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Thursday, 09 October 2014
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Gout is considered as a sore condition that can prevent an individual from sleeping peacefully at night. It is a complex form of arthritis that causes the joints to become tender and inflamed. The individual will feel as if the big toe is being set on fire. If you want to learn ways to manage the symptoms, click here.

Gout develops due to the buildup of uric acid in the joints. Take note that the uric acid produces crystals that can cause severe pain. Even though anyone can suffer from this condition, it tends to develop more among men and post-menopausal women. With this in mind, it is important for the individual to receive early treatment to help ease the symptoms linked with the debilitating condition.

Gout

Always bear in mind that the pain can be very harsh and feel as if the affected joint is under fire or being pricked by needles.

Severe joint pain

Even though gout tends to occur most often in the biggest joint of the big toe, it can also develop on any part of the body such as the hands, feet as well as the wrists and ankles. Always bear in mind that the pain can be very harsh and feel as if the affected joint is under fire or being pricked by needles. This is due to the fact that the crystals that formed in the joint are rubbing against the neighboring skin and bone. If the individual loves to drink alcoholic beverages, they must be avoided during the flare-up to help minimize the intensity of the pain.

Redness and swelling

The affected joint will turn red in color and eventually swell. Since the uric acid crystals can destroy the bone or skin, the body will attempt to avoid this by cushioning through the swelling of the affected area.

The management of swelling involves taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which aim to reduce the inflammation. Additionally, corticosteroids are also prescribed.

Persistent pain

The moment the severe pain has reduced in intensity; there is still a certain degree of discomfort in the affected joint that has the tendency to last for a long time. Take note that this period can range for a few days or several weeks. The succeeding occurrences of flare-ups typically include periods of lasting pain that is severe as well as periods of long-standing remaining pain. The individual should try to lose weight to minimize the length of the gout attack but this will not completely put a stop to the attacks.

Warmth within the joint

The affected joint is warm since the flow of blood to the affected area has increased. The body will attempt to eliminate the problem by calling in white blood cells to fight off the intruder. Take note that the affected joint will feel warm during a gout attack. The warmth and accompanying pain will vanish on its own after a few days.

Pain that does not seem to go away

Once the severe pain reduces minimally, there is still lingering discomfort in the affected joint that will stay for extended periods. This period can last for a few days or several weeks. Future occurrence of flare-ups can include periods of longer lasting but severe pain as well as longer periods of lingering pain.

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Wednesday, 01 October 2014
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Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is characterized as inflammation and pain involving the tendons that connect the forearm muscles on the exterior part of the elbow. The condition develops once the forearm muscles are overused during certain activities such as weightlifting or racket sports. Certain professions such as plumbers, painters and carpenters face a higher risk for developing tennis elbow. Most cases can be easily managed without requiring surgical intervention.

Measures in managing tennis elbow

Tennis elbow

As part of the first aid care, you can apply ice for 15-20 minutes at 3-4 times in a day as soon as possible after the injury was sustained.

  • Instruct the individual to take a break from any activity that is responsible for causing the tennis elbow for several weeks.
  • You can provide the individual with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory steroids (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin in order minimize the swelling and pain.
  • As part of the first aid care, you can apply ice for 15-20 minutes at 3-4 times in a day as soon as possible after the injury was sustained. You can enroll in a first aid course today so that you will learn how to properly carry out these measures when needed.
  • The affected elbow should be wrapped with a tensor bandage or apply a compression brace since both can help reduce the swelling.
  • Encourage the individual to perform gentle stretching of the affected forearm once the swelling and pain has reduced. When stretching the forearm with tennis elbow, make sure that it will be stretched out in front and gently pull down on the hands using the other one until a slight stretch is felt. This must be held for 5-10 seconds and then relax. This should be repeated six times.
  • Strengthening of the arm must be encouraged. After 2-3 weeks or once the pain is gone, the individual should perform strengthening exercises. The individual should sit down while holding a light dumbbell on the affected arm. The forearm must be placed on the knee so that the wrist is just over the knee. Allow the hand to drop to the ground and then slowly raise the hand for 2 seconds and steadily lower the hand. This must be repeated 10 times at 3-5 times a day.

