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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

UNDERSTANDING RESPIRATORY AND URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (RTIs and UTIs)



 
INTRODUCTION:  Respiratory tract infections can cause sinuses, throat airways or lungs. It is an infection that affects normal breathing. It can affect ones upper respiratory system, which starts at the sinuses and ends at the vocal chords, or just the lower respiratory system, which starts at the vocal chords and ends at the lungs. The immune systems of children and older adults are more prone to being affected by viruses. Children are especially at risk because of their constant contact with other kids who could be virus carriers. Children often don’t wash their hands regularly. They are also more likely to rub their eyes and put their fingers in their mouths, resulting in the spread of viruses. People with heart disease or other lung problems are more likely to contract an acute respiratory infection. Anyone whose immune system might be weakened by another disease is at risk. Smokers also are at high risk and have more trouble recovering.

SYMPTOMS:
1.      Congestion
2.      Runny nose
3.      Cough
4.      Sore throat
5.      Body aches
6.      Fatigue
7.      Dizziness
8.      Losing consciousness

There are 2 main types of RTIs- Upper RTI and Lower RTI. These are explained as follows:

UPPER RTI ( sinuses and throat)- Common cold, Sinus infection, Tonsillitis, Laryngitis.
An upper respiratory infection, or the common cold, is an infection that affects the nasal passages and throat. Treatment is usually simple, unless a person also has a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma. For an upper respiratory infection (URI) to occur, a virus enters the body, usually through the mouth or nose. A person may transmit it through touch, or by sneezing and coughing. Any place where people gather in an enclosed space, such as a classroom, office, or home, can be a high-risk area for the spread of URIs. Typically, a URI lasts anywhere between 3 and 14 days. In some cases, URIs can develop into more serious conditions, such as sinus infections or pneumonia.
LOWER RTI (Bronchitis, Chest infection, pneumonia)
Lower respiratory tract infections are any infections in the lungs or below the voice box. These include pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis. Lower respiratory tract infections differ from upper respiratory tract infections by the area of the respiratory tract they affect. While lower respiratory tract infections involve the airways below the larynx, upper respiratory tract infections occur in the structures in the larynx or above. People who have lower respiratory tract infections will experience coughing as the primary symptom.
CAUSES
Treatment will depend on the cause of your RTI:
  • a virus (like colds) – this usually clears up by itself after a few weeks and antibiotics will not help
  • bacteria (like pneumonia) – your GP may prescribe antibiotics  (make sure you complete the whole course as advised by your GP, even if you start to feel better)

Some Dos and Don’ts
Dos
  • get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of water to loosen any mucus and make it easier to cough up
  • drink a hot lemon and honey drink to help soothe a cough (not suitable for babies)
  • gargle with warm salty water if you have a sore throat (children should not try this)
  • raise your head up while sleeping using extra pillows to make breathing easier and clear your chest of mucus
  • use painkillers to bring down a fever and help ease a sore throat, headaches and muscle pain


Don’ts
  • do not let children breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water as there's a risk of scalding
  • do not give aspirin to children under 16
  • do not smoke – it can make your symptoms worse

Recovery time
  • Recovery time for a lower respiratory tract infection varies from person to person.
  • According to the American Lung Association, a healthy young adult can recover from a lower respiratory tract infection, such as pneumonia, in around 1 week. For older adults, it may take several weeks to make a full recovery.






URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection or UTI, is an infection in any part of your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.
For  women, the chance of getting a urinary tract infection is high. Some experts rank the lifetime risk of getting one as high as 1 in 2, with many women having repeat infections, sometimes for years. About 1 in 10 men will get a UTI in their lifetime.
Symptoms of UTIs
The symptoms of a UTI can include:
  • A burning feeling when you pee
  • A frequent or intense urge to pee, even though little comes out when you do
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee
  • Feeling tired or shaky
  • Fever or chills (a sign that the infection may have reached your kidneys)
  • Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
Here are some key points about urinary tract infection. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
  • Women have a lifetime risk of over 50 percent of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • Common symptoms include a strong, frequent urge to urinate and a painful and burning sensation when urinating.
  • A UTI is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and testing of a urine sample.
  • UTIs can be cured with 2 to 3 days of treatment.
  • Cranberry extracts do not treat UTIs but may help reduce the risk of recurrent UTI.

Causes of UTIs

UTIs are a key reason why doctors tell women to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. The urethra -- the tube that takes pee from the bladder to the outside of the body -- is close to the anus. Bacteria from the large intestine, such as E. coli, can sometimes get out of your anus and into your urethra. From there, they can travel up to your bladder and, if the infection isn't treated, can continue on to infect your kidneys. Women have shorter urethras than men. That makes it easier for bacteria to get to their bladders. Having sex can introduce bacteria into your urinary tract, too.
Some women are more likely to get UTIs because of their genes. The shape of their urinary tracts makes others more likely to be infected. Women with diabetes may be at higher risk because their weakened immune systems make them less able to fight off infections.
Other conditions that can boost your risk include hormone changes, multiple sclerosis, and anything that affects urine flow, such as kidney stones, a stroke, and a spinal cord injury.
 SOME POINTS TO REMEMBER
  • Empty your bladder often as soon as you feel the need to pee; don't rush, and be sure you've emptied your bladder completely.
  • Wipe from front to back after you use the toilet.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Choose showers over baths.
  • Stay away from feminine hygiene sprays, scented douches, and scented bath products; they'll only increase irritation.
  • Cleanse your genital area before sex.
  • Keep your genital area dry by wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Don’t wear tight jeans and nylon underwear; they can trap moisture, creating the perfect environment for bacteria growth.

HOW DOES HEEALS WORK TOWARDS THIS?
HEEALS aims at providing sensitization towards such topics through various projects. Under the ‘ PADS FOR GIRLS’ and  ‘ HANDWASHING PROJECT’ , our organization wants to educate young minds, especially girls, about menstrual hygiene and warding off potential diseases. Our projects are widespread and cover several cities including Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh etc. Lack of menstrual hygiene is a major factor for Urinary tract diseases and thus there is a need to sensitize people towards it. We therefore work towards making learning fun and interactive by conducting our workshops on a regular basis in various schools. Through our small efforts, we try to bring about a big change in society.

By : Tvisha 

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