Wash your hands. Proper hand hygiene is vital when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Pathogens (such as viruses, bacteria and fungi) are easily transferred from contaminated surfaces to your skin and from there to your eyes and mouth where they can gain access to inside your body. Thus, washing your hands is one of the first steps to take to reduce the transfer of infectious agents.
Wash your hands every time after going to the bathroom, changing a diaper, sneezing or blowing your nose and when coming into contact with bodily fluids.
Wash your hands before and after working with food. When washing your hands, use soap and warm water to wet your hands up to your wrists and scrub the skin for at least 20 seconds or more. If water and soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub it from your fingertips to your wrists in order to eliminate pathogens.
There are many organisms that live in our bodies and on the surface of the skin. These are usually harmless and do not cause any damage. But there are many organisms like viruses, fungi and bacteria that can cause infectious disorders known as infections. There are many kinds of infections that can affect the various parts of the body. These are generally caused by various things starting from contaminated food, to transmission from an infected person and more. Read on to know more about the kind of infections and their causes.
Getting vaccinated on time can help in preventing many infections. This is especially important if you are travelling to various countries.
The most common ear infections happen because of bacterial or viral growth in the middle ear, the part which lies just behind the ear drum. Middle-ear infections can be very painful and children are most commonly reported in children. Most of these infections are caused by the blockage of the Eustachian tube, which connects the ear and the throat, causing the build-up of fluids and swelling. Here is a guide to the most common forms of ear infections and their symptoms, ranging from the acute to the chronic.
Acute infections have intense symptoms but can be cured with time and treatment. They generally last for shorter durations.
In Chronic cases of infections, the patient complains of recurrent symptoms multiple times. Chronic ear infections have the potential of causing permanent damage to the ear.
Symptoms reported by most patients with Ear infections:
1. Pain in the ear (Mild to severe): This is caused due to increased pressure owing to the blockage of the Eustachian tube. Collection of fluid inside the ear would increase the intensity of pain in most cases. Children will keep tugging at their ear and most likely be cranky.
2. Redness and swelling: Both of these are inevitable accompanying symptoms in case of any infection in the body.
3. Oozing of the fluids: The blockage leads to the fluid being released from the ear which can be watery, thick yellow or mixed with blood depending on the severity and type of infection.
5. Difficulty in sleeping.
Middle-ear infections (otitis media) are inflammation or infections located in the middle ear space. Ear infections can occur as a result of a cold or upper respiratory infection, or may occur in isolation in the presence of chronic middle ear fluid.
While children or adults may develop an ear infection, the following are some of the factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing ear infections:
Being around someone who smokes
Family history of ear infections
A weak immune system
Spending time in a day care setting
Having a cold or upper respiratory infection
Being bottle-fed while lying on his or her back
Chronic fluid within the middle ear
Middle-ear infections are usually a result of dysfunction of the eustachian tube, a canal that links the middle ear with the throat area. The eustachian tube helps to equalize the pressure between the outer ear and the middle ear.
When this tube is not working properly, it prevents normal pressure equalization, causing a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum. Additionally, it can be a source of bacteria to enter the middle ear. When this fluid cannot drain, it allows for the growth of bacteria and viruses in the ear that can lead to an ear infection. The following are some of the reasons that the eustachian tube may not work properly:
Young age (the eustachian tube of young children is underdeveloped and does not work as efficiently as adults’)
A malformation of the eustachian tube
Enlarged and chronically inflamed adenoids
Types of Middle-Ear Infections
Different types of otitis media include the following:
Acute otitis media. This middle-ear infection occurs abruptly, causing swelling and redness. Fluid and mucus become trapped inside the ear, causing the child to have a fever and ear pain.
Otitis media with effusion. Fluid (effusion) and mucus continue to accumulate in the middle ear after an initial infection subsides. The child may experience a feeling of fullness in the ear, and it may affect his or her hearing, or cause no symptoms.
Chronic otitis media with effusion. Fluid remains in the middle ear for a prolonged period or returns again and again, even though there is no infection. May result in difficulty fighting new infection and may affect a person’s hearing.
The following are the most common symptoms of an ear infection. However, each child may experience symptoms differently.
