Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month February 2018

Posted on

The National Domestic Violence Hotline – Saving One Life at a Time

24hours a day/7 days a week

CALL 1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Spanish councelors available.
Go to the web site for live chat, too.

Break the Cycle

These stats and facts will blow you away! Get in the “know” and be a part of breaking the cycle of abuse.

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.
  • Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18.
  • The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence.
  • Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
  • College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse – 57% say it is difficult to identify and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it.
  • One in three (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, online access, email or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse.
  • One in six (16%) college women have been sexually abused in a dating relationship.
  • Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
  • Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a STI.
  • Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.
  • Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
  • Eighty-one (81) percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.
  • Though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.

Warning signs of abuse:

  1. Extreme Mood Swings. When a teen experiences extreme and erratic mood swings it can be a sign of abuse. The abuser may have trouble controlling his/her temper. The victim of abuse may not know how to process the realities of the abuse. Fluctuations in mood are normal during the teenage years. However, extreme changes in mood may indicate that there is a more serious problem. If a teen is screaming and yelling one moment and quiet and remote the next, it may be a sign of dating violence.
  2. Isolation. Does one teen try to keep his/her partner away from other people? Is a teen withdrawn and antisocial for no apparent reason? Possessiveness and controlling behavior can be a sign of an abusive relationship. Again, both the abuser and the victim of abuse can show signs of isolation. Teens who are involved in healthy relationships may want to spend more time alone. However, this time should not be forced. Teens should achieve a healthy balance between time spent alone and time spent with friends and family. If there is an imbalance, it may be a sign of dating violence.
  3. Physical Harm. Unexplained physical injuries are often a red flag in abusive relationships. An abuser may have scraped knuckles or show signs of defensive wounds. A victim of abuse may try to hide a black eye or other bruises by wearing a lot of makeup or baggy clothes. If a teen continually sustains injuries and cannot offer a good explanation about where they came from, it may be a sign of an abusive relationship.
  4. Bad Grades. School performance is often one of the first things to suffer when teens are involved in an abusive relationship. Rather than pay attention in school and focus on grades, teens may be caught up in the drama of their own relationships. Dealing with abuse can make it difficult to focus on the tasks in front of them. When grades suffer for no apparent reason, it may be a sign of an abusive relationship.
  5. Sexual Activity. Sex can be a normal part of a healthy teenage relationship. However, each relationship is different and, many times, teens are not mature enough to have sex. Sex can be used as a form of control. Abusers may want to have sex to boast to their social peers. Victims may feel that they have no choice but to allow sexual advances. When sex is a part of a teenage relationship it is important to make sure that both teens are on the same page. When teens are having sex because they want control or fear the consequences of saying no, it may be a sign of an abusive relationship.

Teens who are involved in abusive relationships are more likely to be involved in abusive relationships as adults . Early intervention is the best way to prevent this vicious cycle from happening.

Make sure you talk to your kids about teen dating violence. If they are the victims, there is help. If they are the abuser, make sure they understand the serious criminal consequences
that can occur as a result.

Statistics say that (1) one teen in every 10 relationships are abusive. Help break the silence, stigma and the shame of dating abuse and violence.

Criminal Consequences for Teens

Here’s a list of the possible criminal charges that could result in a violent relationship between teens.

  1. Domestic battery – occurs when one teenager commits harmful or offensive contact against a former or current dating partner. These charges of domestic battery don’t require that the teenager is injured. Instead, the contact must be (1) purposeful and unlawful, and (2) forceful and unwanted.
  2. Domestic violence – legally known as “bodily injury to a spouse or cohabitant” – occurs when one teenager purposefully causes a dating partner to sustain a bodily injury. So, the basic difference between domestic battery charges and domestic violence charges is when one causes bodily injury to the other.
  3. Sexual assault – occurs when a teenager engages in the unwanted touching of a dating partner’s intimate parts. Intimate parts include the “sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks.”
  4. Rape – occurs when a teenager engages in unwanted or forceful sexual intercourse with a dating partner.
  5. Child abuse – may occur when a teenager purposefully or accidentally causes the injury of a dating partner under the age of 18. Certain individuals (including teachers, doctors, and clergy) who witness what they believe to be child abuse must report their observations to law enforcement. Behavior that may be properly defined as child abuse is sometimes different than that which may be defined as abuse for domestic violence purposes.
  6. Criminal Threats – may occur when a teenager threatens to kill or harm a dating partner. A teenager may be convicted of criminal threats if (1) the threat placed the victim in reasonable fear of his or her safety; (2) the threat was specific; and (3) the threat was communicated in writing, verbally, or electronically. So, if a teenager hears a rumor about his or her partner and responds by sending texts with the message “You’re not going to be able to show your face for a while” with a “fist” emoji, they may be guilty of criminal threats.

The Grown-Up Picture: Domestic Abuse Stats & Facts

  1. ABUSE:
    1. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and during one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
    2. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
    3. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
    4. On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
    5. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
    6. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
    7. Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
    8. 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.
    9. Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
    10. Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
  2. RAPE:
    1. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.
    2. Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.
  3. STALKING:
    1. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
    2. 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.
    3. 60.8% of female stalking victims and 43.5% men reported being stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  4. HOMICIDE:
    1. A study of intimate partner homicides found that 20% of victims were not the intimate partners themselves, but family members, friends, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders.
    2. 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.
  5. CHILDREN AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
    1. 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
    2. Children involved in domestic abuse are more likely to become abused or abusers themselves.
  6. ECONOMIC IMPACT:
    1. Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8.0 million days of paid work each year.
    2. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion per year.
    3. Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.
    4. Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser, 78% of women killed in the workplace during this timeframe.
  7. PHYSICAL/MENTAL IMPACT:
    1. Women abused by their intimate partners are more vulnerable to contracting HIV or other STI’s due to forced intercourse or prolonged exposure to stress.
    2. Studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior.
    3. Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

Links of Interest

Here is a link to Nebraska stats for Domestic violence and abuse.

Find more on domestic abuse and dating violence statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and also find links to other resources here.

Lily&Q’s say…Many people living with HIV have had a past which often included cycles of drug addiction, dating or domestic violence, even using sex or drugs to merely survive.
I bet most of us wouldn’t even be able to identify the fine lines of what is and isn’t abusive behavior from our partners. One thing the “Me Too” movement can do is begin being more vocal and educate about what constitutes abuse, violence, rape, consent, NO!, and so on. We’re just beginning this fight.
My Mom and I now talk with more understanding of the one guy (How lucky was I to only have one!) in my past which my Mom was sure was abusive to me. I vividly remember the moment it was finally crystal clear to me what I was going to have to do to finally get away from him-Once and for all. I was crazy scared of him at the end. Finally, I saw him as the condescending jerk he was and realized how close to being physically hurt I actually got.
Whew dodged that bullet…And maybe a literal one, given the gun and homicide stats, too!
I can see why my Mom was nervous. She didn’t want to push me too hard, so I’d instead run to him with the direct purpose of thumbing my nose at her, but she didn’t want to not say anything to me either because she did have a voice in my head…More than she ever thought she did! And I’m glad I ultimately heeded her words.
I wanted to believe he wasn’t the jerk she was pointing out to me, but she was right it just took me a “hot minute” to see it.
If anyone asks you to: not see or talk to people from your life including family or friends, they dictate what you should wear while you’re with them, or speak or not speak in a certain way when you are in their presence…If you see, hear, notice anything else that resembles control of you in any way…Run, run away fast.
I was lucky enough to never be struck or hurt physically but the one time it came close I screamed, “Do what you got to do, but you’d better knock me out because if you don’t I will tear your balls off with my teeth…!”
I was glad it stopped right there. I think he realized he didn’t know me like he thought he did and that unnerved him more than he wanted to admit to and I think for once he actually believe me at my word. Thank God too, because I wasn’t sure how I’d get that “ball-ripping-thing” done the way he had me grabbed up.
In that one terrifying moment I knew he could follow through with whatever snapped into his twisted head and take me out like he kept saying he was gonna do.
I’m no hero. My account is not meant to discount other’s abuse. I am not saying I had it easy, or felt like, “lucky me”, in any way. I can only suppport those with stories that don’t end like mine did.
I do in fact hold in my heart and appreciate the will of my fellow sisters, and brothers who for one reason or another couldn’t just walk away. I pray for you. I pray for your safety and your strength. I pray that there can be another way for you to see the light, and know you deserve to live a happy, healthy life.
I’ll also never stop thinking about that beautiful blonde friend I had 30+ years ago that came into work after a long weekend with two almost matching black eyes and a pump on her forehead, and said she fell. I guess she thought we would believe her, but after the third or fourth time we quit asking her for a lie when her eyes met ours.
Seeing her gorgeous blue eyes red and bloody was horrifying for all of us. We kept her silence though, and now I wonder how long she lived or if she’s even a live anymore.
God forbid any of mine will get caught up in this cycle of abuse.
Find help, get someone to talk to who will help by listening, and find resources that can help you break the cycle…It’s not just you that you help, it’s your children and your children’s children, too.

National Condom Month February 2018

Posted on

Lily says…Well now a month concentrated on the condom! Boy this wouldn’t have been the case (30) thirty years or more ago that’s for sure! Makes me Smile!