Important considerations to bear in mind

  • It is important to avoid stretching the forearm more than its comfortable range. Once the individual experiences pain during strengthening exercises, the individual should perform them without additional weight first.
  • In case the symptoms do not improve after 6-12 months with home treatment, it is best to consult a doctor. Surgery might be needed in order to restore the broken muscle tissues or reconnect it to the bone.
  • The damaged arm should be kept elevated above the level of the heart as often as possible.
  • If the individual could not completely avoid activity that is responsible for aggravating the tennis elbow such as at work, the doctor can recommend the application of a brace or forearm strap in order to reduce the stress on the affected area.

One way to prevent tennis elbow from occurring is to encourage the individual to properly warm-up the arms before starting any activity and utilize proper techniques. Additionally, using a protective brace can also help out a lot.

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Friday, 26 September 2014
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Itchy skin can be accompanied by tingling and irritation and generally a result of dry skin, allergies and genetic conditions. Even the environmental factors including the weather particularly severe humidity or cold can worsen the itchy skin. You can utilize simple remedies to alleviate the issue in order to avoid the added expense of using commercial products. In most cases, itchy skin is not serious but if a persistent rash manifests along with the itchy skin, it is best to consult a doctor so that proper assessment can be carried out.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal has been used throughout the years as a remedy for various skin conditions that range from acne to chickenpox. This is due to the soothing compounds of beta-glucan, avenanthramides and silicon which work in order to effectively minimize the skin inflammation and itchiness.

The avenanthramides are very beneficial in relieving the itchy skin since it blocks histamine from triggering the nerve cells. You can use oatmeal with a cold compress, in a lukewarm bath or as a paste in order to calm the irritation caused by the itchy skin.

Itchy skin

The addition of baking soda on the itchy skin or soaking in a bath with baking soda can provide a substantial level of relief.

Baking soda

The addition of baking soda on the itchy skin or soaking in a bath with baking soda can provide a substantial level of relief. The ingredient is considered as an anti-inflammatory and anti-itch treatment for those who are suffering from common skin conditions.

Baking soda is an alkaline compound which means that the pH is higher than 7. Essentially, irritating substances that affect the skin have low pH levels. Baking soda helps neutralize the itchy skin while at the same time drawing out any impurities such as venom from a mosquito bite.

Those who have dry skin will surely benefit since it helps detoxify the skin without eliminating the required moisture. It is best to create a baking soda paste and apply directly on the itchy skin. If you want to learn more about the benefits of baking soda, click here.

Tea tree oil

The topical application of tea tree oil can help provide relief to the itchy skin. Based on studies conducted on tea tree oil that was applied on the skin, it helps reduce the histamine-induced inflammation.

Tea tree oil helps reduce the itchy skin caused by insect bites and other skin conditions such as sunburn. Take note that tea tree oil needs carrier oil such as olive or vegetable oil since high concentrations can irritate the skin. If you are going to use tea tree oil, all you have to do is to combine tea tree oil with carrier oil at the ratio of 1 part tea tree oil and 5 parts carrier oil. Even though tea tree oil has promising results, evidence on its influence on itchy skin is still not enough. If you are planning to use tea tree oil, it is best to consult a doctor first.

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Thursday, 21 August 2014
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Cauliflower ear is a condition that occurs once the cartilage of the exterior ear is damaged severely or dies, causing the skin to inflame and form irregular bumps. It is important to note that cauliflower ear is usually caused by constant distress to the ear, particularly in contact sports such as wrestling and boxing. This condition can be treated in a short time frame if managed during the early stages. If left untreated, the cauliflower appearance can become permanent or cause other complications in the ear. If you want to learn more about the treatment options for cauliflower ear, click here.

Swelling

Swelling is one of the initial symptoms to manifest as blood clots form under the skin. Those who have cauliflower ear usually experience pain and redness around the affected skin. In cases that are not treated, it can lead to a more serious infection. The continuous buildup of blood clots and pus will prevent the normal flow of blood and nutrients to the cartilage. As a result, the cartilage will pull away from the skin, leading to the puffy cauliflower form.

