Health

What Causes Sore Throat?

The unpredictable weather of Singapore can sometimes cause havoc in our bodies. One common complaint is sore throat.

Symptoms
The first sign is usually the pain when swallowing food and liquid. It’s also accompanied by itchiness, irritation, coughing, fever, sneezing, headache, dryness in the throat, hoarse voice, runny nose, and chills.

Sore throat is caused by viruses and has flu-like symptoms. People with allergies and weak immune system are prone to sore throat. Smokers and children also develop them more often.

Causes of Sore Throat
Having a flu or cold can cause sore throat. It’s usually also the first sign that you have a cold. Other viral infections including measles, larynx infection, chickenpox and mononucleosis also cause sore throat. If the sore throat is caused by bacteria it’s called strep throat.

Besides viral and bacterial causes, other factors can also cause sore throat, such as strain on the throat by talking and shouting too much, allergies that cause nasal irritation, smoking, and exposure to dry air.

Strep Throat and Tonsilitis
Strep throat almost has the same symptoms as sore throat but it’s caused by a bacterial infection and also affects the tonsils. Its name is taken from the bacteria which causes the symptoms, Streptococcus pyogenes. Other bacterial infections that cause strep throat are whooping cough and diphtheria.

Tonsilitis can also have the same symptoms, but you need to check if you also have the following: swollen lymph glands, bad breath, swollen tonsils and fever. Tonsilitis can also be viral or bacterial and primarily causes inflammation of the tonsils making it difficult to swallow food, even saliva.

Home Remedies
Fortunately, sore throat can be treated at home. Adults can use throat lozenges. For younger children, these should not be given as they might choke on them. Salt and warm water gargles, sprays and using humidifiers at home can also help. There are also anti-inflammatory medicines and decongestants for sore throat.

Drink water regularly and avoid any irritants if you’re allergic. Other symptoms such as fever and cold can also be treated with over-the-counter drugs. Avoid sharing items with other members of the family and always wash your hands. It can be contagious so cover your mouth whenever you cough or sneeze.

Calling a Doctor
Gastroesophageal reflux disease also causes sore throat because of the stomach acid in the esophagus. In extreme cases, sore throat is a symptom of throat cancer or HIV.

Get yourself checked if the pain is associated with a tenderness in the neck, palpitations, swollen face, lightheadedness, rashes, joint pains, ear pain, very high fever and when it’s difficult to swallow or breathe. It should not last more than a week as well.

Children sometimes refuse to eat so it makes treatment more difficult. It’s recommended that you take the child to the doctor as soon as possible.

The doctor will determine if the cause is viral or bacterial before giving you instructions for treating sore throat. Bacterial infection requires antibiotics, so self-diagnosing is a no-no. Antibiotics do not work against viral infections after all.

What is a Migraine Attack?

What is the difference between a migraine and a headache? That is the first thing that people ask to migraineurs, or those who suffer from migraines. Well, migraine is not just a headache. The headache is just a symptom.

Symptoms
Headaches can be treated with over-the-counter medicines and rest. The headache in a migraine attack however is accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, air, water, smell, sound and even movement and touch. Regular pain relievers don’t work.

Those are not just the symptoms however. Various reports from patients list a variety of symptoms and triggers. Others feel sensitive to almost everything that has to do with the senses, feel nausea and vomiting, and even see lights in the corners of the eyes.

The intensity of the pain also differs as well as the duration of the symptoms. That is why during an attack, the person has no choice but to lie still for hours. It can be a crippling condition and can ruin your routine and relationships when not properly understood and managed.

Types of Migraine
According to various institutions such as the World Health Organization, all types of migraines can be classified under two major categories, migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

1. Migraine With Aura
This type is usually accompanied by blurry vision or seeing lines or light (phosphenes) or losing vision (or scotoma) during an attack. The person will also experience tingling, weakness and numbness. Sometimes the changes in the vision are warning signs of an oncoming attack. Other cases report the sensitivity to touch, losing the ability to comprehend language, confusion, and distortion of perspective. Studies also show migraineurs with this type are at a high risk of having a stroke.

2. Migraine Without Aura
This is the most common type of migraine that usually lasts for 4 hours to three days. The migraineur feels a throbbing pain in the side or most of the head. It can be debilitating. The person might be sensitive to sound or light, feel dizzy and experience diarrhea and vomiting.

Some women also experience migraine attacks related to the menstrual cycle. This happens because the estrogen levels fall low just before the period.

Management
Since there is no known cause for migraines, there is also no known cure. But the symptoms can be managed and the attacks prevented. Some people may have inherited the condition from relatives or developed it from bad lifestyle habits such as stress, alcohol and lack of sleep. There are also people who develop migraine because of hormonal changes.

The best way to determine what triggers a migraine is to keep a diary. List down all the food, beverages and activities within a day. The doctor will then examine the diary to determine what type of migraine you have, the triggers, and a plan how to manage the symptoms during an attack.

