Warning Signs Of Mesothelioma

http://healthlob.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Mesothelioma-Symptoms-UK.jpgMesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms of the disease can be subtle or mistaken. Symptoms are all too frequently ignored or dismissed by people who are inclined to attribute them to common every day ailments. Sometimes patients live with symptoms for up to 6 months before being diagnosed but usually the symptoms are present for two to three months prior to a mesothelioma diagnosis.

About 60% of patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma experience lower back pain or side chest pain, and there are frequent reports of shortness of breath. Lower numbers of people may experience difficulty swallowing, or have a persistent cough, fever, weight loss or fatigue. Additional symptoms that some patients experience are muscle weakness, loss of sensory capability, coughing up blood, facial and arm swelling, and hoarseness.

Peritoneal mesothelioma originates in the abdomen and as a result, symptoms often include abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. Fluid buildup may occur in the abdomen as well as a result of the cancer.

Asbestos exposure is considered the primary risk factor for the development of the cancer. Anyone previously exposed to asbestos displaying any of these symptoms should seek medical attention from their doctor first, only to be referred to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of mesothelioma and thoracic oncology after receiving a positive diagnosis.

How long does it take for mesothelioma symptoms to appear?

One of the most unique facts about mesothelioma is that the disease is characterized by a long latency period that is very often associated with the disease. The latency period is the amount of time that elapses from the first point of asbestos exposure to the point where symptoms begin to appear so that a diagnosis can be made. In some mesothelioma cases the latency period is reported to be 10 years but the average latency for the majority of cases is between 35 and 40 years. As a result, the cancer often progresses to later stages before a diagnosis is made. When diagnosed in the later stages, mesothelioma treatment options become more limited and are less effective.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Provided below is a list of symptoms that mesothelioma patients may experience. Please click on a symptom to learn more about it.


Mesothelioma patients diagnosed with anemia have a lower than normal red blood cell count or hemoglobin in the blood.

Blood Clotting Disorder

A symptom experienced by many mesothelioma patients that can lead to anemia and other serious complications if not given appropriate medical attention.

Bowel Obstruction

Bowel obstructions can be a direct effect of the cancer. It is a very painful symptom that can sometimes develop in peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

Chest Pain

Often experienced in pleural mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma patients, chest pain can develop as the tumor grows and places strain on the lungs and heart.


Pleural mesothelioma patients often develop difficulty swallowing (esophageal dysphagia) as the mesothelium continues to grow on the lungs.

Fluid Effusion

An effusion can occur in mesothelioma patients when there is fluid buildup affecting either the pleura or pericardium. This may need to be drained in a relatively limited surgical procedure to control the effusion and associated symptoms.


Hemoptysis, or the symptom of coughing up blood, can have its origins in the lungs, bronchi or trachea of mesothelioma patients.


Nausea is experienced in a number of cancer patients, as it is often a side effect of chemotherapy treatment and sometimes the underlying cancer. Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma may also experience nausea as a result of increasing abdominal pressure.

Peritoneal Effusion

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients may experience a buildup of fluid in the peritoneum as the tumor continues to grow. This can result in an effusion which can inhibit the function of abdominal organs.

Peritoneal Effusion

In pleural mesothelioma patients, pleural effusion may develop when there is a large amount of fluid present in the pleura, the lining between the lungs and chest cavity.

Weight Loss

Weight loss can occur in mesothelioma patients as a side effect from cancer treatment or as the result of other symptoms that may also be present, such as difficulty swallowing or nausea.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, a thin membrane encompassing the body’s internal organs and cavities. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers that are inhaled through the mouth and nose may eventually become embedded in the lining of the lungs, causing harmful inflammation of the pleura and resulting in mesothelioma or asbestosis (scar tissue formation in the lungs). It has also been found that swallowing asbestos fibers could contribute to a form of the malignancy originating in the abdomen known as peritoneal mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma generally results from occupational asbestos exposure, but there are instances of environmental exposure that can also cause the disease. Oftentimes a family member can be affected indirectly by second hand exposure from an asbestos worker’s soiled work clothes.

Asbestos was an effective insulation material. It was used liberally in commercial and industrial products in the United States until being regulated in a joint effort between the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency in 1989. Occupational exposure was common among workers who encountered these products in many industries including shipbuilding, power plants, and other industrial settings.

Asbestos insulation workers appear to have the highest rate of asbestos related disease. One study reports that almost six percent of asbestos workers fall victim to mesothelioma or experience respiratory symptoms. Asbestos insulation workers are over 300 times more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than those with no exposure history.

How does exposure to asbestos cause mesothelioma?

Asbestos fibers are microscopic, though they are also quite durable. For this reason, asbestos was used in a number of different industrial compounds to enhance strength and resistance to temperature extremes- two properties at which the mineral is highly adept. Asbestos exposure most often occurred among individuals who worked extensively with asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. Friable asbestos (meaning loose or airborne fibers) is easily inhaled- often without the exposed person realizing.
Mesothelioma Causes

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common variety of the disease and forms on the pleural membrane, which surrounds the lung and chest cavity. Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common and forms on the surface of the peritoneum, a thin membrane surrounding the abdominal cavity. Pericardial mesothelioma is the least common variety of the disease and forms in the cardiac cavity that envelops the heart, a mesothelial membrane known as the pericardium.

Inhaled asbestos fibers are known to be the cause of pleural mesothelioma, whereas ingested asbestos fibers are the cause of peritoneal mesothelioma. While the exact causal nature between asbestos and pericardial mesothelioma is not known, physicians and cancer researchers surmise asbestos fibers in the blood stream lodge in the outer layers of the heart’s ventricles and lodge in the pericardium. Once asbestos fibers reach the surface of the peritoneum or pericardium, the inflammation process is essentially the same as it is on the surface of the pleura.

Primary workplace exposure to the mineral was common in naval shipyards, power plants, railroad infrastructure, and other industrial jobsites. However, asbestos-related mesotheliomas have also been diagnosed in spouses or children of those exposed to asbestos. Workers often brought home dangerous asbestos fibers on their clothing, hair, or person. Those who came into contact with these fibers on the person or their clothing have developed mesothelioma as a result.

