Herpes Zoster Vaccine – What You Should Know About It

Herpes zoster or shingles is a painful infection of the nerves and skin caused by the virus that causes the childhood disease, chickenpox. After recovering from chickenpox, the virus will lie inactive in the body. After many years, the virus may re-emerge as shingles for undetermined reasons. Shingles is a common illness in the U.S., especially for people aged 60 and over. A herpes zoster vaccine is now available to prevent the occurrence of shingles or to reduce its severity and duration if you do get it.

Shingles is contagious and can be spread to people who have not had chickenpox. However, these people will get chickenpox instead of shingles.

What is Herpes Zoster Vaccine?

Herpes zoster vaccine is a live, weakened form of the varicella zoster or chickenpox virus. It is administered under the skin.

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

The zoster vaccine is recommended for anybody who is 60 years of age or older. One dose is usually enough.

The effects of shingles are typically more severe in older people, so it is important for elderly people to get the shingles vaccine. There is no maximum age for getting the herpes zoster vaccine.

Is it Effective?

The vaccine, Zostavax, reduces the risk of shingles by about 51% in adults 60 years old or older. The risk of getting post-herpetic neuralgia is also reduced by 67%. Research studies indicate that the shingles vaccine is effective for at least 6 years and possibly even longer.

Is it Safe?

The FDA approved the use of Zostavax as a shingles vaccine in 2006. Clinical trials were conducted in about 20,000 adults aged 60 years or older. The most common side effects included fever and headache as well as soreness, swelling, redness or itching at the shot site. Some people may experience allergic reactions such as skin rash, hives, itching, or swelling of the face, tongue or lips.

Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?

Those whose immune systems are compromised due to medicine, including cancer treatment, should not get the vaccine. People who have HIV, AIDS or tuberculosis should not be vaccinated either. The vaccine is not safe for pregnant women or those likely to be pregnant, or to people who are allergic to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin.

Does the Herpes Zoster Vaccine Also Protect Against Genital Herpes?

The shingles vaccine protects people against herpes zoster or shingles. The vaccine does not protect against other herpes infections, such as genital herpes.

Bruxism and TMJ – An Effective New Treatment

Bruxism is a disorder of unconscious jaw clenching and teeth grinding that causes pain in the temporo-mandibular joint, a sensation of soreness and tension in the jaw as well as headaches, neck pain and even migraines. Over the years, continuous grinding wears down the teeth and can even cause cracking and severe tooth damage. Bruxism to some degree, especially at night, is very common. As long as there are no symptoms of pain or dental damage, it does not necessarily require treatment. However, once a person feels pain, he/she usually seeks a treatment for Bruxism.

Bruxism can be exacerbated by a variety of factors. Malocclusion (poor fitting together of the teeth), stress, anxiety, certain medications such as SSRI antidepressants and certain diseases such as Huntigton’s and Parkinson’s can all worsen Bruxism. Use of drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, as well as overuse of caffeine and alcohol will frequently cause people to brux.

Treatment of Bruxism has been plagued with difficulties. Dental devices have been successful in protecting teeth from damage at night, but have not been effective at stopping the pain and soreness that accompanies severe Bruxism. Of course, the clenching and headaches do not subside with dental devices. Biofeedback, relaxation exercises and meditation have been variably effective in controlling stress with some people, but most do not find the relief that they are looking for in behavioral modification techniques like these.

Botulinum toxin (BOTOX®) has recently been seen to be very successful in treating the grinding and clenching of bruxism. BOTOX® is an injectable medication that weakens muscles and is used commonly in cosmetic procedures to relax the muscles of the face and decrease the appearance of wrinkles. BOTOX® was not originally developed for cosmetic use, however. It was, and continues to be, used to treat diseases of muscle spasticity such as blepharospasm (eyelid spasm), strabismus (crossed eyes) and torticollis (wry neck). Bruxism can also be regarded as a disorder of repetitive, unconscious contraction of the masseter muscle (the large muscle that moves the jaw). BOTOX® works very well to weaken the muscle enough to stop the grinding and clenching, but not so much as to interfere with chewing or facial expressions. The strength of BOTOX® is that the medication goes into the muscle, weakens it and does not get absorbed into the body. Side effects and allergies are unheard of. Despite the occasional brouhaha in the media, BOTOX® has been shown to be one of the safest medications ever seen. Over the last 20 years and 20 million treatments, there has never been a serious complication directly attributed to the drug. This is a safety record that puts Aspirin to shame.

The treatment of Bruxism with BOTOX® involves about five or six simple, relatively painless injections into the masseter muscle. It takes a few minutes per side and the patient starts feeling the effects the next day. Occasionally, some bruising can occur, but this is quite rare. The symptoms that are relieved by this procedure include:

Grinding and clenching

Morning jaw soreness

TMJ pain

Muscle tension throughout the day

Migraines triggered by clenching

Neck pain and stiffness triggered by clenching

The optimal dose of BOTOX® has to be worked out for each person – some people have stronger muscles that need more BOTOX®. This is done over a few touch up visits with the physician injector. This treatment is expensive, but sometimes BOTOX® treatment of Bruxism can be billed to medical insurance (plans vary – it is a good idea to call your insurer beforehand to find out what is covered and what documentation is necessary). The effects last for 3 months or so. The muscles do atrophy, however, so after a few rounds of treatment it is usually possible to either decrease the dose or increase the interval between treatments.

2 Ways Of Treating Thrush In Throat In Adults!

When the thrush spreads to the throat it’s when the real suffering beings. It’s not enough that your tongue is burning and itching, now it’s also painful to swallow. Preparing homemade natural mouthwashes is the only way of treating thrush in throat, because it’s the only way to reach the thrush. I am about to give you few recipes that actually work and can be easily prepared even now!

Very salty water is one of the known mouthwashes that work great for thrush in the throat. There is nothing complicated – dissolve some salt in water until it is very salty and then gargle it. You can do it 4 times a day for 3 minutes. The salt will dry the Candida bacteria and kill it this way!

Another mouthwash can be prepared from the tea tree oil. It’s sold in every pharmacy so it’s no problem to get it. Add few drops to a glass of water and your mouthwash is ready. You should use it 2-3 times a day. It has been proven that tea tree oil has the antifungal and antibacterial properties to fight Candida successfully.

So here you have 2 natural mouthwashes you can use to treat the thrush in your throat! I want you to know one more thing – you have to avoid any sweets and also sugar. It’s a food for the Candida and if you want to cure it you have to avoid sugar as much as possible. Instead of feeding it, let it starve!

Tonsil Stones 101 – Don’t Lose Your Tonsils Just to Lose Your Tonsil Stones

For years and years, the recommended and totally irreversible surgical solution of a tonsillectomy was the recommended method for getting rid of tonsil stones. Yet, this also meant you had just lost one of the body’s very important immune system components: Your tonsils. The older you are the more risky this surgery can be as well, so why put yourself through it just to solve a problem of tonsil stones, which actually can be addressed without the loss of body parts!

A tonsillectomy is a serious surgery that is not cheap – and the older you get the more risk there is in getting one. Then there are the costs you will incur: hospital costs, surgery costs, plus your lost work time while you are recovering. Most important: it is not necessary simply because you have suffered from tonsil stones. There are other ways to solve the problems caused by Tonsil Stones.

For those who have never suffered the embarrassment caused by these little white bacteria infested rocks on your tonsils, here’s the info:

Tonsil Stones (scientific name -Tonsilloliths) is the formation of mouth debris and sulphuric bacteria found in your mouth. The debris and bacteria all join together and mold into a smelly ball that sticks into the crevices of your tonsils. They continue to grow, often causing a blockage or restriction in your throat and of course a horrifying odor emits as your breath. An odor most describe as similar to rotten eggs.

You can actually remove and prevent these stones in the comfort of your own home. There is no need to go undergo a tonsillectomy. There are a number of actions you can take to help prevent their return and various foods and oral hygiene steps you can use to help prevent and remove them.

By taking these small daily precautions you can avoid the recurrence of tonsil stones and avoid the horrors of a tonsillectomy.

Vestibular Disorder Or Migraine With Vestibular Symptoms?

The term “vestibular migraine” is not a real medical classification. A more accurate description would be a migraine with vestibular symptoms.

The vestibular system in the inner ear, is one that maintains balance and equilibrium. Therefore vestibular symptoms are dizziness, vertigo (a sense of spinning or motion when at rest), or loss of balance and disequilibrium.

Basilar migraines can also present with vertigo and tinnitus. Menieres disease (a condition with similar symptoms) is often diagnosed when in fact the patient my be experiencing migraines with symptoms of vestibular disorder. It is known that people with migraines are more apt to experience Menieres and vice versa.

