Common Illnesses

There are many different common illnesses that adults and children may experience or come down with every year. Here we have provided a list of illnesses and what to expect from them. click on the blue link in the left hand column. We are still in the process of providing patient education for some of the conditions that are not linked.

Asthma ADHD/ADD
Bladder Infections (UTI) Cuts and Scrapes
Bronchitis Depression & Anxiety
Burns Leg Swelling
Cholesterol Prostate
Diabetes Respiratory Infections
Gout Sinus Infection
Headaches / Migraines Sprains & Strains
Heartburn / GERD STD’s
Hemorrhoids Thyroid
High / Low Blood Pressure Ulcers
Menopause Warts

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my child has a fever?
How do I know if I have a cold or the flu?
Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine?
Do I need a tetanus vaccine after an injury or accident?
What is a normal blood and or high pressure?
What causes nasal disorders & nosebleeds?
What are shingles and are they contagious?
What are Chicken Pox and what do they look like?
What is pink eye?
How do I know if my child has an ear infection?
How do I know if I have an allergy?

What should I do if my child has a fever?

The normal temperature varies by person, age, time of day, and where on the body the temperature was taken. The average normal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C).

Your body temperature is usually highest in the evening. It can be raised by physical activity, strong emotion, eating, heavy clothing, medications, high room temperature, and high humidity.

Daily variations change as children get older

  • In children younger than 6 months of age, the daily variation is small.
  • In children 6 months to 2 years old, the daily variation is about 1 degree.
  • By age 6, daily variations gradually increase to 2 degrees per day.
  • Body temperature varies less in adults. However, a woman's menstrual cycle can raise temperature by one degree or more.

What Abnormal Results Mean

If the reading on the thermometer is more than 1 to 1.5 degrees above the patient's normal temperature, the patient has a fever. Most fevers are a sign of infection and occur with other symptoms. Abnormally high or low temperatures can be serious, and you should consult a health care provider.


How do I know if I have a cold or the flu?

Symptoms of the common cold are a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. You may also have a sore throat, cough, headache, or other symptoms. Many different germs, called viruses, cause colds. The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and (sometimes) lungs caused by the influenza virus. Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of your cold or flu.

Download "Is It a Cold or the Flu?


Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

There are two types of vaccines:

  • The "flu shot" an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
  • The nasal-spray flu vaccine a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for "live attenuated influenza vaccine" or FluMist®). LAIV (FluMist®) is approved for use in healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Nasal Spray: Vaccination Information Statement (VIS)

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1, and two other influenza viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus). The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

When to Get Vaccinated

Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.

Where to Get Vaccinated

Get vaccinated wherever you see vaccine available in your community. Your doctor's office, a public health clinic, supermarkets, pharmacies, schools, churches, senior centers, and a variety of other places are offering flu vaccine this season. Appomattox Medical Center offers the Flu Vaccine, contact us today to schedule an appointment.


Do I need a tetanus vaccine after an injury or accident?

Tetanus infection can result from exposure to a life-threatening bacteria found in soil. It can enter your body through an open wound, blocking signals from the spinal cord that help control the muscles.

Contact a doctor at once if

  • You have been injured while outside.
  • You have an open wound that has been exposed to soil.
  • You haven't received a tetanus booster within the last five years, or aren't sure when you were last vaccinated.

What is a normal blood and or high pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.

Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Usually they are written one above or before the other. A reading of

  • 120/80 or lower is normal blood pressure
  • 140/90 or higher is high blood pressure
  • 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number is prehypertension

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure. You can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits and taking medicines, if needed.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


What causes nasal disorders & nosebleeds?

Whether it's large or small, button-like or beak-like, your nose is important to your health. It filters the air you breathe, removing dust, germs and irritants. It warms and moistens the air to keep your lungs and tubes that lead to them from drying out. Your nose also contains the nerve cells that help your sense of smell. When there is a problem with your nose, your whole body can suffer. For example, the stuffy nose of the common cold can make it hard for you to breathe, sleep or get comfortable.

Many problems besides the common cold can affect the nose. They include

  • Deviated septum - a shifting of the wall that divides the nasal cavity into halves
  • Nasal polyps - soft growths that develop on the lining of your nose or sinuses
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rhinitis - inflammation of the nose and sinuses sometimes caused by allergies. The main symptom is a runny nose.

Click here to learn about nosebleeds tips


What are shingles and are they contagious?