Fever, especially in infants and younger children
Fluid draining from ear canals
Loss of balance
It may be more difficult to detect an ear infection in young children who have not learned to speak yet. Symptoms in children and nonverbal individuals may include:
Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
Tugging or pulling at one or both ears
The symptoms of ear infections may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing Ear Infections
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, your child's health care provider will inspect the outer ear(s) and eardrum(s) using an otoscope. The otoscope is a lighted instrument that allows the health care provider to see inside the ear. A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to test eardrum movement.
Tympanometry is a test that can be performed in most health care providers’ offices to help determine how the middle ear is functioning. It does not test hearing, but it helps to detect any changes in pressure in the middle ear. This is a difficult test to perform in younger children because the child needs to remain still and not cry, talk or move.
A hearing test may be performed for children who have frequent ear infections.
Specific treatment for ear infections will be determined by your health care provider based on the following:
Age, overall health and medical history
Extent of the condition
Tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
Antibiotics by mouth or eardrops
Medication for pain and fever
A combination of the above
If fluid remains in the ear(s) for longer than three months and the infection continues to reoccur even with the use of antibiotics, your health care provider may suggest that small tubes be placed in the ear(s). This surgical procedure, called myringotomy and tympanostomy tube placement, involves making a small opening in the eardrum to drain the fluid and relieve the pressure from the middle ear. A small tube is placed in the opening of the eardrum to ventilate the middle ear and prevent fluid from accumulating. The child's hearing is restored after the fluid is drained. The tubes usually fall out on their own after six to 12 months.
Your surgeon may also recommend the removal of the adenoids (lymph tissue located in the space above the soft roof of the mouth, also called the nasopharynx) if they are infected or enlarged. Removal of the adenoids has shown to help some people with chronic ear infections.
Treatment will depend on the type of ear infection. Consult your health care provider regarding treatment options.
Effects of an Ear Infection
In addition to the symptoms of ear infections listed above, untreated ear infections can result in any or all of the following:
Infection in other parts of the head
Scarring or perforation of the eardrum
Permanent hearing loss
Problems with speech and language development (children)
Ayurveda and Non-Communicable Diseases-
Non-communicable diseases are those that are not contagious. That means if you have contracted it, you will not pass it on to those around you.
These diseases are also called lifestyle disorders. That is because they are triggered by some of our lifestyle choices. We live in a fast and materialistic world. We have no option but to be part of the relentless rat race. The result is unmitigated anxiety and worries over the future. Anxiety is a silent killer and can have a damaging effect on a number of your body’s organs. Coupled with unwise eating habits and rising levels of pollution, the human body is besieged. Cardiac ailments, arthritis, cancer, asthma and diabetes are on the increase.
Non-communicable diseases are a grave threat. They are responsible for the deaths of nearly 38 million people worldwide every year.
Conventional medicines can force the pathogens to retreat but they are accompanied by side effects and some of them can be as harmful as the disorder that the medicines cured. That is why more people are choosing to opt for a more naturalistic approach to healing. They are turning to Ayurveda.
Ayurveda’s outlook on treating non-communicable diseases is to adopt an all-embracing philosophy, which heals both the mind and the body and promote longevity. For treating these ailments, Ayurveda does not just prescribe medicines but places equal emphasis on implementing lifestyle changes. Chief among them is a healthy, organic diet and plenty of exercises to keep both mind and body healthy.
Not only can Ayurveda vanquish non-communicable diseases, but it can also help ensure that the disorders do not recur. It follows the motto ‘prevention is better than cure’. Your Ayurvedic doctor will guide you on your diet and how to conduct your life ethically so that the non-communicable disorder does not make a comeback.
Ayurveda and Communicable Disorder-
Communicable disease means that if you get it, you can transfer it to others. Ayurveda discovered ages ago that communicable diseases spread through contact. A healthy person may come in contact with things you had touched like a handkerchief or a doorknob and come down with the same disease. It may also happen because of physical contact.
Ayurveda believes that it is only when the body’s ‘Bala’ or vitality has weakened does it become vulnerable to contagious or infectious diseases. If there is an imbalance of the three Doshas, your body becomes vulnerable to communicable diseases.
The treatment includes a comprehensive overhaul of the body. Ayurveda believes that communicable diseases also affect the mind. And if the mind is not at its healthiest, it will slow down the healing process. So medications are administered to purify both the psyche and the body. Medicines also aim to strike a balance among the doshas.
Ayurveda has solutions to both non-communicable and communicable diseases. Not only are they immensely effective but they do not have a damaging impact on your body as certain conventional medicines do.