Flu, Fever, and Colds

Fever

Fever refers to elevated body temperature. Normal oral measurement is 98.6 F (37 C) or the normal rectal temperature is 99 F (37.2 C). Your normal temperature may actually be 1 F (0.6 C) or more above or below the average of 98.6 F. Fever is not considered medically significant until body temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever serves as one of the body’s natural defenses against bacteria and viruses. It is a non-specific symptom and can happen in both infectious and non-infectious diseases.

Fevers of 104 F (40 C) or higher demand immediate home treatment and subsequent medical attention, as they can result in body organ damage. It can also cause seizures in children and less commonly in adults. Go to nearest appropriate medical facility if you or your child has a high temperature. It’s best to take age appropriate dose of either acetaminophen or ibuprofen or contact your doctor ASAP if you are not sure what to do. YOUR DOCTOR IS YOUR BEST SOURCE OF MEDICAL INFORMATION. Untreated high temperature can cause side effects and could be a sign of serious underlying disease.

DONT’s

  • Never give aspirin to children or adolescents
  • Never immerse anyone with fever in ICE water
  • Tepid water baths (85 F 30) are OK
  • Wet towel is preferred
  • Never sponge an adult or child with alcohol, as this is dangerous
  • Don’t ignore a restless child with high fever, as kids are susceptible to febrile seizures

Common cold

The common cold, also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection, is a self-limited contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. More than 200 different types of viruses are known to cause the common cold. In fact, children in preschool and elementary school can have three to 12 colds per year while adolescents and adults typically have two to four colds per year. The common cold is the most frequently occurring illness in the world, and it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work.

Common cold vs. Influenza
Common cold is frequently confused with influenza. The influenza virus causes influenza, while the common cold generally is not. While some of the symptoms of the common cold and influenza may be similar, patients with the common cold typically have a milder illness. Patients with influenza are usually sicker and have a more abrupt onset of illness with fever, chills, headache, body aches, dry cough, and extreme weakness. There is lab testing available at your doctor’s office to differentiate between common cold and influenza when the indication exists.

H1N1

The following is the best resource for up-to-date information and education related to flu for Texans. It’s really a comprehensive website for flu related questions specific to our area.
www.dshs.state.tx.us/txflu/splash/index.html

This CDC article about “H1N1 and You” answers the most commonly asked questions and is an excellent source of information.
www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm

Treating Asthma

Dealing with Asthma

Asthma

Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It is one of the most common long-term diseases of children, but adults can have asthma too. The symptoms of asthma are wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and nighttime or early morning coughing. If someone in your family has asthma, you are also more likely to have it. You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an attack, staying away from things that trigger an attack and following the advice of your doctor or other medical professional.

The following are some of the known triggers of asthma:

  • Tobacco Smoke
  • Dust Mites
  • Outdoor Air Pollution
  • Cockroach Allergen
  • Pets
  • Pollens
  • Mold
  • Strenuous physical exercise
  • Some medicines
  • High humidity or freezing temperatures
  • Smoke from burning wood, grass, or other vegetation
  • Some foods and additives
  • Severe emotional conditions

HAVE AN ASTHMA ACTION PLAN!

Important points to remember

  • Don’t wait to seek help if you think you are experiencing an acute asthma flare up that has not responded to your hand held rescue inhaler (albuterol).
  • Take your maintenance Asthma medicine even when you feel JUST FINE.

GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM IF:

  • Asthma attack is more severe than usual
  • No relief after appropriate rescue inhaler
  • Blue nail beds are noted
  • Child seem to be using Belly muscles too much (abdominal breathing)
  • Lower ribs seem to retract inward (rib retraction)
  • Any adult asthmatic having symptoms severe enough to keep him/her speaking in full sentences
  • Somnolence, confusion or any altered mental status in a patient experiencing asthma exacerbation is the sign of impending respiratory failure. Call 911 immediately if this happens.
Coping with COPD

Coping with COPD

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is a long-term lung disease usually caused by smoking. However, there are some other diseases that can cause COPD, even if the patient never smoked.
COPD includes a few lung diseases: the most common are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Many people with COPD have both of these diseases.

Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased mucus and coughing

Some people with COPD say it feels like they’re breathing through a straw.

What does COPD do to my lungs?
COPD slowly damages your airways, the breathing tubes that go in and out of your lungs. People with COPD have swollen and partly blocked airways. They can also have damage in the air sacs at the tips of their airways.

COPD makes it hard to breathe because:

  • The airways and air sacs in your lungs lose their shape and stretchiness
  • The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed
  • The walls of the airways become thick and swollen
  • Cells in the airways make more mucus than usual, which blocks the airways

Many people with COPD have emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Causes
Smoking cigarettes is the main cause of COPD in 80 – 90 % of cases. Other things that can cause COPD are:

  • A rare genetic disorder known as ALPHA 1 ANTI TRYPSINE DEFICENCY
  • Second hand smoke
  • Air pollution (dust or chemicals)
  • Having repeated lung infections as a child

Anyone who smokes, or who smoked in the past, can get COPD. People with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, exposure to second-hand smoke or pollution, or many childhood chest infections, can also get it.

People usually notice COPD symptoms when they’re in their 40s, 50s or 60s. Often people think their COPD symptoms – feeling short of breath, wheezing or coughing – are a normal part of getting older.

Warning Signs Of Acute Flare-up

  • Worsening or shortness of breath and wheezing despite adequate medications
  • Increased phlegm production
  • Change in color of phlegm and fever might point towards development of pneumonia

What should you do in case of Flare-up of COPD

For mild cough or mild wheezing related to COPD, stay in air conditioning when it’s very humid outside. Also avoid very cold air. Extreme temperature and high humidity cause a lot of flare-ups. Avoid dust, smoke and other triggers. Call your doctor; he/she may prescribe you a short course of steroids to decrease the inflammation in your lungs, and maybe a short course of antibiotics, depending upon your specific medical issues

WHEN TO SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE

  • When you experience shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing, which does not respond to the usual medications that your doctor has prescribed and you feel that your symptoms are actually getting worse.
  • Unable to speak in full sentences
  • Cynosis (blue discoloration) of finger tips, lips etc
  • Confusion or lethargy