Treatment for Shingles Outbreak on the Face

Shingles is an infection caused by varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Early signs and symptoms of shingles include pain, numbness, burning and tingling on the affected area followed by a rash. Usually, only one side of the body or face is affected. While the infection is not life-threatening, shingles on the face is considered serious because it can affect your vision or hearing. Blisters close to the eye must be given immediate medical attention.

People who have experienced chicken pox may continue to harbor the virus for years as it lies dormant in the spinal cord and brain tissue. If the virus becomes reactivated for any reason, it results in an outbreak of shingles. The most common early signs of shingles on the face include headache, facial drooping, and weakness on one side of the face. The shingles rash that follows may go around one eye or on one side of the neck and face. Shingles on the face can lead to encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, as well as temporary or permanent blindness, hearing problems, or partial paralysis of the face.

Treatment of Shingles on the Face

If you suspect that you have shingles, you must see your doctor immediately. This is critical especially if the pain and rash are near your eyes. The infection can cause permanent eye damage. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms. He may also obtain tissue scrapings of the rash for laboratory testing. Getting immediate treatment will lower the risk of developing complications.

For facial shingles, your doctor will prescribe antiviral drugs such as famciclovir, acyclovir or valacyclovir. Antiviral drugs will help reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms. A corticosteroid such as prednisone may be prescribed to reduce inflammation of the rash. You may be given pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen for mild pain. If the pain is more severe, the doctor may prescribe pain relievers such as opioids.

Complications sometimes happen. One out of five shingles sufferers develop postherpetic neuralgia or PHN, wherein damaged nerve fibers send exaggerated pain messages to the brain. The skin in the affected area becomes overly sensitive to the slightest touch. PHN is usually treated with pain medications, anticonvulsant drugs, and antidepressants.

Home Treatment for Facial Shingles

Apply a cold compress to the face and affected areas to relieve the shingles pain. You can also use Burow’s solution, available at pharmacies, to relieve itching and pain of shingles on the face. Chill the Burow’s solution in the refrigerator before using. Antihistamine medications including diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can also relieve itching. Calamine lotion or an oatmeal paste on the facial area will also provide relief from itch

Heads Up! The Way You Are Sleeping May Be Killing You!

Every one of us has a mysterious double life.

For about two thirds of the time we are conscious beings, thinking about the world within and without, and negotiating our ways through the obstacles of life. For the other one third of the time we are nearly lifeless lumps of flesh, unconscious to everything but our own fantasies, as we lie flat in bed asleep. We all know that sleep is important for health. But for an activity that consumes about 8 hours of everyday of life, surprisingly little is thought about the act of sleeping, or the way our culture teaches us to sleep. Sleep behavior, like all human activities, is defined by our culture.

Sometimes, the practices taught by our culture can impact on the way our bodies function. As medical anthropologists, we research ways our cultural practices may be affecting our health. And we have found that the way we have been trained to sleep may be one of the most important causes of various diseases plaguing our society.

Of course, when you consider the culture of sleeping, it includes such isues as the length of time to sleep, and time of day for sleep. Do you take frequent naps or do you sleep 8 hours straight? Do you sleep at night or during the day?

Other issues concern sleepwear. Do you sleep nude, or with pajamas or lingerie? Do you sleep in your underwear? Should the sheets be natural fabrics, such as cotton or silk, or is polyester okay? What about the detergent and fabric softeners used in the sheets, pillow case, and pj’s?

Should you eat before you sleep? What is the impact of watching television before sleep? Should you take sleeping pills to help you sleep?

These are some of the culturally defined issues that help determine how we sleep, all of which may have some potential impact on health. However, there is one cultural issue that tops the list of importance, and which may greatly determine your health status. It has to do with your sleep position. Are you sleeping on a firm, flat bed, face down, with your nose and eye compressed against the bed and pillow? Or are you on your back with your head slightly elevated, as is the case for many native cultures that use hammocks or other non-flat surfaces for sleep?

The reason we ask this last question is because the circulation to the head and brain is completely related to your body position when sleeping.

We all have had a time of experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness when getting out of bed too quickly. This effect is called orthostatic hypotension, and results from the fact that blood pressure falls when you lie down, and sudden raising of the head may temporarily deprive the brain of sufficient blood pressure, resulting in the dizziness or lightheadedness. The blood pressure soon rises, increasing the blood supply to the brain, as you feel normal again.

This phenomenon shows that the body’s position, relative to gravity, influences head and brain circulation. You can also demonstrate this by doing a head stand, which many yoga practitioners do daily. Intracranial pressure rises dramatically, as blood rushes to the head, which becomes beet red, and the neck veins swell out, as blood pools in the venous system.

But apart from these examples, very little, if anything, is mentioned in medical physiology textbooks about gravity and its impact on circulation. Yet, you cannot fully understand brain circulation without considering gravity.

The effect of gravity on brain circulation is purely mechanical, and relates to the position of the head relative to the pumping heart. When we are standing up, the head is above the heart, so blood must pump against the force of gravity — from the heart to the brain — lowering the effective pressure with which the arterial blood is delivered to the brain. Meanwhile, drainage of blood from the brain to the heart is facilitated by the pull of gravity.

In contrast, when we lie down and are horizontal, the heart and head are now on the same plane. This eliminates the effects of gravity on brain circulation. Blood from the heart pumps powerfully into the head without gravity’s resistance, increasing intracranial pressure. And blood returning from the brain to the heart must do so without gravity’s assistance, causing a back-up of blood in the brain.

Essentially, intracranial pressure increases, and overall brain circulation diminishes, when you are lying flat compared to standing up.

Of course, the body is intelligent and has mechanisms for controlling brain pressure under different gravity situations. When the brain gets pressurized from lying down, there are various pressure receptors in the head and neck designed to lower blood pressure, thereby preventing too much brain pressure and the possibility of blowing a blood vessel or creating a cerebral aneurysm. This is why blood pressure is lower when we are sleeping, and horizontal.

But these brain mechanisms for adjusting pressure have their limits. As we go through the day in a vertical position, gravity relentlessly pulls our body’s fluids downwards, which is why many people have swollen feet and ankles by day’s end. Once we lie down, the gravity effect is lost, as fluid leaves the legs and returns to the head. So despite our brains normal defense mechanisms, throughout the night intracranial pressure increases and is highest in the morning, after hours of lying flat, and lowest at the end of the day, after hours of being vertical.

