Seasonal Influenza

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness mainly caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, depending on the person. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or even death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at a higher risk of serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches

The flu is caused by the influenza virus and is easily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets formed when coughing or sneezing. You can become infected if you breathe in these droplets through your nose or mouth or if the droplets come into contact with your eyes. The virus can also be spread through the sharing of food or drinks. You can also catch it by touching objects contaminated with the flu virus, then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

Period of Contagiousness
You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you even know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Although people with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins,  people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day beforesymptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.

Most simple seasonal influenza cases are managed symptomatically and are advised bedrest at home to minimize the risk for infecting others. Treatment focuses on reducing fever and relieving the symptoms. The diagnosis can be confirmed by taking specimens for laboratory analysis. It is important that patients monitor themselves to detect if their condition deteriorates and they require medical intervention.

Risk Factors
Anyone can get the flu and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, pregnant women, and young children.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu is through immunization. Many hospitals and institutions haveimmunization programs which provide free, publicly-funded vaccines to those who are eligible. There are many different strains of the flu virus. The vaccine cannot protect against all of them. Scientists monitor the global spread of flu and decide which three flu strains will likely cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. Those three strains are put into the flu vaccine each year. So it is important to get immunized against the flu every year with no exceptions.Other precautions can be taken, including: practicing good hand hygiene, covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. Everyday preventive actions like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing will help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses, like flu.


Hearing Loss Facts

Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you hear. It can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. Congenital hearing loss means you are born without hearing. Gradual hearing loss happens over time and can affect people of all ages. If you have hearing loss, you may not be aware of it, especially if it has happened over time. Your family members or friends may notice that you’re having trouble understanding what others are saying. There are some ways you can deal with hearing loss. And hearing aids and other devices can help you hear.

Symptoms of hearing loss

The symptoms of hearing loss can vary depending on the type of hearing loss, the cause of hearing loss, and the degree of loss.In general, people who have hearing loss may experience any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty understanding everyday conversation
  • A feeling of being able to hear but not understand
  • Asking others to repeat often
  • Avoidance of social situations that were once enjoyable
  • Tinnitus, or ringing and/or buzzing sounds in the ears

Causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss can have many different causes. For example:

  • Sudden hearing loss in one ear may be due to earwax, an ear infection, a perforated (burst) eardrum or Ménière’s disease.
  • Sudden hearing loss in both ears may be due to damage from a very loud noise, or taking certain medicines that can affect hearing.
  • Gradual hearing loss in one ear may be due to something inside the ear, such as fluid (glue ear), a bony growth (otosclerosis) or a build-up of skin cells (cholesteatoma)
  • Gradual hearing loss in both ears is usually caused by ageing or exposure to loud noises over many years.

How hearing loss can occur

Causes of hearing loss include:

  • Damage to the inner ear. Aging and exposure to loud noise may cause wear and tear on the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea that send sound signals to the brain. When these hairs or nerve cells are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren’t transmitted as efficiently, and hearing loss occurs.
  • It may become difficult for you to pick out words against background noise. Heredity may make you more prone to these changes. This type of hearing loss is known as sensorineural hearing loss, which is permanent.
  • A gradual buildup of earwax. Earwax can block the ear canal and prevent conduction of sound waves. This can be restored with earwax removal.
  • Ear infection and abnormal bone growths or tumors. In the outer or middle ear, any of these can cause hearing loss.

Hearing loss treatments

Hearing loss is a medical condition that has many tried-and-true treatment options. Finding the right treatment is a joint venture between you and your hearing care professional, and if done properly, takes into consideration the following factors:

  • Type of hearing loss
  • Severity of hearing loss
  • Cause, if known
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your budget

Some types of hearing loss, especially conductive types, can be medically or surgically corrected but others cannot. The most common treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is hearing aids. Hearing aids are widely available in a range of styles, colors, sizes, technology levels and price points.

Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and past health. He or she also may look in your ears with a lighted device called an otoscope. If your doctor thinks that you have hearing loss, he or she will do hearing tests to check whether you have hearing loss and find out how severe it is. You may be referred to an audiologist to do the tests.

