is active, it increases the need for blood in the heart and poor supply or no supply creates a starvation of oxygen. This creates pain in the heart and this pain is known as angina pectoris or just as angina. Often, the conditions known as angina and myocardial infarction are lumped together under the name of ischemic heart disease as they are both results of lack of oxygen. Ischemia means a lack of oxygen without total deprivation.

Strokes

In the brain, atherosclerosis can cause a stroke. Strokes may be minor or fatal and may happen because an artery has become blocked as a result of atheroma or embolism. It can also occur as a result of an artery leaking blood into the brain because of a weakness in the wall.

If the legs are affected, they become very painful, particularly during exercise. If the atheroma in the legs is severe, it may result in gangrene which may then require amputation of the leg as a consequence.

Two things can happen if the atheroma affects the aorta. The wall of the aorta may balloon out because of the weakening in the wall. This creates a swelling known as an aneurysm. Although most aneurysms are found in the abdomen, they may also be found in the chest. The aneurysm may continue to expand and then leak with disastrous results. The only treatment in this incidence is surgery.

Risk factors

The two most well established risk factors for atheroma are high blood pressure and diabetes. There are also some genetic factors which appear to put people at higher risk. Cholesterol levels, if not kept low, may also put you at a higher risk.

Prevention of artery disease

There are some things that a person can do to prevent the development of atheromatous conditions such as getting effective treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes. A doctor may also prescribe medication to lower cholesterol levels.

The other important thing to do to prevent or postpone atheroma is to stop smoking, or never start smoking, as nicotine can counteract the positive effects of other measures. As well as reducing the chance of heart disease, general health will improve.

Pulmonary Heart Disease

Pulmonary heart disease – is a very serious form of the disease. If there is a change in the structure of the right ventricle located in the heart, due to respiratory problems. Pulmonary heart disease affects nearly 1 million people a year. Many things can increase your risk for developing pulmonary heart disease such as smoking, obesity or poor sleeping habits. Pulmonary heart disease (cor pulmonýale) occurs when pulmonary arterial pressure is elevated secondary to dysfunction of the lungs and its vasculature and produces right heart failýure.

It is historically known as a chronic condition that has in most instances proved to be incurable and results in a very low survival rate. Today though, there are some new treatment options available that seem to have generally improved the prognosis for pulmonary heart disease. Pulmonary heart disease you are talking about is pulmonary edema. It can occur without any reason or cause, but the most common reason is heart problem, which lasted for a long time and was left untreated. Pulmonary heart disease includes pulmonary valve stenosis and pulmonary valve regurgitation. Both these lesions are rare although pulmonary regurgitation is more common than pulmonary stenosis.

In clinical practice is often seen as Heart Zang disease with chronic changes in lungs, chest cavity, pulmonary artery, which causes an obstruction of lung circulation. Those changes result in high pressure in pulmonary artery and enlargement of the right half of heart combined with failure of the right half of heart. Pulmonary heart disease occurs when the blood flow into the lungs is slowed or blocked because of lung problems. This circumstance increases the pressure on the lungs and the heart requires working harder to oppose this added pressure, which in the end can become pulmonary heart disease.

This disease is a change in structure and function of the right ventricle of the heart as a result of a respiratory disorder. Exactly that is a complication of lung disorders where the blood flow into the lungs is slowed or blocked causing increased lung pressure. Pulmonary heart disease includes pulmonary valve stenosis and pulmonary valve regurgitation. Both these lesions are rare although pulmonary regurgitation is more common than pulmonary stenosis.

Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque develops within the arteries that pump blood into the heart. The disease progresses over time, and symptoms are often non – existent until the condition manifests itself in the form of a heart attack. Cor pulmonale may lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), with worsening of respiration due to pulmonary edema, swelling of the legs due to peripheral edema and painful congestive hepatomegaly. This situation requires diuretics (to decrease strain on the heart), sometimes nitrates (to improve blood flow) and occasionally inotropes (to improve heart contractility). It is the most frequent type of heart disease of all, and is also the leading reason of heart attacks. Coronary heart disease is a term that refers to damage to the heart that happens because its blood supply is decreased, and what happens here is that fatty deposits build up on the linings of the blood vessels that provide the heart muscles with blood, resulting in them narrowing.

Signs vary greatly, depending on the extent to which the lung is involved. Simple, uncomplicated embolism produces such cardiopulmonary signs as dyspnea, tachypnea, persistent cough, pleuritic pain and hemoptysis. Sign up and add some content to the process. This link describes the obvious advantages of opening participation to interested parties.

Treatment is also aimed at the underlying condition that is producing cor pulmonale. Common treatments include antibiotics for respiratory infection; anticoagulants to reduce the risk of thromboembolism; and digitalis, oxygen, and phlebotomy to reduce red blood cell count. Treatment includes bed rest, medications such as digitalis, control of excess salt and water retention, and elimination of the underlying cause. See also congestive heart failure. Treatment is not always successful.

