Can Vitamin C Really Help Prevent Colds and Flu?

 It’s such an oft-repeated thing it has become common knowledge: Vitamin C is what we need when we are coming down with a cold or flu. Many swear it helps them prevent winter ills; others say it eases and erases symptoms and helps them bounce back if they do get struck down. But what is the truth here? Is vitamin C the cold cure and immunity boost we may believe it to be?... Read More | Share it now!

Whooping Cough

What Is Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.
Whooping Cough Symptoms
At first, whooping cough has the same symptoms as the average cold:
• Mild coughing
• Sneezing
• Runny nose
• Low fever (below 102 F)
You may also have diarrhea early on.
After about 7-10 days, the cough turns into “coughing spells” that end with a whooping sound as the person tries to breathe in air.
Because the cough is dry and doesn’t produce mucus, these spells can last up to 1 minute. Sometimes it can cause your face to briefly turn red or purple.
Most people with whooping cough have coughing spells, but not everyone does.
Infants may not make the whooping sound or even cough, but they might gasp for air or try to catch their breath during these spells. Some may vomit.
Sometimes adults with the condition just have a cough that won’t go away.
Causes
Whooping cough is caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, tiny germ-laden droplets are sprayed into the air and breathed into the lungs of anyone who happens to be nearby.
When the bacteria get into your airways, they attach to the tiny hairs in the linings of the lungs. The bacteria cause swelling and inflammation, which lead to a dry, long-lasting cough and other cold-like symptoms.
Whooping Cough complications
Whooping cough is dangerous in babies, especially ones younger than 6 months old, because it can keep them from getting the oxygen they need. This can cause:
• Brain damage or bleeding on the brain
• Pneumonia
• Seizures
• Apnea
• Convulsions
In teens and adults, whooping cough can lead to pneumonia. The severe coughing can also cause:
• Abdominal hernias
• Broken blood vessels
• Bruised ribs
• Trouble controlling when you pee
• Trouble sleeping.
Whooping Cough Diagnosis
Because symptoms of whooping cough are a lot like those caused by a cold, the flu, or bronchitis, it can be hard to diagnose it early on. Your doctor may be able to tell that you have it by the sound of your cough, but tests can confirm it.
?Nose or throat culture. A simple swab of the area where your nose and throat meet can be tested for the bacteria that causes whooping cough.
?Blood test. A high white blood cell count is a sign that your body is fighting off an infection, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s whooping cough.
?Chest X-ray. This can show if you have inflammation.
Treatment and Home Remedies
If you find out you have whooping cough early on, antibiotics can help cut down coughing and other symptoms.
They can also help prevent the infection from spreading to others. But most people are diagnosed too late for antibiotics to work well.
Don’t use over-the-counter cough medicines, cough suppressants, or expectorants (medicines that make you cough up mucus) to treat whooping cough. They don’t work.
You can do a few things to feel better and recover faster:
?Get lots of rest. This can give your body more strength to fight the illness.
?Eat small meals as often as you feel up to it.
?Clean air. Keeping the air around you free of dust, smoke, and other irritants can help soothe coughing.
?Drink fluids. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water or juice.
Whooping Cough Prevention
The DTP vaccine can help protect children from whooping cough. Infants should get a dose every other month for the first 6 months, another between 15 and 18 months, then one last time between ages 4 and 6.
Older children and adults need the DTP vaccine and a booster every 10 years because the vaccine can weaken over time. The best age for kids to get it is between 11 and 12. Adults who’ve never had the vaccine can get it any time.
Pregnant women should get a booster to help protect their newborn.
Another important key to prevention is to protect the people around you. If someone in your household has whooping cough, make sure they cover their mouth or cough into their elbow to keep from spreading the bacteria. Wash hands often, and consider having them wear a mask when they’re near others
In conclusion, whooping cough spreads easily, but vaccines like DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis)  can help prevent it in children and adults.
Help protect your child by making sure they and any adult who’s around them often get vaccinated.
With treatment, you should slowly start to feel better after about 4 weeks.
Written by: Chinonye Machie
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Sore Throat

A sore throat is a painful, dry, or scratchy feeling in the throat.
Most sore throats are caused by infections, or by environmental factors like dry air. Although a sore throat can be uncomfortable, it’ll usually go away on its own.
TYPES OF SORE THROAT 
Sore throats are divided into types, based on the part of the throat they affect:
– Pharyngitis affects the area right behind the mouth.
– Tonsillitis is swelling and redness of the tonsils, the soft tissue in the back of the mouth.
– Laryngitis is swelling and redness of the voice box, or larynx.
CAUSES OF SORE THROAT 
– Viral infection
– Colds
– Influenza (flu)
– Mumps
– Chickenpox
?Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Acid reflux happens when stomach acid travels up into the esophagus, irritating its lining.
This irritation can lead to a sore throat, a dry cough, and wheezing. It can also cause heartburn, a bitter taste in the mouth, regurgitation, indigestion, and difficulty swallowing.
?Smoke, chemicals, and other irritants
Outdoor air pollution and indoor pollution such as tobacco smoke or chemicals can cause a chronic sore throat. Chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol and eating spicy foods also can irritate your throat.
?Dry air
Dry indoor air can make your throat feel rough and scratchy. Breathing through your mouth often because of chronic nasal congestion also can cause a dry, sore throat.
?Allergies
Allergies to pet dander, molds, dust and pollen can cause a sore throat. The problem may be complicated by postnasal drip, which can irritate and inflame the throat.
?Bacterial infections (Streptococcus bacteria)
SYMPTOMS OF SORE THROAT 
The symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on what caused it. A sore throat can feel:
?scratchy
?burning
?raw
?dry
?tender
?irritated
HOME REMEDIES FOR SORE THROAT 
?Gargle with salt water
Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe a scratchy throat. The salt pulls the mucus out of your swollen, inflamed tissue and helps relieve the discomfort.
? Try OTC pain relief
Viruses cause most sore throats. Viruses can’t be treated with antibiotics, which only kill bacteria. Instead, the virus has to run its course in your body.
OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce inflammation and swelling in your throat. They can also relieve soreness or scratchiness.
?Enjoy a drop of honey
Warm tea (green tea)
that is sweetened with honey can help soothe your irritated throat. Tea also keeps you hydrated, which is another important step in treating a sore throat. Brew up a cup next time a sore throat starts to tickle.
?Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is an important part of treating a sore throat. When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t produce enough saliva and mucus to keep your throat naturally lubricated. This will make the swelling and inflammation worse.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH A SORE THROAT
While all of these remedies have been shown to ease sore throat pain, there are some items you may want to avoid.
If you have a sore throat, try avoiding any foods that may be difficult to swallow. We suggest sticking to soups and soft foods until the sore throat pain has resolved.
Written by: Josephine Wuraola 
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Sore Throat

