Thursday, 16 April 2015
Vitamin D and food allergyWritten by George
There has been an increase of individuals with food allergy throughout the years. Since the number of individuals with food allergies increased, the level of vitamin D in the population evidently decreased. It is estimated that many individuals at the present are vitamin D insufficient and a small percentage are vitamin D deficient.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D or “sunshine vitamin” is vital for optimum health. It plays a big role in the maintenance of healthy bones by helping the body absorb calcium and has a role in the immune system as well.
Vitamin D is generated in the body through sun exposure on the skin or consumed in the diet via food or supplements. Tuna and sardines as well as fish oils are the richest sources of dietary vitamin D. Other sources include eggs, liver and fortified foods including margarine, dairy products or infant formulas.
Connection of vitamin D and food allergy
Countries that are far away from the equator have shown increased rates of hospital admissions due to childhood food allergy than in areas that are close to the equator. In addition, the season of birth has also been linked with a higher risk of anaphylaxis and food allergy.
There is also a link between the late introduction of egg which is a common dietary source of vitamin D to the diet of an infant and food allergy. The infants who were introduced to egg earlier (between 4-6 months) had a significantly lower risk for food allergy than children who are introduced to egg later (after 6 months of age).
Based on research involving the use of direct administration of vitamin D in the bloodstream, it revealed a link amid diminished level of vitamin D and increased possibility of allergy sensitization among children and teenagers and food allergy among infants. In another study, infants low in vitamin D are more likely to end up with peanut or egg allergy and likely to suffer from multiple allergies than infants with normal levels of vitamin D.
What to do
In most cases, the ideal way to guarantee that the body has adequate vitamin D is maintain a combination of reasonable exposure to the sun and sufficient intake of foods that contain the vitamin. The doctor can assess the level of vitamin D with a simple blood test and recommend a supplement if needed. The supplements should only be taken based on the instructions given by the doctor.
If a woman is pregnant, ensuring adequate level of vitamin D in the body is vital in ensuring that the child will have adequate levels. Remember that the vitamin D stores of the infant in the initial year of life rely on the mother’s stores before birth. With this in mind, it is vital to ensure that the level of vitamin D in the body is within the normal range.
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
What is chronic fatigue?Written by George
A certain degree of fatigue is considered normal among athletes who undergo training for their sport. Fatigue is usually experience by those who undergo strenuous training who were not able to rest properly. In most cases, many can gain their full strength after getting enough rest. On the other hand, persistent and excessive fatigue and sensation of lethargy that is accompanied with diminished performance in a particular sport often indicate a serious issue that requires proper assessment by a doctor. There are various causes of chronic fatigue and the doctor will ask the individual questions in order to narrow down the exact cause.
There are various possible causes of chronic fatigue and the most common include the following:
- Viral illness
- Overtraining syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Diet that is low in protein or carbohydrate
- Depletion of iron stores in the body
Other conditions that might lead to chronic fatigue include the following:
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Exercise-induced asthma
- Jet lag
- Eating disorders
- Certain medications
- Psychological stress
If chronic fatigue is due to an undiagnosed medical condition, a thorough medical examination must be carried out. This includes a complete medical history and a subjective assessment of the current condition of the individual.
The examination must include the resting heart rate and blood pressure. In some cases, other examinations are also carried out depending on the findings of the doctor. Further tests that might be required by the doctor include urine test, blood test, lung spirometry, ECG and chest X-ray. To learn to recognize and manage conditions that causes chronic fatigue, sign up for a course in first aid today.
Keeping a training diary
The individual is usually required to keep a training diary. This should include the training performed each day along with the symptoms and sensation of fatigue. Remember that this is a vital diagnostic aid. This can be used in order to determine if the individual gets enough rest and if there has been a change in the training routine, volume or intensity. The amount of rest and sleep must be noted down each day as well as other commitments and social events.
