Opportunistic infections are illnesses caused by pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi that take advantage of a person’s weakened immune system. The inability to fight off invaders gives these infections an opportunity to enter the body, an opening rarely possible if only the person has a healthy body.

Causes of Weak Immune System
A weak immune system is caused by several factors and conditions such as pregnancy, ageing, ongoing medical procedures, and ongoing antibiotic treatment. Normally, opportunistic infections will not affect a healthy person, but if you have any of the following illnesses, you are at risk: recurring infections, HIV/AIDS, skin damage, leukopenia, and malnutrition. For people with HIV/AIDS, the most common opportunistic infections are the following: candidiasis, cervical cancer, herpes simplex virus, lymphoma, tuberculosis, pneumonia, Salmonella septicemia, wasting syndrome, and many more.

Testing for Opportunistic Infections
There are ways to be tested if you think you are infected with opportunistic infections or OI through blood tests. Patients with HIV/AIDS, for example, are at risk of getting infected and must be tested regularly. One type of blood test is to look for the antigens and/or antibodies. The antigens are traces of the germs that caused the opportunistic infection, while the antibodies are the proteins produced by the human body to fight off the infection. For people with HIV/AIDS, the CD4 cell count should be monitored, because it will determine how weak the immune system has become. The CD4 cells or T-cells are white blood cells that are responsible for suppressing and killing the cells infected by the virus.

HIV/AIDS and CD4 Cells
If the person has a very low CD4 cell count, it means that he/she is more likely to get sick or infected and will have a difficult time recovering. The human immunodeficiency virus often infects the CD4 cells and become part of the normal cells. As they destroy the person’s healthy cells, the HIV also multiplies, making it harder for the remaining white blood cells to fight off the infection. A CD4 test is taken by using a blood sample from the patient and then determining the count of several types of cells still present. Although the CD4 count is not exact, the laboratory technician can give a good proportion of CD4 cells by calculating the total white blood cells in the sample. A normal CD4 count should be between 500 and 1,600. A CD4 cell count below 200 will indicate that the person’s immune system has been severely damaged and is diagnosed with autoimmune deficiency syndrome or AIDS, the final stage of HIV.

Prevention of Opportunistic Infections
If you have HIV/AIDS, you should avoid getting infections through treatments such as antiretroviral therapy, taking prescribed medication (prophylaxis), getting vaccinations, practicing healthy eating habits, limiting your exposure to germs, drinking clean water only, and monitoring your CD4 cell count every 6 to 12 months.

Everything has a purpose and you will be amazed how hugging can help you and the people around you. In this case, hugging is not at all useless and nonsense. Not all Singaporeans love hugging. To them, hugging is more like invading personal space but to those who appreciate it, life is not the same without it.

You have to know that hugging can benefit your overall well-being. Hugging often can indeed change your life and to those you touch. It is time that you know the amazing physiological benefits of hugging:

• Increase bonding: There is no doubt that hugging can increase bonding. When you hug, there is a hormone that is released from the brain called oxytocin. The release of such hormones can in fact increase the feelings of intimacy and commitment.

• Relax the body: Notice that when you hug someone, it appeases you and thereby relaxing the body. It is more like letting someone help you carry whatever weight you are enduring.

• Ease pain: When hugging, endorphins will be released. This hormone can help with the relieving or easing of the pain. It can actually block the pain pathways thereby soothing the aches and increasing the soft tissue circulation.

• Relieve depression: Your brain can also increase its production of dopamine through hugging. Hugging is seen to set depression low as well as other neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson. So, if you see someone down, it won’t hurt to give a little something of yourself through hugging.

• Improve heart health: There is a study commissioned by University of North Carolina. The study found out that partners who get regular hugs have decreased heart rate. You have to know that a decreased heart rate can also decrease blood pressure as well as other cardiac illnesses.

• Boost the immune system: Hugging can actually help improve or boost the immune system. There is a study conducted by Dr. Shelden Cohen. The study proved that people who have constant hug and support did not exhibit symptoms of an infection despite their exposure.

Surely a simple thing as hugging can go a long way. The lesson here is that hug as often as you can because it feels good and it can have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing. To those who are not used to it, give yourself time and then try it. You will be surprised of how it actually feels.

Every day, adults feel stressed, most commonly from their work. They have no time to relax as there are many things to do not just at work but also at home. One of the problems that adults encounter at home is their children. This is the most common complain of most parent because there are kids that are too careless making them difficult to deal with. There are also children who can take away all your stress.

Balancing Your Work and Family Life

In reality, the two situations have a big possibility to take place most especially that a child is below 6 years old. On the other hand, if it reaches the age of 10 up to 15, you don’t have to worry like he’s a kid because he can decide on his own but he will still be dependent on his parents. During the time that your child is about to finish his studies, there’s a last wave of burden to carry. At this point, you have to work hard in order to sustain to your family. By the time you are finished with your duties and obligations to your family, you can now retire and make something different that you have never tried in your entire life.

Middle-Aged People are Happier

Many adults today (particularly in the age of 55-60) become happier because of they are just focusing on how they should live their life happier. Adults have less stress because they stopped working and starting a new life wherein they are just sitting and doing nothing. Most of them are happy. They don’t have to think about their children going to school. They don’t think about bills and many more. All they think is rest and reminiscing their weary times in the past.