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Old 10-24-2008, 04:48 AM   #1
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staph infection in my lymph nodes?

I was just diagnosed with a staph infection yesterday, based on the excessive swelling and heat of my lymph nodes in my neck and clavicle area.

While I am familiar with staph infections that affect the fingernail and require draining (my son had that situation a few years ago) I am unfamiliar with purely internal staph.

I have had unexplained lung problems for two years for which I see a pulmonologist and have just been diagnosed with early onset arthritis in my lower back, right hip, and both hands (I am only 35). I am wondering whether all of these situations could be related?

Regardless, is there anything I should know about purely internal staph affecting the lymph nodes? I was prescribed augmentin which I will begin today.

Also, my daughter was ill with an infection that caused her to run a 105-degree fever for several days, and which required two courses of two different antibiotics to clear within the past 4 weeks. Could this be what she had too?

Thanks very much!

 
Old 10-24-2008, 07:30 AM   #2
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Staphylococcus is a fairly virulent bacterium which can infect one almost anywhere in the body. It is especially good at soft tissue infection (like the skin and related structures) and this is likely because that's where its normal habitat is. The thing with Staph (especially Staphylococcus aureus) is that, once it's in the bloodstream it likes to go to other areas of the body, grip on to a given tissue, and then form a colony and eventually an abscess there. One place that Staph likes to stick to is bone, and also heart valves. So yes, it is quite proficient in causing "internal infections".

That said, I am a little surprised about you being diagnosed with Staphyloccocal lymphadenitis. Staph infection can be anywhere, but a lymph node infection is a bit lower on the list mostly because Staph likes to travel in the bloodstream and not the lymph stream. How long has this swelling in your neck been going on for? Is it something that happened fairly quickly, or is it something which has been grumbling for a few weeks?

What type of lung problems were you diagnosed with?
What part of the world are you from?
Have you travelled to Africa or Asia or anywhere outside of North America in the past 5 years?
What do you mean by "early onset arthritis"?

These things definitely can be related, and two things I think of are tuberculosis or a chronic fungal infection.

I am NOT saying that Staph isn't the answer (and only your doctor can say what's the diagnosis) but again, Staph is unusual in causing lymphadenitis.

 
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:52 AM   #3
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Hello cgranulomatis, thanks so much for your reply! I've seen several of your posts here in the past few days and was hoping you might respond.

The swelling in my neck was something I noticed when I woke up yesterday - it was quite sudden. My daughter was ill with conjunctivitis in the beginning of September, one week before her 105 degree fever began along with a string of double ear infections and tonsillitis that tested negative for strep. She had only been done with her second batch of antibiotics for two days when I awoke with the swollen neck (yesterday) and I believe this could be part of why my doctor has reached this conclusion (that it is staph) - I understand it can be the cause of conjunctivitis, and I do know that in her illness (mine is probably presumed to be the same "bug") strep was ruled out.

I live in upstate NY and have lived here since I was 3. We vacation in the Adirondacks every summer, and I occasionally travel into Pennsylvania. I have never been out of the US.

By "early onset arthritis" I realize now that I may have confused you - I only mean that it seems "early" in my life, at 35, for the "onset" of arthritis. However, my mother and grandmother both developed arthritis with bone spurs in their 50s - 60s so perhaps this isn't altogether unusual.

As for my lung issues, because my pulmonologist cannot quite put his finger on the nature of my lung issue, I would really have to tell you the story because we just dont' know what is going on - right now his diagnosis is "mild ventilatory obstruction" and "some lack of oxygenation of unknown etiology" and "exercise induced athsma" though even he says it's not really consistant with athsma. If you don't want to read through the next few paragraphs, at least that tells you what HE thinks it is.

The issues came on fairly suddenly, in my opinion co-inciding with debilitating muscle spasms that kept me awake one night and sent me to the walk-in clinic on a Sunday when my PCP's office was closed. This was 9/22/2006 at age 33. I had x-rays taken and was sent home with muscle relaxers and told that my x-rays showed some osteopenia perhaps (subsequent DEXA agreed with this, but 24 months later I was back in normal range), and some lung hyperinflation. Bloodwork done the same day showed my WBC just a little high at 10.8.

I saw my PCP the next day who said that means emphysema, which startled me since I am a lifetime non-smoker, though I grew up in a "smoking" household - my mother smoked my entire life and until her death in 2003 following a stroke (age 69). She had emphysema as well as congestive heart failure and diabetes later in life, and I immediately saw my future like hers and decided to be very proactive in finding an answer for my own issues.

My PCP referred me to the lung doctor who has done spirometry three times since then, and sees me every six months. He also referred me to a neurologist in regards to the back muscle spasms, and he ordered a brain and c-spine MRIs that were normal, aside from some ethmoid sinus inflammation (I came down with a nasty upper respiratory infection a week or so later, which is something that happens to me at least 2-3 times every fall/winter) and also complete reversal of cervical lordosis, which my doctor says is from muscle spasms. The neuro also ordered a CBC and tested me for many things which were all negative (I have copies of the results here) including lyme, lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's, Hashimotos, my ANA level, and who knows what all else. I do not know why he didn't order an l-spine MRI, as that is where my pain was, but he did not. I finally had one done just recently (two years after this episode) and arthrosis was found in the facet joints at L4-L5. That was my first sign of arthritis. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My first spirometry exam in 11/06 was essentially normal aside from an Expiratory Reserve Volume of 137% predicted normal and a FEFmax at 65% predicted normal, FEF75% at 68% predicted normal, and my blood oxygenation level was low. At that time I begain noticing increasing shortness of breath while laying down and always while trying to sleep on my stomach, my preference since childhood. I was given albuterol to try using when I felt particularly short of breath, and at bedtime, and did feel a bit of relief for awhile (though I no longer feel that it helps me).

My second spirometry exam in 3/07 consisted of slightly different tests than the first, but my FEFmax was at 50% predicted normal, FEF75% was at 53% predicted normal, and my ERV was 128% of its predicted normal. At this time they also did an exercise stress test on an exercise bike, and the doctor expressed concern that my systolic and diastolic numbers climbed together to the point of being 158/100 when we stopped - he said that when the top number rises, the bottom number normally lowers. He told me at that time that my results were not altogether consistant with exercise-induced athsma, and ordered a chest CT and an echocardiogram. He also prescribed a corticosteroid inhaler but didn't really explain why, and so I elected to not use it and have never done so. Now I wonder if that was a mistake on my part. My chest CT showed a 6mm noncalcified fissure based nodule in my right lower lobe which was unchanged on a follow up CT about 6 months later, and which is considered stable and not a big deal. (I also have been told in the past that I have a calcium deposit-type cyst in my left breast, as well as numberous "bony phleboliths" in my abdomen, which probably is not relevant but I thought I'd mention it). My ECG was normal.

My third spirometry exam in 8/08 put my FEFmax at 78%, FEF75% at 61%, ERV at 146%, my blood oxygenation was so low they had to do a blood stick to see if I was anemic (I was not), and they did two new tests - MIP and MEP. My MIP was 53% of predicted normal and MEP was 27%. This was my wakeup call that something is absolutely wrong. My doctor asked how I was feeling in regards to my shortness of breath and I told him that as always, I cannot breathe if I lay on my stomach and MUST roll over in order to not feel suffocated, and he said that is good that there is no change then, and sent me on my way. My PCP was more concerned with those numbers and he referred me to another pulmonary doctor who I have not seen yet, and don't see until the end of November. When I asked my PCP what my lung doctor had diagnosed me with according to his paperwork he said "mild ventilatory obstruction causing no trouble at this time" and "some lack of oxygenation of unknown etiology" and "exercise induced athsma".

