Bronchitis Vs Pneumonia: How Do They Differ?

Bronchitis and pneumonia are two of the most common respiratory problems affecting many people both young and old. But many get confused about these two as they share a number of seemingly similar symptoms. As I study more about biology, I became aware that they are way completely different. It is important that people should know their differences because it concerns their health. Only proper diagnosis can lead to proper treatment.

Here is a more detailed presentation of the differences between bronchitis vs pneumonia.

Definitions

Bronchitis is an inflammation in the bronchial tubes or bronchi, a part of the respiratory system responsible for carrying air into the lungs. Two types of bronchitis are acute and chronic bronchitis. Pneumonia, on the other hand, is an infection affecting the tissues of the lungs which more often results to the accumulation of pus or fluid in the air sacs. Between the two, pneumonia is a more serious condition especially since it affects older people.

Risk Factors and Causes

Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is commonly caused by viral or bacterial infections. It was also observed that people who have suffered from respiratory infections or colds are more likely to develop acute bronchitis. As for chronic bronchitis, it normally develops as a result of long-term inflammation and irritation of the bronchi, more commonly as a result of smoking. Exposure to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, toxic fumes and dust also poses the same risk of developing this condition.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia may be caused by a number of factors including viral or bacterial infection, parasites, fungi, exposure to pollutants and inhalation of toxic substances. People who suffer from flu complications may also develop pneumonia. In addition, other causes of pneumonia include lung injury, health conditions that compromise the immune system, exposure to pollutants such as smoke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the use of inhaled corticosteroids for a long period of time.

Symptoms

1. Cough

Bronchitis

  • Dry cough which initially does not produce mucus
  • Yellow, green or clear mucus may start appearing after a few days of dry cough
  • Mucus may have traces of blood

Pneumonia

  • Cough brings up mucus right from the start
  • Mucus may be green, rusty or tainted with blood

2. Fever

Bronchitis

  • Fever, if present, is only mild

Pneumonia

  • Fever is often 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

3. Other Symptoms

Bronchitis

  • Chest x-ray usually appears normal
  • Condition goes away in three weeks or less

Pneumonia

  • Breathing may be recorded at a rate of more than 24 breaths per minute
  • Heart rate may reach higher than 100 beats per minute
  • Chills
  • Chest x-ray appears abnormal
  • May last for more than three weeks

Treatment

Bronchitis

Antibiotics are one of the usual bronchitis remedies if the condition is caused by bacterial infection, while treatment for bronchitis caused by viral infection depends on the type of virus. In addition, inhalers and certain medications for inflammation are also prescribed for patients with chronic bronchitis. In some cases, pulmonary rehabilitation that involves an exercise program for breathing may also be recommended.

Pneumonia

The same with bronchitis, if the pneumonia is caused by bacteria, treatment involves taking antibiotics. For viral pneumonia, antiviral drugs are given. Cough medication are also often given as a relief for congestion.

It is easy to confuse one condition over the other if you are not aware of the symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia. But regardless of the condition you may be suffering from, you will need to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Shoulder Subluxation: A General Overview

As I spend hours in the laboratory to do my research, I normally suffer from back or shoulder pain at the end of the day. Perhaps many people also suffer from these same problems once in a while due to the nature of their work or daily routine. However, just like back pain, shoulder pain may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition other than strenuous work. In fact, I just learned that pain in left shoulder may be a sign of heart attack.

One of the more common underlying conditions of shoulder pain is shoulder subluxation. This condition is similar to shoulder dislocation but the latter is just more permanent. Shoulder subluxation is normally a partial or temporary problem that causes instability in the shoulder joint.

Causes

Subluxations of the shoulder normally results from a fall or heavy blow on the shoulder or when the arm is severely twisted. Certain occupations such as football and boxing also put athletes at more risk of this condition. In additions, people who have suffered from previous injuries that have possibly loosened the ligaments as well as people with naturally loose ligaments are more prone to this condition.

