Tag Archives: Gastroenteritis

Straight, No Chaser: Travelers’ Diarrhea

diarrheaemergency

This is the time of year in the U.S. when you wished you were somewhere else. (Hawaii, Africa, Australia or Mexico for a nice cruise, anyone?) Unfortunately, sometimes when you travel, you get more than you hoped.
“Montezuma’s Revenge” is often the punchline of a joke in the U.S., but travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is a serious concern. It is the most common illness contracted by travelers, affecting approximately 10 million people per year. Individuals visiting the U.S. can suffer from it as well. That’s a clue as to what’s actually occurring with TD.
TD is typically a response to an infection by a strain of bacteria known as E. coli, specifically, a strain that produces a toxin that affects the intestines. This is the case approximately 80% of the time. Parasites sometimes figure prominently in the illness. The risk and primary source of this infection is food or water that is contaminated with feces. Note that most any disturbance in the bacterial balance of the intestines can cause disruptions in the digestive system, leading to diarrhea.

travelers-diarrhea-risk-map

Although anyone can contract TD, destinations and personal characteristics can markedly increase that risk.

  • Higher risk destinations include developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Those individuals at higher risk include the immunocompromised, diabetics, young adults, those with inflammatory bowel disease and those taking antacids or medicines known as H-2 blockers.

TD is straightforward. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and cramps. A mild fever may or may not be present.
So, what are you supposed to do to prevent TD? This stuff is miserable! Here are a few tips and pointers for you:

  • Avoid street vendors.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked foods (especially meats and seafood).
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables (unless you peel them).
  • Wash your hands!
  • Taking antibiotics in advance (prophylactically) is not recommended, because they can increase your susceptibility to resistant organisms and side effects.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (two ounces or two tablespoons four times daily) reduces the incidence of TD. Speak to your physician or SMA expert consultant about the risks and indications of taking bismuth subsalicylate. By the way, you know bismuth subsalicylate as pepto-bismol or kaopectate.

And now, a few words about treatment. Here are a few considerations about which you should be aware.

  • TD is usually mild and will run its course without medication. In other words, you’re likely to be just fine.
  • The most important consideration is to ensure adequate hydration. Clear fluids are key.
  • You may need antibiotics if symptoms progress to include fever, bloody stools, nausea, vomiting and severe cramps. Drugs typically include ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin. Previously used drugs such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and doxycycline aren’t recommended anymore because of the high resistance rate.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used as treatment (in addition to its role in prevention).
  • A  special word about anti-motility (anti-diarrhea) medications: There are some benefits to using these agents, but there are also significant risks. You should not take these medications without understanding the risks and how they may affect you based on your existing health profile. This topic is discussed in greater detail at www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com, and you certainly can discuss this further with your SMA personal healthcare consultant.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Treatment of Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness)

food-poisoning home remedies

The vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and all around bad feelings you may get with food poisoning is extremely unpleasant. We’ve previously discussed preventative measures you can take to minimize your risks, but you should also want to know what measures to take in the event you actually develop food poisoning. Of course, with over 250 different illnesses related to various forms of food poisoning, there’s a wide variety of treatment, some of which means to treat the specific disease (and its cause) and others that only treat the symptoms.
I always tell patients that although the vomiting and diarrhea are dramatic nuisance symptoms, the real concern is the risk of dehydration from these fluid losses. Given the body is approximately two-thirds water, altering that balance can lead to disturbances of many of the body’s functions and increase the risk of more serious infections. Thus the key to treatment is staying ahead of fluid and electrolyte losses that occur. Perhaps you’re wondering “How can I do that if I’m vomiting?” Here are five very important principles for you to remember.

  • First things first: if you have severe diarrhea, your favorite sports drink is not the cure. The composition of fluids and electrolytes in your stool is different from in your sweat, so these drinks don’t optimally replace your losses.

ORT

  • I want you to become familiar with oral rehydration therapy/solution (ORT). It’s how most of the rest of the world first treats fluid losses from vomiting and diarrhea. You may have heard of Ceralyte, Oralyte or Pedialyte, all of which are examples. ORT represents the best possible fluid for you to take and is readily available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
  • Here’s the deal with staying hydrated: you can’t hold a lot on your stomach. You need to dial back as much as possible so that you can tolerate something. That’s why you sip on chicken soup instead of steak when you’re sick. You’re likely to have more success keeping down teaspoons of fluid at a more frequent interval (say, every few minutes) than trying to chug a lot of fluid all at once. Food-Poison pink
  • Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol is a common example) can reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea.
  • If you have diarrhea and cramps with a fever or bloody stools, you should not take antidiarrheal medication without an evaluation by a physician. Even if they make you feel better, these medicines can make your food poisoning much worse.

Here’s one other point that you should understand as you’re going into your doctor’s office or the emergency room: don’t expect to receive an antibiotic to treat your vomiting and diarrhea. Most of these episodes are caused by viruses, which are self-limited and will resolve within two to three days. Furthermore, viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. In fact, efforts to use antibiotics in many of these cases only contribute to antibiotic resistance later on when you actually need them. Antibiotic resistance is discussed in detail in this Straight, No Chaser post.

Innocent problems

Finally, here are symptoms that should prompt you to see your physician.

