It may be March, but we're still not over cold and flu season yet. If you're feeling ill, you may want to call in sick to work, but if your symptoms are severe, what you really might need is a visit to your doctor. According to FamilyDoctor.org, adults should call their doctors when:
- Your temperature is above 102°F for a few days
- Symptoms last more than 10 days, or they seem to get worse instead of better
- You have trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- You experience chest pressure or pain
- You feel like you're about to faint
- Symptoms include confusion or disorientation
- You experience severe or persistent vomiting
- You have severe pain in the head or forehead
- You have hoarseness, sore throat, or a cough that won't go away after 10 days
Your doctor may make some recommendations for things to do at home, or she may request you come in for an appointment. Most likely, your cold or flu will go away on its own, but if you're concerned, it's worth getting your doctor's advice just to be sure.
Many women have to put up with the irritable and self-described "unsightly" issue of cankles (peripheral edema, medically speaking) late in their pregnancies. As a mother-to-be spends more time on her feet and the bodily fluids continue to multiply, the evidence of thicker legs and ankles often becomes evident.
Moms take note: Excessive swelling may be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a serious condition sometimes called toxemia, that includes high blood pressure and swelling.
So you've been out in the sun and you wore sunscreen, but unfortunately you forgot to reapply. You ended up with a nasty burn on your face and as you take a closer look, parts of your cheek appear kind of blistery and yellowish in color. What you've got is a case of
sun poisoning (also called Photodermatitis, for those who want to impress their friends). Not only does it cause this painful rash, but symptoms also include fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, chills, and headaches. The area may swell and will probably feel like it's on fire.
Sun poisoning is your skin's reaction to UV rays. It's possible to become more sensitive than normal if you use certain meds such as antibiotics, beauty products that are used for acne, or sunscreens that contain PABA. Just like an irritating sunburn, the rash usually results in itchy, peeling skin, but eventually goes away on its own within 10 days. That's good to hear, but there's bad news too. To hear it read more
Winter is slowly receding and in many places Spring has sprung (even though we have to wait a week for the official season change). With Spring weather comes blooming plants, trees and shrubs and with them pollen, the irritant that brings on hay fever. I for one live in denial of seasonal allergies and just like to pretend that I have a cold . . . a cold that goes on forever.
Since allergy season is upon us (or about to be depending on where you live), I thought it might be useful to compare the symptoms of the common cold with allergy symptoms.
- Itchy nose: Although allergies and colds both produce a runny nose and congestion, allergies create the dreaded itchy nose. The itch generally occurs in the back of the nose and is difficult to "scratch." Folks suffering from "nasal pruritus" (the fanciest way in the world to say itchy nose) often scrunch up their faces, like a bunny, to try to alleviate the itch.
- The sneeze: Sneezing frequently, and sometimes quietly, is common with allergies. Sneezes from colds tend to be loud, deep and infrequent, attempting to clear the bronchial congestion down in the lungs. Allergy sneezes, on the other hand, are an attempt to remove allergens from the nose.
- Runny Eyes: While eyes might occasionally water with a cold, they will run profusely with allergies.
Unfortunately, the list of symptoms is a bit longer, so read more
The flu bug is flying around and the doctors at Harvard Medical School know that we all have some questions on the subject. Fortunately for us they have the answers for five commonly asked questions about colds and the flu. Here are highlights:
- Why do colds and the flu increase in the Winter?
The reason has nothing to do with the temperature, at least not directly. Cold weather itself does not cause these illnesses, but people are more likely to stay indoors and spread germs to one another when it’s cold outside.
When should I stay home from work or keep my child home from school?
It is important to stay home when you are most contagious. For colds, you are contagious the entire time you have symptoms, but you are most contagious right after you contract the cold, before you even have symptoms. For the flu, adults are most infectious from the day before symptoms start until about the fifth day of symptoms.
- When should I see my doctor?
If you experience complications such as high fever, shaking chills, chest pain with each breath, coughing that produces thick, yellow-green mucus, or if your symptoms do not go away as quickly as you would expect them to, see your doctor.
To find out how to keep your contagions to yourself, just read more
When I think of lead poisoning, I think of old paint peeling off the wall. It can actually be a silent enemy. Just yesterday, a family in Utah discovered that their little girl has been affected by lead — not from sucking on a recalled toy, but from plates in their kitchen. And, the scary thing is that the girl wasn't the one eating off of them. Her mother was passing it on to her daughter by breastfeeding. I don't know about you, but I only worried about my food and drink consumption while I was nursing. I'll know better next time.
Lead poisoning can cause nausea, constipation, stomach aches, and headaches in the short term. Long-term effects include behavior, learning, and physical development issues . If you live in an old home that has old paint, it might be a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about testing your child's lead level. I'm taking my own daughter in for her test next week.
The plates were made by Home Trends and were sold at Wal-Mart over three years ago. They do not sell those particular plates anymore, but they still carry the line.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
Women are strongly encouraged to see their doctor, preferably their gynecologist if they have been experiencing these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks. These symptoms and signs have been identified in hopes that patients and doctors will become more aware of early symptoms, lead to earlier diagnosis and, perhaps, save lives, or at least prolong survival.
However, it is too soon to know if this new screening method will improve rates of early detection or lead to a flood of diagnostic tests or, in a worst case scenario, unnecessary operations. Yet, cancer experts believe a more aggressive approach might prove fruitful to detecting ovarian cancer early. If the disease, one of the deadlier types of cancer due to late diagnosis, is detected early (Stage I) it is considered 90% curable.
The purpose of these findings is not to frighten women, but to make them and their physicians more alert to these symptoms if they arise suddenly and with intense frequency.
If you live in a warm climate, or a place where the summer gets pretty hot and humid, you could be at risk for heat exhaustion if you're not careful. Heat exhaustion can happen after exposure to high temps, which can make you sweat profusely and cause your body to overheat. You're at risk if you are working out in the sun, or in a poorly ventilated hot and humid room.
Here are the symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- cold, clammy skin
- dilated pupils
- excessive sweating
- dizziness, blurred vision, headache, or fainting
- muscle cramps
- weakness or fatigue
- nausea or vomiting
- signs of shock: rapid pulse, shallow breathing, unconsciousness
What should you do if you or someone you know is suffering from heat exhaustion? To find out read more