Cauliflower ear

Swelling is one of the initial symptoms to manifest as blood clots form under the skin.

Bleeding

Severe or constant distress to the exterior ear can result to harm to the adjacent blood vessels, ensuing the internal seepage of blood. The blood has the tendency to leak into the tissues of the outer ear or eventually form clots that limit the cartilage of the ear essential nutrients. Take note that external bleeding is also likely to occur if an abrasion or cut was left behind by initial trauma.

Buildup of fluid

The buildup of pus between the skin and the cartilage can occur if the ear becomes infected. Once cauliflower ear is complemented with a wound, the puffiness will only make the wound wider, thus leading to the leakage of pus from the ear. In most cases, the treatment for cauliflower ear includes the drainage of fluid and foreign bodies.

Hard skin

Previous treatment for cauliflower ear can increase the risk for developing a permanent deformity. In case the blood clots as well as the accumulation of fluid are not eliminated, the clogged up cartilage will sooner or later die due to the lack of nutrients. The dead cartilage will start to thicken and hardens into fibrous lumps, thus losing its natural shape. The moment cauliflower ear becomes permanent; it would require surgical intervention for its removal.

Obstructed hearing

Severe swelling of the perichondrium can block the ear canal and disrupt the normal hearing of the individual, particularly if cauliflower ear becomes permanent. The temporary or permanent loss of hearing right after the development of cauliflower ear can also indicate that a serious infection has spread into the inner ear.

Always remember that timely treatment of the condition is vital in order to prevent permanent deformity of the affected ear.

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Thursday, 14 August 2014
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It is a known fact that the normal process of wound healing usually takes about 3 weeks, but there are some wounds that can take up to months or even years to fully heal. The common factors such as infection, condition of the wound, edema and trauma can affect the healing process. Even the systemic factors play a role which includes the overall health of the individual, age and the nutritional status.

Contamination and development of infection

Take note that once a wound becomes infected, it is one of the common reasons why the healing process is delayed. Once a wound ends up contaminated or infection sets in, the immune system will use up energy to fight off the bacteria, thus there is little energy left for the healing process. The bacteria even produce toxins that can disrupt the healing and trigger the death of the cells. Take note that bite wounds are more likely to be contaminated. Proper care must be taken when caring for wounds. If you want to learn how to care for wounds, click here.

Condition of the wound

Wounds

The overall condition of the wound will affect the healing process. If there is pressure or repeated trauma on the wound, it will delay the healing.

The overall condition of the wound will affect the healing process. If there is pressure or repeated trauma on the wound, it will delay the healing. Even dehydration can cause the cells to dry up and crust over while overhydration due to exposure to urine or feces can lead to the maceration of the cells. The necrotic or dead tissue should be removed or the wound will not heal.

Diminished circulation and oxygenation

Take note that blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the affected area while at the same time removing toxins, bacteria and debris. There are certain conditions that can reduce the flow of blood and oxygenation that cause poor healing of the wound. Diabetes, advanced age, high blood pressure and peripheral vascular disease can affect the circulation and disrupt the healing process. Even chronic lung disease and anemia can disrupt oxygenation while obesity slows down the healing of the wound due to the presence of fatty tissue that has few blood vessels.

Aging process

Elderly individuals tend to heal at a slower rate than young children and healthy adults. The risk for infection is high among the elderly due to the slow inflammatory response and diminished endocrine functioning and antibody production. Additionally, the elderly are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes that impairs the oxygenation and circulation.

Medications

There are certain medications that can disrupt the inflammatory response such as corticosteroids. Those who are under chemotherapy involves stopping the cells from multiplying, thus disrupting the healing process of wounds. Even radiation therapy depresses the function of the bone marrow, thus increasing the risk for infection. Additionally, extensive use of antibiotics can also increase the risk for secondary infection.