People either swear by condoms or swear at them and here are some of the BS reasons people have used for “swearing off” condom use:

  • Guys are usually thinking more about stopping fatherhood then stopping STI transmission when using a condom.
  • Women think their guy isn’t telling them about their past or what they want in their future if they wear a condom with them. This is just a DUH ladies!
  • If she chooses to use a female condom then maybe the guy thinks she’s a slut.
  • Women usually aren’t the ones suggesting condom usage.
  • Women also believe that if you ask him to wear a condom you are saying you don’t trust thim…Which you probably shouldn’t at that point, if you thought that to begin with.
  • MSM Men who have sex with Men think their partner thinks they have something (Like an STI perhaps?) when the other suggests condom usage.
  • One or the other doesn’t like the feel, how they wear, or they give them some other kind of negative experience.
  • Think sex without involving a vagina keeps them from getting STIs.
  • Some women think that their man shouldn’t wear a condom with them since they are married to him, even if they know he steps out. Like a law protects you.
  • Since most men don’t have a symptom of some STIs then they don’t believe they can get or give STIs.

And the list goes on and on…

What’s wrong with this…Well everything!

Trust is an assumption in most relationships even though if we ask people what is the one thing they think all long-lasting relationships should have is trust. Huh.

Women usually need to believe that their partner LOVES them before consummating a sex act. But that has changed over the last decade or so since anonymous sex is more and more the norm for millennials, who can “hook-up” with an app.

Bringing up the topic of condoms might make us sound like we have a motive-Yeah, like staying sexually safer, maybe? Controlling pregnancy, possibly? Being PERSONALLY sexually responsible, Definitely!

Condoms can’t do their work if you don’t know how to work them, so get in the know, take relationships slow and get tested so you know for yourself what your STI risk is to others. AND START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT SAFER SEX NOW!!

Ins and Outs of IT!

Here is the answer to the ‘age old’ question, “How do I Correctly measure the penis for a condom?” Okay, maybe that isn’t your exact question, but I know you wanna know…This article steps you through sizing up the length, width, girth etc. and then matches that up to the best condom choices possible for the given measurements…Great party game for sure, right?

Got it but Understanding shape and size when it comes to choosing the right condom from RipARoll.

Colors bring some extra fun into your bedroom so what about the rainbow tonight?

Here’s a look at whether to use latex or not to latex and more on the effectiveness of each type of material used to make condoms.

Just to make sure you are keeping up and paying attention, here’s a fun one…Where is Condom France located from me?

What are the facts, benefits or not of Non-lubricated Condoms Versus Lubricated Condoms from Condomania. Who doesn’t want to visit a site named “Condomania”, just because…Who wouldn’t want to visit a site with this name anyway?!

Here is the straight-up om Picking the Perfect Lube For Your Penis from Men’s Health. Absolutely necessary to use with a condom every time. Pick the right one. ‘Nuff said.

Female Condom vs. Male Condom from News Medical to shed some light on why to use, or which one to use, and when to use with links to other resources including: how to put them in, or on correctly, which lubes work with which condoms most effectively, and so on…

Seven secrets of the female condom from PATH Blog answering this and other informational questions!

The Future of IT Condom Use Becoming Useful

Sexually Transmitted Infection STI detecting condom is on the horizon. Two 14 and One 13-year-old in the UK came up with this ingenious idea. Keep your eye on it! There need to be some tweaks and cost studies, but would it mean once the color diagnosed you it would then reveal what to do next? (Go To Doc ASAP!)

This condom is made by forming the latex into a HEX shape… Test-driving LELO’s HEX Condom of the Future from Engadget. According to

Sedic explains that when pressure is applied to the condom, it stretches in six directions from any point. This flexibility makes it more forgiving of tension. If you poke a hole in it, the damage stays contained in the single cell. It doesn’t shatter like traditional condoms.

Excellent answer to, “I don’t wear condoms because they break anyway…”

The Best Condom Exists but We Can’t Buy it Yet from Tonic. In July 2017, a group of MIT researchers announced that they’d developed a futuristic hydrogel that could lead to vastly better condoms (and catheters) due to its unique properties. In a study published in Advanced Healthcare Materials, they explained that the gel-like laminate is flexible, soft, and slippery…

American Heart Month February 2018

Posted on

February is Heart Month Flowers or Candy

American Heart Month is a federally designated event to raise awareness of heart health and is observed annually.

Chances are, we all know someone affected by heart disease and stroke, because about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 38 seconds.

The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices.

While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.

Cardiovascular diseases, which includes stroke, claim the lives of about one woman every 80 seconds unnecessarily — because about 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable with education and action.

Eating right, reducing stress, and getting plenty of physical exercise can help you not become a statistic of heart disease.

Move It Or Lose It!

Being more active can help your heart by:

  1. lowering your blood pressure
  2. boosting your levels of good cholesterol (HDL)
  3. improving your blood flow (circulation)
  4. helping you keep your weight under control
  5. helping to prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis
  6. helping you to be more physically active and in a better mood
  7. keeping the doctors away

Some Heart Month History

  • The first American Heart Month, which took place in February 1964, was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson via Proclamation 3566 on December 30, 1963.
  • The Congress, by joint resolution on that date, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.
  • At that time, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease.
  • While American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States, it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year.
  • That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson’s proclamation in its entirety when he first declared February as American Heart Month in 1964.

Heart-in the Physical Links

Start here and choose one of the heart related quizzes from The American Heart Association and learn about BMI, blood pressure and how diet impacts your heart and its plumbing. You’ll have fun doing it , too!

Here is a Primer to Heart Disease Educational Materials for Patients from cdc.gov including images of the heart, treatment options and education for patients just hearing they have a heart -related diagnosis of some kind.

Did you know when exercising, it takes about 10 seconds for the blood pumped by your heart to get from your heart to your big toe and back. It actually has to push blood through about 60,000 miles of blood vessels, enough to circle the entire world about 2 ½ times! Unbelievable! Check out Heart Facts from Soft Schools where heart information is so easy to understand it’s child’s play!

There are several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. Read Facts About Heart Disease in Women specifically from Go Red For Women and know that if you’re a woman of color you are at greater risk for heart disease.

Go to Black Americans & Heart Disease – Facts & Statistics from Close the Gap to help understand the risk if you are a Black American your risk for heart disease is higher than for Caucasian Americans, this site will help you sort out your risk. It also has links to other statistics by race.

With the heart being one of the body’s essential organs, this link to National Geographic article on Heart organ transplant explains how important being an organ donor is in this day and age, and how to keep your heart healthy.

Here is a list of Medicines for heart disease from The Heart Foundation and explains the categories of meds and how they help to keep the heart working before a heart attack and after a heart-related problem arises.

The Heart…Of it…

As a symbol the heart is as old as time. Check out the ways the Heart symbol has been used, from family crests in the 13 centuries to today with computers in the mix anything becomes possible!

Has long been a reliable central image for songwriters to convey the joy, grief, pain, confusion – and any other feeling of love. Check out Billboard’s 2017 list of the top 50 Billboard Hot tunes with Heart in the title and enjoy tapping your toes down “memory lane”! Oh, and maybe have a Kleenex or two handy…Just in case…!

When you hear bad news, you might feel your “heart drop” or have to deal with “heart ache”. There’s more to these metaphors than simply describing intense emotions as they point to the fascinating way our bodies experience these feelings, both emotionally and physically. To answer the question, Why Do We Feel Intense Emotions In Our Chest? from IFLScience to answer this and other questions you might have about emotions and the physical heart.

Lily&Q’s say…This is the month for all things of the Heart! And with Valentine’s Day on the 14th it is a good time to examine as Tina Turner sings from her release of “Tiny Dancer” in 1984, “What’s Love got to do with it…?”
Evidentially not much when a lover leaves when a STI/HIV diagnosis is given to one of the two…
It is said that women need to hear the words of love before they commit to a relationship, so, if this is true why doesn’t either party STILL ask more questions of their partners? Like, “Have you been STI/HIV tested lately?” No, no that would totally ruin the moment, right? What about “ruining” the rest of YOUR life for the sake of the moment?
In a day and time that less conversation than ever before passes between partners having un-protected sex, something else must change in our interactions and perceptions of our partners to bring about the end of HIV transmission. This isn’t by any means, old news, either.
It still amazes me that words coming out of my partners mouth were more important to believe, then what medically based science said and still says about STI/HIV transmission and risk.
Like a simple four-letter word, LOVE, could protect us somehow, and in fact that word usually broke someone’s heart or left us with heartbreak when our partner said they didn’t love us anymore. So, what does love have to do with STIs and HIV? Absolutely Nothing!
In the 1980’s and 1990’s the status quo was if the person didn’t look sick, then they weren’t. How dumb of us, and how smart of HIV. Since HIV does all the damage systematically on the inside with no outward symptoms, merely “looking” at someone to make an HIV diagnosis was ludicrous to say the least. Some of us did it that way, though not thinking about HIV or anything else.
I would like to think, “that was then, this is now” with the “now” full of anti-stigma and prevention messages making a real difference in transmission rates.
But it isn’t true in the least with transmission rates on the rise.
Long-term survivors of HIV like me wonder what it will really take. When decades of illness and death hasn’t seemed to help. Granted by watching me over the years maybe my younger family members might be smarter than I was about STI/HIV transmission, but chances are good that even hearing my story won’t change many of the minds of the young people I share my HIV story with over and over again, year in and year out.
It makes me sad, not pissed off. Is this apathy on my part?
No just weariness at times, and other times a renewed heart and passion for hoping that just one of them in hearing distance might make the right decision in the heat of the moment.
Since HIV/AIDS right now is still a lifelong disease, speaking about my life and my HIV status gives me purpose, and with February being Heart Month I feel revitalized in the fight against HIV/STI transmission and helping to de-stigmatize testing so that no one else must explain HIV to their parents or loved ones after receiving an HIV+ diagnosis.
Do your part in the fight today! Know your own STI/HIV status so that you are part of impacting the STI transmission rates in your community.
By testing you make it easier to bring up the subject to your next partner(s) and reduce your risk.
By testing you get more education and ways to help protect yourself from someone else’s body fluids when they are too scared to get tested or even talk about their risk factors.
In a world where we are still looking and longing for a “Love Forever” relationship, starting with a serious talk about STI/HIV might just be the way you can “weed out” the ones who are in it for the moment, and those it might be worth pursuing a real, long-term relationship with.
I won’t be in the bedroom or wherever with you, but heed my words the sentence, “You’re HIV+.” is short, simple, life-changing and devastating to hear.
Honor your Heart, find a test site, and just do IT TODAY! Know your HIV/STI status!

