Thursday, March 27, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
What are we allergic to?
Sometimes you can develop an allergic reaction to something and never figure out the culprit unless you have testing done.
Identifying a culprit allergen can be very difficult, given the wide variety of compounds that humans are exposed to on a daily basis. A number of grid-based skin tests are available. In prick, or scratch, testing a purified allergen is intradermally injected to evaluate for a response. This method is commonly used for pet dander, dust, pollen, foods, and house-dust mites. In patch testing, allergens are kept in contact with the skin via hypoallergenic tape for an extended period of time to assess for a subsequent allergic inflammatory response. This method is commonly used for latex, medications, preservatives, and metals. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Allergic Reaction Treatment from eMedicine.com
Self-Care at Home
Avoid triggers! If you know you have an allergic reaction to peanuts, for example, do not eat them and go out of your way to avoid foods prepared with or around peanuts (see Food Allergy).
Self-care at home is not enough in severe reactions. A severe reaction is a medical emergency.
Do not attempt to treat or "wait out" severe reactions at home. Go immediately to a hospital emergency department.
If no one is available to drive you right away, call an ambulance for emergency medical transport.
Use your epinephrine auto-injector (Epi-Pen) if you have been prescribed one by your doctor due to previous allergic reactions.
Slight reactions with mild symptoms usually respond to nonprescription allergy medications.
Loratadine (Claritin or Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra) are nonsedating antihistamines that can be taken over the long term.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can also be taken but may make you too drowsy to drive or operate machinery safely. It can affect concentration and interfere with children's learning in school. These medications should be taken for only a few days.
For rashes or skin irritations, an anti-inflammatory steroid cream such as hydrocortisone can be used.
For small, localized skin reactions, use a cold, wet cloth or ice for relief. Apply a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel as an ice pack.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Don’t Let Winter Drag You Down: 5 Tips to Stay Healthy
Stay hydrated! Drink water, water, and more water. There are so many occasions where you might be tempted to drink empty calories or sugar and sodium packed beverages that may satiate a craving, but are not fulfilling your bodies desire for straight-up water.
2) Sanitize, Sanitize
Winter tends to be a very busy time with holidays and all as opposed to spring and summer where people tend to relax more and the mood is more laid back. In the hurry up mode, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. That starts with good hand washing habits. If you use hand sanitizers, understand that they are designed to air dry and during this air drying process the germs are killed. Don’t try to wipe it off, let it evaporate.
3) Get Your 40 Winks
We all seem to be busy and forget that nutrition and getting enough sleep are simple things you can do to stay healthy. If you get run down, your body’s immune system is more prone to picking up the first thing that comes along.
4) Take Your Vitamins
In terms of staying healthy over the winter, I recommend drinking a lot of water, washing hands very frequently (especially when in public places like stores and gas stations), and getting enough rest. Zinc is very helpful, especially when you’ are sick or just coming down with something.
5) Be Good to Yourself
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Today is a landmark day for a fabulous lady, "Heather Von St James", a mom, a wife, a woman and a fighter!
This post has been particularly hard for me to write due to my own mothers recent diagnosis of Stage 4 Lung Cancer ( not mesothelioma ). I am typing here bedside her bed in ICU as she struggles to breath and stay alive just one more day. My mom smoked for at least 50 years and I know she must pay the ultimate price now.
Heather on the other hand is a survivor of mesothelioma, a lung cancer seen with exposure to asbestos. She is a rare jewel, here is her story and why February 2nd is so special to her each year.
My name is Heather and I am an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma – a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. When I was diagnosed, I had just given birth to my little girl and was told I had 15 months to live. After undergoing a risky surgery, which required the removal of my left lung, I beat the odds and created Lung Leavin’ Day as a way to commemorate this day that changed my life forever.
Lung Leavin’ Day is now used to encourage others to face their fears! One important thing cancer taught me is the importance of acknowledging these apprehensions that prevent us from living life to the fullest extent.
Each year on February 2, friends and family gather at my house for a bonfire where we write our fears on plates and smash them into the fire.
This year, we are asking you to face your fears and raise awareness of this event by virtually participating in Lung Leavin’ Day!
I have created an interactive page that tells the full story of this special day, which can be found here: Mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday
Monday, December 30, 2013
If your child wakes up barking loudly do you need to bring them to the Emergency Room? Well, that's a very good question. Not all children need to be rushed to the ER for a croupy cough. You can try a couple of things at home first.
Ask yourself these things first
- Does my child have a high fever? ( check it rectally if they can not hold the thermometer in their mouth well, of course you are the parent and you know when your child has a temp. Go ahead and medicate them for fever, it will help with discomfort also.
- Does my child have any breathing trouble, like retractions (look at them with no shirt on, does it seem like they are sucking in hard to breath?
- Does my child have stridor-- a high pitched noise when they breath, not just the barky cough?
- Are you freaking out and just don't know what to do (its ok if you are, better to bring them in to be checked out than not)
- Turn on the shower water to hot--get the bathroom nice and steamy (of course don't put your child in the hot water) take your child in the bathroom and stay with them, help them to breath in the nice steamy air in the bathroom for around 5-10 min or so.
- Take them immediately outside into the cool nighttime air (its ok, you are not gonna make them sicker doing this--no matter what your grandma told you)
- The alternating of the steam and the cool air will most of the time help stop the bronchospasm-like coughing and help them calm down and settle back to sleep.
- Don't medicate your child with any sedating cough syrups, alcohols or home remedies. Cool mist vaporizers or humidifiers in their room is fine. I use the old Vicks vapor rub on their chest and feet remedy myself (unless they are infants)
- Call your peds doctor or advice line if you want more advice before traveling to the ER, they are a wealth of good information.
Croup is a condition that causes an inflammation of the upper airways — the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). It often leads to a barking cough or hoarseness, especially when a child cries.