Tag Archives: coughing

Could It Be ‘Walking Pneumonia’?

Walking pneumonia (also called atypical pneumonia) is a sub-type of pneumonia, a contagious condition marked by pus and inflammation that clog up the airways making it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia can be life-threatening (especially for the immunocompromised), but walking pneumonia is rarely serious and doesn’t usually require hospitalization. It may, however, require antibiotics or other medication to clear up.

What Causes Walking Pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia can be caused by a bacterial, fungal or viral lung infection or inhaled irritants, but is most often caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It is a contagious condition, often passed through a contaminated person’s sneezes or coughs in a crowded place like a school or hospital. Symptoms don’t usually start surfacing until many days after exposure (it can take up to a month).

What are the Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia?

Many people make the mistake of ignoring a cold that’s lingered on too long, when really, it may not be a cold at all. Walking pneumonia can mimic many symptoms of a cold. If it is left untreated or doesn’t clear on its own, however, it could potentially cause complications. Some of the common symptoms of walking pneumonia include:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Excess mucus or sputum
  3. Chest pain upon inhalation
  4. Labored breathing or wheezing
  5. A harsh cough that flares up and calms down again (but won’t seem to go away)
  6. Fatigue
  7. Aches and pains
  8. Fever or chills
  9. Weakness or faintness
  10. Headache
  11. Skin symptoms such as a rash
  12. Loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss

When to See the Doc?

Even though walking pneumonia is usually mild enough that a person can go about their daily business, if it starts hanging around too long you may need antibiotics (only if it is bacterial by nature) or other prescribed medicine to help clear it up. A doctor may also need to do some tests to check your lungs for any residual problems from the condition. So, if you’ve been experiencing the above symptoms or have a “cold” that has lasted longer than 10 days, it is time to get it checked out. Our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to help with health inquiries like this, so feel free to check us out if in doubt!

 

 

 

 

Telemedicine for Asthma And Allergy Care

Spring brings plenty of seasonal irritants along with it, so we thought it was an opportune time to examine the benefits of telemedicine as an option for continued allergy and asthma healthcare. Telemedicine can be a beneficial means of care for many other chronic illnesses such as arthritis, skin conditions, diabetes or stroke aftercare, so why not asthma and allergies? Studies already show that telemedicine is making major strides in asthma day-to-day care and maintenance.

Technology Aided Monitoring

Our modern world brandishes advanced technology including sharper images, HD screens and crisp audio. These attributes make it easy to diagnose and monitor chronic conditions such as allergies via telemedicine. If a person suffers from worsening hives, they can send photos of the different stages, as well as show a telemedicine doctor via teleconference the condition of their skin. A telemedicine doctor can also clearly see swelling, rashes and bloodshot or irritated eyes. When it comes to asthmatics, the doctor will be able to hear any wheezing or breathing changes that may be present, making it easy to assess the state of a patient’s condition. He or she will also be able to see potential physical characteristics such as blue/purple lips or nails, or pale skin and under-eye bags which may be indicative of inadequate sleep due to an asthma flare-up.

Get Prescriptions Filled Or Changed

Based on the doctor’s assessment of the progression of the patient’s allergies or asthma, the doctor can alter antihistamine levels or brands, change up puffers, or prescribe corticosteroids if need be. Doctors can send the prescriptions straight to the patient’s pharmacy and arrange for them to be home delivered.

Continued Medical Advice

Sometimes, especially with asthma, patients simply need general advice, or reassurance on the status of their condition. If a patient is having trouble sleeping or feels like they may be breathing extra shallow, a telemedicine consult can help determine whether the patient should be concerned and seek primary or emergency treatment soon, or if they are okay and should just up their puffers and try to relax. This is a helpful resource as the person likely doesn’t want to waste hours in an emergency room or try to get a doctor’s appointment just to be told they simply need to temporarily up their puffers, especially since clinic environments are dangerous for an asthmatic’s weakened immune system. In this way, telemedicine doctors can act as convenience triage for asthmatics.

