Summer Diseases : Be On Guard

Published April 9, 2013 by teacher dahl

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Heatstroke

Heat Stroke is a form of hyperthermia (abnormally elevated body temperature that reaches 40°C or higher). Heatstroke happens because of extreme environmental conditions that lead to increase in body temperature or because of exhausting activities that causes the body temperature to rise. The first complication of heatstroke is shock.

Symptoms:   

  • High body temperature.
  • The absence of sweating.
  • Rapid pulse (tachycardia).
  • Hyperventilation.
  • Neurological symptoms: such as seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, or hallucination.
  • Muscle cramps or weakness.

Risk factors: 

  • Young or old age: because they are unable to cope with extreme heat and they have difficulty remaining hydrated as well.
  • Athletes or outdoor workers.
  • Genetic response to heat stress
  • Certain medications: such as some medications that regulate your blood pressure by blocking adrenaline, rid your body of sodium and water, or reduce psychiatric symptoms like delusions.

First aid:  

  • Move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned space.
  • Call for emergency medical assistance.
  • Cool the person by removing unnecessary clothing, applying cool or tepid water to the skin, and fanning the victim but be careful and don’t immerse the person in an ice bath.
  • Have the person drink cool water, if he or she is able.

Prevention: 

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. It is also advised to wear hats.
  • Seek a cooler environment like an air-conditioned building or a shady spot.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take extra precautions with certain medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid being inside a hot car for any period of time.
  • It’s best not to exercise or do any strenuous activity in hot weather.

Gastroenteritis

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Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the intestines that causes many digestive symptoms including; diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, loss of appetite.

The most common causes of gastroenteritis in adults are the viruses and bacteria. As in children, the main causes are viruses, bacteria (food poisoning) and parasites.

Symptoms:  

  • Mild diarrhea (4-10 times of watery stools daily).
  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Low-grade fever (below 38°C).
  • Headache.
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Diarrhea, and in some cases, there can be bloody diarrhea.

Prevention:  

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before and after preparing food, after using the toilet, changing diapers or caring for someone who has diarrhea.
  • Wash diarrhea-soiled bathroom surfaces and clothing in detergent and chlorine bleach.
  • Cook all meat thoroughly before you eat it, and refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
  • Make sure you don’t transfer cooked foods onto unwashed plates that held raw meat. It is also preferred not to cut vegetables using the same knives and cutting board that were used to cut raw meat.
  • Wash kitchen countertops and utensils thoroughly after they have been used to prepare meat.
  • Never drink unpasteurized milk or untreated water.

Treatment:  

  • Drink plenty of fluids, and gradually resume a normal diet.
  • Rest in bed until symptoms subside. Do not allow your child to return to school until diarrhea has begun to improve.
  • If you have severe gastroenteritis, your doctor may prescribe medications to ease your nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; and intravenous fluids for symptoms of severe dehydration.

Dehydration

dehydrated

Dehydration occurs when a person’s body loses too much water and minerals, more than the amount replenished. Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons; not drinking enough fluids because you’re sick or busy. Other dehydration causes include, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, excessive sweating and increased urination.

Symptoms: 

Symptoms of mild and moderate dehydration include:

  • Dry mouth and sticky saliva.
  • Reduced urine output with dark yellow urine.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Mucous membranes that appear dry (decreased saliva and tears).

Severe dehydration is a life-threatening condition. Any one of the following symptoms requires emergency care:

  • Altered mental status, severe anxiety.
  • Faintness.
  • Weak, rapid pulse.
  • Skin that is previously hot and clammy becomes cold and clammy or hot and dry.
  • Loss of consciousness.

As for children, in addition to the mentioned symptoms, it is noticed that the child will not play or may be so sleepy that he or she is hard to wake up. It is also noticed that the child doesn’t urinate for over 12 hours.

A young child will not be able to tell you if he or she is feeling dehydrated, so you must look for symptoms of dehydration.

Treatment:  

Drinking fluids is often enough to treat mild or moderate dehydration. Severe dehydration may require hospitalization and rehydration with intravenous fluids.

Complications:  

  • Heat injury: this ranges in severity from mild heat cramps to potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
  • Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema).
  • Seizures.
  • Hypovolemic shock: it should be noted that if untreated, severe hypovolemic shock can cause death in a matter of minutes.
  • Kidney failure: usually this condition is temporary, but it needs treatment in the hospital for a week or more.
  • Coma and death: when not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.

Sun Damage To The Skin

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Sunburn: 

Red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch. Sunburn usually appears within a few hours after sun exposure and may take from several days to several weeks to fade.

Moles (Pigmentation):

Moles are flat spots of increased pigmentation — usually brown, black or gray. They vary in size and usually appear on the face, hands, arms and upper back — areas most exposed to the sun.

Moles (or pigmentation) are harmless and don’t need treatment, but some may become cancerous growths.

Melasma:

Also referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”, melasma is a brown darkening of facial skin. The dark patches usually occur on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin.