Commonly Asked Questions on Testicular Cancer

As you deal with cancer and the process of treatment, you need to have honest discussions with your cancer care team. Ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Among the questions you might want to ask are:

Testicular Cancer

What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is cancer that starts in the testicles. The testicles are two male reproductive organs that hang below the penis in a sac called the scrotum. The testicles make several hormones, mainly testosterone. They also make reproductive cells called sperm. There are different kinds of cells in each testicle, each of which can grow into one or more types of cancer. Overall, testicular cancer is not that common. However, it is the leading cause of cancer in men in their twenties and thirties.

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
The most common symptom of testicular cancer, and probably the most alarming, is a lump on a testicle. Since this is where the cancer starts, this would be the first place to check. If the cancer has spread outside of the testicles, symptoms may appear elsewhere. If you experience unusual pain or discomfort in your back or lower abdomen, the cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes in the back of your abdomen. A cough or shortness of breath may indicate the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in your chest area. Lastly, if your nipples or breasts are tender, this can be caused by the hormones produced by the cancer.

What causes it?
Doctors are not really sure what causes testicular cancer. The rate of testicular cancer is slightly higher in white men, as well as in higher income groups. Doctors do not know if this is because a lifestyle factor plays a big part in who gets testicular cancer. Doctors do know, however, some risk factors for testicular cancer. For example, an undescended testicle, a testicle that does not move from the abdomen into the scrotum, increases a man’s risk for the disease. Also, a man who has had cancer in one testicle is more likely to get it in the other testicle. A man who has a family history is slightly more at risk for getting testicular cancer.

How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
If you or your doctor finds a lump, you should make an appointment with an urologist right away. The urologist will then perform a variety of tests including an ultrasound. The ultrasound is used to detect what is going on in the testicles. It can be used to detect whether the lumps are solid or filled with fluid, and whether they are inside or on the testicle. If your doctor has reason to believe that the lumps may be cancerous, he or she will do a blood test. Our blood naturally has what are called “tumor markers”. Tumor marker levels will be raised if a tumor is present, but this does not mean you have cancer – it just helps the urologist make a better diagnosis.

What are the treatments for testicular cancer?
Treatment for testicular cancer is either local or systemic. Local treatments remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in one certain area. Surgery and radiation are local treatments. Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells throughout the entire body. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment. A man may have just one treatment or a combination of treatments.

Along with these sample questions, make sure to write down some of your own. For example, you might want to ask about clinical trials for which you may qualify. Keep in mind, too, that doctors are not the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to your questions.

Work Related Mental Disorders

A person can experience high pressure and demands outside work just as much as they can at work. Stressors at home can affect those at work and vice versa. Sometimes, it is difficult to control outside stressors, but you need to take a holistic approach to employee well-being. To manage work-related stress effectively, you need to recognize the importance and interaction of work and home problems and find an appropriate balance.


How common mental health problems (CMHPs) and work-related stress correlate

Work-related stress and CMHPs often go together. The symptoms of stress and CMHPs are very similar. For example loss of appetite, fatigue and tearfulness can be symptoms of both.Work-related stress can aggravate an existing mental health problem, making it even more difficult to control. If work-related stress reaches a point where it has triggered an existing mental health problem, it becomes very hard to separate one from the other.Work-related stress may result in mental health problems when it is experienced over a longer time.

Often, CMHPs and stress can exist independently – people can experience work-related stress and physical changes such as high blood pressure, without having anxiety and depression. They can also have anxiety and depression without stress.The key differences between the two are their cause and the way they are treated.

Stress is a reaction to events or experiences in someone’s home life, work life or very often, a combination of both. CMHPs can have a single cause outside work, for example bereavement, divorce, postnatal depression, a medical condition or a family history of the problem. But people can have CMHPs with no obvious causes.

Here are the most common work related mental disorders:

  1. Anxiety

Having high levels of anxiety can have a major impact on your ability to work. Anxiety takes many forms – from general anxiety to anxiety triggered by a particular situation (a phobia).Those experiencing anxiety may seem unusually worried or fearful in most situations, making excuses not to socialize or attend meetings.

Other signs of anxiety include:

  • panic attacks;
  • restlessness and becoming increasingly irritable;
  • difficulty concentrating or meeting deadlines;
  • a sense of fear.

Facing up to anxiety, and how it makes you feel, can be the first step in breaking the cycle of fear and insecurity. Feeling relaxed and able to talk about your anxieties to friends, family and colleagues can help you to take back control and deal with your anxiety before it becomes much more serious.