Poor nutrition

Always remember that the body requires calories, proteins, zinc and vitamins C and A for proper wound healing along with a balanced diet. The diet of the individual must include at least 2-3 servings of proteins, a serving of foods rich in vitamin A and at least one serving of vitamin C rich foods. Do not forget that zinc that is present in cereals, seafood and red meat is also useful during the healing process.

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Wednesday, 09 July 2014
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Millions of individuals all over the world suffer from a certain type of seizure disorder. A seizure is triggered by an abnormal spread of electrical activity in the brain. The condition can cause a lapse in the consciousness and loss of muscle control which exposes the individual to danger in high risk scenarios. Always bear in mind that seizures can also cause brain injury and sudden death if it is uncontrolled. The ideal way to prevent injuries or death from seizures is to prevent one from occurring.

Falls

Seizures can trigger the muscles to abruptly lose strength. Once this occurs, the individual will drop objects being held and fall to the ground. In some cases, the individual can even lose consciousness. Those with seizures can sustain injuries once they fall. It is important to provide proper protection such as helmets in order to protect the head.

Drowning

Based on studies conducted, it was discovered that individuals with epilepsy face a higher risk of drowning than those who do not have epilepsy. Take note that a bathtub is a common place for an individual with seizure to die and this is followed by the swimming pool. Children have a lower risk of drowning than the adults since they are usually under the supervision of a parent or caregiver.

Lapse of consciousness

Seizure

Seizures can trigger the muscles to abruptly lose strength. Once this occurs, the individual will drop objects being held and fall to the ground.

Petit mal or absence seizure typically occurs most often among children and causes an abrupt lapse of consciousness. The child can appear to stare into space for a few seconds. Even though this appears mild, these seizures can be dangerous if they occur once a child is crossing the street, climbing or participating in dangerous activities.

Febrile seizures

A very high fever among children can lead to a febrile seizure. This starts with contractions of the face, arms, and trunk and leg muscles and then followed by intermittent moments of relaxation and rhythmic jerking of the body. The eyes can have a fixed stare or roll back. In some cases, the child can vomit or pass urine, stop breathing, appear non-responsive and severely drowsy. Even though it is possible for a severe attack of a febrile seizure to cause death, it is rare.

Seizures that occur during pregnancy

A grand mal or tonic-clonic seizure is a severe seizure that can involve the loss of consciousness, convulsion, rigidity and falls. Take note that this condition in pregnant women is dangerous to the developing fetus, particularly in the last trimester. A fall can injure the unborn child and the temporary interruption in the breathing of the mother during the seizure will deprive the fetus of oxygen to the brain.

Status epilepticus

This is a continuous state of seizure that can cause brain damage or death. A seizure is considered a medical emergency if it lasts longer than 5 minutes or if the individual has multiple seizures and could not be aroused. Emergency care must be given right away.

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Sunday, 15 June 2014
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Mites are microscopic organisms that can act as parasites that feed on animals, plants, humans and even mold. There are thousands of mite species all over the world and have existed for millions of years. Mites are considered as close relatives of the tick that also affect humans. Take note that mites can feed on humans and their bites can cause itchiness and skin irritation. The reaction from a mite bite can range from minor discomfort to a severe reaction that is accompanied by severe itchiness. Even though the bites of mites can be annoying, they rarely spread any diseases to humans.

Itchiness and redness

Mite bites can cause the reddening of the skin which is quite similar to a mosquito bite. Most of the time, there is a bump on a red area and it can be very itchy. Oftentimes, minor bleeding can occur by simply scratching the bite site. The individual must not scratch the bite site in order to preventing breaking the skin since it can increase the risk for an infection.

Swelling

The scabies mites can cause the most severe reactions among humans. Unlike with the mites that only bite, the scabies mites are capable of burrowing to 3cm into the human skin and lay their eggs while at the same time feeding on the skin and secretions. The common symptom of scabies is the appearance of tiny red-colored bumps that are surrounded by very dry skin. The individual can also experience the sensation of something crawling under the skin.

Rashes

Mites

Mites are responsible for triggering allergic reactions and can also be held liable for causing asthma attacks.

In some cases, the bites often appear in clusters on the arms, legs and stomach in a rash-like formation. Take note that these bites are very itchy and often similar to bites caused by fleas or chiggers.