Typhoid Fever – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Typhoid Fever is a serious and potentially fatal illness which is caused by a bacterial infection. This disease is primarily associated with poor hygiene and is more common in areas with poor sanitation.

Causes

Typhoid Fever is caused by the bacteria species known as Salmonella enterica. These bacteria are transmitted into the victim through contaminated water in most cases of infection. If the water or even food contaminated with fecal wastes from an infected person is consumed by a person, he or she could get infected with the typhoid bacteria found in the feces.

Once the bacteria enter into the body through the digestive tract, they penetrate into the intestinal walls and are phagocytosed, or engulfed in solid form by macrophages which are a type of white blood cells. From there, it is taken into parts of the body where it can multiply like spleen, liver and bone marrow. Once it multiplies in good numbers, it enters the blood stream again causing symptoms of the fever.

Not everyone may get critically ill after the bacteria infect them. People developing mild fever which can be overlooked can actually go on to be long term carriers of the disease, as the bacteria find havens to multiply in the liver, gall bladder and bile duct.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Typhoid Fever include the following.

· Slowly progressive high fever

· A very high fever degree of 104 °F

· Red colored, flat rash or spots

· Poor appetite

· Headache

· Fatigue

· Diarrhea

However, the disease progresses through no less than four stages spanning across a little more than three weeks. In the first week, the fever, headache and cough attack the patient with malaise. It may also accompany nose bleeding and abdominal pain. In the second week, the fever reaches up to 104 °F, marked by low heartbeat rate and a dicrotic pulse. Delirium is a noted symptom during this stage. Diarrhea and constipation are experienced frequently by victims.

The third stage can be particularly dangerous due to the risks of development of certain complications such as intestinal hemorrhage, muttering delirium and the intestinal perforation could occur. The fever gradually reduces by the end of the third week.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the typhoid fever is carried out by testing blood samples, bone marrow and stool cultures to check for the presence of the Salmonella type bacteria through the Widal Test, which confirms the presence of the antibodies for the parasite. However, the test can take a bit too long to confirm the results, as timely antibiotic treatment is vital to the treatment of the disease. Till the results from the Widal Test are awaited, ciprofloxacin is administered.

Treatment

Even though typhoid has been known to be potentially fatal and dangerous, it does not result in death most of the time. It is important to note that immediate treatment should be offered to the victim of typhoid fever which could help reduce the risk of fatality due to the disease to a mere 1%. Recovery is about a little more than a week. However, in case the victim is not treated, the fever will last a complete three weeks and could result in deaths in some cases.

One of the most widely used treatments of typhoid fever is administering antibiotics to the victim, particularly ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin, ampicillin and chloramphenicol, which are aimed to kill the Salmonella bacteria in the body. Chloramphenicol has been the primary drug of choice for the treatment, but other drugs such as ciprofloxacin, ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulfmethoxazole are usually prescribed due to effectiveness and milder side effects.

As the sanitation conditions improve around the world, the occurrence of the disease is becoming less common as well. However, you should remain careful while traveling to a particular region where you know that typhoid is common and get vaccinated before doing so.

Streptococcus Pneumonia – Types of Infections and Advice For Caretakers

Steptococcus pneumonia is the most common bacteria that causes bacterial meningitis which is a potentially fatal disease without early medical intervention. This bacteria also causes many types of other deadly diseases such as pneumonia (inflammation of the lung tissue), meningitis (inflammation of the meningeal layer of the brain), otitis media (infection of the ear), sinusitis (inflammation of the sinus), pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium lining of the heart), peritonitis (inflammation of the peritonieal lining of the abdomen) and bacterial cellulitis (infection of the skin) commonly found among immuno-compromised patients like those with diabetes.

This harmful bacteria spreads through the air from direct person-to-person transmission through close contact via respiratory droplets from the infected patients. Droplets of mucus or saliva containing the bacteria is released into the air through daily involuntary spontaneous actions such as coughing, sneezing and even heavy breathing.

Family members living with the sick patient at home are exposed to great risk of infections, as the bacteria is inhaled into their lungs and bodies. If the patient is in the hospital, other patients in the same ward and hospital staff are also exposed to the bacteria in the air, as the tiny droplets can remain airborne for several hours.

Caretakers of sick patients should maintain a distance where possible and maintain clean hygiene by doing frequent cleansing activities such as washing hands, maintaining clean clothes, and wearing a mask to reduce the inhalation of the bacteria. A good indoor air purifier can help to clean the atmosphere and reduce the number of airborne bacteria, thereby reducing the risks of catching the infection.