What happens when intracranial pressure is high from long periods of lying flat? The increased arterial pressure causes extra cerebral spinal fluid to form in the brain’s ventricles, increasing intracranial fluid pressure. The ventricles swell and the cells of the brain become bathed in excess fluid, essentially causing brain edema. This edema would lower the available oxygen and sugar for brain cells. The lack of gravity assisted drainage from the brain would cause a back-up of blood in the venous system and collecting sinuses in the brain. The brain’s circulation would become relatively stagnant, as the only force moving blood through would be the pushing force of the arterial pressure (which is greatly reduced after going through the cerebral circulation) and the sucking force of the heart’s right atrium. And in addition to the brain swelling under the pressure, the eyes, ears, face, sinuses, gums — the entire head — will become pressurized and the tissues congested with fluid!

There is one field of medicine that avidly studies this effect of gravity on physiology. That sub-specialty is Space Medicine. Astronauts in space are in a zero-gravity field, and it is known that this causes blood to shift to the head and brain, causing increased brain pressure and accompanying migraines, glaucoma, Meniere’s disease, and other problems associated with a pressurized, congested brain. To study the negative effects of zero-gravity here on Earth, these space scientists have people lie down flat! However, since medicine is so wide a field, with sub-specialists learning more and more about less and less, there is little exchange of ideas between space medicine and Earth-bound medicine. Otherwise, someone would have realized that lying flat is what we do when we sleep. If it causes problems for astronauts, then couldn’t it cause problems for everyone else?

We found out about this Space research while we performed our own research into sleep positions as a possible cause of migraines. We hypothesized that sleeping too flat for too long each night could lead to brain pressure and fluid accumulation (edema) within the brain tissue, with associated hypoxia and hypoglycemia. The brain cannot function well without proper amounts of oxygen or sugar, and this condition would be at its worst in the morning, which is when most migraines occur.

While migraines have been thought of as a pathological phenomenon, it is also possible that the migraine is the brain’s defense mechanism to receive new blood along with sugar and oxygen. After all, the only way the brain can get what it needs is from the bloodstream, and during a migraine arteries to the head open up and send blood with force throughout the brain. Perhaps, we reasoned, the migraine is a type of emergency “brain flush”, replacing old blood with new. If so, could we prevent migraines by having migraine sufferers sleep with their heads slightly elevated?

We tested our theory by having about 100 volunteer migraineurs sleep with the heads of their beds elevated, from 10-30 degrees. Head elevation, we theorized, would improve the brain circulation by providing some gravity assistance to drainage. Interestingly, we found that Space Medicine researchers discovered that brain circulation (and heart pumping) is optimal at a 30-degree head of bed elevation.

To our amazement, we found that the majority of the migraineurs in our study experienced relief by this simple sleep position change! Many had no new migraines, after being migraine sufferers for 30 or more years! The results were very fast, within a few days. And there were very interesting side effects, too. Our volunteers woke up more alert. Morning sinus congestion was significantly reduced for most people. Some reported that they no longer had certain allergies. Could we have discovered the real purpose and cause of migraines?

The implications of these findings were, frankly, astounding to us. So many diseases are related to increased brain pressure of “unknown” cause. Sleep position was never studied as the cause of this increased pressure. The implications go far beyond the prevention and treatment of migraines. Any condition that is related to brain pressure, and that is usually worse in the morning after a night of horizontal time, can be potentially related to this gravity and sleep position issue.

Keep in mind that the brain is the central nervous system controlling and modifying all bodily functions. If certain centers of the brain are congested and pressurized daily by sleeping too flat for long hours, those centers can malfunction. Depending on the way a person sleeps, the idiosyncrasies of their brain circulation, and other variables, different people might experience this brain pressure differently. For some, the respiratory centers of the hypothalamus might be particularly congested, resulting in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (which has been associated with head and body position while sleeping), sleep apnea, or even asthma. Sleep apnea has been shown to be treatable with changes in sleep position.

Strokes are clearly associated with brain pressure, and usually occur at night or in the early morning, while sleeping. This is when brain pressure is highest.

Glaucoma is clearly caused by this mechanism. It is already known that eye pressure increases when the head is down, and decreases when the head is up. It is essential to note the head position when taking eye pressure readings because of this sensitive relationship between intraocular pressure and head position. Eye pressure is also highest in the early morning. Elevating the head while sleeping should be routine for glaucoma treatment and prevention.

Baggy eyes and sinus congestion seem to be related to head pressure. Just as the brain gets extra pressure when lying down, the head and face are pressurized, too. People with these problems usually find immediate relief by sleeping elevated 10-30 degrees.

Alzheimer’s disease, we believe, might be the end disease caused by chronic brain congestion and pressure from flat sleeping. The cerebral ventricles of the Alzheimer’s brain are expanded, suggesting a history of ventricular pressure, and generalized lesions along the ventricles may indicate areas of brain tissue that have deteriorated from this chronic pressure. Other research has already shown Alzheimer’s is associated with increased brain pressure, but the cause has been considered unknown, as is the case with almost all brain pressure problems.

It should be noted that the blood-brain barrier cannot function properly when pressurized. Excessive intracranial pressure can cause leaks in this barrier by expanding the basement membrane, allowing heavy metals, e.g., aluminum and mercury, as well as viruses and bacteria, to enter the brain that would have otherwise been excluded. This may be why heavy metals have been associated with certain brain problems, such as Alzheimer’s.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is also known to be associated with congestion of the “impulse center” within the brain that helps control behavior. We found several children with ADHD experience profound improvement of self control by elevating their heads while sleeping.

In addition to head position relative to gravity, we also have found side or belly sleeping can create problems. For example, we found several cases of carpel tunnel syndrome related to sleeping on the hands or wrists, and shoulder pain from sleeping on the side. And keep in mind that head pressure increases, and drainage diminishes, when the head is rotated to the side. Sleeping on the back avoids compression of limbs and internal organs.

It is also interesting to note that patients with asymmetrical problems will typically be worse on the side they sleep on. For example, eye pathology will be worse in the eye on the side of the face that is slept on most. Ear infections will be worse on the “down” ear. You can also tell the side a person sleeps on by observing the shape of the nose. Apart from injuries, the nose should be symmetrical, but becomes curved away from the pillow because of sleeping on the side of the face and pressing on the nose for hours each night. The nose will point away from the side that is most slept on.