Symptoms

  • Loss of sensation on the affected shoulder joint
  • Varying pain during activities from mild to severe
  • Mild to severe shoulder instability
  • Numbness or weakness in the arm or shoulder

Because of the similarities of some of its symptoms with rotator cuff tear or bursitis, subluxations are often mistaken for any of these two conditions. To aid in the correct diagnosis, your doctor will normally ask your medical history, lifestyle and daily routine, as well as conduct a series of physical examinations. Oftentimes, patients are also requested to have an MRI scan to support diagnosis.

Treatment

  1. Initial treatment for subluxations in the shoulder initially involves applying ice pack on the affected shoulder joint to reduce swelling and to soothe the pain. This can be done for about 10 to 15 minutes each time for several times a day.
  2. To reduce inflammation and persistent pain, over-the-counter medication or NSAIDs may also be recommended by your doctor.
  3. Rest is also an important part of the treatment process. You should avoid doing regular activities that may possibly worsen your condition or hinder your recovery. Wearing a sling can greatly help during this period. However, it is important to also avoid completely immobilizing the affected joint as it can lead to frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.
  4. When the patient’s condition has improved, treatment is normally followed by exercises that can help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. An independent therapist will be able to design an ideal exercise program for you with the approval of your doctor.
  5. For cases of repeated subluxations, surgery may be necessary to tighten the ligaments.

Shoulder pain may be a normal condition, but if it is often recurring and is causing you much pain and discomfort, it is best to see your doctor. You may already be experiencing some serious underlying conditions that need immediate attention by your healthcare provider.

The Best Shoes for Bunions

One of the important things in my continuous studies of human nature is that some illnesses are caused by hereditary factors. Some of these diseases are not just as popular as others. In particular, I found it interesting to learn more about bunions. Perhaps, it is one of the minor health problems that many people are not very proud to have. Of course, who would like to admit to having odd-looking feet?

Bunions are something new to most people. A bunion is a bony bump at the base joint of your big toe. It causes the big toe to become swollen, red or sore. Some people are not aware of what causes bunions until they already have it. Aside from hereditary factors, having flatfeet, foot injuries, arthritis and being engaged in activities that put much pressure on the feet may also cause this disease. However, the most common cause is constantly wearing ill-fitting or tight-fitting footwear.

When you already have bunions, wearing the best shoes for bunions can make a big difference. I researched about some important considerations when choosing shoes for bunions and they are summarized below:

Shoe Width

When buying a new pair of shoes, the shoe width is an important consideration. Be sure that the shoes you are considering to buy have enough room on the sides to allow additional room for a bunion.

Materials

Shoes that are made from canvas or mesh type materials normally allow for more stretching than other types. As you use these types of shoes, they will become more comfortable around your bunion because of the stretching.

Larger Shoe Size

Sometimes, going 1 size larger can make a big difference in terms of comfort when you have a bunion. In this case, you may have to use insoles to stop your shoe from slipping, but that additional toe space area can greatly help in giving you comfort especially when walking.

No to Pointed Shoes

For women, pointed shoes may be stylish but they are not the best shoes if you have bunions or are at risk of developing them because of hereditary factors. The very limited space around the toes forces the toes to be cramped together, putting pressure on the toe joints, aggravating bunions. Instead of pointed shoes, choose those that have a round or square toe area for more toe room.

No to High Heels

Aside from pointed shoes, high-heeled shoes are also another culprit for bunions in women. Gravity causes the feet to be pushed down, causing much pressure on the toes. If you don’t have bunions yet, it may cause a bunion to develop. If you already have one, it can aggravate the condition.

The general rule when choosing shoes for bunions is shoes that make your feet feel relaxed and comfortable. Don’t choose your shoes just for fashion but also for comfort. This is especially true for people like me who spend several hours standing. It is not yet too late to do something to avoid bunions. Shop for a comfortable pair of shoes and it will make a big difference for your toes.

Remedies for Dry Scalp

I have known of people who have serious problems with their scalp. Dandruff, scabs on scalp and acne on scalp are just among the major culprits for this kind of problem. Although they are not life-threatening, you would not like to have any of them. Once I had an itchy scalp which lingered for more than a week. I later found out that it was caused by a dry scalp which could have been easily remedied had I known of the cause of the problem earlier.

Some people are like me. They just take their scalp problem for granted, thinking it will just go away. But unless you apply some remedy for it, the problem will not be solved and will linger for days, weeks or even months.

Among scalp problems, a dry scalp is among the more serious problems because it may cause hair loss if not treated earlier. Aside from that, it will cause itchiness and an unmanageable hair. Dry scalp can also be a result of overuse of chemical products such as shampoos, conditioner, sprays and gel on your hair. They will strip all the natural moisture present in the scalp leading to dryness. Additionally, extreme climatic condition such as staying in an air-conditioned room or under the sun for longer hours may also cause this problem. Symptoms include flaky scalp and itchiness.

There are a number of products in the supermarket that claim to help nourish the scalp to prevent dryness. But sticking to natural dry scalp remedies are healthier and less expensive alternatives. They also don’t have potential side effects which are common among chemical products:

  • Tea tree oil – This oil offers a moisturizing and nourishing effect to the scalp. At the same time, it is also rich in antibacterial and antifungal properties that can keep your scalp healthy. When using this home remedy, always dilute the oil into water before massaging the scalp.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is a known remedy for many ailments including dry scalp. By applying a diluted apple cider vinegar on the scalp, it can help balance the pH level, thereby promoting a healthy scalp.
  • Lemon juice – Lemon juice mixed with honey makes an amazing remedy for dry scalp. Lemon has a cleansing property while honey has antibacterial properties, making them a good combination in keeping your scalp healthy. However, if you have a broken skin on the scalp, do not use this remedy because it will cause a stinging sensation and may even cause other problems.
  • Coconut Oil – This is one of the most popular remedies for various scalp problems including dry scalp. It can naturally treat any problem related to flakiness and dryness. Simply massage coconut oil on the scalp and leave it for several hours before rinsing.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil is rich in vitamin E which is not only good for the skin but also for the scalp. Massage warm olive oil on the scalp and then leave it for half an hour before rinsing.

When it comes to treating minor health problems, I always go for the natural remedies. Because of that, I highly recommend using any of the abovementioned remedies for dry scalp before trying out commercial treatments.

Understanding Allergies in Dogs

While I love studying human nature, animals especially dogs continue to fascinate me. Dogs are intelligent, teachable and loyal. It is no wonder why they are one of the most popular pets in many households.

One discovery I found about dogs that is similar to humans is that they also suffer from various forms of allergies. They may also be allergic to things or substances that many humans are allergic to. All breeds of dogs, regardless of age or gender, may be affected by allergies. Pollen, mold and mildew cause airborne allergies to some dogs. There are also food allergies where your dog might be allergic to certain foods including certain brands of dog food, chicken, beef and others. Some dogs also have yeast allergy which causes allergic reaction after eating foods containing yeast. The least common dog allergy is contact allergies which is when your dog experiences symptoms of allergies after contact with cleaners, carpets, grass and others.

When a dog is exposed to certain allergens, it may manifest different symptoms which include bumps sores on the skin, rashes, discoloration of the hair, watery or red eyes, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. You may also notice that a dog exhibiting allergies often chews or licks its feet or body, or rubs its face against any surface.

However, dogs and humans may manifest different reactions to the same allergens. For instance, exposure to pollen causes some people to sneeze or have watery eyes. But in the case of dogs, this kind of allergen may cause them to have itchy feet instead. This is an important consideration for dog owners who might be confused with the allergic symptoms of their dog.

