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Coughing is a reflex that keeps your throat and airways clear. Although it can be annoying, coughing helps your body heal or protect itself. Coughs can be either acute or chronic. Acute coughs begin suddenly and usually last no more than 2 to 3 weeks. Acute coughs are the kind you most often get with a cold, flu, or acute bronchitis. Chronic coughs last longer than 2 to 3 weeks. Causes of chronic cough include:
Water can help ease your cough - whether you drink it or add it to the air with a steamy shower or vaporizer. If you have a cold or the flu, antihistamines may work better than non-prescription cough medicines. Children under four should not have cough medicine. For children over four, use caution and read labels carefully.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus found around the world. It is related to the viruses that cause chickenpox and infectious mononucleosis (mono). Between 50% and 80% of adults in the United States have had a CMV infection by age 40. Once CMV is in a person's body, it stays there for life.
CMV is spread through close contact with body fluids. Most people with CMV don't get sick and don't know that they've been infected. But infection with the virus can be serious in babies and people with weak immune systems. If a woman gets CMV when she is pregnant, she can pass it on to her baby. Usually the babies do not have health problems. But some babies can develop lifelong disabilities.
A blood test can tell whether a person has ever been infected with CMV. Most people with CMV don't need treatment. If you have a weakened immune system, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine. Good hygiene, including proper hand washing, may help prevent infections.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What is delirium?
Delirium is a mental state in which you are confused, disoriented, and not able to think or remember clearly. It usually starts suddenly. It is often temporary and treatable.
There are three types of delirium:
There are many different problems that can cause delirium. Some of the more common causes include:
Certain factors put you at risk for delirium, including:
The symptoms of delirium usually start suddenly, over a few hours or a few days. They often come and go. The most common symptoms include:
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
Delirium and dementia have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell them apart. They can also occur together. Delirium starts suddenly and can cause hallucinations. The symptoms may get better or worse and can last for hours or weeks. On the other hand, dementia develops slowly and does not cause hallucinations. The symptoms are stable and may last for months or years.What are the treatments for delirium?
Treatment of delirium focuses on the causes and symptoms of delirium. The first step is to identify the cause. Often, treating the cause will lead to a full recovery. The recovery may take some time - weeks or sometimes even months. In the meantime, there may be treatments to manage the symptoms, such as:
Treating the conditions that can cause delirium may reduce the risk of getting it. Hospitals can help lower the risk of delirium by avoiding sedatives and making sure that the room is kept quiet, calm, and well-lit. It can also help to have family members around and to have the same staff members treat the person.
What is emphysema?
Emphysema is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse over time. The other main type of COPD is chronic bronchitis. Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.
Emphysema affects the air sacs in your lungs. Normally, these sacs are elastic or stretchy. When you breathe in, each air sac fills up with air, like a small balloon. When you breathe out, the air sacs deflate, and the air goes out.
In emphysema, the walls between many of the air sacs in the lungs are damaged. This causes the air sacs to lose their shape and become floppy. The damage also can destroy the walls of the air sacs, leading to fewer and larger air sacs instead of many tiny ones. This makes it harder for your lungs to move oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of your body.What causes emphysema?
The cause of emphysema is usually long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and the airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause emphysema, especially if you inhale them.
Exposure to other inhaled irritants can contribute to emphysema. These include secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dusts from the environment or workplace.
Rarely, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can play a role in causing emphysema.Who is at risk for emphysema?
The risk factors for emphysema include:
At first, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include:
Some people with emphysema get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, emphysema can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.How is emphysema diagnosed?
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
There is no cure for emphysema. However, treatments can help with symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and improve your ability to stay active. There are also treatments to prevent or treat complications of the disease. Treatments include:
If you have emphysema, it's important to know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You should get emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. Call your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have signs of an infection, such as a fever.Can emphysema be prevented?
Since smoking causes most cases of emphysema, the best way to prevent it is to not smoke. It's also important to try to avoid lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
What is the flu?
The flu, also called influenza, is a respiratory infection caused by viruses. Each year, millions of Americans get sick with the flu. Sometimes it causes mild illness. But it can also be serious or even deadly, especially for people over 65, newborn babies, and people with certain chronic illnesses.What causes the flu?
The flu is caused by flu viruses that spread from person to person. When someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks, they spray tiny droplets. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person may get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.What are the symptoms of the flu?
Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and may include:
Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. This is more common in children.
Sometimes people have trouble figuring out whether they have a cold or the flu. There are differences between them:Signs and SymptomsColdFluStart of symptomsSlowlySuddenlyFeverRarelyUsuallyAchesSometimes (slight)UsuallyFatigue, weaknessSometimesUsuallyHeadacheRarelyCommonStuffy nose, sneezing, or sore throatCommonSometimes
Sometimes people say that they have a "flu" when they really have something else. For example, "stomach flu" isn't the flu; it's gastroenteritis.What other problems can the flu cause?
Some people who get the flu will develop complications. Some of these complications can be serious or even life-threatening. They include:
The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may have asthma attacks while they have flu.
Certain people are more likely to have complications from the flu, including:
To diagnose the flu, health care providers will first do a medical history and ask about your symptoms. There are several tests for the flu. For the tests, your provider will swipe the inside of your nose or the back of your throat with a swab. Then the swab will be tested for the flu virus.
Some tests are quick and give results in 15-20 minutes. But these tests are not as accurate as other flu tests. These other tests can give you the results in one hour or several hours.What are the treatments for the flu?
Most people with the flu recover on their own without medical care. People with mild cases of the flu should stay home and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care.
But if you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider. You might need antiviral medicines to treat your flu. Antiviral medicines can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications. They usually work best when you start taking them within 2 days of getting sick.Can the flu be prevented?
The best way to prevent the flu is to get flu vaccine every year. But it's also important to have good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often. This can help stop the spread of germs and prevent the flu.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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