influenza - JASE Medical

Are They Telling Us Everything? Probably Not

If it weren’t for the fact there was so much conflicting information before the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be easier to believe the CDC, WHO, Chinese health authorities and other health professionals that White Lung Syndrome is really nothing to worry about. It wasn’t too long ago that a few months before Covid 19 was declared a pandemic we were told the same thing. And who can forget the infamous 2 weeks to flatten the curve?

The information on where, what, and how these outbreaks of M. pneumonia are occurring has been limited. We will continue to monitor this outbreak and bring reports periodically.

Be prepared, not scared

For now, we can get medically prepared. Check and refill (as needed) your stock of pain and fever relievers, nebulizer treatments and other supplies. One valuable supplement that can help keep your immune system in top shape are probiotics. Probiotics are even beneficial if you do get sick. For instance, they can treat antibiotic associated diarrhea.

Probiotics to curb antibiotic associated diarrhea.

Mycoplasma pneumonia is a bacterial pneumonia, and azithromycin is one of the antibiotics used to treat M. pneumoniae. Whether you or a member of your family are given an antibiotic, one common side effect is antibiotic associated diarrhea.

Probiotics are sometimes prescribed at the same time as antibiotic therapy are initiated to treat antibiotic associated diarrhea. Young children are more at risk for dehydration because of their smaller body size than teens and adults. Dehydration can be life threatening and lead to further complications.

A study titled “Role of Probiotics in Mycoplasma pneumoniae Pneumonia in Children: A Short-Term Pilot Project”  concluded M. pneumoniae can be successfully treated with azithromycin; however, antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is a common adverse effect. This study determined the effects of probiotics (live Clostridium butyricum plus Bifidobacterium infantis) prevented AAD in children with mycoplasma pneumonia when co-administered with intravenous azithromycin. The probiotics also helped reconstruct the gut microbiota, especially the restoration of bacterial diversity, which is important to overall health.

Use probiotics with caution and under the guidance of your care provider

While it has been well documented that probiotics and probiotic rich foods enhance immune system function, there can be some drawback to their use. In the immune compromise population, beneficial bacteria can take over and turn pathogenic. Young children especially need to be monitored if given any probiotics. In addition to probiotics in supplement form, adding probiotic rich foods offer powerful immune boosting benefits to your diet.

Probiotics are powerful immune modulators. The gut-lung axis is poorly understood at this point, however there is undeniable evidence that probiotics, especially Lactobacilli modulate immune response via gut lung pathways. Even though the exact mechanism of action is still being researched, the following are some known benefits of probiotic supplementation.

  • Viral respiratory tract infection (RTI) is the most frequent cause of infectious illnesses including the common cold. Antibiotics don’t work on viral illnesses and there are limited medications available to treat viral respiratory infections.
  • Supplements with L. paracasei MCC1849 can provide protection against influenza virus.
  • Lactobacillus strains have a beneficial role in respiratory diseases including respiratory tract infections (RTIs), asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis (CF) and COPD.
  • The combination of oral L. paracase, L. casei CRL 431 and L. fermentium PCC also reduces rhinovirus-induced common and influenza-like infection. (mainly Lactobacilli) can decrease the risk of respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients by 8-fold.
  • Rhamnosus GG, L. gasseri TMC0356, L. plantarum IM76, L. plantarum CJLP133 and CJLP243 can effectively improve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. In clinical trials. L. gasseri KS-13, L. casei Shirota and L. acidophilus L-92 have been used to effectively prevent seasonal allergic rhinitis.
  • Common fermented foods, such as live culture yogurt, sauerkraut, miso and other foods are naturally probiotic rich. Check labels for the strain of probiotics the food carries.

Keep your immune system in top shape. Wash hands. Avoid being around sick people. Stay home and keep your child at home if you or your child are sick. In other words, use common sense.

This time of year is historically cold/flu season. Stock up on supplies you may need for all members of the family. Do you own a reliable thermometer? I am surprised how many people overlook thermometers as part of medical preparation!

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

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Keeping you informed and safe.

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Is the CDC’s Low Influenza Activity Data Misleading?

Warm days, cooler nights, and the brilliant, showy colors of foliage announce the arrival of fall.

Sweaters, jackets, hats and gloves come out of their summer hibernation. Some days are warmer than others, but the crisp air reminds us that winter is just around the corner.

Children are back in school, garden harvest is well underway. Holiday celebrations are just around the corner.

This is also cold and flu season.

The CDC, which monitors flu season activity is showing a lower-than-normal flu outbreak across the states. This is good news. We shouldn’t become complacent though, because the cold and flu season has just started and will last for several more months.

Chronic or pre-existing conditions

If you or any family member have a pre-existing condition- cardiac, respiratory, or compromised immune system- have all the supplies and medications stocked to avoid an emergency room trip in the middle of a cold, dark night.

There is a lot you can do to fight the flu, and even if you do get sick, a well-stocked medicine cabinet will help you avoid a trip to the doctor’s office.

Prevention

Many illnesses can be prevented with a robust immune system and lifestyle.

Maintain adequate vitamin D level

Living in the Northern hemisphere, especially 37 degrees latitude and higher can put you at risk for vitamin D deficiency. The sun’s rays are further away, leading to lower skin absorption. Vitamin D plays a valuable role in many disease processes, but especially well-documented in immune function. When taking a vitamin D supplement, be sure to take vitamin K2 to avoid calcium absorption dysregulation.

Take care of your stomach, and your stomach will take care of you

Up to 80 percent of our immune system is housed and lymphoid tissue in our gastrointestinal tract, having a healthy gut can help prevent and fight many illnesses and diseases. Eating probiotic rich foods, avoiding all forms of sugar, eating plenty of fiber rich foods feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut will help your body fight illness. Along with adequate nutrition, stay hydrated with non-caffeinated fluids. Sip on herbal teas and lemon water throughout the day to keep your immune system working at its best.

Laughter truly is the best medicine

Studies have shown that laughter, and enjoyable activities of any kind improve immune system function and decreases cortisol levels (stress hormone).

Get moving!

Exercise-whether it be a brisk walk in the park, indoor rebound jogging, or a trip to the gym will get lymphatic fluids moving. The lymphatic system is a series of vessels throughout the body where lymphatic fluid collects waste, dead cells, bacteria etc. throughout the body, where it is deposited into the bloodstream. Eventually the blood circulates and is filtered by the kidneys where the waste is expelled through urine.

Exercise can also reduce stress, improve mood, decrease cortisol levels (excess cortisol levels lowers immunity) and increase feel good hormones (endorphins).

Sleep – the great healer

Each phase of sleep contributes to cellular repair, growth, and tissue repair.

During NREM sleep, your body focuses on physical restoration. This is the stage where your body repairs and regrows tissues, including muscle and bone. REM sleep, on the other hand, is associated with cognitive and emotional processing.

Immune System Support: During sleep, the body produces and releases proteins that help regulate the immune response and promote healing.

Brain Detoxification: The glymphatic system, a waste clearance system in the brain is active during sleep and helps remove toxins and waste products.

Hormone Regulation: Sleep plays a role in regulating various hormones, including cortisol (stress hormone), insulin, and growth hormone. Sleep disruptions can negatively affect cortisol regulation, which can, in turn, impact the body’s healing and detoxification processes.

Avoid crowds or sick people

If you find yourself around crowds-out shopping, in the subway, around coworkers, or family members–even if they don’t appear sick – thoroughly wash your hands and avoid close contact. If there is an outbreak of cold, influenza, covid or other viruses you can reduce your chances of getting sick by keeping your distance.

Wash hands

Often and thoroughly. According to the CDC, hand washing alone can prevent 20 percent of respiratory infections. Use 60 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if you are out in public and not able to adequately wash your hands.

Maintain excellent oral care

Brush teeth often and keep teeth cleaning appointments. Evidence points that excellent oral hygiene- can prevent influenza infection.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

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Keeping you informed and safe.

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read more

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

How do Antibiotics Work?

Part 1

A brief history of antibiotics- or what do bread mold, arsenic, and soil all have in common?

