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What is respiratory failure?
Respiratory failure is a condition in which your blood doesn't have enough oxygen or has too much carbon dioxide. Sometimes you can have both problems.
When you breathe, your lungs take in oxygen. The oxygen passes into your blood, which carries it to your organs. Your organs, such as your heart and brain, need this oxygen-rich blood to work well.
Another part of breathing is removing the carbon dioxide from the blood and breathing it out. Having too much carbon dioxide in your blood can harm your organs.What causes respiratory failure?
Conditions that affect your breathing can cause respiratory failure. These conditions may affect the muscles, nerves, bones, or tissues that support breathing. Or they may affect the lungs directly. These conditions include:
The symptoms of respiratory failure depend on the cause and the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.
A low oxygen level in the blood can cause shortness of breath and air hunger (the feeling that you can't breathe in enough air). Your skin, lips, and fingernails may also have a bluish color. A high carbon dioxide level can cause rapid breathing and confusion.
Some people who have respiratory failure may become very sleepy or lose consciousness. They also may have arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). You may have these symptoms if your brain and heart are not getting enough oxygen.How is respiratory failure diagnosed?
Your health care provider will diagnose respiratory failure based on:
Once you are diagnosed with respiratory failure, your provider will look for what is causing it. Tests for this often include a chest x-ray. If your provider thinks you may have arrhythmia because of the respiratory failure, you may have an EKG (electrocardiogram). This is simple, painless test that detects and records your heart's electrical activity.What are the treatments for respiratory failure?
Treatment for respiratory failure depends on:
Acute respiratory failure can be a medical emergency. You may need treatment in intensive care unit at a hospital. Chronic respiratory failure can often be treated at home. But if your chronic respiratory failure is severe, you might need treatment in a long-term care center.
One of the main goals of treatment is to get oxygen to your lungs and other organs and remove carbon dioxide from your body. Another goal is to treat the cause of the condition. Treatments may include:
If you have respiratory failure, see your health care provider for ongoing medical care. Your provider may suggest pulmonary rehabilitation.
If your respiratory failure is chronic, make sure that you know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You need emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. You should call your provider if you notice that your symptoms are worsening or if you have new signs and symptoms.
Living with respiratory failure may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Talk therapy, medicines, and support groups can help you feel better.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
What is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)?
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus. It usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. But it can cause serious lung infections, especially in infants, older adults, and people with serious medical problems.How is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) spread?
RSV spreads from person to person through:
People who have an RSV infection are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days. But sometimes infants and people with weakened immune systems can continue to spread the virus for as long as 4 weeks.Who is at risk for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections?
RSV can affect people of all ages. But it is very common in small children; nearly all children become infected with RSV by age 2. In the United States, RSV infections usually occur during fall, winter, or spring.
Certain people are at higher risk of having a severe RSV infection:
The symptoms of RSV infection usually start about 4 to 6 days after infection. They include:
These symptoms usually appear in stages instead of all at once. In very young infants, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and trouble breathing.
RSV can also cause more severe infections, especially in people at high risk. These infections include bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs.How are respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections diagnosed?
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
There is no specific treatment for RSV infection. Most infections go away on their own in a week or two. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with the fever and pain. However, do not give aspirin to children. And do not give cough medicine to children under four. It is also important to get enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
Some people with severe infection may need to be hospitalized. There, they might get oxygen, a breathing tube, or a ventilator.Can respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections be prevented?
There are currently no vaccines for RSV. But you may be able to reduce your risk of getting or spreading an RSV infection by:
There is a medicine to help prevent severe RSV illness in certain infants and children who are at high risk for severe illness. For example, they might be at high risk because they:
The medicine is given in monthly injections (shots) during RSV season. It may help prevent severe RSV illness, but it can't cure or treat children who already have it. And it cannot prevent an RSV infection.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What is shingles?
Shingles is an outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus - the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It may not cause problems for many years. But as you get older, the virus may reappear as shingles.Is shingles contagious?
Shingles is not contagious. But you can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles. If you've never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, try to stay away from anyone who has shingles.
