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SKIN CARE DURING WINTER

With a total area of about 20 square feet, the skin is the largest organ in the body. Its primary function is the sense of touch, besides protecting and covering. Across the world, people differ according to the colour, texture and quality of their skin. Biological factors determine these variations, as also do geographical location, exposure to the sun and living conditions.

It is a well-known fact that summer comes down hard on the skin, and a whole beauty industry can survive manufacturing products for sun tan, sun burn, prickly heat, sweat and so on. But winter is no less. It can cause long term damage to skin in the absence of proper prevention and care.

Winter and skin don’t hit it off well. The dip in temperature not only dries the skin to flakiness, creating itching and blotches but also dries the lips, nose and heels. It is a noteworthy point that though the sun is not shining in all its strength during the winter, its effect remains through the ultraviolet rays it emits. Cold air that feels good on the skin actually dehydrates it, making the skin irritable and dry.

There are numerous ways to get a grip of the situation, but these are by far the best. The results are verified and lasting.

Water

We normally do not feel thirsty for water during the cold weather But keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water is the best way to retain great looking skin during winter (and otherwise too).  The loss of moisture from the surface of the skin gets replenished by the regular intake of water, while detoxifying the internal system.  That way, it’s a double-dynamite.

Who doesn’t enjoy a hot bath on a winter morning?  The trouble with a hot bath is that it dries the skin further, increasing the damage caused by the cold.  On the alternate, a warm bath with gentle moisturizing soap is a real rejuvenator.

Cool water can be used to wash the lips to provide relief from chaps and cracks, followed by a dab of Lanolin, VitaminE-rich chap-stick or petroleum jelly.

A humidifier keeps the air warm and moist enough to hydrate the skin. A dash of essential oil in the humidifier calms the senses as well.

Clothes

Come winter and we think wool.  Wool can irritate an already inflamed skin and cause itching.  Cotton clothes do well for the skin and the body.  After a shower, pat dry to help the skin retain and absorb moisture.  A vigorous towel rub strips the skin of its natural oils.   Socks protect the feet, especially the heels, from drying out and developing cracks.  Apply lanolin, petroleum jelly or crack-cream before wearing socks.

Immunity

Nothing beats a healthy body, fortified by nutritious food, lots of water, exercise and fitness, meditation and good sleep.  Immunity helps the body bounce back and heal fast.  Immunity boosters and supplements are available over the counter for those with a rapidly depleting immunity system.

Oils and Creams

Bath oils breathe luxury into a dreary bath-routine and slathering on moisturizing cream (preferably glycerin-based) towards the end of a shower locks precious moisture in the skin.  Just ensure that the water is warm for the bath oils to penetrate, and the body is damp while applying moisturizing cream.Lanolin is an excellent choice as a bath oil and moisturizer.

Exfoliation

Using a gentle exfoliator to remove dead cells makes the skin permeable and helps moisturizer do its work efficiently.  Vigorous exfoliation exposes the skin to the cold and further damage.  Oatmeal is a refreshing, natural and mild exfoliator.

Anti-Fungal / Anti-Bacterial Powder

Dry skin can spur infection in the inner-thigh region for people on the heavier side, causing rashes and redness.  It is necessary to wash the area regularly with warm water, pat dry and dust on anti-fungal / anti-bacterial powder.  Wearing pants separates the thighs and helps the area heal faster.

While there is nothing much that can be done about the weather, and since winter is mostly synonymous with holidays and happiness, the only choice left would be to protect the skin from damage.  There are promising beauty treatments for all kind of skin conditions, but a personal skin care schedule can work wonders.

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ROAD TRAUMA – PREVENTION AND FIRST-AID

Road Trauma

Road Trauma is also called Road Accident. It is one of the chief causes for the rise in mortality rate around the world. There is perennial concern over the steep increase in accidents, forcing governments, organizations and institutions to create awareness on the subject. While that is the main focus and its viability is being brain-stormed across the world on a war-footing, let’s discuss the other aspects of road trauma, like causes, prevention, consequences, safety and first-aid.

Causes and Prevention

Insufficient driving knowledge is the use of an automobile with little or no knowledge of the vehicle, the road or the rules. The following are measures of self-discipline before venturing to drive.

