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How to Deal with an Everlasting Itch

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About 31 million Americans suffer from skin-related symptoms. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that means “to boil out” and is caused by genetics.

A person can continue itching for the longest time until it intrudes with their social routine. Environmental factors such as solvents, soaps, or low humidity can trigger this skin disease. It mostly develops on the neck and flexures of arms and legs. When the skin becomes too irritated, it breaks out in red streaks and can even weaken a person’s immune system.

Researchers found that not only does this skin condition affect how you feel, but also people’s engagement with society. A study showed that out of 600 people with the skin condition, almost one-third said they were dissatisfied with life.

Some ways to easily prevent your skin from irritating is by removing the allergen that is causing your skin to be sensitive. Try to avoid wearing tight clothes or taking hot showers. Most importantly, avoid scratching! It seems tempting to relieve the itching by scratching temporarily, but it worsens the condition over time. An attempt is to keep the skin moisturized and get adequate sleep. If necessary, there are always options to use medications such as antihistamines, antibiotics, and topical steroid creams.

Don’t let this condition deter your regular quality of life! Know your environmental triggers and talk to a doctor if necessary.  

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5 Ways to Treat Chronic Pain at Home

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Chronic pain affects 1 in 3 Americans6, and is the number one reason that people go to the doctor. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than three months. It can be very disruptive and often takes a well-rounded approach to manage. Trips to multiple doctors can be hard to fit into busy schedules, and can get quite costly! Keep reading to learn more about 5 pain management options that can be done at home. Remember, always consult with your healthcare professional before starting a new treatment.

1. Better nutrition. 

Even after an injury heals, pain may still be present. A large factor in chronic pain is inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause increased pain and more tissue damage over time. Our diets can make inflammation better (or worse!) and making a few simple changes can make a big difference. Common inflammatory foods are: refined sugar, artificial sweetener, dairy, processed meat and alcohol. 1  Food sensitivities to things such as gluten and soy can also cause inflammation. Try removing these from your diet for a few weeks and then see if your pain levels change once you reintroduce them.

2. Retrain your brain.

Chronic pain trains our brain to feel like our bodies are under constant attack. This activates our sympathetic nervous system (also known as the “fight or flight” mode for our brain). The good news is that we can switch to the parasympathetic nervous system (also known as “rest and digest” mode) with a bit of practice. Slowing things down and taking time to rest, calming the mind, and meditating can allow the brain to turn off the alarm system to let the body relax, lessening the perception of pain over time. 2

3. Warm it up.

Using heat in the form of a heat pack, warm bath, or spa, can be a great way to relax tense or spasmed muscles. Heat is best used as a “warm-up” prior to doing exercise or stretching. Avoid using heat on a new injury as this can make swelling worse. For chronic stiffness or spasms, apply a heat pack for no longer than 30 minutes to avoid injury to the skin. Also, never use a heat pack on broken skin or areas with infection.3 Check with your healthcare provider to see if it is ok to use a heat pack on your painful areas if you are diabetic. 3

4. Cool it down. 

Using ice or cooling agents can help to reduce inflammation, especially after exercise or stretching. When starting a new activity, the painful area can become sore or inflamed, even with gentle exercise. Chronically painful areas can get aggravated after work due to prolonged sitting or standing. Because ice constricts blood vessels, use an ice pack for no longer than 10-15 minutes to avoid injury to the skin and sensitive surrounding areas. Never use an ice pack on the front of the neck.4  You can use an ice pack several times a day if needed, just make sure to rest for at least 40 minutes in between icing sessions.

5. Get moving.

Exercise and movement are vital for our health. Without daily activity, our muscles (including the heart) and bones become weak and our exercise tolerance decreases. This is called deconditioning. When the body becomes deconditioned, we are more prone to injury, and existing pain can increase since weak muscles cannot support the body well. Stiffness and spasms tend to get worse without some form of exercise. Gentle movement, even a few extra minutes per day, can improve circulation and reduce pain. Set small goals, like a walk to the corner and back, and slowly increase activity as tolerated. 5

By incorporating the steps mentioned above, chronic pain can become more manageable. While nothing can replace a licensed healthcare professional’s help, these small steps at home can add up to big improvements in pain control over time. You deserve to feel your very best!