Patients with migraines with these symptoms can experience just vestibular symptoms or the symptoms along with migraine head pain. The MRI brain scans of these patients are usually normal.

Though there have been NO control trials demonstrating efficacy for migraines with vestibular symptoms, the following drugs are used by physicians. For frequent or chronic vestibular migraines, daily calcium channel blockers (a blood pressure medication), SSRI’s (a type of anti-depressant), and anti epileptic drugs. Also triptan drugs are used for acute attacks but once again there are no trials showing that they help with the vestibular symptoms.

Though there have been organized clinical trials demonstrating the prophylactic efficacy of high-dose riboflavin and magnesium for treating chronic migraines, there are NO trials showing these ingredients, either alone or in combination reduce or eliminate vestibular symptoms.

Several chronic migraine patients with the symptoms of vestibular disorder who were using a combination of high dose riboflavin, magnesium and feverfew extract in a supplement called MigreLief, report a decrease in these symptoms and an increase in the time they felt their balance and equilibrium were closer to normal.

If additional patients report these benefits a clinical trial of this combination may be warranted.

Red Penis and Penile Rash – Signs to Be Aware Of

With all of the rough handling that the average penis experiences, issues such as red penis skin, bumps and rash are common. While a red penis is usually nothing to worry about, there are some cases where treatment is necessary. Many penis problems can be avoided by proper care of the erogenous skin, including cleansing the area regularly and treating the skin with penis vitamins and minerals that support skin and nerve health, help to maintain the elasticity of the penile skin, and help the body to combat infection.

· Yeast infection (thrush) – Yeast infection of the penis is common, especially in uncircumcised men, as the warm, moist area under the foreskin can allow the overgrowth of yeast spores. Yeast infections can be transferred from a sexual partner, or they can develop as a result of low immunity – men who have been taking antibiotics or who are affected by diabetes may be more prone to this condition. A yeast infection can cause red, itchy skin and a chunky, whitish discharge which may have a foul odor.

· Psoriasis – Psoriasis can affect the penis, as well as the rest of the body, and may present as a red, spreading rash with flaking skin. While this condition is not contagious, it can give the penis an unattractive appearance which may be off-putting to potential partners. Vitamin A, or retinol, is often used to treat psoriasis on other parts of the body and may be used on the penis, as well.

· Dry skin– Dry or chapped skin may become reddened and irritated or develop red bumps. Frequent masturbation and aggressive sex without the benefit of lubricants or moisturizers can dry the penis skin. Left untreated, the skin may become cracked and roughened, and the skin of the glans and shaft may develop a callus-like layer.

· Jock itch– Known medically as tinea cruris, jock itch presents as a red penis, itching and a spreading rash. This uncomfortable, itchy skin condition is actually a fungal infection that can affect the entire groin area, as well as spreading to the thighs. Jock itch can be avoided by wearing only clean, dry clothing, washing athletic supporters regularly, maintaining good hygiene, and avoiding the sharing of towels and other personal items.

· Allergies/contact dermatitis – Allergies and skin sensitivities often cause reddening of the penis skin, as well as itching, penis rash and irritation. Men who have sensitive skin should avoid common irritants like latex, harsh detergents, and cleansers that contain chemical dyes and fragrances.

· Fordyce’s spots – Both cut and uncut men can develop small, whitish or red bumps under the penis skin that are known as Fordyce’s spots. These are natural and harmless, although they may be of cosmetic concern. Keeping the penis skin well-nourished with skin-rejuvenating vitamins and minerals may help to eliminate common blemishes that affect the penis.

· Paraphimosis – This condition occurs when the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis retracts partially and then cannot be pulled back over the head; when the foreskin tightens below the glans, it can restrict blood flow, causing the penis to become red or even purple. Men with paraphimosis should seek immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage to the penis.

Avoiding red penis, penis rash and other common penile issues

The key to healthy penis skin and preventing penis skin problems is to keep the area clean, wear clean, non-restrictive clothing, and support skin health through the use of vitamins, antioxidants and moisturizers. Treating the penis skin with a specialized penis health formula (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can help to maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance, support immune function, and promote smooth, supple and healthy-looking skin that is responsive to sexual stimulation.

Natural Sore Throat Remedy

Looking for a natural sore throat remedy? This particular problem can be a real burden, it makes it difficult to talk and eat and pretty much just basically function throughout the day. I get a throat that is sore maybe once a year it seems, it is like an annual tradition during the winter. Instead of going to the doctor to get the antibiotics I use natural methods that help get rid of the nagging problem in no time flat.

There are a few techniques and natural sore throat remedies you can try which include a warm compress on your throat, inhaling steam from hot water in the sink, and gargling salt water. I think the steam inhalations are my favorite because not only do they help cure this particular problem but they are very relaxing, you have your own personal mini sauna for yourself. A very common remedy is drinking plenty of fluids such as tea. The tea market has a huge selection that will help you cure your sore throat and they taste delicious also. I drink tea sometimes but typically more when I’m feeling under the weather.

Out of all the methods drinking tea and steam inhalation our my two favorites and I would recommend that to any one who has this particular problem. If your sore throat worsens and you have tried all these measures I would suggest you see your doctor because then antibiotics may be needed. When I do get a sore throat I avoid drinking any cold liquids because that seems just to agitate my condition, I found that out the hard way.

Is Psoriasis Contagious – Did Someone Give You Psoriasis and Could You Pass it on Too?

Is psoriasis contagious? That’s the question that is foremost on your mind now, right?

Discovering you have developed this incurable skin disease is traumatic enough without having to worry if you may be passing it on to your loved ones. I know, because I have been there too.

Developing a strange skin rash and then having it diagnosed as psoriasis, with young kids in the household, was the situation that led me to ask the question “Is psoriasis contagious?” Nobody wants to pass on a disease like psoriasis, especially to your own family.

Let me put you at ease right now:

No, psoriasis is NOT contagious!

You cannot pass this disease on to other people through any amount of contact, and if you have psoriasis yourself – no-one gave it to you. Psoriasis just happens, and can happen to anyone at any time in their life. The question is – why!

Well, that’s a question I can’t answer for you. That’s because scientists don’t really know what causes psoriasis.

So, what do we know about the causes of psoriasis?

Well, we know that a malfunction of the immune system causes the T-cells in your body to produce skin cells much faster than is normal. These skin cells get pushed to the surface in a matter of days (rather than about 4 weeks). These skin cells build up on the outer layer of skin and that is the flaky rash like effect you see.

What we don’t know is what caused this immune system malfunction in the first place. It seems that it is triggered by outside influences which can vary from sufferer to sufferer. Common triggers are:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Dietry factors
  • Lack of vitamin D from sunlight (psoriasis usually worsens in the winter)
  • Alcoholism

Treatment for Nail Fungus

Treatment for nail fungus (onychomycosis) can be a lengthy process: first, it must get at the fungus and stop its growth, and then it takes time for the damaged toe- or fingernail to grow out, taking the fungus remnants and damage with it. If the goal is healthy looking feet to slip into summer sandals, treatment must begin months in advance. Fingernails grow quite slowly; toenails are even slower.

If treatment for nail fungus begins before the infection is too far advanced, that is, it’s still confined to the distal regions of the nail near the tip, it will be easier to treat. It will look healthy sooner, and oral prescription drugs will be more easily avoided. The topical liquid, Penlac nail lacquer, stands out from the other prescription treatments because it is applied to the nail rather than taken internally. It can only be used, however, if the lunula, the crescent shaped whitish part of the nail near the base, is not infected.

Even when the whole nail is infected, there is a wide range of treatment for nail fungus. Prescription drugs other than Penlac nail lacquer are taken orally, and there are cost and toxicity issues to consider. Many proprietary remedies are available, most of which are topical formulations. They include lotions and salves that have been marketed for many years as over the counter remedies. Newer homeopathic variations are made from essential oils and other natural ingredients believed to have antifungal activity.

Other variations on treatment for nail fungus come from the bright ideas of people who thought it through and tried something different. Someone who knew that fungus dislikes acid conditions came up with soaking hands or feet in vinegar. Chlorine bleach’s disinfectant properties no doubt inspired the dilute bleach soak, and the antiseptic in Listerine mouthwash was thought, by someone, to be a good treatment. Vicks VapoRub, and hydrogen peroxide have been used similarly, while a mix of dark beer and a strain of bacteria, Bacillus acidophilus, may be based on the idea that a friendly organism can drive out an unfriendly one. Like Penlac Nail lacquer, all of these remedies get at the problem from the outside, through the nail, and they have the best chance of working if they get through to the fungus.

Allergy Symptoms and Allergy Relief

Allergy is the body’s response to the presence of some aggravating agent called an allergen. Individuals act differently in their responses to allergens; therefore some people are more allergic than others.