Pain in Lower Left Side

There are a number of reasons why pain in your lower left side could exist, as well as a number of solutions on how to reduce and get rid of that pain. In order to determine the exact solution we must first determine the cause of the pain.

What are the common symptoms?

Side pain is a discomfort on the left or right side of the body, typically between the chest and hips. Most pain radiates from damaged bones, muscles or nerves, but blood vessels, organs and other structures can also become infected, or inflamed. Can pain just occur in just the lower left side?

The short answer, yes, pain can occur in one localized area. What causes lower left side pain?

Urinary Causes

Most of the causes in this area stem from the kidney. It could be as simple as a bruised kidney from some type of trauma or it could be something more serious like kidney cancer.

Gastrointestinal Causes

Most gastrointestinal causes are due to abdominal pain, but lower left side pain may occur in conjunction with abdominal pain due to any of the following conditions:

  • Appendicitis
  • Bowel blockage
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Flatulence
  • Food poisoning
  • Gall bladder disorders
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)
  • Liver disorders
  • Pancreatitis
  • Ruptured spleen

Often times abdominal pain is the actual cause for pain in your lower left side.

Lung Related Causes

Many times lungs can create localized pain in your side because they extend down and towards the sides of your torso. This can be especially for those with asthma after intense sporting events.

Some other related causes are:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pleurisy
  • Pneumonia
  • Plumonary edema

Gynecological Causes

Female reproductive organs may become inflamed, infected, or otherwise damaged, causing pain in the lower side, usually directly above the groin. Gynecological causes of side pain include:

  • Pregnancy related issues
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes)
  • Tubo-ovarian abscess (abscess affecting an ovary and fallopian tube)

Cardiovascular Causes

Side pain can possibly arise from heart problems. Most of the following conditions are usually more associated with pain in the chest, just like the lungs, this pain can radiate outward to your side via your ribcage. Cardiovascular conditions include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease (heart disease)
  • Endocarditis (inflammation or infection of the inner lining of the heart)
  • Heart attack
  • Mitral valve prolapse and other heart valve problems
  • Pericarditis (inflammation or infection of the lining that covers the heart)
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm

Other Causes of Side Pain

Many times side pain is caused by something we do, like lifting heavy objects with out proper technique. If you’re reading this, you no know what they mean by “lift with your legs.” Many of the below causes are also related to the main anatomical categories discussed above, but if you can a narrow it down to something in this list then you’ll know what to avoid in the future.

  • Exercise
  • Fibromyalgia (chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness and tenderness)
  • Hernia
  • Muscle spasm
  • Musculoskeletal injuries, such as a rib fracture or strained muscle in the chest wall, back, or abdomen
  • Neuritis (inflammation of a nerve between ribs)
  • Seminal vesiculitis (seminal vesicle inflammation)
  • Shingles (herpes zoster infection)

After you’ve had a chance to read through some of the causes, learn how to properly diagnose pain in the lower left side.

How to Treat a Kitten With a Cold

It can be very upsetting when your little kitten catches a cold. Here are a few hints to get her back on her paws in no time. By following these measures, you’ll likely reduce the period of time in which your cat or kitten is infected with this nagging and annoying ailment. Take heed to all of the advice listed herein and there’s a good chance that you’ll see positive results.

First of all isolate your poorly pet from any other animals that you may have. The last thing you want is to have multiple pets with any kind of ailment, and this will stop the infection spreading to the others that may reside in your house. Save yourself more potential headaches, and find a quiet area of the house for the kitten to recover, one where there won’t be much human traffic.

Keeping your kitten warm is vital as she will have very little body fat and will feel the cold. Wrap her in a warm blanket, but it is recommended to check her temperature at regular intervals with a rectal thermometer. If her temperature ever goes above 103 degrees she has a fever and its best to call a vet. Just as this would be perilous to a human, it would be to a kitten too.

Make sure your kitten is fed 4 or 5 times a day, only small portions though. Preventing dehydration is vital. So carefully check how much water she is taking.

If your kitten is refusing to eat try some chicken baby food, this has been reported as appealing to poorly cats even when they have lost their appetite. If you have some Vitamin C in the house, mix some into the food as an immune booster.

Change her bedding at regular intervals and make sure it is thoroughly disinfected before you use it again. All her toys should be cleaned and disinfected too. Just ensure the products you use aren’t phenol based, as this is poisonous to cats. Bleach is your best bet.

Keep her nose, mouth and eyes clean using a damp and warm cloth. If her nose is stuffy and she’s having trouble breathing through it, put a few drops of saline in each nostril then wipe them.

If you suspect your kitten is dehydrating, or has a fever and is getting worse instead if better, get her to see a veterinarian as soon as it is humanly possible.