If you need more information, the website www.migraine.sg provides a list of clinics and alternative pain relief for migraines. If you suspect that you have a migraine, visit the neurology division in the hospital nearest you.

5 Health Benefits of Being Optimistic  

Are you usually a negative thinker? Experts say that pessimism won’t do any good to the health. On the contrary, optimism will keep everything in you healthy, from keeping your brain sharp to boosting your cardiovascular health. To pull out the negative aura, here are the five health benefits you will experience for having a positive outlook in life.

SME-optimism

  1. Your heart will be in tiptop condition.

Optimistic people have 200% more chances of having an ideal heart health, according to studies. Those who have the rosiest outlook on their lives have better blood sugar and cholesterol level, as well as better body mass indexes, than pessimists. Experts have also observed that many happy-go-lucky persons can handle stress better than some of the goal-oriented people.

  1. Your medicines will work better.

Science backed up the idea that opioid painkillers work far better when patients believe that they would. On the flip side, some doctors noticed that when patients don’t believe that the drug works, it doesn’t give much cure—or doesn’t cure at all, even if it was the exact same medicine. This finding suggests that a person’s expectations can affect brain reactions on how one perceives pain.

  1. You can avoid colds.

Looking on the bright side also make you less likely to get sick. Several researchers have studied the connection of positive attitude and immune systems over a year and found that people with sunny disposition have better immune system. Although there are lesser scientific explanation about how the two are linked, researchers think that cheerful moods somehow support the immune system’s function.

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  1. You will keep your mental health in its best condition.

Being cynical can easily drive someone out of mind. It is said that those who always see the worst in people are more likely to develop dementia compared to more trusting individuals. While there is no concrete scientific explanation yet about how pessimism and dementia are connected, negativity plays an evident role in depression.

  1. You will live a longer life.

Here’s another thing to celebrate: you will likely have more years to live. Since perkier people have better mental health, make their meds work better, and have healthier immune and cardiovascular system, they are less likely to develop diseases and put themselves in critical heath condition. Because optimistic people expect better outcome, they have better overall health; thus, rewarding them with healthier and longer life.

Being healthy is more than the absence of illnesses. Healthy people don’t only take care of their physical wellbeing, but also their mental and emotional condition.

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How to Improve Your Eating Habits

There is no doubt that Singaporeans are hard working. In fact, Singaporeans are very hard working that sometimes we forget to take our meals. It is important that you improve your eating habits because it will give you the necessary energy to go forward.

eating-habits

If you are struggling to improve your eating habits, you can go to your dieticians and collect their advice or you can consider the following things to improve your eating habits:

  • Timing: Timing is the key to be successful in everything. You miss breakfast because you woke up late. You also miss lunch because of the bulk of paperwork. When you come home, you are too tired to eat. You have to realize that eating is a necessity, not a thing that you should consider when you have nothing else to do. When it is time for breakfast, say 7am, you have to sit and eat. If it is lunch time, stop everything and enjoy a hearty meal. That’s not so hard, right?

Reduce Junk Food Eating Habits

  • Drink more water: Like many others, you like coffee. You drink coffee all the time that sometimes you consider it as water. If it is not coffee, it is carbonated drinks. That is not advisable. To be safe, you need to drink more water.
  • Avoid fast foods: You prefer fast and convenience that is why fast foods appeal to you. Experts warn about the negative impacts of fast foods. Fast foods are overloaded with saturated fats that can harm you.

These are just simple things that you can do to improve your eating habits. You have to seriously abide by these as these will give you strength, energy and endurance every day.

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What You Need to Know about Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya virus

Chikungunya virus is present here in Singapore. According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), there are nine hundred twenty four cases of Chikungunya virus noted from April 2013. Chikungunya is a disease transmitted to humans by contaminated mosquitoes (like Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti). Though this is not fatal, you still need to know. Here are some information that you may find enlightening:

Symptoms

Symptoms of Chikungunya virus include abrupt onset of very high fever. The fever will be accompanied by rigorous joint pain (mostly in the legs and arms), rashes, headache, muscle pains and back pains. The symptoms may appear three to seven days after the bite of the infected mosquito. Patients will feel better in a few days (or weeks).

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Treatment

The symptoms can result to immobility and for others, it may cause serious complications. The bad news is that there is no particular medication offered to treat Chikungunya virus. The only thing that can be done is to stop the symptoms. For the fever, you need to lower it by taking aspirins. For the joint pain, you need to take pain relievers, etc. You should refer to your doctors.

Prevention

Unfortunately, there are no vaccines available to prevent Chikungunya virus. The only thing that you can do to prevent the spread of the infection is to avoid mosquitoes. You can start by wearing long sleeve shirts plus long pants, use mosquito repellent, close windows and doors always or install screens for windows and doors and treat clothing.

Chikungunya virus is awfully painful. It will affect your daily performances if you deliberately ignore it. It is important that you are armed with the necessary information to stop it if not totally eliminate it.

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