Convenience During Pollen Season

This method of healthcare can be extremely convenient during hay fever months if the person has a bad allergy to pollen, or if their asthma flares up because of it. Those who are hypersensitive to pollen will want to spend as much time inside as possible so as not to worsen their condition. Being able to check in with a doctor without having to head out into a threatening cloud of pollen and wait in a germy clinic when their resistance is already down would be a big plus for hay fever sufferers or asthmatics during this time of year.

Feel free to call, email or visit DocChat‘s website to set up a video consultation with one of our highly skilled physicians about your allergies or asthma today. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you soon!

 

 

Cold Prevention – Tips And Tidbits (Part 1)

Young businesswoman with a seasonal cold and flu

 

A sick person can sneeze literally millions of virus particles into the air, which can make cold prevention pretty tricky. But luckily there are things we can do to minimize our chances of getting sick during cold and flu season.

Steer Clear Of Obvious Carriers

Adults catch 2-3 colds on average annually, but perhaps those numbers could be decreased a little if we all took more preventative measures. If you work in an office or another public environment, be sure to wash your hands (for about 20 seconds) several times throughout the day, especially before eating or touching your face. If you succumb to the germy habit of nail-biting, stop now. We all know to steer clear of those who are coughing and sneezing, but many people don’t realize just how easily viruses are transmitted. About 80% of contagious illnesses are spread through person-to-person contact. A gesture as simple as a handshake or high five with an infected person can gain you a cold. Even touching an infected surface and touching your face can do the job.

Cold Carrier Etiquette

If you are sick with the common cold, you should stay at home to rest up while it is in full swing until you can better control those coughs and sneezes. When you do go to work, clean and sterilize surfaces frequently and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching your face, or if you must make contact with another person. When at home, be sure to throw out contaminated tissues directly after use. This may seem like a weird tip but tissues left lying around will create a germ free-for-all, putting your family members at greater risk of catching your bug.

General Lifestyle Tips

Exercise, diet, and sleep also have bearing on the common cold, just as they do with almost any illness. It is always a good idea to maintain a healthy lifestyle including getting routine exercise and making sure you are getting enough sleep and rest. Diet is also an important factor, there are various vitamin and mineral rich foods you should be adding to your plate such as leafy green veggies and vitamin rich fruit. A tip-top system will be better at staving off infectious intruders.

Kids And Colds

Young kids are the most frequent catchers of colds, racking up approximately 6-10 a year! According to Pulsus, “Young children have more colds than older children and adults because they haven’t built up immunity (defenses) to the more than 100 different cold viruses that are around.” Young children also catch more colds than adolescents or adults because of such close proximity to their little peers in elementary schools paired with the fact that young children simply aren’t that concerned about preventative hygiene.

Teaching Children Preventative Habits

It is no secret that children are usually the culprits in contracting and spreading the family cold, but there are measures you can take to keep your child (and your family) safer against viruses. Many children don’t wash their hands correctly – or even at all after using the bathroom or getting them dirty. It’s important to instill proper hygiene habits in our little ones, such as how to wash their hands with soap under warm water for about the time it takes to sing 2 run-throughs of the happy birthday song in their heads. We can also stress to them the importance of removing themselves from a group of other kids if they have to cough or sneeze, or if one of the kids in the group is openly coughing and sneezing.

Educate Little Ones About Major Germ Hiding Places

According to WebMD, “A 2005 study of germs in schools found that classroom water fountain spigots and plastic cafeteria trays were the germiest spots in school. The spigot had 2,700,000 and the tray 33,800 bacteria per square inch, compared with 3,200 on the restroom toilet seat.” This statistic illustrates just how important it is to educate our little ones about taking precautions in very germy areas such as fountains. Try filling up a water bottle for the child to cut down on exposure to such places.

Thanks for visiting DocChat for our cold prevention tips. For suggestions on what to do when you can’t prevent a cold, be sure to check back tomorrow for cold management tips and tidbits!

 

Why Allergies Should Not Be Neglected

Young woman blowing her nose while being in the nature

Exposure to common allergens like pollen, animal dander, weed, and even some foods makes your immune system vulnerable, thereby causing allergic reactions. You are likely to be at more risk to develop allergy when your body is weak and healing after suffering through a fever or viral infection. Even though it is the allergens that trigger allergic reaction in your body, in reality it is when you neglect them that they worsen.

Although there is no cure for allergies, you can however treat them in order to control them and not let it worsen. Since allergy is a form of chronic illness, if you do not treat it in due time, it will aggravate.

Here are some problems that you could face if you neglect your allergies.

· You are likely to develop additional allergies

Common symptoms of allergy are cough, watery eyes, sore throat, runny nose, and itchiness. With time, people who already have some sort of an untreated allergy notice that their symptoms have become much more severe and unbearable. This might mean that you have developed additional allergies. For instance if people suffer from pollen allergy, they may also suffer allergy triggered by foods that contain similar elements.

· Your symptoms are likely to worsen

Allergies are chronic and they don’t go away on their own. If you don’t undergo a proper treatment plan in order to control the allergic reaction, it is likely to lead to much more severe symptoms like sinus infection, ear infection and advanced asthma.

· You may suffer from life threatening asthma

Basic symptoms of asthma are similar to most of the allergies, except that they are on a much more severe scale. Almost all sorts of allergies result in the allergic person suffering from cough. If you neglect it and leave it untreated, your allergy is likely to turn into a much more serious problem including asthma. Symptoms like severe coughing, shortness in breath and chest tightening are common in asthma. Delayed treatment of preexisting allergies like food allergy may cause chronic asthma.

Whether, you are an adolescent or an adult, neglecting allergies can cause severe problems and diseases in the future. One should avoid exposure to allergens, and in case it worsens, you ought to have a doctor’s advice and treat it with medicine such as nasal sprays and allergy shots.

breathing-problems

5 Breathing Disorders You Might Be Suffering From

Many different disorders affect the human respiratory system. Most of these cause serious health complications for the patient and are often chronic conditions. These can happen to anyone, but genetic pre-disposition and environmental factors also play a role.

At times, people tend to neglect signs of breathing disorders simply because they’re not aware of the symptoms. To help you in this regard and to live a healthy life, given below are some tips:

(1) Asthma
Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the airways. The breathing passages get narrow because of the inflammation, ultimately leading to limited airflow and breathing problems.

Signs and Symptoms
▪ Tightness feeling in the chest
▪ Shortness of breath
▪ Wheezing
▪ Dry, irritating cough
▪ Coughing that is made worse by seasonal flu, colds

Causes
The exact cause of Asthma has not been determined; medical experts believe it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that lead to Asthma. Early life exposure to allergens, a genetic predisposition to allergies all are contributing factors.

Treatment
There is no cure for Asthma, but the symptoms can be controlled effectively.
▪ Avoid asthma triggers– Most common ones are: exposure to pollen, dust, chemicals, pollution, and pet fur.
▪ Inhaled corticosteroids–Use an inhaler that delivers medicine directly to the lungs
▪ Theophylline
▪ Leukotriene modifiers

(2) Sleep Apnea
A serious sleep disorder, sleep apnea causes irregular breathing patterns during sleep. People with sleep apnea can have higher risks of cardiovascular problems such as, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and obesity.

Signs and Symptoms
Often goes undiagnosed because it only occurs during sleep.
▪ Shallow breathing or breathing pauses
▪ Loud snoring
▪ Morning headaches
▪ Sore throat or mouth dryness after waking
▪ Trouble focusing on intensive tasks
▪ Irregular sleep patterns

Causes
Brain signals that cause repeated interruptions during sleep cycles.

Treatment
This is a chronic condition and has to be managed properly. These have to be used while sleeping
▪ Use of breathe assisting devices – continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
▪ Mouth guards which lower jaw position during sleep and open up the airway
▪ Lifestyle changes (such as losing weight or quitting smoking) are helpful

(3) Emphysema
Categorized as a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema damages the fragile air sacs of lungs and the body fails to get the oxygen it needs.

Signs and Symptoms
▪ Persistent cough
▪ Frequent respiratory infections
▪ Reduced appetite
▪ Unexplained weight loss
▪ Fatigue and tiredness
▪ Swelling of ankles
Causes
▪ Cigarette smoking
▪ Exposure to secondhand smoke
▪ Exposure to high pollution levels
Treatment
▪ Essential to stop smoking
▪ Steroids
▪ Antibiotics
▪ Bronchodilators
▪ Vaccines
(4) Chronic Bronchitis
Categorized as a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), it is an inflammation of the airways (bronchial tubes) that carry oxygen to the lungs.

Signs and Symptoms
▪ Cough
▪ Fever accompanied by chills
▪ Shortness of breath
▪ Chest discomfort
▪ Fatigue
Causes
▪ Smoking
▪ Air pollution
▪ Exposure to toxic gases, fumes and dust
Treatment
▪ Quit smoking
▪ Use of antibiotics
▪ Humidifiers to help loosen mucus buildup
▪ Oxygen therapy
▪ Medicines- Bronchodilators, Steroids and Antibiotics

(5) Pneumonia
A common lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. More concerning when it occurs in very young children and older people (>65 years).

Signs and Symptoms
▪ Labored breathing
▪ Persistent cough
▪ Bouts of severe cough
▪ Reddish and/or yellow-green sputum
▪ Low appetite and/or lack of energy
▪ Painful breathing

Causes

▪ Germs– bacteria, viruses and fungi
▪ Mycoplasma
▪ Various chemicals

Treatment
▪ Oral antibiotics (for bacterial pneumonia)
▪ Viral pneumonia requires antiviral medication
▪ Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to control fever
▪ Plenty of rest and fluids

People need to be aware of the most common breathing disorders, the symptoms vary but early detections of these problems can make a tremendous difference when it comes to controlling the symptoms and ensuring a healthy, productive life.
Note: If you think you might be suffering from any of these diseases kindly get in touch with a doctor, and telemedicine in such a case can be of great help. Symptoms such as a persistent cough, wheezing, shortness of breath after light activities, or any other discomfort during breathing can all be signs of a serious disease.

Cough word cloud

Why You Should NOT Ignore Continuous Coughing

If you or someone you know is suffering from a cough, chances are it is related to a change in the weather or the seasons. Simple ailments, such as a sore throat, can also progress into a cough. But a persistent cough is one condition that needs to be addressed, as it may develop into a serious infection and cause you harm in a variety of ways.

Coughing Can Cause Lifestyle Problems

With a persistent cough, it can be next to impossible to even carry on a conversation. It also makes it difficult to sleep, and lack of sleep can cause another large set of problems. Continuous coughing also puts a lot of pressure on your bladder, which can lead to urinary incontinence.

If you are coughing on a regular basis, it can seriously drain you of energy, and cause you to be short of breath. All of this combined will put a serious cramp on your lifestyle if you do not get rid of the cough.

Coughing Can Cause Physical Damage

You may have noticed that a chronic cough is often accompanied by muscle pain in the chest and back. With every episode of coughing, there is a great deal of pressure generated in the chest cavity. This causes strain to the muscles in that region. Women have been known to actually crack ribs when coughing violently. Persistent coughing can also cause blood vessels in the nose, anus, and recent surgical wounds to burst.

Continuous Coughing Can Indicate Bigger Health Issues

The cough that inflicts most people is caused by allergies, or infection. A chronic cough that lasts more than three weeks could be an indicator of tuberculosis. It can also indicate the presence of other diseases such as cancer of the lungs, or congestive heart failure.

Coughing Can Cause Illness In People Around Us

When you have an infection, each time you cough, you unleash infectious organisms that can make other people sick. This is true whether or not you cover your mouth. People with weak immune systems are especially vulnerable.

If you have a cough for just a few days, it is probably no big deal. But a cough that persists over the course of a week or more deserves your undivided attention. Set an appointment with your doctor if you have any doubts as to what may be causing it.