  1. Depression

Feeling sad from time to time is normal, but if these feelings continue for more than a couple of weeks, or are so bad that they affect your everyday life, you may need help.Depression can develop slowly and is usually caused by more than one thing, with work being a contributing factor due to:

  • workload;
  • unsociable hours;
  • lack of job security;
  • problems with colleagues.

If you are depressed, you might:

  • feel irritable or overly emotional;
  • have low confidence and find it difficult to concentrate;
  • lose interest in your work;
  • get tired quickly and feel disengaged.
  1. Panic attacks

Panic attacks are a sign of anxiety and are common in the workplace, causing an overwhelming sense of fear and apprehension. Left unmanaged, panic attacks can become more frequent and severe leaving you unable to work.Panic attacks can be treated effectively through a combination of therapy and medication. There are also several self-help techniques you can use to treat the symptoms yourself.

If you feel under pressure, it’s hard to distinguish when that ‘stress’ turns into a ‘mental health problem’ and when an existing mental health problem becomes aggravated by stress at work. Many of the symptoms of stress and a mental health condition are similar. The key differences are in the severity and duration of the symptoms and the impact they have on your everyday life. The majority of people with mental health problems are diagnosed and treated by their doctor and most continue to work productively. In fact, evidence shows that staying in work can be of great benefit to those affected.

Journey of Vaccine

Vaccination is undoubtedly a miracle of modern medicine. In the past 50 years, it’s saved more lives worldwide than any other medical product. However, the story of vaccination goes back all the way to Ancient Greece.The story of vaccines did not begin with the first vaccine–Edward Jenner’s use of material from cowpox pustules to provide protection against smallpox. Instead, it begins with the long history of infectious disease in humans, and with early uses of smallpox material to provide immunity to that disease.


Evidence exists that the Chinese employed smallpox inoculation as early as 1000 CE. It was practiced in Africa and Turkey as well, before spreading to Europe and the Americas.

Edward Jenner’s innovations, begun with his successful 1796 use of cowpox material to create immunity to smallpox, quickly made the practice widespread. His method underwent medical and technological changes over the next 200 years, and finally resulted in the eradication of smallpox.

Louis Pasteur’s 1885 rabies vaccine was the next thing to make an impact on human disease. And then, at the dawn of bacteriology, developments rapidly followed. Antitoxins and vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, anthrax, cholera, plague, typhoid, tuberculosis, and more were developed through the 1930s.

The 20th century was an active time for vaccine research and development. Methods for growing viruses in the laboratory led to rapid discoveries and innovations, including the creation of vaccines for polio. Researchers targeted other common childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella, and vaccines for these diseases reduced the disease burden greatly.

Before vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are tested extensively by scientists to ensure they are effective and safe. Evidently, vaccines are the best defense we have against infectious diseases; however, no vaccine is actually 100% safe or effective for everyone because each person’s body reacts to vaccines differently.

As infectious diseases become less common, we hear less about the serious consequences of preventable illnesses and more about the risks associated with vaccines. It’s important to be informed about health choices, but the reality is that Americans have never been healthier than today and vaccines have never been safer than they are today. The benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks. As science continues to advance, we strive to develop safer vaccines and improve delivery to protect ourselves against disease more effectively.

The past two decades have seen the application of molecular genetics and its increased insights into immunology, microbiology and genomics applied to vaccinology. Current successes include the development of recombinant hepatitis B vaccines, the less reactogenicacellular pertussis vaccine, and new techniques for seasonal influenza vaccine manufacture.

Molecular genetics sets the scene for a bright future for vaccinology, including the development of new vaccine delivery systems, new adjuvants, the development of more effective tuberculosis vaccines, and vaccines against cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), staphylococcal disease, streptococcal disease, and schistosomiasi, etc. Therapeutic vaccines may also soon be available for allergies, autoimmune diseases and addictions.

Future vaccines are likely to have a more complex composition than heretofore, but the principles elucidated by past successes will have continued importance as vaccination is extended to more diseases and to all age groups.

Demand on AI Talent

Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. As they chase this future, they are doling out salaries that are startling even in an industry that has never been shy about lavishing a fortune on its top talent.Typical A.I. specialists, including both Ph.D.s fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them.