In the meantime, this same time last year I went to my PCP complaining of my right eye feeling tired and as if it wasn't holding up its end of the work (I've always had 20/20 vision, which my eyedoctor said is quite rare) and my eye doctor (not optometrist) ended up writing me a prescription for glasses. My right eye is just a bit weak with an Rx for +.50, the left for +.25 - he attributed it to my advancing age (of 35). I also told my PCP that my right side of my body from waist down felt desreased sensation and tingling/numbness at times and he suggested to me that I might have MS, which we have now decided is very unlikely. I have since had an EMG/NCS done and those were normal. I have just now started physical therapy for my right hip since my right leg has muscle weakness according to the doctor's exam, and it aches quite a bit. My PT says my hip joint has inflammation (arthritis number two).

Last week when I was at my PCP for my daughter's illness, he noted that my hands were quite red and I pointed out a strange bony nodule on my middle finger's middle knuckle - he said "I think you have a rheumatoid disease" and sent me to get my hands xrayed, and the results came back that I have mild arthritis in my hands as well (arthritis number 3). He has referred me to a rheumatologist, who I have not seen yet.

As you can see, I am at a loss. Now having this staph diagnosis one day following my first PT session on my hip, where they applied moist heat to the swelling and I felt as though things were "moving around in there" (not sure how to describe the sensation in my leg other than that), has caught me offguard. I am completely unsure what to think.

I am so very sorry for the length of this message, and I hope that you find time to read through it all.

Thank you so very much for all of your time and for your interest in my situation, it is greatly appreciated and helps me to feel that I have some control over the situation - knowledge is power!

Last edited by JustJen8; 10-24-2008 at 12:00 PM. Reason: clarification

 
Old 10-24-2008, 12:07 PM   #4
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

By the way, MRSA has been found in my children's schools (skin related though) and also in 2003 when my mother was in the hospital prior to her death, we were informed by hospital staff that her roommate had MRSA there in the hospital. I do not know whether I have anything to worry about after such a long time though. My children and I were all exposed, including my daughter who is now five (she was 5 months old at the time and had been born 3 weeks premature).

Just figured I'd better mention that, though my gut instinct is not to worry about that. Thanks!

 
Old 10-25-2008, 09:42 AM   #5
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Just a quick update - my daughter has been off her second batch of antibiotics for about three days now, and her throat is all red and swollen and nasty again. I spoke to the doctor on the phone and he suggested she and I both have a viral type of mono, and will be calling in steroids for us both. I am unsure whether we ought to have bloodwork to confirm this suspicion, but since he will be unavailable through Monday at this point, I was glad to at least touch bases with him, make him aware of her returning illness, and get his opinion and a new prescription to try. Hopefully he is correct and she and I will both be over this bug soon.

Can staph cause mono though? I thought that was EBV. Hmm...

Either way, my problem is most likely unrelated to this possible mono situation, so I would still be very appreciative of any thoughts anyone might have as to my overall medical situation. thanks!

edit: well my doctor called it in but my pharmacy closed for the weekend 20 minutes later and I couldn't pick up our medications! I won't have anything till Monday now. Hopefully this won't be a problem.

Last edited by JustJen8; 10-25-2008 at 10:15 AM.

 
Old 10-30-2008, 05:10 AM   #6
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

You're right...staph doesn't cause mono, it's EBV. Also, Staph doesn't cause sore throats usually either.

One thing that is hard to explain to patients is that when someone has a sore throat, even if bacteria are the cause, the only time antibiotics SHOULD be given is when the bacteria is found as Group A Streptococcus (GAS or S. pyogenes). Why? Because treating the GAS infection reduces the possibility of things like rheumatic fever in the future. The antibiotics are NOT to treat the sore throat. In the lab one may often see petri dishes of samples of throat swabs and they may be just teeming with bacteria, but it doesn't mean anything unless the bacteria is GAS.

Also, when someone has a sore throat, the other possibility (other than a viral infection) is infectious mononucleosis or mono. This is usually from EBV infection, but a number of other viruses and parasites can cause it.

 
Old 11-24-2008, 09:30 AM   #7
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgranulomatis View Post
Staphylococcus is a fairly virulent bacterium which can infect one almost anywhere in the body. It is especially good at soft tissue infection (like the skin and related structures) and this is likely because that's where its normal habitat is. The thing with Staph (especially Staphylococcus aureus) is that, once it's in the bloodstream it likes to go to other areas of the body, grip on to a given tissue, and then form a colony and eventually an abscess there. One place that Staph likes to stick to is bone, and also heart valves. So yes, it is quite proficient in causing "internal infections".

That said, I am a little surprised about you being diagnosed with Staphyloccocal lymphadenitis. Staph infection can be anywhere, but a lymph node infection is a bit lower on the list mostly because Staph likes to travel in the bloodstream and not the lymph stream. How long has this swelling in your neck been going on for? Is it something that happened fairly quickly, or is it something which has been grumbling for a few weeks?

What type of lung problems were you diagnosed with?
What part of the world are you from?
Have you travelled to Africa or Asia or anywhere outside of North America in the past 5 years?
What do you mean by "early onset arthritis"?

These things definitely can be related, and two things I think of are tuberculosis or a chronic fungal infection.

I am NOT saying that Staph isn't the answer (and only your doctor can say what's the diagnosis) but again, Staph is unusual in causing lymphadenitis.
Dear Cgranulomatis,
I was looking from some information in the internet, and i found about you.
We just came back from Vietnam, and my boyfriend has been bitten by a mosquito.


Now, the reason, I write you, is because he was bitten
by a mosquito, an overnight, he woke up with 50
mosquito bites, with water inside. That happen over a
week ago.

We did not take any measures in Vietnam, since he was
feeling with no pain, or fever, but the ithching
irritation.

The problem arise when he got a pain, in the groin (
aine) on one side. He is back in Bourgoin Jallieu, close to Lyon, France.. and I am backin the USA...
He went this weekend to the Hopital.. because now the lymph nodes in the groin and neck are swollen.... they
have made him a blood test, and it was "Staphilocoque"
it seems the mosquito that bitten him carried this
bacteria. He also has some "Ganglions" in his neck and
groin.

We are very worried, specially me, since I am stuck in
the USA for now, the doctors in Bourgoin has asked him
to wait until they get a specialist... mmm but of course.. i can't wait that long, and want to see other opinions.

Also the area of the mosquito bites, are still swollen with water inside... and in the groin, is swollen and red... how serious is this? should i also take some measures? some blood test? i have not had any symptoms, though.

Thanks a lot for your comments,
Rosa

 
Old 11-24-2008, 01:26 PM   #8
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RosaSA View Post
Dear Cgranulomatis,
I was looking from some information in the internet, and i found about you.
We just came back from Vietnam, and my boyfriend has been bitten by a mosquito.


Now, the reason, I write you, is because he was bitten
by a mosquito, an overnight, he woke up with 50
mosquito bites, with water inside. That happen over a
week ago.

We did not take any measures in Vietnam, since he was
feeling with no pain, or fever, but the ithching
irritation.

The problem arise when he got a pain, in the groin (
aine) on one side. He is back in Bourgoin Jallieu, close to Lyon, France.. and I am backin the USA...
He went this weekend to the Hopital.. because now the lymph nodes in the groin and neck are swollen.... they
have made him a blood test, and it was "Staphilocoque"
it seems the mosquito that bitten him carried this
bacteria. He also has some "Ganglions" in his neck and
groin.

We are very worried, specially me, since I am stuck in
the USA for now, the doctors in Bourgoin has asked him
to wait until they get a specialist... mmm but of course.. i can't wait that long, and want to see other opinions.