If you have shingles, try to stay away from anyone who has not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, or anyone who might have a weak immune system.Who is at risk for shingles?
Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for getting shingles. But this risk goes up as you get older; shingles is most common in people over age 50.
People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of getting shingles. This includes those who:
Your immune system may be weaker when you have an infection or are stressed. This can raise your risk of shingles.
It is rare, but possible, to get shingles more than once.What are the symptoms of shingles?
Early signs of shingles include burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching. It is usually on one side of the body or face. The pain can be mild to severe.
One to 14 days later, you will get a rash. It consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days. The rash is usually a single stripe around either the left or the right side of the body. In other cases, the rash occurs on one side of the face. In rare cases (usually among people with weakened immune systems), the rash may be more widespread and look similar to a chickenpox rash.
Some people may also have other symptoms:
Shingles can cause complications:
Very rarely, shingles can also lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation (encephalitis), or death.How is shingles diagnosed?
Usually your health care provider can diagnose shingles by taking your medical history and looking at your rash. In some cases, your provider may scrap off tissue from the rash or swab some fluid from the blisters and send the sample to a lab for testing.What are the treatments for shingles?
There is no cure for shingles. Antiviral medicines may help to make the attack shorter and less severe. They may also help prevent PHN. The medicines are most effective if you can take them within 3 days after the rash appears. So if you think you might have shingles, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.
Pain relievers may also help with the pain. A cool washcloth, calamine lotion, and oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.Can shingles be prevented?
There are vaccines to prevent shingles or lessen its effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get the Shingrix vaccine. You need two doses of the vaccine, given 2 to 6 months apart. Another vaccine, Zostavax, may be used in certain cases.
What are the health effects of smoking?
There's no way around it; smoking is bad for your health. It harms nearly every organ of the body, some that you would not expect. Cigarette smoking causes nearly one in five deaths in the United States. It can also cause many other cancers and health problems. These include:
Women who smoke while pregnant have a greater chance of certain pregnancy problems. Their babies are also at higher risk of dying of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Smoking also causes addiction to nicotine, a stimulant drug that is in tobacco. Nicotine addiction makes it much harder for people to quit smoking.What are the health risks of secondhand smoke?
Your smoke is also bad for other people - they breathe in your smoke secondhand and can get many of the same problems as smokers do. This includes heart disease and lung cancer. Children exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more severe asthma. Mothers who breathe secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to have preterm labor and babies with low birth weight.Are other forms of tobacco also dangerous?
Besides cigarettes, there are several other forms of tobacco. Some people smoke tobacco in cigars and water pipes (hookahs). These forms of tobacco also contain harmful chemicals and nicotine. Some cigars contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes often look like cigarettes, but they work differently. They are battery-operated smoking devices. Using an e-cigarette is called vaping. Not much is known about the health risks of using them. We do know they contain nicotine, the same addictive substance in tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes also expose non-smokers to secondhand aerosols (rather than secondhand smoke), which contain harmful chemicals.
Smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco and snuff, is also bad for your health. Smokeless tobacco can cause certain cancers, including oral cancer. It also increases your risk of getting heart disease, gum disease, and oral lesions.Why should I quit?
Remember, there is no safe level of tobacco use. Smoking even just one cigarette per day over a lifetime can cause smoking-related cancers and premature death. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of health problems. The earlier you quit, the greater the benefit. Some immediate benefits of quitting include:
NIH National Cancer Institute
X-rays are a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves. X-ray imaging creates pictures of the inside of your body. The images show the parts of your body in different shades of black and white. This is because different tissues absorb different amounts of radiation. Calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most, so bones look white. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less and look gray. Air absorbs the least, so lungs look black.
The most familiar use of x-rays is checking for fractures (broken bones), but x-rays are also used in other ways. For example, chest x-rays can spot pneumonia. Mammograms use x-rays to look for breast cancer.
When you have an x-ray, you may wear a lead apron to protect certain parts of your body. The amount of radiation you get from an x-ray is small. For example, a chest x-ray gives out a radiation dose similar to the amount of radiation you're naturally exposed to from the environment over 10 days.
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