  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days
  • High fever (oral temperature over 101.4 F)
  • Signs of dehydration, such as a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and dizziness with standing
  • Vomiting with inability to keep down liquids

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Hygiene and Illness

sneeze_in_arm

There are things you know, there are things you know but don’t really know, and there are still other things that you think you know that you don’t know at all. When it comes to colds and influenza (both or which are simple to understand, prevent and treat), all of the above apply.
Are you sickly or do you get colds more frequently than others? Respectfully, a big part of that is because you have habits that put you at risk. Common things happen commonly.

germs-on-hands

Of course this is not an actual photo, but it’s a good depiction of what’s happening. Simply put, most of the day, your hands are pretty disgusting. You handle money that’s been handed hundreds if not thousands of times and never cleaned. You grab handles and door knobs all day long. You cough and sneeze throughout the day, spewing germs into the air to be inhaled by others. And you spend time in the restroom. Your unclean hands contribute to many ailments, including colds, influenza, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) and skin infections.
The important points are simple things you can do to lower your risk for infections. First, you have to stop assuming you know more than you do about basic hygiene and allow yourself to start practicing better habits. For example …

  • When you sneeze, do you sneeze into your hands or into the air around you? Please learn the habit covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough by sneezing/coughing into your elbow and not your hands.
  • How often do you wash your hands? You must wash every time you begin to cook, before you eat, after you use the rest room, before you change a diaper and before you apply any topical medicine.
  • Have you ever noticed how much you keep your hands on parts of you that can become infected by doing so? Keep your hands out of your eyes, mouth and nose, and stop picking at your skin!

handwashing2

Yes, you wash your hands, but do you do so effectively and when you need to? Hand washing must be the easiest and most effective ways to prevent disease. Let’s start with this: from now on, whatever you do to clean your hands, do it for twenty seconds. Of course, antimicrobial soap and water are what we all learned to do way back when. It works! If that’s not available, use hand sanitizers or disposable hand wipes. It that’s not available, just rinse your hands! Be sure to rub your hands vigorously during the process as if you’re trying to get someone off of your hands, because you are!

sneeze

 
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: About That Vomiting and Diarrhea…

gastroenteritis.jpg.mid
You’ve all been there and done that. It’s always a bad day when you get the so-called stomach flu… First of all ‘the flu’ is a respiratory disease (affects the lungs, not the stomach and intestines), and the influenza viruses don’t cause that syndrome of vomiting and watery diarrhea. So, what you’re actually getting is gastroenteritis (gastro = stomach, entero = intestines, and itis = inflammation), an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Most cases of gastroenteritis are infections caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea (other symptoms may include belly cramping, fever and headache from all that retching). There are other (bacterial) causes of vomiting and diarrhea, but the overwhelming number of cases is due to viruses. Your physician will know when the other considerations come into play. Here’s a few points you really want to know.
1. Is it serious?

  • In most cases of viral gastroenteritis, the symptoms and condition are rate limited and will come and go without much further ado. Your symptoms will last up to 10 days in most cases.
  • The concern isn’t nearly as much with the vomiting and diarrhea as it is with the dehydration that can result from all those fluid losses. Dehydration can cause all manner of electrolyte abnormalities, leading to serious acute illness and even death. In fact, diarrhea and dehydration have long been the number one cause of death worldwide outside of the United States.

2. Is it contagious?

  • Absolutely. This is one of the main reasons you’re always being told to wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom. Fecal-oral (yes, anus to mouth) transmission of viruses makes gastroenteritis and many other illnesses contagious. Hand shaking and other forms of contact (including eating food poorly handled or undercooked) extend the risk of transmission.

diarrheaemergency

3. How can I avoid gastroenteritis?
There are good options available to you.

  • Avoid food and water that you believe to be contaminated, perhaps because others have had problems with it.
  • Frequent hand washing is very important.
  • Similarly, take steps to wash and disinfect possibly contaminated clothing and surfaces, preventing this before it gets started.
  • A vaccine is available for two of the more common causes of gastroenteritis. Discuss whether it’s appropriate for your child with his/her pediatrician (it needs to be given during your child’s first year of life).

4. How will it be treated?

  • Fluids, fluids and more fluids will be given, and unless you can’t keep anything down at all, the fluids should be given by mouth. It’s interesting to note that the U.S. overuse intravenous (IV) fluids much more in these instances than the rest of the world. Learn about oral rehydration therapy (ORT). It’s how the rest of the world (very successfully) treats most cases of vomiting and diarrhea, and it’s roughly approximated by all those popular rehydration brands. The key is to take in enough fluids to stay ahead of the fluid losses. ORT is available over the counter, and remember that you don’t have to guzzle it. As little as a teaspoon at a time still can keep you hydrated.

It’s important to discuss some other treatment considerations.

  • Antibiotics don’t work against these viruses, so in this example, they won’t be helpful.
  • In select instances, your physician may provide symptomatic treatment for vomiting and diarrhea, but in the absence of this, they should be avoided. There are significant consequences to taking these medications, and a physician should be involved in taking that risk.

In summary, you don’t always have to run to the ER when you get the runs. Stay hydrated, my friends.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Travelers’ Diarrhea

diarrheaemergency

This is the time of year in the U.S. when you wished you were somewhere else. (Hawaii, Africa, Australia or Mexico for a Valentine’s Day cruise, anyone?) Unfortunately, sometimes when you travel, you get more than you hoped.
“Montezuma’s Revenge” is often the punchline of a joke in the U.S., but travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is a serious concern. It is the most common illness contracted by travelers, affecting approximately 10 million people per year. Individuals visiting the U.S. can suffer from it as well. That’s a clue as to what’s actually occurring with TD.
TD is typically a response to an infection by a strain of bacteria known as E. coli, specifically, a strain that produces a toxin that affects the intestines. This is the case approximately 80% of the time. Parasites sometimes figure prominently in the illness. The risk and primary source of this infection is food or water that is contaminated with feces. Note that most any disturbance in the bacterial balance of the intestines can cause disruptions in the digestive system, leading to diarrhea.

travelers-diarrhea-risk-map

Although anyone can contract TD, destinations and personal characteristics can markedly increase that risk.

  • Higher risk destinations include developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Those individuals at higher risk include the immunocompromised, diabetics, young adults, those with inflammatory bowel disease and those taking antacids or medicines known as H-2 blockers.

TD is straightforward. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and cramps. A mild fever may or may not be present.
So, what are you supposed to do to prevent TD? This stuff is miserable! Here are a few tips and pointers for you:

  • Avoid street vendors.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked foods (especially meats and seafood).
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables (unless you peel them).
  • Wash your hands!
  • Taking antibiotics in advance (prophylactically) is not recommended, because they can increase your susceptibility to resistant organisms and side effects.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (two ounces or two tablespoons four times daily) reduces the incidence of TD. Speak to your physician or SMA expert consultant about the risks and indication of taking bismuth subsalicylate. By the way, you know bismuth subsalicylate as pepto-bismol or kaopectate.

And now, a few words about treatment. Here are a few considerations about which you should be aware.

  • TD is usually mild and will run its course without medication. In other words, you’re likely to be just fine.
  • The most important consideration is to ensure adequate hydration. Clear fluids are key.
  • You may need antibiotics if symptoms progress to include fever, bloody stools, nausea, vomiting and severe cramps. Drugs typically include ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin. Previously used drugs such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and doxycycline aren’t recommended anymore because of the high resistance rate.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used as treatment (in addition to its role in prevention).
  • A  special word about anti-motility (anti-diarrhea) medications: There are some benefits to using these agents, but there are also significant risks. You should not take these medications without understanding the risks and how they may affect you based on your existing health profile. This topic is discussed in greater detail at www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com, and you certainly can discuss this further with your SMA personal healthcare consultant.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser in the News: Having Vomiting and Diarrhea? There's a Norovirus Outbreak!

norovirus-2-1
Sometimes the simple things cause the biggest problems. If you have school-aged children, you may be aware that episodes of vomiting and diarrhea are occurring with such frequency that may schools are having to close. The culprit is Norovirus, aptly nicknamed “the winter vomiting bug.” Norovirus is the most common viral cause of gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) in humans. We’ve discussed gastroenteritis before in Straight, No Chaser, so we’ll take this space to simply remind you of a few important facts in the event you or a loved one is being affected.

norovirus

  • It affects people of all ages.
  • The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Symptoms tend to appears rapidly, between 12-48 hours after exposure.
  • It is transmitted by food or water contaminated by feces, by person-to-person contact, by aerosolization of vomited virus and by contamination of surfaces.
  • Severe illness is rare, and the disease is usually self-limiting. Most people make a full recovery within two to three days.
  • After infection, you are not fully immune and can contract the virus again.
  • Outbreaks of norovirus infection tend to occur in communities, such as schools, healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities, camps, prisons, dormitories and cruise ships. Outbreaks often are traced to food that was handled by an infected individual.

norovirus-stomach-flu3

This isn’t that complicated. Wash your hands before you eat and wash your hands after you care for someone with symptoms. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing fruits and vegetable thoroughly, washing laundry thoroughly and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces often. Here’s another example of how being smart can translate to being healthy!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Treatment of Food Poisoning

food-poisoning home remedies

The vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and all around bad feelings you may get with food poisoning is extremely unpleasant. We’ve previously discussed preventative measures you can take to minimize your risks, but you should also want to know what measures to take in the event you actually develop food poisoning. Of course, with over 250 different illnesses related to various forms of food poisoning, there’s a wide variety of treatment, some of which means to treat the specific disease (and its cause) and others that only treat the symptoms.
I always tell patients that although the vomiting and diarrhea are dramatic nuisance symptoms, the real concern is the risk of dehydration from these fluid losses. Given the body is approximately two-thirds water, altering that balance can lead to disturbances of many of the body’s functions and increase the risk of more serious infections. Thus the key to treatment is staying ahead of fluid and electrolyte losses that occur. Perhaps you’re wondering “How can I do that if I’m vomiting?” Here are five very important principles for you to remember.

  • First things first: if you have severe diarrhea, your favorite sports drink is not the cure. The composition of fluids and electrolytes in your stool is different from in your sweat, so these drinks don’t optimally replace your losses.