Men should be told that side sleeping may result in testicular compression and possible dysfunction. And women who sleep on their sides or stomachs subject their breasts to compression and impaired circulation. Side sleepers may have more breast trouble on the side they sleep on.

We should forewarn the practitioner, however, that, while the effect of elevating the head while sleeping will be dramatic and transformative for many patients and should be considered essential to disease prevention strategies, the fact is that many people resist changing their sleep behaviors. They have been conditioned to sleep a certain way since birth. And even when they want to change their sleep position, it’s difficult to ensure compliance when the subject is unconscious! It takes tremendous will power to alter sleep behavior. But it is well worth the trouble, as people usually see within a week of sleeping elevated.

We found the best methods for head elevation include using more pillows, using a foam wedge, placing blocks under the legs of the bed frame at the head of the bed, or using an adjustable bed. While the ideal position is with the head from 10-30 degrees elevated, 10 degrees elevation is fine to start with. The legs should be slightly elevated, too, and the person should try to stay on his or her back as much as possible. The ideal position is one you would be in if leaning back in a recliner chair. (Recliners would be fine to use, too, but they usually give poor lower back support.) Also, be aware that some people will find one degree of elevation more comfortable than another. People with low blood pressure may need their heads lower than those with higher blood pressure. Others may have some neck and shoulder discomfort from the new position. However, by experimenting with pillows under the arms, underneath the buttocks (which prevents sliding down the bed), and under the feet and legs, the patient should find a comfortable solution.

Also, when taking in to effect patient history, realize that neck injuries and tight neck muscles can impair venous drainage of the brain by compression of the jugular veins by the tight muscles. Neck massage and spinal adjustments may help improve overall brain circulation. We have had a few case histories where there was little or no improvement from head elevation, but the subjects had a history of neck injuries.

Of course, there will be times when people feel lightheaded and need to lie down to get more blood to the head. It might also be better for people to sleep less at night and to make up for lost sleep with a nap, or a siesta, during the day. That would avoid extremes of high and low brain pressure. But our culture makes it necessary for most people to do all their sleeping at once. Sleeping, after all, is a cultural issue. The point is to be aware of how you feel, and realize that your body position relative to gravity may be a key factor affecting health and disease.

We are continuing to research this effect of gravity and sleep position on health, and encourage practitioners to communicate their patients’ experiences with us. We also highly encourage you to read our book, Get It Up! Revealing the Simple Surprising Lifestyle that Causes Migraines, Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Glaucoma, Sleep Apnea, Impotence, and More! (ISCD Press, 2001), where we discuss the profound implications of this theory, including a lengthy list of references about brain pressure and various diseases and the effect of gravity on brain circulation. After you see the evidence, you will probably be as amazed as we are that sleep research has been ignoring this critical aspect of sleep.

Sleeping too flat each day may be the greatest lifestyle mistake people are making in our culture. Some of the worst diseases of our time may be all in our bed!

Reflexology Improves Epilepsy

Quantum Brain Healing can use many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs to treat epilepsy. There are many additional alternative therapies in Quantum Brain Healing used to treat epilepsy including reflexology.

Reflexology is based on the principle that the anatomy of the body is reflected in miniature reflex zones on the head, ears, hands and feet. The foot is the most common type of reflexology treatment where pressure is applied on the foot to heal the body. Reflexology promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Both feet are worked on during the course of a full session.

The reflexologist will gently massage your feet and apply pressure to the reflex points which correlate to your health problems. In epilepsy, there would be pressure applied to the Head, Brain, Brain stem, Pituitary, Pineal/Hypothalamus, Thyroid, Parathyroid, and Adrenal Glands areas. This concept is similar to the concept of acupressure. The reflexologists will treat one foot at a time. Some reflexologists apply pressure with their fingers while others use small instruments.

People with feet problems like severe calluses or corns should visit a podiatrist for treatment prior to a reflexology treatment. Sessions typically last sixty minutes. Epilepsy is usually a chronic disease and would require many treatments. Many reflexologists believe that manipulation of the feet reduces the lactic acid accumulation in the tissues and releases tiny calcium crystals that accumulate in the nerve endings of the feet. Another way to reinforce this action on the feet is to purchase an infrared foot massager. Foot ionizing detoxification may also help remove calcium and lactic acid build up from your feet.

Reflexology restores the qi or free flow of energy from the feet to the corresponding organs. Others reflexologists believe that pressure on the reflex points may trigger the release of hormones including endorphins, chemicals in the brain that naturally block pain. Reflexology creates relaxation and improves circulation. Reflexology increases the rate at which detoxification occurs. Reflexology can help control seizures for some patients, but there are no major clinical research trials to verify the effectiveness of reflexology. Reflexology should be used in addition to other therapies. Many herbs and herbal formulas can improve epilepsy. Acupuncture is also very good at treating epilepsy triggered by falls and traumatic brain injury.

© 2010 by Dr R Stone, MD – Alternative Medicine, India

Endocarditis -Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Endocarditis is known as an infection of the endocardial area of the heart, which is an uncommon but not rare disease.The most common structures include are the heart valves. Endocarditis can be describe into two categories are native valve acute & subacute endocarditis,prosthetic valve endocarditis,depending on whether a micro organism is the source of the problem. The organisms streptococci “strep”, staphylococci “staph”, or pneumococci or gonococci or species of bacteria that generally exist on body surfaces are the main source of it. It is mostly caused by bacteria. Rarely, can be caused by fungi or some other kind of organisms.

Endocarditis is an infection of the inner region of the heart or the heart valves produced by bacteria generally found in the intestinal tract or urinary tract and mouth.Endocarditis appears when infectious organisms, such as bacteria or fungi, enter the blood stream and reside in the heart.Whch lead to a serious symptoms that needs prolonged treatment and on occasion causes injury to the heart or even death.

Causes

Some bacteria generally exist on various parts of the body, such as the mouth & upper respiratory system, the intestinal tract or urinary tract, and the skin. Some surgical & dental methods, intravenous drug use, cardiac categorization and other invasive procedures, cuts, bruises and minor surgical procedures result a bacteremia. Bacteremia is common after many incursive procedures, but only some bacteria commonly cause endocarditis.Bacterial endocarditis appears when bacteria in the bloodstream accommodate on abnormal heart valves or other damaged heart tissue.

Once the bacteria infect the inner region of the heart, they keep on to multiply producing large particles called vegetation that may then break off and move to the lungs, brain, kidneys and skin. They go on with a particular infection may also seriously damage the heart valve on which the vegetation’s have developed.

