Welcome Interested Fungus Readers!

We hope this blog brings insight to the world of health and it's relationship to fungus. Comments are encouraged. Better health is a must.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The More the Merrier!

This statement is questionable when it comes to medications and health. There are so many people, especially older people, who take more than one prescription medication on a daily basis. Many seem to be unclear of the reasons for taking half their medications. The scenario usually starts with a visit at the doctors office which continues to spiral downhill over the years.

Doctors are definately necessary and may have chosen their profession to help others. Just like any other issue in the world, the reasons for over-prescribing medications doesn't rest solely on their shoulders. Many patients expect to get more than an explanation while at a doctor visit - a fast, easy cure-all for whatever condition they may have, something to help them feel better immediately. Forget about what lifestyle changes or dietary changes they should make to feel better - that's too difficult. Society has through the years placed an urgency and decreased work ethic on individuals, and this is the backbone of more than just over-prescribing medications in America.

America is now riddled with health problems, increased medical costs and the pressure to find solutions to other unhealthy trends that have developed before the turn of the century.

The solutions? Well, this is just one opinion, but start taking ownership and responsibility for your own health issues and quit relying so heavily on doctors to fix everything. Granted, there are some people who are unable to do this, but for those who are mentally and physically able to positively change their health, they should start right now.

How? First, ask your doctor which medications are necessary. Tell him or her you want to help yourself get off medications. You may be surprised at your doctor's response. Then, tell them what physical activity you would like to start to get your body healthy - relying on it's natural functions rather than the help of medications. And, lastly, make an honest effort to eat right and get your body the proper nutrients to help daily functions.

The hardest part of the process may be making the decision to start and telling yourself you may not need a medication anymore as a security blanket. Whenever the decision is made, just remember, to talk to your doctor first. Tell them you want to take the 'more' out of your medicated daily routine, and become free to dictate your health. Try it! Your future could be a lot 'merrier' for it!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Do Not Disturb

The summer in our part of the country has been fairly nice. For humans, it's been a good balance of weather. It hasn't given us much time to stew over "this hot, humid weather" or "too much rain." Each week has produced a few good swimming, boating or fishing days, and a few rainy days to replenish the moisture lost during the hot days.

One unusual difference this summer over past summers, has been the overabundance of mushrooms. They have mysteriously poked their heads out of odd places in yards, on forest floors, on trees, and about anywhere else they decide to cling. Interesting as they may be, they are most likely not edible and certainly don't look like your basic maiitake or button variety. Some look downright frightening and some beckon a person closer with their color or odd shape.

For the curious type, researching lawn and garden mushrooms on the web is a must. On one website, over 40 different varieties were identified as growing in a backyard or wooded area. The majority of them were non-poisonous, and eating a couple varieties would result in mild to acute gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms are due to ingestion, but what other health symptoms can their presence create?

When you have a moist climate, you generally have mushrooms and other fungal inhabitants. The spores of the fungus can be disturbed easily, sending them airborne, and causing health problems ranging from cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, skin disease, thrush, inner ear infection, and sinus infection. If left untreated, some symptoms of fungal infection may progress to central nervous system malfunction, and potentially major organ and brain infiltration.

Fungal infections related to airborne fungal spores, from mushrooms and other fungi, have occurred for centuries. Within the past two decades, a complex fungus has emerged in the Western United States. It's name - Cryptococcus Gattii (C. gattii). This problematic fungus was discovered in isolated cases on Vancouver Island in the 1990's, and over the past few years is appearing in Washington, Oregon, and northern California. Fortunately, there have been few deaths amongst the hundreds infected by the spores.

These fungal spores typically come from the soil and trees, where the conditions are perfect for the growth of fungus. Some of these fungal spores may stay in isolated areas, some may spread rapidly due to disturbance of the growing environment. Some fungal infections appear only in immunocompromised individuals, and some randomly target healthy individuals with no similar characteristics. With this in mind, the one thing of importance is to monitor your health - if you've had a sharp, irritating cough, persistent fever, and other fungal symptoms for a prolonged period of time - see your healthcare professional. It may take 2-4 months before symptoms occur, too. And, be wary of the environment you are in - step lightly and do not disturb the fungus!