Tag Archives: infectious diseases

KIDS ARE GONNA LOVE THIS!

hot-air-balloon-521542_1280A pediatric research group in England has developed a balloon that you blow up with your nose…to help reduce ear infections in children.

By having children blow up the ballow with their nose, the child clears & opens the Eustachian tube, thus reducing pressure in the middle ear and allowing improved clearance of infection.

When you see the kids blow up the balloon, you will get that it’s fun and is easy…and is something a little kid would love to do.

So….coming soon to a pediatrician near you….balloon animals …by NOSE.

Watch the VIDEO >>>HERE<<<

MYTH OR FACT….A PATIENT CLAIMS TO HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH LYME DISEASE IN ARIZONA

flag-28574_640 copyIT IS A MYTH!

Although there are people in Arizona who have Lyme’s Disease, there are ZERO DOCUMENTED CASES of Lyme Disease contracted in Arizona.

Lyme Disease is a tick-borne infection caused by a spirochete germ (similar to the same germ that causes Syphyllis….a cousin.  The germ (spirochete bacterium) is called Borrelia Bergdorferi.

It is contracted when a person is bit by an infected tick.  The blacklegged tick (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) spreads the disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States. The western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast.   The tick is the size of a sesame seed and can be as small as a poppy seed.  The tick needs to be attached for 36-48 hours to cause infection and usually the larger ticks are identified and removed…small ticks may not be.

Ticks do not jump or fly, but rather drop onto the skin when a person brushes by grass or plants that have infected ticks on them.

Symptoms include:  A classic rash called Erythema Chronicum Migrans.  Beyond the rash, symptoms typically include: FEVER, HEADACHE, SWOLLEN GLANDS, SORE JOINTS.

Symptoms can last for weeks to months.

Treatment:  Antibiotics are very effective in treating this disease.

Long term:  There are patients who have ongoing symptoms for months to years after infection, even when effectively treated.  Additional research is being done to understand how this can be.

Read more >>>HERE<<<

 

 

EVERY INFECTION YOU’VE EVER KNOWN

Cancer cellA new blood test has been developed at Harvard Medical School that will tell you a list of all of the viral infections you have had in the past, among the several thousands of possibilities.  This means we will know every type of common cold virus (there are approximately 200 of those), as well as more specifically well-known infections like Hepatitis and HIV , polio, measles, west nile, et…..

Using a variety of the latest biological techniques of genetic manipulation, this test is an inexpensive screen for virtually all viruses a person could have been infected with in their lifetime.  It is hoped that this library of information will prove useful for identify what you’ve had, and potentially what you might be susceptible to in the future.

If inexpensive enough, it is thought that this screening would be done every few years, to track your viral profile over time.

Read more >>>>HERE<<<

 

MYTH OR FACT: YOU CAN CATCH VALLEY FEVER FROM YOUR INFECTED DOG

consults26-blogSpan-v3MYTH:     Valley Fever, also known as Coccidiomycosis, is a fungal infection found commonly in the Southwestern US.  Named after the San Joaquin Valley in California, not our Valley of the Sun, it is caught by inhaling infectious spores from aerosolized dust and the fungus is ubiquitous in Phoenix dust.

Dogs are more susceptible to Valley Fever infections that humans, but they also get exposed more than we do, due to their running about in dust-laden areas and being unable to avoid breathing in heavily dust laden air.

Still, a dog or person who is infected with Valley Fever is not infectious;  they cannot pass the infection on to other people or animals.  Infection comes from inhalation of infectious dust.

 

DID YOU TOUCH THAT FOMITE???? WONDER WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT….READ ON

BACTERIASWhen the flu season is high and viruses are all around us, it’s time to be careful of fomites.

Fomites are objects that have germs on them and that allow the germs to transfer from one person to another; So…..a doorknob is a fomite;  A shopping-cart handle is a fomite.  The handles on your favorite gym equipment are fomites.

How do you avoid fomites?  Well….it’s difficult.  We live in the world and have to touch things…we can’t swing from vine to vine line a chimpanzee (and even vines can be fomites…so that wouldn’t help.

The way to deal with fomites is a proper amount of handwashing, and the occasional (not excessive) use of hand sanitizer with an alcohol base.  This will limit your exposure to viruses a good bit, but there is no way to avoid fomites completely.

So….learn to love fomites, learn to respect fomites, but don’t fear fomites.   Wash your hands more and you’ll keep fomites from being your nemesis.

 

 

A PATIENT ASKS: “WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THE RECENT MEASLES OUTBREAK AT DISNEYLAND AND BEYOND?”

Chemodanchik_002_p(0).jpgWhat do I do about the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland?  Does it affect me in any way?  I’m concerned as the news continues to report about it…..BSL

MY RESPONSE:

Measles is a highly contagious virus characterized by fever, rash, and often pneumonia.  It has been virtually eliminated from the United States through widespread vaccination of children at age 15 months.  This immunization occurs in the form of the MMR immunization (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) and is performed as a 2-shot series.

You are considered immune to measles and unable to be reinfected if:

1.  Your were born before 1957.  (Virtually all people born before 1957 were exposed to measles as it was prevalent in all areas of the counter, and occurred in epidemics in many years prior to that date.)

2.  You had documented measles.  (Many people do not recall such a history, so this is often not a helpful marker.  Still, some people are aware of having been definitely ill with measles.)

3.  You were born after 1967 and received the two shots of MMR (live) vaccine.  (Virtually all people who lived in the US, and were born after 1967 were given the MMR vaccine in the appropriate interval and dosing, unless they know that their family was trying to avoid immunization.)

4.  You have had a blood test that is positive for Rubeola (measles) IgG. (This proves immunity to measles.)

 

Anyone born in the US between 1958 and 1967  likely received the inactivated (dead) measles vaccine, and this was known to be less effective than the modern live MMR.  They are likely to be immune to measles, but to prove immunity, a measles (Rubeola) IgG blood test can be done to be certain.  These people likely are safe, but blood testing is sensible if concerned.

 

 

 

 

EBOLA…..NOT IN ARIZONA

Ebola_virus_virionThe current outbreak of the EBOLA VIRUS in Nigeria & West Africa is an important health concern globally, due to the 90% fatality rate from this type of infection.  Fortunately, despite it’s virulence, the virus is not easily transmitted, requiring contact with body fluids to result in infection.  This means that only people who have direct personal contact with an infected person can get sick.

Still, with a 1-3 week incubation period, the concern is that transmission can occur during this ‘subclinical’ phase, and thus become a health issue unbenkownst to the infected person and the one being infected.   This theoretical concern is the reason for the global attention, but the likelihood of such infections reaching Arizona remain extremely remote.

For more information on EBOLA….LOOK>>>>>HERE.

To see the trends in EBOLA OUTBREAKS over the past 20 years, click >>>>>HERE<<<<

 

VALLEY FEVER ARTICLE HAS PATIENTS TALKING

BACTERIASA recent article in the New Yorker Magazine  on Valley Fever had several patients talking.   They mentioned this article as both fascinating and enlightening about a condition we have all heard about.  Although Valley Fever is actually meant to  indicated the San Jaoquin Valley, where this fungal infection was first identified in the U.S., Phoenecians think of it a ‘our valley’ that gave this fungal infection its common name.

Coccidiomycosis, the office name for Valley Fever, is often a mild illness that goes unnoticed, but in this article the severe nature of the exceptional cases is the focus, and the research into this condition is ongoing at University of Arizona and UC Davis, in California.  In fact, we often do bloodwork for Valley Fever and send it to Dr. Pappagianis lab in California for confirmation of the diagnosis and assistance with prognosis of future complications.