Other Contributing Factors

Mesothelioma is also causally associated with a few other factors, but many of these are attributed to the development of mesothelioma in conjunction with exposure to asbestos.


Those who smoke are at a higher risk of mesothelioma, though smoking is more commonly associated with traditional lung carcinomas. Smoking tends to enhance risk even further in those who were also exposed to asbestos.

Radiation Exposure

While extremely rare, some mesothelioma patients attribute their diagnosis to exposure to radiation rather than exposure to asbestos. Radiation tends to transform and mutate cell growth patterns and is more commonly associated with brain and blood cancers.

Carbon Nanotubes

Research is extremely preliminary in this study, but some laboratory studies indicate a molecular similarity between asbestos mineral fibers and carbon nanotubes. Tests indicate a pronounced risk of mesothelioma in some laboratory animals implanted with carbon nanotubes.

Smoking Can Causes Mesothelioma

http://www.mesotheliomainfocenter.co.uk/images/smoking.jpgIt has long been known that smoking is hazardous to one's health, causing a marked increase in instances of mesothelioma lung cancer among those who smoke regularly. However, smokers who are or have been exposed to asbestos carry a much higher risk of developing an even more serious disease - malignant mesothelioma, a difficult-to-treat cancer that affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), heart (pericardial mesothelioma), or abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma).

Exposure to asbestos has been identified as the major cause of mesothelioma cancer. The disease occurs when an individual inhales sharp asbestos fibers, which then become lodged in the lungs. Smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control, weakens the lungs and decreases a body's ability to remove asbestos fibers. Further, cigarette smoke irritates the air passages and causes them to produce more mucus which, in turn, blocks the passage of air and the dispelling of fibers.

According to a variety of studies that have been performed throughout the last two decades, while cigarette smoking alone does not lead to mesothelioma, cigarette smokers who are exposed to asbestos are about 50 to 84 times more likely to develop asbestos lung cancer and, most experts agree, these smokers are at least twice as likely to develop mesothelioma.

Furthermore, mesothelioma risk factors are higher for those who have already developed a less serious asbestos-related disease, namely asbestosis. Also, the more packs a day that an asbestosis sufferer smokes, the higher the chance for developing this aggressive cancer. Simply stated, those who have asbestosis should stop smoking. A cessation of smoking, according to studies by the National Cancer Institute, results in a 50 percent decrease in the risk for a mesothelioma diagnosis within about five years of quitting, a figure that is encouraging for smokers with early asbestos disease.

Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos and have not quit should submit to regular medical check-ups to determine the health of their lungs. Tests to monitor the formation of asbestos cancer, such as mesothelioma, might include a chest x-ray or a lung function test. In addition, a simple blood test known as the Mesomark® assay, used to detect the presence of mesothelioma, may be in order for smokers who suffered asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma Cancer: Beware of Asbestos

Exposure to asbestos particles is one of the principal causes of mesothelioma cancer, also known as asbestos cancer. As a naturally occurring mineral with useful commercial applications, asbestos is found in plumbing, insulation and other building materials and products.

Through the liberal commercial use of this material, most people in the United States and other industrial nations have been or will be exposed to loose, airborne particles in their work or home environments, this exposure can create significant health hazards.

Commercial Applications

Over 700,000 schools and buildings in the United States today contain asbestos insulation as reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Asbestos exposure doesn't stop there, however. Asbestos is often found in ship yards, manufacturing facilities, railway facilities and construction sites. Blue collar workers are at the highest risk for developing mesothelioma due to occupational exposure. They typically work in aluminum plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, mines, factories, shipyards, construction sites and railroads. Employees at insulation and gas mask manufacturing facilities are also at risk. The occupations most widely affected are miners, factory workers, railroad workers, ship builders and construction workers - especially those who install asbestos-containing insulation. Sometimes family members related to the workers receive second hand exposure to asbestos from the dust and fibers that were brought home on the workers clothes and also become at risk for contracting mesothelioma.

There are six different types of asbestos: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite. These six mineral types are divided into two classifications, serpentine and amphibole. Chrysotile is the only mineral in the serpentine class. As known carcinogens both classes of asbestos can cause mesothelioma.

In the United States, chrysotile was the most commonly used asbestos mineral, and is known for its curly fibers that can be easily woven into fabrics. Applications of chrysotile include drywall compound, plaster, vinyl floor tiles, roofing materials, acoustic ceilings, fireproofing, caulk, brake pads and shoes, stage curtains, fire blankets and dental cast linings.

Amosite and crocidolite are the other more common asbestos minerals used, though their application is not as extensive as chrysotile. Products manufactured out of these asbestos minerals include insulation board, ceiling tiles and casing for water services.

In the past ten years, trace amounts of asbestos have been found in talc, a leading ingredient in crayons.

Exposure and Health Risks

The extensive use of asbestos across many different industries exposes not only those individuals working in the manufacturing of raw asbestos or working with asbestos-related products, but also individuals who may have asbestos in their homes, churches or schools. Further, asbestos particles may cling to the clothing or hair of an individual working with asbestos and potentially contaminate others.

Though chrysotile is the most common form of asbestos used in products and is a known carcinogen, amosite and crocidolite asbestos are the most hazardous to health. All types of asbestos can linger in an individual’s lungs for many years after exposure, but amosite and crocidolite are the most persistent, lingering particles.

There is a higher risk for individuals working in asbestos-related environments, though many individuals with minimal exposure can also have damage that can lead to mesothelioma cancer or other diseases.

Although asbestos exposure may have hit its peak from the turn of the twentieth century through the 1970s, many individuals are still being subjected to asbestos particles. Arguably, the most recent and tragic mass exposure resulted from the attacks on 9/11, where tons of asbestos particles were released into the air, harming thousands of rescue workers and individuals living near Ground Zero. Diagnosed with asbestos cancer due to their prolonged, persistent exposure, many brave firefighters, police and rescue workers continue to suffer.

