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Staphylococcus- the mythical mother of all STDs!

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The doctor’s in the building…Here is a post by our very own doctor and guest blogger. Hope this answers all your questions about Staphylococcus!


Growing up, I had always heard about the dreaded disease- Staphylococcus. Even the name sounded so serious, a life threatening disease I was sure it was. I couldn’t wait to have the lecture on it in school. I figured it was going to be in the league of HIV/AIDS. Then we started having lectures, days became weeks then months, yet none of my lecturers had talked about it yet. Hmm, perhaps they were saving the ‘best’ for the last. Then one day, our microbiology lecturer was talking about bacteria and then he talked about the cocci group of bacteria, finally! I said to myself. Then he mentioned staphylococci, I settled into my seat properly, ready and eager to know all there was about this dreaded disease. To be fair, the lecturer probably spent 30minutes talking about staphylococcus, the laboratory findings, the clinical features and then the treatment and management. I wasn’t satisfied. After all, last week we talked about HIV for about 3 days. Why should this disease get only 30 minutes, wasn’t it serious enough? Considering all the fliers, newspaper adverts, billboards, radio jingles and TV adverts dedicated to this disease by various trado-doctors (herbalists or babalawos) why were the Western doctors not taking the disease seriously? Maybe that’s why we kept losing the trust of our patients. What would uncle R think if I couldn’t cure common staph? What sort of doctor would I be?

Now, I’m usually self-conscious and I don’t like to ask questions in class and all, but seeing that I’d been looking forward to this topic, I was torn, do I get up and ask the lecturer more questions or should I just read about it? While I was still trying to decide, a classmate of mine asked the questions on my mind.

‘Was staph not a sexually transmitted disease, didn’t it cause infertility and why were there no antibiotics that could treat it, why did people need to seek herbal medicine to manage staph?’

So my people, that was how my classmates and I saw through the scam that these native doctors aka babalawos aka tradomedicine aka herbalists aka naturalists run on the average unsuspecting Nigerian. I really don’t know the genesis of how staphylococcus being an STI came about. I don’t even know who taught these guys how to spell the word, seeing as it does take me some time to spell it correctly. All I know is somehow, one day these guys had a meeting and decided that staphylococcus was a big sounding word that would instil fear in their clients and fetch them more money because of the claim that it was life threatening, sexually transmitted and would affect their fertility. You know we Nigerians don’t joke with anything that would affect our fertility, our sex lives or our lives generally.

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So ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to dispel a couple of rumours and hopefully I would be able to relieve you of the fears you have and provide you with adequate information about the great staphylococcus bacteria. Don’t get me wrong, staphylococcus infections could be very serious requiring long hospital stays and strong ANTIBIOTICS, IN THE HOSPITAL under the supervision of a MEDICAL DOCTOR.

Here are ten things you didn’t know about staph.

  1. Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria that can cause a number of diseases as a result of infection of various tissues of the body. They can cause illness can range from mild and requiring no treatment to severe and potentially deadly.
  2. Staphylococci can be found normally in the nose and on the skin of around 25%-30% of healthy adults and in these people it does not cause disease. Due to this, it is often found as a contaminant in laboratory cultures so a urine, blood, vaginal swab or seminal fluid specimen can yield staph as a contaminant if the specimen is not properly handled or the laboratory work environment is not sterile. This is probably why a lot of labs give results that show patients have ‘staph’.
  3. Anyone can develop a Staph infection, although certain groups of people are at greater risk, including new born infants, breastfeeding women, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, IV drug users, those with skin injuries or disorders, intravenous catheters, surgical incisions, and those with a weakened immune system.
  4. Skin infections are the most common infections that can occur from staphylococcus, this can be as minor as pimples or boils (abscess collection), cellulitis or as fatal as scalded skin syndrome. In this case, it can be transmitted from person to person and is highly contagious. Since pus from infected wounds may contain the bacteria, proper hygiene and hand washing is required when caring for Staph-infected wounds.
  5. Staphylococcus can also cause mastitis which is a collection of abscess in d breast which makes the breast painful and swollen and is usually seen in breast feeding mothers.
  6. Staph infection can spread in the blood stream and cause pneumonia (infection in the lungs) or cause endocarditis (infection of the heart valves) or cause osteomyelitis (infection of the bones) or general staphylococcal sepsis which is wide spread infection of the entire blood stream.
  7. There is also a kind of food poisoning that can be caused by staph. In this cause the symptoms are acute vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration usually develop within one to six hours after eating contaminated food. The illness usually lasts for one to three days and resolves on its own. Patients with this illness are not contagious.
  8. Toxic shock syndrome is a rare potentially fatal infection caused by toxins from staphylococcus. It is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and muscle aches, followed by low blood pressure (hypotension), which can lead to shock and death.
  9. Treatment of staphylococcus is dependent on the kind of illness. Minor skin infections are usually treated with an antibiotic ointment or in some cases, oral antibiotics. If abscesses are present, they are surgically drained. More serious and life-threatening infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
  10. Prevention includes careful hand washing, avoiding close skin contact with possible infected individuals; also careful attention to food-handling and food-preparation practices can decrease the risk of staphylococcal food poisoning.

