Champion HHC Health Information Library
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Rural Health Concerns
People in rural areas face some different health issues than people who live in towns and cities. Getting health care can be a problem when you live in a remote area. You might not be able to get to a hospital quickly in an emergency. You also might not want to travel long distances to get routine checkups and screenings. Rural areas often have fewer doctors and dentists, and certain specialists might not be available at all.
Because it can be hard to get care, health problems in rural residents may be more serious by the time they are diagnosed. People in rural areas of the United States have higher rates of chronic disease than people in urban areas. They also have higher rates of certain types of cancer, from exposure to chemicals used in farming.
Small Intestine Disorders
Your small intestine is the longest part of your digestive system - about twenty feet long! It connects your stomach to your large intestine (or colon) and folds many times to fit inside your abdomen. Your small intestine does most of the digesting of the foods you eat. It has three areas called the duodenum, the ileum, and the jejunum.
Problems with the small intestine can include:
- Celiac disease
- Crohn's disease
- Intestinal cancer
- Intestinal obstruction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcers, such as peptic ulcer
Treatment of disorders of the small intestine depends on the cause.
Table salt is a combination of two minerals - sodium and chloride Your body needs some sodium to work properly. It helps with the function of nerves and muscles. It also helps to keep the right balance of fluids in your body. Your kidneys control how much sodium is in your body. If you have too much and your kidneys can't get rid it, sodium builds up in your blood. This can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to other health problems.
Most people in the U.S. get more sodium in their diets than they need. A key to healthy eating is choosing foods low in sodium. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that most adults eat less than 2.3 grams per day. That equals about 1 teaspoon of table salt a day. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of salt than others and should eat less. This includes people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney problems, or are African-American or over age 50. Reading food labels can help you see how much sodium is in prepared foods.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Speech and Communication Disorders
Many disorders can affect our ability to speak and communicate. They range from saying sounds incorrectly to being completely unable to speak or understand speech. Causes include
- Hearing disorders and deafness
- Voice problems, such as dysphonia or those caused by cleft lip or palate
- Speech problems like stuttering
- Developmental disabilities
- Learning disabilities
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Brain injury
Some speech and communication problems may be genetic. Often, no one knows the causes. By first grade, about 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders. Speech and language therapy can help.
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
What are Staphylococcal (staph) infections?
Staphylococcus (staph) is a group of bacteria. There are more than 30 types. A type called Staphylococcus aureus causes most infections.
Staph bacteria can cause many different types of infections, including
- Skin infections, which are the most common types of staph infections
- Bacteremia, an infection of the bloodstream. This can lead to sepsis, a very serious immune response to infection.
- Bone infections
- Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves
- Food poisoning
- Toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a life-threatening condition caused by toxins from certain types of bacteria
Some people carry staph bacteria on their skin or in their noses, but they do not get an infection. But if they get a cut or wound, the bacteria can enter the body and cause an infection.
Staph bacteria can spread from person to person. They can also spread on objects, such as towels, clothing, door handles, athletic equipment, and remotes. If you have staph and do not handle food properly when you are preparing it, you can also spread staph to others.Who is at risk for staph infections?
Anyone can develop a staph infection, but certain people are at greater risk, including those who
- Have a chronic condition such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema, and lung disease
- Have a weakened immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS, medicines to prevent organ rejection, or chemotherapy
- Had surgery
- Use a catheter, breathing tube, or feeding tube
- Are on dialysis
- Inject illegal drugs
- Do contact sports, since you may have skin-to-skin contact with others or share equipment
The symptoms of a staph infection depend on the type of infection:
- Skin infections can look like pimples or boils. They may be red, swollen, and painful. Sometimes there is pus or other drainage. They can turn into impetigo, which turns into a crust on the skin, or cellulitis, a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot.
- Bone infections can cause pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the infected area. You may also have chills and a fever.
- Endocarditis causes some flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, and fatigue. It also causes symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup in your arms or legs.
- Food poisoning typically causes nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever. If you lose too many fluids, you may also become dehydrated.
- Pneumonia symptoms include a high fever, chills, and cough that doesn't get better. You may also have chest pain and shortness of breath.
- Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) causes high fever, sudden low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion. You may have a sunburn-like rash somewhere on your body. TSS can lead to organ failure.
Your health care provider will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. Often, providers can tell if you have a staph skin infection by looking at it. To check for other types of staph infections, providers may do a culture, with a skin scraping, tissue sample, stool sample, or throat or nasal swabs. There may be other tests, such as imaging tests, depending on the type of infection.What are the treatments for staph infections?
Treatment for staph infections is antibiotics. Depending on the type of infection, you may get a cream, ointment, medicines (to swallow), or intravenous (IV). If you have an infected wound, your provider might drain it. Sometimes you may need surgery for bone infections.
Some staph infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), are resistant to many antibiotics. There are still certain antibiotics that can treat these infections.Can staph infections be prevented?
Certain steps can help to prevent staph infections:
- Use good hygiene, including washing your hands often
- Don't share towels, sheets, or clothing with someone who has a staph infection
- It's best not to share athletic equipment. If you do need to share, make sure that it properly cleaned and dried before you use it.
- Practice food safety, including not preparing food for others when you have a staph infection
- If you have a cut or wound, keep it covered