How to Deal With Odor in Wounds

Odor caused by wounds can be distressing for both the patient and the caregiver who must care for them. Odor can cause the patient to feel embarrassed or ashamed, and may lead them to withdraw from their daily civilities. Patients with foul-smelling wounds are often driven to cover up the odor using various methods which may actually impede wound healing, such as the application of scented creams or too-frequent bathing. In short, malodorous wounds can have a significant impact on the patient’s life, causing depression and poor self-esteem.

For the caregiver charged with caring for the wound, the task can be an unpleasant one. Wounds may be so foul-smelling that the caregiver becomes ill, making it difficult for the caregiver to perform the arduous task of caring for these wounds. Those who have cared for such wounds know how difficult this can be.

So what can be done to address the issue of foul-smelling wounds? As it turns out, the problem is not a hopeless one.

 

What causes wound odor?

The breakdown of tissue through tissue death and necrosis is a common cause of wound odor. Certain bacteria that colonize wounds and release compounds can also cause odor. For example, Pseudomonas has a characteristic odor, as does Klebsiella. Anaerobes are frequently the culprit of foul odors, and any wound that suddenly becomes foul smelling has likely become colonized with anaerobes.

Many people try to manage odor using deodorizers, ventilation and charcoal dressings, but generally find these methods ineffective.

How can wound odor be combated?

The most important first step in combating odor is to ascertain the cause, or source, of the odor. The pathogen should be identified where possible. Antimicrobial wound cleansers may be used, but should contain safe ingredients. The wound should be debrided if needed. The following products may be useful:

  • products containing silver
  • products containing polyhexamethylene biguanide
  • for systemic infections, topical and systemic antibiotics may be used
  • odor-control dressings, like those containing charcoal, may be used to absorb odor molecules, preventing odor from escaping the dressing
  • Cyclodextrins are naturally occurring lipids which absorb odor, and work best in a humid environment, making them ideal for heavily exudating wounds
  • Metronidazole has also been used to fight odor; when used topically it can eradicate the anaerobes that cause odor. It is easy and convenient, and using Metronidazole topically does not cause the same side effects as using the drug orally can. Several studies have found topical Metronidazole to be an effective odor destroyer.

The problem of wound odor can be life-altering for the patient who lives with constant foul odor, and can be unpleasant for the caregiver as well. Every effort should be made to identify the cause of the odor. There are several products that may be effective in combating odor.

 

If you are interested in learning more about wound care, or wish to become certified as a wound care specialist, visit us online at woundeducators.com to explore your options.

Diabetic Diet Facts

Initially diabetes management and control may involve dietary changes alone. Diet is a vital component in your overall diabetes control program and to keep blood sugar levels under control, a diabetic diet strikes a balance among the carbohydrates, fats, and protein you eat, when you control your body functions through exercise and by using a diabetic diet, your pain and agony seems to diminish.

A diabetic diet must be a well-balanced meal plan tailored to your individual needs, tastes, activity level and life style, and its goal is to provide all the calories and nutrients the diabetic needs while keeping blood sugars as close to normal as possible. Diabetes is not a life sentence to a rigid and restrictive menu plan.

The diabetic diet basically involves limiting your carbohydrate intake in order to control your glucose levels. The recommended carbohydrate content of diabetic diet is 60%, fat content 30-35%. Another important characteristic of a diabetic diet is to eat regularly, at the same times each day, and to eat a consistent amount of calories each day; the diabetic diet is not only for diabetics: it is an excellent, balanced alternative for anyone.

Since the diabetic diet is one which is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, look for cookbooks that emphasize low-fat cooking, the diabetic diet is a bit stricter and calls for avoiding grains and fruit but you have about 30g of carbs daily. The ideal diabetic diet is also good for cholesterol with its emphasis on low fat, high complex carbohydrate and high fiber.

The most important aspect of the diabetic diet is meal planning, your meal plan should be adjusted to take into account carbs sugars and fat in the diabetic food, the general principle is to control body fat means less sensitivity to Insulin, which keeps the blood sugar level in check.

Carbohydrate Counting offers suggestions and tips about how to eat carbohydrates while maintaining your insulin needs and diabetes control, by following a consistent diet control, a diabetic patient ought to be able to maintain good health in general, but you should remember that an effective control of diabetes requires an integrated approach which also includes exercise, weight control and a good diabetic diet.

When you have diabetes, your medications are your best friends, as they will help you keep your condition under control, remember that one of the main goals for a diabetic diet is to lower your weight and maintain it, to put it in simplified words, diabetic diet is a balanced healthy diet plan which is vital for Diabetes treatment.

The diabetic diet is aimed at helping to control blood sugar levels, the less fluctuation, especially rapid release of glucose into the blood, the better, an adherence to a diabetic diet is an important aspect of controlling elevated blood sugar in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Dangers of Taking God For Granted

Have you ever found yourself taking someone or something for granted? Were there consequences or did you get it corrected before it became a serious problem? 

In Luke 17:11-37, Jesus is traveling towards Jerusalem from the border between Galilee and Samaria. He will spend some time here and in Perea before heading to Jerusalem for the Passover and His pending crucifixion. As He enters a small village in His travels, He is approached by ten lepers who ask Him to heal them. There is a lesson in this encounter for us about the dangers of taking God for granted. 

 

Ten Healed, One Grateful – Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus is about to enter a village on the border between Samaria and Galilee, ten men who have leprosy, a contagious, degenerating and deadly skin disease, approach Him and ask to be healed. Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priest who can confirm that they are healed and allow them to again worship in the local synagogue. As they go to do as they were told, they are immediately healed. One of them, who is not a Jew, turns back and thanks Jesus. The others (Jews) take Him for granted. Jesus tells the grateful Samaritan that his faith has saved him.

 

How much do we go to church and do our religious routine without considering what God has done in our lives? In what ways have you taken God for granted? Of course, God wants us to call on Him when we need healing or help, but shouldn’t we also notice the beautiful things He has created and praise Him? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to praise God for all of the good things that have happened in your life? 

 

The Kingdom of God Luke 17:20-24

Jesus has quite a crowd traveling with Him at this time, plus the people from the village. A Pharisee asks Him when the Kingdom of God will come. Jesus advises him that the Kingdom of God is not like an earthly Kingdom, but is one that resides in the heart of all who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It is internal and personal. 

 

We get into all sorts of speculation about the second coming, Kingdom of God and Jesus reigning on earth. What Jesus is saying here is that He reigns NOW (not in some future event). His Kingdom is within all who believe in Him. That is why no government can overcome or suppress it. The Kingdom of Christ is not like the government of the United States or any other country. There is no “capitol city”, no legislature, no place to go or physical person that constitutes the Kingdom of God. It exists inside of and is comprised of all believers. You are a part of the Kingdom of God NOW! Don’t take that for granted!

 

Wages of RejectionLuke 17:25-32

Jesus now warns His disciples that they will not always have Him around. When He is gone, they should not be fooled by people trying to tell them where He is or how to get closer to Him. They will all be wrong. Since His Kingdom is in us, He can be like how a bolt of lightning lights up the entire sky as opposed to being one man in one small location.  

 

This is why I reject most of the stories that I hear about the second coming of Christ. They all mean well and are well studied in their view. They have searched the Scriptures, but too much is being made of some future coming and not enough is being placed on Him living in us.  We need to remember that we are in His Kingdom NOW and you and I need to be ready NOW!

 

Jesus also talks about His being rejected by people (Christians included) who are taking Him for granted. We become complacent and routine and don’t always think about what we are doing or why we are doing it. Some will become so careless as to step outside of God’s grace. They will take their salvation so much for granted that they return to their life of sin while still attending church and thinking that they are Christians.

 

You and I should constantly remind ourselves of who God and Jesus are, what they have done to win our love.  We should also examine our behaviors to make sure that we are taking His salvation and our relationship with Him seriously and not get careless about fighting temptation. It is the giving in to temptation out of carelessness that will destroy us. 

 

You Must Lose to Win Luke 17:33-37

Jesus makes one more comment that we want to look at. The only way we can attain eternal life is to give up trying to keep this life. We can’t earn our way to heaven. We can’t be good enough to get God’s favor. We must surrender and trust God’s grace and promises to do what He says He will do. One person will trust God and be taken with Him. The other will try to earn their way to Heaven and be left behind (for Hell).

 

Often times, the only way we can get our way is to quit trying to get our way. This is true in love. You can’t make another person love you. You can only let them go and if they choose to love you, then you are loved. If they choose not to love you, then there is nothing you can do to make them change their minds. With God – salvation is on His terms, not ours. We can’t win our way to heaven unless we lose our power to do it ourselves. God bless you and have a great week!

The Stages of Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is one of the most prevalent and dangerous eating disorders known to man. It is known to many in that it is characterized by the sufferer refusing to eat and losing extreme amounts of weight until they often resemble nothing more than a skin covered skeleton which can often lead to death in the most severe cases.

The stages of anorexia can be different for different people but they all follow a similar pattern in that the symptoms and effects worsened as time progresses. Anorexia nervosa is a treatable disorder, but there is no known specific cure. It is important to note the different stages listed below and their characteristics so that you can begin to identify if you or someone you know is suffering from this condition. In either case, seek treatment immediately so that the condition does not worsen.

Stage One of anorexia may simply resemble someone deciding to take part in a rigorous exercise program. They may exercise every day but simply appear as a fitness conscious individual.

Stage Two occurs when the individual begins obsessing not only about exercise, but food as well. This can be constantly talking about what they had to eat or how long it’s been since they had their last meal.

Stage Three is often characterized by the sufferer obsessing about trying to eat the fewest calories possible in order to still have energy to exercise and lose additional weight. This may be weeks or months and actually having the disorder and physical characteristics such as looking gaunt or pale or having circles below the eyes may exist.

Stage Four may be recognized as the person begins obsessing about their appearance in the mirror in a very public way. This may be pulling up their shirt to see how many of the ribs they can visibly count, or looking at their back to see if their spine or other bones are showing. Many people work to keep this condition private so friends and family may never witnessed this personally.

Stage Five shows just how much of a downward spiral can occur because of this harmful disorder. As anorexia progresses, one of the symptoms is that the sufferer will begin to gauge how many days they can go without eating before they faint. At this stage, fainting is common. Friends and family should certainly take notice and begin to seek treatment for this individual immediately. At this stage, the disorder has truly taken hold and the ones suffering may be completely helpless to do anything about it.

Stage Six and beyond simply sees the downward spiral continue, often at a rapid pace. Fainting spells, bloody noses, incredibly thin physiques, and extreme lack of energy are common characteristics of later stage anorexia.

Please keep in mind that the above stages are guidelines and indicative of many, but not all sufferers of anorexia. The most important thing to look for is long-term weight loss coupled with obsessive behaviors about exercise and food. It is extremely important that if you think you or someone you love may be suffering, seek treatment immediately. Anorexia kills, don’t let this happen to you or anyone you know.

Facts About Childhood Obesity In America

The percentage of obese or overweight children in America has roughly doubled between 1971 and 2000. The prevalence of overweight and obese children has increased from 15% in 1971 to more than 30% in 2000.

Health problems increase with obesity on a rise. Obesity among children is a health crisis in the United States and a terrifying reality. Some experts claim that if something is not done to stop childhood obesity immediately we will witness a whole generation becoming twice as heavy as its parents and grandparents were, with this gain of weight other health risks are becoming more and more evident and have a huge effect on larger groups.

So what should we as parents do?

It would be unrealistic to think of eliminating television from your child’s life, though this is a popular concept. There are many programs on television these days that are beneficial to your child’s development. According to many reports watching television is the most engaging activity, except sleeping, for many kids. Although, as a result, kids who spend more time watching television also eat more of the low-nutrient and calorie-dense foods.

Any outdoor activity that is fun will teach a young child to love and appreciate what lies outside the 40″ Sony television set. It has also been found that children who watch more than five hours of television a day are almost five times more likely to be overweight than children who watch two hours or less – with excessive TV viewing considered to contribute to 60 percent of the risk of obesity in children.

Parents can set a good example by providing healthy meals and not eating junk food themselves, but it’s important to allow some treats, as being over strict is likely to cause friction and could be counterproductive.

It is clear that any long-term solution for obese or overweight children in America must be fought on four major fronts: physical activity, sedentary behavior, socioeconomic status, and eating habits. This is easier said than done; especially when emotional eating or an unobserved food addiction may fuel adverse eating habits.

Children’s lifestyles are generally a reflection of those who raise them so parents need to figure heavily in any strategies put forward to improve the health and well being of the next generation.

Oxalic Acid – The Cure For Cancer

Daily, certain foods and beverages are revealed as great antioxidants. For example: carrots, spinach, broccoli, tea, nuts, berries, garlic, onions, grapes, red wine, herbs, spices, and chocolate are foods known to be great antioxidants. We hear about flavonoids and vitamins. It is estimated there are 4,000 identified flavonoids. Isolating each one and determining what effect each, or a combination of each, has on a specific disease is an endless pursuit without an answer. However, common sense and research reveals there is one common denominator in the foods known as great antioxidants. They are all high in oxalic acid.

Are you aware that every mammal on earth has oxalic acid as a normal blood value? Ask any doctor or researcher what its purpose is and the best answer they will give you is that it aides in bowel movement. So here we are with a surprisingly high quantity of oxalic acid running through our blood with no real purpose?

There isn’t a place on earth that a plant containing oxalic acid can’t be found. Weeds are the most tenacious of all plants and are rich in oxalic acid. This is no accidental occurrence. There is purpose.

Research oxalic acid and you’ll discover it’s a deadly poison. So, we have a deadly poison in all the foods that are great antioxidants. Huh? Stop and simply think. Rather than isolating the smallest compounds within foods and researching each, analyze each food known to be a great antioxidant and find the common compound in each. This is exactly what has been done by an amazing 85 year old warrior of a man deep in the hills of Arkansas. This man is Colonel Joe Hart.

When is the last time you knew of anyone being granted a patent for anything natural? That folks, never happens. It has for Colonel Joe. He has been granted three (3) Patents for the Application of oxalic acid for treatment of cancer, bacterial and viral infections, and vascular diseases. Why isn’t the medical community screaming its merits? I wonder if the fear that this would eliminate a trillion dollar yearly health industry have anything to do with it? Talk about an answer to our nation’s health care crisis.

Colonel Joe discovered the benefits of oxalic acid during 1992. Once oxalic acid was identified as the acid which kills cancer cells without harming normal cells, he was then able to identify what foods and environmental factors inhibited the therapeutic value of oxalic acid. His approach to eliminating disease by ingesting high oxalic acid foods, has resulted in cures of all kinds of cancer and disease. Do you need to pitch a tent in your backyard and live by a campfire? No. Is this going to cost a fortune? No. Do you need to travel to Mexico? No. Is the information freely given? Yes.

There is always a sacrifice for gain. Prepare to give up milk and cheese, citric acid (an additive found in far too many processed and canned goods), red meat, cell phones, microwaves, and alcohol. If this proves too difficult, you can always go in for traditional surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy only to find that the cancer comes back eventually or you die. You do know doctor’s never tell you you’re cured……you’re in remission. “Cure” is not in their vocabulary.

Ask your doctor the next time you or someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer what caused it. They don’t know. The answer is low levels of oxalic acid in your blood. Having adequate levels of oxalic acid in your blood eliminates all abnormal cells effectively with no harmful side effects. Oxalic acid is God’s Poison With Purpose.

If you seriously look into every alternative cancer cure that shows some success, you will find the foods, herbs, grasses, and teas they suggest all contain high amounts of oxalic acid. They simply don’t know why their protocols sometimes work. Connect the dots people and stop throwing your money away.

Ask the American Cancer Society about tests they conducted over 50 years ago using oxalic acid in the treatment of cancer in experimental mice. The papers and evidence of positive results exist; however, they will tell you they know nothing about it.

Simply go to the grocery store, eat your chocolate, vegetables, fish, dark chicken, tea and wine. Toss out the microwave and cell phone. Say “No” to fast foods and truly enjoy eating your way to excellent health.

8 Deadly Mistakes That Can Disable Your SSDI Claim and 6 Actions That May Help You Win!

Applying for and obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) can be a frustrating and confusing process. Did you know that almost 70% of claims are denied initially. That is staggering. While there is no surefire way to guarantee you will get SSDI benefits, this article outlines some of the common mistakes Louisiana SSDI claimants make. Also included are a few actions that you can take during the process to help give your social security disability claim the best opportunity for approval.

Deadly Mistake No. 1 – You Take “NO” For An Answer.

