Yeast infections are not a sexually transmitted disease. A yeast infection is caused by Candida, a common fungus found on everyone’s body.
How do I know if I have a yeast infection?
You may have a yeast infection if you’re experiencing vaginal itching or soreness; pain during sexual intercourse; or pain or discomfort when urinating. It’s normal for your vagina to produce some discharge, but an abnormal amount of discharge, or changes in color or consistency, may also be a sign of a yeast infection.
Who usually gets yeast infections?
Yeast infections can happen to anyone, but vaginal yeast infections can only occur in women. The following conditions will increase your chances of developing a yeast infection:
- Using birth control pills
- Having diabetes
- Having a weakened immune system
- Taking antibiotics
How do I treat a yeast infection?
You can pick up an antifungal medication without a prescription. These medications can be found in most pharmacies and many grocery stores, and they will usually treat the infection within 1-7 days. If your symptoms don’t go away with the use of an over-the-counter antifungal medication, then it’s best to see a health care provider to receive a prescription to treat the infection.
How to prevent future infections
- Wearing cotton underwear
- Limiting sugar and breads
- Drink plenty of water
- Wash thoroughly with mild, unscented soap
Want to know more about vaginal yeast infections? These resources can help!
Are you reading this blog on your cell phone? When was the last time you washed your hands? If you can’t remember, then it’s been way too long! Go wash your hands and come back to finish reading. This blog can wait.
What’ve You Gotten Into?
Think of everything you’ve done since you last washed your hands. Did you eat? Go to the bathroom? Touch a door knob or elevator button? Try clothes on at the store? Purchase something with cash? All of those activities are things you do every day. And unfortunately by doing them, you come into contact with all types of bacteria, or bugs, that can make you sick. If you did these activities and didn’t wash your hands and are now touching your cell phone, you have just dropped those bugs onto your cell phone, where they will sit, stay, multiply and possibly make you sick. Gross.
Keep It Clean!
There are a few things that you can do to keep those little disease-causers away. The first step is to wash your hands after you come in contact with areas that are outside your home. You should always wash your hands before you eat or touch your face. And because you probably have your cell phone in your hands for most of the day, you should try and wash your hands before picking the phone up and wipe it down daily to help get rid of the bugs hanging on. Check with the store where you got your phone to see if they have any recommendations for cleaning your phone. And finally … hand-washing is the #1 way to stop spreading the bugs. So rub-a-dub-dub and give your hands a good scrub!
PSA: Proper Hand Washing
By the way, the proper way to wash your hands is to get them wet with water, apply soap and rub your hands together to lather the soap up. You should wash them for at least 15 seconds (or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday To You” all the way through) and then rinse them off and dry with a towel. You can also use hand sanitizer if you aren’t near a sink and soap. Apply enough of the sanitizer so that it coats your hands and rub your hands together until the sanitizer is all rubbed in (meaning your hands aren’t wet anymore). Mic drop … your hands are now clean!
Learn more about keeping yourself and your phone germ-free: Kids Health – Hand Washing Tips
Some people just love drinking water. They say it’s super healthy for you, but … why? What’s so great about water?
Water is Essential to Life
Did you know that over half of your body is made of water? All of the things your body does, every minute of the day, things you don’t even think about… it all needs water to happen. Water keeps your brain thinking, your heart pumping, your lungs breathing, your muscles moving and your eyes blinking. Water makes each tiny cell grow in your body. It acts as your “air conditioner” to cool you off by sweating. It even cushions your brain and helps your body digest food. Without water, your body wouldn’t be able to survive.
How Much Water Do I Need?
You probably know that your body loses water every time you pee and when you’re sweating. But did you know you also lost water from breathing? That means that you’re constantly losing water, every minute of every day. You may have heard that you should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, but you actually might need more or less depending on what you’re doing. For instance, if you’re sitting around all day, you won’t need to drink as much water as you would if you were playing sports.
Want a foolproof way to be sure you’re getting enough water? Just look at your pee! If your pee is dark or vibrant in color, you probably need to drink more water. But if it’s light in color, you’re probably drinking enough.
I Feel … So … Tired…
If you don’t have enough water in your body, you may feel sleepy or sluggish, like you just want to lay around. Drink a glass of water for some energy! Have a headache? Feeling hungry? Well, that could be your body asking for more water. Is your mouth or skin dry? Want to do better on the athletic field? Have a big test coming up? Having trouble pooping? Drinking more water can help you with all of those things!