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Well-known names in the A.I. field have received compensation in salary and shares in a company’s stock that total single- or double-digit millions over a four- or five-year period. And at some point they renew or negotiate a new contract, much like a professional athlete. Although AI and machine adoption is on the rise, there is negligible talent with experience in technologies like deep learning and neutral networks.

Accordingly, the average salary of AI professionals across industries are quite attractive. Moreover, HR managers and talent acquisition professionals feel that because of AI their roles will evolve into broader and more strategic productivity management roles. As there is significant talent crunch in the AI space, recruiters who can speed up their hiring process using AI automation tools will win the war for talent in the future.

While tech’s biggest firms are trying to vacuum up all the talent, the fact remains that companies of all sizes are going to need to leverage A.I. in coming years if they want to retain some sort of competitive advantage. Fortunately, Dice data has shown that tech pros don’t just care about money; they also want perks, benefits, and a positive working environment. A company that can provide those things, even if it doesn’t have the billions of a Google or Amazon, has a shot at snatching up the talent it needs.

For those tech pros looking to boost their standing within their company, there may be no better time to pick up some A.I.-related skills. Consider taking a few courses from a bootcamp or online-learning institution such as Udacity—your company may even pay for it.

Growth opportunities are hard to come by without significant investment, but artificial intelligence (AI) is a self-running engine for growth in healthcare. According to Accenture analysis, when combined, key clinical health AI applications can potentially create $150 billion in annual savings for the US healthcare economy by 2026.

AI in health represents a collection of multiple technologiesenabling machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn so they can perform administrative and clinical healthcare functions. Unlike legacy technologies that are only algorithms/ tools that complement a human, health AI today can truly augment human activity.

With immense power to unleash improvements in cost, quality and access, AI is exploding in popularity. Growth in the AI health market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021—that’s a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent. In just the next five years, the health AI market will grow more than 10×2.


Baby’s Protection from Infection

After your newborn comes home from the hospital, it’s normal to want to introduce your new little one to your family and friends. At the same time, you want to protect him from getting an infection from a visitor. A newborn can also get sick from being exposed to people by going out in the community. Many new parents wonder when is it “safe” to take the baby out in public. Trying to decide what is best for the baby in these situations can be difficult. And unfortunately, the answer is not always simple.

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Infect​ions in Newborns

Fighting infectious diseases today is much easier than in the past. Proper hygiene and proper precautions, along with numerous vaccines, antibiotics and rapidly advancing medical technology, help prevent many infections. However, some infections may be transmitted to a baby before birth. A fetus and a newborn baby have limited ability to prevent and fight infectiou​s diseases. Special care may be needed for babies who develop an infection before, during, or after birth.

Some of the diseases which can affect ​​babies after exposure before or during birth include:

  • Viral infections: Cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, chickenpox (varicella virus), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Rubella virus, hepatitis viruses, parvovirus
  • Bacterial infections:Group B Streptococcus, syphilis, Listeria, Pertussis
  • Parasite infections such as toxoplasmosis

How to prevent infection in your baby

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after changing nappies, preparing food or going to the toilet. You should also wash your hands often if you have a cold.
  • Try to restrict the number of other people who hold your baby in the early months, as far as possible.
  • In the early weeks, keep your baby away from overcrowded areas, such as shops and restaurants.
  • If you have pets, try to keep them away from your baby during the first few weeks.

Keeping Baby Healthy: Do I Need to Worry About Germs?

It is true that getting exposed to germs makes the immune system savvier. When the body is infected by a virus, the immune system usually figures out how to defend itself. Then, the next time you come in contact with that specific microorganism, the immune cells are ready. They can often fight it off without your getting sick.However, that doesn’t mean that deliberately exposing your child to germs is smart. Your baby will get all the germ exposure he or she needs naturally. You don’t need to help along the process by having your uncle sneeze on your baby.Keep in mind that germs like cold and flu viruses that are pretty benign in adults can cause problems in young babies. For that reason, parents should be very careful to protect their babies from germs in the first three months — and if possible, the first six.

At times you will have to balance practicality with the ideal situation. These tips sound straightforward, but everyone’s situation is different. For example, if you have older children, it is harder to avoid playgroups or schools. If you have lots of pets, it may be difficult to prevent them from having any contact at all with your baby. Talk to the healthcare team about how far you need to go to protect your baby from infection.As your baby gets stronger, you will need to worry about infection less.

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