ORT

  • I want you to become familiar with oral rehydration therapy/solution (ORT). It’s how most of the rest of the world first treats fluid losses from vomiting and diarrhea. You may have heard of Ceralyte, Oralyte or Pedialyte, all of which are examples. ORT represents the best possible fluid for you to take and is readily available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
  • Here’s the deal with staying hydrated: you can’t hold a lot on your stomach. You need to dial back as much as possible so that you can tolerate something. That’s why you sip on chicken soup instead of steak when you’re sick. You’re likely to have more success keeping down teaspoons of fluid at a more frequent interval (say, every few minutes) than trying to chug a lot of fluid all at once. Food-Poison pink
  • Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol is a common example) can reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea.
  • If you have diarrhea and cramps with a fever or bloody stools, you should not take antidiarrheal medication without an evaluation by a physician. Even if they make you feel better, these medicines can make your food poisoning much worse.

Here’s one other point that you should understand as you’re going into your doctor’s office or the emergency room: don’t expect to receive an antibiotic to treat your vomiting and diarrhea. Most of these episodes are caused by viruses, which are self-limited and will resolve within two to three days. Furthermore, viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. In fact, efforts to use antibiotics in many of these cases only contribute to antibiotic resistance later on when you actually need them. Antibiotic resistance is discussed in detail in this Straight, No Chaser post.

Innocent problems

Finally, here are symptoms that should prompt you to see your physician.

  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days
  • High fever (oral temperature over 101.4 F)
  • Signs of dehydration, such as a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and dizziness with standing
  • Vomiting with inability to keep down liquids

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Hygiene and Illness

sneeze_in_arm

There are things you know, there are things you know but don’t really know, and there are still other things that you think you know that you don’t know at all. When it comes to colds and influenza (both or which are simple to understand, prevent and treat), all of the above apply.
Are you sickly or do you get colds more frequently than others? Respectfully, a big part of that is because you have habits that put you at risk. Common things happen commonly.

germs-on-hands

Of course this is not an actual photo, but it’s a good depiction of what’s happening. Simply put, most of the day, your hands are pretty disgusting. You handle money that’s been handed hundreds if not thousands of times and never cleaned. You grab handles and door knobs all day long. You cough and sneeze throughout the day, spewing germs into the air to be inhaled by others. And you spend time in the restroom. Your unclean hands contribute to many ailments, including colds, influenza, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) and skin infections.
The important points are simple things you can do to lower your risk for infections. First, you have to stop assuming you know more than you do about basic hygiene and allow yourself to start practicing better habits. For example …

  • When you sneeze, do you sneeze into your hands or into the air around you? Please learn the habit covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough by sneezing/coughing into your elbow and not your hands.
  • How often do you wash your hands? You must wash every time you begin to cook, before you eat, after you use the rest room, before you change a diaper and before you apply any topical medicine.
  • Have you ever noticed how much you keep your hands on parts of you that can become infected by doing so? Keep your hands out of your eyes, mouth and nose, and stop picking at your skin!

handwashing2

Yes, you wash your hands, but do you do so effectively and when you need to? Hand washing must be the easiest and most effective ways to prevent disease. Let’s start with this: from now on, whatever you do to clean your hands, do it for twenty seconds. Of course, antimicrobial soap and water are what we all learned to do way back when. It works! If that’s not available, use hand sanitizers or disposable hand wipes. It that’s not available, just rinse your hands! Be sure to rub your hands vigorously during the process as if you’re trying to get someone off of your hands, because you are!

sneeze

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: About That Vomiting and Diarrhea…

gastroenteritis.jpg.mid
You’ve all been there and done that. It’s always a bad day when you get the so-called stomach flu… First of all ‘the flu’ is a respiratory disease (affects the lungs, not the stomach and intestines), and the influenza viruses don’t cause that syndrome of vomiting and watery diarrhea. So, what you’re actually getting is gastroenteritis (gastro = stomach, entero = intestines, and itis = inflammation), an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Most cases of gastroenteritis are infections caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea (other symptoms may include belly cramping, fever and headache from all that retching). There are other (bacterial) causes of vomiting and diarrhea, but the overwhelming number of cases is due to viruses. Your physician will know when the other considerations come into play. Here’s a few points you really want to know.
1. Is it serious?

  • In most cases of viral gastroenteritis, the symptoms and condition are rate limited and will come and go without much further ado. Your symptoms will last up to 10 days in most cases.
  • The concern isn’t nearly as much with the vomiting and diarrhea as it is with the dehydration that can result from all those fluid losses. Dehydration can cause all manner of electrolyte abnormalities, leading to serious acute illness and even death. In fact, diarrhea and dehydration have long been the number one cause of death worldwide outside of the United States.

2. Is it contagious?

  • Absolutely. This is one of the main reasons you’re always being told to wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom. Fecal-oral (yes, anus to mouth) transmission of viruses makes gastroenteritis and many other illnesses contagious. Hand shaking and other forms of contact (including eating food poorly handled or undercooked) extend the risk of transmission.

diarrheaemergency

3. How can I avoid gastroenteritis?
There are good options available to you.

  • Avoid food and water that you believe to be contaminated, perhaps because others have had problems with it.
  • Frequent hand washing is very important.
  • Similarly, take steps to wash and disinfect possibly contaminated clothing and surfaces, preventing this before it gets started.
  • A vaccine is available for two of the more common causes of gastroenteritis. Discuss whether it’s appropriate for your child with his/her pediatrician (it needs to be given during your child’s first year of life).

