Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate as to what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what’s trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.
Multiple outbreaks in the United States that have resulted in at least two deaths caused Legionnaires disease to become this week’s top trending clinical topic.
In Europe, Australia, and the United States, approximately 10-15 cases are detected per million population each year. Because the condition can be benign and self-limited, however, the true incidence of Legionnaires disease is probably underreported. The most common form of transmission is inhalation of aerosols contaminated with L pneumophila, by way of water sprays, jets, or mists. It can also be transmitted via aspiration of contaminated water or ice, often in hospitalized patients, such as may be the cause of the recent Michigan outbreak. Outbreaks of any kind often garner much attention. The fact that these recent instances have been associated with multiple fatalities explains why Legionnaires disease is this week’s top trending clinical topic.
Strategies to help address these concerns include following best practices for antibiotic use. From a general proposed mantra of “shorter is better” to recommendations specific to certain conditions, optimizing drug selection and duration of treatment is key.
Are you familiar with various best antibiotic practices? Test your knowledge with this short quiz.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be mild or so severe that you have to go to the hospital.
It happens if an infection causes the air sacs of the lungs (doctors call these “alveoli”) to fill up with fluid or pus. That can make it hard for you to breathe in enough oxygen to reach your bloodstream.
Anyone can get this lung infection. But infants younger than age 2 and people over age 65 have the highest odds. That’s because their immune systems might not be strong enough to fight it.
You can get pneumonia in one or both lungs. You can also have it and not know it. Doctors call this “walking pneumonia.” If your pneumonia is caused by a bacteria or virus, you can spread it to someone else.
Lifestyle habits, like smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol, can also raise your chances of getting pneumonia.
Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can cause pneumonia.
Top causes include:
Some people get “ventilator-associated pneumonia” if they got the infection while on a ventilator, which is a machine at a hospital that helps you breathe.
If you got your pneumonia while you were in a hospital and not on a ventilator, that’s called “hospital-acquired” pneumonia. But most people get “community-acquired pneumonia,” which means they didn’t get it in a hospital.
If you have bacterial pneumonia, you’ll get antibiotics. Make sure you take all of the medicine your doctor gives you, even if you start to feel better.
If you have viral pneumonia, antibiotics won’t help. You’ll need to rest, drink a lot of fluids, and take medicines for your fever.
You may need to go to a hospital if your symptoms are severe or if you have other conditions that make you more likely to have complications.
With any kind of pneumonia, you’re going to need lots of rest. You might need a week off your usual routines, but you might still feel tired for a month.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Pneumonia,” “Explore Pneumonia: Treatment,” and “Explore Pneumonia: Living With.”
Vaccines aren’t just for kids. Some of your childhood vaccinations might have worn off. New vaccines may have been developed since you were a youngster. And if you travel, work in health care, or have certain illnesses, you’ll need extra vaccines. To protect yourself and the people you love, make sure your shots are up to date.
Global Spike in Measles a ‘Serious Concern’
Due to gaps in vaccination coverage, there were measles outbreaks in all regions of the world, killing an estimated 110,000 people in 2017.
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You’re never too old to get vaccines. In fact, sticking to an immunization schedule as you age gives you the best shot at long-term health.
“An ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure,” says Evan Anderson, MD. “Many adults are at risk of vaccine-preventable illnesses, and sometimes the damage is done after an infection has set in.