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Itchy Ears and Throat: Causes and Treatment

We have all experienced an occasional itchy ears and throat every now and then. Some are more pleasant than others. One of the most unpleasant itches anyone could ever experience is those that affect the ears and the throat at the same time. While Itchy ears and throat pose little to no health challenges alone, whenever they occur together and with certain accompanying symptoms, chances are that these might imply that they are often pointers to more serious conditions. Itchy Ears and Throat: The Nigerian Factor Considering Nigeria, quite a number of elements contribute to this upsetting situation. The dusty terrain is an issue which helps the spread of allergens, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Worse still, some foods consumed in Nigeria trigger allergies leading to this health issue. Causes of Itchy Ears and Throat Here are some common causes of itchy ears and throat and their accompanying symptoms. Allergic Rhinitis (AR) Also known as hay fever, AR originates from the reaction of your immune system to a constituent of the environment. Causative material may not necessarily be harmful but its introduction into your nasal system is irritating. External substances which may cause AR are fungus, dust lice, pollen, perfume smoke, etc. reactions of this nature leads to the production of chemicals which induces allergy symptoms. Additional symptoms of AR are itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, etc. Food Allergies Food allergies occur when the immune system becomes defensively hyperactive after the digestive system is exposed to food it’s configuration identifies as harmful. Estimates show that about 10% of the world population has food allergies. Examples of common food allergy symptoms are diarrhea, hives, vomiting, Stomach cramps, etc. Food allergies have a varying degree of seriousness, it could be mild and some could be deadly. An example of a life-threatening food allergy is anaphylaxis. Some of its symptoms are swallowing difficulty, dizziness, fainting, gasping and rapid heartbeat. Food allergies have been discovered to be concentrated in a few foods, making it easily avoidable. Examples are peanuts, cow milk, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, soy.  Also, some fruits and vegetables are capable of inducing a reaction as they contain a protein similar to that which is found in pollen allergy. This reaction is called Oral Allergy Syndrome. Examples are apples, carrots, cherries, banana, pears, plum, tomatoes, etc. Apart from itchy ears, symptoms of oral allergy syndrome are an itchy mouth, Scratchy throat, Swollen tongue, mouth, and throat. As kids grow older, they cope better with some allergies and outgrow them with time.  However, some allergies remain a challenge even till old age. Records have shown that children do outgrow an allergy to foods like eggs, cow’s milk, soya bean. On the other hand, food allergies like peanuts and tree nuts do stick around for a lifetime. Drug Allergies Admittedly, there is hardly a drug with no side effect, but there is a difference between an allergy and a side effect. All allergies are side effects but not all side effects are allergies. As implied earlier, the identifying mark of an allergy is that it involves your immune system. Drug allergies take place when your immune system treats a medicine introduced to it the way it is supposed to treat germs. The timing of drug allergy reactions ranges from few hours to few days after taking the drugs. Some symptoms of drug allergy are skin rash, hives, swelling, panting, itching. Common Cold As the name implies, it is not a strange occurrence. It has left many adults sneezing and coughing over a couple of times within a calendar year. Numerous viruses are responsible for the common cold. Its spread, on the other hand, is caused by contact with droplets from sneezing and coughing of infected individuals. By virtue of a relatively favorable climate, the Nigerian cold isn’t life-threatening. However, it could be frustrating. Its accompanying symptoms will bring great discomfort to you. Some of them are sore throat, cough, body ache, sneezing, headache, etc. OTITIS EXTERNA Otitis externa is the inflammation and swelling of the passage of the outer ear. Otitis externa is also known as swimmer’s ear. There are many factors that contribute to otitis externa, among them is water being trapped in the ears. This condition is common among people who swim though it can affect any other person. Otitis externa is usually accompanied by symptoms such as itchiness of the ear canal, ear discharge, and pain. How to Treat Itchy Ears and Throat Successfully tackling itchy ears and sore throat requires that you resolve the causes. The symptom of each cause has discoursed. Here are treatment tips in line with causes. Treating food allergies If you discover that you are allergic to a particular food, see an allergist. After identifying the food, stay as far away as you can from it  Treating Drug Allergies Inform your doctor if discover that you have any drug allergy. Seek medical help with respect to evident symptoms. Treating common cold Frequently do steam inhalation with a drop of eucalyptus oil to relieve congestion Liberal intake of fluid, fruits and vegetables Nasal sprays and inhalers will make you feel better. Use of antihistamines to relieve symptoms Most common colds are viral so it will run its course Treating otitis externa The treatment of this condition can involve the use of either injectable or oral antibiotics, which are good in relieving the pain. Hydrocortisone containing antibacterial and antifungal agents can also be used to reduce the inner ear infection. Tackle Itchy Ears and Throat with Ease Today Given the symptoms, determining the cause of itchy ears and throat may be confusing at times. This is where you need experienced doctors to examine you and see what exactly is wrong with you. Going to the hospital might be overly expensive and you might be prescribed medications you don’t need. This is where Health Connect 24x7 comes in. With Health Connect, you can speak to a highly qualified doctor from the comfort of your home, or office. All you need is to download our mobile app to get started.                        

