Thursday, February 28, 2013

Your Health: Bugs, dust and snowbirds!

No matter where my husband and I travel we always check to see if there are any vaccines that we need. Even when we are traveling in the United States, we educate ourselves to make sure we are taking the proper precautions. We don't like our trips spoiled by a preventable illness. 

For example, an article on the front page of the Tucson newspaper talked about the dreaded Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis). Anyone that is a regular visitor to the SW United States knows that this malady is nothing to mess around with. They probably also know that it is misdiagnosed a great deal of the time. 

My husband contracted it several years ago and probably suffered for several weeks before I even realized what was going on. He was fatigued, suffered from night sweats and even broke out in a blistered rash. By the time we arrived home in Oregon he was in such bad shape that I feared for his life.

The Oregon doctor was so uncertain of the cause and unwilling to listen to the information we had that I was led to take action and make an appointment with a pulmonary specialist on my own. It was only after a pulmonoscopy that definite determination as to his condition could be made. We were very relieved because we thought that it was cancer...the xrays looked very bad.

Xray of patient with
Valley Fever
Others I know have been take into surgery for the same problem. I know people that were treated for a bacterial infection with antibiotics and they only suffered more. According to the newspaper article, the antibiotic kills the good bacterial that actually may help fight the Valley Fever fungus. I think that is the biggest problem...there is not much to be done for the fungus and the action recommended by the physician can worsen the condition.   

Believe it or not the wind carries the fungus spores and many locals here in Arizona simply don't go out on a windy day any more than necessary. We think my husband contracted it while playing golf when the wind was so strong the ball would not stay on the tee.  I was playing that day too but did not have a problem.

English: The proboscis of an Aedes albopictus ...
Asian Tiger Mosquito, has been found to be a vector of West Nile Virus. 
When you travel to Florida the dreaded mosquitos are a problem. Be careful of bug bites and use a repellent.  Encephalitis can strike as a result of a bug bite. Even in the northwest we have our share of culprits. Tick bites that lead to Lyme disease can be a problem and West Nile Virus or encephalitis can strike that far north as well.  

It could be that the problem with all of these diseases is that they won't generally show up until you are back home and your local doctor may not be as knowledgable about maladies because they don't strike locally.  So you, the traveler, need to be aware and pro-active.

If you are a snow bird you are probably thinking about heading back home within the next few weeks. Please make yourself aware so you can protect yourself. Travel is fun but you still need to be careful.

English: Erythematous rash in the pattern of a...
English: Erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye” from Lyme disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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1 comment:

  1. So good of you to stop by and leave a comment!
    Great advice here on how to prepare and be aware of what one may find in the many places visited.


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