Keeping a nutrition diary
It is important to note that a nutrition diary must also be recorded on a daily basis and should include everything that the individual has eaten including beverages, supplements and alcohol. This can help determine if the individual consumes enough in general, consumes sufficient amounts of protein and carbohydrates or has any intolerance or allergies.
It is important that the individual knows his/her limits when training and when to rest. Excessive training can cause the body to break down and might be aggravated if there are other underlying health conditions present.
Thursday, 05 March 2015
What is athlete’s foot?Written by George
Athlete’s foot or tinea pedis is basically a skin infection that commonly occurs among athletes and those who use trainers and other non-breathable types of footwear.
The symptoms of athlete’s foot include varying degrees of itchiness or burning sensation on the skin of the foot. Oftentimes, there is peeling or flaking skin present. When it comes to a mild case of athlete’s foot, it can appear simply as dry skin. In severe cases, there are blisters or thickened patches of dry red skin. In very severe cases, the skin can crack which results to bleeding.
Athlete’s foot is caused by the fungus Trichophyton which thrives in warm, moist environments. This condition typically affects the toes and the spaces in between them, but it can also affect the soles of the feet.
Remember that the condition is contagious and can be acquired from others. On the other hand, the foot should have the right condition for the fungus to thrive. The condition can be passed via direct contact and by using same socks, towels or from the changing room floors.
The condition can affect anyone, but more common among teenagers and men. Some are also prone to develop the condition than others and the cause is not yet known. The prevalence among athletes might be caused by wearing closed footwear such as trainers or running shoes that become very warm and soaked during exercise. It is also linked to the use of community changing areas in health clubs and swimming pools.
The treatment must be two-fold. Initially, the area must be made less suitable for the fungus to thrive. It simply means keeping the area dry and clean. It is recommended to wear breathable shoes along with absorbent cotton socks.
The second stage of treatment involves the direct management of the infection. To learn to recognize and prevent disease transmission, register for first aid training today. This is done with anti-fungal creams, washes, powders or sprays. Most of these products are readily available in drug stores and must be used on a daily basis until the individual is free from symptoms for at least a week. As for severe or resistant cases, it would require a course of anti-fungal medications taken orally that are prescribed by the doctor.
Athlete’s foot has the tendency to return and it is vital to continue to properly care for the feet by taking into consideration these measures:
- It is recommended to wear leather shoes or open shoes if possible. This will allow the feet to breathe while keeping the foot dry and free from moisture.
- The feet should be washed regularly and make sure that they are dried thoroughly.
- Utilize foot powders such as talcum powder or an anti-fungus foot powder to ensure that the feet are fully dry after washing.
- The individual should wear flip-flops or sandals when using any community changing area in order to prevent the foot from being directly exposed to infected flooring.
- It is recommended to use cotton socks and change on a regular basis.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
What you need to know about corns?Written by George
On a daily basis, an individual spends several hours using their feet and takes on thousands of steps. The walking will put pressure on the feet that is equal to 2-3 times the body weight. This is why many experience sore feet at some point in their lives. In reality, the usual foot problems are blamed on not walking but on the walking shoes used. Corns form on the toes since the bones push up against the shoe and add pressure on the skin. The skin surface thickens and builds up, thus irritating the tissues below. The hardened corns are usually situated on the top of the toe or on the sides of the small toe. The soft corns are similar to open sores and develop between the toes as they rub against each other.
- Using shoes that do not fit properly. If the shoes are too tight, they will squeeze the foot, thus increasing the pressure. If the shoes are too loose, the foot can slide and rub against the shoe, producing friction.
- Toe deformities such as claw toe or hammer toe.
- Using high-heeled shoes since they increase the pressure on the forefoot.
- Socks that do not fit properly.
- Rubbing against the seam or stitch inside the shoe.
Diagnosing and treatment
Corns can be seen easily and have a sensitive region in the middle and enclosed by dead skin with a yellowish tinge. The treatment of foot problems is usually a team effort. The individual should work with the physician to ensure that issues do not recur.
When restoring the normal contour of the skin and reducing the pain, the doctor will trim the corn by shaving the dead layers of the skin with a scalpel. The procedure must be performed by a healthcare professional especially if the individual has diminished circulation, poor eyesight or lack of sensation in the feet. Once the doctor ascertains an underlying issue such as toe deformity, it can be corrected. Most of the surgeries are usually carried out on an outpatient basis.
What to do at home?
- The individual can soak the feet on a regular basis and utilize a pumice stone to soften and reduce the size of the corn.
- You can use lamb’s wool that is placed in between the toes to cushion the soft corns.
- Wear foam pad that has a donut shape over the corn to help reduce the pressure. You can utilize a non-medicated corn pad. Do not use the medicated pads since they might increase irritation and result to an infection.
- Wear shoes that properly fit and have enough space for the toes to move.
If possible, it is best to utilize the right types of shoes that provide comfort especially those that are used most of the time. To learn to recognize the symptoms and manage them, register for first aid training today.
Friday, 13 February 2015
How to control dust mites effectivelyWritten by George
Once you discover that dust mites are one of the causes of the allergy symptoms, you might be forced to vacuum most of the time. On the other hand, vacuuming is not the solution. Using a vacuum cleaner will stir up clouds of fine dust that can linger in the air for up to 8 hours, thus causing runny nose, sneezing and itchiness. To recognize and manage the symptoms of respiratory issues such as dust mite allergy, register for first aid training today.
It is vital to wait until the individual is out of the house before vacuuming. If you want to avoid stirring up the dust, it is best to invest on a vacuum cleaner with a built-in HEPA filter. You can maintain low level of dust by cleaning all non-carpeted floors at least once a week with a damp mop and utilize a moist cloth to wipe flat surfaces, window ledges and photo frames.
Air-conditioning and keeping the windows and doors closed are effective in keeping the house free from allergens or irritants brought in by the air from the outdoors. Even though it can be expensive to install centralized air-conditioning, it is economical to install a unit in the bedroom to help the individual sleep better at night. Remember to check and clean regularly the air-conditioner filters to control the growth of mold.
When a HEPA air cleaner is used, it can reduce the symptoms. Nevertheless, air filtration must complement and should not replace measures to control dust mites. In reality, air cleaners will not drastically reduce exposure to dust mites and not recommended for dust mite control.
What you need to know about dust mites
Dust mites are considered the main source of allergens in dust. It is hard for many individuals who are allergic to accept that they are present in large numbers even in a well-cleaned house.
Dust mites are members of the same family with spiders. They are too small to be seen by the naked eye and they thrive in any place where humans live. Dust mites feed on any protein that they can find, particularly dead skin scales that are shed by humans every day. They also need moderately warm, damp environment with the temperature of 65 degrees F or higher and humidity around 65%. Remember that bedding is the ideal place for dust mites since it offers warmth, fibrous materials, adequate moisture and abundant dead skin cells. Dust mites are also present in clothing, upholstered furniture, carpets and soft toys.
Maintaining low humidity
Dust mites flourish when the humidity is around 75-80%. Once the humidity level drops below 50%, dust mites will shrivel and die. With this in mind, reducing the humidity level can reduce the population of dust mites. A dehumidifier is useful in drying out the air.
Friday, 13 February 2015
Overview on SARSWritten by George
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is considered as a serious form of viral pneumonia. This is a new disease and the virus responsible was initially identified in 2003.
SARS has been identified as a worldwide health threat and the epidemic back in 2003 affected many individuals in China, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam before spreading around the globe. The disease caused hundreds of fatalities before it was successfully contained.
Symptoms of SARS
The symptoms of SARS are strikingly similar to pneumonia which includes the following:
- Dry cough
- Fever higher than 100.4 degrees F
- Difficulty breathing including shortness of breath
- Muscle stiffness
- Appetite loss
The breathing issues initially manifest within 2-10 days after the individual was exposed to the virus. The individual who presents these symptoms will be quarantined if he/she has a history of travelling abroad. The quarantine will last for 10 days in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
The factors that can increase the risk for acquiring the disease include close contact with an individual diagnosed with SARS and a history of travel to China, Canada as well as Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore or any country reported with SARS outbreak.
How SARS spreads
SARS can spread when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or comes into face-to-face contact another individual. The face-to-face contact includes the following:
- Contact with bodily fluids of an individual with SARS
- Caring for someone with SARS
- Hugging, kissing, touching or sharing of utensils with an infected individual
SARS can also be acquired by direct contact with a surface that has been tainted by respiratory droplets from an infected individual and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth. The disease can also spread via the air but this has not been confirmed. As a transmittable disease, principles of safety must be observed to prevent transmission of the disease. To learn to recognize and manage the symptoms of this disease, read here.
There are various lab tests that have been developed to detect the SARS virus. During the first outbreak, there were no laboratory tests for the disease. A diagnosis is made through the symptoms and medical history. With the advancements made, laboratory tests can be carried out on nasal and throat swabs or blood samples. A CT scan or X-ray can also reveal indications of pneumonia that are characteristic of SARS.
There are measures to prevent the transmission of SARS if in close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with the disease.
- Wash hands regularly
- Use disposable gloves when contact with any infected bodily fluids could not be avoided
- Use a clinical mask when staying in the same area with a SARS patient
- Wash all personal items including utensils and bedding used by the individual diagnosed with SARS
- Disinfect all surfaces that has been contaminated by the virus
It is important to follow these measures at least 10 days after the symptoms of SARS have gone away. Additionally, children should stay at home if they develop fever or any breathing issues after contact with an individual who has SARS.
Treatment of SARS
Those who are diagnosed with SARS are given antibiotics to treat pneumonia. Steroids and antiviral medications are also given to minimize the lung swelling. Supplemental oxygen or ventilator can be prescribed if needed. In severe cases, blood plasma from an individual who recovered from SARS can also be administered. Nevertheless, there is not yet enough evidence to prove that these treatments are effective.
Thursday, 12 February 2015
Overview on central pain syndromeWritten by George
Central pain syndrome is described as a neurological disorder that is caused by damage to the central nervous system. The central nervous system includes the brain, brainstem and the spinal cord. This condition can be triggered by various conditions such as stroke, tumors, brain trauma or epilepsy. Those who have central pain syndrome usually feel various types of pain sensations such as the following:
- Sharp pain
The symptoms tend to vary widely among individuals. It can occur right after trauma or other conditions or it might take months or even years to develop. It is important to note that there is no cure for this syndrome. In most cases, pain medication, antidepressants and other types of medications can provide relief. The condition can drastically affect the quality of life of any individual.
Causes of central pain syndrome
Central pain syndrome involves pain that stems from the brain and not from the peripheral nerves that are situated outside of the brain and spinal cord. Due to this, it is different from other pain conditions.
Remember that there is no harmful stimulus. An injury to the brain produces the perception of pain. Take note that this injury typically occurs in the thalamus which is a structure in the brain that processes the sensory signals to other parts of the brain. The usual conditions that can lead to central pain syndrome include:
- Brain hemorrhage
- Brain tumors
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
- Parkinson’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Surgical procedures involving the spine or brain
Symptoms of central pain syndrome
The main symptom of central pain syndrome is pain in the body that varies from one individual to another. The pain is typically described as aching, burning, prickling, freezing, stabbing, itching, tearing and shocking. The pain can range from moderate to severe in intensity. It can even be agonizing in some individuals. In severe cases, those with central pain syndrome can experience pain even when lightly touched by blankets, clothing or even the wind. A doctor should be consulted if you believe you have chronic pain. To learn to manage pain from medical conditions and injuries, enroll in a first aid and CPR course with a credible Canadian provider near you.
Diagnosing central pain syndrome
Central pain syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. The pain can be extensive and does not seem to the linked to any trauma or injury. Remember that there is no testing tool that can be used to identify central pain syndrome.
In most cases, the doctor will review the symptoms, conduct a physical exam and ask about the medical history of the individual. It is vital to inform the doctor regarding any conditions or injuries in the past or recently as well as medications being used.
Management of central pain syndrome
Central pain syndrome is hard to treat. Pain medication such as morphine is oftentimes used but not always successful. In some individuals, the pain can be managed by taking antidepressant or antiepileptic medications.
Generally, these medications will minimize the pain but will not make it go away entirely. Through trial and error, the ideal medication can be discovered or a combination of medications that works best for the individual.
The last resort is neurosurgery which includes deep brain stimulation. The procedure entails an electrode that is embedded in specific areas of the brain to transmit stimulation to the pain receptors.
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Can I use garlic for chest congestion?Written by George
Garlic has been used for its medicinal properties throughout the years. The uses of this herb range from protection from the plague back in the 18th century and even protection for gangrene. Even though garlic has its role in traditional medicine, few of these used are considered effective. Due to the presence of active compounds in garlic, it is typically used in treating chest congestion. Even though initial studies found this herb to be effective in managing the symptoms of common cold, it might not be the best natural treatment for chest congestion.
To learn to recognize and manage the symptoms of common cold including chest congestion, register for first aid training today with a credible provider near you.
What are the active constituents?
It is important to note that garlic is composed of several active constituents with the primary compound called as alliin. This compound is derived from cysteine which is an amino acid that contains sulfur that is responsible for adding most of the medicinal qualities present within garlic.
Once the garlic bulbs are broken down, alliin is changed into allicin. The garlic is required to undergo fermentation in order to break up the components of allicin so that that it can be properly absorbed by the body. It is believed that this chemical decomposition produces several water-soluble sulfur compounds which are known to improve the healing qualities of garlic in the body.
Chest congestion and garlic
The active constituents present within garlic can improve the functioning of the immune system as well as relieve the symptoms of common cold which includes chest congestion. In a study conducted, it was discovered that garlic boosts the immune system, thus helping out the body fight off the symptoms of common cold.
If you are going to use garlic as part of the treatment for common cold, it is recommended to consume 600-1200 mg of aged garlic on a daily basis. The individual can be given 2-4 g of minced garlic on a daily basis. The best way to gain the most out of garlic is to consume 2-5 mg of allicin on a daily basis. When preventing a stomach upset from developing while consuming garlic, it is best to consume the garlic supplements together with food.
Considerations to bear in mind
Even though garlic is considered as generally safe for consumption, it is still important to consult the use of garlic with a doctor first, especially if the individual is currently using medications such as HIV medications or blood thinners. The usual side effects of consuming garlic include unpleasant body odor, bad breath, gastrointestinal discomfort and heartburn.
If an individual is planning to include garlic as a supplement, it is best to consult a doctor first if it is allowed and to be familiar with safety precautions.
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Useful remedies for child with coughWritten by George
It is a known fact that coughing is a mechanism of the body to eliminate excess mucus in the airways. Even though most cases of coughs do not need to be suppressed, coughing can be irritating and can lead to a sore throat, lack of sleep and sore chest muscles. If a child is suffering from a persistent cough or high fever, a doctor must be consulted for proper assessment. As for mild cases of cough, they can be managed at home with several remedies. To learn to recognize and manage respiratory issues such as cough, sign up for training in first aid with a credible provider near you.
Increase the moisture
A child who has a cough that sounds similar to a bark might indicate croup. A mild croup can be managed at home. All you have to do is to bring the child to the bathroom and run the shower with the water in the hot setting. Instruct the child to inhale the warm air for about ten minutes.