4. How will it be treated?

  • Fluids, fluids and more fluids will be given, and unless you can’t keep anything down at all, the fluids should be given by mouth. It’s interesting to note that the U.S. overuses intravenous (IV) fluids much more in these instances than the rest of the world. Learn about oral rehydration therapy (ORT). It’s how the rest of the world (very successfully) treats most cases of vomiting and diarrhea, and it’s roughly approximated by all those popular rehydration brands. The key is to take in enough fluids to stay ahead of the fluid losses. ORT is available over the counter, and remember that you don’t have to guzzle it. As little as a teaspoon at a time still can keep you hydrated.

It’s important to discuss some other treatment considerations.

  • Antibiotics don’t work against these viruses, so in this example, they won’t be helpful.
  • In select instances, your physician may provide symptomatic treatment for vomiting and diarrhea, but in the absence of this, they should be avoided. There are significant consequences to taking these medications, and a physician should be involved in taking that risk.

In summary, you don’t always have to run to the ER when you get the runs. Stay hydrated, my friends.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Travelers’ Diarrhea

diarrheaemergency

This is the time of year in the U.S. when you wished you were somewhere else. (Hawaii, Africa, Australia or Mexico for a Valentine’s Day cruise, anyone?) Unfortunately, sometimes when you travel, you get more than you hoped.
“Montezuma’s Revenge” is often the punchline of a joke in the U.S., but travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is a serious concern. It is the most common illness contracted by travelers, affecting approximately 10 million people per year. Individuals visiting the U.S. can suffer from it as well. That’s a clue as to what’s actually occurring with TD.
TD is typically a response to an infection by a strain of bacteria known as E. coli, specifically, a strain that produces a toxin that affects the intestines. This is the case approximately 80% of the time. Parasites sometimes figure prominently in the illness. The risk and primary source of this infection is food or water that is contaminated with feces. Note that most any disturbance in the bacterial balance of the intestines can cause disruptions in the digestive system, leading to diarrhea.

travelers-diarrhea-risk-map

Although anyone can contract TD, destinations and personal characteristics can markedly increase that risk.

  • Higher risk destinations include developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Those individuals at higher risk include the immunocompromised, diabetics, young adults, those with inflammatory bowel disease and those taking antacids or medicines known as H-2 blockers.

TD is straightforward. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and cramps. A mild fever may or may not be present.
So, what are you supposed to do to prevent TD? This stuff is miserable! Here are a few tips and pointers for you:

  • Avoid street vendors.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked foods (especially meats and seafood).
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables (unless you peel them).
  • Wash your hands!
  • Taking antibiotics in advance (prophylactically) is not recommended, because they can increase your susceptibility to resistant organisms and side effects.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (two ounces or two tablespoons four times daily) reduces the incidence of TD. Speak to your physician or SMA expert consultant about the risks and indication of taking bismuth subsalicylate. By the way, you know bismuth subsalicylate as pepto-bismol or kaopectate.

And now, a few words about treatment. Here are a few considerations about which you should be aware.

  • TD is usually mild and will run its course without medication. In other words, you’re likely to be just fine.
  • The most important consideration is to ensure adequate hydration. Clear fluids are key.
  • You may need antibiotics if symptoms progress to include fever, bloody stools, nausea, vomiting and severe cramps. Drugs typically include ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin. Previously used drugs such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and doxycycline aren’t recommended anymore because of the high resistance rate.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used as treatment (in addition to its role in prevention).
  • A  special word about anti-motility (anti-diarrhea) medications: There are some benefits to using these agents, but there are also significant risks. You should not take these medications without understanding the risks and how they may affect you based on your existing health profile. This topic is discussed in greater detail at www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com, and you certainly can discuss this further with your SMA personal healthcare consultant.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you have on this topic.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Treatment of Food Poisoning

food-poisoning home remedies

The vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and all around bad feelings you may get with food poisoning is extremely unpleasant. We’ve previously discussed preventative measures you can take to minimize your risks, but you should also want to know what measures to take in the event you actually develop food poisoning. Of course, with over 250 different illnesses related to various forms of food poisoning, there’s a wide variety of treatment, some of which means to treat the specific disease (and its cause) and others that only treat the symptoms.
I always tell patients that although the vomiting and diarrhea are dramatic nuisance symptoms, the real concern is the risk of dehydration from these fluid losses. Given the body is approximately two-thirds water, altering that balance can lead to disturbances of many of the body’s functions and increase the risk of more serious infections. Thus the key to treatment is staying ahead of fluid and electrolyte losses that occur. Perhaps you’re wondering “How can I do that if I’m vomiting?” Here are five very important principles for you to remember.

  • First things first: if you have severe diarrhea, your favorite sports drink is not the cure. The composition of fluids and electrolytes in your stool is different from in your sweat, so these drinks don’t optimally replace your losses.