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week January 22 – 28 2018

Posted on

Drugs, Sex and Rock’in Roll…

Lily&Q’s say…Many of us got HIV while practicing any one of several unsafe behaviors like using drugs and alcohol along with having un-protected sex. Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol made us unable to negotiate condom use correctly each time, we couldn’t care for ourselves adequately, or protect ourselves from others actions in this state.
In some cases, used sex, drugs and alcohol as barter for something we needed like a place to sleep, food or money.
So, it makes sense that in understanding the “why’s” of drug and alcohol use we can better understand the continued transmission of HIV and other STI’s in our community, since they seem to follow each other. It also seems as if this is a war without end as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) rates are on the increase.
Knowing YOUR status keeps you more aware and helps keep the community around you safer as well.
Whether you use for the pleasure of getting high on a drug like at a party or if your abuse is daily or habitual use, understanding why you choose these behaviors can be a lifesaver if you want it to be. Drugs and alcohol can be a substitute for dealing with physical or emotional pain but is only masking them and can be a “wake-up call” to a bigger underlying issue.
Use a hotline from our Service Directory to get more facts or reach out to a counselor in your area for help. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Smoking is one of the health concerns that is becoming more and more scrutinized for not being considered a drug habit, yet approximately 36+ million Americans still do.
Cigarette smoking remains one drug habit that society is somewhat still tolerant of…BUT ONLY in Designated Areas! LOL!
I quit cigarettes about 7 years ago, after smoking some 35 years or so-Cold-Turkey…Well turkey didn’t have much to do with it, but you get it.
I am not a person who shakes my finger at people who still smoke either. I know People choose their path, (I sure DID!) and People can change the path they have always trod.
Any time, any day, any way or by any means you can make a change today!
If drugs and alcohol are part of your life and you are sick of being broke until the next money comes, having to run ragged until the next fix, or not feeling like you used to when you used, every day is a new day-You can start going in another direction. Do it for YOURSELF, because no one else can do it for you. Just know there are a whole bunch of US waiting patiently on the other side of addiction-You Can DO THIS!

Drug Primer

Drugs and “street” names for them:

  • Alcohol: Booze, Brew, Drink, Liquor
  • Anabolic Steroids: Juice, Roids
  • Bath Salts: Bloom, Cloud Nine, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning
  • Cocaine: Blow, Bump, C, Charlie, Coca, Coke, Flake, Rock, Snow, Toot
  • Cough and Cold Medicines: Candy, Dex, Drank, Robo, Robotripping, Skittles, Triple C, Tussin, Velvet
  • Heroin: Black Tar, H, Horse, Junk, Ska, Smack
  • Inhalants: Bold, Laughing Gas, Poppers, Snappers, Whippets
  • Marijuana: Grass, Herb, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Skunk, Weed
  • MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly): Adam, Beans, Clarity, E, Hug, Love Drug, X, XTC
  • Methamphetamine (Meth): Chalk, Crank, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Go Fast, Ice, Speed, Tina
  • Prescription Drugs: Barbs, Candy, Oxy, Percs, Reds, Speed, Tranks, Vikes
  • Prescription Depressant Medications: A-minus, Barbs, Candy, Downers, Phennies, Red Birds, Reds, Tooies, Tranks, Yellow Jackets, Yellows, Zombie Pills
  • Prescription Stimulant Medications (Amphetamines): Bennies, Black Beauties, Hearts, Roses, Skippy, Speed, The Smart Drug, Uppers, Vitamin R
  • Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids): Happy Pills, Hillbilly Heroin, OC, Oxy, Oxycotton, Percs, Vikes
  • Salvia: Maria Pastora, Sally-D, Salvia divinorum, Shepherdess’s Herb, Ska Pastora
  • Spice: Fake Weed, K2, Moon Rocks, Skunk, Yucatan Fire
  • Tobacco, Nicotine, & E-Cigarettes: Chew, Cigs, Dip, Smokes, Snuff

This list is by no means the final word on drugs and what some people call them, but its a start for you to get “in-the-know” about such things.

Just because one person gets addicted to a drug doesn’t mean that everyone who tries that drug has the same addictive behavior to it or react to it the same way every time they try it, either. Therefore some won’t consider some of the entries listed a drug.

To each their own, and until the Federal or State government deems a drug “legal”, it isn’t except for tobacco and alcohol which are not usually classified as a drug in most of the countries around the world, especially the United States.

h3>Viral Infections (HIV, Hepatitis) and Drug Use

How does drug use factor in the spread of viral infections?
Injection drug use. When people inject drugs, and share needles or other equipment, viruses can be passed between users because bodily fluids (for example, blood) from the infected person can remain on the equipment and be passed to others.

Poor judgment and risky behavior. Drugs and alcohol affect the way a person makes choices and can lead to unsafe sex. This puts the person at risk for getting or giving the viruses to someone else.

Biological effects of drugs. Drug use and addiction can make HIV and its consequences worse, especially in the brain. For example, research has shown that HIV causes more harm to nerve cells in the brain and greater cognitive (thinking) damage among people who use methamphetamine than among people with HIV who do not use drugs.
Drug and alcohol use can also directly damage the liver, increasing risk for chronic liver disease and cancer among those infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Your Brain and Addiction

Your brain is who you are. It’s what allows you to think, breathe, move, speak, and feel. It’s just 3 pounds of gray-and-white matter that rests in your skull, and it is your own personal “mission control center.

Information from your environment—both outside (like what your eyes see and skin feels) and inside (like your heart rate and body temperature)—makes its way to the brain, which receives, processes, and integrates it so that you can survive and function under all sorts of changing circumstances and learn from experience.

The brain is always working, even when you’re sleeping.

The brain is made up of many parts that all work together as a team. Each of these different parts has a specific and important job to do.

How Drugs Affect Your Brain

When drugs enter the brain, they interfere with its normal processing and can eventually lead to changes in how well it works.

Over time, drug use can lead to addiction, a devastating brain disease in which people can’t stop using drugs even when they really want to and even after it causes terrible consequences to their health and other parts of their lives.

Drugs affect three primary areas of the brain:

  • The brain stem is in charge of all the functions our body needs to stay alive—breathing, moving blood, and digesting food. It also links the brain with the spinal cord, which runs down the back and moves muscles and limbs as well as lets the brain know what’s happening to the body.
  • The limbic system links together a bunch of brain structures that control our emotional responses, such as feeling pleasure when we eat chocolate. The good feelings motivate us to repeat the behavior, which is good because eating is critical to our lives.
  • The cerebral cortex is the mushroom-shaped outer part of the brain (the gray matter). In humans, it is so big that it makes up about three-fourths of the entire brain. It’s divided into four areas, called lobes, which control specific functions. Some areas process information from our senses, allowing us to see, feel, hear, and taste. The front part of the cortex, known as the frontal cortex or forebrain, is the thinking center. It powers our ability to think, plan, solve problems, and make decisions.

What is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes a person to compulsively seek out drugs, despite the harm they cause.

The first time a person uses drugs, it’s usually a free choice they’ve made. However, repeated drug use causes the brain to change which drives a person to seek out and use drugs over and over, despite negative effects such as stealing, losing friends, family problems, or other physical or mental problems brought on by drug use—this is addiction.

How do drugs affect your brain?

Drugs are chemicals. When someone puts these chemicals into their body, either by smoking, injecting, inhaling, or eating them, they tap into the brain’s communication system and tamper with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information.

Different drugs—because of their chemical structures—work differently. We know there are at least two ways drugs work in the brain:

  1. Imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers
  2. Overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain

Some drugs, like marijuana and heroin, have chemical structures that mimic that of a neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in our bodies. In fact, these drugs can “fool” our receptors, lock onto them, and activate the nerve cells.

However, they don’t work the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and the neurons end up sending abnormal messages through the brain, which can cause problems both for our brains as well as our bodies.

Other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, cause nerve cells to release too much dopamine, which is a natural neurotransmitter, or prevent the normal recycling of dopamine.

This leads to exaggerated messages in the brain, causing problems with communication channels.

It’s like the difference between someone whispering in your ear versus someone shouting in a microphone.

The “High” From Drugs/Pleasure Effect

Most drugs of abuse like nicotine , cocaine , marijuana, and others—affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system.

