Healthy Pets, Healthy Humans: All about rabies

Protect yourself by protecting your animal; rabies is real.

Pets are adorable and having them is beautiful. But having a pet comes with certain responsibilities that many in Ghana fail to recognize like keeping your pet healthy. This attitude is borne out of the long standing disregard for people’s personal health which transcends into the care of our pets.

But having a healthy pet = having a healthy human.

This equation is so because of the close nature with which we live, relate and play with our pets. The most common pets that people in Ghana have in our homes are dogs and cats. These animals are also prone to certain diseases and illnesses that could cause humans to also get sick if not treated early or prevented. One of such diseases is the Rabies disease.

The Rabies disease is a 100% preventable illness that has a 100% fatality (death) rate if symptoms of the disease starts to show. It is a viral disease which means it is caused by a virus.

How is it transmitted? : Rabies is transmitted through the bite of an animal who already has rabies.

The animals that can be affected by rabies includes dogs, cats, raccoons, bats.

How to Prevent Rabies in animals:

1. Vaccination: The most effective way to prevent rabies in your pet is to vaccinate them against rabies. The anti-rabies vaccine is what protects the animals from the disease. These vaccines are given at the veterinary clinics around the country. This vaccine is given every year to protect the dog/cat, from getting infected with rabies.   Visit a Vet hospital for your rabies vaccine.

2. Keep your pets in the house: It is safe to keep your pets in the house without allowing them to go and roam around alone. In Ghana there are lots of stray dogs and cats in both our cities and villages and these dogs are mostly rabid dogs and cats. When you leave your pets to go out and play with these animals you not only expose them to rabies, but you expose your family too.

3. Keep your kids away from strange animals : Children are found of playing with dogs and cats. It is necessary to keep your kids from animals you do not  know. Educate your child on Rabies and why it is important to stay away from animals that are not owned by the family.

4. Protect the communities against stray dogs: Stray animals like dogs and cats  are animals that do not have a home and are not cared for by anyone. These dogs are dangerous to the people because they have the ability to infect other animals and even people with rabies through their bites. The community leaders are therefore encouraged to do away with such animals to protect the lives of the people.

Prevention is better than cure. Prevent rabies, protect your life.

 

 

 

4 most important personal information employers must have of their employees.

A young man about 22 years was rushed to the emergency department after falling unconscious. He was a driver’s mate (bus attendant). He was brought in by one of the drivers at the bus station he works at.

Upon arrival, the driver was only able to mention the patient’s nickname but not his real name. He did not know his age, he had no idea where he stayed,  he couldn’t tell us about any relatives or next of Kin we could contact us and he certainly had no information regarding his medical history.  

When asked how he didn’t know anything he said; the boy has been at the station for over 5 years. He works with a lot of drivers as a driver’s mate. They only know about a relative of his who comes around to look for him once in a while but they do not have his number. According to the driver, patient was fine in the morning but fell to the ground suddenly and didn’t wake up so they brought him. His BP was very high over 200/140mmHg.

Sadly the young man died later that night. From cardiac (heart complications ).

After his death the station master came around. He said the boy drank a lot of alcohol, and he would even cause disturbances at the station sometimes.

Now getting the news of the death to the boy’s relatives was a problem because no one knew them. The body was sent to the morgue without any family member’s knowledge.

What’s the gap? There is an absence of personnel personal record keeping system in the informal sectors like the transport stations. Unlike the formal sectors and institutions where key information is collected and kept on record, these informal places of work have none, which makes it dangerous in times of emergencies like this one.

Example; Station masters should have the personal emergency information of all the people under him. The drivers, mates, etc.

Type of information needed for the emergency personal information records. 

1.Name  ( Name on ID card) :It is very necessary for people’s real names to be kep on record. This is because most people tend to call their fellow workers by their nicknames which most times replace their real names. And in times of emergencies, their real names are not known. Patients get abandoned unintentionally all the time by their relatives and friends because the names they are admitted with are often times different from what is on record.