So there you have it. Everything you need to know about staph. Staphylococcus is NOT a sexually transmitted disease so please stop dashing money to these no-gooders and spread the word!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions and thanks for stopping by at the doctor’s office. x

 

You can follow our guest blogger on twitter: @deevadoc

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4 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Health

 

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Baby Dust…

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Everybody loves a cute, cuddly baby. Most people would not consider a marriage complete without children. Many times a lot of pressure is put on new couples to procreate especially in this part of the world. Couples who choose not to in the first one to two years of marriage are considered odd even if the reasons for not bearing children are because they cannot yet afford the added expenses. Then there are those whose parents and in-laws begin to dream of grand children from the day the couple says “I do” and call periodically to ask “How far?” Their omugwo bags already packed! All in all, when the baby making process is delayed even for a year it makes the couple a little agitated and sometimes they lose focus of what’s important, they forget the love they share, the vows they took and the magic that made them choose to be together till death.

Here are 5 strange but true things women have done to force a stork to land on their doorstep with their very own bundle of joy:

1. Juju-baby: Under the mango tree Mama Calabar chants slowly as she crushes the herbs together her next customer awaits. She inserts the herbs into the woman’s secret place and forces her to drink the bitter concoction. She deftly massages the woman’s abdomen commenting from time to time “Ah your womb dey hot oh and e no dey the correct position”. She guarantees a pregnancy in 3 months for a fee that she points out is quite affordable and asks for your preference just as money changes hands. “Na boy or na girl you want? Abi na triplets?”. And every once in a while the stork lands and news of Mama Calabar’s j-babies is spread about!

2. Chemical conception: Clomid, Evening Primrose Oil, Fertility Pills…you name it, she’s chewed it! Injections, insertions and pills upon pills, over the counter and under it too, a mad scientist she becomes, combining poisons and antidotes, searching for the secret formula that makes babies appear… her body, her very own guinea pig…sigh…

3. Phantom pregancy: She wants it so bad her mind just lets her have it. Full breasts -oh so sore, potruding belly and the more than welcome nausea. All the signs she anticipated, finally she is a member of the club but her belly doesn’t look like any of the others, it doesn’t kick like it should, just a churning every once in a while and those infuriating doctors are being so negative they and their faulty equipment. But alas, there’s a thin line between faith and phantom…

4. Baby Factory Home Delivery: “Have a baby for me, baby, be a millionaire…” Transactions, Theft or Deception, one way or the other she’s gonna have a baby, someone else’s baby but it’s all the same innit? Why bother your head about the teenage girl who would most certainly have abandoned her child? She has been relieved of her burden and you paid good money for it too. Where’s the crime?

5. Deliverance: Your grandmother’s cousin’s aunty keeps eating all your unborn children, die by fire, by fire by fireeeeee!!! Prayer becomes a non-stop incantation beseeching the sovereign Lord to have mercy upon you and destroy the enemies whose power your fear has profoundly magnified.

Sometimes when the Lord says hold on my child, He isn’t busy, forgetful or partial. Everybody has a different destiny, we run a different race from the next guy. Your marriage won’t be perfect after that child is born, life won’t be complete because you have procreated. I feel the need to write this because so many women and men are under intense pressure and are falling apart because they can’t have kids. I know women who have been chased out of their matrimonial homes and others who are sadly living a lie, knowing their marriage is only a sham and their husbands have gone out to have kids with strange women. Here are 5 more facts you should ponder on before you throw in the towel.

1. Infertility in a marriage could be attributed to the man, the woman, both parties or neither of them all in equal proportions. I have had scenarios at work where a female patient came in to do tests totally distraught because she couldn’t have kids and her husband was maltreating her and after doing the tests we find out she’s fine and that the husband is sterile. What happens next? Don’t maltreat your partner, you promised to love and protect each other and it wasn’t on the condition that she have kids. Imagine how you would feel if the tables were turned?

2. God’s time is truly the best time. This isn’t cliche, neither is it a catch phrase. When you do have that baby in your arms, you’ll look back and realise the baby couldn’t have come at a better time, trust me! And while you are waiting, enjoy your marriage! Have sex in every corner of the house as loudly as you dare, go on exciting vacations. Imagine you and your husband are still dating and have all the fun in the world before the kids come.

3. Get Tested. Many couples sit at home trying all sorts of methods to conceive without actually finding out what the problem is. Getting a diagnosis means you can look at treatment options which makes you a step closer to resolving the problem and it doesn’t take away from your faith it only directs your prayers to a more specific problem.

4. Sponsor a child. Adoption is not as common as it should be in these parts of the world. Partly because of the administrative bottlenecks and also because tradition largely hasn’t embraced the principle of adoption but it doesn’t mean your hands are tied. Nothing brings baby dust like helping children. You could visit an orphanage from time to time or help out a poor family around you who can’t provide adequately for their kids or sponsor a child anywhere around the world via Compassion International http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm

5. Get a support group. So many couples suffer alone in silence till it tears them apart. Find other couples who don’t have kids and support each other. Many times it helps when you know you are not the only one passing through this phase.
Remember that in His time, He makes all things beautiful. Trust Him to do the best for you whether it means making you the best mother on the planet or the most fabulous god-mother in the universe! Never lose your joy or sleep over something not within your control, life is too short! There are women who died during childbirth and left a kid behind without a mother. You are alive and kicking and I daresay your significant other would choose you alive and with him over ten children any day!

Sleep well chutzpah fam and lots of baby dust on all of you…xxx

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2013 in Inspirational

 

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