  • Join a reputed driving school that emphasizes on traffic rules and regulations
  • Learn the vehicle and its functions in detail

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Prescription Medication is dangerous because they mess with the mind and alter judgment. The good news is, it is possible to have fun, and be safe. Here’s how.

  • Hire a cab
  • If partying with family, stay sober to drive them back home safely.
  • If partying with friends, choose one who could stay sober.

Racing is for the tracks and is better kept that way. Racing for the thrill of it, to look stylish or to reach on time has written many unfortunate stories. Avoid being the protagonist with these simple tips.

  • Sounds cliché, but leave a little before usual time – it’s better to expect some traffic and not have it, than be over-confident and get irritable.
  • Space out meetings, providing for sufficient driving time to reach venues.
  • Steer clear of commitments that require physical presence within unreasonably limited time-frames.
  • Enroll with a real track or identify a playground with no people, to practice racing. After all, what is life for?

Disobedience of safety rules is a regular sight. It is common to see people travel without seatbelts and helmets, attend mobile calls while driving, jump the traffic line, triple ride, drive in wrong direction on a one-way and jay-walk. Abiding by rules is a show of character – let’s maintain that. For the rest, these are simple and abideable.

  • Know your traffic lights – GREEN is to keep moving,  AMBER – to take a calculated decision – to slow down or move, depending on distance from the stop line and RED just means STOP.
  • Seatbelts and helmets are worn entirely for personal safety
  • If calls must be attended to, move to the side of the road.

Bad roads are an eyesore in any city, especially after the rains.  The rural belt bears the brunt of bad road structure.  But we can help each other.

  • If it’s a well known route, try to communicate the road condition to other drivers as well (the signal is a good place)
  • Drive slow enough to be able to negotiate around or over potholes, and protect the vehicle in the bargain.
  • Use traffic hotlines to inform authorities of bad road conditions.

Poor or excessive lighting affect road visibility to a great extent.  Roads with poor lighting and vehicles with poor or excessive lighting are not conducive to traffic.   What can we do?

  • Don’t use high-beam, unless required
  • Slow down considerably on a road with poor or no lighting
  • Stay in your lane, especially when an oncoming vehicle is on high-beam
  • Inform authorities about poor road lighting

Road Trauma and its aftermath

An accident site is mostly surrounded by helpless onlookers. The immediate response is the urge to instantly upload it on social media, without showing any compassion to help.  Till very recently, the fear of involvement resulting in police cases and lengthy legal proceedings contributed to death by accidents.  But what happens to all those who fatefully were at the wrong place at the wrong time?

  • Loss of life, limb and property
  • Inability to function normally thereafter
  • Loss of income to dependent family
  • Hospitalization and trauma
  • Inconvenience to flowing traffic

First-Aid

First-Aid takes centre-stage at an accident site. Attending to a victim is not something everyone can or will do.  For those who will, knowing the right thing to do would greatly complement the intention.

  • A first-aid kit is a must in every automobile
  • Contents of a basic first-aid kit are ANTISEPTIC SPRAY OR ANTISEPTIC CREAM, PLASTERS, GAUZE DRESSINGS, SAFETY PINS, DISPOSABLE GLOVES, SCISSORS, TWEEZERS, THERMOMETER, STICKY TAPE, SPLINT, HAND SANITIZER.   The more professional ones have CPR EQUIPMENT, BLANKETS and PAINKILLERS.
  • For cuts, bruises and scrapes, clean the area with water and pat dry.  Apply antiseptic cream or spray, bandage with gauze and secure with a tape.
  • Minor burns should be handled by pouring cold water and applying antiseptic cream.  People with major burns should be covered with a clean sheet and treated at the hospital.
  • Fractures require immobilization to prevent further harm.  Tying the area with a sling or splint keep the area motionless.
  • Nosebleed is one of the most common injuries in road traumas.  Make the person site upright and leaning forward.  Pinch the tip of the nose, and direct breathing through the mouth till the bleeding stops.
  • Sprains also should be immobilized and given an ice compress to avoid swelling.
  • If minute splinters enter the skin, use a clean tweezer to carefully remove it and clean the area with antiseptic spray.

First-aid should be made a mandatory subject at school, imparting different levels of first-aid throughout schooling years.

It is not possible to keep people off the roads. This hammers home the fact that roads have to be made safe. Personal discipline, integrity and concern for the lives of others drive safety values. Let’s learn them, apply them and pass them on.

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10 Hygiene Habits You Should Teach Your Kids

Technology has penetrated every part of our life and lifestyle. Yet, instructing children on hygiene has and will be a personal process, simply because children are spontaneous and lively by nature, and getting the point across to them would have to be on their terms.

Oral Hygiene

Brushing is more a routine than a requirement for kids. They find it boring and time-consuming.  A lot of them swallow the toothpaste and chew the toothbrush during brushing time. Well, that’s what’s being a child. But while they’re at it, devoting a little time and patience showing them how to brush their teeth, clean their tongue and rinse their mouth will benefit them in the future.  If required, explain oral hygiene to them in a way they understand and relate to.

Bath 

Making it compulsory for children to take a shower every day is a habit worth inculcating.  Generally, children love to spend time under the shower without actually having a bath.  It is necessary to give them a bath for the first few years, showing them how to work the lather over themselves, including the underarms and inner thighs, till they get it right.

Odour

Body odour is a problem children face when they do not have a proper shower.  Considering the amount of activity in their daily life, sweat is not only inevitable but also necessary.  Some children get used to the odour and do not know the difference, till they are taught on the use of soap for bath and body- talc for fragrance.

Hair 

Children’s hair is the receptable of dust and dirt due to their active and inquisitive lifestyle.  It also keeps them in constant need of attention where hygiene is concerned.  Head-lice and nits are a menace that comes back despite regular removal.  Making hair-wash a ritual twice a week is highly recommended.  Children should also be taught to use clean combs and hair-brushes, remembering to wash them during a hair-wash.

Hands 

In the last few years, hands-hygiene has been at the forefront, with scores of advertisements and awareness programs on the subject, especially for children.  The hands play a vital role in the lives of children as they seem to inadvertently use their hands for everything they need – including picking up things from the ground, placing their hands on the commode, playing in the sand etc. A stringent set of rules, with goodies for compliance, keep them interested in the hand-washing drill.

Nails

Accumulation of nail-dirt on the hands and feet is the main reason for the spread of disease in children. While it is possible that they frequently wash their hands, nail-dirt just stays put. By monitoring the growth of children’s nails and cutting them regularly we can be sure that their hands are spanking clean every time they are washed.

Wearing Clean Clothes and Shoes

From a child’s perspective, getting out is more important than getting dressed, and it falls to parents to instill a sense of cleanliness and neatness in them.  Training children in the habit of wearing clean, pressed clothes and polished shoes every time they step out, is worth the time and effort, especially in the long run.

Using a Tissue / Handkerchief

Children use their hands as a ready tool for all known activity.  It is common to see children wipe their hands on their clothes after sneezing, coughing or wiping their nose/mouth. Make them carry a handkerchief or a pack of tissues and they are sure to make you proud.

Toilet Habits

Children must be given potty-training at a very young age to accustom them to the habit of relieving themselves within the first two hours of waking up.  Children who are not trained in this manner are irritable, slow and less interested in the activities of the day.  Teaching them to clean up after using the toilet is a task most parents dislike.  Nevertheless, it is imperative.

Food Habits

Kids love to keep munching on snacks and anything other than home-cooked food is the object of their interest. Colour and texture appeal to their tastebuds. According to them, chocolate, chips and burgers qualify as meals, for which they display a phenomenal appetite. It is important to formulate a diet plan and schedule, depending on age, and follow it up through the resistance, while gradually weaning them off binge-eating.

Children who have been trained to be healthy and hygienic also exhibit confidence in demeanor, discipline in routine, propriety in attitude, respect for others and value for their belongings and the environment at large.

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Hand Hygiene for Health Care Workers

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Who are Healthcare workers?

A Health Care Worker (HCW) or Health Care Professional (HCP) is one who provides health care treatment and advice based on formal training and experience. They include Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists and Pharmacists who perform services related to Health Care

Why is Hand Hygiene critical for HCWs?

Hand Hygiene is especially important for HCWs because poor hand hygiene by HCW can lead to Health Care Associated Infection (HCAI), which is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. 