Symptoms

Symptoms of acute endocarditis include such as blood in the urine ,small broken blood vessels on the palms and soles of the feet,cough,red painful nodes in the pads of the fingers & toes ,paleness ,nail abnormalities,abnormal urine color , low appetite.

If severe heart damage results shock, the person may collapse suddenly, have a acute pulse and have pale, cool skin.

Symptoms of endocarditis include such as:

  • Intermittent low grade fever.
  • Chills & excessive sweating .
  • Fatigue .
  • Body weakness.
  • Vague aches.
  • Joint pains.
  • Severe Back pain.
  • Heart murmur.
  • Weight loss.
  • Shortness of breath on exertion.
  • Swelling of the feet, legs and abdomen.
  • Rapid or abnormal heartbeat.

Treatments

High dose antibiotics are usually prescribed for patients at risk for developing endocarditis. A person is most at risk when undergoing those dental or surgical procedures most likely to cause bacteremia with organisms that commonly result endocarditis.

Hospitalization is generally needed initially to administer intravenous antibiotics. Continual antibiotic treatment is required to cure the bacteria from the heart chambers and valves,Typically two to six weeks.

Surgery to replace the affected heart valve is generally needed,If heart failure causes as a result of damaged heart valves, or if the infection is breaking off in little pieces, resulting in a series of strokes, or there is evidence of organ damage.

Are Strokes Hereditary?

If you have a family history of strokes, then you may well be concerned what this means for you. Does a family history increase your risk of suffering a stroke? Is there anything you can do to lower the risk?

Family History of Strokes

There are many factors which may increase your risk of having a stroke such as your age, weight and general fitness, but whilst you can make certain lifestyle changes to lower your risks, some things you cannot help and family history is just one of these.

Certainly if you have a family history of strokes, then your stroke risk increases compared to those who don’t. The causes of strokes in teens and children are very different to adult strokes and a family history is not relevant, but other family medical conditions may play a part in causing a stroke.

Yet even if you have a family member who has suffered a stroke, this does not mean to say that you will go on to suffer a stroke yourself. Strokes are very common, affecting over 150,000 people in the UK per year and many of those strokes will have little to do with genetics and everything to do with other, more preventable, risk factors.

If you have several family members who have suffered a stroke, then you may have a genetic risk of strokes and you should speak to your doctor about managing your risk. A health check by your doctor can assess your risk for stroke and test for some common telltale signs such as an irregular heartbeat.

Managing Your Hereditary Risk of Strokes

If you do have a hereditary risk of strokes you can remove the risk considerably by taking steps to prevent a stroke. These include:

– Diet

A fatty diet can increase your stroke risk so speak to a nutritionist who can talk to you about eating low-fat, high-fibre foods and reducing your cholesterol levels.

– Exercise

High blood pressure and obesity carry an increased risk of stroke so taking regular exercise whilst eating healthily can counteract that risk and lead to a more efficient blood circulatory system and lower your blood pressure. The UK NHS recommends that adults do two physical exercise regimes a week such as cycling, walking or swimming.

– Smoking

A person who smokes doubles his/her risk of having a stroke compared to someone who doesn’t, because smoking narrows the arteries making the blood more likely to clot.

– Drinking

We all enjoy the odd tipple, but excessive alcohol can result in high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat which are both factors in strokes. Drinking can increase your risks of having a stroke threefold.

Helping Stroke Victims

If you have a family member who has suffered a stroke and lost some of their mobility then you can help them to lead a more independent life in their own home. The NHS has a list of local stroke organisations and you will be able to get advice or information on mobility aids to aid your recovery.

Schizophrenia

There are many mental disorders whose root cause is the psyche of the person, particularly traumas from early childhood. But schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder caused by a disabling brain illness. About one percent of Americans are afflicted with this problem at any given time. It does not make much difference with sex and age, but becomes most apparent when people reach their teens.

Though it is clear that a brain disorder is the root cause, there is no concluding proof as to exactly what is the problem. There is much encouraging research to pin down the problem. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that the most probable cause could be linked to faulty neuron connections during the development of the child in the womb. It lies dormant until puberty, and the effect may become visible afterwards. Persons with schizophrenia lose touch with the real world. Their perception of people and events starts divorcing from the reality. Their hallucinations, delusions and the strange voices that they hear are very real to them. They delude themselves into believing that they are the victims of cheating, persecution or conspiracy. Generally they lose the capacity for logically carrying out their thought process, particularly when a lot of thoughts crowd in the brain. Their emotions are rather subdued, and expressions mostly blank. Contrary to popular thinking, the schizophrenia is no more violent than a normal person. But the tendency for suicide is higher with schizophrenia.

Not knowing the exact cause or the mechanism of schizophrenia, the treatment is mainly symptomatic. Based on clinical experience, a whole series of anti-psychotic medications are available to the physician. The drugs effectively reduce and sometimes eliminate the symptoms. But there is no complete cure. Anti-depression, anti-anxiety and anti-convulsive drugs have also proved effective. In a small number of acute schizophrenia patients Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) has proved very effective.

Though this is a brain disease and not a mental disorder, family support, social support and, more importantly, psychotherapy are other factors that can help the patient enormously. A lot of research has gone into getting to the root cause of the problem but a lot more still needs to be done. The efforts include genetic, brain and epidemiological studies.

Curing Alcoholism, Diabetes, Mental Illness, and Other Health Problems With Natural Remedies

In one’s youth, over-consumption of alcohol can often be tolerated by those healthy individuals who are able to secrete adequate levels of the enzymes necessary to digest the alcohol properly.

However, as one ages, (or for certain subsets of the human population who lack the ability to secrete the necessary enzymes to digest alcohol properly), ones inability to digest alcohol can prove to be a health-deteriorating, (and sometimes deadly) condition.

So, it is best to refrain from consuming alcohol.

However, if one feels compelled to ingest alcohol, there are a few strategies one can utilize to help themselves digest the alcohol properly, and avoid the detrimental alcohol-related effects such as:

– weight gain,

– diabetes,

– depression,

and worse.

First, it makes sense for many reasons to refrain from consuming beer or distilled spirits, and instead ingest wine. If you want to adhere to the healthiest option, red wine is the best.

The reasons why I suggest avoiding drinking beer are:

1) It contains “maltose”, a rapidly absorbed simple sugar that, not only provides a perversely effective source of food for yeast, bacteria, fungi, and other dangerous micro-organisms that can invade, colonize, and destroy a human body, but…

That maltose is also responsible for rapid rises in blood sugar, which stress ones pancreas gland, exhausting it to the point where it can no longer secrete enough insulin.

The inability of a persons’ pancreas gland to secrete adequate insulin is known as “diabetes”, and the maltose in beer is known as one of the main contributors to that disabling (and sometimes deadly) condition.

Distilled spirits (such as “hard liquor”s) are a better alternative, provided they are clear. The reason why I say this, is because amber to brown colored hard liquors contain pancreas-destroying simple sugars, and can cause all of the diseases mentioned above.

Clear hard liquors are also able to be mixed safely (and thus, more responsibly) with appropriate alcohol-side-effect-negating juices, such as apple juice, carrot juice, kale juice, tomato juice, spinach juice, and others.

However, of all of the “less-than-ideal” beverage choice alternatives, red wine remains the “best”, due to its’ high levels of disease-fighting “anti-oxidants”, distilled from the grape skins, which give red wine it’s color.

However, as I stated, if one really wants to improve (or optimize) ones health, then refraining from consuming any alcohol at all is the best path to follow.

If one does find oneself addicted to alcohol (and unable to quit consuming it), then there are a number of alternative, legal, over-the-counter (O.T.C.) neutraceuticals that can help:

1) “Gamma-Amino-Butyric-Acid” (G.A.B.A), is a potent, over-the-counter relaxant, often inducing the same feelings that alcohol-ingestion induces, but without the harmful side-effects.

2) “Kava Root”, is another excellent natural herbal relaxant, being used safely and effectively by Polynesian tribes for centuries for their communal socialization gatherings, to induce powerful feelings of calmness and euphoria.

3) “Valerian Root”, is a powerful natural, herbal relaxant used by the ancient Romans. It has also served as the chemical template fro the synthesization of the prescription anti-anxity medication “Valium”. Although it smells bad), in capsule form it is much less noticeable, and because it is such an effective substitute for prescription addictive anti-anxiety medications, many people ignore it’s bad smell, and utilize it to great benefit.

4) “Tyrosine”, is an excellent, legal, safe, amino acid used to increase ones levels of the energy-raising neurotransmitters “epinephrine”, and “nor-epinephrine”, (levels of which are otherwise raised in mainstream medicine using presription anti-depressants such as “Wellbutrin”.

5) “Tryptophan”, is another excellent, (and very powerful) amino acid relaxant, known to increase ones brain levels of “Serotonin”, which is the primary neuro-transmitter whose levels are raised by prescription anti-depressants such as:

– “Prozac”

– “Paxil”

– “Zoloft”

– “Lexapro”

– “Celexa”

and others.

In addition, the ingestion of alcohol depletes ones’ blood plasma levels of B-vitamins, leading to:

– tremors (also known as: “the shakes”)

– muscle weakness

– moodiness

– anxiety

and

– depression.

So, replenishing ones supplies of B-vitamins is crucial if one is an older, alcohol-tolerance-weaker, or illness-suffering individual.

The best way to replenish ones supplies of B-vitamins is to ingest the juices of green, leafy vegetables, such as: kale, broccoli, spinach, wheatgrass, parsley, or collard greens.

However, if you are not inclined to consume the juices (or leaves) of such vegetables, then the ingestion of the following B-vitamins is very helpful for one to heal from the over-consumption of alcohol:

1) 50, 100, or 150 milligrams of “B-Complex”, 2 to 3 times per day. (With lower-weight (or elderly) persons ingesting the amount on the lower-end of the range, (and higher-weight, younger persons) ingesting the amounts on the higher end of the range).

2) Vitamin B-5, which is reputedly the best anti-stress B-vitamin known.

3) Vitamin B-6, which is known to help stabilize nerves and their electrical transmissions.

and

4) Vitamin B-12, which is reputed to increase ones energy (helpful in cases where one is “hung over” from alcohol consumption).

While ingesting B-vitamins, it is important to ingest them in relation to one another in the same proportions as they are found in natural sources, such as in green leafy vegetables.

Diet and Migraines: Migraine-Friendly Foods and Foods to Avoid

If you suffer from migraines, you may recognise a pattern of how the food and drink you consume affects your body, how you feel and the likelihood of getting a migraine. However, different food items affect different people in different ways. For instance, consuming salty foods may trigger a migraine in one sufferer, but not in another. There is a pattern and here I am going to share with you the potential threats and give you some idea of a diet that may be more suitable.

Food and Drink to Avoid

I always like to save the best for last, so I will start off here with food that you need to avoid to lessen the risk of an attack.

1. Citrus Fruits, Bananas, Apples, Peaches, Tomatoes – Believe it or not, even certain kinds of fruit are more likely to have an adverse affect. These include citrus fruits, but also include bananas, apples, peaches and tomatoes. It is the contents of the skins that cause the issues. Bananas, for one, include an amino acid called tyramine which reduces serotonin levels in the brain.

2. Beverages That Contain Caffeine or Alcohol – You may have heard it mentioned many times before, but drinks that include caffeine or alcohol in the ingredients should be avoided and not just because they give you a headache. They are both depressants and they both increase your levels of anxiety. Alcohol also includes tyramine and coffee should only be consumed at least 8 hours before bed time – otherwise it can cause insomnia.

3. Soy Sauce – The problem with Soy Sauce is that it contains far too much salt. It is also wise to avoid Chinese food for the reason that a lot of it also contains Soy Sauce. Salt is not only a trigger for migraines and headaches in many people. It also builds up too much cholesterol in your arteries and can lead to diseases like Heart Disease and Strokes.

4. Ice Cream -Have you ever had a big chunk of ice cream in one go? From personal experience, this is almost always to blame for triggering headaches and migraines. It is not the cream or other ingredients, but the fact that it is ice, which is too cold for the body to be able to cope with. Therefore, it triggers a migraine or a headache.

5. Processed Meats: Hot Dogs, Bacon, Salami, Luncheon Meat, Pepperoni – These processed meats also include tyramine and some may include sodium nitrate, which some migraine sufferers experience as a trigger.

6. Pickled Food – You may love the taste of pickled onions, pickled beetroot, pickled eggs, or pickled olives, but these are particularly potent in their ability to trigger headaches and migraines. They contain MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG enhances the flavour of the food, but is also known to trigger migraines.

7. Diet Soda – Diet Soda contains aspartame (also known as Equal or NutraSweet). Many of you may be aware of aspartame as it can also induce cancer. It can also cause headaches and migraines, especially if consumed in large amounts and over a long period of time.

8. Chocolate – Sorry to disappoint you, but chocolate is also known to induce headaches and migraines. For starters, chocolate contains caffeine (now you know why you love it so much!) Just like coffee, chocolate can cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability, headaches and migraines.

Safe Food For Migraine Sufferers

There is plenty of food that you can enjoy as a migraine sufferer. You now know the things to avoid. Namely, food and drink containing caffeine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame and tyramine. Now is the time to talk about the good food that does not cause migraines or headaches.

1. Rice: Especially Brown Rice – You can have this with curry, chilli con carne, risottos – even as a dessert (lovely) – so you see it is not all bad news.

2. Cooked Green, Yellow and Orange Vegetables – Although raw vegetables certainly are not a bad choice, research has shown that for migraine sufferers, cooked vegetables are better still. These vegetables include spinach (one of the best foods for migraine sufferers), broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and squash are among the better foods that will not cause a migraine.

3. Fresh or Dried Non-Citrus Fruits – Most non-citrus fruits are great for migraine sufferers. As I mentioned above, you should avoid apples, bananas, peaches and tomatoes, but you should always look out for cherries, cranberries, pears and prunes as these are excellent in a number of ways.

4. Still or Carbonated Water – Water has a multitude of benefits and it is important to drink it several times, every day. It is the most pure drink you can have and you should always either filter it from the tap, or buy it bottled. Water has many benefits. If you have to have a drink that contains caffeine or alcohol, you should always follow it up with a glass of cold water so that it can neutralise the effects of the caffeine or alcohol.

5. Cold and Fresh Water Fish – Cold and fresh water fish contain a high amount of omega three which not only guards against headaches and migraines, but it is also excellent for building intelligence and should be consumed on a daily basis. The fish that need to be consumed include halibut, sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna. Eggs also include a high amount of omega three.

Over The Counter Treatment Products For Male Yeast Infection

The most commonly used over the counter medications used to treat male yeast infections are the same products that are used to cure female yeast infections. That’s because the very same yeast that causes vaginal yeast infections in women can cause infections in men.

Men can safely use over the counter antifungal treatments such as Monistat even those these products are labeled “for vaginal use.” Over the counter medications like Monistat are marketed to women because genital yeast infections are much more common in women than in men. Other commonly used over the counter medications are Lamisil, Micatin and Lotrimin. Vagisil cream can be used to help relieve itchiness and burning until the yeast infection is cured.

To treat a male yeast infection apply the over the counter medication directly to the affected skin on your penis twice daily for a week. If the rash doesn’t go away after a week or if it recurs frequently, you should get a medical evaluation. Persistent or recurring yeast infections can be associated with other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and HIV. If your yeast infection is caused by an underlying medical condition, the infection will not improve until the underlying medical condition is addressed.

While treating a male yeast infection be sure to do the following:

· Wash and dry the affected area with a clean towel.

· Apply the antifungal cream, powder or spray as directed.

· Change clothes, especially underwear, every day.

Many holistic practitioners recommend that men who are trying to cure a yeast infection with over the counter products also eat yogurt daily. Yogurt contains acidophilus which helps restore the natural PH balance in your body. Buttermilk can also play a role in restoring PH balances.

Jock itch is more common in men than yeast infections. The medical term for jock itch is tinea cruis. Jock itch is a common skin infection that is cased by a type of fungus called tinea. The fungus thrives in warm, moist areas of the body which is why the infection often affects the genitals, inner thighs and buttocks. Infections occur more frequently in the summer or in warm, wet climates. There are many over the counter products for jock itch and for male yeast infection. You may also want to try home remedy for yeast infection treatment.

Jock itch appears as a red, itchy rash that is often ring-shaped. Jock itch is only mildly contagious. In most cases the treatment for jock itch involves keeping the affected area clean and dry and applying topical antifungal medications. Jock itch usually responds to over the counter antifungal creams and sprays. However, prescription job itch creams may be needed if the infection does not respond to over the counter treatments.

It is best to avoid sexual contact while treating your yeast infection with over the counter products. It is important to use over the counter products for male yeast infection exactly as directed.

Glossary:

Over The Counter: Medications that can be obtained without a prescription

Diflucan: A powerful drug that often cures yeast infections in just one treatment.

Hair Loss – Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata or spot baldness as it’s also known, occurs when hair is lost in small round spots. It usually occurs on the scalp but can involve other areas of the body as well. It’s an autoimmune disease in that the body attacks the hair follicles. The cause of alopecia areata is unknown but appears to be genetically transmitted.

This form of alopecia affects as much as 2% of the population during some point in their lives. It can vary in its severity, and terms used to describe it are dependent upon the extent of hair loss. Alopecia areata totalis describes the condition of a person who has lost hair over his or her entire scalp. Alopecia universalis occurs when a person loses hair over the entire body, including eyebrows, lashes, and pubic hair. Alopecia areata monolocularis describes hair loss in one spot only. And alopecia areata multilocularis is hair loss over multiple areas of the body.

This disorder usually starts out with the development of small round bald patches – usually on the scalp – but that can turn up anywhere on the body where there is hair. It can show up in beards, mustaches, pubic areas or other hair bearing parts of the body. In some cases the hair will re-grow and in others the disease can go into remission, but this is not always the case. And in some cases, the hair that regrows can then fall out again. Sometimes, the fingernails are affected as well, developing denting and pitting. This is an unpredictable illness as each case differs from others. There is always the chance that complete regrowth will occur, but no way to know beforehand. It can be a one time occurrence that corrects itself, or a pattern of loss and regrowth that continues for years.

While alopecia areata is not considered a serious disease, there does seem to be a higher incidence of some other illnesses in sufferers, such as other autoimmune disease, and allergies. But for alopecia areata itself, there usually are no serious symptoms, other than the occasional mild irritation and itchiness in the bald patches it causes.

Since there are other disorders that can cause the loss of hair in spots, a diagnosis must include the elimination of other diseases. Some of these illnesses are treatable so it’s important to rule them out before the determination of alopecia areata is made. Diagnosis may include a scalp or skin biopsy, or the doctor may gently tug on the hair around a patch. Hair that easily comes out from this pull may indicate that this is alopecia areata.