If you notice some of these symptoms in your dog, don’t take them for granted. Allergies can cause much discomfort or pain on dogs and it is important that proper diagnosis and treatment be administered. You should then bring your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Remedies and allergy medicine for dogs vary depending on the type of allergy. For most allergies, prevention and treatment include avoiding exposure to allergens. Some veterinarians would also recommend giving your dog allergy shots. This kind of treatment involves injecting small amounts of allergens to your dog weekly so that it will develop less sensitivity to them. Around 75 percent of dogs receiving allergy shots show an improvement in their symptoms. However, it could take months before you will see its full effect. For food allergies, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet for your dog based on a trial diet.

In addition, your veterinarian may also recommend frequent bathing using a natural shampoo to remove any allergens that may still be present in the coat or skin of your pet. Anti-inflammatory medications such as antihistamine and steroids may also be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms. And to prevent further infections, antibiotics may also be needed in some cases.

Don’t allow your pet to suffer from allergies. As a pet owner, you should ensure that your pet is not suffering from any sort of allergic reaction. And if it does, see your veterinarian immediately.

How to Remove Stretch Marks

In my study of bioinformatics, I have learned that genetics play an important role in the overall wellness of a person. Many people suffer from genetic disorders and diseases that are a result of mutation or deletion of genes aside from missing chromosomes and repeat disorders. And if there is something very interesting about bioinformatics, it is the possibility of being able to help find cures for these diseases and conditions.

One of my interests is being able to help develop a cure for conditions that many women suffer from. One of them is stretch marks. Genetics plays a role in a pregnant woman having stretch marks. If her mother had them, there is a big probability that she will have them as well.

Just as childbearing is part of being a woman, the same is true with stretch marks. It is just one of the many physical changes that women undergoing pregnancy may experience. Stretch marks result when the body grows faster than the skin can keep up. The elastic fiber under the skin surface breaks, resulting in unsightly marks. They commonly appear on the belly and breast but may also appear on the buttocks, thighs and upper arms. During pregnancy, they may appear as purple or reddish and fade to gray or white after childbirth. However, some stretch marks may also remain dark and tend to become showier after pregnancy.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 90 percent of pregnant women will get stretch marks on their second trimester or onwards. As of now, there are no known creams or lotions that can help prevent these marks. But the severity of these marks may be reduced when you keep your skin hydrated by applying a cream or lotion. These products may also help deal with itchiness that comes with a growing belly.

Some of my friends used to ask me how to remove stretch marks. They are curious if there are any products that can totally eliminate them. I am also curious as they are, so I researched some of the known treatments for stretch marks.

On top of the list of treatments is retinoid which can help speed up cell turnover and also stimulate collagen growth which is necessary for a healthier skin. However, if you are still pregnant or are breastfeeding your baby, this option is not suitable for you. Laser treatment is also a popular option to boost collagen growth. However, it is an expensive treatment and can take several sessions before you can see the results.

In reality, there is no ultimate treatment that can totally eliminate stretch marks. That is why some women resort to unconventional ways of hiding them such as having tattoo over stretch marks. This may be a more permanent option which needs planning because some tattoos may even make your stretch marks look unsightly. Others also resort to using concealer make ups or topical cream whenever they have to wear something that exposes the marks. However, these options just provide a temporary solution.

Because there is no ultimate treatment yet for stretch marks, it is my personal goal to do more research which could help in discovering better treatments for this kind of skin problem.

Care Tips for Different Degrees of Sunburn

Come summer and people get to enjoy the outdoors again. For me, I consider summer as my favorite season of the year. I would like to go to the beach during summer and spend some time just relaxing or sun basking by the beach. And this is just what many people also would like to do. That is why during summer, many public beaches become crowded with people.

When summer comes, sunburn is almost always associated with the season. Sunburn is a radiation burn resulting from prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays. It is hard to resist spending several hours in the outdoors while the sun is up. But doing so without protection may also adversely affect the skin resulting to sunburn. So while summer is still several weeks away, it would be good to know more about some simple care tips for different degrees of sunburn.