Throughout history populations used plants, soils and foods to treat infections. Many of our modern-day antibiotics originated from these. Only recently- the past 100 years or so has the active compounds been isolated and purified for commercial use, saving millions of lives globally. We know antibiotics work, but how do they do their job? 

 In this 4-part series we will explore:

Part 1

  • A brief history of antibiotics
  • How antibiotics work- what mechanisms are at play when we take them

Part 2

  • The role of biofilms in bacteria and why these present a challenge to our modern-day arsenal of antibiotics
  • Antibiotic resistance challenges

Part 3

  • When antibiotics are needed and when they aren’t appropriate
  • Distinguish between an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and the symptoms the infection is treating

Part 4

  • A review of each of the antibiotics found in the Jase Case and their use.

A brief history of antibiotics

  • As far back as 350 A.D., tetracycline, a widely used antibiotic were found in bone fragments in ancient Sudanese Nubia. It is believed that stored contaminated grains back then helped cultivate a strain of tetracycline from Streptomycetes. By the late 40s tetracycline was purified and marketed commercially. This antibiotic covers a wide variety of infections, from acne to certain types of pneumonia, and some infections spread by mice and ticks.
  • In ancient Egypt, China, Serbia, Greece and Rome moldy bread was used topically to treat infections. This was documented by John Parkison in his book “Theatrum Botanicum” which was published in 1640.
  • Heavy metals, such as arsenic, bismuth and mercury were used to treat syphilis and gonorrhea with some success.  Salvarsan, an arsenic based chemical was discovered in 1909 by Paul Ehrlich. who is considered the father of microbial therapy. 
  • In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered mold growing on a petri dish that had staphylococcus bacteria in it. The mold prohibited the growth of the staph. He described the mold as a type of self-defense chemical that killed bacteria. He named it penicillin. It wasn’t until 1940 that penicillin was first used- to treat streptococcal meningitis. 
  • Early 1930s- sulfa based drugs were discovered and produced by the Massengill Company in pill and tablet form. However, the company decided to mass produce an elixir without animal testing made from diethylene glycol (known today as antifreeze) which resulted in what was called the Sulfanilamide Disaster of 1937. More than 100 people died after ingesting this poison. This led to the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of India, where controls are now in place on the manufacture and sale of drugs. 
  • In the mid-1950s synthetic antibiotics were introduced (such as quinolones)

How antibiotics work- what mechanisms are at play when we take them

Before we dive into how antibiotics work it must be stated that they do not work on viruses such as colds, flu, covid, viral pneumonia, RSV, measles, etc. Sometimes there is confusion when an antibiotic is given when the patient has a virus. The virus can lower the bodys immune defenses, in turn making it susceptible to opportunistic bacteria. At that point an antibiotic may be indicated. 

Many antibiotics work by attacking the cell wall of bacteria. Specifically, the drugs prevent the bacteria from synthesizing a molecule in the cell wall called peptidoglycan, which provides the wall with the strength it needs to survive in the human body,

Examples are penicillin, Ceftin,vancomycin

Protein synthesis is a multistep process where DNA is first transcribed into a molecule of single-stranded messenger RNA (mRNA). Then, ribosomes translate it with the help of transfer RNA (tRNA) into long strings of amino acids, which become proteins. Protein synthesis inhibitors prevent proteins from being made by acting as inhibitors of translation or transcription. By blocking either of these processes, many types of antibiotics kill or impair the growth of bacteria by preventing them from making proteins.

Examples: tetracycline, erythromycin, streptomycin, gentamycin

Antimicrobial drugs that can target the microbial cell membrane to alter its functionality. Membrane lysis, or rupture, is a cell death pathway in bacteria frequently caused by cell wall-targeting antibiotics.

Examples are polymyxin and gramicidin

  • Antibiotics that interfere with the development of DNA or break DNA strands through enzyme inhibitors 

Examples: rifamycins and fluoroquinolones, metronidazole

Antimetabolites are medications that interfere with the synthesis of DNA. Some antimetabolites are used in chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, while others are used as antibiotics since they inhibit bacterial folate synthesis

Examples: levofloxacin, norfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

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Keeping you informed and safe.

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Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

Practice Gratitude – Improve Health

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude- The state of being grateful. Thankfulness Thanksgiving. Embracing and being grateful for what we have (the gift) and for the source (the giver) of it. The gift can come from another, a higher power or nature. 

The world is in upheaval. There are challenges facing all of us as we bid 2022 goodbye and welcome 2023 with a little trepidation. We are entering uncharted territory in world history. The good news is that we are not alone. How we enter this new year depends a lot on our attitude and ability to remain flexible to our changing landscape. In other words, our attitude can make or break us. Let’s take the higher road and focus on solutions.

Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude, conducted a series of tests to determine if acknowledging and expressing gratitude had any lasting health effects. After conducting several studies ranging from weekly to daily gratitude journaling, he concluded that daily expressions of gratitude had lasting positive outcomes physically, emotionally, and mentally. In other words, daily expressions of gratitude set the stage for continued habits of positive emotions and resilience. 

Practicing gratitude, either in written or spoken form activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is known as the calming part of the nervous system. This in turn lowers cortisol levels and promotes feelings of wellbeing. 

Health benefits of practicing gratitude

  • Reduces stress- Stress hormones such as cortisol 23% lower
  • Lowers inflammation with reduced stress comes reduced inflammation
  • Improved heart health- lower blood pressure
  • Alleviates anxiety
  • Promotes social wellness
  • More likely to choose healthy habits such as diet and exercise
  • Better sleep quality
  • Higher sense of self worth
  • Improved immune function

Is gratefulness a personality trait or can it be learned?

While there are certain personalities that are naturally geared to be more grateful, gratitude can be developed into lifelong habits. Dr. Emmons believes you can cultivate gratitude. In this excellent video, he explains how to become more grateful.  (He has a whole series on gratitude on You Tube worth watching)  

How to practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude not only elevates another person but also elevates you. Dr Emmons work revealed daily and consistent focus on gratitude and being thankful had lasting benefits

The following are a few tips to get started:

    • Journal- Keep a daily journal of 5 things you are grateful for, commit to doing this daily for one month
  • Write letters to loved ones and those you appreciate. Let them know how you feel. It always feels good to get something in the mail that isn’t an advertisement or bill! This could be in combination with other forms of gratitude.
  • Tell 5 people something about them you are grateful for 
  • Text 5 people something positive. Let them know you are thinking about them
  • Start a couple’s journal. Leave it out on coffee table. Write something positive in it daily to each other. 
  • Take time out each day to meditate or pray. Focus on what is good in your life, and work towards solutions to challenges in your life.

Gratitude Quotes- to inspire you!

  1. “This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou
  2. “When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.” Kristin Armstrong
  3. “When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.” Vietnamese proverb
  4. “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson
  5. “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Roert Brault
  6. “‘Enough’ is a feast.” Buddhist Proverb
  7. “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Epictetus
  8. “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne
  9. “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F. Kennedy
  10. “Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.” John Ortberg
  11. “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” William Shakespeare
  12. “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Thornton Wilder

 

 

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

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Could you be next?Early this week an Oregon resident was diagnosed with bubonic plague. This is the first diagnosed case in nearly a decade. It is believed the person contracted the disease from their cat. Cats that hunt rodents can become infected and spread the...

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

A Dementia Diagnosis Can Be Challenging

Rule out other causes of decline first

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. It takes a toll on families and especially caregivers. Holidays and get togethers can be challenging for both families and the patient.

Some symptoms of early onset of dementia are:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination-tripping, unable to hold items
  • Memory loss especially short term
  • Inability to reason complex situations
  • Emotional lability- anger, sadness, depression.

As dementia progresses symptoms become more pronounced, and leads to physical inability to take care of self independently

Risk factors for dementia

  • Genetics
  • Age- older adults are more at risk for a dementia diagnosis
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Social isolation

Types of dementia

Alzheimer’s dementia

  • Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Most are over 65 years.

Alzheimer’s disease leads to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. Over time, the brain shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all its functions.

Symptoms are mild to start and progress over time. Early symptoms are forgetfulness- of names or items such as keys are, unable to recall family or friends names along with forgetting special dates or appointments

As disease progresses changes in mood, depth perception and inability to organize thoughts and cognition are apparent. In later stages of Alzheimer’s the person experiences hallucinations, delusions and is physically incapable of performing basic hygiene.