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Everything You Need to Know About Back Pains: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Back pain is a health condition that many Nigerians suffer from. To find relief, many people turn to local concoctions (popularly called agbo and opa eyin), while others use over the counter (OTC) medications such as aspirin to combat this pain. However, none of these methods are safe until you have consulted with a medical doctor. As a matter of fact, using these medications and herbs without proper prescription could be doing more harm than good. Symptoms of Back Pain Most of the reported cases of back pain in Nigerian health facilities have been found to be from the lower back area. Regardless of the origin or the severity, back pain is not a good experience. The main symptom of back pain is an ache or pain anywhere in the back, and sometimes all the way down to the buttocks and legs. Some back issues can cause pain in other parts of the body, depending on the nerves affected. The human back is composed of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks, and bones, which work together to support the body and enable us to move around. The segments of the spine are cushioned with cartilage-like pads called disks. Problems with any of these components can lead to back pain. In some cases of back pain, its cause remains unclear. Damage can result from a strain, medical conditions, and poor posture, among others. Determining the sole cause of back pain is not a straightforward task, proper testing and a consideration of some vital question will produce the cause and get patients set for the right treatment. Causes of Back Pain There are numerous causes of back pain but  Let’s examine a few: Movement and posture Back pain can be as a result of some everyday activities or poor posture such as pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying something,standing or sitting for long periods, straining the neck forward, such as when driving or using a computer,long driving sessions without a break, even when not hunched,sleeping on a mattress that does not support the body and keep the spine straight Arthritis Osteoarthritis can cause problems with the joints in the hips, lower back, and other places. In some cases, the space around the spinal cord narrows. This is known as spinal stenosis. Disc Herniation Each vertebra in the spine is cushioned by disks. If the disk ruptures there will be more pressure on a nerve, resulting in back pain. Osteoporosis This is when the vertebrae become brittle and porous, making compression fractures more likely. Pregnancy Induced Back Pain Back pain is no stranger to pregnant women. The introduction of a baby changes the center of gravity of the body. Also, relaxing; a pregnancy hormone relaxes pelvic ligament in preparation of the body for childbirth. This also causes back pain. Cancer of the spine A tumor on the spine may press against a nerve, resulting in back pain. Back Pain: Tips to Getting Relief Even if the cause of your back pain is not readily known, it is important that you get relief first. Here are a few hacks to getting out of this uncomfortable situation. Usage of Pain Relievers: when movement is not enough, consider taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen. They disable hormones that make you feel pains (prostaglandins), thereby making you feel at ease. If you have any medical condition, such as stomach ulcer consult a medical doctor before taking NSAIDs to avoid complications. Don’t use NSAIDs for too long. See a medical professional if there is no improvement after three days. Also, consult a medical professional or download our mobile app to speak to a medical doctor if you have been on another medication before commencing the use of NSAIDs to avoid cross-reactions. Hot and Cold Massage: this helps a great deal when done rightly. A hot massage is good for muscle pain and stiffness, while an ice-cold treatment is best in cases of inflammation and swelling.  Obviously, someone has to help you with this. Ice packs and heat pads are best for this purpose. A towel can sub for heat packs. Seek permission from your health institution before applying these remedies if you are pregnant. Prevention You can lower the risk of developing back pain by Exercise There are two main types of exercise that people can do to reduce the risk of back pain: Core-strengthening exercises work the abdominal and back muscles, helping to strengthen muscles that protect the back. Flexibility training aims at improving core flexibility, including the spine, hips, and upper legs Diet A healthy diet with calcium and vitamin D included is good for bone health Posture Having a good posture while sitting, standing and sleeping are essential. You should have a mattress that keeps your spine straight, while at the same time supporting the weight of your shoulders and buttocks   Secure Easy Healthcare Solution Today Back pain is not a pleasant experience. Yet, you can manage it from your home. Contact us now for a safe, high-end quality hospital-at-home program. You can be assured of a satisfactory treatment, reduced complication and stress.

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A Nigerian’s 5-Step Process to Attaining Fitness Success

Research has shown that keeping fit is a healthy way of living and it is highly advised that we stay fit and healthy. But some find it difficult to achieve this due to many factors but we are going to go through five steps to attain fitness success. Step 1: Exercise daily Many people in this part of the world (Nigeria) have the mentality that for them to do exercise or when they are asked to keep fit, they necessarily have to go to the gym to register for a period of time, so they end up giving excuses for not having money because the economy is bad. Forget about money, you can engage in various forms of exercise like jogging, walking, doing pushups and sit-ups in your respective homes without paying a dime Step 2: Get rid of junk foods Avoiding junk foods is a good step in the right direction if you want to stay fit. I understand that you have gotten used to those junk foods but if there is a will, there is a way. You have to reduce calorie consumption by reducing sugary drinks, drink more water instead, reducing "starchy "foods, and focus on fiber-rich carbohydrates. Step 3: Eat healthily If you eat right, you will stay healthy and fit. Mind you, eating right has nothing to do with the size of the food, eating healthy entails having a balanced diet where vegetables and fruit are incorporated. Vegetables and fruits you should look out for in the markets include carrot, apples, watermelon, broccoli, spinach, ugwu, and efo. Also high protein foods like chicken, fish, legumes, soybeans. Foods high in fiber like black beans, green peas, pear are also advised to be consumed. Step 4: Know when to eat Eat when you are supposed to eat and don’t eat when you are hungry, don’t eat breakfast by 1 pm. Many of us skip breakfast intentionally and some forget because they are engrossed with their work. None of these reasons is cogent. Skipping breakfast is not a good practice because the enzymes in our bodies need to act on those foods. if you skip breakfast, those enzymes will start to act on your stomach wall which is inimical to your health. Ulcer could be the end result of such action Take your lunch at the right time too. Your dinner should be light and the right time, don’t eat eba or fufu by 10 pm. It is wrong and you can’t attain fitness success by doing such. Step 5: Set goals and reward yourself We all know the importance of setting up goals in our daily lives. It is in public knowledge that people tend to achieve a greater part of their aspirations if they register it somewhere and work towards it. Same is applicable in keeping fit. You can decide that you would want to exercise for 40 min every day, run away when you see junks coming your way etc. When you do this over a period of time, you can reward yourself for a job well done by taking yourself out, going for a massage, or a movie. Now what? Reading this piece is one thing, practicing what you read is another. Like I enumerated above, these steps will help you reach your fitness goals if you put in the work. Stay fit!! Stay healthy!! Live long!! Download the HealthConnect 24x7 mobile app to speak to a wellness expert today.