First Degree Sunburn

First degree sunburn is the most common sunburn affecting many people. It is easily recognizable among people with fair skin as their skin can turn pink or bright red. Having this type of sunburn can be painful and can dehydrate the body. If the person is still conscious, giving him water may help replenish the lost water in the body. First aid lotions may temporary provide for relief. But if blisters start to appear, medical attention is needed.

One of the tested home remedies for first degree sunburns is the extract of aloe plants. Applying the extract on the affected area can help alleviate the pain and moisten the burned skin. Over time, the burn will heal. When the skin starts to flake off, just let it be until healthy skin replaces the burned part.

Vinegar for sunburn may also provide temporary relief. You could wet a washcloth with vinegar and then dab it on the skin. You should be able to find relief from stinging by doing this.

Second Degree Sunburn

With a longer exposure under the sun, the body may start to send fluids to the skin to stop the burning process. This in turn will cause blisters which are a common indication of second degree burns. When that happens, do not break or open the blisters. Let the person go indoors immediately and drink as much water to rehydrate. You could apply water mist to the skin to soothe the blisters. However, do not wrap the blisters because the wrapping will just stick to the skin. As soon as possible, seek medical attention. Most importantly, if the burn covers more than one third of the body or when the person already feels nauseous, groggy or cold, call 911 immediately.

Third Degree Sunburn

This condition rarely happens and it can be deadly. This happens when the body is already dehydrated and deep cell damage has already taken place. The person may not feel anything at all because of the destruction of nerve endings. In this situation, take the person in and call 911 immediately.

You don’t want to suffer from any degree of sunburn. To avoid them, be sure to use sun blockers or sun screens when going out of the sun. Better yet, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun when it is at its peak. In case you have sunburns, you should already know how to deal with it.

Benefits and Dangers of Fish Oil for Dogs

In biology, we were taught about the various needs of animals in order for them to survive, and one of those needs is proper nutrition. In the wild, animals fight for their food in the survival of the fittest. It is a different matter when it comes to domesticated pets because they are pampered and are readily provided with their needs. However, there are times when you thought you already gave your pet the best nutrition when in reality it is not yet enough. That is why pet supplements are gaining in popularity nowadays, and one of the most popular in the market is fish oil.

I have several friends who use fish oil for dogs as supplement in their diet. Some of them gave positive feedback while others are reluctant about it. Just like the perennial question of many dog owners “can dog eat bananas,” it is now common to hear pet owners ask questions whether fish oil is good for their dog or not.

Fish oil is said to be rich in EPA and DHA as well as omega-3 fatty acids for the overall health of dogs. However, it also has certain limitations. If you own a dog or two or are interested in having one, it would be good to know the benefits and dangers of fish oils for your pet.

Benefits of Fish Oil in Dogs

  • Promotes healthy coat and skin
  • Reduces inflammation for conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and allergies
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves cognitive function in adult dogs
  • Aids in mental development of puppies and unborn dogs
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps improve the condition of dogs suffering from heart or kidney disease and even cancer
  • Promotes weight loss among overweight dogs

Side Effects of Fish Oil for Dogs

  • The anti-inflammatory properties of EPA and DHA in fish oil may increase the production of chemicals which can decrease platelet activity. Platelets are important for blood clot, and animals who take in great amount of fish oil in their diet have the tendency to loss more blood when injured.
  • Fish oil may also interfere in the healing process of wounds and in the ability of dogs to produce new skin.

It is important to note that fish oil is generally okay for animals as long as it is given in the right amount and extra precaution is exercised when buying and storing the product. Some fish oil in the market may already be spoiled, may contain contaminants, or may have unsafe levels of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) which can all be harmful to your dog. Even if you buy the right product, storage is another consideration as fish oil in liquid form can easily become rancid if exposed to heat, light or air.

If you are considering fish oil as a supplement for your dog, it would be good to seek advice from your veterinarian first. Your veterinarian may be able to provide you with important details regarding the use of fish oil such as the right dosage to avoid its dangers as well as the right product to buy.