Category: Infections

Antibiotics are deadly to bacteria, but they won’t kill a virus

Categories: Flu  /  Infections  /  Wellness

When you’re sick, antibiotics may seem like the quickest path toward feeling better, but getting a prescription when you don’t need it actually causes more harm than good. Antibiotics are meant to fight bacteria, but unfortunately, they do nothing to kill a virus. “It’s frustrating that we don’t have better drugs for viral infections,” said Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist at University Health System and the director of Hospital Epidemiology in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Healthy people get viral infections, like colds, all the time. But an antibiotic won’t relieve your symptoms or help you get over …Read More >

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boy makes a face before boarding a school bus.

Back to school!?!

Categories: Children's Health  /  Infections  /  News

The summer break zipped right by — although it seems to have left the near-100 degree heat behind as a reminder. Area school districts have either started classes or will soon. University Health System teamed up with KSAT and other local partners to provide last-minute vaccinations at the Alamodome earlier today. If you still need back-to-school vaccinations, here’s a handy list of locations and times from San Antonio Metropolitan Health District — including the schedule of University Health System’s healthyUexpress mobile clinic. In honor of families rounding up the kids and scooting them out the door to school, we’re resurrecting …Read More >

woman with upset stomach

A stomach bug makes an unwelcome appearance

Categories: Infections  /  News

A stomach-churning foodborne infection is suddenly in the news again this summer — and it seems to have Bexar County in its crosshairs. The Texas Department of State Health Services is issuing warnings about cyclospora, a parasite often associated with raw produce. While they’re still trying to figure out the source of the problem, the largest number of cases have been identified in Bexar and Travis County. Of 156 cases reported statewide, Travis has had 31 cases and Bexar 24. University Health System’s laboratory confirmed four cases in the week ending July 28 alone. All four of the patients were between …Read More >

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Your kids and meningitis: What you need to know

Categories: Children's Health  /  Infections  /  News

Their backpacks are packed and their pencils are sharpened, but without the meningitis vaccination, your teenager may not be ready for school this fall. What do parents need to know about meningitis? Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective tissues surrounding the brain and part of the spinal cord. It’s usually caused by a very contagious bacteria or virus. Meningitis can be very serious with long-term negative health effects including: Memory loss Coordination problems or clumsiness Epilepsy/seizures Loss of vision Speech problems Paralysis And in some cases, meningitis can even be deadly. Because meningitis is so contagious, it’s important that …Read More >

Young girl getting a vaccination

The risk of opting out

Categories: Children's Health  /  Infections  /  News

It’s a growing trend that worries doctors, educators and public health officials — parents declining to vaccinate their children. Vaccine refusal rates have been on the rise in Texas. The number of unvaccinated children has reached an alarming 45,000-plus, putting them — and others around them — at risk for several serious diseases, including diphtheria and measles, experts warn. And the trend line is getting steeper. “We have seen a nearly 20-fold increase in the past 10 to 15 years,” said Dr. Ryan Van Ramshorst, a UT Health San Antonio pediatrician. “It’s one of the public health concerns that I …Read More >

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When animals attack!

Categories: Infections  /  News

We like our animals, be they dogs or frogs, myna birds or llamas. But under certain circumstances, almost any animal can become aggressive and bite. South Texans are no strangers to animal bites. In fact, according to San Antonio Animal Care Services, investigators deal with 10-15 animal bites on a daily basis in the area. So, what can you do to protect you and your family from getting bitten? What are the dangers of animal bites? Animal mouths, just like human mouths, contain many different bacteria.  When an animal bites someone, harmful bacteria or viruses could transfer to that person, …Read More >

Germs above the clouds

Categories: Infections  /  News  /  Wellness

For most people, traveling is a fun way to relax and see new sights. But if you are planning your next vacation, you might want to consider a few tips to keep some nasty germs from spoiling your trip. Getting sick on planes You might not think so, but airplanes are one of the places where people are most vulnerable to getting sick. That’s because of the number of people who get on and off flights, the close proximity of the passengers next to you and the number of different surfaces people touch. “You will probably be exposed to respiratory …Read More >

Mother taking a sick child's temperature

Fever 101

Categories: Children's Health  /  Emergency care  /  Infections  /  News

Fever. It’s often the first thing we check our kids for when they feel sick. But how to treat that fever — and when to worry about it — isn’t always clear. The first thing to know is that a fever isn’t an illness, but rather a symptom. It’s a sign your child’s body is fighting an illness or infection. Fever stimulates the body’s defenses, sending white blood cells and other “fighter” cells to attack and destroy the cause of the infection. A fever is generally considered to be a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, according to the American …Read More >

Woman with flu in warm socks surrounded by used tissue, medicines and hot tea

Yes, it’s a wretched, awful, miserable flu season this year

Categories: Emergency care  /  Flu  /  Infections  /  News

If you thought flu season was bad this year, here’s a little confirmation. It’s bad this year. An early season and a troublesome flu strain have sickened a lot of people in our community, and across the country. It’s been setting some records at University Health System, where the virology lab is reporting total weekly numbers of cases approaching the volumes seen during the swine flu pandemic in 2009, with 273 positive cases the week ending Jan. 6. Most of those were University Health System patients, and the numbers are likely deceptively low because when flu is in full swing, …Read More >

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woman at home sneezing into a tissue. There is a mug and medicine on the coffee table.

Cold, flu or allergies?

Categories: Emergency care  /  Flu  /  Infections  /  News

SOMETHING is making you sick. And unfortunately, this time of year, it could be any number of things. While you may be miserable regardless of the cause, identifying the problem could make a difference as to how to treat it and feel better sooner. Influenza is the most serious of the cold-weather bugs, mainly because its complications put a lot of people in the hospital. And flu season is well underway in San Antonio. Our University Health System labs are seeing a lot of the A/H3N2 strain — which is the predominant strain this year. Although there’s been concern that …Read More >

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