2. Age : A person’s age tells a lot about them which is more so medically.

3. Place of residence: Where the people live.

4. Next of Kin: Knowing who to call in time of emergency is very vital especially in this age where money is needed to get most things done at the hospital. Also in cases where blood transfusion is needed, having someone to call can be all that is needed to save a life.

These four pieces of personal information should be collected and kept for time of emergency. It can be life saving.

Spread the word.

Leave your comments here.  Like and follow my blog for more on health.

 

Have healthy breasts with these tips.

One of the most visible parts of a woman’s body is her breasts. Not only are the breasts visible, but they provide a sense of womanhood,  enhances her beauty, they serve as a source of pleasure during sexual intimacy and my personal favourite which is that the woman’s breast provides the most healthy form of nutrition for her baby. For these reasons, it is very important for us to take very good care of our breasts.

Ways to Keep your breast healthy! 

  1. Be breast aware:  You need to know your own breasts. Being breast aware means you know everything about your breasts. How it feels, how it looks, the size of both breasts and how it looks. This can only be done if you periodically check and examine your breasts. Breast awareness is very necessary to keeping your breast healthy since you are able to identify early any changes that may occur.  Also being breast awareness means you know about breast cancer and what to look out for with regards to the signs and symptoms.
  2. You need to maintain a healthy weight : Studies have shown that being overweight during adulthood especially after menopause  increases a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. Therefore it is healthier to keep a normal weight as you grow older to reduce your chances of breast cancer.
  3. Exercise! Hit the road with some brisk walking, or skip a rope every now and then. You can also join a gym or try some yoga at home. All these can serve as good exercise that can keep your breast healthy.
  4. No / Less Alcohol intake : Too much Alcohol use can also increase your risk of breast cancer. It us advisable to reduce alcohol use more importantly after menopause.
  5. Know your Family health history: Some cancers have genetic predisposition. Breast cancer is one of such. Which means if a biological family member (eg. Mother, sister, aunt, etc.) has experienced breast cancer, there is an increased risk for you. By knowing this about your family’s medical history you can properly take care of yourself by adopting a healthier lifestyle to prevent it.
  6. Taking oral contraceptives: Some oral contraceptives can increase your risk of acquiring breast cancer.  If you intend to use any, make sure to read about it or ask questions when next you’re at the family planning office.
20171117_174648

A 19-year-old girl had a baby and experienced post partum anaemia (anaemia after having a baby) and was brought to the emergency department. She was HIV positive.

Upon talking with her she disclosed that, She had been infected with the HIV disease at birth since both parents were HIV positive. She has lived with the condition all her life and she has been taking her drugs.

Asking about the father of the baby, she revealed that he did not know her HIV status. I asked why she wouldn’t inform him, but chose to have unprotected sex with the man and subsequently have a baby with him. But she refused to say anything and kept quite.

 

Now here’s the kicker. ..

1. There are more young people living with HIV and other STD  than you may think.

2. Unprotected sex is costly so use a condom. It is way cheaper!

3. HIV doesn’t have a look anymore.  People living with HIV look healthy and strong just like others without the condition.  So stop looking out for unhealthy and emaciated individuals. You will make a mistake.

4. Stick to one partner and be committed to each other. That’s the only way to protect yourselves.

5. Always undergo a screening test of HIV before engaging in unprotected sex in a relationship.  Love has everything to do with it. Love protects so protect each other.

HIV is very real so live your life with healthy sexual practices.

#HIVisreal

 

It is time for medical ID use in Ghana :Lets Save our lives.

I have come across so many  chronically ill patients especially diabetics who almost lost their lives or for the very unfortunate ones, lose their lives all because of situations that could have been easily prevented.

20171117_174648“One of such instances was a 42 year old male who was rushed to the Emergency department one morning by the Police in an unconscious state.

According to the police, the patient  was a driver caught in a traffic jam. As they waited the patient’s car started moving, causing the other cars in front of him to also knock on each other. The traffic police then identified the cause of the accidents and noticed that the patient had placed his head on his steering wheel and his leg pressed on the accelerator. He was unconscious.

They pulled him out of the car and poured water on him (a common but wrong practice in Ghana ). When he wouldn’t wake up they put him in another car and drove him to the ED.

Upon arrival, patients blood sugar was checked at the triage and recorded 1.4 mmol/l signifying that he was in a hyooglycaemic state (low blood sugar ). Client was given 50mls of 50% Dextrose after an IV access was secured. The patient immediately regained consciousness and was able to tell us that he was a diabetic. This was actually the second time he has encountered hypoglycaemia. ”

Why the need for Medical IDs

1. Medical IDs save lives: People like this patient have lost their lives because the first responders did not know to do the right thing. But with the introduction and proper education and awareness creation about medical IDs, first responders like strangers, EMTs, Police, etc will be able to know what to do to save the lives of those in need.

2. Minimise delay in treatment:

Having a medical ID can alert the healthcare givers to treat you promptly with little or no delays.

3. Help reduce healthcare costs: Wearing of medical IDs have the potential to reduce admissions, unecessary laboratory investigations, prevent minor emergencies from becoming serious. All these can impact positively on healthcare cost reduction for both individuals and the government as a whole.

There are many other medical conditions like asthma, hypertension, allergies, etc that needs to be known in the state of emergency.

Let’s advocate for the use of medical ID use.

#LetsusemedicalIDtosavelives

Diabetes: Let’s learn some facts

1. Diabetes is preventable! Yes you can protect yourself from diabetes by being physically active. Doing at least 30 minutes of exercise most of the days plus eating healthy can help minimise your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

2. Physical inactivity, overweight and obesity can be said to be the chief cause of the increasing diabetes epidemic in the world.

3. There are 4 types of diabetes which are; Type 1 diabetes , Type 2 diabetes,  Gestational diabetes and Pre – diabetes. But about 90% of diabetes cases are Type 2 diabetes.

4. Globally, deaths associated with diabetes have 80% recorded in low and middle-income countries.

5. Lack of awareness about diabetes, combined with insufficient access to health services, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

6. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death globally.

WHO

NB: Share with a friend.

 

 

7 children who are at risk of rape

There has been a lot of recorded rape cases in the news in our country recently. These acts although frowned upon in our communities, still have not received the needed attention both till now.

It has become very necessary for parents to know how to protect their children from such perpetrators. Although children are being targeted,  not all children are at risk of being abused sexually. Studies have shown that some groups of children are at a higher risk of becoming rape victims than others.

1. Children from a poor family: Poverty poses a great risk to the health of families, communities, and nations as a whole. One of the many risks is the risk of children being raped. This is mostly due to the community or neighbourhood they live in, the level of education of the parents, their lack or inability to seek legal representation if such incidents happened. Children born to poor parents need protection.

2. Children in rural basic schools: Let me ask you,  of all the rape cases recorded in school how many were in Private schools? It is a known fact in Ghana that parents who are well to do send their children to private schools  (Primary and junior high schools ). Therefore there  is an almost 0% risk of getting your child raped in a private school. This is because the people know the parents can take you on.

3. Children from broken homes (with single moms ): Having both parents around to care for a child creates a protective shield for them. But when a marriage breaks and single parenting sets in, especially in cases where the mother is left to care for the children, people with these bad intentions tend to think the mothers are not able to stand up for their kids without the father. Especially in cases when the woman is uneducated.

4. Children who experience poor parent child relationship: Children depend on their good relationship with their parents to form other relationships outside. When there is a gap or an unfriendly one between them and their parents, they are likely to extend that need for attention and care to others who may take advantage of it to abuse them sexually. It is important for parents to strengthen their bond with their children to avoid misplaced dependency.

5. Children who are left at home with no proper  supervision: In this modern-day where parents are mostly busy and have little time to spend watching over their own kids; it is easy for them to be left in the care of an unqualified caretaker. Such practice exposes the children to sexual abuse and other kinds of abuse.

6. Children who live with their step-fathers: It is more common to hear about a step father sexually abusing his step child than to hear about a biological father doing same. Mothers who have their children living with step parents should be aware and vigilant to avoid such malpractice.

