Category Archives: Diseases & Conditions

Articles on Diseases & Conditions.

How Telemedicine Services Can Treat Rashes and Skin Infections

The appearance of a rash can be a simple allergic reaction to a substance the skin has come in contact with and will not require medical treatment, but a rash can also be a sign of a condition that requires seeing a doctor. Some rashes are mild and barely noticeable while others can be extensive and even embarrassing. Having to go to a crowded doctor’s office for the treatment of an embarrassing rash may hinder some people from seeking treatment, but even treating something as simple as ringworm can be uncomfortable in an office setting. This is why video chat doctor appointments may be just what you’ve been itching for!
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How Telemedicine Services Can Treat an Ear Infection

If you have ever had an ear infection you know just how painful they can be and when left untreated can lead to serious complications and even hearing loss. However, getting an immediate appointment with your doctor may be a challenge. With a video chat doctor appointment, it’s not only possible to get an appointment within minutes at any time from any place, but it will likely cost you less than a doctor’s office visit. And if it is a child who has an ear infection trying to take them to a crowded doctor’s office filled with sick children may not really be an easy task or comfortable for your child, not to mention all those germs floating around.

Getting a video chat doctor appointment is a quick and easy process that enables you to have a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation on your mobile device or computer with a licensed U.S. board certified doctor within your state. The process is easy and can be done in minutes just by adding a free app to your mobile device or registering online. Just answer some standard questions regarding you or your family member’s health history and you’ll be set to go. Although insurance isn’t required to use the service if you have insurance be sure to include it as the video chat doctor appointment may be covered in your insurance plan. Getting that ear infection treated and relieving the pain as quickly as possible is what’s best for you or your family, and with video chat consultations the doctor is always in at your convenience.
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How Telemedicine Services Can Treat a Sinus Infection

A sinus infection is typically not a serious medical condition, but if left untreated it can lead to a more serious infection causing complications. Most people often just suffer through them because it doesn’t seem worthy of a long wait at the doctor’s office or clinic filled with people who may be suffering from other ailments that may be highly contagious. But, trying to heal an infection on your own can be risky and end you up in the doctor’s office anyway with a more serious situation.

Fortunately, people with sinus infection don’t have to go it alone anymore; a simple video chat doctor appointment can end your suffering without the exposure to all those other people’s germs. Video chat doctor appointments can allow proper medical care of sinus infection from the comfort of your home or office 24 hours a day, seven days out of the week, with little or no waiting to see the doctor. Not only is the doctor appointment quick and scheduled at your convenience the video chat doctor visit typically costs less than a trip to the doctor’s office or clinic.
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How Telemedicine Services Can Treat Mental Health & Addiction Issues

Telemedicine for mental and telebehavioral health is an avenue of easy access for people in need of counseling services on demand. Whether it be because you have a crisis at two in the morning, do not have local access to therapy, or perhaps that you just are not comfortable going to a local mental health clinic, video chat doctor services can be ideal in providing mental and behavioral health services for you.

Telemedicine is strictly limited to providing patient- initiated counseling provided by U.S. board certified doctors and behavioral health specialists basically 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you first register with a telemedicine service for mental health treatment there typically will be about a two day waiting period for them to access your health records before a telemedicine video chat session can be scheduled. However, once you have gone through the simple registration process you can usually be in touch with a doctor within a matter of minutes, depending on the availability of doctors within the state you live in.

Telebehavioral health is also a video chat method of counseling for people in need of professional assistance on demand for addiction issues; this would include drugs and alcohol as well as cessation of smoking. These services are typically support services, but it may include therapeutic treatment planning and support services for cessation of smoking.
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What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection is a common non-contagious illness many people face; typically it involves bacteria or fungi contaminating one or more of the structures of the urinary tract such as the kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra. Usually an infection of the urinary tract is easily treated with antibiotics.

However, left untreated a urinary tract infection can lead to serious complications, so it is very important to see your healthcare provider if you think you may have an infection of the urinary tract.

Who is Most at Risk for a Urinary Track Infection UTI?

Anyone can get a urinary tract infection, but are more common in women than men. It is not scientifically proven, but the train of thought is that women are affected more often because females have a shorter urethra than males thereby shortening the length that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
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The Good and Bad News About Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections, also called UTIs, is one of the most common type of infections that a woman will likely have to endure during her lifetime. Unfortunately, the bad news is that the odds are not in your favor when it comes to UTIs. Medical statistics indicate that as many as 1 in every 2 women will suffer this common infection, UTI, at some point in their lives. And in fact, many who have contracted a urinary tract infection may even have repeated occurrences of this bothersome malady.