ORT

  • I want you to become familiar with oral rehydration therapy/solution (ORT). It’s how most of the rest of the world first treats fluid losses from vomiting and diarrhea. You may have heard of Ceralyte, Oralyte or Pedialyte, all of which are examples. ORT represents the best possible fluid for you to take and is readily available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
  • Here’s the deal with staying hydrated: you can’t hold a lot on your stomach. You need to dial back as much as possible so that you can tolerate something. That’s why you sip on chicken soup instead of steak when you’re sick. You’re likely to have more success keeping down teaspoons of fluid at a more frequent interval (say, every few minutes) than trying to chug a lot of fluid all at once. Food-Poison pink
  • Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol is a common example) can reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea.
  • If you have diarrhea and cramps with a fever or bloody stools, you should not take antidiarrheal medication without an evaluation by a physician. Even if they make you feel better, these medicines can make your food poisoning much worse.

Here’s one other point that you should understand as you’re going into your doctor’s office or the emergency room: don’t expect to receive an antibiotic to treat your vomiting and diarrhea. Most of these episodes are caused by viruses, which are self-limited and will resolve within two to three days. Furthermore, viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. In fact, efforts to use antibiotics in many of these cases only contribute to antibiotic resistance later on when you actually need them. Antibiotic resistance is discussed in detail in this Straight, No Chaser post.

Innocent problems

Finally, here are symptoms that should prompt you to see your physician.

  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days
  • High fever (oral temperature over 101.4 F)
  • Signs of dehydration, such as a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and dizziness with standing
  • Vomiting with inability to keep down liquids

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: What Do You Know About Your Drinking Water?

 drinkingwater

If I asked you what public health innovation was responsible for saving the most lives over the last century, you likely might think that antibiotics or perhaps immunizations would be the answer. Fine choices, but the correct answer has to do with the development of clean drinking water. Even now, dehydration and diarrhea are major causes of death in many parts of the world lacking sufficient sanitation. Straight, No Chaser has previously reviewed the Top Ten Public Health Initiatives of the Last Century.

drinking03-water-tap-ethiopia_13109_600x450

The quality of the water you drink matters. All water is not equal. Contaminated water can lead to diseases of the digestive, reproductive and neurological systems. That’s right, contaminated water can lead to infections from bacteria and parasites, poisoning and other health issues. (Anyone who has ever ingested water from a stream while hiking, camping or fishing and subsequently developed vomiting and diarrhea knows this to excruciating detail; this has also been the source of many infections from cholera and dysentery.) The American public health apparatus goes to great lengths to secure our water supply.

g2049.indd

There are many sources of contamination of our water systems, including the following:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)

The drinking water in our homes comes from either surface water (that from rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs) or ground water (that contained in pores and spaces within rocks below the ground. Once water is obtained, it is provided for our use. One fact you should know is that surface water systems are always treated prior to being delivered to our homes for use. Ground water is not always treated. This can have important ramifications for your health. Private wells are examples of ground water that is pumped to the surface and distributed without treatment.
Your probable next question is “How can you know that the water in your home is safe to drink?” Fortunately, we have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act back in 1974, setting standards for drinking water and overseeing those responsible for supplying and implementing those standards. The law also protects the sources of our drinking water. This is our defense against the diseases posed by water contamination.
This may all seem very simple, but when you reflect on a century of disease control resulting from successful treatment of contaminated water (including dehydration and diarrhea as the number one cause of death in the entire world), the importance of a clear water supply becomes very apparent. If you have any concerns about the quality of your water supply, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what  http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC

Straight, No Chaser: Treatment of Food Poisoning

food-poisoning home remedies

The vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and all around bad feelings you may get with food poisoning is extremely unpleasant. We’ve previously discussed preventative measures you can take to minimize your risks, but you should also want to know what measures to take in the event you actually develop food poisoning. Of course, with over 250 different illnesses related to various forms of food poisoning, there’s a wide variety of treatment, some of which means to treat the specific disease (and its cause) and others that only treat the symptoms.
I always tell patients that although the vomiting and diarrhea are dramatic nuisance symptoms, the real concern is the risk of dehydration from these fluid losses. Given the body is approximately two-thirds water, altering that balance can lead to disturbances of many of the body’s functions and increase the risk of more serious infections. Thus the key to treatment is staying ahead of fluid and electrolyte losses that occur. Perhaps you’re wondering “How can I do that if I’m vomiting?” Here are five very important principles for you to remember.

  • First things first: if you have severe diarrhea, your favorite sports drink is not the cure. The composition of fluids and electrolytes in your stool is different from in your sweat, so these drinks don’t optimally replace your losses.

ORT

  • I want you to become familiar with oral rehydration therapy/solution (ORT). It’s how most of the rest of the world first treats fluid losses from vomiting and diarrhea. You may have heard of Ceralyte, Oralyte or Pedialyte, all of which are examples. ORT represents the best possible fluid for you to take and is readily available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
  • Here’s the deal with staying hydrated: you can’t hold a lot on your stomach. You need to dial back as much as possible so that you can tolerate something. That’s why you sip on chicken soup instead of steak when you’re sick. You’re likely to have more success keeping down teaspoons of fluid at a more frequent interval (say, every few minutes) than trying to chug a lot of fluid all at once. Food-Poison pink
  • Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol is a common example) can reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea.
  • If you have diarrhea and cramps with a fever or bloody stools, you should not take antidiarrheal medication without an evaluation by a physician. Even if they make you feel better, these medicines can make your food poisoning much worse.