What is shingles (herpes zoster)?

Shingles, also called herpes zoster or zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). VZV is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body. Usually the virus does not cause any problems; however, the virus can reappear years later, causing shingles. Herpes zoster is not caused by the same virus that causes genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease.

Are there any long-term effects from shingles?

Very rarely, shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death. For about 1 person in 5, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up. This pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia. As people get older, they are more likely to develop post-herpetic neuralgia, and it is more likely to be severe.

How common is shingles in the United States?

In the United States, there are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles each year.

Who gets shingles?

Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles, including children. However, shingles most commonly occurs in people 50 years old and older. The risk of getting shingles increases as a person gets older. People who have medical conditions that keep the immune system from working properly, like cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or people who receive immunosuppressive drugs, such as steroids and drugs given after organ transplantation are also at greater risk to get shingles.

Can shingles be spread to others?

Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, the virus that causes shingles, VZV, can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox through direct contact with the rash. The person exposed would develop chickenpox, not shingles. The virus is not spread through sneezing, coughing or casual contact. A person with shingles can spread the disease when the rash is in the blister-phase. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious. A person is not infectious before blisters appear or with post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after the rash is gone).


What are Chicken Pox and what do they look like?

What is varicella (chickenpox)?

Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which results in a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever.

A typical case of chickenpox

The rash appears first on the trunk and face, but can spread over the entire body causing between 250 to 500 itchy blisters in unvaccinated persons. Prior to use of the varicella vaccine, most cases of chickenpox occurred in persons younger than 15 years of age and the disease had annual cycles, peaking in the spring of each year.

How do you get chickenpox?

Chickenpox is highly infectious and spreads from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person’s coughing or sneezing or from aerosolization of virus from skin lesions. A person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. It takes from 10-21 days after exposure for someone to develop chickenpox. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend two – dose varicella vaccination.

Can you get chickenpox if you've been vaccinated?

Yes. About 15%–20% of people who have received one dose of chickenpox vaccine do still get chickenpox if they are exposed, but their disease is usually mild. Vaccinated persons who get chickenpox generally have fewer than 50 spots or bumps, which may resemble bug bites more than typical, fluid-filled chickenpox blisters. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend routine two-dose varicella.


What is pink Eye?

Pink, itchy eyes? Conjunctivitis – or pink eye – is common in adults and children. It spreads quickly and sometimes needs medical treatment, depending on the cause. Know the symptoms, get treatment if needed, and prevent its spread.

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults. It is an inflammation of the thin, clear lining of the white of the eye and inner eyelid, giving the eye a pink or reddish color.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

Pink eye results from viruses, bacteria, irritants (like smog or swimming pool chlorine), and allergens (like pet dander or dust mites) either infecting or irritating the eye and eyelid lining. Pink eye caused by viruses or bacteria spreads easily from person to person but is usually mild and generally gets better on its own, even without treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis?

Photo: A girl rubbing her eyes. Depending on the cause, pink eye symptoms vary but usually include the following:

  • Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
  • Increased amount of tears
  • White, yellow or green eye discharge
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Gritty feeling in the eye

How Is Conjunctivitis Treated?

The treatment for pink eye depends on the cause. It is not always necessary to see a healthcare provider for pink eye since it will often get better on its own. But, there are times when it is important to seek medical care and get an antibiotic or other medical treatment.


How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

Ear infections also called (otitis media) are the most common illnesses in babies and young children. Most often, the infection affects the middle ear and is called otitis media. The tubes inside the ears become clogged with fluid and mucus. This can affect hearing, because sound cannot get through all that fluid.

If your child does not yet talk, you need to look for signs of an infection

  • Tugging at ears
  • Crying more than usual
  • Ear drainage
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Balance difficulties
  • Hearing problems

Often, ear infections go away on their own, but your health care provider may recommend pain relievers. Severe infections and infections in young babies may require antibiotics. Children who get frequent infections may need surgery to place small tubes inside their ears. The tubes relieve pressure in the ears so that the child can hear again.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders


How do I know if I have an allergy?

An allergy is a reaction of your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions are

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Food
  • Insect stings
  • Medicines

How do you get allergies?

Scientists think both genes and the environment have something to do with it. Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body's defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm.

Allergies can cause a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling or asthma. Symptoms vary. Although allergies can make you feel bad, they usually won't kill you. However, a severe reaction called anaphylaxis is life-threatening.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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