Normally, the reward circuit responds to feelings of pleasure by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine creates feelings of pleasure. Drugs take control of this system, causing large amounts of dopamine to flood the system.
This flood of dopamine is what causes the “high” or intense excitement and happiness (sometimes called euphoria) which is linked with using drugs.

The Repeat Effect

Our brains are wired to make sure we will repeat healthy activities, like eating or breathing, by connecting those activities with feeling good.

Whenever this reward circuit is kick-started, the brain notes that something important is happening that needs to be remembered, and teaches us to do it again and again, without thinking about it.

Because drugs of abuse come in and “hijack” the same circuit, people learn to use drugs in the same way.

After repeated drug use, the brain starts to adjust to the surges of dopamine. Neurons may begin to reduce the number of dopamine receptors or simply make less dopamine.

The result is less dopamine signaling in the brain—like turning down the volume on the dopamine signal.
Because some drugs are toxic, some neurons also may die.

As a result, the ability to feel any pleasure is reduced. The person feels flat, lifeless, and depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that once brought pleasure.

Now the person needs drugs just to bring dopamine levels up to normal, and more of the drug is needed to create a dopamine flood, or “high”—an effect known as “tolerance.”

Long-Term Effects

Drug use can eventually lead to dramatic changes in neurons and brain circuits.

These changes can still be present even after the person has stopped taking drugs and is more likely to happen when a person takes a drug over and over.

What factors increase the risk for addiction?

Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can’t predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted.

A combination of factors related to your genes, environment, and development increase the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction including:

  1. Home and family. Parents or older family members who abuse alcohol or drugs, or who are involved in criminal behavior, can increase young people’s risks for developing their own drug problems.
  2. Peers and school. Friends and acquaintances who abuse drugs can sway young people to try drugs for the first time. Academic failure or poor social skills can also put a person at risk for drug use.
  3. Early use. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, research shows that the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious use. This may reflect the harmful effect that drugs can have on the developing brain. It also may be the result of early biological and social factors, such as genetics, mental illness, unstable family relationships, and exposure to physical or sexual abuse. Still, the fact remains that early use is a strong indicator of problems ahead—among them, substance abuse and addiction.
  4. Method of use. Smoking a drug or injecting it into a vein increases its addictive potential. Both smoked and injected drugs enter the brain within seconds, producing a powerful rush of pleasure. However, this intense “high” can fade within a few minutes, taking the person down to lower levels. Scientists believe that this low feeling drives individuals to repeat drug use in an attempt to recapture the high pleasurable state.

Are there effective treatments for drug addiction?

Yes, there are treatments, but there is no cure for drug addiction yet.

Addiction is often a disease that is long-lasting sometimes referred to as chronic.

As with other chronic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, people learn to manage their condition.

Scientific research has shown that 13 basic principles are the foundation for effective drug addiction treatment. Find out more in NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.

Types of Treatment

Treatment will vary for each person, depending on the type of drugs used and the person’s specific circumstances.

Generally, there are two types of treatment for drug addiction:

  • Behavior change, in which people learn to change their behavior
  • Medications, which can help treat addictions to some drugs, such as tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or other opioids

Length of Treatment

Like diabetes and even asthma, drug addiction typically is a long-lasting disorder.

Most people who have become addicted to drugs need long term treatment and, many times, repeated treatments—much like a person who has asthma needs to constantly watch changes in medication and exercise.

The important point is that even when someone relapses and begins abusing drugs again, they should not give up hope. Rather, they need to go back to treatment or change their current treatment.

In fact, setbacks are likely. Even people with diabetes may go off their diet or miss an insulin injection, and their symptoms will recur—that’s a cue to get back on track, not to view treatment as a failure.

Motivation for Treatment

Most people go into drug treatment either because a court ordered them to do so or because loved ones wanted them to seek treatment.

The good news is that, according to scientific studies, people can benefit from treatment either way.

How do I know if I or someone I know has a drug problem?

There are questions people can ask to gauge whether or not a person has a drug problem.

These may not mean that someone is addicted, but answering yes to any of these questions may suggest a developing problem, which could require follow-up with a professional drug treatment specialist.

These include:

  1. Have you ever ridden in a car driven by someone (including yourself) who had been using alcohol or drugs?
  2. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs to relax, to feel better about yourself, or to fit in?
  3. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs when you are alone?
  4. Do you ever forget things you did while using alcohol or drugs?
  5. Do family or friends ever tell you to cut down on your use of alcohol or drugs?
  6. Have you ever gotten into trouble while you were using alcohol or drugs?

What should I do if someone I know needs help?

ACT quickly!

If you, or a friend, are in crisis and need to speak with someone now:
Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (they don’t just talk about suicide—they cover a lot of issues and will help put you in touch with someone close by)
If you need information on drug treatment and where you can find it, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can help.
Call Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP
Visit the locator online at samhsa.gov

Going to the source

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health NSDUH is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse and mental disorders in the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population, age 12 and older. The survey generates estimates at the National, state, and substate levels.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Drug Facts and Links of interest

The number of myths and misconceptions about drug abuse and addiction are staggering. Despite efforts to educate and inform, many still cater to rumor and believe “old wives tales” in an effort to gain understanding on the topic.
In this entry, we seek to denounce the rumor mill in hopes of providing some much-needed clarity on the topic at large.
Here are 10 facts about drug abuse from Above It All Treatment Center

Timeline of Events in the History of Drugs from INPUD’s International Diaries. Even before we were spread about the earth, man has found pleasure in ingesting foods and liquids to nourish themselves and their loved ones, cure what ailed them, and get them High! It’s not a new concept and this timeline sheds light on just how long humans have been in the dilemma of knowing when enough is enough…Or keep using.

10 Startling Facts About the History of Heroin from Alternet. Who would have thought that women and children were the first consumers of heroin back-in-the-day? Heroin has a twisted history being legal and basically over-the-counter to now being illegal in most countries.

Phat Facts

25 Unbelievable Facts About Alcohol You May Not Realize Are True

List25 compiles lesser-known intriguing information on a variety of subjects. List25 was started by Syed Balkhi in 2011. The main purpose of this site is to be educational while entertaining at the same time. It’s 25 because we don’t like top 10 lists.

Highly Interesting Facts About Drugs & Alcohol from onedio.co. These will keep you talking…!

National Influenza Vaccination Week December 4 – 11 2017

Posted on

Is It Too Late This Season?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing to get flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, getting the flu vaccine can still provide protection against flu. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February in the United States, although activity can last well into the month of May.

This season flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks; the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be protected against flu when activity picks up in your community. Visit the:
CDC’s influenza summary map for a weekly update on flu activity in the United States and Nebraska.

This week in December is picked because flu vaccination coverage estimates from past seasons have shown that few people get vaccinated against influenza after the end of November, and here is what is known:

  • Last season only about 40% of the US population who were recommended to get a flu vaccine got it by November’s end.
  • CDC and its partners choose December for NIVW to remind people that even though the holiday season has begun, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. In fact as long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season in order to protect as many people as possible.
  • Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).
  • The vaccine is not a live virus and can’t make you sick. There can be side-effects from the vaccine that are minor and resolve in a few days.
  • This season, CDC recommends the use of injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) only. This season 2017-2018, nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for anyone.
  • It takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu.

The Greater Flu Complications

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection alone or from co-infection with the flu virus and bacteria.

Other possible serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the:

  • heart (myocarditis)
  • brain (encephalitis)
  • muscle tissues (myositis)
  • multi-organ failure (rhabdomyolysis)

Flu virus infection can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection.

Flu also can make chronic medical problems worse.

For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu.
\
Flu vaccination and the appropriate use of flu antiviral medicines are very important for people who are at high risk of serious flu-related complications.

Flu Vaccination for People at High Risk

Another goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications.

  1. People at high risk of serious flu complications include:
    • young children
    • pregnant women
    • people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease
    • people aged 65 years and older
  2. For people at high risk, getting the flu can be more serious than for other people, and is more likely to lead to hospitalization or death.
  3. Flu vaccine uptake estimates among adults 50 years and older fell by 3 percentage points last year. That means many more adults were left vulnerable to flu and its complications.
  4. Anyone who gets flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness, including infants younger than 6 months who are too young to get the vaccine.

Flu Vaccination is especially important for:

  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including
    1. Health care personnel
    2. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    3. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age since these children are too young to be vaccinated.

Know How to Help Yourself

In addition to getting your flu vaccine this season, CDC also urges you to take everyday preventive actions to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu.

This includes the following:

  1. Avoid close contact with sick people.
  2. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  3. If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or necessities.
  4. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub.
  6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  7. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.

The Right Treatment

If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, inhaled powder, or injectable medicine) and are not available over-the-counter.

Antiviral drugs can make flu illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. CDC recommends that antiviral drugs be used early to treat hospitalized patients with flu, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.

In some cases antiviral medication could be given as a preventative medicine to several members of a family with young children or in care settings to help prevent the spread of the flu as well.

Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness instead of a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

Visit What
You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs
to learn more about antiviral drugs .

Can I get a flu vaccine with an egg Allergy? YES!

Most flu vaccines administered today are manufactured using chicken eggs and contain trace amounts of a protein called ovalbumin. However recent research and findings have been published from the “Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology” found the flu shot to be safe and recommended its use for people who are allergic to eggs for this flu season October 2017 to May 2018.

“People with egg allergy of any severity can receive the influenza vaccine without any special precautions,” said Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, the paper’s lead author and chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Food Allergy Committee.
The new findings mean that even more people will be able to get their recommended flu shot without sacrificing peace of mind.
Greenhawt, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado, estimates that egg allergy affects 2% of children in the United States.

“It’s very rare to see an adult with egg allergy — not impossible,” he said. “One redeeming quality about egg allergy is that the majority of it is outgrown at some point in childhood, with a very small proportion of individuals retaining that into adulthood. … It’s primarily a pediatric problem.”

According to a press release accompanying the new report, it is no longer necessary to:

  • See an allergy specialist for the flu shot.
  • Give special flu shots that don’t contain traces of egg.
  • Require longer-than-normal observation periods after the shot.
  • Ask about egg allergy before giving the vaccine.

The new guidelines are the result of an analysis of 28 studies involving thousands of people with egg allergy, including hundreds with severe egg allergy.

The researchers concluded that someone who is allergic to eggs is not at an increased risk of experiencing an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine.

“That doesn’t rule out that somebody might react to the influenza vaccine,” Greenhawt said. “Any provider who’s giving vaccines needs to be prepared to recognize and manage an adverse reaction to a vaccine, including a severe reaction like anaphylaxis.”

New Egg Allergy Recommendations:GET THE SHOT

For those with previous known egg allergies unable to get the flu vaccine as a result this is NOW the 2017-2018 recommendation:

  1. People who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health.
  2. People who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, such as:
    • angioedema, respiratory distress
    • lightheadedness
    • recurrent emesis
    • those who have needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention

    …can also get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. (Settings include hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices).

  3. People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine.

Understanding The Implications of Cell-Based Vaccines

Why is it significant that a cell-grown vaccine reference virus (H3N2) was used to produce flu vaccine?

Cell-grown reference viruses do not have the changes that are present in egg-grown reference viruses, so they should be more similar to circulating “wild-type” viruses. Vaccine effectiveness depends in part on the match between the vaccine virus and circulating flu viruses.

Gastroenteritis or Influenza? Sorting it ALL OUT!

Sometimes people mistake symptoms of stomach flu, or gastroenteritis , for the viral infection we commonly call ” flu. But they’re not the same.

Stomach flu happens when your stomach and intestines (also called the gastrointestinal or GI tract) are inflamed and irritated. These causes range from bacteria, viruses, and parasites to food reactions and unclean water.

Unlike influenza which comes with symptoms like fever, congestion, muscle aches, and fatigue. the more severe cases can lead to life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia , and are treated with antiviral medicines.

Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat bacterial gastroenteritis, but they don’t work against flu viruses.

What Are the Symptoms of Stomach Flu?

They can include:

  • Cramps in your belly or sides
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

You may also have a fever, headache, and possibly swollen lymph glands, depending on the type of germ that is causing your particular illness.

In severe cases, days of throwing up and having diarrhea (or both) can cause your body to lose a lot of moisture. If you lose too much, you may need medical attention. Sometimes it can be life threatening.

Signs to watch for include:

  1. Sunken eyes
  2. Lightheadedness
  3. Being more thirsty
  4. Dry or sticky mouth
  5. Lack of normal elasticity of the skin
  6. Peeing less
  7. Fewer tears

You can avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of liquids. When you can keep food down again, try bland things like toast, rice, bananas, and applesauce first. Go back to a normal diet within 24 hours if you can.

What Causes Stomach Flu?

Many things cause gastroenteritis, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, dairy products, and poor hygiene.

Bacteria that cause gastroenteritis include:

  • E. coli
  • Campylobacter
  • Shigella
  • Salmonella

Viruses cause close to half of all gastroenteritis cases in adults and even more in children. Some of them may include:

  • Norovirus or Norwalk-like virus
  • Adenovirus
  • Rotavirus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Viral hepatitis

Stomach viruses spread fast because people don’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper. Many doctors call stomach flu “a family affair” because it’s so highly contagious it can affect every member of a family.

Know the differences between stomach and respitory flu so you can react when you need to and with the right medicines and treatments best for your condition. WASH your hands well and often!

Vaccine Links

UNICEF on 7 Deadly diseases Vaccine and what impact Immunization: the story so far is for each one, like , Small pox and Malaria. Fascinating read!

Here’s one from The College of Physicians of Philadelphia explaining some of the Misconceptions about Vaccines, and their history. This also shows how slow some sciences can move even if they seemingly have an answer like in how effective the flu vaccine is right now, compared to what it could look like in the future once the right combination for the ultimate flu vaccine is found.

Well there ya go! Here is some on the science of why we can’t have a flu vaccine yet that doesn’t have to be given each season. from Science Daily, Why you need one vaccine for measles and many for the flu? After reading you’ll get it too. It’s all in the science, don’t ya know!

And because I can’t pass on a good Wiki here’s this one, HIV vaccine Wikipedia and I recommend a bookmark to it, too. What might the future hold for HIV vaccine? Time will tell…!

Lily says…And to those people out there who say, “I neverget the flu shot because I never get the flu!” Bully for you!
And thanks for not thinking about the rest of us who don’t want to get sick, get hospitalized due to severe flu complications or must watch a loved one die simply because some people choose not to get vaccinated.
And for those who say, “It always makes me sick…” you don’t get it! Since the vaccine takes about two (2) weeks to reach its full protection a person could be exposed to the virus during the time after vaccination which makes it seem like the vaccine gives it to you. This is simply not scientifically-based and its just pure BS!
From my experience having a slight reaction from receiving the vaccine which is rare even for me someone with HIV, it still lessens the severity of the flu and keeps me out of the “Big House” the hospital
I hope for those who choose not to get vaccinated the best and I hope they don’t have to learn their lesson the hard way…Because those body aches super SUCK! I wouldn’t wish them on anyone I LOVE or didn’t even like too much!
Even though this year I got influenza, I called my doc within 24 hours of the first symptom and it only took a couple of weeks before I felt functional again. Maybe another week or so before I could climb all my stairs without a wheeze or two. (Don’t tell Mom on me!)
For me and mine it is worth any discomfort the vaccine could possibly give me or them.
A nurse told me many years ago to get the vaccine in the arm I use the most as moving that muscle will help the vaccine get into my body quicker and reduce days of muscle pain from not using it.
Good advice, and worth passing along.
Dare to dream that someday Flu vaccine could be just as effective as with three shots of polio vaccine at 98+% and the measles at approximately 80 to 95% with one shot and 99+% after two shots. Right now, a few shots sound amazing to me, and then bam no more HIV! Huh…
Flu season isn’t officially over until May 2018, so be on your toes or is that wash your digits constantly until June for best protection results!
And for Pete’s SAKE-don’t be a wimp – Get the flu vaccine if you haven’t already!

National Hand Washing Awareness Week December 3 – 9 2017

Posted on

Lily&Q’s say…Handwashing seems like a simple thing, but just this one act can significantly reduce the opportunity to get sick or to pass germs. Many of the scariest ones are passed in hospitals and doctor’s offices where the most sick people end up for treatment. The last place a person with HIV or a compromised immune system needs to be is in one of these places for that very fact! Don’t take it personally when I don’t visit you and yours in the hospital at the height of the influenza season, just trying to keep myself out of there as a patient, that’s all!
Good habits get good results when it comes to handwashing period! Constantly remind yourself to wash your hands making it a regular practice so it becomes second-nature. Only go where there are other sick people if you must, including your own doctor’s office for a Well visit or the ER during the flu season. Hopefully, you won’t become a statistic to the flu this season-Like I have! The good news is that once you have one of the “flavors” of influenza A B or whatever letter, you can’t get that “strain” again this season at least. Whew, that sure is a relief!
This however doesn’t mean you can’t “pick up” another variation of the flu, so get some Flu education, practice what you learn…
And Just WASH your Damn HANDS already!

Hand Washing Happiness

This week is dedicated to helping people remain healthy one hand wash at a time. Practicing regular hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands on a regular basis can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat.

Healthcare Facilities Spread Germs

From 5 Reasons for Handwashing from ActiveBeat

On average, health-care providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients have at least one health care-associated infection.

You may think a quick rinse under water is enough to clean your hands, but you’d be surprised! Keeping your hands clean is the most important method to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other people in the household. Many diseases are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean water.

To properly wash your hands:

  1. Begin by wetting your hands under clean, running water.
  2. Apply soap and lather your hands together—lather the backs of your hands, between fingers and under nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 30-seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
  5. Dry using a clean towel, paper towels or allow them to air dry.

5 Facts on Hand Washing:

  1. How Germs Make People Sick:
    People, especially children frequently touch their eyes, mouth and nose without realizing it. Germs can travel from the hand and get into the body, which can make us sick.  Feces from people and pets spread germs like Salmonella, E. coli and norovirus, which causes diarrhea and it can cause respiratory infections.
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand washing can reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31-percent.
    A single gram of human feces can contain one trillion germs. That’s about the weight of a paper clip.
  2. Cross Contamination of Food Can Make You Sick:
    Germs have no scruples. They don’t care whether you’ve handled raw chicken and then sliced some fresh cucumber. In order to prevent cross contamination in the kitchen, it’s vital to wash your hands frequently.

    • When the juice of raw meat comes into contact with ready-to-eat foods or cooking utensils, cross contamination can occur. To prevent food poisoning, always keep raw meat separate and wash anything that comes into contact with the meat—including your hands.
    • Germs can also multiply in some types of food if not stored properly, so ensure you follow kitchen guidelines.

  3. When to Wash Your Hands:
    Hand washing should become second nature—and don’t do it only after you’ve used the bathroom or prepared a meal in the kitchen. You should wash your hands frequently because you never know when you’ve come into contact with germs.
    Wash your hands after using a tissue, taking the garbage out, before eating, during food preparations, after changing a diaper, after playing with pets, after using a shopping cart, when returning home from being outside. Basically, wash your hands a lot.
    Liquid soap is the best choice. Bar soap, especially if used by numerous people can itself become contaminated. The bar of soap tends to sit in a pool of water and germs can linger on the bar. Dried out bar soap can develop cracks that allow harmful germs and dirt to hide inside. Generally, people don’t like to use a bar of soap, so use liquid soap in your home to encourage hand washing.
  4. Germs Can Transfer to Other Objects:
    There’s a reason why germs spread like wildfire through day care centers, schools, and workplaces. Germs are easily transferred to objects like toys, smart phones, laptops and handrails. That means that anyone who hasn’t washed their hands properly can potentially contaminate anything they touch.
    Children are a big risk, so properly washing children’s hands is vital to stopping the spread, but you’ll also need to disinfect toys and surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of infection. That means disinfecting anything that comes into contact with little hands like door knobs, benches, handrails, toys and chairs. It may seem like a daunting task, but it will help keep everyone germ free.
  5. When to Use Hand Sanitizer:
    Washing with soap and water is the best method to combat germs, but sometimes you may find yourself in a sticky situation where you don’t have access to clean water and soap. That’s when hand-sanitizers come in handy.
    Studies have found that hand-sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60- and 90-percent are more effective. Non-alcohol based hand-sanitizers do not work as well. They only reduce the growth of germs, rather than killing them. One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re hands are greasy, hand-sanitizers with 60-percent alcohol may not be enough. To get rid of the grease and germs, good old fashion soap and water are the best choice.

Healthcare Workers Reasons:When and Why Not?

Hand hygiene compliance rates remain generally low despite the well-documented connection between improper hand hygiene and healthcare-associated infections.

— There are many varied reasons healthcare workers don’t comply to hand hygiene protocol a study published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety found.

In the study, teams in eight hospitals used secret observers, as well as “just-in-time coaches, who observed instances of noncompliance and intervene right after to ask the workers why he or she had not done hand hygiene, helping to identify the causes of hand hygiene noncompliance.

Data from the eight hospitals revealed 41 different causes of noncompliance, which were then grouped into 24 causes. Those 24 groups are listed below, in no particular order and are taken from Becker’s Healthcare research.

This list is sure to make you watch healthcare workers more closely from now on…!

  • Healthcare worker forgot
  • Inconvenient placement of hand rub dispenser or sink
  • Broken dispenser or sink
  • No hand rub in the dispenser or missing soap at sink
  • Healthcare worker was distracted
  • Perception that wearing gloves negated need for hand hygiene
  • Proper use of gloves slows down work process
  • Ineffective education
  • Inadequate safety culture that doesn’t stress the need for everyone to perform hand hygiene
  • Worker’s hands were full with no convenient place to put supplies
  • Staff did not remind each other to clean hands
  • Isolation area: special circumstances related to gowning and gloving
  • Skin irritation from the cleaning product
  • Lotion dispenser used instead of soap
  • Following another person in or out of the patient room
  • Equipment sharing between rooms requiring frequent entry and exit
  • Bedside procedure requires frequent room entry and exit
  • Admitting or discharging patients requires frequent room entry and exit
  • Hand hygiene data are not collected or are inaccurate or infrequently reported
  • Perception that excessive hand cleaning is required
  • Hand cleaning product feels unpleasant
  • Healthcare worker was too busy
  • Emergency situation
  • Workflow was not conducive to proper hand hygiene

Do any of them sound like a legitimate reason for forgetting or purposely not washing hands to you? Probably not.

Like my Grand Daughter says, “Just sing me Happy Birthday two times and that’s long enough…Get the back of your hands too!” See, out of the mouths of babes! Teach them early and they’ll make it into a lifetime of regular wellness practices!

Here are a few more links to make you THINK or PUKE!

10 of the Dirtiest Things You Touch Every Day from Mental Floss Think about it, your toilet seat isn’t a surface you’d say, “Go ahead eat off my toilet seat, it’s the cleanest thing in my bathroom…Right?” the places of filth found in this article will make you squirm.

Like your Mother always told you, “Stop touching…!” 7 Parts of Your Body You Shouldn’t Touch with Your Hands “Nuff said.

From The Daily Meal These Are the 11 Dirtiest Things in Every Restaurant and conclude that “Basically don’t touch anything!” A MUST read to remind you so you can be more aware of the next possible place that could make you sick.

Lastly, here is a high tech approach to cleaning a dirty hospital room. Robots may be cleaning your hospital room soon from MedicalExpress and could be the wave of the future to combat germs keeping the most vulnerable patients safer while in the hospital.

World AIDS Day December 1 2017

Posted on

The State of the State of HIV 2017 Reflection

Lily says…So, another year in the fight to end AIDS has come and gone. As Red Ribbon celebrations happen around the World it is time for some reflection, right here at home-Nebraska “The Good Life” State.

Well “times they are a-changing”! Talk of rendering the HIV neutral so we’d live with it just in a non-replicating state seems impossible but that’s where research is currently headed in 2018, and beyond…

There was a time we wouldn’t ever talk about the “end” since we were still actively in the “trenches” busy fighting the daily battles of being HIV+, and thoughts of a cure weren’t even whispered.

So, it is necessary to look back once-in-a-while, like once a year on World AIDS Day and reflect on where we used to be and what now, going on 30 years and counting looks like from a “long-term survivor’s” perspective.

I know there’s no way we want to go too far back or look too far forward either. It’s nice to not be so “HIV focused” though, sick with opportunistic infections or struggling with side effects of meds and treatments. It’s nice not to be the headline news or deciding on which funerals or Memorial services we could endure or stand the pain of, and yet here we are, yet another year later and another, and another…Wondering if HIV transmission will ever just be a part of our past, not the present or continue into our future.

It was a different world in the 1990’s compared to the most recent hospitalization I had a year ago November 2016.

I was in there for a bacterial infection which lasted for 7 days and was over my birthday, to add insult to the “incarceration” My bad…I mean Hospitalization!

I quickly noticed that there had been a huge shift in how the medical staff treated me while I was there and didn’t resemble the paralyzing fear of the 1990’s whatsoever.

By receiving timely, medically-based education over the last 30+ years medical staff has become less afraid of HIV and this has made a direct impact on patient care for the better. It’s also a direct accolade to those HIV+’s educating and advocating by continuing to live, despite what they might have heard a Nurse’s Aide mutter under their breath about our possible death back in the 1990’s.

This hospitalization:

  1. No one I said, “I have HIV” to, even flinched.
  2. No one donned the hospital garbed from head-to-toe anyway even though I was not being quarantined or had any restrictions on my hospital door just to enter my room or give me meds like back in the 1990’s when it used to happen all the time.
  3. Everyone touched me without gloves, except for when Universal Precautions were the standard of care like blood draws or care of IV’s.
  4. The nurse didn’t bring in my food tray because the food service staff was too scared.
  5. No one wore a mask, well just because…
  6. My hospital room door was open more than it was closed.
  7. I was not isolated or left wondering how many times I would have to explain how “they” were more of a risk to me then I could ever be to them.

It was a relief to say the least. Finally, medical information has caught up with the epidemic. Well, at least for the most part.

the “Face of AIDS” has changed in that less people progress to the dreaded AIDS diagnosis much anymore. There is a continued push for regular testing in high-risk groups, and more testing for STI’s in general means HIV isn’t singled out helping to decrease stigma around HIV testing in general. This is a start.

Early detection of HIV is the biggest key today in keeping a person from getting sick like the old days of the 1990’s when the cost to treat was astronomical with most patients becoming seriously ill, often with illnesses resulting in their death.

Even today, with high drug prices for HIV meds, these treatments are the “Gold Key Standard” and keep people “immuno-suppressed”, vigorous & active, as well as a healthy member of their community long after an HIV diagnosis has been given them.

There are however, still too many places in Omaha where people don’t understand HIV transmission or think they can get it here, and that thought process holds true throughout the state.

Unfortunately, Nebraskans continue to contract HIV at the alarming rate of approximately 1 person every 2 ½ to 3 days, so the work for now isn’t done!

Slowly but surely over the last few decades we have more practitioners and nursing staff, with the willingness to see people with HIV across the state and understand HIV as a manageable chronic disease which is all we used to want. We still see advances and setbacks and it makes us weary for what the future could bring.

In most cases I am fine with this easiness the medical field seems to have around me here of late, but it is also a little unsettling at the same time.

It seems like complacency can only lead to more HIV transmission, stigma and stereotyping of the virus, which won’t help end the epidemic.

I am concerned for my Grand Daughter who might grow up in a World that talks less about HIV than ever before without achieving a cure in her lifetime either.

I am concerned about all younger people who might like me never consider that they could be at risk for HIV, and then end up with an HIV diagnosis too young.

A late friend of mine JimmyMac once said he missed the days of going to the Capital and banging a drum to get some attention on the HIV epidemic. Is that what we need now? I’m not sure it would make a big difference today.

Do we do more with our voices? Call our Senators or Congressmen demanding funding for Ryan White, or to protect monies from the Federal government that keep people like me alive longer? Sure, we do!

