What Causes a Sore Throat?

What Causes a Sore Throat
  • Viruses, like those that cause cold and flu
  • Allergies
  • Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • The bacteria group A strep, which causes strep throat

Of these, infections from viruses are the most common cause of sore throats. Symptoms of sore throat whether caused by virus or bacteria can be similar.

Symptoms that suggest a virus is the cause of the illness instead of bacteria:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Hoarseness
  • Conjunctivitis or pink eye

The most common symptoms of strep throat are:

  • Sore throat that starts very quickly
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red/swollen tonsils that may have white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck

Here are some ways to feel better if you have a sore throat:

  • Suck on popsicles, ice chips, or lozenges
  • Use a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • Gargle with salt water
  • Drink warm beverages and plenty of fluids
  • Remember to always wash your hands to help prevent the spread of germs.

Schedule an appointment to see a provider if you have symptoms of strep throat.

Tips on Preventing Falls

Tips on Preventing Falls

Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 65 fall each year? Falls are the leading cause of deadly injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.

Common reasons why older adults fall are:

  • Chronic health conditions
  • Vision impairments or muscle weakness
  • Balance impairments

Below is a list of items to look for in your home to help reduce the risk of falling.

Floors

  • Remove rugs or use non-slip backing so rugs won’t slip
  • Keep objects off the floor and stairs
  • Coil or tape electrical cords next to wall to prevent tripping

Stairs and Steps

  • Fix loose or uneven steps
  • Turn on lights when moving
  • Fix loose handrails
  • Use rubber treads on uncarpeted stairs

Kitchen

  • Move items high in cabinets to bottom shelves near waist height
  • Never use a chair as a stool
  • Use a sturdy step stool with a bar

Bedroom/Bathroom

  • Place lamp close to bed
  • Use night lights
  • Put non-slip mats in tub or shower
  • Install grab bars in tub/shower and next to toilet

Other helpful measures to prevent falls:

  • Exercise regularly to help strengthen and improve balance
  • Get up slowly after sitting or lying down
  • Wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about medications that make you sleep or dizzy

How to Prepare for Flu Season

Nurse Giving Shot

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu usually comes on suddenly with symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Flu season mainly occurs in the fall and winter with peaks between December and February.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the most important step in protecting against influenza and its serious complications. The flu vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, and missed work and school due to the flu. It can also decrease flu-related hospitalizations.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October however receiving a flu vaccine during any part of flu season can be beneficial.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take every day preventative actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands frequently. Also, if you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the flu to others.

People at high risk of flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and people over the age of 65. Infants younger than 6 months old are at high risk of flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. People who live with or care for infants should also be vaccinated.

Be sure to schedule your flu shot!

Asthma Symptoms and Triggers

Asthma - Inhaler

Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. All of the causes of asthma are unknown, but we do know that genetics, and environmental and occupational factors have been linked to developing asthma.

If someone in your immediate family has asthma, you are more likely to have it. Exposure to things in the environment like mold, dust mites, and secondhand tobacco smoke has been linked to developing asthma. Also, air pollution and viral lung infections may lead to asthma.

When an asthma attack occurs the sides of the airways in your lungs swell and the airways shrink. This causes less air to get in and out of your lungs which causes coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

An asthma attack can occur when you are exposed to asthma triggers. Asthma triggers vary from person to person. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and certain infections like the flu. It is very important for individuals with asthma to know their triggers and learn how to avoid them.

Please speak with your healthcare provider to learn how to control your asthma.

What is Gout?

Gout - Feet

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful. It often affects one joint at a time. There are no cures for gout but you can treat and manage the condition.

What Causes Gout?

It is caused by a condition known as hyperuricemia, where there is too much uric acid in the body. The body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines which are found in your body and in the foods you eat. When there is too much uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals build up which can cause gout.

Gout flares can occur suddenly and last for weeks. Gout is often found in the big toe but can frequently occur in the knee and ankle.

Signs and Symptoms of Gout

  • Intense joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth

What Increases your Chances of Gout?

  • Being male
  • Obesity
  • Taking diuretics
  • Having certain health conditions
    • Congestive heart failure
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Poor kidney function
  • Consuming food or drinks high in fructose
  • Consuming purine-rich food
    • Red meat
    • Organ meat
    • Anchovies
    • Sardines
    • Mussels
    • Scallops
    • Trout
    • Tuna

Gout Treatment

Gout can be treated and managed with medical treatment and self-management strategies. Speak with your healthcare provider for a recommended treatment plan.