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Anemia: Everything You Need to Know

Anemia is a very common medical condition that affects about 1.5 million people per year across Nigeria.   What Is Anemia? Anemia is one of two different things. It could either be a lack of red blood cells or a lack of hemoglobin (which is the substance in your bloodstream that takes the air you breathe and binds it to your blood). It should also be noted that anemia could be a combination of the two - i.e lack of red blood cells and lack of hemoglobin.   What are Symptoms of Anemia? Before we discuss some of the symptoms of Anemia, let us give you a little backstory to help you understand why these symptoms occur. First off, both red blood cells and hemoglobin are essential when it comes to helping the body’s system function properly. What these means is quite simple - serious side-effects will occur whenever any irregularities are found in both your blood and hemoglobin levels. Some of these side-effects (or symptoms) include: Regular fatigue Dizziness Headaches Extreme numbness Irregular heartbeats Pale skin Chest pain, etc. It is important to note that while anemia can be treated, it could still damage a lot of organ systems and could even be fatal if left unchecked for a long time. This is especially true in cases involving the elderly where old age is usually attributed to these symptoms.   What are the Types and Causes of Anemia? Anemia ranges from mild to severe. It could be so mild that it goes unnoticed for quite some time until the situation worsens. When it worsens is when you start noticing any of the symptoms described above. Anemia generally occurs whenever your blood does not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygenate your organ tissues. Lack of red blood cells can happen in one of three scenarios: Your body does not make enough red blood cells Loss of blood (bleeding) causes you to lose red blood cells more quickly than your body reproduces another one Your body destroys the red blood cells it produces So, what are the causes of anemia? There are several types and causes of anemia. These include: Iron deficiency anemia: This is by far one of the most common types of anemia not only in Nigeria but worldwide. This type of anemia is caused by a shortage of iron in the blood. Pregnant women, blood loss from menstruation, ulcer, cancer and regular use of pain relievers (such as aspirin) are susceptible to this type of anemia. Vitamin deficiency anemia: This is also known as pernicious anemia, and it occurs when your body lacks certain nutrients needed to produce red blood cells. These vitamins include folate and vitamin B-12. When they are missing, your body will not be able to produce adequate red blood cells. Anemia of chronic disease: This type of anemia is caused when certain diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, Crohn's disease, and other chronic inflammatory diseases interfere with the production of red blood cells. Aplastic anemia: This type of anemia is quite rare. It is a life-threatening type of anemia that is caused by infections, certain medicines, autoimmune diseases and exposure to toxic chemicals. Other types of anemias include Hemolytic anemias, Sickle cell anemia etc. For a full list of anemias, click here.   Tips to Prevent Anemia A phrase every Nigerian is familiar with is “prevention is better than cure”. However, not all types of anemia can be prevented. Those caused by cancer or genetic malfunctions cannot be prevented. But there is a lot you can do about the other types. Discussed below are some prevention tips you can start implementing today to be on the safe side: Tip #1 - Ensure you are consuming a vitamin-rich diet As stated at the beginning of this section, not all anemias can be prevented. However, iron deficiency anemia and vitamin deficiency anemia can be prevented by incorporating foods rich in vitamins and nutrients into your diet. These include iron, Folate, Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin C. You should also consider a multivitamin supplement. Tip #2 - Quit smoking and (binge) drinking Your kidneys are responsible for a lot of important functions in your body. One of these functions includes creating Erythropoietin - the chemical your bone marrow uses in producing red blood cells. As you know, smoking and drinking do a lot of damage to your kidneys. These damages slow down the production of the chemicals, which in turn slows down the production of red blood cells, which in turn causes anemia. Tip #3 - Excercise regularly Regular exercise can improve your blood circulation and flow, which is essential for distributing oxygen to different parts of your body. As a matter of fact, exercise has been known to help anemia in certain instances of cancer. Apart from that, exercises help with keeping an overall healthy body.   Conclusion Anemia can be fatal if left untreated. Whenever you notice your body is giving off signs of fatigue, headaches etc. (as described in the symptoms section), it is important to reach out to a healthcare provider immediately. Consulting with any of HealthConnect 24x7’s licensed doctors is a good way to get started. The benefits of using HealthConnect is the ease and accessibility - you just download the mobile app and speak to any one of us from the comfort of your home. Finally, prevention is better than cure. Take our prevention tips literally and run with it. It could end up saving your life even if you believe you can never have anemia. Did you learn anything from this article? If so, share with your friends and loved ones on social media.  

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5 Ways to Know if You Are Experiencing a Burnout

Nobody is immune to the effects of burnout. From CEOs to athletes, corporate executives and even employees - everyone is likely to experience burnout at least once in their lifetime. There are several ways to determine if you are experiencing burnout. But before we dive into the different ways, let us first explain what burnout is. What is Burnout? In simple terms, burnout can be described as a state of chronic stress that causes both physical and emotional exhaustion; cynicism and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. While you cannot be diagnosed with burnout, the symptoms are quite similar to those with depression, anxiety or (as mentioned above) stress. So, how do you know if you are suffering from burnout? Listed below are five (5) ways to know if you are experiencing burnout. How to Know if You Are Experiencing a Burnout Burnout results from feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. This could be at work, at home or in your business. There are several ways to find out if what you are feeling is burnout. Read through the list below to decide for yourself: Exhaustion: One of the most obvious signs of burnout is exhaustion. This could be physical, mental or both. You might find yourself losing excitement for things you like generally. You could also find yourself extremely tired even without any obvious stressor. Lack of productivity: This is another sign that something is wrong. Whenever you feel yourself not being able to hit your KPIs, even when all the circumstances are right, then you should definitely be worried that something is up. Lack of sleep: Insomnia is another sign of burnout. When you feel exhausted and still cannot sleep? Then you know something is wrong and should definitely get yourself checked out. You can speak to any of our HealthConnect doctors 24/7 if you are having sleepless nights and you are unable to attribute it to anything. Loss of appetite: In the early stages of your burnout, you may realize you are not feeling hungry most of the time and as a result, skip a few meals. However, in the latter stages of your burnout, you may actually start losing weight because you could actually lose your appetite altogether. See a doctor before that happens. Depression and anxiety: This is all too common with people suffering from burnout. Anxiety or depression are very common symptoms. In some cases, a person suffering from burnout can experience both. It usually starts with mild symptoms of worry and tension. Then it progresses to something more serious. Conversely, feelings of sadness and guilt could also be felt during a very bad burnout. So, how do you deal with these symptoms of burnout? We discuss some tips in the following section. Tips to Deal with Burnout Before we dive into the tips to help you overcome burnout, you need to realize something - your burnout did not happen overnight and as a result, it cannot be reversed overnight. That means you need to allow time for this to actually work for you to see results. So, without further ado, listed below are a few tips on how to overcome a burnout: Tip 1 - Speak to a doctor: The first step towards recovering from your burnout is to speak to a doctor. A doctor can walk you through the various stressors in your life and identify ways to help you mitigate the chances of a reoccurrence by tracking your progress. Tip 2 - Learn to be assertive: One of the major causes of burnout is passive-aggression. Learn to say “no” to requests and situations that you are not happy with. At the end of the day, you need to be responsible for yourself and your well-being. Tip 3 - Unplug from everything: Everything means literally everything. Your devices, your work, your business, your social circles. You need to unplug from everything and everyone as much as you can. Tip 4 - Relax: What do you do after unplugging from everything? You need to relax. There are several ways for you to do that: sleeping, meditating, exercise, yoga etc. Look for what works best for you and stick with it. The key is to ensure you feel relaxed and ready to jump back into the grind. Tip 5 - Delegate: Not all tasks should be handled by you. Whenever you are faced with such a task, just delegate it to someone else. This doesn’t just only help you focus on more important tasks, it also helps you be more productive. Tip 6 - Surround yourself with a support system: Another strategy that can help you overcome a burnout is to simply talk about it. This could be with friends and family - or with a non-judgmental support group that will listen to you and offers constructive advice on how to deal with your situation. Conclusion In conclusion, it is best to pay more attention to some of the stressors listed above and look for ways to avoid them. Additionally, while the tips outlined will help you overcome a burnout, the most important thing is to take things easy and avoid having a burnout in the first place. And when you realize that you do have burnout - speak to a doctor immediately! Our doctors are available 24/7 via our toll-free number - 08000HEALTH (08000432584) or download our mobile app for free. Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends on social media.  

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