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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

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

Steroids

You may have heard of anabolic steroids, which can have harmful effects. But there's another type of steroid - sometimes called a corticosteroid - that treats a variety of problems. These steroids are similar to hormones that your adrenal glands make to fight stress associated with illnesses and injuries. They reduce inflammation and affect the immune system.

You may need to take corticosteroids to treat

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and rashes
  • Some kinds of cancer

Steroids are strong medicines, and they can have side effects, including weakened bones and cataracts. Because of this, you usually take them for as short a time as possible.

Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Vaccines

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) are serious bacterial infections. Tetanus causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw. Diphtheria usually affects the nose and throat. Whooping cough causes uncontrollable coughing. Vaccines can protect you from these diseases. In the U.S., there are four combination vaccines:

  • DTaP prevents all three diseases. It is for children younger than seven years old.
  • Tdap also prevents all three. It is for older children and adults.
  • DT prevents diphtheria and tetanus. It is for children younger than seven who cannot tolerate the pertussis vaccine.
  • Td prevents diphtheria and tetanus. It is for older children and adults. It is usually given as a booster dose every 10 years. You may also get it earlier if you get a severe and dirty wound or burn.

Some people should not get these vaccines, including those who have had severe reactions to the shots before. Check with your doctor first if you have seizures, a neurologic problem, or Guillain-Barre syndrome. Also let your doctor know if you don't feel well the day of the shot; you may need to postpone it.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention