Health News

The Sun: Our Skin’s Friend or Enemy

The sun is now starting to shine and people are shaking off the winter blues and heading outside. This time of year people are starting to exercise more, shed that “winter weight” and are looking to feel better. But why is it that we feel so much better in the summer? There are many obvious answers: fresh air, warm feels good, less clothes, more things to do. But there are more (or more scientific reasons) than that… ones we both can take greater advantage of (even during the winter) and reasons for warning.

sun-protection-for-skin

For years people have been told repeatedly for the need to use sun screen. They have been shown graphic pictures of melanoma skin cancer and warned of the possibility of death. There is a definite need in our current climate and lifestyle for the use of sun screen and covering up from the sun. Our society has for the majority become urban cave dwellers. As one time hunter/gather/growers we spent the majority of the time under the direct rays of the sun.  Over the years this increased the pigment in the skin and not only creates a nice tan but acts as a natural sun screen (the mild scientific backing of a “base tan” before a vacation although the best effect takes years and generations). This is why tribes in Africa do not need sunscreen. We now have been seeking the solace of indoors and are becoming a paler society. The majority of the population spends 5 days a week mostly inside during all sunlight hours at school or work, and when at home we stay inside and play video games, exercise either on a machine or a video game and “hunt” for our food inside a grocery store or restaurant.  This increases the risk of developing negative effects from the solar UV rays when we do get outside and thus increases the need for sunscreen and clothing cover ups.

One current area of concern today from inadequate sun exposure is Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is naturally made in the body when UVB rays are absorbed in the skin. It is important because it helps calcium get into bones, decreases risks of cancer, autoimmune disease, and infections. It does not take a lot of UV rays to provide a daily dose, only 10-15 minutes of sun expose in a short sleeve shirt and shorts (during late spring and summer) is sufficient. The lighter the skin the less time needed and the darker the skin the less effective conversion. This is not a recommendation to lay out all day sun tanning or going to a tanning bed. However, making a conscious effort to be outside with moderate sun screen application is recommended

Vitamin D can also be supplemented. A good dose is 1000-1500 IU/d daily. This is important for people how either have medical or personal reasons for not getting any sun exposure or during the early spring late fall and winter who live above latitudes above 37 degrees north (above Texas…see map).

sun map

Vitamin D is not extremely common in foods but some common sources with good levels of Vit. D are listed in the table below.

Selected food sources of vitamin D
Food Vitamin D (IU*)
Salmon, 3.5 ounces 360
Mackerel, 3.5 ounces 345
Tuna, canned, 3.5 ounces 200
Orange juice, fortified, 8 ounces 100
Milk, fortified, 8 ounces 98
Breakfast cereals, fortified, 1 serving 40–100
*IU = international units
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health

The link between sunlight exposure and depression can be linked to a decrease in the neurotransmitter Serotonin. The winter blues, officially known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterized by a decrease in energy level, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, weight gain, and carbohydrate cravings, among other things. These symptoms are worsened by a decrease in fresh air and exercise that accompany the colder weather.

I am not recommending that we should all increase or risk of cancer and go with no protection to strengthen our natural defenses. However there is cause to question the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a No-Sun policy. At the least you should avoid prolonged exposure during the hottest time of mid day, wear SPF 15 or more and a hat.  Following those basic rules and getting out to enjoy the summer should leaving you feeling happy and healthy.

Dr. Dustin Sherman

REF:

http://www.aad.org/public/sun/smart.html

http://www.news-medical.net/news/2004/06/02/2139.aspx

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0604d.shtml

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/time-for-more-vitamin-d.htm

Holick, Michael F. Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston

Diehl JW, Chiu MW. Effects of ambient sunlight and photoprotection on vitamin D status. Dermatol Ther.2010 Jan;23(1):48-60.

Reichrath J. Skin cancer prevention and UV-protection: how to avoid vitamin D-deficiency? Br J Dermatol. 2009 Nov;161 Suppl 3:54-60.

Holick MF. Vitamin D and sunlight: strategies for cancer prevention and other health benefits. Clin J Am Soc   Nephrol. 2008 Sep;3(5):1548-54. Epub 2008 Jun 11

The Dangers of the Cold

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite

Hypothermia (colder than normal body temperature) and frostbite can happen to anyone who is not properly protected from the cold.

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 95 degrees F. The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F. In the early stages, this may cause memory loss, confusion and shivering. Eventually, a low body temperature may cause cardiac arrest and death.

Signs of hypothermia include slurred speech, reduced coordination, shivering and poor judgment. An infant may appear to be less active. The best way to prevent hypothermia is to protect the body from the cold.

Frostbite also can occur in the winter months. When exposed to cold, the body tissue freezes. This affects the body like a burn. The hands, feet, ears, cheeks and nose are the most commonly affected areas.empresa-condenada-frigorifico

Signs of mild frostbite include yellow or gray patches on the skin. After the skin is warmed, it becomes red and flaky. In more severe cases, a blister or sore, swelling and pain may develop.

If you suspect mild frostbite, bring your child inside and remove wet clothing. Gently dry the affected area. Do not rub the area, as this may cause more damage. Warm the affected area by immersing it in warm water (104 to 108 degrees F) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the color returns. Take the child to an emergency room if there is pain, blistering or swelling.

Deep frostbite, often affecting the feet and hands, can be very dangerous. It can lead to infection, severe pain and swelling, nerve and tissue damage, and amputation. Symptoms include cold, waxy and pale skin. When it thaws, the affected area turns blue or purple. Large blisters appear, followed by peeling or gangrene (dark, swollen tissue.) If you suspect severe frostbite, take your child to an emergency room at once.

http://www.chw.org/display/PPF/DocID/33022/router.asp

Shoveling Snow: The Good and the Bad

Shoveling snow can be a functional way of clearing a path and an excellent chance to get some outdoor exercise during the cold winter season. On the other hand, it can be a potential health risk. Knowing a few crucial details can go a long way toward staying happy and healthy this snowy season.

1.  Proper Body Position: Like most activities, the way in which you use your body can be either help or hurt.

  • Give your back a break and use your legs and hips to do the work.
  • Avoid twisting, turn entire body to dump the snow
  • Keep shovel handle in near stomach not way out to the side

                             Good                                                                                      Bad

Proper-Snow-Shoveling1Unproper-Snow-Shoveling http://www.abhayawellness.com/

2.  Don’t Over Do It: Most have heard of someone having a heart attack while shoveling. This is a big concern but not the only one. Beware of muscle strains, tearing knee meniscus or ligaments, Shoulder injuries, and overheating (to name a few).  Listen to your body.

  • Take it slow
  • Take breaks
  • Do not over load the shovel
  • If it is too much or too deep don’t be afraid to ask for help!

3. Dress Appropriately: Wearing layers can help to stay at the correct temperature. If you are sweating, shed a few items. If you do not dress warm enough than go back inside and either put more on or warm up for a bit.

4. Stay Hydrated…that means water: Even if you do not feel like you are sweating it is important to stay well hydrated. Doing so before and after shoveling will help.

5. Use the Correct Equipment: Using the correct tool for the job can make the job a lot easier. So can wearing the correct footwear. A boot with good traction (or a traction slip on) can make the job a lot safer and easier.

Print  ice grips sears

http://www.consumerreports.org                                                        http://www.sears.com

And the same rules apply for Snow Blowing!

Simpliest and Best Way to Stay Healthy and Avoid the Flu!

Hand-washing: Do’s and don’ts

Hand-washing is an easy way to prevent infection. Understand when to wash your hands, how to properly use hand sanitizer and how to get your children into the habit.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Hand-washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — a cleanser that doesn’t require water.

Find out when and how to wash your hands properly.

When to wash your handshandwash

As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. In turn, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.

Always wash your hands before:

  • Preparing food or eating
  • Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
  • Inserting or removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:

  • Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
  • Using the toilet or changing a diaper
  • Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or waste
  • Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
  • Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
  • Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
  • Shaking hands with others

In addition, wash your hands whenever they look dirty.

How to wash your hands

It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these simple steps:

  • Wet your hands with running water — either warm or cold.
  • Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
  • Lather well.
  • Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
  • If possible, use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.

Keep in mind that antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap. Using antibacterial soap might even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product’s antimicrobial agents — making it harder to kill these germs in the future

 

How to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don’t require water, are an acceptable alternative when soap and water aren’t available. If you use a hand sanitizer, make sure the product contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Then follow these simple steps:

  • Apply enough of the product to the palm of your hand to wet your hands completely.
  • Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces, until your hands are dry.

Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are another effective option. Again, look for a product that contains a high percentage of alcohol. If your hands are visibly dirty, however, wash with soap and water.

Kids need clean hands, too

Help children stay healthy by encouraging them to wash their hands properly and frequently. Wash your hands with your child to show him or her how it’s done. To prevent rushing, suggest washing hands for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. If your child can’t reach the sink on his or her own, keep a step stool handy.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are OK for children and adolescents, especially when soap and water aren’t available. However, be sure to supervise young children using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Remind your child to make sure the sanitizer completely dries before he or she touches anything. Store the container safely away after use.

Hand hygiene is especially important for children in child care settings. Young children cared for in groups outside the home are at greater risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, which can easily spread to family members and other contacts.

Be sure your child care provider promotes frequent hand-washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Ask whether the children are required to wash their hands several times a day — not just before meals. Note, too, whether diapering areas are cleaned after each use and whether eating and diapering areas are well-separated.

A simple way to stay healthy

Hand-washing doesn’t take much time or effort, but it offers great rewards in terms of preventing illness. Adopting this simple habit can play a major role in protecting your health.

 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/hand-washing/art-20046253?pg=1

Avoid the Halloween sugar overload and consider the Switch Witch instead!!

In my household Halloween is the biggest non-religious holiday of the year. We all love fall, pumpkins, the lights and freights, and of course feverously trying to finish the homemade costumes in the last few days (no store bought ones allowed here!). However, with all of this fun comes the problem of all the candy.

We do not allow our kids to eat Candy or other junk food (they are 3 and 4 what do they really NEED it for). After some arguing my wife convinced me to let them go trick or treating (I felt they were too young especially since they do not eat the candy and she felt I was ruing their childhood). So, like a large growing group of parents, we decided to do a form of the “Switch Witch.”

  Featured image

Don’t know what the Switch Witch is? (Also sometimes called the Halloween Fairy, Great Pumpkin, or Candy Fairy.) This is a great way to join in the festivities of Halloween without the mass sugar load. As you might guess the kids can trade in their candy in exchange for a gift. This was an excellent option in our house. The kids were very excited to get that new movie (Hotel Transylvania) instead of the candy they did not want.

The switching of candy can be done in many ways. Some leave it in a Halloween bowl or witch’s caldron and the fairy exchanges it at night. Others allow the kids to pick the item. If you allow your kids to eat the candy, they can choose a few pieces they like the most and trade the rest, with the more candy traded the better the gift.

The traded candy can then be given away, repurposed in many a Pinterest project, or you and the kids can do experiments on it. Experimenting on candy may seem strange but believe me it can be a lot of fun and the kids love it (and learn). There a few sources for the experiments below:

http://www.babble.com/home/science-over-sugar-halloween-candy-experiments-for-kids/

http://kidshealth.org/kid/closet/experiments/experiments_candy.html

http://www.science20.com/science_motherhood/top_10_scientific_uses_leftover_halloween_candy

So avoid the Cavity creating, hyperactive, blood sugar spiking chow down and find your own unique way to celebrate Halloween by trying the Switch Witch in your house!

http://www.switch-witch.com

Candy can also be donated to places like Ronald McDonald House and Operation Shoebox and Candy Buy Back.

Chiropractors… More Than Just Back Doctors: Part 1 – The “TMJ”

Chiropractors, More Than Just Back Doctors
Part 1- The “TMJ”

Did you know that Chiropractors can be the best course of treatment for treatment other the spine? Many people are facing jaw pain, clicking, and possibly limited mouth opening.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located one fingertip-width in front of the auditory meatus, the external opening for the ear. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a common condition arising from one or more of numerous factors, including but not limited to tooth position (orthodontic), muscular tone and harmony, trigger point referrals, cranial compression, damaged or misaligned articular disc, or other intracapsular disorders, such as arthritis or infection and injury by blow. There are many other suspected contributing factors, such as emotional well-being and stress, mineral and hormonal imbalances, nutritional factors, allergies and chemical exposures.
Continue reading “Chiropractors… More Than Just Back Doctors: Part 1 – The “TMJ””

Now that the ALS ice bucket challenge has slowed down here is an interesting look at the disease’s 1st fame.

lou gherig

The Yankees’ Lou Gehrig was helped off the field after being struck in the head by a fastball from pitcher Ray White of the Norfolk Tars in a June 1934 exhibition game. The ball caught Gehrig above the right eye, knocking him unconscious.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

August 17, 2010

Study Says Brain Trauma Can Mimic A.L.S.

By ALAN SCHWARZ

In the 71 years since the Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig declared himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” despite dying from a disease that would soon bear his name, he has stood as America’s leading icon of athletic valor struck down by random, inexplicable fate.

A peer-reviewed paper to be published Wednesday in a leading journal of neuropathology, however, suggests that the demise of athletes like Gehrig and soldiers given a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma.

Continue reading “Now that the ALS ice bucket challenge has slowed down here is an interesting look at the disease’s 1st fame.”

Back (Pack) to School: Choose the Right Backpack

Back (Pack) to School: Choose the Right Backpack

back packs

There is usually a great deal of difference between the backpack that your child and your doctor would pick out. Don’t just choose the backpack that is the “coolest” it may also be the worst. Make sure that the backpack has the option for two shoulder carrying and that the straps are wide enough not to cut into the shoulders, has moderate padding in the back, and fits the child…that’s right not all packs fit all. Continue reading “Back (Pack) to School: Choose the Right Backpack”

More technology can mean more pain: Using your devices the right way.

More technology can mean more pain: Using your devices the right way.

Most likely as some point I have yelled at you about holding the phone to your ear with you shoulder. Well, here is someone else stressing that point… and more!

 http://www.technohealthy.com

 Using Technology Safely

Mobile technological devices, such as digital personal assistants (PDAs) and smartphones have made our lives more convenient. We can now send e-mails, access the Internet, manage our schedules, and use spreadsheets and other office software from our phones. While this makes it easier to accomplish tasks without being tethered to an office, it has also increased the amount of time we spend using these devices, which is not without risks.

Before these advances in technology, our bodies moved as we used the phone and the computer, we walked to the fax machine, and we flipped through our calendars. Now we slump over a small screen with little change in our position. Our bodies are made to move—not to maintain the same posture for long periods of time. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice these modern conveniences for your health, but you should be aware of the risks and what you can do to minimize them. Continue reading “More technology can mean more pain: Using your devices the right way.”

Worst Exercise Machines

An article stating what we have for years: “Worst Exercise Machines” and what to do instead!

Worst Exercise Machines                                                                                                              

Stephen Perrine with Leah Flickinger and the Editors of Women’s Health                                 Tuesday, March 20, 2012                                                                                                       YAHOO.HEALTH

When it comes to working out, exercise machines aren’t always effective–or even safe. Here are the machines to skip next time you hit the gym, plus some alternative exercises to help you train smarter.

Seated Leg Extension Machine

 

 

What it’s supposed to do: Train the quadriceps.

What it actually does: It strengthens a motion your legs aren’t actually designed to do, and can put undue strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps.

A better exercise: One-Legged Body-Weight Squats

Lift one leg up and bend the opposite knee, dipping as far as you can, with control, while flexing at the hip, knee, and ankle. Use a rail for support until you develop requisite leg strength and balance. Aim for five to 10 reps on each leg. (If you are susceptible to knee pain, do the Bulgarian split squat instead, resting the top of one foot on a bench positioned two to three feet behind you. Descend until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then stand back up. Do five to 10 reps per leg.)

[“The picture above shows a pistol squat which most people cannot perform, keeping the balance leg behind, usually on a box or chair is a more practical way” – Dr. Dusty]

Continue reading “Worst Exercise Machines”