Nasopharyngitis, blepharoconjunctivitis, gastroenteritis – odds are you’ve come down with these hard-to-pronounce conditions. Do you know what they are? The Doctors clarify common illnesses that are difficult to read but easy to treat.
Sneezing, coughing, sore throat – we’ve all suffered these symptoms at some point. E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork explains three of the biggest myths about the common cold:
1. Hugging and kissing can spread cold and flu germs.
If you have a child or other loved one battling a cold, don’t be afraid to show affection. Germs are more likely to enter the body through the nose or the eyes.
2. You’re more likely to catch a cold if you’re cold or wet.
Colds are caught through the cold virus, not low temperatures. However, being cold can cause a virus to flare up and trigger cold symptoms. People get sick more often during colder months because they tend to stay indoors and are in closer proximity to each other, making it easier to spread germs.
3. Starve a fever, feed a cold.
A small study published in 2002 suggests that eating may influence short-term immune function, but whether this has any effect on a cold is unknown. But, there are foods that keep our bodies functioning properly, so when an illness comes along, try adding foods high in antioxidants -- beta-carotene and vitamins C and E – to your diet:
• Cantaloupe: A quarter of a cantaloupe gives you nearly half the recommended daily requirement of beta-carotene and is a rich source of vitamin C.
• Spinach: Not only full of beta-carotene, this leafy green contains vitamin C, folic acid and magnesium.
• Chicken soup: This home remedy is a powerful mucus stimulant. It helps clear nasal congestion and thins mucus so it can be coughed up more easily. In addition, research shows it may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect than can help ease cold symptoms.
Have you ever woken up with red eyes and swollen lids? It may have been blepharoconjunctivitis, the infection of the blephero, or outer eyelids, and the conjunctivita, the mucus membrane that protects the eyeball.
Blepharoconjunctivitis occurs when bacteria caused by blepharitis, the infection of the eyelid, spreads from the outer eyelid to the conjunctivita. It is highly contagious, and can be spread for up to 14 days.
Symptoms of blepharoconjuncivitis include red eyelids, an itching or burning sensation or severe dry skin flakes. To treat it, doctors may prescribe an antibacterial medication.
To prevent infection, plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon recommends rinsing your eyes out regularly with saline eyewash, about as often as you brush your teeth or wash your hair. If already infected, washing eyes out with boric acid wash can alleviate redness.
Xero means “dry,” while stomia means “mouth" -- xereostomia is the medical term for dry mouth.
People need saliva to moisten and cleanse their mouths and digest food. It also wards off infection by controlling the bacteria and fungi in the mouth.
When a person doesn’t produce enough saliva, his or her mouth becomes sticky and uncomfortable, and the lips and tongue become dry and cracked.
It can be caused by side effects of certain medications, nerve damage, dehydration and lifestyle choices such as smoking.
If symptoms are severe, such as a raw tongue, difficulty swallowing or extremely bad breath, doctors might prescribe a saliva-stimulating medication. Otherwise, you can stimulate saliva production by sucking on sugar-free candy, breathing through your nose, using a room vaporizer and drinking plenty of water.
If you’ve ever developed nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, you’ve had gastroenteritis. It occurs when the stomach and small intestine become inflamed by a number of factors, such as a virus, bacteria or food poisoning.
“The number one thing to do [when suffering from these symptoms] is hydrate,” Dr. Travis says. “Focus on hydrating yourself to make it through the 24 to 48 hours.”
Dr. Travis also recommends consuming bland foods such as bread, bananas and rice for 48 hours until you can resume eating more substantial foods. He also recommends popsicles for children suffering from the stomach flu, as it helps them ingest more fluids.
However, if you cannot keep fluids down, see a doctor so he or she can adminter fluids by IV.
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Megrim is another term for migraine. Symptoms of megrim, or migraines, include sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and the inability to carry out routine tasks.
Actress Jennie Garth, who suffers from migraines, opens up about managing her acting and directing career and mothering three daughters all while dealing with her lifelong struggle.
“I’ve had headaches and migraines for years,” Jennie says. “I can remember as a little girl having headaches, and my mom would put a cold compress on my head.
“Everyone has different symptoms for megrim. I go into a dark room and try to keep the light away from my eyes. It’s a visual, sort of sensory thing for me,” she adds.
What causes a migraine?
Some migraines are triggered by elements such as:
• Certain foods like red wine or aged cheese.
• Low blood sugar.
“Women are much more prone to migraines, and can also get menstrual migraines [before or during their cycles.]" OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "They can [get] better or worse with birth control depending on the individual.”
Four out of five migraine sufferers are shown to have a family history of megrim. If one parent suffers from migraines, their child’s chances are increased by 50 percent. If both parents suffer, chances increase to 75 percent.
There are a number of ways to manage a migraine but make sure to talk to your doctor if you suffer from them.
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can treat migraine attacks, but doctors may prescribe you something stronger if needed.
• At home, Jennie lies down in a dark room and puts a cool compress on her head at the pressure points.
• Migraine caps contain cooling gels and may be worn to relieve some of the pain.
• Vitamin B2 may help prevent the onset of migraines.
• Studies show that acupuncture may alleviate migraine pain.
“You need to be able to control your migraine symptoms so it doesn’t take over your life,” Dr. Travis says. “It can truly be debilitating.”
• Learn more about managing migraines at migraineresource.com and www.excedrin.com.
Nutrition You Can See
Beauty comes from the inside out – it’s not only about looking good, but feeling good, too. Author and pharmacist Suzy Cohen explains how certain vitamins can help improve your dietary and beauty needs.
Dr. Sears says that good health starts with a well-balanced diet, however those not consuming enough whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat and dairy may need to supplement key nutrients.
B vitamins, such as biotin, help promote healthy skin, hair and nails. In particular, B12 promotes cell production and supports cell regeneration to maintain healthy skin. B vitamins are also essential for a healthy metabolism and energy.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells against free radical damage like sunlight, smoke and pollution.
It also supports skin structure and integrity and helps the body produce more collagen.
Citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach and summer squash all contain vitamin C. If you don’t have access to fresh produce, the frozen variety works as well, and while food is the best source, you may also take a daily supplement.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which strengthens bones, muscles and vital organs such as the heart and brain. It may be obtained through sunlight, as it helps your body manufacture more vitamin D.
Megan says she’s afraid she’s not getting the nutrients she needs and asks The Doctors how to choose the right vitamins.
Following a vitamin regimen that fits your individual needs is essential. Talk to your doctor about which nutrients you need most. Your local pharmacist can be a good resource for recommending vitamins and dietary supplements.
“Seek out brands that are tested and verified by third-party public health organizations,” Suzy advises.
Tunica Albuginea Rupture
All men have them, and breaking them can be extremely painful. The Doctors explain penile fractures and which men are more likely to suffer them.