Formation of raw spots

If the mites continuously bite the same part of the body, raw spots will start to form. In severe cases, the mite bites can bleed or even ooze. Oftentimes, this is aggravated since the individual could not control the urge to scratch the area. If this is the case, determining the cause of the mites and finding a solution is the only way to stop them from biting. It is recommended to wash all fabrics in the house using hot water as well as thoroughly shampooing the carpets and vacuuming the furniture.

Allergies

Dust mites are the most common among the species that interacts with humans and are considered as the main component of dust. These mites are responsible for triggering allergic reactions and can also be held liable for causing asthma attacks. By enrolling in a first aid class, you will learn how to properly manage allergies, especially if a family member has allergies. The common symptoms of an allergy include red, itchy eyes and runny nose.

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Friday, 06 June 2014
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Propane is considered as a highly versatile gas that is used for cooking, heating and even fuel for vehicles. Nevertheless, propane poisoning is a serious health issue that should not be ignored.  If the gas is inhaled, the gas can cause a variety of immediate symptoms and long-term damage. In case propane is being used, being familiar with the symptoms can indicate that there is a leak.

With this in mind, it is vital that you are familiar on what propane gas smells like. If there is a foul odor that continues to persist or hissing sound coming from appliances, these might indicate that there is a propane leak. It is important to have the leak checked to prevent inhalation.

What is propane?

Propane is basically a gas that is either in liquid or vapor form within sealed containers. It is the most common liquid petroleum gas that has a variety of uses. When propane is used, it is released in vapor form from a container and then burned as fuel for a variety of uses. Take note that propane is odorless but an artificial odor has been added in order to identify a leak.

Symptoms of propane inhalation

Propane gas

If an individual inhales propane gas, coughing is one of the symptoms.

Always remember that once propane is inhaled, it is considered dangerous. When an individual breathes in propane, the symptoms tend to vary. If the individual is around propane, it is important to watch out for the following symptoms.

  • Dizziness
  • Pain or numbness in the extremities
  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Fever
  • Skin irritation
  • Weakness

If any of these symptoms are present, you have to provide the appropriate first aid care measures to prevent the condition from worsening.

First aid for propane inhalation

If an individual shows signs of propane inhalation, it is important to seek medical care right away. In case of inhalation, transfer the individual to an area with fresh air and check if the symptoms improve. If there is no improvement, call for emergency assistance.

In case the propane gas came in contact with the skin or eyes, it must be washed under running water for 15 minutes or more. If propane has been ingested, provide water or milk for the individual to drink unless symptoms such as vomiting or convulsion are present. Do not induce the individual to vomit unless instructed by a healthcare professional.

Treatment for propane inhalation

The treatment for propane inhalation usually varies depending on the severity of the exposure and how quickly the individual was given medical care. Minor cases of propane inhalation will only cause headaches. Nevertheless, extended exposure to propane gas can lead to coma, stroke or even death. Once the individual is taken to the hospital, the vital signs of the individual will be checked and oxygen might be given. A blood test might be required in order to reveal accurately the extent of the propane inhalation.

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Wednesday, 06 July 2011
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A frequently asked question when people take a first aid or CPR course is: what should i wear? As a first aid instructor I have seen people coming in wearing stilettos, high heel boots and mini skirts. However, when taking a first aid course you are going to need to move around quickly and be very comfortable. CPR, when performed properly, needs to be done on a firm and flat surface. This means that when doing CPR, the rescuer will most likely be kneeling on the floor. Furthermore, you are going to be coming up and down from the floor several times making it somewhat uncomfortable in mini skirts or high heels.

I highly recommend that you wear comfortable clothes and clothes that you won’t worry about kneeling with. Runners or comfortable shoes are also important. Its unsafe to be running around in high heels trying to stay calm in a mock panic scenario. Shorts, jogging pants, runners and a comfortable top work great. No need to wear formal attire. First aid courses aren’t formal events. So be comfy, sit back and enjoy the show. Register for a first aid class in Vancouver today.

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