Here’s one other point that you should understand as you’re going into your doctor’s office or the emergency room: don’t expect to receive an antibiotic to treat your vomiting and diarrhea. Most of these episodes are caused by viruses, which are self-limited and will resolve within two to three days. Furthermore, viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. In fact, efforts to use antibiotics in many of these cases only contribute to antibiotic resistance later on when you actually need them. Antibiotic resistance is discussed in detail in this Straight, No Chaser post.

Innocent problems

Finally, here are symptoms that should prompt you to see your physician.

  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days
  • High fever (oral temperature over 101.4 F)
  • Signs of dehydration, such as a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and dizziness with standing
  • Vomiting with inability to keep down liquids

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: What Do You Know About Your Drinking Water?

 drinkingwater

If I asked you what public health innovation was responsible for saving the most lives over the last century, you likely might think that antibiotics or perhaps immunizations would be the answer. Fine choices, but the correct answer has to do with the development of clean drinking water. Even now, dehydration and diarrhea are major causes of death in many parts of the world lacking sufficient sanitation. Straight, No Chaser has previously reviewed the Top Ten Public Health Initiatives of the Last Century.

drinking03-water-tap-ethiopia_13109_600x450

The quality of the water you drink matters. All water is not equal. Contaminated water can lead to diseases of the digestive, reproductive and neurological systems. That’s right, contaminated water can lead to infections from bacteria and parasites, poisoning and other health issues. (Anyone who has ever ingested water from a stream while hiking, camping or fishing and subsequently developed vomiting and diarrhea knows this to excruciating detail; this has also been the source of many infections from cholera and dysentery.) The American public health apparatus goes to great lengths to secure our water supply.

g2049.indd

There are many sources of contamination of our water systems, including the following:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)

The drinking water in our homes comes from either surface water (that from rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs) or ground water (that contained in pores and spaces within rocks below the ground. Once water is obtained, it is provided for our use. One fact you should know is that surface water systems are always treated prior to being delivered to our homes for use. Ground water is not always treated. This can have important ramifications for your health. Private wells are examples of ground water that is pumped to the surface and distributed without treatment.
Your probable next question is “How can you know that the water in your home is safe to drink?” Fortunately, we have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act back in 1974, setting standards for drinking water and overseeing those responsible for supplying and implementing those standards. The law also protects the sources of our drinking water. This is our defense against the diseases posed by water contamination.
This may all seem very simple, but when you reflect on a century of disease control resulting from successful treatment of contaminated water (including dehydration and diarrhea as the number one cause of death in the entire world), the importance of a clear water supply becomes very apparent. If you have any concerns about the quality of your water supply, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Travelers' Diarrhea

diarrheaemergency

This is the time of year in the U.S. when you wished you were somewhere else. (Hawaii, Africa, Australia or Mexico for a Valentine’s Day cruise, anyone?) Unfortunately, sometimes when you travel, you get more than you hoped.
“Montezuma’s Revenge” is often the punchline of a joke in the U.S., but travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is a serious concern. It is the most common illness contracted by travelers, affecting approximately 10 million people per year. Individuals visiting the U.S. can suffer from it as well. That’s a clue as to what’s actually occurring with TD.
TD is typically a response to an infection by a strain of bacteria known as E. coli, specifically, a strain that produces a toxin that affects the intestines. This is the case approximately 80% of the time. Parasites sometimes figure prominently in the illness. The risk and primary source of this infection is food or water that is contaminated with feces. Note that most any disturbance in the bacterial balance of the intestines can cause disruptions in the digestive system, leading to diarrhea.

travelers-diarrhea-risk-map

Although anyone can contract TD, destinations and personal characteristics can markedly increase that risk.

  • Higher risk destinations include developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Those individuals at higher risk include the immunocompromised, diabetics, young adults, those with inflammatory bowel disease and those taking antacids or medicines known as H-2 blockers.

TD is straightforward. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and cramps. A mild fever may or may not be present.
So, what are you supposed to do to prevent TD? This stuff is miserable! Here are a few tips and pointers for you:

  • Avoid street vendors.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked foods (especially meats and seafood).
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables (unless you peel them).
  • Wash your hands!
  • Taking antibiotics in advance (prophylactically) is not recommended, because they can increase your susceptibility to resistant organisms and side effects.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (two ounces or two tablespoons four times daily) reduces the incidence of TD. Speak to your physician or SMA expert consultant about the risks and indication of taking bismuth subsalicylate. By the way, you know bismuth subsalicylate as pepto-bismol or kaopectate.

And now, a few words about treatment. Here are a few considerations about which you should be aware.