HCAI can lead to

  1. Prolonged hospital stay
  2. Long term disability
  3. Increased resistance of microorganisms to antimicrobials
  4. Additional financial burdens
  5. More  deaths
  6. High costs for the health systems
  7. Emotional stress for patients and their families.

Prevalence of HCAI
In Developed Countries In Developing Countries
USA – 4.5% BRAZIL – 14.1%
U.K  & IRELAND – 7.6% MALAYSIYA – 13.9%
FRANCE – 6.7% THAILAND – 7.9%
ITALY – 4.6% MOROCCO – 17.8%
SWITZERLAND -10.1% TANZANIA – 17.8%

As per studies HCAI affects 5–15% of hospitalized patients and 9–37% patients admitted in ICUs.

Causes for HCAI

Transmission of HCAI takes place through direct and indirect contact, droplets, air and any common medium. However, the most common method of transmission of HCAI is by way of the hands of HCWs,

through the below process:

1. Organisms which are present on one patient’s skin or surroundings, can be transferred to the hands of HCWs thus contaminating their hand

2. Many of these organisms are capable of surviving for several minutes on HCWs’ hands

3. When the HCW touches other patients or even objects that can be touched by others (such as door handles) with contaminated hands, the germ can pass on to others.


Hand Hygiene for HCWs

Practicing hand hygiene is thus a simple yet effective way to prevent HCAI. Hand Hygiene means cleaning hands by using soap and water or antiseptic hand rub (i.e. alcohol-based hand sanitizer including foam or gel). Cleaning hands with appropriate antiseptic agent can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics. This can drastically reduce the risk of HCAI.

Two Methods for Hand Hygiene

1. Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

2. Washing with Soap and Water

Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the most effective in reducing the number of germs on the hands of healthcare providers and are preferred in most clinical situations.

When to Use an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

  1. Immediately before touching a patient
  2. Before placing or handling invasive medical devices, e.g. urinary catheters
  3. Before moving from work on a soiled body site to a clean body site on the same patient
  4. After touching a patient 
  5. After contact with blood, body fluids or contaminated surfaces
  6. Immediately after glove removal

Washing with Soap and Water

Wash your hands with soap and water during Routine Patient Care, whenever they are visibly dirty, before eating, and after using the restroom.

When to Wash with Soap and Water

  1. When hands are visibly soiled
  2. After caring for a person with known or suspected infectious diarrhea
  3. After known or suspected exposure to spores

Hand hygiene is the most effective measure for reducing the transmission of microorganisms and HCAI both in the society and in the healthcare setting. As the techniques involved in hand hygiene are simple, it is feasible to ensure a high degree of compliance.

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Amino Acids Supplementation for Faster Recovery from Infections & Injuries

Injuries and Infections lead to an increased nitrogen loss from the body. The net loss of nitrogen from the body is termed as Negative Nitrogen Balance. The net nitrogen lost reflects the balance between protein synthesis and protein breakdown, which are simultaneously occurring in all tissues of the body.

Body protein represents an indispensable structural and functional element of the body. Depletion of this lean body mass leads to immunosuppression, poor wound healing, weight loss, decreased strength and activity, and delayed recovery.

Infections and Injuries result in hypermetabolism and a negative nitrogen balance which is modulated by hormones, cytokines and other pro-inflammatory mediators, and is compounded by a reduced food intake. Higher the severity of the infection or injury, greater is the nitrogen loss.

Protein loss due to the catabolism induced by infection should be compensated through additional protein intake particularly during recovery. As the capacity to retain protein is enhanced in the recovery phase of infection, increased intake of protein during this time will reverse loss of lean body mass, build immunity and reduce recovery time.

Dietary proteins are broken down by proteolytic enzymes in the body into simpler molecules called amino acids which are then utilized by the body for various structural and functional roles. The body needs 20 different amino acids for normal functioning. Out of these, 9 are essential amino acids, named so as they cannot be synthesized by the body, and must necessarily be obtained through diet.

Each essential amino acid has a critical role to play in restoring nitrogen balance, building lean body mass, boosting immunity and accelerating recovery. Supplementation of essential amino acids during the recovery phase after infections, injuries and surgeries is recommended to restore nitrogen balance, reverse weight loss, build immunity and accelerate recovery.