Further, many individuals continue to be exposed to asbestos in older homes. With the boom of Do-It-Yourself projects, many homeowners are tackling renovations without knowing the potential health risks. Attempting renovations in these environments may disturb asbestos causing it to become airborne and inhaled. Without knowledge of where asbestos may be located in these homes, there is a significant risk of accidental exposure, and any homeowner should have professional do a thorough inspection before any projects begin. Removal should always be handled by a professional contractor and should not be attempted by homeowners.

One of the groups hardest hit from asbestos-related diseases are America’s veterans. All branches of the United States military used equipment, gear and products laden with asbestos, unwittingly exposing young men and women between the 1940s and late 1970s. Most veterans repeatedly exposed to asbestos suffer from mesothelioma disease.

For over one hundred years, almost every product that we can come in contact with may have been produced with asbestos components. From decorative household items, to products manufactured to protect firefighters, to dental products, asbestos has been the silent, deadly part of recent American industry.

Asbestos Related Disease

Some research points to the fact that inhaled asbestos fibers cause a physical irritation resulting in mesothelioma rather than the cancer being caused by a reaction that is more chemical in nature. As fibers are inhaled through the mouth and nose they are cleared from the body by adhering to mucus in the nose, throat and airways and then get expelled by coughing or swallowing. The Amphibole fibers (long and thin) do not clear as easily and it is therefore thought that they can embed into the lining of the lungs, chest or stomach causing scarring and inflammation which increases the risk for mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma symptoms can be detected as early as ten years after exposure and can incubate as long as forty years.

Asbestosis (scar tissue in the lungs) or mesothelioma lung cancer can also be caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. In fact, people exposed to asbestos are seven times more likely to develop lung cancer over the general public. Workers who sustain high levels of asbestos exposure are more likely to die from asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma than any other disease. It is also believed that the action of coughing up and swallowing asbestos could contribute to a form of mesothelioma originating in the abdomen called peritoneal mesothelioma. This disease has been found to exist in other organs of the body as well such as the larynx, pancreas and colon, but those instances are extremely limited compared to lung cancer incidents.

The chance of developing mesothelioma is in direct proportion to the duration and amount of asbestos exposure that an individual sustains. Those who are exposed to high levels of asbestos at a young age, for long periods of time have a greater risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma than those who have short, low level exposure. Another important consideration is that the mesothelioma latency period is very long. Often, twenty to forty years can elapse from the time of exposure to diagnosis. Genetic factors can also play a role which explains why not everyone exposed to asbestos develops an asbestos related disease.

Risk Factors For Malignant Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood that a person will develop mesothelioma. The primary risk factor is asbestos exposure. Exposure to this very harmful substance can significantly enhance the chances of contracting the disease. Smoking does not have a direct causal relationship with mesothelioma but is a significant compounding factor and increases the chances of developing the disease. Other less common secondary factors include exposure to radiation, zeolite, simian virus 40 (SV40) and erionite. We discuss each of these risk factors in more detail below. Please click on the links to learn more about each mesothelioma risk factor.

Exposure to Asbestos

Exposure to asbestos is the leading risk factor associated with mesothelioma. Asbestos is an insulating material comprised of magnesium-silicate mineral fibers. It was favored by builders and contractors for many years for its low heat conductivity and resistance to melting and burning. Since researchers have identified more and more links between mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos, the material is now less widely used. Prior to this discovery, however, millions of Americans have experienced serious exposure to this harmful substance.

Smoking and Mesothelioma

Smoking alone is not linked to mesothelioma, but smokers who are exposed to asbestos have a much higher chance of developing asbestos lung cancer (as much as fifty to ninety percent higher) and as much as double the risk of developing mesothelioma.

Less Common Mesothelioma Risk Factors


Thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), a substance used in x-ray tests in the past has reported links to pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. The use of Thorotrast has been discontinued for many years due to this discovery.


Some mesothelioma cases in the Anatoli region within Turkey have been linked to Zeolite, a silica based mineral with chemical properties similar to asbestos found in the soil there.

Simian Virus 40 (SV40)

Some scientists have found the simian virus 40 (SV30) in mesothelioma cells from humans and have been able to create mesothelioma in animals with the virus. The relationship between this virus and mesothelioma is still unclear, however, and further research is being conducted to gain clarity on this potential link.

Erionite Exposure

Erionite is a naturally occurring mineral that possesses properties that are very similar to those of asbestos. There have been several documented cases of mesothelioma in indivuduals living near large erionite deposits.

Carbon Nanotubes

Researchers continue to evaluate nanotube exposure as a possible risk factor for mesothelioma even though scientists have not expressed immediate concern.

Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. The primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.

Making a correct mesothelioma diagnosis is particularly difficult for doctors because the disease often presents with symptoms that mimic other common ailments. There is no known cure for mesothelioma, but treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy have helped to improve the typical mesothelioma prognosis.

Pleural mesothelioma (affecting the lung’s protective lining in the chest cavity) represents about three quarters of all mesothelioma incidence. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdominal cavity, and pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the cardiac cavity, comprise the remainder.
There are three recognized mesothelioma cell-types. Between 50 and 70% of all mesotheliomas are of the epithelial variety. While prognosis is generally poor, it is considered less aggressive than sarcomatoid mesothelioma and biphasic mesothelioma, which comprise the remainder of cell type diagnoses.

The cavities within the body encompassing the chest, abdomen, and heart are surround by a membrane of cells known as the mesothelium. Mesothelial cells assist in general organ functions. The mesothelium is particularly important to organs that are commonly in motion, such as expansion or contraction of the lungs, stomach, or heart. Lubrication from the mesothelial cells allows free range of motion within the body. The mesothelium of the chest, abdomen, and cardiac cavity are called the pleura, the peritoneum, and the pericardium, respectively. Each of these groupings of mesothelial cells is extremely critical to the functions of the body structures which they encompass.

Malignancies (cancerous tumors) occurring within the mesothelial membranes are known as malignant mesothelioma, or simply mesothelioma. Benign tumors of the mesothelium are known to occur, but are much more rare than malignant mesothelial tumors.

While tumors of the mesothelium were first recognized in the late 18th century, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that this particular cancer was studied and examined with more detail. It was at this time when suspicions of the cancer’s causal relationship with asbestos exposure became more substantiated. A joint research venture through the Department of Thoracic Surgery at the University of the Witswater and Johannesburg General Hospital in South Africa provided the most compelling evidence of the nexus between asbestos exposure and the development of pleural mesothelioma.

Incidence of mesothelioma is still quite rare, with only 2,500-3000 diagnoses in the United States each year. There was a spike in reported diagnoses between 1970 and 1984, which has been attributed to the latency period between diagnosis and the height of industrial exposures, which occurred roughly 40-60 years prior to this time. Exposure was common in nearly all industries but was particularly common in the WWII-era military industrial cycle, including Navy Shipyards.

Although this cancer is much more common in men over the age of 60 (largely attributed to the industrial exposures within male-dominated industries), mesothelioma in women and children has been described as well. Mesothelioma causes for diagnosis in women and children are mainly attributed to secondary exposure to asbestos, as it was not uncommon for men to bring asbestos back into the home on their body or clothing if proper cleaning facilities were not available on site.

Mesothelioma is diagnosed through a comprehensive combination of biopsy and imaging scans.

Mesothelioma can be a difficult malignancy to diagnose because the symptoms of the disease closely resemble other respiratory conditions, and because the pathology can be very difficult to distinguish from adenocarcinoma of the lung. For this reason, misdiagnosis is not uncommon in mesothelioma patients. Symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, chronic cough, effusions of the chest and abdomen, and the presence of blood in lung fluid.

Diagnostic surgeries, including a biopsy, will typically be required to determine the type of malignant cells that are present in the body. Typically a body imaging scan, including a magnetic resonance image (MRI), computer topography (CT scan), and/or positron emission tomography (PET), will be required to determine the extent and location of the disease.

While mesothelioma is typically advanced at diagnosis, treatment options are available.

Mesothelioma, while certainly an aggressive disease, is a manageable malignancy. While there is no cure for the cancer, mesothelioma treatment options may potentially include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. A combination of Alimta® and Cisplatin is currently the only FDA approved chemotherapy regimen, though several clinical trials are currently in progress utilizing other drugs including Gemcitabine and Onconase, that may lead to new treatment options that provide a benefit for patients.

Radiation therapy is also utilized, but typically in conjunction with other treatment methods like surgery and chemotherapy. Surgical resection of mesothelioma is possible in early-stage-diagnosed patients. Diagnostic and palliative procedures such as thoracentesis and pleurodesis are also commonly performed in patients with malignant mesothelioma in order to minimize cancer-related symptoms.

Alternative therapies have also been used effectively by many mesothelioma patients to assist in managing symptoms of the disease and conventional treatments.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos, though cases have been documented in children or other individuals with no asbestos history. Asbestos is a microscopic and naturally occurring mineral that lodges in the pleural lining of the lungs and the peritoneal lining of the abdominal cavity. In most cases, several years will pass (up to 60) before mesothelioma develops in those who had been exposed to asbestos.

Cold or Flu?

Your child is sent home from school with a sore throat, cough, and high fever — could it be the flu that's been going around? Or just a common cold? Although the flu (or influenza) usually causes symptoms that make someone feel worse than symptoms associated with a common cold, it's not always easy to tell the difference between the two.

Symptoms Guide

The answers to these questions can help determine whether a child is fighting the flu or combating a cold:

Flu vs. Colds: A Guide to Symptoms
Questions Flu Cold
Was the onset of illness ... sudden? slow?
Does your child have a ... high fever? no (or mild) fever?
Is your child's exhaustion level ... severe? mild?
Is your child's head ... achy? headache-free?
Is your child's appetite ... decreased? normal?
Are your child's muscles ... achy? fine?
Does your child have ... chills? no chills?  

If most of your answers fell into the first category, chances are that your child has the flu. If your answers were usually in the second category, it's most likely a cold. But don't be too quick to brush off your child's illness as just another cold. The important thing to remember is that flu symptoms can vary from child to child (and they can change as the illness progresses), so if you suspect the flu, call the doctor. Even doctors often need a test to tell them for sure if a person has the flu or not since the symptoms can be so similar!

Some bacterial diseases, like strep throat or pneumonia, also can look like the flu or a cold. It's important to get medical attention immediately if your child seems to be getting worse, is having any trouble breathing, has a high fever, has a bad headache, has a sore throat, or seems confused. While even healthy kids can have complications of the flu, kids with certain medical conditions are at more of a risk. If you think your child might have the flu, contact your doctor.


Some kids with chronic medical conditions may become sicker with the flu and need to be hospitalized, and flu in an infant also can be dangerous. For severely ill kids or those with other special circumstances, doctors may prescribe an antiviral medicine that can ease flu symptoms, but only if it's given within 48 hours of the onset of the flu. Most of the time, you can care for your child by offering plenty of fluids, rest, and extra comfort. And if the doctor says it's not the flu? Ask whether your child should get a flu shot.

Source: kidshealth


Yersiniosis is a relatively uncommon infection contracted through the consumption of undercooked meat products (especially pork), unpasteurized milk, or contaminated water. Usually, someone with an infection caused by Yersinia bacteria recovers within a few days without medical treatment (in some cases, doctors prescribe antibiotics).

About Yersiniosis

Of the three main types of yersiniosis that affect people, Yersinia enterocolitica (bacteria that thrive in cooler temperatures) are responsible for most infections in the United States. The infection seems to be more common in cooler climates. The bacteria can infect the digestive tracts of humans, cats, dogs, pigs, cattle, and goats. People can contract it by eating or handling contaminated foods (such as raw or undercooked meat) or by drinking untreated water or unpasteurized milk that contain the bacteria. An infant can be infected if a parent or caretaker handles contaminated food without cleaning up adequately before handling the baby's toys, bottles, or pacifiers.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of yersiniosis appear 4-7 days after exposure and can last up to 3 weeks. They include fever, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Sometimes, older kids also get pain in the lower right side of the abdomen, which can mimic appendicitis. Some people also have a sore throat along with other symptoms. If your child has these symptoms, call your doctor. For infants, it's particularly important to call the doctor as soon as symptoms appear to prevent the infection from leading to other health problems.

In rare cases, the infection can cause a skin rash called erythema nodosum, or joint pain that appears a month after the initial symptoms. The rash usually occurs on the legs and trunk. The joint pain is usually in the larger joints and is thought to be due to an immune system response. These symptoms typically go away with time but can last several months. The diagnosis of Yersinia can be confirmed with a stool culture. If the Yersinia infection leads to an infection of the blood, known as bacteremia, it can be confirmed with a blood culture.


Diarrhea caused by yersiniosis generally goes away on its own, though in some cases antibiotics are prescribed. In infants, however — particularly those who are 3 months old or younger — it can develop into bacteremia. Infants who contract yersiniosis are usually treated in a hospital. Depending on the severity of the diarrhea, your doctor may suggest modifying your child's diet for 1 or 2 days and encouraging your child to drink more fluids (which may include drinks with electrolytes to replace body fluids quickly). If your child has frequent bouts of diarrhea, watch for signs of dehydration, including:
  • severe thirst
  • dry mouth or tongue
  • sunken eyes
  • dry skin
  • not urinating as often
  • in infants, a dry diaper for several hours
  • no tears when crying
  • looking lethargic


To reduce the risk of yersiniosis, take these precautions:
  • Don't serve or eat raw or undercooked meat.
  • Drink and serve only pasteurized milk and milk products.
  • Wash hands with soap and water particularly before eating and preparing food; before touching infants or their toys, bottles, or pacifiers; and after contact with animals or handling raw meat.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meat and other foods.
  • Clean all cutting boards, countertops, and utensils with soap and hot water after preparing raw meat.
  • Always cook meat thoroughly before you eat it, especially pork products.
  • Dispose of animal feces and sanitize anything they have touched.
  • Avoid drinking directly from natural water sources such as ponds and mountain streams, particularly if the water is near farmland where cattle, pigs, or goats are raised.
  • As you care for a family member who has diarrhea, remember to wash your hands thoroughly before touching other people and before handling food.
  • If your pet dog or cat has diarrhea, wash your hands frequently as you care for it, and check with your veterinarian about treatment and/or contagiousness.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if your child:
  • has diarrhea streaked with blood
  • is vomiting
  • has abdominal pain
  • has a fever
With some rest, kids with yersiniosis usually make a full recovery quickly.

Source: kidshealth 

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is a serious and sometimes life-threatening infection that mostly affects people in developing countries, where clean water and other sanitation measures are hard to come by. The disease usually causes symptoms that include a high fever, a stomachache, and achiness. It can be cured with antibiotics.

If you live in the U.S. the chances of someone in your family getting typhoid fever are slim. But if you're planning to travel to a foreign country, especially one in the tropics, it's a good idea to know about typhoid fever. Before you travel, get vaccinated against the disease and learn about safety precautions regarding food and water.

About Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is caused by bacteria called Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi), which are related to the bacteria salmonella that cause food poisoning. S. Typhi typically live in humans and are shed through a person's feces (poop) or urine (pee). Once the bacteria get into the body, they quickly multiply and spread into the bloodstream. The body responds with a high fever and other symptoms, usually a week or two after exposure to the bacteria (but sometimes later). Symptoms can be mild to severe and usually disappear 2 to 5 days after antibiotic treatment begins.

Without treatment, typhoid fever may last a month or more and become very serious, even life-threatening. After recovering from typhoid fever, some people still can become carriers of the bacteria. This means that they'll have no symptoms, but do have the bacteria in their bodies and can pass it on to other people.

How People Get It

People usually get typhoid fever by drinking beverages or eating food that has been handled by someone who has typhoid fever or is a carrier of the illness. Those infected also can pass the disease onto others directly (for example, by touching them with unwashed hands). People also get the illness by drinking water that is contaminated by sewage that contains the S. Typhi bacteria. For these reasons, the disease is common in areas with poor sanitation and inadequate water treatment. It is also common in tropical and subtropical areas around the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of typhoid fever may range from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the age, health, and vaccination history of the infected person and the geographic location where the infection originated. Typhoid fever can come on suddenly or very gradually over a few weeks. Early signs and symptoms of the illness include:
  • fever that can reach as high as 104°F (40°C)
  • feeling achy, tired, or weak
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • stomach pain and loss of appetite
  • sore throat
When typhoid fever isn't untreated, symptoms become worse week by week. Besides a fever, someone may lose weight; develop a swollen or bloated belly; or develop or a red, spotted rash on the lower chest or upper belly. The rash usually clears up in 2 to 5 days. In most cases, the symptoms of typhoid fever start to go away in the third and fourth weeks, as long as the disease doesn't cause any other health problems. After the illness has appeared to go away, it can come back.


Serious health problems (complications) as a result of typhoid fever are rare in children. When kids do develop complications, they tend to be gastrointestinal problems, specifically an intestinal perforation (a hole in the intestines). This is life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Less common complications include problems with the lungs or heart, infections in the bones or joints, urinary tract infections, or mental health problems.

When to Call a Doctor

Call a doctor if you think your child has been exposed to typhoid fever or develops any symptoms of typhoid fever, even mild ones, especially after visiting an area where the infection is common. To make a diagnosis, the doctor will evaluate the symptoms and ask you about your child's medical history and recent travels. The doctor probably will take a sample of stool (poop), urine (pee), or blood to test it for the disease.


Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics that kill S. Typhi bacteria. If the doctor prescribes antibiotics, be sure your child completes the course of treatment. Do not end the treatment early even if your child begins to feel better. Most kids start feeling better within 2 to 3 days of beginning treatment. In addition to giving antibiotics, offer your child plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Kids who are severely dehydrated from a loss of fluids due to diarrhea might be given IV (intravenous) fluids in a hospital or other medical care facility. Acetaminophen can help reduce fever and make your child feel more comfortable. Call a doctor immediately if your child's symptoms persist, if symptoms go away and then reappear, or if your child develops any new symptoms.

Source: kidshealth


Tapeworms are flat worms that live in a person's digestive tract. Though upsetting to think about, they usually don't cause any serious problems. Tapeworm infections aren't common in the United States and, when they do happen, they're usually easy to treat.

Tapeworm Basics

Tapeworms are parasites. As you probably remember from biology class, parasites are organisms that live in, or on, other organisms (called "hosts"). Parasites take their nutrients from the host, sometimes depriving the host of nutrition.

Tapeworms get into the body when someone eats or drinks something that's infected with a worm or its eggs. Once inside the body, the tapeworm head attaches to the inner wall of the intestines. The tapeworm feeds off the food that the host is digesting. It uses this nutrition to grow. Tapeworms are made up of segments, and they get longer by growing new segments. Each segment can reproduce by making thousands of eggs. Since tapeworms can have more than a thousand segments, that's a lot of opportunity to spread. They can grow to more than 33 feet (10 meters) and live as long as 25 years.

New segments grow at the head of the tapeworm, pushing older segments to the end of the line, where they break off. These segments, along with the eggs they contain, pass out of the digestive tract in the host's feces (poop). If the infected feces aren't disposed of in a sanitary way — like down a flush toilet — they can get into the soil or water. Tapeworm segments can live for months in the environment, waiting for a host to come along. Animals like cows or pigs that eat grass or nose around in the soil can pick up tapeworm segments or eggs. When the tapeworm reaches the animal's intestine, the attach-and-grow cycle begins again.


Most of the time, people get tapeworm infections from eating food that's contaminated and not prepared properly:
  • Tapeworms can spread when someone eats or drinks food or water that's contaminated with infected feces. This is one reason why tapeworm infections are rare in places that have good sanitation, like the United States. Flush toilets, sewer systems, and water treatment plants help keep feces out of the water and food supply.
  • People can pass tapeworm eggs on to others when they don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. Tapeworm eggs in feces can easily spread into food or onto surfaces like doorknobs. If you ever need another reason to get your kids to wash their hands, this might do it!
  • Kids can get tapeworms from eating meat or fish that hasn't been cooked enough to kill the tapeworm or its eggs.


Most kids who have a tapeworm infection don't feel anything. It can take months or years to notice any symptoms. Some of the things a child might complain of are:
  • mild nausea
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite and weight loss
Kids with a tapeworm infection may feel a piece of the worm coming out through the anus. If your child has an infection, you may see a tapeworm segment in his or her feces. There are different types of tapeworms. One (fish tapeworm) can cause anemia because it absorbs vitamin B12, which helps make red blood cells. This can lead kids to feel tired, short of breath, or have other symptoms of anemia.

The eggs of another type of tapeworm (pork tapeworm) can hatch into larvae in the intestine. These larvae go through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. From there they can travel to different parts of the body (such as muscles, eyes, or the brain), where they form cysts. This disease is known as cysticercosis. It is rare in the United States, but common in many developing countries. With cysticercosis, kids might develop:
  • lumps under the skin
  • seizures, if the cysts are in the brain
  • vision problems, if the cysts are in the eyes
  • an abnormal heartbeat, if cysts are in the heart
  • weakness or trouble walking, if cysts are in the spine
Eating contaminated pork can lead to a tapeworm infection in the intestines, but it won't turn into cysticercosis. To develop cysticercosis, someone would have to swallow the eggs of the pork tapeworm, and these eggs aren't found in the meat itself. They are found in feces and around the anus.
Cysticercosis occurs as a result of eating food that has been contaminated with feces. It can be any kind of food — all it takes is for that food to come into contact with feces.

When to Call a Doctor

Call a doctor if you see worms in your child's feces or if he or she has abdominal pain or other symptoms that might suggest a tapeworm infection. You'll also want to call a doctor if your child shows signs of infection after traveling to a part of the world that doesn't have good sanitation. Call a doctor right away if your child has masses or lumps under the skin and develops a fever, headache, or any of the other symptoms of cysticercosis. If your child has seizures or trouble moving, walking, or talking, go to the emergency room right away.

Source: kidshealth


Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, but the good news is that it's often caused by infections that don't last long and usually are more disruptive than dangerous. Still, it's important to know what to do to relieve and even prevent diarrhea.

Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea — frequent runny or watery bowel movements (poop) — is usually brought on by gastrointestinal (GI) infections caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. The specific germs that cause diarrhea can vary among geographic regions depending on their level of sanitation, economic development, and hygiene. For example, developing countries with poor sanitation or where human waste is used as fertilizer often have outbreaks of diarrhea when intestinal bacteria or parasites contaminate crops or drinking water.

In developed countries, including the United States, diarrhea outbreaks are more often linked to contaminated water supplies, person-to-person contact in places such as child-care centers, or "food poisoning" (when people get sick from improperly processed or preserved foods contaminated with bacteria). In general, infections that cause diarrhea are highly contagious. Most cases can be spread to others for as long as someone has diarrhea, and some infections can be contagious even longer.
Diarrheal infections can be spread through:
  • dirty hands
  • contaminated food or water
  • some pets
  • direct contact with fecal matter (i.e., from dirty diapers or the toilet)
Anything that the infectious germs come in contact with can become contaminated. This includes toys, changing tables, surfaces in restrooms, even the hands of someone preparing food. Kids can become infected by touching a contaminated surface, such as a toilet or toy, and then putting their fingers in their mouths.

A common cause of diarrhea is viral gastroenteritis (often called the "stomach flu," it also can cause nausea and vomiting). Many different viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis, which can pass through a household, school, or day-care center quickly because it's highly infectious. Although the symptoms usually last just a few days, affected kids (especially infants) who are unable to get adequate fluid intake can become dehydrated.