The truth is that close to 70% of initial social security disability applications are denied. If you take “NO” or “DENIED” for your answer, you miss out on your right and ability to appeal your denial. Statistically, social security disability claimants do much better on appeals to an administrative law judge (and then the court) than they do to the initial review. You have to be persistent, patient, and willing to be told no, or denied, and then move to the next step.

Action No. 1 – Appeal Every Denial and Reapply If Necessary.

Don’t take NO. If you believe that your medical records and functional limitations qualify you for disability, don’t give up. Keep fighting by appealing the denials until you can no longer appeal. If you miss an appeal, or your limitations worsen after you have reached a final decision on a prior claim, apply again.

Deadly Mistake No. 2 – You File An Incomplete Disability Application.

Many social security disability claimants fail to provide all of the necessary information or documentation social security needs to properly review your file. Sometimes, it is not your fault, but the fault of your doctor or medical facility. But either way, the result is the same, failing to provide all necessary information and records, and make sure your doctor has done so as well, can kill your SSDI claim.

Deadly Mistake No. 3 – You Fail to Disclose All Medical Conditions or Injuries.

Some SSDI claimants will only tell social security about their most obvious medical problem – for example, back pain – but not about other medical issues they may be experiencing, especially mental health problems – such as depression. The fact is that in examining your claim, social security is required to determine how ALL of your medical conditions impact your ability to work. If you don’t tell them about all of your problems (no matter how minor each is), they will evaluate you only on your major issue.

Action No. 2 – Disclose ALL medical conditions and limitations – physical and mental.

Social Security has to determine how all of your medical limitations impact your ability to work in deciding your disability claim. So you need to tell them about all of your problems. Your knee that locks up and hurts for 20-30 minutes every once in while after strenuous activity is as important as your congestive heart failure. Your inability to maintain personal relationships and take direction from supervisors can be as important as your back pain. Tell Social Security about all of your impairments.

Deadly Mistake No. 4 – You Wait Too Long To Appeal Your Denial of Disability Benefits.

You have 60-days from the date of your denial to appeal to the next step of the process. This is true with each respective denial. Missing the 60-day window to appeal can and often does spell the end of your disability claim. Now you can reapply, but you have to go back to the beginning of the line.

Action No. 3 – Appeal Within 60-days.

Social Security laws and regulations provide you 60-days from the date you receive a denial to appeal. In determining what day you received the denial letter, Social Security rules assume that you received it 5-days after it was dated. To make life easier, if you believe the denial was in error appeal as soon as you can after receipt of the letter. You can appeal online at http://www.ssa.gov or by calling your local social security office. You don’t want your valid disability claim to be denied simply because you failed to file your appeal within 60-days.

Deadly Mistake No. 5 – You Over Exaggerate Your Limitations or Speak in Absolutes.

Some SSDI claimants will tell social security – “I can’t sit” or “I can’t walk”. For most disability claimants, this is simply not true. You will be able to sit for some period of time or walk some distance. (I do admit that there are a few people where these absolutes are true, but not for most.) When you speak in such terms, the examiner gets a bad impression of you because this is simply not true in the large majority of cases. What happens when the examiner gets a bad impression of you and your credibility is questioned? You get denied. Be truthful.

Action No. 4 – Be Truthful And Tell Social Security The Details.

You can never go wrong with the truth. The truth is important to your Social Security Disability Claim. While you do not want to over exaggerate your limitations by speaking in absolutes, you also do not want to under report your abilities. Good responses are those that include details such as “I can hold a gallon of milk and walk with it for 10 feet before I need to put it down and rest,” or “I walk to my mailbox to collect my mail. It is about 30 feet. Before I walk back, I need to rest for a few minutes at the mailbox to regain my strength.” Responses such as these that accurately describe your true limitations and provide concrete details allow an examiner to effectively evaluate your limitations. You should also remember that these examiners have heard it all and hear it all. They are very adept at spotting exaggerations and untruths. If they sense that with you, you will lose credibility, which is important.

Deadly Mistake No. 6 – You Approach the SSDI Process Without Understanding It.

For most people, the only experience you will ever have with applying for disability benefits is when you have to do it for yourself. Do you know exactly what you are trying to prove? Many people don’t. Often, disability claimants think all they have to prove is that they have some type of medical condition and they should win. This is not correct. You need to know what you need to do and prove in order to do it and prove it. Otherwise, you could be a ship sailing to an unknown harbor without a map.

Action No. 5 – Read Informational Sources to Help You Understand The Process.

I believe it is important for social security disability claimants to know something about the process the government uses to determine whether or not you will qualify for disability benefits. That’s one of the reasons why I write articles, blog, and provide information to disability applicants – it is a complicated process. You can find valuable information across the internet and especially on SSA.gov (the Social Security Administration’s homepage). These resources can help you better appreciate the process, especially if you are determined to fight for your benefits alone.

Deadly Mistake No. 7 – Failing to Disclose Your Entire Work History and Vaguely Describing Your Duties.

Sure, you have been doing the same job for the last 7 years, and before that you worked for another company for 5 years. You remember those. But what about in between those two jobs, when you worked with your brother-in-law for 2 weeks and was paid. Social Security will know about every job you had where you paid taxes – no matter how much. You need to think about exactly what jobs you had and what you were required to do in each job and accurately report that to Social Security. This again will go to your credibility if you fail to do so.

A second part to this mistake is not accurately describing your duties. You may tell social security you drive as part of your job. But for how long at one time? How often each week? These details can have a major impact on the disability determination. Leaving out these details can be deadly to your disability claim.

Deadly Mistake No. 8 – Failing to Get A Disability Attorney To Help You.

Disability attorneys are familiar with social security’s complex rules and regulations. They know what medical records are necessary to prove up your diagnosis and know the questions to ask your doctor to help prove your limitations. Do you? They know what role a vocational expert will play during your hearing. Have you heard of a vocational expert? Do you understand what they are trying to do? I am not saying that you cannot win a disability case without an attorney (actually, many people have), or that an attorney guarantees you a win (even the best football teams lose during any given season), but having a well prepared attorney who knows the game plan of the opposition can put you in a better position to find success.

Action No. 6 – Hire A Disability Benefits Attorney.

This may sound self-serving, but doing so can help you present your disability claim in the best possible manner to social security. You wouldn’t treat your own broken arm although you have seen a doctor wrap it in plaster of Paris and put it in a sling. A doctor can make sure that it is set properly and knows precisely how long the arm needs to remain immobilized. Similarly, with a Social Security disability attorney, the attorney knows and understands the process as well as certain strategic moves that can bolster you chances for success.

By avoiding these deadly mistakes that can disable your disability claim and taking the actions that could help, you will give yourself the best opportunity to get the SSDI benefits you need to survive.

Allergic Skin Rashes – 4 Varieties Exposed

Allergic reactions can come in many forms. There is the sneezing with the itchy, watery eyes. Someone can have trouble breathing where their asthma is triggered by a substance in the air. There are many different ways someone can suffer from an allergy. Skin rashes are not rare when it comes to allergic reactions. They can come from all sorts of triggers from food to clothing to laundry detergent. Even going for a stroll in the park, you can walk into something that will give you an allergic skin rash. The key is knowing the difference and taking care of the problem as soon as it happens.

There are different types of skin rashes that can occur from allergies.

1. Atopic dermatitis: Another name for this is eczema. This allergic skin rash has certain characteristics such as dry, itchy skin. It can be aggravated by clothing, laundry detergent, soaps or stress. Many times it is found in families that have a history of asthma or hay fever. The first way to treat eczema is through proper skin care. Avoid soaps with scents or creams in them. Avoid certain clothing such as wool that can aggravate it. Use warm water when bathing and avoid body lotions with extra ingredients.

2. Contact dermatitis: This is a skin rash that is caused by coming in contact with a substance that causes a rash on the skin. Another way to get contact dermatitis is by doing that something irritates the skin. Contact dermatitis most commonly happens when a person comes in contact with poison ivy, poison oak or fake jewelry, to name a few, but these are not the only things that can cause it. Contact dermatitis only affects the parts of the skin that were touched. Treatments usually come in the form of topical creams or lotions.

3. Allergic drug rash: Allergic skin rashes can be caused by having a reaction to medicine. People might have an allergic reaction to drugs and a skin rash will break out. Unfortunately, there is no specific way to test that the skin rash is from an allergy to the medicine. The doctor might recommend the patient stop taking the drugs to see the rash’s course of action.

4. Hives: Anyone who has had hives knows this is terrible allergy. It’s a skin rash that can happen on any part of the body. Hives can be caused through other means though and not just an allergy. It can be induced by stress or outside factors. There is no medicine or cream for hives. The itchy, red bumps need to just their course.

Not all skin rashes are allergies. Skin rashes can be caused by other medical conditions. Never self diagnose. Always go to a doctor or a dermatologist to learn the nature of the skin rash. If it does turn out to be an allergic skin rash, visit an allergist and run tests to find out what you are allergic to. This way you can avoid these substances and stop scratching so much.

What is Dermatitis and Eczema and How to Get Rid of Them

What is Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is the skin’s reaction to chemicals or environmental elements. It will cause our skin to become irritated and inflamed, itchy and red, dry and flaky.

When certain substances contact the skin and causes an allergic reaction, the reaction is called “contact dermatitis”.

Examples of such substances causing contact dermatitis are deodorants, bra closures, chemicals, clothing dyes, cosmetics, detergents, hair coloring, hair perm solutions, leather processing chemicals, nickel in jewelry, perfumes and fragrances, poison ivy, solvents, wrist watches and zippers.

How to get rid of Dermatitis

1. Eliminate or minimize exposure of whatever causes the problem as much as possible.

Many cases of dermatitis improve after bathing the skin in seaweed (also known as “algae” or “sea moss”).

2. Sea salt has a healing effect to the skin. Seaweed can help to heal skin problems through its detoxification and balancing action as well as by re-mineralizing the skin with high concentrations of trace minerals.

3. Soak in an aromatherapy bath that consists of aromatherapy herbal oils using the formulation (Dead Sea Salt, Juniper, Dandelion, Burdock, Lavender, Lemongrass and Cedar Leaf) in your Bath.

4. Add to a rub of warm water. Soak for 20 minutes twice weekly. This blend of essentials oils can also be used for skin rashes, irritation, insects’ bites, chicken pox, measles and dry skin.

What is Eczema?

Eczema appears as dry patches of skin with cracking, crusting, redness and swelling, often with weeping sores or watery blisters.

The skin becomes hot, inflamed and itchy. Stress, cleaning compounds, colognes, cosmetics, detergents, food allergies, household chemicals, soaps and synthetic perfumes can cause or aggravate eczema.

How to get rid of Eczema

1. Minimize stress and avoid fragrant cosmetics, synthetic perfumes, and harsh chemicals.

2. Applied Borage oil externally and internally to eases symptoms of eczema

3. Soak in an aromatherapy bath that consists of aromatherapy herbal oils using the formulation (Dead Sea Salt, Juniper, Dandelion, Burdock, Lavender, Lemongrass and Cedar Leaf) in your Bath.

4. A blend of jojoba oil and herbal oils also help to treat eczema. Apply a blend of 3/4 jojoba oil with one or more combination of herbal oils such as: eucalyptus oil, aloe vera oil, chamomile oil, clove oil, tea tree oil and Echinacea, to the affected area once or twice daily.

5. Deficiency in any of the B vitamins can also cause dermatitis, and these vitamins should be present in our diet in adequate amounts. Borage oil, vitamin E and, vitamin B6 taken internally have been found to cure infants who have dermatitis and eczema. Vitamin A is also essential for maintaining healthy skin tissue. A protein deficiency can cause chronic eczema and also a deficiency of water intake.

Hope this help!

There’s a Snake In The Yard! What to Do (and not do) When You See a Snake

First, don’t kill nonvenomous snakes. Any given area can only support a fixed number of snakes. If you kill the nonvenomous snakes that leaves a food supply that could support a population of venomous snakes.

Remember to stay a safe distance from the snake. Snakes usually strike about 1/2 their body length, but they can strike farther. You also don’t want to trip and fall on the snake.

80% of bites occur when someone tries to catch or kill a snake. The safest thing you can do if you see a snake is to leave it alone. (It’s probably protected by law anyway.)

85% of bites in the United States occur on the hand and forearm. 50% involve a victim under the age of 20. 70% of bites in the United States involve alcohol consumption.

If you have a snake in your yard, either call someone trained in their removal or stand at a safe distance and spray it with a garden hose. Snakes hate that and will leave quickly.

Step on logs rather than over them. Snakes coil beside logs in the “Reinert Posture” and might mistake your leg for a predator or prey.

Watch where you put your hands and feet. Do not reach under boards with your fingers.

Snakes can be handled safely with proper tools and training, but do NOT risk trying to handle venomous snakes if you have not been professionally trained. There are things that no website can teach you about how to handle venomous snakes safely.

You can minimize the appeal of your yard to a snake by 1. cutting the grass, 2. picking up debris, and 3. Controlling rodents. If there is no food or shelter the snake will soon leave for better hunting grounds.

The safest thing to do if you see a snake is to LEAVE IT ALONE. Most bites occur when someone is attempting to capture or kill a snake.

If you are bitten by a snake, seek immediate medical care from a licensed and experienced physician. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the first aid for snakebite consists of:

“Do remain calm – Remember that there is an excellent chance for survival, and in most cases there is plenty of time.

Do suck and squeeze – as much venom as possible directly from the wound. Venom is protein and can be taken orally with no ill effects.

Do remove jewelry – Swelling can progress rapidly, so rings, watches and bracelets can be a real problem.

Do mark the time – The progress of symptoms (swelling) is the most obvious indicator of the amount of envenomation.

Do keep the stricken limb below the heart.

Do get to a hospital as quickly as possible – Anti-venom serum is the only sure cure for envenomation, and because some people are allergic to horse serum it should only be given in a fully equipped medical facility.

In case of a Coral bite, do pull the snake off immediately – Corals’ fangs are relatively small, and they have to work at getting venom into the wound. Therefore, the faster the snake is removed the less venom is injected.

Do attempt to identify the offending snake – Positive identification in the form of a dead snake is helpful, if convenient, but no time or safety should be wasted since the symptoms will give medical personnel an accurate diagnosis.

Do get a tetanus shot.

Don’t cut the wound – This almost always causes more damage than it’s worth.

Don’t use a tourniquet – This isolates the venom in a small area and causes the digestive enzymes in the venom to concentrate the damage.

Don’t use alcohol orally – it speeds the heart and blood flow and reduces the body’s counter-acting ability.

Don’t use ice – Freezing the stricken limb has been found to be a major factor leading to amputation.”

Remember, snakes have their place in the ecosystem and were around long before we arrived. We are the visitors in their garden. Snakes are quite capable of defending themselves, but are reluctant to do so. If you follow a few common sense rules you can minimize an already very small risk of snakebite during your outdoor adventure.

Five Easy Ways to Get Rid of a Cold Sore

It can be both painful and embarrassing to have a core sore. Unfortunately, once you catch the herpes simplex virus that causes it, there is no way to completely remove it from your system. It is however possible to deal with the sore itself and prevent its spread and further outbreaks.

Take Medication

People with severe cold sores may have little choice but to seek medical attention. If you have a particularly aggressive sore, your doctor will prescribe anti-viral medication to control it. Some analgesics or pain relievers may also be recommended to help you bear the irritation of a severe sore. Some individuals though may have issues about taking man-made medication and prefer to consider natural options instead.

Use Natural Remedies and Supplements

Natural remedies are often an option if a sore is not so bad. Some of the recommended natural solutions are lemon balm, tea tree oil, aloe vera and coconut oil. Some studies have revealed that these natural herbs and extracts have anti viral properties. Their nutrient content can also help soothe and nourish the infected portion of the skin for faster healing.

The issue with natural solutions though is that there are many different ways of using them. In other words, there is no standard guide that will indicate the amount and schedule for application. This is why it may take some time before you are able to find a natural remedy that will work well for you.

Maintain a Healthy Diet Everyday

A poor immune system is one of the reasons for the core sore virus to awaken and persist. You therefore have to find ways and means to ensure that your body can fight against this infection before it gets too out of hand. One of the best natural ways to do that is to keep a healthy diet that is rich in essential nutrients. In other words, your diet should have portions of vegetables, lean meat and complex carbohydrates. Do remember though that there are some foods that you may have to avoid. Foods that are salty or acidic may make your problem worse.

Keep Your Sore Clean and Dry

Cold sores heal faster if they are kept clean and dry. You can clean your sore by using a warm damp washcloth and soap. After cleaning your sore, pat it dry. Aside from touching it with a washcloth however, cold sores must not be pricked or rubbed. Doing so may make the sores worse and may even spread the infection to other areas of the face.

Don’t Let it Get Triggered

You should do more than watch over your food choices. Cold sores can also be triggered by stress. If you already have a sore and you are under a lot of stress, it may take some time for your sore to heal. If you want it to disappear quickly, you should make sure that you are able to manage the stressful factors in your professional and personal life. You may simply need a long good night’s sleep or a few days off from your daily responsibilities.

A core sore can be pretty nasty. There is no need for you to endure for very long though. There is always a way for you to get rid of your cold sore.

Fruit Basket – Gifts of Oranges Can Help Shingles Disappear in Days

Fruit basket gifts of oranges given to those who suffer with shingles can reduce the impact of blisters and scars over their bodies. Shingles, a virus, also known as the Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), causes chicken pox. This virus can lie dormant in your body for years without causing any problems. But, in situations when you are heavily stressed and exhausted it can attack your body cells. When you are under attack you will feel pain on your body and that can last for a day before blisters start to appear. However, after the blisters have gone the pain can still persist. The chicken pox virus causes an itchy red rash to form on the face and torso and this can spread to other parts of the body as well.

When I was a child, the rest of my family had chicken pox. I was spared because I was away from home most of time attending school. I only came home to sleep at nights and since my room was away from my other brothers and sisters, I had little contact with them.

Years later, after I was married, my son had an attack of the chicken pox when he was 5 years old. I eventually had an attack of chicken pox too since I was home with him performing fatherly duties. I developed burning itching pains all over my body coupled with a strong fever that had me bed ridden for a few days. Within a week, my burning sensations and fever were gone but my body started to experience strange tingling sensations in localized areas of my body.

This tingling effect would not go away until a Financial Director colleague asked why I was away from work. I related my problems to him and he told me that I had shingles. He advised me to leave work immediately and buy a gallon of 100% Pure Florida orange Juice. He said that I should drink two glasses of the juice as soon as I got it. He advised me that I should drink 2 glasses every two hours thereafter until the juice was finished. Later, the fruit basket gifts of oranges my brother delivered to my home served me well also.

I knew that I had the chicken pox virus but the strange sensations on my chest area muscles puzzled me. My colleague also told me that chicken pox could kill adults if they were not exposed to the virus as children. I followed his instructions and drank the juice as he directed and by the next morning the tingling sensations were gone. I finished drinking the gallon of orange juice by the next day.

Later, I found out that I had blisters on some parts of my body but these blisters could hardly be noticed. My friend and colleague said that I was lucky because the blisters could have been worse if I had delayed the drinking of the orange juice. From the feedback he gave me I understood that I could have had many more blisters and scars. I was thankful that my skin condition was not bad.

Further research led me to learn that many people who do not act in a timely manner to take the necessary steps for treating chicken pox can have hundreds or even thousands of ugly scars all over their bodies. These scars do not go away. They remain with you for life. I have seen many adults who were attacked by chicken pox have ugly scars all over their faces.

So, if you are attacked by chicken pox get yourself some orange juice and drink plenty of it. I learned that the high content of Vitamin C, coupled with other vitally necessary nutrients in oranges were responsible for eliminating the strange tingling sensations.

There are other recommended natural remedies for shingles. One of these is to eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables regularly to build a healthy immune system. You should also include vitamin-B12 in your diet. An alternative would be to take vitamin supplements as a secondary source. Now is the time to get your fruit basket gifts delivered to your favorite person to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Love in the Times of AIDS

Book Title: LOVE IN THE TIMES OF AIDS

Author: Dr Mark Hunter: An Assistant Professor in Social Science/Geography at the University of Toronto.

Publisher: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press

Reviewer: Bhekisisa Stalin Mncube

AIDS Transmission: HIERARCHY OF UBUFEBE (MULTIPLE SEX PARTNERS) IN SOUTH AFRICA

LOVE in the times of AIDS is a valuable ethnography of Mandeni, a peri-urban town in the northern part of the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The town epitomises the devastation wrought by the aftermaths of HIV/AIDS. According to the 2008 HIV/AIDS prevalence figures, 39% of women tested positive for HIV in KwaZulu-Natal. There is still no discernible change in statistics since then.

The book presents arguments about why AIDS epidemic surfaced so rapidly in South Africa. It combines ethnography and history to illuminate the deep connections between political economy and intimacy – a broader term than sex that extends analysis into fertility, love, marriage, and genital pleasure.

The book lays bare the devastation of families wrought by HIV/AIDS amid disintegrating communities fuelled in part by rising unemployment, poverty and hopelessness. This book is a potent manuscript that offers a glimpse of that twilight zone between courage and fear; love and death; and hope in the mist of hopelessness. The story is profoundly distressing; yet one find solace in its powerful narrative, academic analysis and engaging manner including the author’s personal anecdotes of his stay in Mandeni.

Mark Hunter spent over five years living and working in an informal settlement in Mandeni. As part of his in-depth study: Hunter conducted interviews, surveys, collected love letters, cell phone text messages, oral histories and archival materials. This allowed Hunter to detail the everyday lives and emotions of those infected and affected by the virulent epidemic. In the process he learned IsiZulu language, and developed a deep understanding of its nuances: hence he used more than hundred IsiZulu words to bring to bear the emotion and cultural meaning of the words spoken by his subjects in a manner that offers them dignity while enriching the experience of the reader.

The central argument of the book: AIDS is a social problem that is embedded in uneven development, skewed resource allocation, rapid urbanisation, housing backlogs in emerging towns, apartheid urban design, rising levels unemployment and poverty. Hunter argues that to explain South Africa’s rapid rise in HIV prevalence, we must note that intimacy, especially what he calls the materiality of everyday sex, has become a key juncture between production and social reproduction in the current era of chronic unemployment and capital-led globalisation. In other words, as unemployment has cast a cruel but uneven shadow on the country, certain aspects of intimacy have come to play a more central and material role in the “fleshy, messy and indeterminate stuff of everyday life”. Through Hunter’s study of history and his training as a geographer, he is able to map a link on how first apartheid, and then chronic unemployment have become entangled with the ideas about femininity, masculinity, love and sex that have created an economy of exchange (deadly cocktail) that perpetuates the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

He firmly tells us that the drivers of the epidemic are deeply rooted in the fault lines of the society, and it is these fault lines that need to be tackled. AIDS stands, Hunter suggests, as a symptom of all ills rooted in colonialism and apartheid that have not transformed since the dawn of democracy in 1994. It is an indictment on the new South Africa, 16 years after its birth.

To explain the connection between the political economy and intimacy – what I call: the hierarchy of ubufebe multiple sex partners – Hunter’s study reveals shocking antics of men and women in Mandeni. He tells of classification of multiple lovers – a main boyfriend/girlfriend being known as istraight. The istraight is entitled sometimes to sex (no prior HIV test required) without a condom and that the entitlement extends less to ishende (secret lover) and, or, isidikiselo (secondary lover).

Another fascinating find in Hunter’s field work is a special role of sugar daddies (traditionally men who sleep with younger girls). He describes these girls’ relationship with sugar daddies as more than just “casual” or “secondary”, but providers of material support. One of Hunter’s interviewee explains: When he comes to me he will ask if I am involved. Then I will either tell him that I am single, or that there is someone I am involved with, and that he will be the second one. Then to the third one I won’t say he is the third; I will say that he is number two. In this hierarchy of ubufebe (refers to sexually loose woman; or Isoka lamanyala for a man) each man is linked to specific expenses (e.g., “one each for money, food, and rent” or “ministers of finance, transport, and entertainment). On the other hand some boys can provide sex with men for material rewards. These providers could entirely be different to istraight, ishende and isidikiselo. It is this economy of exchange that enables the historical gender inequalities, apartheid male centred economy, rising women urbanisation, chronic housing shortages as well unemployment to seamlessly fuel the transmission of AIDS. Unless, the book seems to suggest, the South African government tackles the structural economic stagnation, coupled with its gender blind social services delivery – the Abstain, Be faithful and Condomise maxim (ABC) of AIDS will remain a non-starter.

To this end, Love in the times of AIDS offers an outlet for expression, contemplation, and a deep understanding of fault lines of AIDS transmission. It is also a moving obituary of those who succumbed to the virus while the former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki dithered. This book is a blueprint for authorities to understand AIDS beyond the bio-medical approach: AIDS as a social problem. The book is a must read for policy makers, AIDS activists, and all those who care about the future of our country.

REVIEWER’S NOTE: All material facts have been checked by the author.

Bhekisisa Mncube is a freelance/media consultant based in South Africa.

Home Remedies For Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp Psoriasis is one of the most painful and most embarassing diseases to have. There is nothing like the constant itch and the scales that you cannot stop picking at that make you bald over time. The embarassasing trips to the barber shops and the stares from noisey people can make it very uncomforatable to have.

The fact remains, what can you do about it? Scalp psoriasis has no known cure however, there are home remedies for scalp psoriasis that can save you a doctor’s visit and hundreds in creams and lotions that will not work. I bet you didnt know that a prescription scalp psoriasis cream can actually do more harm than good to your head!

I am going to reveal to you a temporary scalp psoriasis treatment that can clear than unsightly flare up within a matter of 6 hours. What you are going to do is wash your hair throughly with organic tea tree oil. After you rinse immediately get some Vicks vaporub and massage in a small amount into the affected area. Slap on a shower cap and keep it on for 4 to 6 hours or you can leave it overnight. Once you wake up your head will be clear from your problem.

This remedy is a homeopathic solution for those who urgently need to get rid of their psoriasis flare up. It was taken out of the guide called Psoriasis Free For Life which is a great help for people who have psoriasis on their scalp of any parts of their bodies, but with long term solutions.

The Development of Old Age and Related Issues

In traditional Chinese and other Asian cultures the aged were highly respected and cared for. The Igabo tribesmen of Eastern Nigeria value dependency in their aged and involve them in care of children and the administration of tribal affairs (Shelton, A. in Kalish R. Uni Michigan 1969).

In Eskimo culture the grandmother was pushed out into the ice-flow to die as soon as she became useless.

Western societies today usually resemble to some degree the Eskimo culture, only the “ice-flows” have names such a “Sunset Vista” and the like. Younger generations no longer assign status to the aged and their abandonment

is always in danger of becoming the social norm.

There has been a tendency to remove the aged from their homes and put them  in custodial care. To some degree the government provides domiciliary care services to prevent or delay this, but the motivation probably has more

to do with expense than humanity.

In Canada and some parts of the USA old people are being utilised as foster-grandparents in child care agencies.

SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS

What is Aging?

Aging: Aging is a natural phenomenon that refers to changes occurring throughout the life span and result in differences in structure and function between the youthful and elder generation.

Gerontology: Gerontology is the study of aging and includes science, psychology and sociology.

Geriatrics: A relatively new field of medicine specialising in the health problems of advanced age.

Social aging: Refers to the social habits and roles of individuals with respect to their culture and society. As social aging increases individual usually experience a decrease in meaningful social interactions.

Biological aging: Refers to the physical changes in the body systems during the later decades of life. It may begin long before the individual  reaches chronological age 65.

Cognitive aging: Refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new information and learn new behaviours and skills.

GENERAL PROBLEMS OF AGING

Eric Erikson (Youth and the life cycle. Children. 7:43-49 Mch/April 1960) developed an “ages and stages” theory of human

development that involved 8 stages after birth each of which involved a basic dichotomy representing best case and worst case outcomes. Below are the dichotomies and their developmental relevance:

Prenatal stage – conception to birth.

1. Infancy. Birth to 2 years – basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.

2. Early childhood, 3 to 4 years – autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.

3. Play age, 5 to 8 years – initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.

4. School age, 9to 12 – industry vs. inferiority. Competence.

5. Adolescence, 13 to 19 – identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.

6. Young adulthood – intimacy vs. isolation. Love.

7. Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.

8. Mature age- Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Wisdom.

This stage of older adulthood, i.e. stage 8, begins about the time of retirement and continues throughout one’s life. Achieving ego integrity  is a sign of maturity while failing to reach this stage is an indication of poor development in prior stages through the life course.

Ego integrity: This means coming to accept one’s whole life and reflecting on it in a positive manner. According to Erikson, achieving

integrity means fully accepting one’ self and coming to terms with death. Accepting responsibility for one’s life and being able to review

the past with satisfaction is essential. The inability to do this leads to despair and the individual will begin to fear death. If a favourable balance is achieved during this stage, then wisdom is developed.

Psychological and personality aspects:

Aging has psychological implications. Next to dying our recognition that we are aging may be one of the most profound shocks we ever receive. Once we pass the invisible line of 65 our years are bench marked for the remainder of the game of life. We are no longer “mature age” we are instead classified as “old”, or “senior citizens”. How we cope with the changes we face and stresses of altered status depends on our basic personality. Here are 3 basic personality types that have been identified. It may be a oversimplification but it makes the point about personality effectively:

a. The autonomous – people who seem to have the resources for self-renewal. They may be dedicated to a goal or idea and committed to continuing productivity. This appears to protect them somewhat even against physiological aging.

b.The adjusted – people who are rigid and lacking in adaptability but are supported by their power, prestige or well structured routine. But if their situation changes drastically they become psychiatric casualties.

c.The anomic. These are people who do not have clear inner values or a protective life vision. Such people have been described as prematurely resigned and they may deteriorate rapidly.

Summary of stresses of old age.

a. Retirement and reduced income. Most people rely on work for self worth, identity and social interaction. Forced retirement can be demoralising.

b. Fear of invalidism and death. The increased probability of falling prey to illness from which there is no recovery is a continual

source of anxiety. When one has a heart attack or stroke the stress becomes much worse.

Some persons face death with equanimity, often psychologically supported by a religion or philosophy. Others may welcome death as an end to suffering or insoluble problems and with little concern for life or human existence. Still others face impending death with suffering of great stress against which they have no ego defenses.

c. Isolation and loneliness. Older people face inevitable loss of loved ones, friends and contemporaries. The loss of a spouse whom one has depended on for companionship and moral support is particularly distressing. Children grow up, marry and become preoccupied or move away. Failing memory, visual and aural impairment may all work to make social interaction difficult. And if this

then leads to a souring of outlook and rigidity of attitude then social interaction becomes further lessened and the individual may not even utilise the avenues for social activity that are still available.

d. Reduction in sexual function and physical attractiveness. Kinsey et al, in their Sexual behaviour in the human male,

(Phil., Saunders, 1948) found that there is a gradual decrease in sexual activity with advancing age and that reasonably gratifying patterns of sexual activity can continue into extreme old age. The aging person also has to adapt to loss of sexual attractiveness in a society which puts extreme emphasis on sexual attractiveness. The adjustment in self image and self concept that are required can be very hard to make.

e. Forces tending to self devaluation. Often the experience of the older generation has little perceived relevance to the problems of the young and the older person becomes deprived of participation in decision making both in occupational and family settings. Many parents are seen as unwanted burdens and their children may secretly wish they would die so they can be free of the burden and experience some financial relief or benefit. Senior citizens may be pushed into the role of being an old person with all this implies in terms of self devaluation.

4 Major Categories of Problems or Needs:

Health.

Housing.

Income maintenance.

Interpersonal relations.

BIOLOGICAL CHANGES

Physiological Changes: Catabolism (the breakdown of protoplasm) overtakes anabolism (the build-up of protoplasm). All body systems are affected and repair systems become slowed. The aging process occurs at different rates in different individuals.

Physical appearance and other changes:

Loss of subcutaneous fat and less elastic skin gives rise to wrinkled appearance, sagging and loss of smoothness of body contours. Joints stiffen and become painful and range of joint movement becomes restricted, general

mobility lessened.

Respiratory changes:

Increase of fibrous tissue in chest walls and lungs leads restricts respiratory movement and less oxygen is consumed. Older people more likelyto have lower respiratory infections whereas young people have upper respiratory infections.

Nutritive changes:

Tooth decay and loss of teeth can detract from ease and enjoyment in eating. Atrophy of the taste buds means food is inclined to be tasteless and this should be taken into account by carers. Digestive changes occur from lack of exercise (stimulating intestines) and decrease in digestive juice production. Constipation and indigestion are likely to follow as a result. Financial problems can lead to the elderly eating an excess of cheap carbohydrates rather than the more expensive protein and vegetable foods and this exacerbates the problem, leading to reduced vitamin intake and such problems as anemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

Adaptation to stress:

All of us face stress at all ages. Adaptation to stress requires the consumption of energy. The 3 main phases of stress are:

1. Initial alarm reaction. 2. Resistance. 3. Exhaustion

and if stress continues tissue damage or aging occurs. Older persons have had a lifetime of dealing with stresses. Energy reserves are depleted and the older person succumbs to stress earlier than the younger person. Stress is cumulative over a lifetime. Research results, including experiments with animals suggests that each stress leaves us more vulnerable to the next and that although we might think we’ve “bounced back” 100% in fact each stress leaves it scar. Further, stress is psycho-biological meaning

the kind of stress is irrelevant. A physical stress may leave one more vulnerable to psychological stress and vice versa. Rest does not completely restore one after a stressor. Care workers need to be mindful of this and cognizant of the kinds of things that can produce stress for aged persons.

COGNITIVE CHANGE Habitual Behaviour:

Sigmund Freud noted that after the age of 50, treatment of neuroses via psychoanalysis was difficult because the opinions and reactions of older people were relatively fixed and hard to shift.

Over-learned behaviour: This is behaviour that has been learned so well and repeated so often that it has become automatic, like for example typing or running down stairs. Over-learned behaviour is hard to change. If one has lived a long time one is likely to have fixed opinions and ritualised behaviour patterns or habits.

Compulsive behaviour: Habits and attitudes that have been learned in the course of finding ways to overcome frustration and difficulty are very hard to break. Tension reducing habits such as nail biting, incessant humming, smoking or drinking alcohol are especially hard to change at any age and particularly hard for persons who have been practising them over a life time.

The psychology of over-learned and compulsive behaviours has severe implications for older persons who find they have to live in what for them is a new and alien environment with new rules and power relations.

Information acquisition:

Older people have a continual background of neural noise making it more difficult for them to sort out and interpret complex sensory

input. In talking to an older person one should turn off the TV, eliminate as many noises and distractions as possible, talk slowly

and relate to one message or idea at a time.

Memories from the distant past are stronger than more recent memories. New memories are the first to fade and last to return.

Time patterns also can get mixed – old and new may get mixed.

Intelligence.

Intelligence reaches a peak and can stay high with little deterioration if there is no neurological damage. People who have unusually high intelligence to begin with seem to suffer the least decline. Education and stimulation also seem to play a role in maintaining intelligence.

Intellectual impairment. Two diseases of old age causing cognitive decline are Alzheimer’s syndrome and Pick’s syndrome. In Pick’s syndrome there is inability to concentrate and learn and also affective responses are impaired.

Degenerative Diseases: Slow progressive physical degeneration of cells in the nervous system. Genetics appear to be an important factor. Usually start after age 40 (but can occur as early as 20s).

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Degeneration of all areas of cortex but particularly frontal and temporal lobes. The affected cells actually die. Early symptoms resemble neurotic disorders: Anxiety, depression, restlessness sleep difficulties.

Progressive deterioration of all intellectual faculties (memory deficiency being the most well known and obvious). Total mass of the brain decreases, ventricles become larger. No established treatment.

PICK’S DISEASE Rare degenerative disease. Similar to Alzheimer’s in terms of onset, symptomatology and possible genetic

aetiology. However it affects circumscribed areas of the brain, particularly the frontal areas which leads to a loss of normal affect.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE Neuropathology: Loss of neurons in the basal ganglia.

Symptoms: Movement abnormalities: rhythmical alternating tremor of extremities, eyelids and tongue along with rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement (akinesia).

It was once thought that Parkinson’s disease was not associated with intellectual deterioration, but it is now known that there is an association between global intellectual impairment and Parkinson’s where it occurs late in life.

The cells lost in Parkinson’s are associated with the neuro-chemical Dopamine and the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are associated the dopamine deficiency. Treatment involves administration of dopamine precursor L-dopa which can alleviate symptoms including intellectual impairment. Research suggests it may possibly bring to the fore emotional effects in patients who have had

psychiatric illness at some prior stage in their lives.

AFFECTIVE DOMAIN In old age our self concept gets its final revision. We make a final assessment of the value of our lives and our balance of success and failures.

How well a person adapts to old age may be predicated by how well the person adapted to earlier significant changes. If the person suffered an emotional crisis each time a significant change was needed then adaptation to the exigencies of old age may also be difficult. Factors such as economic security, geographic location and physical health are important to the adaptive process.

Need Fulfilment: For all of us, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, we are not free to pursue the higher needs of self actualisation unless the basic needs are secured. When one considers that many, perhaps most, old people are living in poverty and continually concerned with basic survival needs, they are not likely to be happily satisfying needs related to prestige, achievement and beauty.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Physiological

Safety

Belonging, love, identification

Esteem: Achievement, prestige, success, self respect

Self actualisation: Expressing one’s interests and talents to the full.

Note: Old people who have secured their basic needs may be motivated to work on tasks of the highest levels in the hierarchy – activities concerned with aesthetics, creativity and altruistic matters, as compensation for loss of sexual attractiveness and athleticism. Aged care workers fixated on getting old people to focus on social activities may only succeed in frustrating and irritating them if their basic survival concerns are not secured to their satisfaction.

DISENGAGEMENT

Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:

1. Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change

in attitude to work.

2. Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.

3. Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are

diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage

to self concept, depression.

4. Awareness of scarcity of remaining time. This produces further curtailment of

activity in interest of saving time.

Havighurst, R. et al (in B. Neugarten (ed.) Middle age and aging, U. of Chicago, 1968) and others have suggested that disengagement is not an inevitable process. They believe the needs of the old are essentially the same as in middle age and the activities of middle age should be extended as long as possible. Havighurst points out the decrease in social interaction of the aged is often largely the

result of society withdrawing from the individual as much as the reverse. To combat this he believes the individual must vigorously resist the limitations of his social world.

DEATH The fear of the dead amongst tribal societies is well established. Persons who had ministered to the dead were taboo and required observe various rituals including seclusion for varying periods of time. In some societies from South America to Australia it is taboo for certain persons to utter the name of the dead. Widows and widowers are expected to observe rituals in respect for the dead.

Widows in the Highlands of New Guinea around Goroka chop of one of their own fingers. The dead continue their existence as spirits and upsetting them can bring dire consequences.

Wahl, C in “The fear of death”, 1959 noted that the fear of death occurs as early as the 3rd year of life. When a child loses a pet or grandparent fears reside in the unspoken questions: Did I cause it? Will happen to you (parent) soon? Will this happen to me? The child in such situations needs to re-assure that the departure is not a censure, and that the parent is not likely to depart soon. Love, grief, guilt, anger are a mix of conflicting emotions that are experienced.

CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDES TO DEATH

Our culture places high value on youth, beauty, high status occupations, social class and anticipated future activities and achievement. Aging and dying are denied and avoided in this system. The death of each person reminds us of our own mortality.

The death of the elderly is less disturbing to members of Western society because the aged are not especially valued. Surveys have established that nurses for example attach more importance to saving a young life than an old life. In Western society there is a pattern of avoiding dealing with the aged and dying aged patient.

Stages of dying. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has specialised in working with dying patients and in her “On death and dying”, NY, Macmillan, 1969, summarised 5 stages in dying.

1. Denial and isolation. “No, not me”.

2. Anger. “I’ve lived a good life so why me?”

3. Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. “If I can live until…I promise to…”

4. Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.

5. Acceptance of the inevitable.

Kubler Ross’s typology as set out above should, I believe be taken with a grain of salt and not slavishly accepted. Celebrated US Journalist David Rieff who was in June ’08 a guest of the Sydney writer’s festival in relation to his book, “Swimming in a sea of death: a son’s memoir” (Melbourne University Press) expressly denied the validity of the Kubler Ross typology in his Late Night Live interview (Australian ABC radio) with Philip Adams June 9th ’08. He said something to the effect that his mother had regarded her impending death as murder. My own experience with dying persons suggests that the human ego is extraordinarily resilient. I recall visiting a dying colleague in hospital just days before his death. He said, “I’m dying, I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it”, and then went on to chortle about how senior academics at an Adelaide university had told him they were submitting his name for a the Order of Australia (the new “Knighthood” replacement in Australia). Falling in and out of lucid thought with an oxygen tube in his nostrils he was nevertheless still highly interested in the “vain glories of the world”. This observation to me seemed consistent with Rieff’s negative assessment of Kubler Ross’s theories.

THE AGED IN RELATION TO YOUNGER PEOPLE

The aged share with the young the same needs: However, the aged often have fewer or weaker resources to meet those needs. Their need for social interaction may be ignored by family and care workers.

Family should make time to visit their aged members and invite them to their homes. The aged like to visit children and relate to them through games and stories.

Meaningful relationships can be developed via foster-grandparent programs. Some aged are not aware of their income and health entitlements. Family and friends should take the time to explain these. Some aged are too proud to access their entitlements and this problem should be addressed in a kindly way where it occurs.

It is best that the aged be allowed as much choice as possible in matters related to living arrangements, social life and lifestyle.

Communities serving the aged need to provide for the aged via such things as lower curbing, and ramps.

Carers need to examine their own attitude to aging and dying. Denial in the carer is detected by the aged person and it can inhibit the aged person from expressing negative feelings – fear, anger. If the person can express these feelings to someone then that person is less likely to die with a sense of isolation and bitterness.

A METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE

The following notes are my interpretation of a Dr. Depak Chopra lecture entitled, “The New Physics of Healing” which he presented to the 13th Scientific Conference of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Depak Chopra is an endocrinologist and a former Chief of Staff of New England Hospital, Massachusetts. I am deliberately omitting the detail of his explanations of the more abstract, ephemeral and controversial ideas.

Original material from 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

In the lecture Dr. Chopra presents a model of the universe and of all organisms as structures of interacting centres of electromagnetic energy linked to each other in such a way that anything affecting one part of a system or structure has ramifications throughout the entire structure. This model becomes an analogue not only for what happens within the structure or organism itself, but between the organism and both its physical and social environments. In other words there is a correlation between psychological

conditions, health and the aging process. Dr. Chopra in his lecture reconciles ancient Vedic (Hindu) philosophy with modern psychology and quantum physics.

Premature Precognitive Commitment: Dr. Chopra invokes experiments that have shown that flies kept for a long time in a jar do not quickly leave the jar when the top is taken off. Instead they accept the jar as the limit of their universe. He also points out that in India baby elephants are often kept tethered to a small twig or sapling. In adulthood when the elephant is capable of pulling over a medium sized tree it can still be successfully tethered to a twig! As another example he points to experiments in which fish are bred on

2 sides of a fish tank containing a divider between the 2 sides. When the divider is removed the fish are slow to learn that they can now swim throughout the whole tank but rather stay in the section that they accept as their universe. Other experiments have demonstrated that kittens brought up in an environment of vertical stripes and structures, when released in adulthood keep bumping into anything aligned horizontally as if they were unable to see anything that is horizontal. Conversely kittens brought up in an environment of horizontal stripes when released bump into vertical structures, apparently unable to see them.

The whole point of the above experiments is that they demonstrate Premature Precognitive Commitment. The lesson to be learned is that our sensory apparatus develops as a result of initial experience and how we’ve been taught to interpret it.

What is the real look of the world? It doesn’t exist. The way the world looks to us is determined by the sensory receptors we have and our interpretation of that look is determined by our premature precognitive commitments. Dr Chopra makes the point that less than a billionth of the available stimuli make it into our nervous systems. Most of it is screened, and what gets through to us is whatever we are

expecting to find on the basis of our precognitive commitments.

Dr. Chopra also discusses the diseases that are actually caused by mainstream medical interventions, but this material gets too far away from my central intention. Dr. Chopra discusses in lay terms the physics of matter, energy and time by way of establishing the wider context of our existence. He makes the point that our bodies including the bodies of plants are mirrors of cosmic rhythms and exhibit changes correlating even with the tides.

Dr. Chopra cites the experiments of Dr. Herbert Spencer of the US National Institute of Health. He injected mice with Poly-IC, an immuno-stimulant while making the mice repeatedly smell camphor. After the effect of the Poly-IC had worn off he again exposed the mice to the camphor smell. The smell of camphor had the effect of causing the mice’s immune system to automatically strengthen

as if they had been injected with the stimulant. He then took another batch of mice and injected them with cyclophosphamide which tends to destroy the immune system while exposing them to the smell of camphor. Later after being returned to normal just the smell of camphor was enough to cause destruction of their immune system. Dr. Chopra points out that whether or not camphor enhanced or

destroyed the mice’s immune system was entirely determined by an interpretation of the meaning of the smell of camphor. The interpretation is not just in the brain but in each cell of the organism. We are bound to our imagination and our

early experiences.

Chopra cites a study by the Massachusetts Dept of Health Education and Welfare into risk factors for heart disease – family history, cholesterol etc. The 2 most important risk factors were found to be psychological measures – Self  Happiness Rating and Job Satisfaction. They found most people died of heart disease on a Monday!

Chopra says that for every feeling there is a molecule. If you are experiencing tranquillity your body will be producing natural valium. Chemical changes in the brain are reflected by changes in other cells including blood cells. The brain produces neuropeptides and brain structures are chemically tuned to these neuropeptide receptors. Neuropeptides (neurotransmitters) are the chemical concommitants of thought. Chopra points out the white blood cells (a part of the immune system) have neuropeptide receptors and are “eavesdropping” on our thinking. Conversely the immune system produces its own neuropeptides which can influence the nervous system. He goes on to say that cells in all parts of the body including heart and kidneys for example also produce neuropeptides and

neuropeptide sensitivity. Chopra assures us that most neurologists would agree that the nervous system and the immune system are parallel systems.

Other studies in physiology: The blood interlukin-2 levels of medical students decreased as exam time neared and their interlukin receptor capacities also lowered. Chopra says if we are having fun to the point of exhilaration our natural interlukin-2 levels become higher. Interlukin-2 is a powerful and very expensive anti-cancer drug. The body is a printout of consciousness. If we could change the way we look at our bodies at a genuine, profound level then our bodies would actually change.

On the subject of “time” Chopra cites Sir Thomas Gall and Steven Hawkins, stating that our description of the universe as having a past, present, and future are constructed entirely out of our interpretation of change. But in

reality linear time doesn’t exist.

Chopra explains the work of Alexander Leaf a former Harvard Professor of Preventative Medicine who toured the world investigating societies where people  lived beyond 100 years (these included parts of Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Southern Andes). He looked at possible factors including climate, genetics, and diet. Leaf concluded the most important factor was the collective perception of aging in these societies.

Amongst the Tama Humara of the Southern Andes there was a collective belief that the older you got the more physically able you got. They had a tradition of running and the older one became then generally the better at running one got. The best runner was aged 60. Lung capacity and other measures actually improved with age. People were healthy until well into their 100s and died in their sleep. Chopra remarks that things have changed since the introduction of Budweiser (beer) and TV.

[DISCUSSION: How might TV be a factor in changing the former ideal state of things?]

Chopra refers to Dr. Ellen Langor a former Harvard Psychology professor’s work. Langor advertised for 100 volunteers aged over 70 years. She took them to a Monastery outside Boston to play “Let’s Pretend”. They were divided into 2 groups each of which resided in a different part of the building. One group, the control group spent several days talking about the 1950s. The other group, the experimental group had to live as if in the year 1959 and talk about it in the present tense. What appeared on their TV screens were the old newscasts and movies. They read old newspapers and magazines of the period. After 3 days everyone was photographed and the photographs judged by independent judges who knew nothing of the nature of the experiment. The experimental group seemed to

have gotten younger in appearance. Langor then arranged for them to be tested for 100 physiological parameters of aging which included of course blood pressure, near point vision and DHEA levels. After 10 days of living as if in 1959 all parameters had reversed by the equivalent of at least 20 years.

Chopra concludes from Langor’s experiment: “We are the metabolic end product of our sensory experiences. How we interpret them depends on the collective mindset which influences individual biological entropy and aging.”

Can one escape the current collective mindset and reap the benefits in longevity and health? Langor says, society won’t let you escape. There are too many reminders of how most people think linear time is and how it expresses itself in entropy and aging – men are naughty at 40 and on social welfare at 55, women reach menopause at 40 etc. We get to see so many other people aging and dying that it sets the pattern that we follow.

Chopra concludes we are the metabolic product of our sensory experience and our interpretation gets structured in our biology itself. Real change comes from change in the collective consciousness – otherwise it cannot occur within the individual.

Readings

Chopra, D. The New Physics of Healing. 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

Coleman, J. C. Abnormal psychology and modern life. Scott Foresman & Co.

Lugo, J. and Hershey, L. Human development a multidisciplinary approach to the psychology of individual growth, NY, Macmillan.

Dennis. Psychology of human behaviour for nurses. Lond. W. B.Saunders.