Kids love playing outside in the snow, but did you know they are also more susceptible than adults to getting frostbite than adults? Especially in these chilly winter conditions. Kids can lose heat from their skin more rapidly and are often reluctant to leave their winter fun to go inside and warm up. Frostbite 101 Frostbite is, literally, frozen body tissue — usually the skin, but sometimes deeper tissue. It must be managed carefully to prevent permanent tissue damage. The varying degrees of frostbite are based on how deep the tissue injury goes. Mild cases affect a superficial area of the skin, while the most severe cases can go all the way down to the muscle and bone. The areas most prone to frostbite are the head, face, ears, hands, and feet. Frostbite needs medical attention from a health care provider. To help prevent frostbite in cold weather consider the following tips:
- Stay updated on weather forecasts. If it's extremely cold, even brief exposure to cold can cause frostbite
- Dress kids in layered warm clothes and use hats, gloves, scarves, thick socks, and well-insulated boots to cover body parts that are most prone to frostbite. Inner clothing layers that absorb moisture and outermost layers that are windproof and waterproof are helpful
- Make sure kids come indoors regularly to warm up
- Change kids out of wet clothing or shoes as soon as possible
- Watch for “frostnip”, frostbite's early warning sign
- If you're planning travel to a remote area, make sure you have proper supplies in case of emergencies and let family or friends know your travel plans
- Take a first-aid and CPR class to help learn what to do in emergency situations
Is the winter chill may be leaving your joints a bit achy? Does your arthritis feel like it’s worse than ever? Whether this joint pain/weather connection is scientifically true or not, you can still use these arthritis pain-relief tips when your aching joints act up in winter. Dress Warm! If it’s cold outside, keep aching hands warm with gloves, and add extra layers over knees and legs. Layer. Layer. Layer. It's important to wear several layers to enable you to control your comfort level when temperatures shift dramatically during the day. Consider wearing a few pairs of gloves that you can peel them off, one by one, as needed. Hydrate Drinking more water. Even mild dehydration might make you more sensitive to pain, so hydration and activity is key! Lose Weight Not only will weight off your joints help, but the physical activity with losing weight has shown successful results in reducing inflammation in joints. Additionally, according to the Journal of American Medical Association, studies have shown significant improvement people with knee arthritis can get from weight loss, from diet, and exercise. Exercise Inside While it's understandable to want to avoid winter chill, people with joint pain should still stay active. The less sedentary you are, the better your physical function. Come up with an indoor exercise plan such as treadmill or elliptical work or consider something like walking at the mall. Let Warm Water Comfort You Swimming in a heated pool is both great exercise and soothing to joints. You can also get relief from warm baths, just don’t go right out into the cold after your soak. Let your body temperature normalize a bit first. Supplement Vitamin D Studies report that low levels of vitamin D have been shown to play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain. Being deficient in vitamin D also raises the risk for osteoporosis. You're less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source, sunlight, in the winter, so talk to your doctor about your need for supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods. Get a Massage Yes, you a great reason to indulge yourself and get a massage. Pain often emanates from the joint and some from the muscles around the joint. Getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least eight weeks was shown to reduce pain. Talk to your doctor about additional ways you can ease your joint pain this cold winter season.
It’s the top healthcare news story right now-- Zika virus. But do you know what Zika virus really is? The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection. It is related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Although it was discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947 and is common in Africa and Asia, it did not begin spreading widely in the Western Hemisphere until last May, when an outbreak occurred in Brazil. Until now, almost no one on this side of the world had been infected. Few of us have immune defenses against the virus, so it is spreading rapidly. Millions of people in tropical regions of the Americas may now have been infected. Yet for most, the infection causes no symptoms and leads to no lasting harm. Scientific concern is focused on women who become infected while pregnant and those who develop a temporary form of paralysis after exposure to the Zika virus. Ask your doctor if you are at risk for Zika virus. And take a look at the CDC website for more information about the virus.
With the Broncos big Super Bowl win, football is everywhere right now. But, from a healthcare standpoint, football or other sports related brain injuries are a hot news topic, specifically Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). What Is CTE and why is it a topic of discussion? The condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was formerly believed to exist primarily among boxers, and was referred to as dementia pugilistica. It is a progressive degenerative disease which afflicts the brain of people who have suffered repeated concussions and traumatic brain injuries, such as athletes who take part in contact sports, members of the military and others - and has been seen in a lot of professional football players as they age. CTE is a condition of brain damage which persists over a period of years or decades and which is the result of traumatic impacts to the cranium. The brain of an individual who suffers from CTE gradually deteriorates and will over time end up losing mass. Certain areas of the brain are particularly liable to atrophy, though other areas are prone to becoming enlarged. Another aspect of CTE is that some areas of the brain experience an accumulation of tau protein, a substance which serves to stabilize cellular structure in the neurons but which may become defective and subsequently may cause major interference with the function of the neurons. Have you suffered a few too many concussions or have additional questions? Talk to your doctor about your risks.