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What are the symptoms of the bubonic plague? And more health-related questions Canadians are asking

The bubonic plague, yeast infection symptoms for men and poisonous plants for feline friends are all top of mind questions for Canadians this week.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

What are the symptoms of the bubonic plague — and how can you catch it from your cat? (Image via Canva)
What are the symptoms of the bubonic plague — and how can you catch it from your cat? (Image via Canva)

When they weren't looking for information on the Kansas City Chief's Super Bowl victory, Brittany Mahomes's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photoshoot or Morgan Rielly's NHL suspension, Canadians were online looking for answers to their health-related questions.

This week's headlines were ripped from the 14th century, when it was reported that an Oregon resident was infected with the bubonic plague. The person was believed to have contracted the infection from their symptomatic cat. According to health officers, the resident and their cat were treated and pose "little risk to the community."

The news sent Canadians online in search of information about the bubonic plague. Web searches for symptoms of the infection increased by 500 per cent this week.


What are the symptoms of the bubonic plague?

Although rare, cases of the bubonic plague do occur. The bubonic plague is the most common form of plague that's spread by fleas and animals infected with bacteria called Yersinia pestis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the bubonic plague can be transmitted to humans when they come into contact with the waste or fluids from an infected animal. The plague is known for causing painful, inflamed lymph nodes, which are called buboes. The onset of symptoms is typically one to seven days after infection and can include a sudden fever, chills, head and body aches, weakness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. In advanced cases of the plague, buboes leak pus. If the lungs become infected, the plague becomes pneumonic, and can be spread from person to person through infected droplets.

A person in Oregan is believed to have contracted the bubonic plague from their cat. (Image via Getty Images)
A person in Oregan is believed to have contracted the bubonic plague from their cat. (Image via Getty Images)

Bubonic plague is diagnosed through blood or tissue samples and can be treated with antibiotics; in some cases isolation may be required. If left untreated, the plague or advanced cases of the pneumonic plague can be fatal.


What are the symptoms of yeast infections for men?

To say yeast infections are uncomfortable would be an understatement. Although commonly associated with women, men can get yeast infections, too. This week there was a 250 per cent increase in web searches for the signs and symptoms of male yeast infections or what's called candida balanitis.

We all have candida albican yeast in our body that's controlled by our immune systems. When the fungus overgrows, it can cause some painful and uncomfortable symptoms that signal an infection. For men, yeast infections can cause the head of the penis (including under the foreskin) to become red and inflamed. The groin area may become swollen and men may experience itching or burning when urinating. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there may be red sores on the penis or a thick, foul-smelling discharge that resembles cottage cheese. Some men may also experience difficulty pulling back their foreskin.

Yeast infections can be caused by poor hygiene, harsh soaps, not drying off your genitals thoroughly or by having intercourse with someone with a yeast infection. Taking antibiotics increase your risk of developing a yeast infection since they kill the bacteria in your body.

Although uncomfortable, yeast infections can be treated with over the counter medications or prescribed anti-fungal medications from your healthcare provider.


What plants or flowers are poisonous to cats?

Despite the bad press from the bubonic plague, Canadians were on the look-out for their feline friends this week. Searches for plants and flowers that are poisonous to cats increased by 2,600 per cent.

Which plants and flowers are poisonous to cats? (Image via Getty Images)
Which plants and flowers are poisonous to cats? (Image via Getty Images)

It turns out there are a number of flowers and plants that are harmful to your four-legged friend. According to experts, the lily is a highly toxic flower that can potentially kill your cat.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the entire lily plant is toxic to cats and cause fatal kidney failure within three days of ingestion. Some symptoms that you cat may have gotten into lilies are excessive drooling, decreased activity levels, vomiting and loss of appetite.

Time is of the essence when it comes to poisoning; the sooner your cat receives treatment the greater the prognosis for recovery.

Other poisonous plants and flowers include:

  • tulips

  • hydrangeas

  • daffodils

  • hyacinth

  • lavender

  • wisteria

  • milkweed

  • iris

  • grapefruit

  • daisy

  • dahlia

  • carnations

  • apples

Click here a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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