Stop Acute Bronchitis in Its Tracks

There are two basic categories of bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is typically associated with colds and flu like symptoms. While chronic bronchitis may last months or even years, the acute variety typically is limited in duration to no more than a week or two.

The symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

1. Tightness in the chest area

2. Usually a sore throat

3. Congestion

4. Wheezing and difficulty breathing

5. A low to mid grade fever

And a general feeling of “yuckyness.”

Most acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection and can be spread through person-to-person contact either directly or indirectly. This means that if you are a caregiver of someone who has bronchitis, you are at risk of contracting the illness yourself.

The good news is that there are several ways that a healthy person can limit the potential of getting ill.

These include:

1. Wash your hands.

You can significantly reduce the risk of catching many common illnesses, including bronchitis through careful handwashing or use of hand sanitizers. This is especially true if you’re working as a caregiver or mom.

2. Get a flu shot.

Acute bronchitis can begin with an illness caused by a common influenza virus. Getting an annual vaccination can help protect you from influenza (the flu) and bronchitis.

3. Limit exposure to sick people

When someone becomes ill in our house, we work to isolate them to minimize infecting the rest of the family. This includes assigning them their own drinking glass along with keeping them in limited areas of the house. Although not perfect, our sick person ritual has kept the other children from also becoming ill.

4. Cover your mouth.

Teach anyone that gets ill to cover their mouths when they cough to limit transmission of the illness. Once again, this is not perfect solution that can help to contain an influenza virus that may result in bronchitis.

5. Avoid smoking and smoke whenever possible.

There are many chemicals, fumes and particle dust that can irritate and compromise bronchial passages. None more so however than smoking. If you have someone suffering from acute bronchitis, try to keep them away from any smoking environment. They simply don’t need the extra stress on an already infected pulmonary system

At work, be sure to use care in common areas like break and meeting rooms along with the restroom. It’s no secret that many people simply do not wash their hands after using the restroom. This is especially poor hygiene when you consider the number of people with potential illnesses that also use common areas.

TMJ Or Jaw Pain? How it Happens and What You Can Do to Make the Pain in Your Jaw Go Away

Having a forward head  posture puts a lot of strain on the muscles of your neck and jaw.  Having a “forward head” means that your head (and often one or both shoulders, too) are in front of your body. 

Where should your head be instead?  Well, when you were a toddler, it was pretty much directly over your body and that’s still where it should be.  Due to habits, furniture, car seats, work and life, sometimes our head moves out in front of us.  That causes a lot of symptoms and TMJ pain, or pain and difficulty moving your jaw, can be one of those symptoms.

If chewing has been painful for you…

or if it’s been hard to open or move your jaw…

or if it feels as though your jaw is dislocated…let’s talk about muscles and joints.

There are muscles all over your body and head including in and around your mouth.  There are muscles that let you open and close your jaw, which is a joint.  Two of these muscles are on each side of your TMJ (temporomandibular joint.)  They are called pterygoid muscles.  They are tucked in behind your lower jawbone.

When the pterygoid muscles get tight, or develop trigger points, they can cause difficulty opening your mouth.  They can also cause pain in the TMJ (jaw joint) area, difficulty breathing through your nose, ringing in your ears and “sinus” pain (but it’s really not a sinus issue.)  You can release, or relax, these muscles by pressing into them with your fingers. 

There are two types of pterygoids.  Let’s call them “lower” and “upper.” 

You can press up under your jaw bone with your thumb or finger, at the end of the jaw closest to your ear, and press into the “lower” pterygoid.  This might be very painful.  That’s a sign that you are in the right place.  The pressure from your finger causes the muscle to relax because it improves circulation.  You may be tender afterward if the spot is very painful, so take it easy on yourself.  (But don’t give up.)

The next muscle is the major cause of TMJ dysfunction and pain.  To get to the “upper” pterygoid, you need to reach into your mouth with a finger.  The muscle you are looking for is way in the back of your upper jaw, beyond your back teeth.  Push your finger back as far beyond the teeth as you can and then make tiny massaging movements with your finger tip in (toward your throat) and up (toward the top of your head.)  It will be very painful if these muscles are tight or have trigger points. 

If it is very painful when you press on the spots, you know you have found a cause of your pain.

Of course, you need to have very short finger nails to do this work.  You must press deeply enough to determine whether these muscles are causing your TMJ issues.  Fortunately (or not?) the muscles in your mouth will be tender and that tells you whether they need to be released.

Even though you may have some tenderness, and it might take several sessions of self-treatment, you will see a decrease in your TMJ symptoms.  Use your body wisdom to determine how deeply and how often you should do this.  If you feel that you have bruising afterward from the pressure (typical when muscles are very tight), you can give your muscles a few days to get past the bruising before you treat them again.