Chapter 12 - Medical Overview Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 12 - Medical Overview Deck (15):

Herpes simplex

Herpes simplex
This is a common virus strain carried by humans.
Of individuals carrying the virus, 80% are asymptomatic.
Symptomatic infections can be serious and are on the rise.
The primary mode of infection is through close personal contact, so standard precautions are generally sufficient to prevent spread to or from health care workers.



No vaccine yet exists to protect against HIV/AIDS.
Despite treatment progress, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is still fatal.
It is not easily transmitted in the EMS work setting; far less contagious than hepatitis B
The EMT’s risk of infection is limited to exposure to an infected patient’s blood or body fluids.
Many patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) show no symptoms: Always wear the proper type of gloves, Take great care in handling and disposing of needles and scalpels. Cover any open wounds that you have whenever you are on the job.
If you have any reason to think that a patient’s blood or secretions may have entered your system, seek medical advice as soon as possible.



Although syphilis is commonly thought of as a sexually transmitted disease, it is also a bloodborne disease.
There is a small risk for transmission through Needlestick injury or Direct blood-to-blood contact
If treated with penicillin, the individual is considered noncommunicable within 24 to 48 hours.
The initial infection with syphilis produces a lesion called a chancre.



Inflammation (and often infection) of the liver
Early signs include: Loss of appetite, Vomiting, Fever, Fatigue, Sore throat, Jaundice, Right upper quadrant abdominal pain.
Toxin-induced hepatitis is not contagious.
There is no sure way to tell which hepatitis patients are contagious. A carrier is a person (or animal) in whom an infectious organism has taken up permanent residence and may or may not cause an active disease.
Hepatitis A is transmitted orally through oral or fecal contamination.
Hepatitis B is far more contagious than HIV, Vaccination with hepatitis B vaccine is highly recommended for EMTs.



1. Inflammation of the meningeal coverings of the brain and spinal cord
2. Signs and symptoms include:
a. Fever
b. Headache
c. Stiff neck
d. Altered mental status
3. Most forms of meningitis are not contagious.
a. However, one form, meningococcal meningitis, is highly contagious.
4. Take standard precautions.
a. Gloves and a mask will go a long way to prevent the patient’s secretions from getting into your nose and mouth.
b. Vaccines are rarely used.
c. Meningitis can be treated at the emergency department with antibiotics.
5. After treating a patient with meningitis, contact your employer health representative.
a. In many states, meningitis is “reportable.”



1. A chronic mycobacterial disease that usually strikes the lungs
2. Many infected patients are well most of the time.
a. If the disease involves the brain or kidneys, the patient is only slightly contagious.
3. Disease that occurs shortly after infection is called primary tuberculosis.
a. Reactive tuberculosis is common and can be much more difficult to treat, especially because an increasing number of tuberculosis strains have grown resistant to most antibiotics.
4. Patients who pose the highest risk almost always have a cough.
a. Consider respiratory tuberculosis to be the only contagious form because it is the only one that is spread by airborne transmission.
5. Absolute protection from infection with the tubercle bacillus does not exist.
a. Everyone who breathes is at risk.
b. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis.
c. The vaccine for tuberculosis, called BCG, is only rarely used in the United States.
d. The mechanism of transmission is not very efficient.
6. Have tuberculin skin tests regularly.
a. If the infection is found before you become ill, preventive therapy is almost 100% effective.


Whooping cough

Whooping cough
1. Also called pertussis, whooping cough is an airborne disease caused by bacteria that mostly affects children younger than 6 years.
2. Symptoms include fever and a “whoop” sound that occurs when inhaling after a coughing attack.
3. Prevent exposure by placing a mask on the patient and yourself.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
1. MRSA is a bacterium that causes infections.
2. It is resistant to most antibiotics.
3. In health care settings, MRSA is transmitted from patient to patient by the unwashed hands of health care providers.
a. Studies have shown that 5% to 15% of health care providers carry MRSA in their nares.
4. Factors that increase the risk for developing MRSA include:
a. Antibiotic therapy
b. Prolonged hospital stays
c. A stay in intensive care or burn unit
d. Exposure to an infected patient
5. The incubation period for MRSA appears to be between 5 and 45 days.



a. Rare but deadly virus transmitted through rodent urine and droppings
b. Not transmitted from person to person directly, but via food or a vector such as rodents


West Nile virus

West Nile virus
a. The vector is the mosquito.
b. Affects humans and birds.
c. These diseases are not communicable and pose no risk during patient care.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
a. SARS is a serious, potentially life-threatening viral infection caused by a recently discovered family of viruses.
b. SARS usually starts with flu-like symptoms, which may progress to pneumonia, respiratory failure, and, in some cases, death.
c. Transmitted by close person-to-person contact or by secretions


Avian flu

Avian flu
a. Avian (bird) flu is caused by a virus that occurs naturally in the bird population.
i. This virus is carried in the intestinal tract of wild birds and does not usually cause illness.
ii. However, in domestic bird populations (eg, chickens, ducks, and turkeys), it is very contagious.
iii. If an infected bird is used for food and is cooked, it does not pose a risk to those who eat it.
b. Humans can get it when they have close contact with infected birds.
c. No rapid human-to-human cases have been reported.



a. Initially identified as the “swine flu”
b. It has been present for years in animals.
c. H1N1 is contagious in humans.
d. It is only one of many forms of influenza.


OPQRST mnemonic

OPQRST mnemonic.
a. Onset of the problem
b. Provocation or palliation
c. Quality
d. Region/radiation
e. Severity
f. Timing of pain


SAMPLE mnemonic

S Signs and Symptoms
A Allerigies
M Medications
P Pertinent past medical history
L Last oral intake
E Events leading up to injury / illness