Another option is to use a humidifier in the bedroom of the child. Once the child shows signs of respiratory distress such as difficulty breathing, wheezing or bluish fingernails, it is best to seek immediate medical care.
In case the cough of the child originates from a ticklish throat, you can provide him/her with cool drinks or cough drops to ease the irritation. It is best to avoid any carbonated beverages and orange juice since they can sting an already irritated throat. Just remember not to provide children below 4 years old with cough drops or hard candy since they are considered as choking hazards.
If the child is having difficulty in falling asleep due to a cough, you can provide him/her with 2 teaspoons of honey before going to bed. Take note that honey is considered as an effective cough suppressant just like with over-the-counter remedies that contain dextromethorphan. In case the child likes to drink tea, you can provide him/her with a warm cup of sweetened honey to help soothe the throat. Honey should not be given to babies below one year old since it can cause infant botulism.
There are also some herbal remedies that can help ease a cough. Just remember that it is best to consult a doctor first before any herbal remedies will be used. Take note that some remedies are not suitable for the age of the child or might react with other medications currently taken.
Peppermint contains menthol which is considered as a natural decongestant and also works as an expectorant. Another popular remedy is eucalyptus that is used for coughs and colds. There are cough ointments in the market that are made from eucalyptus and menthol. Other herbal remedies commonly used for cough include licorice, slippery elm, thyme and sundew.
Thursday, 15 January 2015
Why do I have green mucus in the eye?Written by George
Any discharge or mucus in the eye can be triggered by various conditions. Many individuals will wake up and end up with a minor buildup of debris in the edges of the eyelids. In most circumstances, it is simply due to the accumulation of tear components while sleeping throughout the night. One should be concerned when new or a large amount of mucus in the eye is present. It is important to note that mucus discharge that is accompanied by changes in the vision or eye pain entails proper assessment by a doctor in order to determine the underlying cause.
Large amounts of green mucus in the eye can indicate an ocular contamination. Remember that bacterial eye infections frequently occur with dense, greenish discharge together with redness and pain. The bacterial eye infections need prompt treatment with antibiotics to prevent lasting vision problems. Take note that antibiotics are not required for all eye infections and bacterial resistance can occur if overused.
The cases that are triggered by viruses do not respond to antibiotics and the doctor will recommend a different approach. When an individual is diagnosed with pink eye, it simply indicates that the infection is contagious and typically resolves without treatment just like common cold. Nevertheless, all cases of eye infections must be assessed by a doctor to determine the right treatment.
Dry eye syndrome
Dry eye is a condition in which there is inadequate tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Problems with the tear film linked with dry eye can lead to symptoms of discharge, debris along the eyelids and watering. The usual complaints with dry eye include the feeling of scratchiness or sandy. There are various over-the-counter eye lubricants that can help enhance the natural tears and reduce the symptoms.
Certain environmental factors such as dust and wind can worsen the condition along with extended use of electronic devices and computers. In addition, using humidifiers, avoiding fans and vents as well as wearing wrap-around sunglasses can help minimize these environmental effects.
Take note that allergies might be a culprit for the green mucus in the eye. An allergic reaction can occur due to exposure to seasonal allergens or animals. There are also medications that can cause these reactions. Those who are highly sensitive to certain materials and chemicals can instigate a reaction. To learn to recognize and manage conditions that cause discharge of green mucus, register for first aid training here.
Those who suffer from ocular allergy suffer from a stringy-type of discharge that is usually while in color or clear. As for the itchiness, it is the most common symptom linked with allergies. The individual should not rub the eyes since they will only aggravate the condition. In most circumstances, swelling of the conjunctiva and eyelids can also occur during an allergic response. Allergy eye drops prescribed by the doctor are highly effective in reducing the symptoms. There are also over-the-counter allergy eye drops that can be used. Additionally, you can apply a cold compress over the eyelids.