Rotavirus infection is a frequent cause of viral gastroenteritis in kids. Rotavirus usually causes explosive, watery diarrhea, although not all will show symptoms. Rotavirus has commonly caused outbreaks of diarrhea during the winter and early spring months, especially in child-care centers and children's hospitals, however, a vaccine now recommended for infants has been found to prevent approximately 75% of cases of rotavirus infection and 98% of the severe cases that require hospitalization. Another group of viruses that can cause diarrhea in children, especially during the summer months, are enteroviruses, particularly coxsackievirus.

Source: kidshealth

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a tropical disease caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes. The virus can cause fever, headaches, rashes, and pain throughout the body. Most cases of dengue fever are mild and go away on their own after about a week.

Dengue fever rarely strikes in the United States (the last cases were reported in Texas in 2005), but if you plan to travel to a foreign country — especially one in the tropics — it's wise to guard against dengue fever. Wearing insect repellant, covering sleep areas with netting, and avoiding the outdoors at dusk and dawn (when mosquitoes are most active) can help lower the chances of infection.

About Dengue Fever

Dengue (DEN-gee) fever is caused by four similar viruses spread by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, which are common in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. When an Aedes mosquito bites a person who has been infected with a dengue virus, the mosquito can become a carrier of the virus. If this mosquito bites someone else, that person can be infected with dengue fever. The virus can't spread directly from person to person.

Many kids with dengue fever don't have symptoms; others have mild symptoms that appear anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms typically last for 2 to 7 days. Once kids have had the illness, they become immune to that particular type of the virus (although they can still be infected by any of the other three types). In rare cases, dengue fever can lead to more serious forms of the disease. These conditions, called dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, can cause shock and death and need immediate medical treatment.

Signs & Symptoms

In the past, dengue fever was known as "breakbone fever," which might give you an idea of the symptoms it can cause — that is, if a person ends up having any symptoms at all. The fever isn't actually breaking any bones, but it can sometimes feel like it is.
Common signs and symptoms of dengue fever include:
  • high fever, possibly as high as 105°F (40°C)
  • pain behind the eyes and in the joints, muscles, and/or bones
  • severe headache
  • rash over most of the body
  • mild bleeding from the nose or gums
  • bruising easily
Symptoms are generally mild in younger children and those who get infected with the disease for the first time. Older kids, adults, and those who have had a previous infection may experience moderate to severe symptoms. People with dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome will have the regular symptoms of dengue fever for 2 to 7 days. After the fever subsides, other symptoms worsen and can cause more severe bleeding; gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting, or severe abdominal pain; and respiratory problems like difficulty breathing. If left untreated, dehydration, heavy bleeding, and a rapid drop in blood pressure (shock) can occur. These symptoms are life threatening and require immediate medical attention.


If your child has any symptoms of dengue fever, call a doctor right away. You should also contact a doctor if your child has recently been to a region that has dengue fever and develops a fever or severe headache. To make a diagnosis, the doctor will examine your child and evaluate the symptoms. The doctor will ask about your child's medical history and recent travels, and send a sample of your child's blood to be tested for the disease.


No specific treatment is available for dengue fever. Mild cases can be treated by giving lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and getting plenty of rest. Pain relievers with acetaminophen can to treat the headaches and pain associated with dengue fever. Pain relievers with aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided, as they can make bleeding more likely.

Most cases of dengue fever go away within a week or two and won't cause any lasting problems. If someone has severe symptoms of the disease, or if symptoms get worse in the first day or two after the fever goes away, seek immediate medical care. This could be an indication of dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which needs immediate medical attention.

To treat severe cases of dengue fever at a hospital, doctors will deliver intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes (salts) to replace the fluids lost through vomiting or diarrhea. This is usually enough to effectively treat the disease, as long as fluid replacement therapy begins early. In more advanced cases, doctors may have to perform a transfusion to replace lost blood. In all cases of dengue infection, regardless of how serious symptoms are, efforts should be made to keep the infected person from being bitten by mosquitoes. This will help prevent the illness from spreading to others.

Source: kidshealth


Cholera is a serious and sometimes life-threatening infection that mainly affects people in developing countries, where clean water and other sanitation measures are hard to come by. If you live in the United States, the chances of someone in your family getting cholera are slim. But if you're planning to travel to a foreign country, especially one in the tropics, it's a good idea to know about cholera, and how to prevent it. Taking precautions with your food and water is the best way to avoid the illness.

About Cholera

Cholera is an intestinal infection caused the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. This bacterium produces a potent toxin that binds to the walls of the intestines. The body responds by secreting large amounts of water, causing watery diarrhea, vomiting, and subsequent dehydration as fluids and salts exit the body.

As a result, people with cholera can become dehydrated very quickly. Untreated severe dehydration can cause serious health problems like seizures and kidney failure. A person who doesn't get the proper medical treatment might even die. The good news is, cholera is easy to treat if it's caught early. Kids who have mild to moderate cases usually get better within a week. Even people with severe cases of cholera recover fully in a week or so if they get medical care.

Cholera is mostly found in hot, tropical climates — in particular Asia, Africa, Latin America, India, and the Middle East. Although it's rare in the United States (the last outbreak was in 1911), cases can still occur. Travelers from countries where cholera is more common can bring it into the country, and some people in the U.S. have become sick from eating raw or undercooked shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico.

How It Spreads

People get cholera from eating or drinking food or water that's been contaminated with the feces (poop) of someone who has cholera. This is one reason why cholera is rare in countries with good sanitation systems. Things like flush toilets, sewer systems, and water treatment facilities keep poop out of the water and food supply. Cholera epidemics also sometimes happen after a disaster (like an earthquake or flood) if people are living in tent cities or other places without running water or proper sanitation systems. Less commonly, the bacteria that cause cholera are found in brackish rivers and coastal waters. Cholera is not contagious, so you can't catch it from direct contact with another person.

Signs & Symptoms

When someone is infected with the cholera bacterium, symptoms can appear in a few hours or as late as 5 days later. Many kids with cholera have no signs or symptoms, but some cases can be severe and life threatening.
Common symptoms of cholera and the dehydration it causes include:
  • watery, pale-colored diarrhea, often in large amounts
  • nausea and vomiting
  • cramps, particularly in the abdomen and legs
  • irritability, lack of energy, or unusual sleepiness
  • glassy or sunken eyes
  • dry mouth and extreme thirst
  • dry, shriveled skin
  • low urine output and a lack of tears
  • arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and low blood pressure
If your child develops symptoms like these, especially after visiting an area where cholera is likely or common, call your doctor or get medical help right away. Severe dehydration can happen very quickly, so it's essential to start replacing lost fluids right away to avoid damage to internal organs.


To confirm a diagnosis of cholera, doctors may take a stool or vomit sample or a rectal swab to examine for signs of the bacteria. Rapid, dipstick-style tests are now available, which help health care providers in remote areas identify the disease more quickly and control outbreaks more effectively. All confirmed cases of cholera must be reported to local health officials.


Since severe dehydration and death can occur within hours, cholera needs to be treated immediately. Most kids recover with no long-term problems as long as they receive prompt treatment. The goal of treatment is to replace all the fluids and salts lost through diarrhea and vomiting. For mild dehydration, a doctor may recommend giving your child an over-the-counter rehydration solution. Kids with more severe cases of cholera may need to stay in the hospital and get intravenous (IV) fluids.

Sometimes doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat cholera. The antibiotics are not as important as rehydration, but can help shorten the length of time someone is sick. They also might make cholera-related diarrhea less severe. Sometimes doctors also prescribe zinc supplements. Anti-diarrheal medicines can actually make the symptoms of cholera worse, so if your child has cholera (or you think your child has it), do not offer them.

Source: kidshealth


Appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix) requires immediate medical attention, so it's important to learn its symptoms — and how they differ from a run-of-the-mill stomachache — so you can seek medical care right away. The first symptoms of appendicitis usually are a mild fever and pain around the bellybutton. The pain usually worsens and moves to the lower right side of the belly. Vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, and loss of appetite are other common symptoms. Call your doctor immediately if you suspect that your child has appendicitis. The earlier it's caught, the easier it will be to treat.

About Appendicitis

The appendix is a small finger-like organ that's attached to the large intestine in the lower right side of the abdomen. The inside of the appendix forms a cul-de-sac that usually opens into the large intestine. Blockage can be due to hard rock-like stool (called a fecolith), inflammation of lymph nodes in the intestines, or even parasites. Once the appendix is blocked, it becomes inflamed and bacteria can overgrow in it. If the infected appendix isn't removed, it can burst and spread bacteria. The infection from a ruptured appendix is very serious — it can form an abscess (an infection of pus) or spread throughout the abdomen (this type of infection is called peritonitis). Appendicitis mostly affects kids and teens between 11 and 20 years old, and is rare in infants. It's one of the most common reasons for emergency abdominal surgery in kids. Appendicitis is not contagious.


Call the doctor immediately if your child shows symptoms of appendicitis, including:
  • significant abdominal pain, especially around the bellybutton or in the lower right part of the abdomen (perhaps coming and going and then becoming consistent and sharp)
  • low-grade fever
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea (especially small amounts, with mucus)
  • swollen or bloated abdomen, especially in infants
There is no way to prevent appendicitis, but with sophisticated diagnostic tests and antibiotics, most cases are identified and treated without complications. If appendicitis goes untreated, the inflamed appendix can burst 24 to 72 hours after the symptoms begin. If the appendix has burst, the pain may spread across the whole abdomen, and the child's fever may be very high, reaching 104°F (40°C). The symptoms of appendicitis can vary according to a child's age. In kids 2 years old or younger, the most common symptoms are vomiting and a bloated or swollen abdomen, accompanied by pain. If you suspect that your child has appendicitis, call your doctor immediately and don't give your child any pain medication or anything to eat or drink unless instructed to by the doctor.

Source: kidshealth

Body Piercing

What Is a Body Piercing and What Can You Expect?

A body piercing is exactly that — a piercing or puncture made in your body by a needle. After that, a piece of jewelry is inserted into the puncture. The most popular pierced body parts seem to be the ears, the nostrils, and the belly button. If the person performing the piercing provides a safe, clean, and professional environment, this is what you should expect from getting a body part pierced:
  • The area you've chosen to be pierced (except for the tongue) is cleaned with a germicidal soap (a soap that kills disease-causing bacteria and microorganisms).
  • Your skin is then punctured with a very sharp, clean needle.
  • The piece of jewelry, which has already been sterilized, is attached to the area.
  • The person performing the piercing disposes of the needle in a special container so that there is no risk of the needle or blood touching someone else.
  • The pierced area is cleaned.
  • The person performing the piercing checks and adjusts the jewelry.
  • The person performing the piercing gives you instructions on how to make sure your new piercing heals correctly and what to do if there is a problem.

Before You Pierce That Part

If you're thinking about getting pierced, do your research first. If you're under 18, some places won't allow you to get a piercing without a parent's consent. It's a good idea to find out what risks are involved and how best to protect yourself from infections and other complications. Certain sites on the body can cause more problems than others — infection is a common complication of mouth and nose piercings because of the millions of bacteria that live in those areas. Tongue piercings can damage teeth over time. And tongue, cheek, and lip piercings can cause gum problems.

Studies have shown that people with certain types of heart disease might have a higher risk of developing a heart infection after body piercing. If you have a medical problem such as allergies, diabetes, skin disorders, a condition that affects your immune system, or infections — or if you are pregnant — ask your doctor if there are any special concerns you should have or precautions you should take beforehand. Also, it's not a good idea to get a body piercing if you're prone to getting keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue in the area of the wound).

If you decide to get a body piercing:
  • Make sure you're up to date with your immunizations (especially hepatitis B and tetanus).
  • Plan where you will get medical care if your piercing becomes infected (signs of infection include excessive redness/tenderness around the piercing site, prolonged bleeding, pus, and change in your skin color around the piercing area).
Also, if you plan to get a tongue or mouth piercing, make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.