A sore throat is a painful, dry, or scratchy feeling in the throat. Pain in the throat is one of the most common symptoms. Most sore throats are caused by infections, or by environmental factors like dry air. Although a sore throat can be uncomfortable, it’ll usually go away on its own.
Sore throats are divided into types, based on the part of the throat they affect:
?️ Pharyngitis affects the area right behind the mouth.
?️ Tonsillitis is swelling and redness of the tonsils, the soft tissue in the back of the mouth.
?️ Laryngitis is swelling and redness of the voice box, or larynx.
Sore throat symptoms
The symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on what caused it. A sore throat can feel:
?scratchy
?burning
?raw
?dry
?tender
?irritated
It may hurt more when you swallow or talk. Your throat or tonsils might also look red. Sometimes, white patches or areas of pus will form on the tonsils. These white patches are more common in strep throat than in a sore throat caused by a virus.
Most sore throats are caused by infections, or by environmental factors like dry air. Although a sore throat can be uncomfortable,
Sometimes, white patches or areas of pus will form on the tonsils.
Along with the sore throat, you can have symptoms like:
?nasal congestion
?runny nose
?sneezing
?cough
?fever
?chills
?swollen glands in the neck
?hoarse voice
?body aches
?headache
?trouble swallowing
?appetite loss
Causes of sore throats range from infections to injuries. Here are eight of the most common sore throat causes.
1. Colds, the flu, and other viral infections
Viruses cause about 90 percent of sore throats. Among the viruses that cause sore throats are: the common cold, influenza — the flu, mononucleosis – an infectious disease that’s transmitted through saliva, measles – an illness that causes a rash and fever, chickenpox – an infection that causes a fever and an itchy, bumpy rash, mumps – an infection that causes swelling of the salivary glands in the neck.
2. Strep throat and other bacterial infections
Bacterial infections can also cause sore throats. The most common one is strep throat, an infection of the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria.
Strep throat causes nearly 40 percent of sore throat cases in children. Tonsillitis, and sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause a sore throat.
3. Allergies
When the immune system reacts to allergy triggers like pollen, grass, and pet dander, it releases chemicals that cause symptoms like nasal congestion, watery eyes, sneezing, and throat irritation. Excess mucus in the nose can drip down the back of the throat. This is called postnasal drip and can irritate the throat.
4. Dry air
Dry air can suck moisture from the mouth and throat, and leave them feeling dry and scratchy. The air is most likely dry in the winter months when the heater is running.
5. Smoke, chemicals, and other irritants
Many different chemicals and other substances in the environment irritate the throat, including: cigarette and other tobacco smoke, air pollution, cleaning products and other chemicals.
6. Injury
Any injury, such as a hit or cut to the neck, can cause pain in the throat. Getting a piece of food stuck in your throat can also irritate it.
Repeated use strains the vocal cords and muscles in the throat. You can get a sore throat after yelling, talking loudly, or singing for a long period of time. Sore throats are a common complaint among fitness instructors and teachers, who often have to yell.
7. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus — the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
The acid burns the esophagus and throat, causing symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux — the regurgitation of acid into your throat.
8. Tumor
A tumor of the throat, voice box, or tongue is a less common cause of a sore throat. When a sore throat is a sign of cancer, it doesn’t go away after a few days.
Home remedies for a sore throat
You can treat most sore throats at home. Get plenty of rest to give your immune system a chance to fight the infection.
To relieve the pain of a sore throat:
– Gargle with a mixture of warm water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt.
– Drink warm liquids that feel soothing to the throat, such as hot tea with honey, soup broth, or warm water with lemon. Herbal teas are especially soothing to a sore throat.
– Cool your throat by eating a cold treat like a popsicle or ice cream.
– Suck on a piece of hard candy or a lozenge.
– Turn on a cool mist humidifier to add moisture to the air.
– Rest your voice until your throat feels better..
Medicines
You can take medicines to relieve the pain of a sore throat, or to treat the underlying cause.
A. Over-the-counter medications that relieve throat pain include:
– acetaminophen
– ibuprofen
– aspirin
Don’t give aspirin to children and teenagers, as it’s been linked to a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.
B. You can also use one or more of these treatments, which work directly on the pain of a sore throat:
– a sore throat spray that contains a numbing antiseptic like phenol, or a cooling ingredient like menthol or eucalyptus
– throat lozenges
– cough syrup
C. Medications that reduce stomach acid can help with a sore throat caused by GERD. These include:
1. Antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox, and Mylanta to neutralize stomach acid.
2. H2 blockers such as cimetidine, and famotidine to reduce stomach acid production.
3. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as lansoprazole and omeprazole to block acid production.
D. Low-dose corticosteroids can also help with the pain of a sore throat, without causing any serious side effects.
E. When you need antibiotics
Antibiotics treat infections caused by bacteria, like strep throat. They won’t treat viral infections.
You need to treat a strep throat with antibiotics to prevent more serious complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and rheumatic fever. Antibiotics can reduce sore throat pain by about one day, and lower the risk of rheumatic fever by more than two-thirds



Written by: Ebere Chienjine
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Allergy

