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Common Conditions | Primary Healthcare

While many types of viruses can cause a common cold, rhinoviruses are the most common cause. A cold virus enters your body through your mouth, eyes, or nose and it can spread through droplets in the thin air when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. It also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or sharing contaminated objects.

Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, cough, and congestion may happen afterward.

Flu symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache, soreness, congestion, cough, and muscle aches.

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There are four main causes of acne:

  • Bacteria
  • Inflammation 
  • Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
  • Excess oil production

Some factors that can worsen acne include hormonal changes, some medications, diet, and stress

Signs of acne vary depending on how severe the condition is. These are common symptoms:

  • Small red and tender bumps
  • Pimples
  • Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
  • Blackheads (open plugged pores)
  • Large, solid, painful lumps under the skin 
  • Painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin 

Acne usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders

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Someone can get an infection in many ways including:

  • Direct contact: Coming in direct contact with someone who has an infection through touching, kissing, or having sex. Some infections can spread directly from an infected mother to her child through the placenta or during childbirth.
  • Indirect contact: Some infectious organisms can be found through your environment such as when someone with the flu coughs or sneezes and the virus can be in the air or on objects like a door. 
  • Contaminated food or water: These may have infectious organisms, particularly raw foods, pasteurized milks or juices, or foods that have been improperly refrigerated.
  • Infected animal: Rabies virus is an example where you can get infected if an animal bites you.
  • Bug bite: Someone can get infected from being bit by a bug carrying around an infectious microorganism. Some examples include malaria and West Nile Virus.


General symptoms include:

  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Fever or chills
  • Digestive upset, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Body aches and pains
  • Coughing or sneezing

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Different types of fungi can cause fungal infections. In some cases, fungi that aren’t usually found on or inside your body can colonize it and cause an infection. In other cases, fungi that are usually present on or inside your body can multiply out of control and cause an infection.

Symptoms of fungal infections include: 

  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Scaly skin
  • Blisters

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Most of the time, tension headaches are triggered from stress. Episodic tension headaches are usually caused by a single stressful situation or build up of stress. Daily stress can lead to chronic headaches. Other triggers can include:

  • Not enough rest
  • Poor posture
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Low iron levels
  • Dental problems

Signs and symptoms of a tension headaches include:

  • Sensation of tightness or pressure across the forehead or on the sides and back of the head
  • Dull, aching head pain
  • Tenderness in the scalp, neck and shoulder muscles

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One common cause is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter move above the diaphragm, which usually helps keep acid in the stomach. But if you have hiatal hernia, acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux.

Common symptoms of acid reflux are:

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation

Other symptoms of acid reflux disease include:

  • Bloody or black stools or bloody vomiting
  • Burping
  • Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat
  • Dysphagia -- the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
  • Hiccups that don't let up
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss for no known reason

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While stomach problems often originate in the digestive tract, they can also be due to  disorders of the circulatory system, urinary tract, reproductive system, respiratory system, nervous system, or body wall. There are a variety of causes including:

  • Kidney stones
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease 
  • Cancer of an abdominal or pelvic organ
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles 
  • Urinary tract infection

Stomach problems may accompany other symptoms affecting the digestive system including:


  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Abdominal swelling, distension or bloating
  • Belching
  • Bloody stool (blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Urgent need to pass stool

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Chronic respiratory diseases are chronic diseases of the airways and other parts of the lung. Some of the most common are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea and occupational lung diseases. Respiratory diseases affect all ages-children, teens, adults and seniors. Most of these diseases are chronic in nature and all have a major impact not only on the individual with the disease, but on the family, the community, and the health care system.

COPD symptoms often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues.

Signs and symptoms of COPD may include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • A chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy
  • Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
  • Swelling in ankles, feet or legs
  • People with COPD are also likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms become worse than the usual day-to-day variation and persist for at least several days.

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An eye infection can happen when bacteria, viruses or fungi invade part of the eye or its surrounding area. This includes the clear front surface of the eye (cornea) and the thin, moist membrane lining the outer eye and inner eyelids (conjunctiva). Many eye infections go away on their own or with simple treatment.

The symptoms of an eye infection depend on the underlying cause and can include:

  • Red eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Eye discharge
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Swollen eyes
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Itching
  • Blurry vision

Anytime you suspect an eye infection, you should always visit an eye doctor. Trying to self-diagnose your condition can delay treatment and, in rare cases, even threaten your vision.

If you experience eye infection symptoms and wear contact lenses, take your contacts out and wear eyeglasses until a doctor can diagnose your condition.

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