Students often get so bogged down with schoolwork, jobs, and their personal life that they forget to pay attention to their mental and physical health. The number one way to protect yourself from illness is to practice healthy habits. Healthy habits include good hygiene, eating a balanced diet , and exercising. The following are excerpts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website (http://www.cdc.gov).
For more information on H1N1 Flu please view the following links: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm
The flu and the cold are both illnesses dealing with your respiratory system. They both have similar flu-like symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses. It is difficult to tell the difference between the two based on symptoms alone.
Symptoms of Cold or Flu
The flu is generally worse than the common cold. The symptoms such as body aches, fever, dry cough, and extreme tiredness are more common and intense with the flu. Complication of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, ashtma, or diabetes.
People with colds are more likely to experience a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
The following are some tips to keep you and your family healthy during cold and flu season.
The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. To learn more about the flu vaccination, please view the following website. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm
Group A streptococcus is a bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most GAS infections are relatively mild illnesses such as "strep throat," or impetigo. On rare occasions, these bacteria can cause other severe and even life-threatening diseases.
These bacteria are spread through direct contact with mucus from the nose or throat of persons who are infected or through contact with infected wounds or sores on the skin. Ill persons, such as those who have strep throat or skin infections, are most likely to spread the infection.
Infection with GAS can result in a range of symptoms:
GAS infections can be treated with many different antibiotics.
For more information on Strep Throat, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupastreptococcal_g.htm
Every year, more than 60,000 Americans die of pneumonia — an inflammation of the lungs that's usually caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, fungi or other organisms. Pneumonia is a particular concern for older adults and people with chronic illnesses or impaired immune systems, but it can also strike young, healthy people. Worldwide, it's a leading cause of death in children.
There are many kinds of pneumonia ranging in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. Pneumonia acquired while in the hospital can be particularly virulent and deadly. Although signs and symptoms vary, many cases of pneumonia develop suddenly, with chest pain, fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath. Infection often follows a cold or the flu, but it can also be associated with other illnesses or occur on its own.
Although antibiotics can treat some of the most common forms of bacterial pneumonias, antibiotic-resistant strains are a growing problem. For that reason, and because the disease can be very serious, it's best to try to prevent infection in the first place.
Pneumonia can be difficult to spot. It often mimics a cold or the flu, beginning with a cough and a fever, so you may not realize you have a more serious condition. Chest pain is a common symptom of many types of pneumonia. Pneumonia symptoms can vary greatly, depending on any underlying conditions you may have and the type of organism causing the infection:
Bacteria. Many types of bacteria can cause pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia can occur on its own, at the same time as viral pneumonia, or you may develop it after you've had a viral upper respiratory infection such as influenza. Signs and symptoms, which are likely to come on suddenly, include shaking chills, a high fever, sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, and a cough that produces thick, greenish or yellow phlegm.
Viruses. About half of pneumonias are caused by viruses. Viral pneumonia tends to begin with flu-like signs and symptoms. It usually starts with a dry (nonproductive) cough, headache, fever, muscle pain and fatigue. As the disease progresses, you may become breathless and develop a cough that produces just small quantities of phlegm that may be clear or white. When you have viral pneumonia, you run the risk of also developing a secondary bacterial pneumonia.
Fungi. Certain types of fungus also can cause pneumonia, although these types of pneumonia are much less common. Most people experience few if any symptoms after inhaling these fungi, but some develop symptoms of acute pneumonia, and still others may develop a chronic pneumonia that persists for months.
Pneumonia treatments vary, depending on the severity of your symptoms and the type of pneumonia you have.
Bacterial. Doctors usually treat bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics. Although you may start to feel better shortly after beginning your medication, be sure to complete your entire course of antibiotics. Stopping medication too soon may cause your pneumonia to return. It also helps create strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics — an increasingly serious problem in the United States.
Viral. Antibiotics aren't effective against most viral forms of pneumonia. And although a few viral pneumonias may be treated with antiviral medications, the recommended treatment is generally the same as for the flu — rest and plenty of fluids.
Fungal. If your pneumonia is caused by a fungus, you'll likely be treated with antifungal medication.
For more informatino on Pneumonia, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/submenus/sub_pneumonia.htm
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord, usually due to the spread of an infection.
The cause of most cases of meningitis is a viral infection, but bacterial and fungal infections also can lead to meningitis.
Signs and symptoms
It's easy to mistake the early signs and symptoms of meningitis for the flu. They may develop over a period of one or two days and typically include:
Routine immunization can help prevent meningitis. Good hygiene practices are an important prevention method. Good hygiene includes washing hands before eating and after using the bathroom. Another method to prevent the spread of the germs is by not sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils.
To help protect yourself and others seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you have meningitis.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has calculated that a drug-resistant staph bacterium known as MRSA is responsible for more than 94,000 serious infections in the United States each year. There have been numerous outbreaks of this bacteria in the Illinois area causing concern.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems.
When to suspect MRSA:
Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical wound infections.
Practice good hygiene:
For more information on preventing and controlling Staph, please view the following website. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca_prevention.html
Robert Morris University is a private, not-for-profit associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree-granting institution, accredited by the Higher learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604, 312.263.0456). RMU serves over 7000 students interested in getting an education that meets the demands of today's business, graphic arts, health care, culinary and technical world at its main campus in Chicago as well as at locations in Arlington Heights, DuPage, Elgin, Orland Park, Bensenville, Schaumburg, Springfield, Peoria and Lake County.