Category Archives: True Stories

A story about viral meningitis

Me and my mom (2008)

Meningitis is no joke.

There are all sorts of things that can cause this nasty inflammation (swelling) of the membranes covering the brain, such as a bacterial or vial infection, injury, cancer, certain drugs, among other types of infection.

We have the Meningitis B Vaccine to protect against meningococcal group B bacteria-causing meningitis–a very nasty and potentially deadly form of meningitis. (Bacterial meningitis requires immediate medical attention.)

We also have several vaccines that can help protect from viral meningitis–an often less severe form of meningitis, however still very serious.

This is the story of when my mother contracted viral meningitis… Continue reading

I have herpes viruses and so do YOU

Herpes. What? HERPES?! I don’t have THAT. Do I?

Yes. And I do too. And I have a form that’s uncommon, painful, and straight-up weird. But first, let me explain why YOU are harboring herpes viruses…

Unless you live in under a rock completely removed from civilization you have at least ONE of the herpes viruses in your body.

You have one RIGHT NOW in your body. Herpes viruses, once they infect and cause disease, they hang around in your body forever, some ready to come back out and reactivate. Continue reading

Summer 2017 — Zika

Dr. Timothy Brei, left, examines Aryanna Guadalupe Sanchez-Rios during her check up on on May 5, 2017. (Photo: Heidi de Marco, Kasier Health News)

We aren’t hearing about the Zika virus as much as we did last summer, but it’s still around and still pretty scary, especially for expectant mothers.

In the summer of 2016 you may have heard zika mentioned on the news at least several times, if not more. Health officials were urging everyone, especially pregnant women, to wear bug spray with DEET when venturing outside. Being infected with the mosquito-borne virus while pregnant lead to babies born with birth defects and other health problems. Last year the US had over 5,000 reported cases (many other cases without symptoms unreported) in thousands of American cities.

The summer of 2017? As far is mid June there have already been 650 reported cases of zika in the US. However, most people don’t have symptoms and don’t even know they have the virus. Most cases go unreported.

The CDC has reported that the types of mosquito that carry Zika, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are appearing in more counties in the southern U.S. where they haven’t been before.

It’s not going away. But officials expect reported cases to lower over time.

Continue reading

A baby gave ME whooping cough–Marguerite’s Tale

It’s January 2006 and Marguerite is working as the lead teacher in the infant room at a daycare. In the season of viral colds, these small children are in and out of the classroom with stuffy noses and watery eyes almost daily. But she notices that one child has been particularly sick for several days and is not looking well. She sends the child home with a fever and reminds the parents of the daycare policy: the child must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to class.

Thinking nothing of it, she returns to work. Two days later the child returns, however gets sent home the following day, again, with a fever. This time the parents take the child to the doctor where they send him to the hospital–a hospitalization that lasts three days.

At around the time the child is hospitalized Marguerite starts to feel like she’s coming down with similar symptoms. The first few days she feels like she has a bad cold and then she gets woken in the night by a terrible coughing attack. Now her throat full of mucous and she’s having difficulty breathing. Continue reading

I Had Shingles Twice–in College AND While Pregnant

Shingles is what you get when the chickenpox virus flares back up in your body again. When you get better from chicken pox the virus goes to sleep (dormant) in your nerve roots. For lots of people the virus stays dormant forever, but in times of weakened immune system (from stress/injury/certain medicines/other reasons) the chicken pox virus comes back out and causes shingles (not chicken pox). You can catch the chickenpox but you cannot catch the shingles.

Meredith with her two children having a great time at the beach! Everyone is happy and healthy!

Shingles is a painful skin rash that usually appears in a strip, band, or small area on once side of the face/body. Symptoms include headache, light sensitivity, flu-like feeling (no fever), itching/tingling/pain in infected area, and rash that turns to fluid-filled blisters that crust over. Some people feel dizzy or weak. And some people may have vision changes or loss of vision due to rash around the eye or other more extreme complications.

This was once thought of as something you get when you’re getting up there in age–say, pushing 70–but really, people of a much younger age are coming down with scary cases of shingles. I believe this is because we live much faster-paced, high-stress lives than people once did.

College is a time of high-stress for many people. When you go off to college you’re on your own for often the first time, you’re eating poorly (or I was), staying up too late…I could go on, but you get it.

Meridith was one such unlucky college gal that got shingles–twice. While it’s not very common to have shingles twice (extremely uncommon to have shingles more than twice), some people do get it more than once.

Continue reading