USA.gov Blog

Posts tagged "health"

Protect Your Baby from Group B Strep

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should know about Group B Strep (GBS).

In the U.S., about 1 in 4 women carry Group B Streptococcal bacteria. Without a test, you wouldn’t know that you were carrying Group B Strep because there are no symptoms and it is usually not harmful to women. However, Group B Strep can be passed on to your baby during childbirth and lead to a deadly infection in your newborn.

If you test positive for Group B Strep, you can protect your baby by getting IV antibiotics during labor.

Learn more about Group B Strep and what you can do to protect your baby.

Contaminated Tattoo Inks can Cause Dangerous Infections

Tattoo inks and the pigments used to color them can become contaminated by bacteria, mold, and fungi. In the last year, inks contaminated with a family of bacteria called nontuberculous Mycobacteria have caused serious infections in at least four states. Some bacteria in this family can cause lung disease, joint infection, eye problems and other organ infections. The skin ointments provided by tattoo parlors are not effective against them.

Typical symptoms appear 2-3 weeks after tattooing: a red rash with swelling in the tattooed area, possibly accompanied by itching or pain. It often just looks like an allergic reaction, but without prompt and proper treatment, an infection could spread beyond the tattoo or become complicated by a secondary infection.

If you suspect you may have a tattoo-related infection, the Food and Drug Administration recommends you:

  • Contact your health care professional
  • Report the problem to the tattoo artist
  • Report the problem to MedWatch, on the Web or at 1-800-332-1088

Tattoo artists can minimize the risk of infection by using inks that have been formulated or processed to ensure they are free from disease-causing bacteria, while also avoiding the use of non-sterile water to dilute the inks or wash the skin. Non-sterile water includes tap, bottled, filtered or distilled water.

Learn more and see an image of an infected tattoo area.

Image description: Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults in 2011. The South has the highest prevalence of obesity (29.5%), followed by the Midwest (29.0%), the Northeast (25.3%) and the West (24.3%).
Obesity is common, serious and costly. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. If you want to lose weight, learn how to make a plan to make it happen with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Image description: Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults in 2011. The South has the highest prevalence of obesity (29.5%), followed by the Midwest (29.0%), the Northeast (25.3%) and the West (24.3%).

Obesity is common, serious and costly. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. If you want to lose weight, learn how to make a plan to make it happen with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Stay Healthy at College

College students spend a lot of time worrying about their studies that sometimes they can forget the importance of taking care of their health. While college life involves new challenges, responsibilities and excitement, it can also be a stressful time. Students often deal with the social pressures of drinking, drugs and sexual activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following tips for staying healthy and safe while in college:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Maintain your health with checkups and vaccinations
  • If you decide to have sex, practice safe sex
  • Make smart choices about alcohol and drugs
  • Get help if you are stressed or depressed

Physical stress from sleep deprivation, making poor eating decisions, substance abuse and more can lead to stress in relationships, classes and overall well being. Knowing who and where to look for help when feeling overwhelmed is one of the first steps to taking control. The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health is offering free publications for college students on topics ranging from sunscreens and tanning, sexual health, depression and much more.

View and order free publications on college students’ health.