Q: Can you explain to me what a staph infection and septicemia are and how you get them? My father died from this.
A: "Septicemia" means that bacteria have invaded the bloodstream. In septicemia, not only are there bacteria in the blood, but bacterial toxins might also have entered the blood.
The combination of bacteria and bacterial toxins sets off a chain reaction that often culminates in death. The temperature soars. The heart beats rapidly. Patients pant for air. Blood pressure drops.
Such derangement of body functions heralds the disruption of body organs. Urine output slows and can completely shut down. The liver loses its ability to produce essential body nutrients. The heart weakens. Lungs draw less oxygen into the body. Clots often form within arteries.
Your father's staph infection was most likely the source for his bloodstream infection. Staph skin infections are common, but staph bloodstream infections are not. Staph skin infections only rarely cause septicemia.
Drugs to bolster blood pressure are dripped directly into veins. Supplemental oxygen is given. Neutralizing the acid that results from septicemia is essential. Large doses of potent antibiotics must be administered. In spite of all these efforts, a victory over septicemia often eludes doctors and patients.
Q: I have seen doctors on television say that our bodies are filled with parasites. These doctors say we need to cleanse our systems periodically. Please explain this situation.
A It is true that our lower digestive tract is filled with bacteria, but those bacteria are friends. They provide much-needed services, such as manufacturing vitamin K. I don't know if the doctors were alluding to bacteria or not. Usually "parasite" is saved for infections such as worms.
The most common worm infection in Canada and the United States is the pinworm. The female exits the intestinal tract at night to lay eggs around the anus. After laying eggs, she dies. She does not return to her intestinal home. Treatment for pinworms is an oral medicine that reliably evicts these tiny worms.
There is no need to cleanse the digestive tract. It cleanses itself. Interfering with nature only brings trouble.
Q: I was getting red spots on my body. I saw a dermatologist, who said they were cherry angiomata and that they carried no significance. I would like to believe that, but something still does not feel right to me.
A Cherry angiomata are signs of aging. Many people over 70 have them. They are bright red, small spots about the size of a printed, lowercase "o."
They are not indications for concern. If they are a cosmetic problem, the doctor can remove them.
Dr. Paul Donohue appears Tuesdays. Write to him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.