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Best Physical Therapy's Health Information Library

Here, we have gathered health articles on almost every major subject in healthcare. Please explore, enjoy, and share this free resource provided by Best Physical Therapy

Rubella

Rubella is an infection caused by a virus. It is usually mild with fever and a rash. About half of the people who get rubella do not have symptoms. If you do get them, symptoms may include:

  • A rash that starts on the face and spreads to the body
  • Mild fever
  • Aching joints, especially in young women
  • Swollen glands

Rubella is most dangerous for a pregnant woman's baby. It can cause miscarriage or birth defects.

Rubella spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People without symptoms can still spread it. There is no treatment, but the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine can prevent it.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rural Health Concerns

Around 15% of people in the United States live in rural areas. There are many different reasons why you might choose to live in a rural community. You may want a lower cost of living and a slower pace of life. You may enjoy having access to big, open spaces for recreation. Rural areas are less crowded and can offer more privacy. You may choose a rural area so that you can live near your family and friends.

But there are also challenges to living in a rural area, including when it comes to taking care of your health. Compared to urban areas, rural communities tend to have:

  • Higher poverty rates
  • A higher percentage of older adults, who are more likely to have chronic health problems
  • More residents without health insurance
  • Less access to health care. For example, clinics and hospitals may be far away.
  • Higher rates of certain substance use, such as cigarette smoking and opioid and methamphetamine misuse
  • Higher rates of chronic health problems such as high blood pressure and obesity
  • More exposure to environmental hazards, such as chemicals used for farming

There are solutions to deal with these problems. A few examples include:

  • Clinics offering telehealth to provide care for people who live far away from specialists or can't easily get to their providers' offices
  • Local public health agencies working with their communities to promote healthy living. They can provide wellness and exercise classes and start a farmer's market.
  • Local governments adding bike lanes and trails to encourage people to bike and walk
  • Rural schools can offer counseling and mental health services for their students

Small Intestine Disorders

Your small intestine is the longest part of your digestive system - about twenty feet long! It connects your stomach to your large intestine (or colon) and folds many times to fit inside your abdomen. Your small intestine does most of the digesting of the foods you eat. It has three areas called the duodenum, the ileum, and the jejunum.

Problems with the small intestine can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Infections
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcers, such as peptic ulcer

Treatment of disorders of the small intestine depends on the cause.

Speech and Communication Disorders

Many disorders can affect our ability to speak and communicate. They range from saying sounds incorrectly to being completely unable to speak or understand speech. Causes include:

  • Hearing disorders and deafness
  • Voice problems, such as dysphonia or those caused by cleft lip or palate
  • Speech problems like stuttering
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Learning disabilities
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Brain injury
  • Stroke

Some speech and communication problems may be genetic. Often, no one knows the causes. By first grade, about 5% of children have noticeable speech disorders. Speech and language therapy can help.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Staphylococcal Infections

What are Staphylococcal (staph) infections?

Staphylococcus (staph) is a group of bacteria. There are more than 30 types. A type called Staphylococcus aureus causes most infections.

Staph bacteria can cause many different types of infections, including:

  • Skin infections, which are the most common types of staph infections
  • Bacteremia, an infection of the bloodstream. This can lead to sepsis, a very serious immune response to infection.
  • Bone infections
  • Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves
  • Food poisoning
  • Pneumonia
  • Toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a life-threatening condition caused by toxins from certain types of bacteria
What causes staph infections?

Some people carry staph bacteria on their skin or in their noses, but they do not get an infection. But if they get a cut or wound, the bacteria can enter the body and cause an infection.

Staph bacteria can spread from person to person. They can also spread on objects, such as towels, clothing, door handles, athletic equipment, and remotes. If you have staph and do not handle food properly when you are preparing it, you can also spread staph to others.

Who is at risk for staph infections?

Anyone can develop a staph infection, but certain people are at greater risk, including those who:

  • Have a chronic condition such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema, and lung disease
  • Have a weakened immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS, medicines to prevent organ rejection, or chemotherapy
  • Had surgery
  • Use a catheter, breathing tube, or feeding tube
  • Are on dialysis
  • Inject illegal drugs
  • Do contact sports, since you may have skin-to-skin contact with others or share equipment
What are the symptoms of staph infections?

The symptoms of a staph infection depend on the type of infection:

  • Skin infections can look like pimples or boils. They may be red, swollen, and painful. Sometimes there is pus or other drainage. They can turn into impetigo, which turns into a crust on the skin, or cellulitis, a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot.
  • Bone infections can cause pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the infected area. You may also have chills and a fever.
  • Endocarditis causes some flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, and fatigue. It also causes symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup in your arms or legs.
  • Food poisoning typically causes nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever. If you lose too many fluids, you may also become dehydrated.
  • Pneumonia symptoms include a high fever, chills, and cough that doesn't get better. You may also have chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) causes high fever, sudden low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion. You may have a sunburn-like rash somewhere on your body. TSS can lead to organ failure.
How are staph infections diagnosed?

Your health care provider will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. Often, providers can tell if you have a staph skin infection by looking at it. To check for other types of staph infections, providers may do a culture, with a skin scraping, tissue sample, stool sample, or throat or nasal swabs. There may be other tests, such as imaging tests, depending on the type of infection.

What are the treatments for staph infections?

Treatment for staph infections is antibiotics. Depending on the type of infection, you may get a cream, ointment, medicines (to swallow), or intravenous (IV). If you have an infected wound, your provider might drain it. Sometimes you may need surgery for bone infections.

Some staph infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), are resistant to many antibiotics. There are still certain antibiotics that can treat these infections.

Can staph infections be prevented?

Certain steps can help to prevent staph infections:

  • Use good hygiene, including washing your hands often
  • Don't share towels, sheets, or clothing with someone who has a staph infection
  • It's best not to share athletic equipment. If you do need to share, make sure that it properly cleaned and dried before you use it.
  • Practice food safety, including not preparing food for others when you have a staph infection
  • If you have a cut or wound, keep it covered