Also the area of the mosquito bites, are still swollen with water inside... and in the groin, is swollen and red... how serious is this? should i also take some measures? some blood test? i have not had any symptoms, though.

Thanks a lot for your comments,
Rosa
Hi there,

It's a great idea those doctors are looking for a specialist to see your BF. The thing with mosquito bites is that they can secondarily get infected with bacteria because the skin has been broken and people tend to scratch them; however, with travel to Vietnam and swollen lymph nodes, the mosquito bites may be a red herring and you have to look for other causes.

In any returning traveller from the tropics who have fevers, the top 5 things that must be ruled out on the differential diagnosis are:

a) Malaria
b) Malaria
c) Malaria
d) Malaria
e) Malaria

That point is beaten in to the heads of physicians around the world. Why? Because malaria has the potential of killing you really quickly, it is very easy to diagnose, and it's easy to treat if you make a timely diagnosis. I'm sure that was done for your BF. After malaria has been ruled in or out, other things must be checked. Swollen lymph glands from Vietnam raises a few possibilities:

a) Tuberculosis
b) Disseminated fungal infection (esp. Penicillium marnaffei, a fungus endemic to Vietnam)
c) Meliodiosis (also known as the Vietnam time bomb which affected many Vietnam war vets)
d) Typhoid

Of those three things, tuberculosis is the most important one to rule out as there are public health concerns obviously.

Other than the swollen lymph glands, does your BF have other symptoms? Cough? Fever? Diarhea? Stomach pain? Is he otherwise healthy?

While in Vietnam did either of you:

a) consume dairly products?
b) swim in fresh water?
c) have sexual intercourse with anyone other than each other?
d) walk barefoot outside?
e) get any insect bites OTHER than mosquitoes?
f) stay in a rural area?
e) have any animal contact?

 
Old 11-24-2008, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

first than anything, thanks for answering...
well, no fever yet detected... so it seems the malaria has been ruled out ... i will go for a blood exams and check up on wedndesday, just for caution. about the questions you listed:

Other than the swollen lymph glands, does your BF have other symptoms? Cough? no Fever? no Diarhea? no Stomach pain? no Is he otherwise healthy? i will say yes.

While in Vietnam did either of you:

a) consume dairly products?yes
b) swim in fresh water?yes ,in the sea
c) have sexual intercourse with anyone other than each other? no
d) walk barefoot outside? yes
e) get any insect bites OTHER than mosquitoes? i did not had those big mosquito bites, but the day before that he got the big swollen looking like big bites, we both had this little bites... that look like a prefect red circle with a tiny red point in the middle... very weird, because they were very symetrical... for me they dissapear next day, for him they stay and on top he got the swollen water bumps...

f) stay in a rural area? yes.. we did a lot of travelling from north vietnam to the south of mekong, to a not touristic island and to cambodia, too.

e) have any animal contact? no.. probably just dogs around.. but not really contact

thanks for your input...

 
Old 11-27-2008, 08:40 PM   #10
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Hey there,

Any word yet from the specialist doctors seeing your boyfriend?

 
Old 12-04-2008, 07:11 PM   #11
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Hi, I had a question too about this topic. I understand the description of 'water bites' because I woke up this morning with an odd group of four little blistery bumps on my neck. I've had lymphangitis in the past with the streak and it looked a little similar to the raised bumpy part of the snakey burn mark I had then so I thought, oh, lymphangitis again. The odd thing is that my lymph nodes barely swelled until the burn mark was disappearing last time. This evening my neck felt odd and I noticed that I had a lump on it above the marks, I think it is my lymph node. But there's no streak. the bumps feel like they are broken blisters right now (we applied last time and this oil of cajeput which is a medical grade natural antibiotic -- it went away before) but the node seems to be getting bigger. I don't think I am close to a fever, in fact I've had hypothermia with violent chills and my body doesn't seem to be generating its own heat right now. My whole neck is a bit stiff and I feel groggy but nothing severe, just a little fluish. Does this sound like anything? I am not gung ho about rushing to the dr. because last time they prescribed a steroid after debating about it for a long time, which I didn't take knowing it would depress the immune response if it was lymphangitis. I did get the petachia ? in my legs so it was eventually diagnosed -- I didn't see how it could be anything else with such a distinctive, burning streak heading into my armpit. I'd be grateful for any help, even of what to ask at a dr's office etc. to make sure I don't get misdiagnosed?

 
Old 12-04-2008, 09:11 PM   #12
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Hi Heidi,

Your description is completely LOADED with the possibility of different things. You seem like a person who is quite on top of her health issues, but I caution you about taking things too much in to your hands. Your case sounds like it's not ordinary and if you try to sort things out yourself too much, you may land in trouble.

You say your "body is not producing enough heat". What do you mean by that? Your description sounds like a classic example of having a fever and it breaking which then results in sweats and chills. The reason one feels cold when you have a fever is not because you're cold, but because your body wants to raise its temperature to fight off whatever you have in your body, and it does this by raising the normal temperature to one that is higher. As long as your body is not at that new higher temperature you'll feel cold even though your actual body temperature is higher than normal.

Anyway, in someone who has swollen lymph glands, fevers/chills and sweats is something that is very concerning and you really should seek medical attention soon.

 
Old 12-05-2008, 03:54 AM   #13
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Thanks -- I woke up with another bump in my neck and very sore: I will go to the dr. I have dysautonomia which works out to hypothermia in winter -- my oral temp lately has been in the 93-94 region, so i assumed the violent chills were more of the same but didn't actually take my temp (I was too cold most of the day to think of going into another room, even). No I don't want to take too much in my own hands but I was told last time by the dr. who looked at the purple spots and said 'yep, you had lympangitis' that it was a good thing I went with my gut on that one and didn't take the steroids.

To the original poster -- did you know that lack of vitamin d can cause small lungs/inadequate oxygenation? It can also cause osteomalacia, which is different than osteopenia. something about cell turnover makes the two opposite, and if you treat osteomalacia like osteopenia/porosis you actually make it worse. Have you had your vit d levels checked? It might be something to look into. It's a master hormone and is very important also in immunity. I have osteomalacia (oddly most people with dyt do) but was originally diagnosed with osteopenia at 28, until we took the vit d level. I also have inadequate oxygenation. do a search on 'vitamin d and small lungs' and it should pull up quite a few articles and some research that is being done in Australia.

Last edited by heidikay1; 12-05-2008 at 03:56 AM.

 
Old 12-05-2008, 04:53 AM   #14
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

Heidi, who diagnosed you with "dysautonomia"?

 
Old 12-05-2008, 08:08 AM   #15
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Re: staph infection in my lymph nodes?

I was diagnosed by my family doctor., because of the way my bp/heartrate reacts to postural changes and the way blood pools in my limbs. She had me stand for a few minutes in her office and bp/heartrate etc checked (besides the fact that I couldn't stand any longer). My health history fit the diagnosis (everything suddenly made sense). She wanted me to have it confirmed with one of those tests where they put you upright but another dr. I see regularly -- also more of a family dr., but who helps me with nutrition-- advised against undergoing it as it would give no further information than what was already known (that posture raised my heartrate and lowers my bp), and as standing in the one doc's office made it hard for me to get up without collapsing for a couple days. I am very careful about my fluid and salt intake and do much better with being upright since the diagnosis, but still don't adjust very well to a lot of environmental factors (as with my body temp not regulating well). Do you think it could be related to the swollen nodes?

I have an appt for Monday if the bites/swollen nodes persist. I don't know if this is a 'get to the dr. right now' situation or not, and would rather not disturb the universe if it can wait. The chilling is gone today, so I think your suggestion that it might be related is probably correct: most helpful, thank you. It cheers me up to think that I'm not going to be dealing with that kind of coldness every day for the rest of the winter!

 
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