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Health Q&A

Posted January 02, 2013 in Advice Column, Perry

Q: When do adults need vaccinated?

A: As you plan to improve your health this year, don’t forget about adult vaccinations. Many times these vaccinations are forgotten once you graduate. The government Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following vaccinations for adults:
• Flu vaccine: yearly. Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap): A booster every 10 years. If you are injured, you may need a tetanus shot in addition to these boosters.
• Varicella (chickenpox): Two doses after age 19.
• HPV (human papillomavirus): Three doses for men and women before the age of 26. Zoster (shingles): Once after age 60.
• Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): One or two doses in the adult years.
• Pneumococcal (pneumonia): Usually one dose after age 65, but may be given earlier if you have some chronic conditions.
• Meningococcal: one or more doses.
• Hepatitis A: Two doses; Hepatitis B: Three doses.

As always, it is important to discuss the need for immunizations with your health care provider. He or she can determine if you need these vaccinations. You may also wish to check with your insurance company to make sure these are covered under your plan. The best time to discuss your vaccination needs with your provider is when you have an annual physical. Medicare patients should discuss vaccinations during their annual Medicare wellness visit, which is paid by Medicare.

Information provided by Mercy Family Care – Perry, 616 10th St, 465-2575.

Q: What causes carbon monoxide poisoning?

A: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be created whenever a fuel (such as wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, or kerosene) is burning. Breathing in carbon monoxide fumes not only prevents oxygen from being used properly by the body, but also causes harm to the central nervous system. Persons with existing health problems such as heart and lung disease are especially vulnerable, as are infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly.

The majority of carbon monoxide exposures occur in the winter months, and the most common sources of CO poisoning are unvented supplemental heaters, which is a type of space heater that uses combustible fuel and indoor air for the heating process. Malfunctioning of heaters can introduce carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes into the room.

Other common sources of carbon monoxide include the following: Malfunctioning cooking appliances, water heater, gas clothes dryer, tobacco smoke, clogged chimney, auto exhaust, malfunctioning oil, wood, gas, or coal furnaces, wood-burning fireplace, gas log burner or any unvented space heater, appliances in campers, barbecue grills, mounted heating units and fires.

The following are the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: Dizziness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, seizures, cardiac arrest, loss of hearing. blurry vision. disorientation, loss of consciousness or coma, respiratory failure or death.

Consult your doctor immediately if you suspect that you or a member of your family has experienced carbon monoxide poisoning or for diagnosis.

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, www.medicap.com.

Q: I often get dry mouth. Should I be concerned?

A: Some of you may have noticed that your mouth has become more dry than you are accustomed to, especially if you’ve recently started taking new prescription medications. If so, you should be concerned, as it is often associated with an increase in dental cavities. Xerostomia, the medical term for dry mouth, is caused by a decrease in saliva production. Saliva plays a large role in the prevention of cavities, as it has both a cleansing effect and antibacterial action. Therefore, less saliva often means more cavities. Also, dry mouth can make chewing, eating, swallowing and even talking difficult or painful.

There are several factors that can cause dry mouth, such as over-the-counter medications, prescription meds, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Sjogren’s syndrome. Even certain cancer treatments can damage the saliva glands’ nerve system. If you’ve recently changed your prescriptions before noticing dry mouth symptoms, consult your physician about whether any of the medicines have the side effect of xerostomia. In most cases they’ll find an alternative that works well, without the side effects.

To help ease the condition, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, or chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate the production of saliva.Lastly, there are several over-the-counter products designed to help reduce xerostomia, such as mouth rinses, toothpastes, gels, gums and sprays. Biotene is the most common brand for xerostomia products, and can be found in most stores.

Information provided by Dr. Rob Swanson, DDS, Swanson Dental Care, 2423 Willis Ave., Perry, 465-5170.

Q: Are there any specific groups that should be tested for Hepatitis C?

A: A recent press release from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all baby boomers receive a one-time Hepatitis C test (http://cdc.gov/nchhtp/newsroom/2012/HCV-Testing-Recs-PressRelease.html). Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The liver is one of the main organs of the hepatic system that filters blood in the human body. There are five different types of viral hepatitis: A, B, C, D and E with the most common being A, B and C. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer. There is an estimated 4.4 million Americans who have undiagnosed hepatitis and, according to the CDC; more than 2.2 million American baby boomers infected with Hepatitis C unknowingly contracted the virus.

Most baby boomers don’t realize that they may have had high risk to exposure of hepatitis. Some of the exposure risks include but are not limited to blood transfusion or organ transplants before 1992, sexual contact, piercings or tattoos, childbirth, use of needles or injection of drugs, receive hemodyalisis or born to a woman with hepatitis C. Many people do not know they may have Hepatitis C because it generally presents with no symptoms in early stages or may present with general mild flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain and mild fever. Hepatitis increases the risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is recommended that all baby boomers have a one-time blood test screening for Hepatitis C. Hepatitis is very treatable with modern medication and technology.

Information provided by 21st Century Rehab at Dallas County Hospital, 610 10th St., Perry, 465-7672.





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