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Streptococcal Infections

Strep is short for Streptococcus, a type of bacteria. There are several types. Two of them cause most of the strep infections in people: group A and group B.

Group A strep causes:

  • Strep throat - a sore, red throat. Your tonsils may be swollen and have white spots on them.
  • Scarlet fever - an illness that follows strep throat. It causes a red rash on the body.
  • Impetigo - a skin infection
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease)

Group B strep can cause blood infections, pneumonia and meningitis in newborns. A screening test during pregnancy can tell if you have it. If you do, intravenous (IV) antibiotics during labor can save your baby's life. Adults can also get group B strep infections, especially if they are 65 or older or already have health problems. Strep B can cause urinary tract infections, blood infections, skin infections and pneumonia in adults.

Antibiotics are used to treat strep infections.

Acute Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus. It can also cause shortness of breath, wheezing, a low fever, and chest tightness. There are two main types of bronchitis: acute and chronic.

Most cases of acute bronchitis get better within several days. But your cough can last for several weeks after the infection is gone.

The same viruses that cause colds and the flu often cause acute bronchitis. These viruses spread through the air when people cough, or though physical contact (for example, on unwashed hands). Being exposed to tobacco smoke, air pollution, dusts, vapors, and fumes can also cause acute bronchitis. Less often, bacteria can also cause acute bronchitis.

To diagnose acute bronchitis, your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and listen to your breathing. You may also have other tests.

Treatments include rest, fluids, and aspirin (for adults) or acetaminophen to treat fever. A humidifier or steam can also help. You may need inhaled medicine to open your airways if you are wheezing. Antibiotics won't help if the cause is viral. You may get antibiotics if the cause is bacterial.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Breathing Problems

When you're short of breath, it's hard or uncomfortable for you to take in the oxygen your body needs. You may feel as if you're not getting enough air. Sometimes you can have mild breathing problems because of a stuffy nose or intense exercise. But shortness of breath can also be a sign of a serious disease.

Many conditions can make you feel short of breath:

  • Lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or pneumonia
  • Problems with your trachea or bronchi, which are part of your airway system
  • Heart disease can make you feel breathless if your heart cannot pump enough blood to supply oxygen to your body
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Allergies

If you often have trouble breathing, it is important to find out the cause.

Chest Pain

Having a pain in your chest can be scary. It does not always mean that you are having a heart attack. There can be many other causes, including:

  • Other heart problems, such as angina
  • Panic attacks
  • Digestive problems, such as heartburn or esophagus disorders
  • Sore muscles
  • Lung diseases, such as pneumonia, pleurisy, or pulmonary embolism
  • Costochondritis - an inflammation of joints in your chest

Some of these problems can be serious. Get immediate medical care if you have chest pain that does not go away, crushing pain or pressure in the chest, or chest pain along with nausea, sweating, dizziness or shortness of breath. Treatment depends on the cause of the pain.

Chlamydia Infections

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. Anyone can get chlamydia. It often doesn't cause symptoms, so people may not know that they have it. Antibiotics can cure it. But if it's not treated, chlamydia can cause serious health problems.

How is chlamydia spread?

You can get chlamydia during oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has chlamydia. A pregnant person can also pass chlamydia to the baby during childbirth.

If you've had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can get re-infected if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it.

Who is more likely to get chlamydia?

Chlamydia is more common in young people, especially young women. You are more likely to get infected with chlamydia if you don't consistently use a condom or if you have multiple partners.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Chlamydia doesn't usually cause any symptoms. So you may not realize that you have it. But even if you don't have symptoms, you can still pass the infection to others.

If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with someone who has chlamydia.

Symptoms in women include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, which may have a strong smell
  • A burning sensation when urinating

If the infection spreads, you might get lower abdominal (belly) pain, pain during sex, nausea, and fever.

Symptoms in men include:

  • Discharge from your penis
  • A burning sensation when urinating (peeing)
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common)

If the chlamydia infects the rectum (in men or women), it can cause rectal pain, discharge, and bleeding.

How is chlamydia diagnosed?

There are lab tests to diagnose chlamydia. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample. Or your provider may use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a sample from your vagina to test for chlamydia.

Who should be tested for chlamydia?

You should go to your provider for a test if you have symptoms of chlamydia or if you have a partner who has an STD. Pregnant people should get a test when they go to their first prenatal visit.

People at higher risk should get checked for chlamydia every year:

  • Sexually active women 25 and younger
  • Older women who have new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STD
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
What other problems can chlamydia cause?

In women, an untreated infection can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Women who have had chlamydia infections more than once are at higher risk of serious reproductive health complications.

Men often don't have health problems from chlamydia. Sometimes it can infect the epididymis (the tube that carries sperm). This can cause pain, fever, and, rarely, infertility.

Both men and women can develop reactive arthritis because of a chlamydia infection. Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens as a "reaction" to an infection in the body.

Babies born to infected mothers can get eye infections and pneumonia from chlamydia. It may also make it more likely for your baby to be born too early.

Untreated chlamydia may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV.

What are the treatments for chlamydia?

Antibiotics will cure the infection. You may get a one-time dose of the antibiotics, or you may need to take medicine every day for 7 days. It is important to take all the medicine that your provider prescribed for you. Antibiotics cannot repair any permanent damage that the disease has caused.

To prevent spreading the disease to your partner, you should not have sex until the infection has cleared up. If you got a one-time dose of antibiotics, you should wait 7 days after taking the medicine to have sex again. If you have to take medicine every day for 7 days, you should not have sex again until you have finished taking all of the doses of your medicine.

It is common to get a repeat infection, so you need to get tested again about three months after treatment.

Can chlamydia be prevented?

The only sure way to prevent chlamydia is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading chlamydia. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 
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