An “allergic reaction” is the way your body responds to the allergen. A chain of events occur that result in an allergic reaction.
If you are prone to allergies, the first time you’re exposed to a specific allergen (such as pollen), your body responds by producing allergic (IgE) antibodies. The job of these antibodies is to find the allergens and help remove them from your system. As a result, a chemical called histamine is released and causes symptoms of allergies.
You can be allergic to a wide variety of substances – including pollen, animal dander, mold and dust mites.
Pollen
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an allergic response to pollen. It causes inflammation and swelling of the lining of your nose and of the protective tissue of your eyes (conjunctiva).
Symptoms include sneezing, congestion (feeling stuffy), and itchy, watery eyes, nose and mouth. Treatment options include over-the-counter and prescription oral antihistamines, anti-leukotrienes, nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines, and nasal cromolyn. In some people, allergic asthma symptoms (wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and/ or chest tightness) can be caused by exposure to pollen.
Your symptoms can be reduced by avoiding pollen. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high, close your windows, and use air conditioning. Ask your healthcare provider about immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) to treat pollen allergy.
Dust mites
Dust mites are tiny organisms that live in dust and in the fibers of household objects, such as pillows, mattresses, carpet, and upholstery. Dust mites grow in warm, humid areas.
The symptoms of dust mite allergy are similar to those of pollen allergy. To help manage dust mite allergies, try using dust mite encasements (airtight plastic/polyurethane covers) over pillows, mattresses, and box springs. Also, remove carpet, or vacuum frequently with a high-efficiency filter vacuum cleaner. Treatment may include medications to control your nasal/eye and chest symptoms. Immunotherapy may be recommended if your symptoms are not adequately controlled with avoidance methods and medications.
Molds
Molds are tiny fungi (like Penicillium) with spores that float in the air like pollen. Mold is a common trigger for allergies. Mold can be found indoors in damp areas, such as the basement, kitchen, or bathroom, as well as outdoors in grass, leaf piles, hay, mulch or under mushrooms. Mold spores reach a peak during hot, humid weather.
Treatment may include medications to control your nasal/eye and chest symptoms. Immunotherapy may be recommended if your symptoms are not adequately controlled with avoidance and medications.
Animal dander
Allergic reactions can be caused by the proteins secreted by sweat glands in an animal’s skin, which are shed in dander, and by the proteins in an animal’s saliva. Avoidance measures don’t work as well as simply removing the pet from your home. However, because many people are reluctant to do this, second-best measures include keeping your pet out of your bedroom, using air cleaners with HEPA filtration and washing your pet (cat or dog) frequently.
Treatment may include medications to control your nasal/eye and chest symptoms. Immunotherapy may be recommended if your symptoms are not adequately controlled with avoidance methods and medications.
Latex
Some people develop a latex allergy after repeated contact with latex. Rubber gloves, such as those used in surgery or home cleaning, are a major source for causing this type of reaction. Skin rash, hives, eye tearing and irritation, wheezing and itching of the skin may occur if you have a latex allergy.
Allergic reactions to latex can be mild, such as skin redness and itching. More severe reactions can occur if your mucosal membranes are exposed, such as during an operation or a dental or gynecologic exam.
Treatment of latex reactions begins by removing the offending latex product. If you have latex allergy, it is important for you to wear a Medic Alert® bracelet and carry an emergency epinephrine kit. All procedures should be carried out in a “latex-safe” fashion. There is no cure for latex allergy, so the best treatment for this condition is prevention and avoidance.
Certain foods
Food allergies develop when your body develops a specific antibody to a specific food. An allergic reaction occurs within minutes of eating the food, and symptoms can be severe. In adults, the most common food allergies are shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. In children, they include milk, egg, soy, wheat, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts.
If you have a food allergy, your symptoms include itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties and swelling around your mouth.
It is extremely important to avoid the foods that cause allergy symptoms. If you (or your child) have a food allergy, your doctor may prescribe injectable epinephrine (adrenaline) for you to carry at all times. This is needed in case you accidentally eat foods that cause allergies. There are new therapies for peanut allergies called oral immunotherapy.
Insect venom (stings)
If you get a bee sting, a normal symptom includes pain, swelling and redness around the sting site. A large, local reaction includes swelling that extends beyond the sting site. For example, if you are stung on the ankle, you may see swelling in your leg.
The most serious reaction to an insect sting is an allergic one, which needs immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to an insect sting include:
– Difficulty breathing.
– Generalized (widespread) hives that appear as a red, itchy rash that spreads to areas other than the area that was stung.
– Swelling of your face, throat or mouth tissue.
– Wheezing or difficulty swallowing.
– Restlessness and anxiety.
– Rapid pulse.
– Dizziness or a sharp drop in your blood pressure.
If you have a reaction like this, a re-sting can cause a serious reaction that can be life-threatening.
An allergic reaction is treated with epinephrine (adrenaline). If you’ve had an allergic reaction to bee stings, see a board-certified allergy/immunologist to get a skin and/or blood test to confirm your allergy to bee venom. Venom immunotherapy is  recommended if venom allergy is confirmed. This will help reduce the possibility that a re-sting will cause a serious reaction.
Symptoms of allergy
Allergy symptoms are classified as mild, moderate or severe:
Mild reactions include local symptoms (affecting a specific area of your body) such as a rash or hives, itchiness, watery/red eyes, hay fever and runny nose. Mild reactions do not spread to other parts of your body.
Moderate reactions include symptoms that spread to other parts of your body. Symptoms may include itchiness, hives, and/or swelling and trouble breathing.
A severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, is a rare, life-threatening emergency in which your body’s response to the allergen is sudden and affects the whole body. Anaphylaxis may begin with severe itching of your eyes or face. Within minutes, more serious symptoms appear, including throat swelling (which could cause problems with swallowing and breathing), abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, hives and swelling (angioedema). You may also have mental confusion or dizziness, since anaphylaxis may cause a drop in blood pressure.
Natural ways of treating Allergies 
Honey
Although there’s no scientific evidence to prove it, a popular theory suggests eating locally produced honey. According to the theory, you will lower your allergic reaction over time to the pollen that the bees collect in your area to make their honey.
Vitamin C
Practitioners of natural medication suggest taking 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily to reduce histamine levels.
Peppermint essential oil
A 1998 study showed that peppermint oil treatment had enough anti-inflammatory effects that reduced the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis to warrant clinical trials. Essential oils can be diffused into the air but should be diluted in a carrier oil if applied topically.
Eucalyptus essential oil
Advocates of natural healing suggest using eucalyptus oil as an antimicrobial agent by adding it to each load of wash during allergy season.
Frankincense essential oil
Based on the results of a 2016 study, frankincense oil may help against perennial allergic rhinitis. You can dilute it in a carrier oil and use behind your ears or use inhalation by diffusing it into the air.
Written by: Samuel Sobiye
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Asthma

This is a respiratory disease characterized by difficulty in breathing with wheezing. It is due to bronchiolar constriction caused by spastic contraction of the smooth muscle in bronchioles leading to obstruction of air passage. The obstruction is further exaggerated by edema of the mucous membrane and accumulation of mucus in the lumen of bronchioles.
Asthma is a paroxysmal (sudden) disorder because the attack commences and ends abruptly. During the attack the difficulty is felt both during inspiration and expiration. Bronchioles have inherent tendency to dilate during inspiration and construct during expiration. So more difficulty is experienced during expiration.

So air in the lungs are pushed through the constricted bronchioles producing a whistling sound. Because of difficulty during expiration, the lungs are not deflated completely so that the residual volume and functional residual capacity are increased .... Read More | Share it now!

What you did not know about Bee Propolis!

What is Propolis?

Did you know that honey isn’t the only thing that bees make? Bees also produce a compound called propolis from the sap on needle-leaved trees or evergreens. When they combine the sap with their own discharges and beeswax, they create a sticky, greenish-brown product used as a coating to build their hives. This is propolis.... Read More | Share it now!

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