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Common Health Concerns and Self-Care Tips

The resources listed below are not intended to replace a consult or visit with your healthcare provider, but will provide general information about each issue/condition listed along with tips for self-care and recommendations for when to see your healthcare provider. Additional resources can be found in the Related Links to the left.

“Antibiotics are powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections. Used properly, antibiotics can save lives. They either kill bacteria or keep them from reproducing. Your body's natural defenses can usually take it from there.  Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses, such as:

    • Colds
    • Flu
    • Most coughs and bronchitis
    • Sore throats, unless caused by strep 

If a virus is making you sick, taking antibiotics may do more harm than good. Using antibiotics when you don't need them, or not using them properly, can add to antibiotic resistance which happens when bacteria change and become able to resist the effects of an antibiotic.”  (MedLine Plus)

For more information, check the following links:

 

“High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.  You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.” (Mayo Clinic)

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

“Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.  Acute bronchitis, also called a chest cold, usually improves within a week to 10 days without lasting effects, although the cough may linger for weeks.” (Mayo Clinic)  Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a respiratory virus and occasionally by a bacterial infection, although bacterial infection occurs in less than 10 percent of cases; so in most cases, antibiotics are not necessary.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But, if you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood and stick to the walls of your arteries; this is called plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries or even block them which could eventually lead to a heart attack. (MedLine Plus)

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

The “common cold” is a viral infection in which the mucous membranes of the nose and throat become inflamed, typically causing a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and other similar symptoms.  Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

-CDC,  Common Cold and Runny Nose

  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Common Cold

 

Conjunctivitis (often referred to as “pink eye”) is an inflammation or redness of the lining of the white part of the eye and the underside of the eyelid (conjunctiva) that can be caused by a virus, a bacteria or allergens.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

“Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health concerns in our society. They are often experienced as a complex set of emotional and functional challenges.  Anxiety and depression are not the same, but they often occur together. It is not uncommon for people with depression to experience anxiety and people with anxiety to become depressed.” (University of Minnesota Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing)

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

  • National Institutes of Health / National Institute of Mental Health, Depression Basics

  • University of Minnesota, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing, Anxiety and Depression

  • The University of Minnesota offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides confidential, professional consultation and referral services to address any personal or work concern that may be affecting your wellbeing.  Employees can receive up to eight sessions at no cost.  The program is available to all University benefits-eligible employees.  Professional consultations can be by phone or in-person.  At UMD, EAP services are provided by Sand Creek Workplace Wellness, call (218) 481-7477 or 1-844-678-5710 for further information or to make an appointment.

 

Ear pain can be an early sign of a cold, the flu, or an infection.  Most ear pain clears up on its own without any treatment. However, if it is not getting better, or if you have other more serious symptoms, you may need to see a healthcare provider.  An infection of the inner ear is called otitis media, and an infection of the ear canal is called otitis externa (often referred to as “swimmer’s ear”).

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

-Swimmer’s ear

 

Earwax is one of the body’s defense systems, as it protects the ear canal, stops dust and dirt from entering the canal, and helps to reduce bacteria growth. A build-up of earwax may cause decreased hearing over time; hearing should return to normal once the earwax is removed.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

Frostbite is damage to the skin and the tissues underneath caused by exposure to extreme cold.  It most commonly affects the hands, feet, and face (areas more exposed to cold air). The longer the exposure, the more severe the skin damage.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

Headaches are the most common form of pain. They can occur on one or both sides of your head or in a localized spot.  Headaches vary in cause, severity and how long they last. Headaches are a major reason why people miss work or school or visit a health care provider.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Headaches

  • University of Minnesota, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing, Migraines

 

Influenza (often referred to as “the flu”) is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that attacks the nose, throat, and lungs. Illness is usually mild or moderate, not requiring hospitalization. However, at times flu can be severe, even leading to death. Influenza is not the same as the “stomach flu.” (Minnesota Department of Health)

The best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

-Flu & You

-Key Facts About Influenza (Flu)

-Cold vs Flu

-Influenza Basics Fact Sheet

 

Moles are growths on the skin. They happen when melanocytes (pigment cells that carry deposits of coloring matter) in the skin grow in clusters. Moles are very common.  Most people have between 10 and 45 moles which typically develop by age 40.  If a mole changes in size, color, becomes painful, or starts draining consult with your primary healthcare provider.  You may need a referral to a dermatologist.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

“Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever.  The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis — often called stomach flu — is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If you're otherwise healthy, you'll likely recover without complications.”  (Mayo Clinic)

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses (cavities found in the face above the eyebrows, between the eyes, and under the cheekbones) become swollen, congested/inflamed, or infected.  Sinus infections may be caused by a virus or bacteria, but most are caused by a virus and typically resolve on their own without the use of antibiotics.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing throughout your lifetime. Getting enough and good quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

“Planning and support can help you quit for good. Before your quit day, take time to prepare for challenges. Make a plan for quitting. Know what to expect in the first days of being smoke free.  Identify your reasons for quitting and plan how to ask for help if you need it.” (Smoke-free.gov)

Evidence shows that it can take 6-7 attempts at quitting smoking before the goal to be tobacco free is reached; so don’t give up.  Your chances of success are much improved by having a plan and identifying a support system ahead of your quit date. There are many resources available to help you on your journey to become smoke-free.  

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

A sore throat (pharyngitis) is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often feels worse when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus typically resolves on its own without the use of antibiotics.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sore Throat

  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Sore Throat

 

“Sprains and strains are common injuries that share similar signs and symptoms but involve different parts of your body.  Initial treatment for both sprains and strains includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Mild sprains and strains can be successfully treated at home.” (Mayo Clinic)

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

“Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can be good, motivating you to perform well. But multiple challenges daily, such as sitting in traffic, meeting deadlines and paying bills, can push you beyond your ability to cope.  Don't wait until stress damages your health, relationships or quality of life. Start practicing stress management techniques today.” (Mayo Clinic)

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

-Stress management

  • National Institute of Mental Health, Five Things You Should Know About Stress

  •  The University of Minnesota offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides confidential, professional consultation and referral services to address any personal or work concern that may be affecting your wellbeing.  Employees can receive up to eight sessions at no cost.  The program is available to all University benefits-eligible employees.  Professional consultations can be by phone or in-person.  At UMD, EAP services are provided by Sand Creek Workplace Wellness, call (218) 481-7477 or 1-844-678-5710 for further information or to make an appointment.

 

Bladder infections are the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTI), but any part of your urinary tract can become infected—the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.  UTIs are more common in women than in men, but do occur in men as well.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links:

 

Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin.  Wart viruses are contagious and can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart.

For more information and self-care tips, check the following links: