Infectolab - dental health

Lyme Disease & Dental Health: Everything You Need To Know

Becoming infected with Lyme disease can lead to a plethora of different ailments, all of which could take months or years to develop after the initial infection. For those who seek treatment early, further complications could be avoided, but unfortunately this isn’t true in every case. This is because the Borrelia bacteria, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, can camp out in the tissues of the body and lie dormant before it wakes up to attack the body all over again.

Those with Lyme disease know how much of a struggle its symptoms can be. Some symptoms that late-stage Lyme disease can cause include arthritis; cognitive issues such as memory, concentration, and focus problems; lack of control over facial muscles; and chronic fatigue. But can Lyme disease lead to dental health problems?

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Infectolab - alopecia

Can Lyme Cause Alopecia?

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can cause many systems in the body to malfunction. Since it is a bacterial infection, it can be treated using antibiotics. The caveat, however, is that sometimes the specific bacteria that causes Lyme disease can infiltrate its way into tissues and evade the antibiotics, leaving it alive and ready to attack the body in the future.

Typical symptoms of an early Lyme disease infection include fever, chills, fatigue, and a rash that is often shaped like a bullseye. When Lyme disease goes untreated, those symptoms become much worse and can become debilitating to cope with. But what about Lyme disease hair loss symptoms? Can Lyme cause alopecia?

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Infectolab - geroscience

What Is Geroscience & What Does It Mean For The Future Of Medicine?

Aging is a natural part of life. As people grow older, they become more susceptible to a variety of different health conditions based solely on the cellular processes that go along with the aging process.  

Much of medical science in the field of aging has been focused on how to treat age-related diseases as they arise, but there has been a limited focus on the mechanisms that cause aging to be a risk factor for many health ailments. Geroscience aims to bridge that gap in research when it comes to aging and age-related diseases. But what is geroscience, exactly? And how might it affect the future of medicine?

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Infectolab - mRNA vaccine

How To Test For COVID-19 Antibodies After Receiving An mRNA Vaccine

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a stronghold on the world for over a year. With rising death tolls and lockdown measures cycling in many places, the race to develop a vaccine has been the top priority. When the mRNA vaccines were developed and then made available to many members of the public, including vulnerable populations and frontline workers, many saw it as a light at the end of a year-long tunnel.

Many people are still wary of these new vaccines, though. This is mainly due to misunderstandings of how vaccines work, how they keep the body safe from the virus, and the potential side effects that may occur following their vaccination. So, how do vaccines really work? Here’s what you need to know about them, and how to test for COVID-19 antibodies after receiving the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine or any of the others coming to market.

How do vaccines work?

The immune system is the body’s first line of defense against pathogens such as the COVID-19 virus. When the virus enters the body, the immune response is triggered, and when that happens, the acquired immune system begins to create COVID-specific antibodies (proteins) to help fight off the current infection and be ready if the virus enters the body in the future.

Vaccines contain an inactive or weakened version of a virus known as an antigen. It works similarly to a pathogen invasion in the sense that it triggers an immune response within the body. When the immune system is activated by the antigen, it creates the specific antibodies needed to fight the virus off. These specific antibodies are then within the body, ready to battle it out again if the pathogen does happen to show up. It strengthens the body’s defenses by creating targeted immune cells for the virus itself.

Infectolab - vaccine
Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash: Will I test positive for COVID after the vaccine?

The biological process of the COVID vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is an mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine. It works by giving cells a blueprint of sorts so they can initiate the specific immune response needed. The COVID-19 vaccine contains specific molecules that provide cells in the body the instructions to begin making the COVID spike protein based on the fact that the protein is found on the surface of the virus’s cells.

The vaccine is designed to teach the cells in the body to make the specific protein that will trigger the appropriate immune response by providing them with the instructions (the antigen information) to do so. When that protein is displayed on the surface of a cell, the immune system begins building an immune response because it knows that it doesn’t belong. This process initiates antibody creation specific to COVID-19.

How can you get tested for COVID antibodies?

For a person with a current COVID infection, testing for antibodies may be a pointless endeavor because it takes the body time – roughly one to three weeks – to develop antibodies. Antibody tests are typically used to determine if the infection has ever occurred in someone, not if they are infected at the current time. Getting tested for COVID antibodies can help you figure out if you’ve had the virus and safely fought it off in the past.

To get the test for COVID antibodies, it’s important to choose the right provider. Testing decisions are made by the state or their local health care providers. Infectolab is currently offering an antibody test for those who suspect they may have had COVID-19 in the past. Getting a COVID-19 antibody test following your vaccination is likely a good idea so you can see how well your body is prepared to fight off the infection.

It’s important to remember that having COVID antibodies doesn’t mean a person has the infection currently. If a person gets vaccinated, they may test positive for COVID antibodies without testing positive for the virus itself.

Can you test positive for COVID after getting the vaccine?

Testing positive for COVID after getting the vaccine is entirely possible for a few reasons. Vaccines take anywhere from one to three weeks for the body to begin building up an immunity or the ability to fight off the virus quickly. This means that even if a person has gotten the vaccine, they may test positive for COVID prior to the vaccine taking full effect if they contract it during that time. This can also occur if a person who receives the vaccine was already infected with COVID without exhibiting any symptoms.

The mRNA covid vaccines are also designed to limit the effects of the illness caused by COVID, and not necessarily keep people from catching the virus altogether. The main goal of the vaccine is to prevent illness, not infection. With the heavy circulation of the virus still going strong, it’s also possible to become infected with the virus following vaccination because many people are not yet vaccinated.

Infectolab - vaccination
Image by kfuhlert on Pixabay: It’s still possible to get COVID after getting the vaccination, but it’s likely that symptoms will be much less serious.

Has anyone gotten COVID after getting the vaccine?

There have been multiple reports of people coming down with the virus following vaccination. The vaccine cannot protect 100% of people. The Pfizer vaccine, specifically, was found to be 95% effective against the virus. That leaves 5% of people that may still get sick if they catch COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 vaccines are a silver lining in an otherwise scary year. Getting vaccinated is important, not just for your health, but also for the health of those around you.

Featured image by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Infectolab - healthy

The 6 Major Factors That Influence Immune Function

The immune system operates symbiotically with many other processes in the human body. As the first line of defense against pathogens and illness, it needs to be able to do its job properly if any foreign invaders manage to infiltrate the body.

When one factor of overall health is compromised, the immune system can falter, thus leaving you more susceptible to getting sick. But what factors influence the immune system, and how do they do so?

Let’s take a look at six major factors that influence immune function: age, diet, sleep, stress, environmental factors, and genetics.

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