References:
1-https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-and-inflammation-11.php
2-https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindfulness-in-frantic-world/201501/can-mindfulness-meditation-really-reduce-pain-and-suffering
3- https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/heat-therapy-cold-therapy/how-apply-heat-therapy
4- https://www.scoi.com/patient-resources/education/articles/should-you-ice-or-heat-injury
5- http://medicine.jrank.org/pages/429/Deconditioning-Prevention-treatment-deconditioning.html   Deconditioning – Prevention And Treatment Of Deconditioning
6-http://www.painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx

 

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Depression

Even a Million Dollar NBA Player Has Personal Obstacles to Overcome

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We might see professional athletes as role models who are unstoppable, but they too have their own hurdles to get across. Cleveland Cavalier Kevin Love, an advocate for mental health, described his own experiences of how he balanced anxiety and basketball.

In the Player’s Tribune, Love admittedly said that “I didn’t want to look weak. Honestly, I just didn’t think I needed it.” Last November during a game against the Hawks, Love encountered a panic attack and abruptly had to step out midway. People mostly pay attention to physical health and wellness, especially for athletes, and not towards mental health. Growing up around the stigma that all men needed to be strong without discussing any feelings, Love always felt that he was forced to repress his grievances and hardships. By suppressing his thoughts for 21 years, it just made his mental health more complicated.

He emphasizes the importance of discussing out loud our inner feelings and confronting the fact that “I need help.” He wants everyone to know that “everyone is going through something we can’t see.”

“Everyone is going through something we can’t see.”

The primacy concern regarding mental health illness is that it isn’t seen visibly. That is why it is difficult for some people to accept this illness without observing any tangible evidence.

A few months later after Love confessed his situation to the public, Carson Daly conducted a full interview with him on the Today Show. He finally decided to break the silence and opened his heart to the public about how he overcame the stigmas of mental illness. Even though it may be a never ending process filled with dark thoughts and a constant battle in your mind, he found much more support when he spoke openly about mental health to others. Now, Love goes to a therapist and is continuing to combat his internal fight every day. His social media fans are inspired by his actions and are fascinated by his admittance.

It’s not only Love who acknowledges mental illness as a prominent problem; it is a recurring trend where celebrities are opening up about their internal struggles to the public during interviews. Diminishing psychological health is understandable for people who are constantly under high pressure and stress from society. A few months ago, renowned people such as Janet Jackson and Ariana Grande opened up about their personal conflicts in the People’s article. We should respect that these public figures, role models, and celebrities are still human. As humans, we all have individual hardships to conquer; but together, everyone’s support can help bring awareness and care for mental diseases. As more people feel comfortable enough to come out from the dark to discuss their feelings openly, mental illness will soon demand a greater focus in society.

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Prevent Breakouts So You Don’t Freak Out

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Most people can remember that period when their body begins to change. In a single term, this haunting word is called puberty. Boys and girls start developing their body in different ways, but both sexes share the commonality of incurring breakouts on their skin, also known as acne.

Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is an outcome of dead skin cells and oily skin. It mostly occurs on the face, chest, and back, where most of the oil secreting glands are present. There are five main skin types and the genetic makeup contributes 80%,  depending on how dry or oily your skin naturally is. Other causes that come from lifestyle and the environment may include:

  1. Bacteria, which is responsible for causing inflammation
  2. Hair follicles are blocked which leads to overproduction of skin
  3. Puberty causes an increase in the production of sebum that leads to greasy skin

Luckily, there are easy ways to prevent these breakouts so you can go out and feel great about yourself! Practice these common habits, even though they may seem obvious. Even though there’s no way to escape from bacteria which are present everywhere, there are other ways to deal with them.

DO:

    • Wash your pillowcase and towels often. Dead skin cells and bacteria will accumulate on your pillowcase and sheets after consistent usage.
    • Clean your make-up tools and smartphone. Wash anything that comes into contact with your skin including glasses, earphones, brushes, etc.
    • Using a face cleanser suitable for you. Ask your dermatologist if your acne becomes really serious. They can tell you which solution is best for your skin type.  
    • Wash your face. The natural remedy of water will keep your face clean from the environment and keep it hydrated. Wash your face 4-5 times throughout the day using cold water.
    • Get quality sleep. Lack of sleep will lead to a weakened immune system. This would then increase insulin resistance which will initiate more sebum creation.  
    • Avoid sugar and drink lots of water. Food has a large impact on your hormonal balance, so eat  low-sugar and a low-fat diet.

DO NOT:

  • Be out in the sun too long. The heat triggers oil glands to become overactive and breakout.
  • Touch your face! It will leave a scar and scrubbing, rubbing, squeezing will not help the inflammation.
  • Stress. Mental stress will increase cortisol levels and create a hormonal imbalance.
  • Sleep with makeup overnight. Makeup clogs the pores and bacteria will build up.

Got any other tips? Comment below on your thoughts! 

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