Monday, February 21, 2011

Treating a staph infection before it spreads to your wallet

Treating a staph infection before it spreads to your walletUnless you're one of the few and the proud with health insurance, chances are that you'd do everything you possibly can to avoid a trip to the doctor's office. Now more than ever do we need to be vigilant when it comes to taking steps to prevent Staphylococcus Aureus and its quest for world domination.

New trends such as Bikram Yoga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are sweeping across the country, and along the front lines with them is Staph. Although they both may be a great ab workout that'll get you and shape and all that, the nature of both of these activities make them nothing short of a hotbed for the growth and spread of Staph microbes. Bikram, or "Hot Yoga," is practiced in a room heated to around 105 degrees. To exacerbate matters, most people wear the bare minimum of clothing while they're practicing. Not only does this leave very little to the imagination to those around (and god forbid, behind) you, but it leaves anyone with Staph bacteria on them (1 and 4 people have it) to spread it to an open wound on yourself. The increased temperature will only promote faster growth of the bacteria, simply fueling the fire.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, although not done in a room heated to 105 degrees, is much worse, since it involves a consistent level of physicality that often leads to open wounds. The fact that your body is already physically drained by the end of each session provides the Staph bacteria with much less resistance on its quest to form new colonies.

Easy ways to prevent this include keeping your skin protected with clothing or anti-bacterial lotions that are specifically made to prevent staph. Also, if you happen to be bleeding, it'd be best to simply leave for the day, or at least wear a band-aid. Even though you don't think you may have an infection, you can be one of the 25% who naturally carries it. Also, exfoliating your skin regularly with natural acids such as orange peels or using a hot compresses with crushed garlic can prove to be cheap and effective ways to prevent or curb an infection.

If you do start to see an infection forming, however, hot compresses on it with alcohol. Vinegar has also been proven to work, and is a great alternative to those who don't want to deal with the sting or scent of alcohol. If the infection is worse, then it is obviously time to see a doctor, but it's important to take every step beforehand to avoid this point. The frequent use of antibiotics in the last century practically put Darwinism in fast motion for Staph bacteria, allowing the surviving strains to go on to pass their antibiotic resistant DNA on to future generations.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Skin care during radiation therapy

Skin care during radiation therapyUndergoing radiation therapy can be a traumatic experience, and the last thing you want is to compound your worries with anxiety about the burns you're about to sustain on your chest.  The deterioration of the tissue surrounding the breast is more destructive psychologically than any regular sunburn – because of the breasts' role as a signifier for a woman's sexuality, damaged skin on the breast can be associated with the deterioration of one's sexuality as well as their conceptions of their identity.  The stress caused by this coupled with the existing anxiety from the breast cancer itself can be enough to actually slow down your recovery, even opening oneself up to complications.  Therefore, it's a good idea to minimize the amount of damage done by the radiation as much as possible.

Although the burns from radiation therapy are similar to regular sunburns, they're different in the sense that radiation therapy is only gamma or x-rays instead of the full spectrum of light that gives you sunburn.  Because of this, treatment for radiation therapy differs slightly from a regular sunburn.

The first thing that you'd want to do after you begin radiation therapy is to keep the affected area clean and dry (don't use any lotions without first consulting your physician), washing it with lukewarm water (never hot or cold) so blisters or an infection do not form.  Look for places on the skin that are red and/or are swollen – these most likely are indicative of an infection, and will not only be painful, but can complicate things if you go on to get a mastectomy and breast implants to repair the excised tissue.  Try applying vitamin A or D to the area, and try wearing no bra and baggy clothes to reduce the amount of contact that could be irritating the skin.  If the problem persists, you can always see your physician for a topical cream or antibiotics.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter problems of tender hands

Winter is a serious test for our skin, especially in such vulnerable places as face and hands. But if we take a very intensive care of the face, it is somewhat different with our hands. Mostly, all care is reduced to applying a moisturizing cream a couple of times a day, but this is not enough, especially during a cold season! There are two main factors of saving the skin in winter: a reliable protection plus intensive moisturizing!

All means for hands skin protection are good, and all they need to be applied – both gloves (and mittens in the bitter cold), and protective creams (ointments).

A protective cream, which usually consists of glycerin, beeswax, olive and vegetable oils, cocoa, oregano and wheat germ, as well as cedar oil, badger fat, etc. can be a real godsend! A cryoprotective cream works as peculiar "bio gloves”. It creates a thin protective layer on the skin surface. Under this cream the skin continues to breathe and retain its natural moisture. It is not a problem to choose a suitable cream; you should just pay attention to a special note "protection from the cold" mark.

A comprehensive care, including nutrition, moisturizing, and masks, is also necessary.

- The easiest and universal procedure for hands care is the following: spread a thick layer of a cream or oil (olive) and put on cotton gloves. Of course, it is more convenient to do it at night.

- Pay special attention to the selection of cleaning agents: a mild cream soap, soap in liquid form – these are the products that your hands need to preserve the purity, and, at the same time, these means do not desiccate the skin. After washing your hands with soap, apply a moisturizing cream.

- Detergents and hot water is the number one enemy for the beauty of hands at any time of year. Therefore, all the household works demanding their use should be done with gloves on.

- It is good to do softening baths with chamomile and green tea, hand masks made of honey, olive oil, fatty cheese and egg yolks, or boiled potatoes, on a weekly basis.

- For micro cracks and rough hands it is very useful to steam hands in warm water in which rice or potatoes were cooked. Such water has an antibacterial and softening effect. Do not wipe hands after doing the bath.

And, one more important factor! It should be in mind that beauty vitamins - A, E and C- help to protect and preserve a healthy condition of skin not only being a part of ointments and creams, but also in our daily menu!

Vitamin A is the main fighter against dryness and peeling of skin. To make up for its deficiency in the body, you must eat dried fruit, carrots, and bananas. It is also contained in sour cream, cream, and rosehips. Vitamin E prevents from cold-related aggravation of skin diseases. Much of it is contained in nuts, in sunflower, olive, and corn oils, and in oatmeal. Vitamin C strengthens immunity of the whole body including skin; it is contained in citrus fruits, kiwi, and cabbage.

We will do a big favor (including the skin of hands) concerning protection from outside irritators if we add olive oil to our diet. It is especially good because of containing fatty acids just in the form as they are in the body, so they are very easily digested.