The good news is that UTIs are easily treated with the proper medical care and can even be prevented altogether or from recurring with some simple, proper precautionary steps.

Below you will find the UTI symptoms you should be aware of and what to look for if you think something is wrong, the probable causes of urinary tract infections, the best case scenario treatment and cure for a UTI, and lastly the simple precautions you can utilize in preventing a UTI from occurring or recurring.
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What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused specifically by the spirochete bacterium; it is a contagious disease that is transported from person to person primarily by sexual contact. Syphilis may also be transmitted during pregnancy from mother to child or via the vaginal canal during child birth. Syphilis is very curable when detected in its early stages, but when left untreated can have devastating effects on your brain, heart and other vital organs, even ending in death.

Symptoms and Stages of Syphilis

There are five stages of syphilis that it can present itself in which are:

  • Primary Syphilis – In the initial stage, anywhere from 3 to 90 days after having had direct contact with the chancre (sore) of an infected sexual partner, the disease presents itself as a lesion. This usually occurs in the same location as the initial direct contact was made, often appearing on the genitals, vagina, buttocks, anus or mouth. The lesion typically is painless and morphs into a non itchy ulcer, and because of their somewhat hidden location infected people are sometimes unaware of the chancre sore and unknowingly spread the disease to their sexual partners. The sores will resolve themselves on their own in about four to six weeks, even without treatment.
  • Secondary Syphilis – In secondary syphilis the disease presents itself in a much more obvious fashion with varying symptoms many of which are skin related, as well as typical symptoms of a bacterial origin. Typically these symptoms begin to appear four to ten weeks after the first chancre sore has presented itself in the primary stage. Although these symptoms may disappear on their own in about one to three months, they may also recur off and on for up to a year.
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What Causes Strep Throat?

Strep throat is one of the most common bacterial infections among young school age children, most prevalently in kids between the ages of 5 to 15 years of age. The infection (strep throat) occurs when Group A streptococcus (GAS) bacteria overwhelms the body’s natural defenses and invades the pharyngeal tissue causing painful inflammation of the throat, tonsils and surrounding tissue, resulting in strep throat.

Anyone can get streptococcal sore throat, strep is an equal opportunity infection the inflammation and pain is not limited to children, strep is responsible for 15 to 40 percent of sore throat in kids and also 5 to 15 percent of sore throat in adults. Strep throat is very contagious; it is spread from person to person from coming in contact with an infected person or contact with items contaminated with the streptococcal bacterium.

What are the Symptoms of Strep Throat?

Strep throat symptoms often come on suddenly and can seem much like a common cold at first, unfortunately as the streptococcus germs take over symptoms typically worsen; some common strep throat symptoms may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to swallow
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes
  • Sore throat with red spots and or white patchy streaks
  • Stomach ache and possible vomiting (particularly in children)

How do you get Strep Throat?

Due to the strep symptoms of coughing and sneezing strep throat spreads easily especially among children in school who are in close quarters and typically sharing common bathrooms, school supplies, equipment, food and drinks that may be contaminated with the strep bacteria. Adults spread it just as easily at work too, basically for the same reasons as children do, sneezing and coughing, close working environment, and sharing telephones, computers, break room and unfortunately germs.

A person with strep throat who does not seek proper antibiotic treatment from a medical professional will be highly contagious during the most severe stages of their strep throat infection, and will remain contagious for as long as 21 days, this is why it is important to see a doctor right away if you suspect you or your child may have strep throat.

How is Strep Throat Diagnosed?

In a two step process

Part 1
Diagnosing strep throat is a fairly straight forward process that consists of your doctor conducting a physical examination and a few simple lab tests. Your diagnosis will come in two parts, the first of which will be the physical exam. During this portion of the physical examination your health care provider will take a detailed history of your health as well as the complaints that have brought you to seek care.

Armed with your health history the physical portion of your exam will begin, whereby your doctor will take your temperature, examine your throat checking for the multiple possible signs of strep such as; inflammation of the throat and surrounding tissue, red swollen tonsils, red spots on the hard or soft palate, and or white streaks of pus, touching and feeling your lymph nodes and glands to check for signs of swelling and tenderness.

Part 2
The second part of your diagnosis will require the following diagnostic tests:

  • During your examination your doctor may want to take a throat culture as the second part of diagnosis. The procedure involves your doctor taking a long cotton swab to gently swab the back of your throat to gather a sample of the fluid or pus in the inflamed portions of your throat. The swab can be used for two diagnostic tests:
    1. Rapid Antigen Test – This test is performed in the office and will give results in minutes rather than days, it is used to detect the presence of the streptococcus antigens. If the antigens are present your doctor can then begin antibiotic treatment right away.
    2. Throat Culture – This test is given when rapid antigen tests are inconclusive, also to rule out other types of infection, and to try to identify the types of bacteria present. This may be useful in prescribing more specific antibiotics for treatment of severe strep throat cases.

What is the Treatment for Strep Throat?

Typically treatment for strep throat consists of prescription oral antibiotics and home health care remedies and over the counter medications. Once you or your child have begun antibiotic treatment, after 24 hours have passed you or your child may return to work, day care, or school provided you feel up to it and have no fever. Once you are on antibiotics (after 24 hours) you will no longer pose a threat of spreading strep.

Treatment for other strep symptoms may be treated with over the counter medications and pain relievers such as:

  • Pain relieving throat sprays or lozenges
  • Fever reducers (do not use aspirin for children)
  • Gargling with warm water and salt three times a day
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Eating throat soothing foods, avoid spicy and acidic food and drink
  • Avoid irritants such as smoke, chemical fumes, allergy triggers

If you or your child is not showing signs of improvement after 48 hours of antibiotic treatment you need to contact your doctor, you may need a different or additional prescription for antibiotics. If you or your child’s symptoms worsen you should see your doctor immediately or go to your local urgent care center for immediate examination.

What is Viral Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)?

A stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis as is its medical terminology is usually a common virus that causes havoc in your intestines.

Is Stomach Flu Contagious?

The answer is YES. Typically stomach flu symptoms begin to present themselves one to three days after you have been exposed to an infected person. Viral and bacterial gastroenteritis is caused by a virus or bacterium which are easily, readily and rapidly spread, especially in group settings in a contained environment, for example; on a cruise ship, dormitory, school, corporate office, or hotel convention. In fact with stomach flu you are actually very contagious even before you have symptoms of the stomach flu, and even remain so well after your symptoms have subsided, in fact for as long as two weeks. Children tend to remain contagious even longer than adults.

What are the Symptoms of Stomach Flu (viral gastroenteritis)?

Symptoms of stomach flu are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and/or cramping
  • Fever (typically below 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Headache
  • Body aches & pains
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea (typically thin, watery)
  • Lethargy (tired, worn out feeling)

It can sometimes be difficult to know the difference between viral gastroenteritis and bacterial gastroenteritis because the symptoms are nearly identical with the exception of the symptom of bloody stools often found with bacterial stomach flu, but the seriousness of the infection between the two can be significant.

While viral gastroenteritis is relatively harmless, bacterial gastroenteritis is usually harmless as well, but when caused in particular by E. coli it can have serious consequences such as; intestinal bleeding, severe anemia, and left untreated even kidney failure. If you have stomach flu symptoms with bloody stools you should seek medical treatment immediately, contact from your primary care physician or local urgent care center.

What is the Treatment for Viral Gastroenteritis?

There is no cure for a viral infection and the same is true for viral gastroenteritis, basically the virus must run its course through your body. What can be done are home health remedies that will help you get through the nasty bug working its way through your system, here are some helpful home remedies:

  • Medications – There are numerous over the counter medications you can take to help alleviate some of the nasty flu symptoms ranging from fever reducers, pain relievers to antidiarrheal and anti-nausea medications. You should consult with your health care provider or local pharmacist to discuss which over the counter medications would be best for you and your personal health history.
  • Replenish fluids – Stomach flu can often dehydrate your body, it is important to try to rehydrate your body methodically. Because stomach flu typically includes nausea and vomiting it can be difficult to keep fluids down, so pick your fluids wisely. Sipping clear liquids such as water or chewing on ice chips (on a schedule to avoid dehydration) is advisable at first, slowly integrate replenishing drinks as your ability to keep liquids down increases; which could include clear broth (chicken), sports drinks (Gatorade to replace lost electrolytes) and warm tea such as chamomile (to soothe the tummy).
  • Get plenty of rest – Your body is under attack, the best medicine for any ailment is rest. Sleep allows your body’s immune system to strengthen and go to work for you full force while all your other body systems are at rest, utilizing the minimum output of energy on healing and giving your body’s defense systems what it needs to work at their maximum for you.
  • Integrate replenishing foods – As your stomach allows, slowly introduce foods that will help you heal, most doctors recommend the BRAT diet; this includes Bananas (to replace lost potassium and strengthen stomach lining), Rice (white rice is easily digested and the sugar from the carbs will help replace energy) Applesauce is easily digested and contains pectin which will aid in relieving diarrhea, Toast (white bread helps to bind with other foods). As you begin to feel like eating again avoid foods that are; fatty, fried, salty, or dairy and anything with caffeine or fiber, as your bowels are already loose. Once you are feeling 100 percent again you can return to your normal routine and diet.

Do I Need to see a Doctor?

In most instances the stomach flu resolves itself within four to ten days, if you are not improving consistently after ten days you should consult your health care provider or visit your local urgent care center as soon as possible for further diagnostic testing and diagnosis.

STD Testing and Treatment

There are as many as thirty infectious organisms known to cause sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes just to name a few. Many STD symptoms go unnoticed altogether or are mistaken for something less serious, this is why if you are sexually active and not in a long term monogamous relationship it is important to get tested for STDs annually. Screening is another form of STD testing that is highly recommended for all sexually active people.

What is Screening?

Screening is when your healthcare provider recommends that a panel of STI tests is run, even though the patient has no symptoms at the moment, but deems necessary because the patient is in a high risk category for contracting STIs. Your healthcare provider will determine which tests you should be regularly screened for based on your age, health history, sexual preferences and sexual activities.

Who Needs Screening?

There is one test doctors recommend all sexually active people from age 15 to 70 years of age have performed, that would be a saliva swab or blood test for HIV/AIDS, of course if you have a younger child (under 15) that you feel may be at risk or have been exposed to HIV they should be tested as well.

Hepatitis C Screening

If you were born between 1945 and 1965 it is highly recommended that you be screened for Hepatitis C. Symptoms of hepatitis C often do not appear until the infection is in advanced stages and due to the high rates of incidence in this age group health experts strongly recommend testing be done.

Cervical Cancer Screening (pap testing and HPV)

After age twenty, medical experts strongly recommend women get a Pap screen test every three years to detect any abnormal changes to the cervix which often is caused by the HPV human papilloma virus. It is recommended that women over age thirty should have a pap screen and HPV test every five years.

STD testing is done in one of three ways:

  • Urine Sample – Your health care provider may request a clean catch urine sample to test for certain STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
  • Blood Tests – Blood tests can determine negative or positive results for HIV and syphilis.
  • Fluid or Swab Sample – Your healthcare provider may take a culture sample with a cotton swab of the genital sore material, or collect fluid or discharge from sores to determine the exact nature of your infection; in order to diagnose whether it is bacterial or viral in origin and guide proper treatment.

Who Should be Tested for STDs?

All People Sexually Active
Anyone who is sexually active should be tested for STDs on a regular basis (at least yearly), but people who are in certain high risk categories should be tested more often for specific STIs that they are more likely to contract. The following people are in a higher risk category for contracting STDs:

  • Before engaging in vaginal, anal or oral sex with a new partner both parties should be tested for all STDs including HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, HPV (women). It should be mentioned, if you or your potential partner have recently been infected you may test negative. Using latex condoms may reduce your risk of infection.
  • Men who have anal and or oral sex with men should be tested frequently, at minimum yearly, but more frequent STD screening is strongly recommended. Testing on a regular schedule for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis B, and HIV are extremely crucial to diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
  • Sexually active women who are 25 and under should be screened for STIs annually. If you have multiple partners, engage in anal sex, or have had an STI recently you are in a higher risk category and should strongly consider getting tested more frequently. Tests should include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV and HIV.
  • People, both men and women, who have already been diagnosed with HIV, are at extremely high risk of contracting STIs. Frequent testing is standard practice and would include screening for HPV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. Additionally, women with HIV should have pap screen tests twice a year due to the high risk of aggressive cervical cancer and HPV.
  • Though pregnant women are not typically in a high risk category they are tested in their first prenatal visit, screening for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and both hepatitis B and C. Screening may be repeated in pregnant women who are at high risk for contracting STIs due to high risk behavior(s).

Treatment of STDs

Treatment of an STD will depend on the source of the infection, parasitic and bacterial infections are typically treated with antibiotics and readily cured, but viral infections may be more problematic and in some cases such as the herpes virus, can only be managed with antiviral medications, there is no cure.

Another important component of treatment is completing your treatment regimen; if you are prescribed antibiotics it is essential to finish the entire dosing schedule, even if your symptoms have disappeared. Not completing the entire prescription can result in re-infection and may make treatment more complicated. Naturally it is imperative to refrain from all sexual activities during your treatment and that of your partner(s) until your doctor has stated you and your partner are again ready for safe sex (preferably).

Upon completing your treatment plan it is important to follow up with your healthcare provider for retesting to ensure that your STI has been completely cured before resuming sexual activity.