Are all the answers now in the science of a vaccine or more powerful HIV meds rendering HIV harmless?
We’re watching and holding our breath…

Personally, I am glad I have lived another year. If nothing else I can shake my finger at HIV and say, “You don’t have me YET you ‘lil b*tch!”, but what else?

  • I can have hope for an HIV-free future, which I never thought possible until the last few years.
  • I can continue to educate those in my community about the reality of living with HIV and how it is still a CHRONIC disease, with daily meds, and treatments, and how HIV is one choice away for them too if they aren’t careful.
  • I can get involved at the state and federal level advocating for continued funding for research.
  • I can make my voice heard.
  • I can be visible as someone living with HIV and surviving to encourage testing and reducing stigma of who gets HIV.

And until next year…Lily&Q’s say, ”Be Strong & Keep the FAITH!”

World AIDS Day Factoids:

  • First World AIDS Day was observed in 1988.
  • First World Health Observance day ever instituted and observed every December 1st around the World.
  • Observed to unite the world’s population in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
  • The first two years of the observance were themed around young people and infants to help de-stigmatize HIV and show it was a family issue.
  • The Red Ribbon is shared with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) adopted in 1980. In 1985 the Red Ribbon was used after the kidnapping, torture, and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena to raise awareness of the growing drug problem in the United States and is known as “Red Ribbon Week”. Finally, in 1991, the Red Ribbon was adopted by a group of artists to raise awareness of those living and those who had died of HIV. Each year this date is recognized globally for the fight against AIDS.
  • Here is A red ribbon adorns the North Portico of the White House Friday, Nov. 30, 2007, in recognition of World AIDS Day and the commitment by President George W. Bush and his administration to fighting and preventing HIV/AIDS in America and the world. White House photo by Eric Draper

Great American Smokeout November 16, 2017

Posted on

Why We Need the Great American Smokeout

About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world.
While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.1% in 2015), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there’s no “safe” way to smoke tobacco.
lips smoking a cigarette

Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age

Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.

History of the Great American SmokeOut

How the Great American Smokeout began:

The Great American Smokeout event has helped dramatically change Americans’ attitudes about smoking. These changes have led to community programs and smoke-free laws that are now saving lives across the country.

Annual Great American Smokeout events began in the 1970s, when smoking and secondhand smoke were common.

The idea for the Great American Smokeout grew from a 1970 event in Randolph, Massachusetts, at which Arthur P. Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund.

Then in 1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times in Minnesota, spearheaded the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day.

The idea caught on, and on November 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society got nearly 1 million smokers to quit for the day.
That California event marked the first Smokeout, and the Society took it nationwide in 1977.

Since then, there have been dramatic changes in the way the public views tobacco advertising and tobacco use. Many public places and work areas are now smoke-free – this protects non-smokers and supports smokers who want to quit…

…Those states with strong tobacco control laws are now reaping the fruits of their labor.

From 1965 to today, cigarette smoking among adults in the United States decreased from 42% to about 17%.

Strong smoke-free policies, media campaigns, and increases in the prices of tobacco products are at least partly credited for these decreases…See the entire history of the Great American SmokeOut here.

Get Help Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is not easy, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying quit, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking Over Time.

  • 20 minutes after quitting. Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting. The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting. Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1 year after quitting. The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.
  • 10 years after quitting. Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases, and by year 15 you have no increased risk to your health from smoking at all.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010 and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165

How to Quit Smoking or Smokeless Tobacco and how to stay away from it.

Includes everything from the mental addiction and support for quitting, to prescribed medicines and over-the-counter remedies available.

It may take a mix of these or just never picking up another cigarette again, but you are the one to do it for YOU!

What kind of smoker are you?

Find out by Answering questions like, “What time after waking up do you have your first smoke of the day?” on the, Smoking Habits Quiz to start working on a plan to quit. Then click the “Score Quiz” button to get a profile of your nicotine dependence, along with some ideas about how to tame your cravings in your quest to become a non-smoker.

The key to success in kicking the habit is to create a personal quit plan.

You’ll know more about how strongly addicted you are once you do the quiz, and can use the information to help you design a detailed plan based on your smoking patterns.

There are many resources to help you quit smoking. Call lines, chat rooms, mobile “Quit Smoking” tracking apps, support groups or buddies, medicines both over-the-counter, and prescribed, finding a counselor or smoking cessation specialist to help support you in quitting, and on and on, but none of them will do any good until you decide to quit! Do it for just this one day!

Now the hard part, Staying Tobacco-free After You quit which is the hardest part.

As time goes on it gets easier, and you start noticing patterns and/or triggers that were associated with smoking for you. You will also find the tips & tricks you need to not use tobacco, and slowly but surely, you’ll have greater confidence in getting through the times smoking is all you can think about…Just remember keep your eye on the prize, “Being a NON-SMOKER”! It is possible!

Lily says…Speaking as a “former 1-1/2 to 2 packs of cigarettes a day smoker”, I can tell you what a weird relief it was the day I knew, yesterday was the last day I was going to be a smoker.
Those around me like my family didn’t believe me so they “de cigaretted” my apartment, which still pisses me off! I really wanted the satisfaction of snapping each one of them and throwing them away myself, but oh well. It’s over now!
Thinking about quitting was far more resource draining that quitting ever was, that’s for sure!

Don’t get me wrong, I went through about a 3 day or so nicotine withdrawal, which wasn’t pretty, but once that was over, I have to say I don’t miss them or miss doing it. Really, I don’t.

Currently smoking Smokers said I would miss them, ex-smokers who went back repeatedly to smoking said I couldn’t and wouldn’t stay a quitter.
Well, I am not sorry to say for me cigarettes, smoking them, and especially buying them, is truly OVER!
Okay, there is a teeny-tiny-itsey-bitsey little sliver, of a whisper of a voice in me that says almost never any more. If only there were absolutely NO health side-effects whatsoever, they were FREE, and they didn’t stink at all (I gotta admit I don’t miss that…I’d would still BE smoking right now…
Oops, I sounded pretty sure of myself despite the previous sentence when I was sure I was over the longings, huh.
I have to admit, I still miss the times when people who smoke get up at the break in a meeting and go out together, or when some of my family goes out after the huge Turkey Day dinner and continue to talk and smoke, but it’s still not enough to lure me back.
It’s been a few months shy of 7 years I’ve been tobacco-free, and one thing I do not do is preach about quitting. For me, Lily, it was right. And I will always consider myself an ex-smoker rather than a non-smoker.
You have to make-up your own mind when you are ready, but as an ex-smoker, I gotta say it was worth it for me, and if you asked me before the last 7 years, I would have told you I would flat-out NEVER be a QUITTER…Mostly because I thought it was impossible for ME to do so…Guess what? I lived clear through to the other side of the smoke, and now I almost never think about ever being a cigarette smoker! Come join me when you are ready!

Helping a Smoker Quit – Do’s and Don’ts from the American Cancer Society. This thought-provoking list will help whether you are the smoker wanting to quit or the people around the smoker trying to support the quitter. Establishing some guidelines helps the smoker stay in control of their quitting process, and gives permission to the support members to check-in on the smoker.

American Cancer Society
www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/

World Pneumonia Day November 12, 2017

Posted on

This day is observed every year on November 12, since 2009 to:

  1. Raise awareness about pneumonia, the world’s leading killer of children under the age of 5.
  2. Promote interventions to help protect against, prevent and treat pneumonia.
  3. Generate awareness and encourage action to help combat pneumonia worldwide.

Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs, making breathing painful and limiting oxygen intake.

Pneumonia is also the biggest killer of children under age 5 worldwide. Nearly one in every five deaths in children globally is due to pneumonia every year.

This is a preventable and treatable illness via vaccines, antibiotic treatment, and improved sanitation.

Here’s what you should know about pneumococcal pneumonia:

What is Pneumococcal Pneumonia? from “Know Pneumonia” website:

  1. It can strike anywhere, anytime.
  2. Feeling sick may start quickly with little warning.
  3. Certain symptoms, like cough and fatigue, can last for weeks or longer.
  4. Illness may result in hospitalization.
  5. Severe cases, may lead to death.
  6. Risk increases with age.

50 or older? Your risk of being hospitalized after getting pneumococcal pneumonia is 8X greater than younger adults aged 18 – 49.

Understanding Pneumonia

A pneumonia Causes Checklist from WebMD:

  • Germs called bacteria or viruses are the usual causes of pneumonia.
  • Pneumonia starts once you breathe the germs into your lungs.
  • You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu. These illnesses make it hard for your lungs to fight infection, so it is easier, to get pneumonia.
  • Having a long-term, or chronic, disease like asthma , heart disease , cancer , or diabetes also makes you more likely to get pneumonia.

Symptoms of pneumonia which are caused by bacteria usually come on quickly. Including:

  • Cough: You will likely cough up mucus (sputum) from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
  • Fever.
  • Fast breathing and feeling short of breath.
  • Shaking and ” teeth-chattering” chills.
  • Chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe in.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Feeling very tired or very weak.
  • Nausea and vomiting .
  • Diarrhea .

Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms.

They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus.

The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion or delirium is common.

Or, if they already have a lung disease , that disease may get worse.

Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.

Viruses, bacteria, a fungus , or…

(Or in rare cases) parasites or other organisms can cause pneumonia :

  1. In most cases, the specific organism (such as bacteria or virus) cannot be identified even with testing.
  2. When an organism is identified, it is usually the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.
  3. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is sometimes mild and called “walking pneumonia “.
  4. Viruses, such as influenza A (the flu virus), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause pneumonia.