7. Children who are in abusive homes: No one likes to live in an unhappy home.  Children who are from abusive homes like to stay out to prevent the negative energy at home. These children are sometimes exposed to people who might abuse them sexually. The sad part is that such children are mostly not heard when they complain to their parents.

 NB: These children listed here are at an increased risk of being sexually abused. But it doesn’t mean that all children in these categories are or will be abused. Prevention is better than cure. And knowledge is power.  Now that you know, you have the power to protect your child.

 

picture by Trevor Cole.

 

 

 

 

 

Information you should know before leaving the hospital as a patient.

I have come across a number of patients in the form of friends, family, and strangers who visit the hospital when sick to seek care but leave afterwards only to have no idea what, why, and how they are sick. Most people leave the hospital/ doctor’s office knowing nothing about the condition they are in.  It is important to have the following information as a patient before leaving the hospital.

  • The medical condition: There has been countless times I’ve heard people tell me “I don’t know”; after they have been to the hospital and I ask “what did the doctor say your condition is?”. Then the other question follows, “you didn’t ask?” And they mostly reply, “the doctor didn’t tell me”.  As a patient it is your duty to be curious about what is making you unwell. You ask and be told what your condition is. And for the doctors, it is your responsibility to inform your patient about his/her illness. Always know your medical condition before leaving  the hospital.
  • The cause: People get sick due many reasons. Knowing what made you sick is one step ahead of preventing a reoccurrence. Medical conditions are triggered by different factors. You need to know what you are doing or are not doing that is causing you to get sick.
  • The tests /investigations:  Medical tests or investigations help doctors in understanding and  deciding the type of condition you are having and the kind of management or treatment that you should be given. These tests can be expensive and knowing what exactly is being done for you abdominal what you are paying for helps you to also better understand your condition.
  • The medications: As a patient you should know the medications you have been given. It’s just about the name, but also what the medication does and why you are being given that. You should not just take your prescription and purchase the medications without a proper understanding of what and why you need them. Also the side effects of the drug.
  • Your review date: It is not all conditions and all patients who are asked to come for review. But if you are to come for review,  you should know when (date and time).

Let’s change the habit of visiting the hospital and returning home clueless about the what, why and how of our conditions. Be informed about your health.

Be interested, be educated and be on top of tour care.

Is this rabies? Know the signs and symptoms of rabies in dogs and humans.

Don’t miss them!

A dog with rabies has these symptoms. 
1. Bites without any provocation
2. Eats abnormal items such as sticks, nails, faeces, etc.
3. Runs for no apparent reason
4. When there is a change in sound e.g. hoarse barking and
growling or inability to make a sound.  5.  Excessive salivation or foaming at the angles of the mouth – but not hydrophobia (fear of water).

 

Signs and symptoms of rabies in humans.

1.  Pain or itching at the site of the bite wound (in 80% of cases)
2. Fever, malaise, headache lasting for 2–4 days.
3. Hydrophobia (fear of water)
4. Intolerance to noise, bright light or air
5. Fear of impending death
6. Anger, irritability and depression
7. hyperactivity
8. At a later stage the mere sight of water may provoke spasms in the neck and throat
9. The duration of illness is usually 2–3 days, but might stretch to 5–6 days or more when receiving.

Don’t wait for these signs and symptoms to show. Vaccinate your dogs and cats.  Seek help immediately from a health facility after a dog bite.

First aid after dog bite: Prevent rabies with this 3 steps

After a dog bite, most people do not  know what to do. But knowing and doing the right thing after a dog bite can really be life saving for you. After you experience a dog bite, follow these steps to greatly reduce your risk of getting infected with rabies.

1. Wash the affected area with soap under running water for 10 minutes. This is according to the a world health organisation.  When there is no tap, get a bowl of water and let someone pour on you while you wash with the soap.

2. Wash the area with 70% alcohol /ethanol, or you can use povidine iodine.  (Do not apply anything else on it. )

3. Immediately seek care in a health facility.

Follow these 3 steps and protect yourself.