There are no known cures for alopecia areata. In some cases with small affected areas, the hair grows back by itself, and so no other treatment is needed. For other cases, there are treatments available, such as:

Minoxidil – a 5% solution of minoxidil applied twice daily to affected areas may regrow hair in those areas. Minoxidil can be used by both adults and children to treat alopecia areata. Results, if any, should be apparent within 3 months.

Corticosteroids -are immune system suppressing anti-inflammatory drugs that are delivered topically, orally or by injection. They are either injected directly into affected areas or rubbed onto those areas. Oral corticosteroids are prescribed less often as it can have side effects. Hair that results from this treatment should appear in about a month.

For those with extensive scalp hair loss, hairpieces and head covers (hats, scarves, etc.) can be used to cover up the loss. Covering the head in no way interferes with regrowth and it may allay any self-consciousness the sufferer may have, if this is a problem.

The most significant effect that alopecia areata has on some patients may be psychological, or emotional. For many of us, hair is a very important part of how we see ourselves, and the loss of it can have quite an impact. Fortunately, this disease tends to leave those who have it healthy otherwise, and able to live a normal life.

Weight Loss – Hair Loss – Is There a Link Between Weight Loss and Hair Loss

There are various causes of hair loss and there is a question about the connection if there is one, between weight loss and hair loss. Understanding weight loss especially extreme weight loss or crash dieting is important when attempting to answer this question.

Weight Reduction

Most people have at some point in their lives wanted to or needed to lose weight. A healthy diet and exercise are the best ways to achieve weight loss though it may take longer than you want it to. In order to effectively lose weight, your body must burn more calories (units of energy) than it consumes.

Extreme weight loss through illness, eating disorders, or crash dieting is not a good way to go. Illness cannot be helped and when recovered the weight you lost may come back. With eating disorders or crash diets extreme amounts of weight is dropped in a short period of time.

This extreme weight loss is usually achieved through severely limiting food intake often at the expense of your health. In such cases there may be a loss of essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health including weight. These deficiencies are likely to be B vitamins especially B6, Biotin, and Niacin, as well as minerals including magnesium and sulfur. These can all be found in foods especially in fruits and in vegetables. Low iron in the blood may also be linked to hair loss. Iron rich foods include red meats, beans, dried fruits, and many cereals. A multi-vitamin with iron may be needed to replenish what the body has lost.

A physical exam and knowledge of the ideal weight for your height will let you and your doctor know whether you are too thin to be healthy. Once illnesses go away or eating disorders are stabilized hair quality may return or at least improve.

Hair Loss

Hair loss can be caused by heredity, illness, stress, or trauma. Medications may also play a part in hair loss. Typically once recovered hair may return to normal or improve. When medications such as chemo treatments are stopped you will experience new growth over time. The quality and color may change as it comes back.

Treatments can include something as simple as hairstyle changes, eating healthier, and exercising. Topical treatments are applied directly to the scalp. Finasteride and minoxidil are the two FDA approved treatments that achieve results. Oral medications including anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants might also be used to relieve conditions that are causing hair loss including scalp irritations and reduce the effects of stress.

The Link

Extreme weight loss such as that which results from eating disorders and crash dieting will likely rob the body of the vitamins and minerals necessary for over-all good health and specifically healthy hair. Once these things are replaced your hair’s condition will likely improve.

Conclusion

Weight problems especially extreme weight loss may rob the body of what it needs to maintain healthy hair. While there are other causes for hair loss weight loss is a potentially dangerous cause. Without proper nutrients your body will not function as it should. Once restored to normal levels your over-all health and the condition of your hair will likely improve. If you have lost extreme amounts of weight a physical will help to rule out other causes. There are treatments available for weight loss and hair loss. Your doctor can be your best asset in getting back into good health.

Ear Infection Symptoms

A collection of ear infection symptoms can be involved when someone has otitis media. What is this condition? Otitis media comes from Latin and refers to an infection of the inner ear. Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms that may present in this condition.

Pressure and pain

Usually, the middle of the ear is sterile. However, when it is infected by bacteria, pus can collect inside of it. Pressure can build up at this point, and the situation may become significantly painful.

Perforated eardrum

In particularly severe cases, or in those that go without treatment, the eardrum might break. This may seem as though it would be a serious issue, but actually it can be welcome to the individual as it may lead to relief from the significant levels of pressure and pain. Keep in mind that in the majority of the cases that this occurs, the eardrum will still heal and return to its normal state after some time.

Pus in the ear canal

Should the eardrum perforate, then pus that was located in the middle ear may flow through the ear canal. In some cases it can even be noticed.

What causes an ear infection?

Now that we’ve discussed some of the possible ear infection symptoms, let’s take a moment to look at what leads to this illness. In children, it is most frequently brought on by infection with S. pneumoniae. This type would be a bacterial form of otitis media. In adults, the reason most often seen is H. influenzae, which is also a bacteria. Other infectious agents, including some viruses, can also cause an ear infection. Incidence is also raised in people who have a dysfunctional Eustachian tube. It seems that genetics can also be involved as a risk factor.

Myths About Deafness

At the outset of this article I must state that I am a hearing person. I have no qualifications in deaf culture. The aim of this article is to broaden cultural understanding of deafness and break down some of the myths about deafness.

Myth One

Deaf people cannot talk.

Fact: – Deaf people can talk. They use their hands, not their mouths to communicate. Sign language is a recognized language with its own structure, grammar and tenses. It can convey the same complexity of meaning as spoken language.

Myth Two

All deaf people use the same sign language.

Fact: – Each country has its own sign language. Just as there are many ‘spoken languages’ and many variations within each language. For example people from Scotland and those from America speak English. However they may have difficulty understanding each other. It is the same with sign language. There are some similarities between British Sign Language (BSL) and Auslan, but there are more differences. American Sign Language (ASL) uses one hand to spell words. Often when deaf people meet other deaf from a different country they rely on mime and gesture to communicate. This is the same as the way hearing people who do not share a language try to communicate. Within the international deaf community there is an international sign language. However this is generally only know by deaf people who travel overseas regularly.

Myth Three

The best way to communicate with a deaf person is by writing.

Fact: – Sign language uses a different structure and grammar than written English. Deaf people are very visual. Written English is often confusing to them. It is far better to use gesture and mime.

Myth Four

All deaf people can lip read.

Fact: – Less than half the deaf population can lip-read. Those that can lip read well will understand around 30% of what is said to them. People with accents, moustaches and poor lip patterns are more difficult to understand.

Myth Five

All deaf people have an intellectual disability.

Fact:- There is no relationship between deafness and intellect. As with the hearing population there are some deaf people who have an intellectual disability. Many deaf people attend university and hold responsible positions in business and society,

Myth Six

All deaf people should have a cochlea implant.

Fact:- Many deaf people are against Cochlea implants for deaf children. Again this is because there is no disability in being deaf. Deaf cannot imagine coping with the distraction of noise all day. One deaf woman made an excellent remark in relation to cochlea implants. She wondered what the medical professions’ response would be if she asked that her hearing child be operated on to remove it’s hearing. She is proud to be deaf. Her family is deaf. To her, deaf is normal. Hearing is a not normal in her family. She, like many other deaf, and some hearing people, believes that cochlea implants should never be given to children who are born deaf. Implants are most suited to those who have lost their hearing.

Hopefully this article has awakened your interest in deafness. There are many resources available where you can find more information.

Advocacy for the Deaf and Mute Patients

As you nurses go on with your daily tasks of carrying out doctor’s orders and caring for your patients, have you ever wondered what happened to the old fashion way of nurse-patient interaction? How many of your patients today have you actually took time to talk to and learn first hand information on what specific set of behaviour brought them to the hospital today? One? None?

With the nurse-patient ratio existent in many public hospitals today, it is quite impossible to attain this one basic principle you learned from Fundamentals of Nursing. It is not surprising that many people are still unaware how much activity a nurse must finish within her 8-hour shift. Most of the time, spending a quality nurse-patient interaction would be the least of the nurse’s priority because of staffing shortage as well as the tasks that she needs to accomplish within the day. As such, how will a nurse get sufficient clinical subjective information from the communication-challenged individuals, like the mute and deaf? Surely, a private hospital will have an in-house specialist for this type of clients. But how about the government or public hospitals? Would you say public hospital nurses are not up to this type of challenge? Before you make up your mind, here are two factors which, both the private and public hospital will have difficulty in resolving:

Patient’s Communication Skills

Bear in mind that effective communication involves feedback. Regardless of the presence of an in-house communication specialist within the private hospital, if the patient cannot communicate using the tools that the specialist have, there won’t be any progress at all. What will a nurse do if she has a deaf and mute as well as illiterate patient?

A nurse can use illustrations and photos to teach this type of patient, but to get the subjective data necessary to confirm a clinical status would require quality nurse-patient interaction and collaboration with the closest family member of the patient.

Reason for Hospital Admission

It is not surprising for a nurse to receive a patient with symptoms of abuse. She can take note of this from the bouts of crying or tension of the patient whenever the source of abuse is present. However, this may be difficult when the patient is both deaf and mute. It would be a real challenge to prove abuse, especially if clinical symptoms that are verifiable with physical examination in conjunction with laboratory tests provide no clues. The nurse will have to use her senses most of the time with these types of patients.

Being present inside the room every time someone visits the patient would be ideal. She can take note of her patient’s reaction towards the visitor to assess behavior. She can then recommend these observations to a psychologist.

These patients are those kind of patients that nurses need to spend more time to establish rapport. You can expect that individuals with this disability are more apprehensive of strangers.

Of course, nurses would like to get the ideal – a patient who can communicate his needs clearly and effectively. But alas, the situations most nurses are in, were most of the time, far from the ideal.

It’s circumstances like these that makes a nurse want to learn more – to get her communication skills amplified. She can voluntarily take courses on hand communication for the deaf and the mute. After getting these skills, she can gather out of school youth in her locale and teach the basics to these children and teenagers. At the hospital, she can propose a program for the admitted deaf and mute patients to learn the basics of this communication.

The nurse may not be satisfied with these simple altruistic methods, such that she can start to join NGO’s and advocate this in public schools, colleges and universities. In fact, a nurse can do a study on this and have it communicated to the allied health professions as a wake up call. Well, these are just ideas, but hey, human inventions resulted from ideas, right?

Visual Impairment – Communication in Healthcare

Treating Patients with Visual Impairment

Patients who are blind or vision impaired will have different needs to other groups. In the general population, 70% of information is visual. Sight loss can therefore totally change the way that people communicate. Getting communication right is so important, but obviously difficult in a busy environment.

Varying Needs

People vary in what they can see, and this reflects in what they need from communication. A small number of patients will be totally blind. Aside from this, there is a huge variation in types of sight loss.

Someone who has central vision loss (e.g. Macular Disease) may not see faces or expressions; they may not see written signs, or be able to read a hospital menu card. However they may be able to find their way around safely.

If you are treating a patient with peripheral vision loss (e.g. Glaucoma, Retinitis Pigmentosa) be aware that they may not see what is right next to them; though may be able to see straight ahead very clearly. As an example of how to work with them, if you give them something, physically hand it to them rather than leaving it next to them.

Although people differ in many ways, one common need is for a good level of ambient light. Get this right and communication will be much smoother for patients with partial sight.

Communication Tips

If you remember one thing it is this: make your communication verbal, not visual. Simply think of communicating as you do on the telephone.

When first speaking to someone with sight loss, tell them who you are – your name and your role. Don’t rely on them recognising your face, name badge or uniform. Also as they may meet a number of staff in quick succession; it is not certain they will remember you on later occasions. There is a limit to the number of voices a human can remember!

Normally when healthcare staff listen, they nod and make eye contact to show interest. Where talking to someone with severe sight loss, you may need to make this more verbal. Again this is something you probably have plenty of practice at in telephone calls. If you are taking notes whilst talking to someone, let them know this as it will explain silences.

Using gestures and expressions is fine if this helps you to communicate naturally. However, try to reflect what you are feeling in your voice as well. This means that patients who are blind or visually impaired get more feedback to what they are saying.

This article won’t have covered every situation that you as nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff encounter. Where you are not sure on something it is often best to ask your patient themselves. They are the expert on how much help they need, and how best to help them. And they will probably appreciate the personal touch of your effort to get it right.

What’s most important to remember?

Everyone is different, and what people need in communication partly depends on the type of sight loss they have. Focus on the verbal aspect of your communication. And if in doubt, ask.

For information on how Create Vision UK can assist healthcare organisations to provide accessible services to people with visual impairments, please see this page: http://www.createvisionuk.com/modules/mastop_publish/?tac=healthcare