In people who have impaired immune systems, pneumonia may be caused by other organisms, including some forms of fungi, such as Pneumocystis jiroveci (formerly called Pneumocystis carinii). This fungus frequently causes pneumonia in people who have AIDS.

Some doctors may suggest an HIV test if they think that Pneumocystis jiroveci is causing the pneumonia.

How do you get pneumonia?

You may get pneumonia:

  • After you breathe infected air particles into your lungs from your nose and throat. This generally occurs during sleep.
  • During or after a viral upper respiratory infection , such as a cold or influenza ( flu ).
  • As a complication of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox.
  • If you have a long-term (chronic) illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ) or Emphysema.
  • If you breathe large amounts of food, gastric juices from the stomach , or vomit into the lungs ( aspiration pneumonia ). This can happen when you have had a medical condition that affects your ability to swallow, such as a seizure or a stroke.

Note: Where’d You get Pneumonia?

Did you contract pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work (community-associated pneumonia) or when in a hospital or nursing home (healthcare-associated pneumonia).

Treatment may differ in healthcare-associated pneumonia, because bacteria causing the infection in hospitals may be different from those causing it in the community.

The following focuses on treatments for community-associated pneumonia.

(Evidentially, that will happen after Lily’s ramblings…LOL!)

Lily&Q’s Say…You gotta LOVE your Fellow “pneumonia-Diagnosed” Man is all We have to say here!Try to minimize body fluid exchange when your partner is sick, is the only other helpful thing we can seem to say.By no means is this any kind of doctor’s orders, either but it’s heartfelt for sure!
We can assure you that there will be plenty of time for playing Doctor or “Nursey” once your Beloved is feeling better, so hold that thought for right now, at least.
In the meantime however, keep track of symptoms, push fluids, and manage any fever. Be prepared to call the doctor if needed, too.
Get the hot chocolate and marshmellows ready, just in case…!

Treatment

Treatment for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing complications.

People who have community-acquired pneumonia usually can be treated at home with medication.

Although most symptoms ease in a few days or weeks, the feeling of tiredness can persist for a month or more.

Specific treatments depend on the type and severity of your pneumonia, your age and your overall health.

The options for home treatment might include:

  1. Antibiotics are medicines that are used in the treatment of bacterial pneumonia. It may take time to identify the type of bacteria causing your pneumonia and to choose the best antibiotic to treat it, though. If your symptoms don’t improve, your doctor may recommend a different antibiotic.
  2. Cough medicine may be used to calm your cough so that you can rest. Because coughing helps loosen and move fluid from your lungs, it’s a good idea not to eliminate your cough completely. In addition, you should know that very few studies have looked at whether over-the-counter cough medicines lessen coughing caused by pneumonia. If you want to try a cough suppressant, use the lowest dose that helps you rest.
  3. Fever reducers/pain relievers may be taken as needed for fever and discomfort. These include drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Motrin as well as others your doctor may prescribe.

hospitalization Might Be Necessary If:

  • You are older than age 65.
  • You are confused about time, people or places.
  • Your kidney function has declined.
  • Your systolic blood pressure is below 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or your diastolic blood pressure is 60 mm Hg or above.
  • Your breathing is rapid (30 breaths or more a minute).
  • You need breathing assistance.
  • Your temperature is below normal.
  • Your heart rate is below 50 or above 100.

You may be admitted to the intensive care unit if you need to be placed on a breathing machine (ventilator) or if your symptoms are severe.

These tips can help you recover more quickly and decrease your risk of complications:

  1. Get plenty of rest. Don’t go back to school or work until after your temperature returns to normal and you stop coughing up mucus. Even when you start to feel better, be careful not to overdo it. Because pneumonia can recur, it’s better not to jump back into your routine until you are fully recovered. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure.
  2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to help loosen mucus in your lungs.
  3. Take your medicine as prescribed. Take the entire course of any medications which your doctor prescribed for you. That means taking every pill until they are done,not quit when you start to feel better. If you stop taking medication too soon, your lungs may continue to harbor bacteria that can multiply and cause your pneumonia to reoccur.

Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first start having symptoms?
  • Have you had pneumonia before? If so, in which lung?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional? How severe are they?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
  • Have you traveled or been exposed to chemicals or toxic substances?
  • Have you been exposed to sick people at home, school or work?
  • Do you smoke? Or have you ever smoked?
  • How much alcohol do you consume in a week?
  • Have you had flu or pneumonia vaccines?

What you can do in the meantime To avoid making your condition worse:

  1. Don’t smoke or be around smoke
  2. Drink plenty of fluids
  3. Get plenty of rest

The entire article and more resources can be found here from mayo clinic staff

Common Side Effects of Pneumovax 23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine

You cannot get pneumonia from the vaccine. The shots only contain an extract of the pneumonia bacteria, not the actual bacteria that cause the illness. But some people have mild side effects from the vaccine, and some of these common side effects of Pneumovax 23 include:

  • injection site reactions (pain, soreness, warmth, redness, swelling, tenderness, hard lump)
  • muscle or joint aches or pain
  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stiffness of the arm or the leg where the vaccine was injected

Go to pneumovax-23 side-effects for more information.

Call your doctor to discuss anything that seems out of the ordinary after you receive a routine vaccine of any type since you know your body the best!

Get Protected with Pneumovax 23 vaccine & Do it TODAY!

Intersex Day of Remembrance Nov 8, 2017

Posted on

Last month October 26th was Intersex Awareness Day Oct 26, 2017 which highlighted ideas about gender and sexual orientation in a, what some may say, is sexless, but that is not necessarily true when someone identifies as intersex.

This day is in remembrance of those who have died or committed suicide because of their identification as intersex or because of their sexual orientation.

When others don’t understand confusion and fear rule the day.

We are finally beginning to talk and becoming more aware of differences in sexual orientation, gender identification, and so on.

Intersex is a new realm of understanding we are called to know enough about so we are not part of the problem and don’t discount any human based on how they identify themselves, which shouldn’t be easier said than done, but often is.

Many of the ways we are different from each other have to do with un-seen things about us, and yet unless we know something about someone we have no judgements or stigmatize them because of it.

This is true when one lives with diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Usually there are no outward symptoms of diseases or syndromes like these, and our sexual orientation or sexual preferences are included in this list.

“What we don’t know can’t hurt us”, as the adage goes, and yet we are caught off guard and usually react negatively when someone tells us something we were unaware of about that person and find ourselves saying things like, “Oh gosh I would have never guessed…”

like anyone wants to live with a secret. Right?

Lily says…It sure wasn’t my plan…Contracting HIV. I believe it would be the same if it was a Cancer diagnosis, too. Planning denotes we have control, and like my Mom says, “We make a PLAN just, so we have something to CHANGE!” Thinking back, I sure wouldn’t have ever chosen HIV, and know now how I could have made a different decision and changed the HIV plan…Hindsight-Go figure!
It gives me a new understanding of what it must be like to have to always explain (or not!) my sexual orientation, identity or preference.
Whew HIV is quite enough, thank you!

Find the answers to many questions including, What is intersex? from Intersex Society of North America and start today.

Always a good read, Intersex Wiki which explains terms, gives history, and lists of resources for the intersex community and those who love them and whom they love.

Here’s What It Really Means to Be Intersex from the Huffington Post

International supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele recently spoke out about her gender identity. By Carolyn Gregoire

“Although being intersex is relatively common, there remains a startling lack of awareness among the general population. Even as our culture has made strides toward greater understanding and acceptance of transgender rights, intersexuality remains under-recognized and taboo.”

Hanne Gaby Odiele, a 28-year-old Belgian supermodel, recently became one of the first public figures to be openly intersex.

The globetrotting model, who’s walked the runway for designers such as Chanel and Prada, has found a new role as an advocate for perhaps the most misunderstood and stigmatized gender identity. This week, Odiele announced that she will be working with InterACT, an organization that advocates for the rights of intersex youth…”
(Find the full article by clicking on the link above.)

Bodies in Doubt authored by Elizabeth Reis presents her book, “An American History of Intersex”:

What does it mean to be human? To be human is, in part, to be physically sexed and culturally gendered. Yet not all bodies are clearly male or female. Bodies in Doubt traces the changing definitions, perceptions, and medical management of intersex (atypical sex development) in America from the colonial period to the present day.

“From the beginning, intersex bodies have been marked as “other,” as monstrous, sinister, threatening, inferior, and unfortunate. Some nineteenth-century doctors viewed their intersex patients with disrespect and suspicion. Later, doctors showed more empathy for their patients’ plights and tried to make correct decisions regarding their care. Yet definitions of “correct” in matters of intersex were entangled with shifting ideas and tensions about what was natural and normal, indeed about what constituted personhood or humanity…”

Take ACTION:

  1. START the Conversation by being open and knowledgeable enough to make understanding better not worse by adding fiction or gossip or increase fear and stigma.
  2. STOP Misunderstanding by speaking up when an opportunity presents itself, or you hear someone speaking out of ignorance or prejudice.
  3. INTERVENE when it is Safe by calling authorities if you see violence being done to someone, or separate people at risk until the situation is safe again for them to proceed.

All People are Human and DESERVE the Same Rights & Enjoyment of Life EQUALLY

Start TODAY with Education!