Frontotemporal

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), also called Picks disease is one of the less common types of dementia. It covers a range of different conditions that can affect personality, behavior, and language. FTD is mostly diagnosed in people under 65. Average onset is between 40 and 60 years, however it can occur as early as 20 years old.

Dementia with Lewy bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is caused by Lewy body disease. In this disease, tiny

clumps of proteins – known as Lewy bodies – appear in the nerve cells of the brain, and progresses to decline in reasoning, independent function. and cognition. It can be hard to diagnose because it presents similar to many psychiatric symptoms

Vascular Dementia

 This type of dementia- which is sometimes called “Post Stroke Dementia” is different from Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body Dementia. Vascular Dementia is brain damage caused by bleeding or harm in the brain-such as a stroke. Symptoms that identify Vascular Dementia are observed immediately following a stroke and can include:

  • Changes in personality,
  • Depending on the area of the brain that has been affected- thinking short attention span
  • Difficulty reasoning organizing and analyzing thoughts

Correct diagnosis of dementia can be challenging

Many medical conditions, physical and emotional factors, along with medications can mimic dementia.

Medical conditions that can present as dementia like symptoms:

  • Liver and kidney disease– accumulation of toxic metabolic waste products in the blood can cause confusion and inability to form cohesive thoughts.
  • Infections– notably urinary tract infections can cause confusion and personality changes.This is more common in older population, symptoms of urinary tract infection sometimes present with different symptoms than younger population. Other infections should also be ruled out, such as syphilis or Lyme disease.
  • Cancer-especially brain cancer- by tumor pressing on the brain- or an immune response in which antibodies against the brain are formed, producing a “paraneoplastic syndrome”.
  • Endocrine dysregulation– such as thyroid gland (hypo or hyperthyroid) or diabetes- both of these conditions can alter mood, ability to coordinate and concentrate.
  • Head trauma– concussion
  • Depression– which can alter and slow thought processes and cause inability to make decisions along with irritability and mood changes.

Physical conditions that can present as dementia like symptoms

  • Poor vision– resulting in tripping, falling and bumping into furniture, walls, stairs, etc
  • Hearing lossA Lancet Commission report on hearing loss showed a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, leading to a diagnosis of dementia.
  • Lack of sleep– inability to concentrate or pay attention can mimic dementia, however research points to altered sleep patterns , even one nights sleep disruption has been shown to increase the beta amyloid plaque – the protein that causes dementia in the brain.

Medications that can mimic dementia

Some medications can take a long time before symptoms set in, so if you notice any cognitive changes even without a change in medication- either over the counter or prescription review with your care provider your concerns.

  • Anticholinergic medications-such as tolterodine or oxybutynin, often used to treat urinary incontinence, Benadryl used for allergies and for sleep,
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline for example
  • Antipsychotics such as Seroquil
  • Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, and Librium
  • Sleep aids such as Sonata and Ambien
  • Corticosteroids such as Prednisone
  • Narcotic pain relievers- such as morphine
  • Anti-Parkinson drugs such as trihexyphenidyl (Artrane)

It is important to make sure all other causes of confusion, memory loss, poor coordination, mood changes and other dementia mimicking signs have been considered before a diagnosis of dementia is made. Many medical conditions, physical conditions and drugs mimic the symptoms of dementia, take the time to review them and discuss with your care provider.

If a definite diagnosis of dementia has been made there are many resources available. One is the Alzheimers.org online support group and help with finding local resources to help with caring for your loved one.

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Planning a Cruise?

Planning a Cruise?

Be sure to pack these Jase add-ons An outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea has been reported on the luxury cruise ship, the Queen Victoria. As of last count, at least 154 people have taken ill since the ship set sail in early January. The number of passengers on board...

A Rare Case of the Plague Was Found in Oregon

A Rare Case of the Plague Was Found in Oregon

Could you be next?Early this week an Oregon resident was diagnosed with bubonic plague. This is the first diagnosed case in nearly a decade. It is believed the person contracted the disease from their cat. Cats that hunt rodents can become infected and spread the...

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

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