  • TD is usually mild and will run its course without medication. In other words, you’re likely to be just fine.
  • The most important consideration is to ensure adequate hydration. Clear fluids are key.
  • You may need antibiotics if symptoms progress to include fever, bloody stools, nausea, vomiting and severe cramps. Drugs typically include ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin. Previously used drugs such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and doxycycline aren’t recommended anymore because of the high resistance rate.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used as treatment (in addition to its role in prevention).
  • A  special word about anti-motility (anti-diarrhea) medications: There are some benefits to using these agents, but there are also significant risks. You should not take these medications without understanding the risks and how they may affect you based on your existing health profile. This topic is discussed in greater detail at www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com, and you certainly can discuss this further with your SMA personal healthcare consultant.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what  http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Hygiene and Illness

sneeze_in_arm

There are things you know, there are things you know but don’t really know, and there are still other things that you think you know that you don’t know at all. When it comes to colds and influenza (both or which are simple to understand, prevent and treat), all of the above apply.
Are you sickly or do you get colds more frequently than others? Respectfully, a big part of that is because you have habits that put you at risk. Common things happen commonly.

germs-on-hands

Of course this is not an actual photo, but it’s a good depiction of what’s happening. Simply put, most of the day, your hands are pretty disgusting. You handle money that’s been handed hundreds if not thousands of times and never cleaned. You grab handles and door knobs all day long. You cough and sneeze throughout the day, spewing germs into the air to be inhaled by others. And you spend time in the restroom. Your unclean hands contribute to many ailments, including colds, influenza, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) and skin infections.
The important points are simple things you can do to lower your risk for infections. First, you have to stop assuming you know more than you do about basic hygiene and allow yourself to start practicing better habits. For example …

  • When you sneeze, do you sneeze into your hands or into the air around you? Please learn the habit covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough by sneezing/coughing into your elbow and not your hands.
  • How often do you wash your hands? You must wash every time you begin to cook, before you eat, after you use the rest room, before you change a diaper and before you apply any topical medicine.
  • Have you ever noticed how much you keep your hands on parts of you that can become infected by doing so? Keep your hands out of your eyes, mouth and nose, and stop picking at your skin!

handwashing2

Yes, you wash your hands, but do you do so effectively and when you need to? Hand washing must be the easiest and most effective ways to prevent disease. Let’s start with this: from now on, whatever you do to clean your hands, do it for twenty seconds. Of course, antimicrobial soap and water are what we all learned to do way back when. It works! If that’s not available, use hand sanitizers or disposable hand wipes. It that’s not available, just rinse your hands! Be sure to rub your hands vigorously during the process as if you’re trying to get someone off of your hands, because you are!

sneeze

Feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant with any questions you have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what  http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: About That Vomiting and Diarrhea…

gastroenteritis.jpg.mid
You’ve all been there and done that. It’s always a bad day when you get the so-called stomach flu… First of all ‘the flu’ is a respiratory disease (affects the lungs, not the stomach and intestines), and the influenza viruses don’t cause that syndrome of vomiting and watery diarrhea. So, what you’re actually getting is gastroenteritis (gastro = stomach, entero = intestines, and itis = inflammation), an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Most cases of gastroenteritis are infections caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea (other symptoms may include belly cramping, fever and headache from all that retching). There are other (bacterial) causes of vomiting and diarrhea, but the overwhelming number of cases is due to viruses. Your physician will know when the other considerations come into play. Here’s a few points you really want to know.
1. Is it serious?

  • In most cases of viral gastroenteritis, the symptoms and condition are rate limited and will come and go without much further ado. Your symptoms will last up to 10 days in most cases.
  • The concern isn’t nearly as much with the vomiting and diarrhea as it is with the dehydration that can result from all those fluid losses. Dehydration can cause all manner of electrolyte abnormalities, leading to serious acute illness and even death. In fact, diarrhea and dehydration have long been the number one cause of death worldwide outside of the United States.

2. Is it contagious?

  • Absolutely. This is one of the main reasons you’re always being told to wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom. Fecal-oral (yes, anus to mouth) transmission of viruses makes gastroenteritis and many other illnesses contagious. Hand shaking and other forms of contact (including eating food poorly handled or undercooked) extend the risk of transmission.

3. How can I avoid gastroenteritis?
There are good options available to you.

  • Avoid food and water that you believe to be contaminated, perhaps because others have had problems with it.
  • Frequent hand washing is very important.
  • Similarly, take steps to wash and disinfect possibly contaminated clothing and surfaces, preventing this before it gets started.
  • A vaccine is available for two of the more common causes of gastroenteritis. Discuss whether it’s appropriate for your child with his/her pediatrician (it needs to be given during your child’s first year of life).

4. How will it be treated?

  • Fluids, fluids and more fluids will be given, and unless you can’t keep anything down at all, the fluids should be given by mouth. It’s interesting to note that the U.S. overuses intravenous (IV) fluids much more in these instances than the rest of the world. Learn about oral rehydration therapy (ORT). It’s how the rest of the world (very successfully) treats most cases of vomiting and diarrhea, and it’s roughly approximated by all those popular rehydration brands. The key is to take in enough fluids to stay ahead of the fluid losses. ORT is available over the counter, and remember that you don’t have to guzzle it. As little as a teaspoon at a time still can keep you hydrated.

It’s important to discuss some other treatment considerations.

  • Antibiotics don’t work against these viruses, so in this example, they won’t be helpful.
  • In select instances, your physician may provide symptomatic treatment for vomiting and diarrhea, but in the absence of this, they should be avoided. There are significant consequences to taking these medications, and a physician should be involved in taking that risk.

In summary, you don’t always have to run to the ER when you get the runs. Stay hydrated, my friends.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress