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Archive for May, 2016

Why the HPV Virus is so Dangerous and What You Can Do?

Why the HPV Virus is so Dangerous and What You Can Do?

The human papilloma virus is one of the most pervasive and common viruses around today.  It is primarily a STD that is easily transmitted through almost all forms of sexual contact.  However, people can easily catch it from casual contact as well.  It’s important to know how this virus can impact you or someone you love.  Let’s take a look at the basics as well as what you can do to protect yourself.

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Small Virus

HPV is a very small virus.  In fact, it is smaller than the microscopic holes in the material that condoms are made from.  Consequently, even it can be transmitted even when protected.  Furthermore, HPV can be transmitted through any holes in the skin or mucous membranes.  It is also a very common virus since it is transmitted so easily. 

What makes HPV so dangerous is that people can be asymptomatic for their entire lives.  They can carry it and never know they are infected.  This is one of the reasons that it has spread so quickly and impacts a huge percentage of the population.  Visible signs of infection are in the form of warts that thrive in the moist tissues in the genital area, near the anus or in the mouth.  However, not everyone has them, and many warts are difficult to detect with the naked eye.

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Causes of Cancer

The biggest risk associated with HPV is cervical cancer in women and testicular cancer in men.  In fact, HPV accounts for the vast majority of cervical cancer cases in the world.  Many experts suggest that if HPV was eradicated, so would this type of cancer.  It can also cause cancer to the rest of the genitalia.  Babies are also prone to infection as the virus can be transmitted during childbirth.  Keep in mind that just because someone has HPV doesn’t mean they will develop cancer, rather the likelihood increases.

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Vaccines

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A large, global vaccination program has been initiated over the past few years as a way to protect women from getting this virus.  However, it is not a cure, and those who are infected carry it for life.  While the debate over vaccination rages on, the only other way to ensure that transmission stops is through abstinence or testing to make sure a sexual partner does not have the virus.  However, since transmission can occur beyond sexual activity, the public at large is also at risk of picking it up during the normal course of life as well.

The biggest fear is that this common virus can mutate into something more hazardous and deadly.  For the time being, vaccinations are the only sure-fire way to prevent catching the virus, and even those are not 100% effective all of the time.  Consequently, HPV is one example of a seemingly-endless list of viruses that can infect us at any point in time, and there is little we can do other than react when an outbreak occurs. 

Keep in mind that HPV has silently infected a huge portion of the global population without raising too many red flags until it was too late.  Take time to learn more about HPV, how to get tested, and what things can be done to minimize transmission.

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Gaining the Upper Hand on the Mosquito Battle This Year

Gaining the Upper Hand on the Mosquito Battle This Year

Mosquitoes are posing a greater health risk this year than we’ve seen in a long time.  The advent and almost certain spread of the Zika virus along with all of the other diseases that we have already been dealing with is a huge concern for all of us.  It’s important to accept the fact that mosquitoes will be a problem despite our best efforts to control them.  Therefore, we should focus our efforts on  minimizing risk as we head outdoors during the summer months.

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Cover from Head to Toe

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The single, most effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to cover the body from head to toe.  Wear shoes, socks, jeans, long sleeve shirts and neck and face protection.  This may not be comfortable, but it’s essentially the only way to prevent the majority of mosquito bites.  They simply can not penetrate through these layers of clothing.  The more of your skin that is protected will translate into fewer bites, without the need for repellents or other remedies to keep mosquitoes at bay.

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Netting

Mosquito nets are the second best line of defense.  They prevent them from entering areas that are cordoned off.  You can find nets in all shapes and sizes, which makes it possible to cover everything from windows to beds, living areas to campsites.  The more netting you have will translate into fewer mosquitoes getting inside. 

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Repellent

While there are a lot of natural repellent recipes out there, keep in mind that not all of them work.  Citronella is one example of a natural option that is effective.  However, many are not, and you will be using them at your own risk.  While a lot of us do not like the idea of chemical repellents on our clothing and skin, extreme situations require extreme measures.  Consider purchasing DEET repellent or similar alternatives and covering exposed skin.  The more clothing that you have on will limit the amount of repellent that you need, and this can also reduce any risk of harmful exposure.  Just make sure that you wash off the repellent after mosquitoes have gone away for the day.

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Preparing the Area

We all know that we can reduce the amount of mosquitoes in our area by removing sources that attract them.  This is particularly true when it comes to standing water, yard debris and certain types of plants and shrubs.  The habitat that mosquitoes like will depend on your area and what species call that location home.  Do a little bit of research to determine how you can make your site as unfriendly to mosquitoes as possible.  Fewer mosquitoes translate into fewer problems.  You can also consider fogging or applying certain pesticides to your area in order to eliminate risk as well.  Just keep in mind that this alone won’t eliminate mosquito problems.  However, it can go a long way with respect to keeping populations under control.

It’s important that you have multiple layers of defense against mosquitoes.  Take the time to establish a comprehensive repellent and elimination system in order to reduce the chances of getting bitten this summer.  Ideally, you want to stay indoors or under netting during peak times when mosquitoes are the most active.  However, these and other steps can be helpful when you don’t have much of a choice.

The more you can do now to prepare will help to establish a zone of safety that can provide the best possible protection against getting bitten.  Remember that not every mosquito carries disease, so taking an approach to minimize contact will help to reduce risk.  However, always remember that it’s impossible to eliminate mosquitoes entirely at the present time, so the burden is on us to take as many steps to prevent bites as possible. 

These adjustments may be time-consuming, constricting and annoying, but they are necessary to protect you and your family.  Remember that a big part of survival is in the form of prevention and the minimization of risk, and this often requires a lot of adaptation.  It’s better to bite the bullet and suffer some inconveniences in order to reduce risk, and it’s worth the extra effort in the long run.

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