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Archive for September, 2012

Preventing the Flu

Once again we are entering the flu season. The Flu Shot should be or become available in most doctor offices very shortly. The flu season lasts from the end of October through April.  As you may know, Influenza is a viral infection in the nose, throat, and lungs.

10- 20% of Americans get the flu each year. Some get very sick and a few die. The flu may cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. Some people describe the flu as the worse cold they had ever had. Most people get better within 1- 2 weeks. For some people, the flu leads to serious, and maybe life-threatening diseases, such as pneumonia. The flu shot is recommended for people who are more likely to get really sick for protection from the flu.

Flu Vaccine

People who have a higher risk of complications from the flu and should get the flu vaccine every year:

  • All children 6 months to 3 years old
  • All adults 65 years and older
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season
  • Nursing home and long term care facility residents
  • Health care workers that have direct care with patients
  • Caregivers and household contacts of children less than 6 months of age
  • Individuals with long term health problems
  • Children 6 months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy

 

The best way to avoid the flu is to get the influenza vaccine each fall, before the flu season. The vaccine is available by shot or nasal spray. IT works by exposing the immune system to the flu virus. The body will build up antibodies to the virus to protect you from the virus. The flu shot contains dead viruses. The nasal spray contains live but weakened viruses. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine. People who have had an allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past or have an allergy to eggs should not get the flu shot.

The flu vaccine is safe. There are very few side effects. With the flu shot the arm may be sore for a few days, a fever, feeling tired or have sore muscles for a short time. With the nasal spray vaccine the side effects are runny nose, headache, cough or sore throat. With pregnancy you should not get the nasal spray vaccine. However, it is recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot.

There are antiviral flu drugs, which are prescription medicines that can be used to help prevent or treat the flu. Taking these drugs with in 2 days of getting sick can lessen your symptoms and decrease the amount of time a person is sick. Your doctor will decide if these medications are right for you.

Call our office to get your flu shot, 757-488-3333.

~ Dr. Abdelshaheed

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The Pain of Fibromyalgia

Chances are you have heard about Fibromyalgia, but probably don’t know much about it.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons; and is diagnosed by exclusion only. This means that all other conditions need to be excluded before a patient can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For this reason, many people are confused and unaware about this condition, and what it entails.

The pain of fibromyalgia occurs in areas called ‘tender points.’ Common tender points are the front of the knees, the elbows, the hip joints and found the neck. Fibromyalgia affects 2-5% of the US population, including children. This disorder might be hereditary, so you may have family members with similar symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

 

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia are primarily increased sensitivity to pain and may also include:

  • Pain– The pain of fibromyalgia has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, and stabbing. Intense burning may also be present. Often the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning.
  • Fatigue– This symptom can be mild in some patients and incapacitating in others.
  • Sleep disorder– Most fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder called the alpha-EEG anomaly. Researchers have found that fibromyalgia patients could fall asleep with out much trouble, but their deep level sleep was constantly interrupted.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome– Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain abdominal gas, and nausea represent symptoms found in 40 – 70% of fibromyalgia patients.
  • Chronic headaches– Recurrent migraine or tension-type headache are seen in 70% of the patients.
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ)– This syndrome causes tremendous jaw related face and head pain

You may also have feelings of numbness or tingling in parts of your body, or a feeling of poor blood flow in some areas. Many people are very sensitive to odors, bright lights, loud noises and medicines. In addition, you may have dry eyes or difficulty focusing on nearby objects. Problems with dizziness and balance may also occur. Some people have chest pain, and a rapid or irregular hear beat, or shortness of breath.

Although fibromyalgia causes symptoms that can be very uncomfortable this condition is not life threatening, but it is chronic. There is no cure, but you can do many things to help you feel better. Several medications can help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of these medicines are taken before bedtime and improve sleep. Patients will begin to notice the benefits of the medications in about 6 – 8 weeks. One of the best things patients can do is low-impact aerobic exercise. This includes swimming or water exercise, stationary bicycling and exercising on ski type machines. Begin at very low level and continue to increase the length and frequency of exercise until it is at least 30 – 60 minutes at last 4 times / week. It is important to cut stress whenever possible and get as much sleep as needed. Avoid alcohol and caffeine that cause poor sleep.

 

 If you are experiencing these symptoms, call our office today and schedule an appointment, (757) 488-3333.

Treatment is available. Life was not meant to live in pain!

~Dr. Abdelshaheed

 

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