Wrinkles: 

Exposure to UV light breaks down your skin’s connective tissue — collagen and elastin fibers, which lie in the deeper layer of skin (dermis). Without the supportive connective tissue, your skin loses its strength and flexibility. As a result, skin begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely.

Protecting your skin from sun damage:

1)    Reduce time in the sun: this is especially recommended from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2)    Wear clothes that protect your body from the sun: it is also advised to wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and long pants.

3)    Be serious about sunscreens: it is recommended to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 and it should be used year-round regardless of skin type. Sunscreens should be applied on a dry skin 15-30 minutes before sun exposure, and should be re-applied at least every 2 hours and after swimming, heavy perspiration or after drying the skin with a towel.

4)    Protect the eyes: by using sunglasses that offers 99-100% UV protection. Children should wear real sunglasses—not toy sunglasses—that indicate the UV protection level.

5)    Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds: sunlamp products emit UV that is similar to, or more powerful than, that emitted by the sun. Therefore, exposure to sunlamp products can also lead to skin cancer.

6)    Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer: you should your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in the size, shape, color or feel of birthmarks, moles and spots.

Doctor’s Recommendations

doctor talking to patient

  • Heatstroke: heatstroke happens when the weather is very hot or very humid or in cases of long exposure to the sun. The symptoms include; nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache and dizziness. The people who are at higher risk are the infants, elderly people, athletes and the people who have to be outside in the sun for long periods of time due to their work situations. To prevent heatstroke, it is recommended to avoid sun exposure, avoid being in a hot and humid atmosphere for long durations, and it is also recommended to wear a hat, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothes in addition to drinking plenty of fluids.
    • Gastroenteritis: occurs mostly in summer, and they are caused by bacteria and viruses. Symptoms include; diarrhea, stomachache, nausea, vomiting and fever. Gastroenteritis is contagious, and is transferred through contaminated foods and drinks. To prevent gastroenteritis, it is recommended to keep hands clean all the time, and to clean kitchen benches and utensils. You should also make sure you cook food well, and store it appropriately, and get rid of leftovers and wastes. Avoid buying foods that are uncovered and drinks that were prepared manually outside the house.
    • Dehydration: everybody can get dehydrated in summer – especially children, because of not drinking enough fluids or because of diseases that cause diarrhea and continuous vomiting. Dehydration can also occur because of elevated temperatures, or severe physical activity. Symptoms include; severe thirst, mouth dryness, weakness and dizziness. It is recommended to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Sun and skin: long exposure to the sun has many bad effects on the skin, mainly sun burns, wrinkles, pigmentations and skin cancer. It is important to protect the skin from the sun especially during summer time, by choosing a suitable sunscreen and using it the right way; this means applying it 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure and re-applying it every 2 hours to make sure you get the maximum efficacy.

Sore Eyes

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There are several different factors that can play into why you have sore eyes. Read on to see what may be causing it, how you can treat it, and much more.

Common terms used for Conjunctivitis are often “sore eyes” or Pink eye . Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the thin covering of the eyeball and inner eyelid. The inflammation is brought on by a viral, bacterial, or allergy infection. However, sore eyes are generally due to a viral infection.

Extremely contagious, it spreads easily by eye to hand to eye contact, a runny nose or cough, or when people come into contact with a contaminated surface or object. If severe enough or long lasting, it can eventually lead to corneal scarring that can cause glare and decreased vision. Experts recommend not going to work or school if you have sore eyes or symptoms of sore eyes until symptoms are relieved and treatment is successful.

Sore Eye Symptoms

There are many different symptoms you will encounter if you are suffering from sore eyes. Signs and symptoms generally peak within 3-4 days and last up to 14 days. These symptoms include:

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Discomfort
  • Burning
  • Gritty sensation
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light )
  • Eye Pain
  • Difficulty opening eyes after sleeping
  • Eyelids stuck together after sleeping
  • Water like discharge
  • Soreness

Treatment for Sore Eyes

The best thing you can do for yourself and your condition if you are having any signs or symptoms of sore eyes is to seek medical attention. Contact your health care provider or an eye doctor for an exam of your eyes immediately. Catching the problem early and getting diagnosed can prevent further damage to you and others you come into contact with. Your eye doctor (Optometrist or Ophthalmologist) may prescribe you anti-inflammatory or antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Antiviral medications might also be in store. To relieve discomfort at home, you can try applying warm compresses to your eyes for 5-10 minutes three times a day.

Preventing Sore Eyes

There are numerous things you can do to prevent sore eyes from occurring. Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water is a great start. Avoid touching your eyes and face when you haven’t washed your hands. Do not share towels, eyeglasses, sunglasses, or make-up/cosmetics, as this may only lead to transfer of an infection.

If you have had symptoms of sore eyes, and have been using any cosmetics, especially ones that are applied to your eyes or in the area of your eye, it’s best to discontinue and discard those products. Purchase new cosmetics and wait until the condition has been treated successfully before resuming use. Disinfect surfaces, especially common ones such as door knobs, counters, and other surfaces with diluted bleach solutions. Bleach is known to kill germs and prevent their spread.

source:  rhas.org.jo
wisegeek.health.

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