Make Your Water Exciting
Water is always the best choice, but it can get a little boring after awhile. Try making your water taste better by adding cut up fruit for flavor! You can make caffeine-free tea for a refreshing beverage. Or, drink sparkling or flavored water—but make sure those drinks don’t have too much sugar (real or fake).
You could also try eating your water–snacks like watermelon, oranges, pineapple, celery, spinach and green peppers contain plenty of water. Oranges and peppers are especially great as portable snacks, so next time you’re hungry, peel an orange or crunch on a fresh pepper. Your body will thank you!
Learn more about the benefits of water:
It may seem a little surprising, but getting too much sun can actually put you at risk for developing melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Protect yourself with sunscreen to prevent skin cancer!
Why should I use sunscreen?
Sunscreen creates extra protection for your skin to protect against the sun’s strong rays. Using sunscreen every time you are outside (even if it’s cloudy) will prevent against painful sunburns, wrinkly skin and even melanoma. People from all backgrounds, with all skin types/colors need to wear sunscreen to protect from these harmful rays. Melanoma doesn’t just happen to older people, everyone is at risk after they have gone through puberty (this probably means you!) Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in young people ages 15-29.
Which sunscreen is best?
You always want to use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays so make sure to read the label! Sunscreen with an SPF (this is what protects your skin from the sun) factor of 30 or more is what you want to look for. Be sure to put sunscreen on before going out in the sun to allow time for it to work.
Here are some tips from Impact Melanoma to keep you safe in the sun!
- Avoid the sun when it’s strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Use an SPF of 30+ daily on parts of your body that are exposed to sun
- Reapply SPF every two hours, or after sweating a lot or swimming
- Wear protective clothing, hats and protective sunglasses
- Avoid tanning beds, tans and sunburns
- Get an annual skin exam or talk to your primary care physician about checking your skin
- Talk with your family members and know your health history. If anyone in your family has had melanoma, you are at a greater risk!
Still want more information? Visit these links:
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another by sexual or genital contact. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomonas, Herpes, Syphilis, Hepatitis, HIV, HPV, and genital warts are just a few of the more common STIs. Luckily, some are easily cured with medication; others are infections that will be with you the rest of your life.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for STIs … no matter what type of sex you’re having (oral, vaginal or anal). About 50% of people will have an STI before their 25th birthday. Sometimes you may not even know you have a STI because symptoms may be silent. Left untreated, STIs can cause complications later including not being able to have children when you’re ready or other infections.
What Should I Watch For?
Always ask your partner when the last time they were tested and their results. Being open with each other is very important in a relationship. If you notice sores or discharge from your partners genitals it’s best to wait and get tested before you have sex with them. Don’t see anything odd? Use a condom anyway, because there are many STIs that you won’t be able to see with the naked eye. Ideally, getting tested together before having sex for the first time with a new partner is the best idea to be sure you are both disease free. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Symptoms you might want to get checked:
- Burning when you pee
- Vaginal discharge that causes itching, burning or a foul smell
- Sores or bumps on your genitals
- Abdominal pain, fever, chills
- Testicular pain in men
- Bleeding after sex or in between periods in women
I Might Have an STD … What Should I Do?
Get tested! It’s really easy to get tested for an STD, and it’s the only way to know if you have an STI. Visit your local health department or doctor’s office to get tested ASAP if you suspect something. Testing can be as easy as leaving a urine (pee) sample; sometimes a blood test is required depending on the infection. Same day results are available for some STIs, and others have to be sent to a lab for testing and take up to a week to come back. Talk to your doctor or nurse for more information.
Worried about going to the doctor? You can always visit the Teen Health Center instead. We do STD and STI testing for free for all teens and youth aged 19 and under. Your visit and results will always be kept confidential! Call the Teen Health Center to make an appointment today: (478) 238-4276
Is a Vaginal Infection an STI?
Nope, not always! There are two common vaginal infections that are not STIs, yeast and bacterial vaginosis (BV). Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina caused by taking antibiotics , washing with scented soaps or wearing pants that may be a little too tight. BV is when too much ‘bad’ bacteria grows in your vagina, changing the normal balance. This can be caused by having sex with a new partner, douching or not using condoms.
Want more information about STIs, their symptoms and how to prevent them? Check out these links:
Public health is here to serve YOU! Regardless of age, gender or race they work with people of all ages and backgrounds from babies to grandparents to improve their health and safety.
So what do they do in Public Health?
At some point or another everyone can benefit from public health services. Just a few of the services are listed below:
- Vaccines (flu shots, HPV, hepatitis)
- Birth Control (from condoms to long acting reversible birth control, they have a lot to choose from!)
- Pregnancy tests
- STD testing (new partner? Feeling like something just isn’t right down there?)
- Nutritional counseling (are you eating enough/too much/the right foods, the nutritionist can help you figure it all out)
- Physicals (new school year or sports physical? They’ve got you covered for that too!)
- Car seat checks (they can be sure car seats and installed safely)
- Health education (have questions about your body, sex, social issues?)
Where can I receive these services?
There are two locations for teens to receive totally free and confidential health services in Macon-Bibb County:
Macon Bibb County Health Department
171 Emery Highway
Macon GA 31217
Teen Health Center
2605 Cherokee Avenue
Macon GA 31201
How do I set up an appointment?
Looking for an appointment or want more information? Contact us at the phone numbers above to speak to a nurse or health educator. Have questions but are embarrassed to call? Shoot an anonymous text to (478) 238-4276 and someone will get back to you.
Want more information on public health for teens? Browse these links:
We all know the elements of healthy eating: get enough proteins, plenty of fresh vegetables, not too much sugars and fat. But we don’t always follow those rules. Where’s the line between healthy eating, unhealthy eating and straight-up eating disorders?
A healthy diet can help you maintain a proper body weight. Experts say that a healthy diet should:
- Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
- Be low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars
- Stay within your daily calorie needs
We’re all allowed a pass now and again to indulge in our favorite snacks, cakes or treats. But constant overeating, or undereating, is a problem.
Anorexia: Teens with anorexia are often extremely strict about which foods they eat, how much they eat, or they may even avoid eating altogether. Even when they’re abnormally thin, teens with anorexia often still consider themselves fat. Signs of anorexia may include obsessively counting calories or grams of fat; denied feelings of hunger; rapid or excessive weight loss; feeling cold, tired or weak; or other symptoms.
Bulimia: Bulimia nervosa is often characterized by a ‘binge and purge’ cycle, where the teen eats normally or overeats, then later purges by vomiting, using laxatives, fasting or engaging in excessive exercise. Signs of bulimia may include eating large amounts of food with no apparent change in weight; excessive exercise or fasting; frequent trips to the bathroom after meals; inappropriate use of laxatives; weakness or fatigue; or other symptoms.
Binge-Eating: Teens who indulge in binge-eating behaviors go through bouts of uncontrollable excessive eating, later followed by feelings of shame or guilt. Teens who binge eat are typically overweight, and signs of binge-eating include eating rapidly, eating in secret or when stressed, experimentation with different diets, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or other symptoms.
Who Should I Talk To?
If you’re concerned about your eating habits, we recommend you reach out to a Teen Health educator. You can text us confidentially at (478) 796-5359 and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Or call either of the Teen Health Center locations. We can help you identify an eating disorder or simply provide tips for continued healthy eating. Reach out today, we’re here ready to help!
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month … but did you know there are other cancers that affect women’s reproductive organs, too?
Breaking It Down
So what are “reproductive organs,” anyway? Women’s reproductive organs include the cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva. Cancers that start in these places are called gynecologic cancers. (Woah… did you even know you could get cancer there?)
How Do I Know if I Have Cancer?
Every cancer is unique with its own signs, symptoms, and risks. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers and the risk only increases with age. Of all these cancers, the only one that is routinely screened for is cervical cancer with a pap smear starting at age 21. Yearly exams with a gynecologist or trained health care provider are important to screen for any early signs of cancer and many other health problems. Remember to get your pap starting at 21 and come in yearly for an annual exam regardless of age.
How to Prevent Cancer
It’s hard to actually prevent anything … but you can always make smart decisions to try to avoid cancer. Most gynecologic cancers are caused by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV), so the best thing you can do is avoid getting HPV. But how?
Using condoms for safe sex are a great start, because they’ll help protect you from HPV and other STDs. Or, if you’re under 21, you can get the HPV vaccine! The HPV vaccine is just 3 shots over six months. Although there’s no 100% guarantee that you’ll avoid cancer, the HPV vaccine can greatly reduce your risk.
Want to know more about gynecologic health and cancers? Check it out: