Category Archives: Infectious Disease

HIV

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.  HIV can be contracted by several different ways, having unprotected sex with someone with the virus, sharing needles with someone with the virus, or from a mother at birth.  Blood transfusions or organ transplantation are rarely a risk due to the improved extensive testing done now to prevent that from happening. When HIV enters the body it attacks the blood cells in the body weakening them and doesn’t allow the body to fight off infection.  If this occurs and pneumonia sets in, it is a sign that possible AIDS may be progressing.
HIV infections have many progressing symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, headache, weight loss, sore throat and skin rash.  If not treated this infection could turn more serious on a daily basis.  The infection will keep reproducing in your body until it weakens your immune system and then more symptoms will surface.  Such symptoms are repeated cold sores, or genital herpes, tingling and numbness in the limbs, swollen lymph nodes, usually in the neck, dry cough, nail changes, and night sweats.  So it is very important that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you be seen by your doctor to perform and HIV test.   Getting tested for the virus is very easy.  Simply talk to your doctor or go to a clinic if you are embarrassed, don’t be it could save your life.  They will perform a test usually blood and send it off and you will know something in a short time.  If you are diagnosed with the HIV infection please let your past partners know so they can be tested as well.  And you should let your future partners know of the HIV infection so you don’t pass it along to them.
If you have HIV it is not necessarily the end of your life it is controllable on medications.  You control the virus.  There are many anti-HIV drugs and they are very powerful and they do have many side effects.  The side effects vary on the person.  The drugs are prescribed by your physician and proper direction on how to live with HIV should be taken very seriously.  It is important you educate yourself and your loved ones on how to live with the infection.  Just because you have HIV doesn’t mean you have been given a death sentence you have HIV infection and you have to live life differently.

Death and Dying

Death is referred to as the cessation of the biological functions that support a living organism. Death is an inevitable occurrence but can be hastened or prolonged due to certain lifestyle choices such as eating habits, drug/alcohol abuse, physical activity, and certain medications. Some causes of death can be inherited such as diseases and other health issues. Death can occur naturally, by accident, and intentionally. Infectious diseases are the most common cause of death. Some of these are tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. These specific diseases cause approximately more than 300 million illnesses a year and more than 5 million deaths each year.

In other countries lack of sanitary living conditions and limited or no access to modern medical technology and medications heighten the results of death from infectious diseases. Other health concerns that can cause death are tobacco use, malnutrition, bad eating habits, and lack of physical activity. In many cases after a death an autopsy is performed. This is an examination of a human corpse in an effort to determine such things as cause of death and to evaluate if any disease or injury is present. This is very beneficial in unexplained deaths and deaths in which the circumstances are suspicious as in murder and suicide.

Dying is a process of death in which your body is shutting down and you are reaching a state in which biological functions are going to cease. Dying is a natural part of our society and is sometimes known by the person that they are dying but can also be unexpected. Dying sometimes involves a grieving process by the person dying and by family members and friends. This process includes denial/shock (usually at the beginning stages where you have difficulty accepting your own or a loved one’s death), anger (the second stage when you are asking questions like “why me”, or “why this person” and can sometimes displace your anger on others), bargaining (the third stage where you or a loved one vows to give something up in exchange for the dying persons health), guilt ( fourth stage of death; finding guilt in things you did or didn’t do in life), depression (the fifth stage of death where you have feelings of isolation, and mood fluctuations), and acceptance(final stage where you accept death and have dealt with it, but does not always mean happiness).

Death and dying is something we all will face in our lives. Dealing with it can be very difficult and sometimes the comfort of others such as a family member, friend, and a clergyman i.e. priest, reverend, or minister can help to cope with the process whether you or someone you love is dying. Talking sounds simple but sometimes it is hard in these circumstances.

MRSA

In the ICU some of the patients have such sever infections that some medications do not kill the germs.  They become resistant to the medicine in turn the patient gets worse.  Only take medications that are prescribed to help decrease the risk of your body becoming immune to the medication (antibiotics).  It seems most days that everyone gets a little sniffle and they get antibiotics.  Colds are viruses and viruses do not respond to antibiotics.   All health care personnel have  responsibility to decrease the spread of germs from patient to patient.  Cleaning of the stethoscope will also help decrease the risk.

More patients and families today have been educated that they should ask about medications they are receiving, understand their diagnosis and treatment, and inform the health care team members to WASH their hands before touching you.  Personal protective equipment should be and is required to be worn when their is a risk of becoming contaminated with blood, body fluids,etc. Practice hand washing technique as recommended by the CDC, which will provide the patients with a healthier overall outcome.