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Albright College

TIP OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER

Infections 101

How much do we actually know about bacteria? Many are aware that these vastly complex organisms have the potential to both cause and reduce infections. Mysterious bacteria are most commonly found in the infections related to our sinuses and viral contagions are often presented as stomach distress.

Sinus cavities are located in the forehead (frontal), behind the eyes (sphenoid), between the eyes (ethmoid), and behind the cheek bones (maxillary). When inflammation in these cavities or in the nasal passage occurs, sinusitis gives you varying degrees of pressure in these regions or a severe headache; fever, bad breath, nasal congestion, and a cough may also accompany a sinus infection (WebMD).  Experiencing pain or pressure, or any of the previous symptoms listed, is cause to contact your health care provider; however it may just be a minor cold if you have simple congestion with a low-grade fever, for this there is no need for special medication or antibiotics (WebMD).

Treatment for sinus infections can be both effortless and painless; like most infections, though, serious complications can occur if left untreated. Over the counter (OTC) medications are available to reduce inflammation or airway obstruction (decongestant), in some cases; they can begin working within a few minutes. When choosing the proper OTC medication, consult a pharmacist or you health care provider, don’t guess; dangerous complications can come from taking or combining certain medications depending on your medical history. The easiest way to prevent infection is to stay hydrated, this will “maintain good sinus hygiene” (WebMD).

When the germs from the nose or sinus cavities grow, they can climb the Eustachian tube (which connects the ear to the upper respiratory tract) and enter your middle ear to cause an ear infection (WebMD). Ear infections can be brought on by colds or the flu (as well as other upper respiratory infections) and are known to occur in a variety of patterns and with common characteristics among those suffering from recurrent infections. Symptoms of an infection in the ear include: a fever, an earache, varying severity of ear pain, temporary hearing loss, blockages in the ear, and dizziness.

Many over the counter pain relievers work to also reduce inflammation; these commonly include ibuprofen or Motrin and aspirin. Though there is largely no difference among these anti inflammatory drugs, some are seen to work better, faster, or to produce fewer side effects. Motrin is often recommended in these situations and can be greatly effective. However, it is very important to take with food; and like any drug, abuse or overuse can have lasting side effects.

Bacteria on another level  or even viruses can cause chaos in the digestive tract; but mild to moderate vomiting and nausea can be managed, and tend to leave as quickly as they arrive. While nausea is present, sip ginger ale. Drink fluids, preferably Gatorade, at half-strength (or watered down), as a great place to start once the nausea subsides. This will work to correct your electrolyte imbalance and avoid dehydration; also be sure to stick to clear liquids and avoid dairy products. “After 24 hours of the liquid diet without vomiting, begin a soft-bland diet such as the BRAT diet:  bananas, rice, applesauce (without sugar), toast, pasta, and potatoes” (WebMD).

Please remember that antibiotics do not treat viral infections and are prescribed for bacterial infections only at the discretion of your health care provider!

Seek medical council if you are suffering from an infection; call the Gable Health and Counseling Center at (610) 921-7532 with any questions or for further information.

The above information is compiled from various sources, including WebMD.

Nicole Kelly, 12

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