It used to be assumed that all allergens were protein substances, and it was common to speak of “protein sensitivity.” It is known that some allergens are carbohydrates, and at least a few are chemically related to the fats. All allergens have one thing in common – they stimulate a sensitive person to react by producing antibodies.

The allergic reaction results from intricate chemical processes, such as enzyme reactions, and is related to the processes by which immunity is developed. Becoming immune to a certain germ whose products have served as an allergen is one form of allergic response. When the antibodies which a certain allergen produces are stationary within a group of the body’s cells rather than being free in the bloodstream, then these cells in which the antibodies are located may be unfavorably affected when exposed to this specific allergen.

Kinds of Allergen

1. Some allergens enter the body by being inhaled. These include pollens; dusts; vapors, such as tobacco smoke; emanations such as dandruff; and strong odors such as perfumes (dust allergy, nasal allergy).

2. Certain foods provoke as allergic response in sensitive persons. These include wheat, milk, chocolate, eggs, strawberries, nuts, pork, and fish (wheat allergy, strawberry allergy, fish allergy, egg allergy, food allergy).

3. Some persons become sensitive to drugs or biological agents. These, then, can serve as allergens (drug allergy).

4. Certain germs may function as allergens. The symptoms produced when these germs invade a person’s tissues are the result of the allergic response.

5. They are allergens which cause the allergic response through a mere contact with the skin or mucous membranes of a sensitive person. These include products from plants such as poison oak and poison ivy, and certain dyes, metals, plastics, furs, leathers, rubber products, cosmetics, and chemicals such as insecticides (skin allergies, cat allergy, dog allergy).

6. Even physical agents such as heat, cold, light, and pressure may cause an allergic response. Many a hay-fever sufferer begins to sneeze when he steps into bright sunlight.

Preventing the Allergic Response

In general, there are four ways to prevent or modify allergic symptoms.

A. Avoiding the allergen. The simplest way to avoid allergic response is to keep offending allergens from entering the body. Hay-fever sufferers can often prevent their attacks by staying indoors during the time of year when certain plants bloom. If these plants are limited to a certain locality, the sufferers can avoid symptoms by staying away from this locality. Allergy to a drug can be avoided by not using the drug. Allergy to some food may be handled by excluding this food from the diet. Persons sensitive to a particular dust may wear a filtering mask. Air-conditioning systems with air filters often bring relief to hay-fever and asthma sufferers.

B. Desensitization.It is possible to build up a person’s tolerance to most allergens by administering gradually increasing doses of this allergen. Physicians can obtain preparations of the usual allergens from medical supply houses and can inject these into a sensitive patient, beginning with very small doses and building up until the patient’s tolerance has improved to where he no longer develops symptoms when exposed to the allergen. This method has proved quite successful for many patients suffering from hay fever and some types of asthma.

C. Antihistamines.In many cases of allergy, the body’s tissues liberate histamine in response to the presence of an allergen. An antihistamine drug may relieve this allergic response. There are many varieties of these medications. One kind will benefit some allergic persons and another kind, others. It may be necessary to use the trial-and-error method to determine which antihistamine will bring the greatest benefit.

There is some hazard involved in the use of antihistamine drugs; many of them have the side effect of making a person drowsy. It is dangerous, therefore, for the person taking such drugs to drive a car.

D. Hormones. In cases of extremely serious allergic reactions, the use of steroid preparations may provide some benefit. These powerful medicinal agents should be used only under the supervision of a physician.

HAY FEVER

The symptoms of this illness depend typically upon an allergic response to an offending protein substance breathed in with the air.

ASTHMA

At least half the causes of asthma seem to be caused or aggravated by allergy.

HIVES (URTICARIA)

This skin manifestation usually results from an allergic response to some offending allergen.

ANGIONEUROTIC EDEMA

This manifestation of the allergic response involves the skin in much the same manner as in hives except that here we have one or more large swollen skin areas. In some forms of the disease, this area of swelling may involve the lining of the larynx so as to interfere with breathing and even endanger the victim’s life. In other cases it is the face, hands, feet, and genitalia that become swollen.

SERUM SICKNESS

Serum sickness is an allergic reaction triggered by the injection of a serum of animal origin (usually horse serum). Certain antitoxins, valuable in the treatment of specific infections, are contained in animal serum. This allergic reaction typically occurs in persons who have had a previous injection of this same kind of serum and have become sensitive to it. Because of this possibility physicians prefer to use toxoid preparations, when available, rather than the antiserums.

Symptoms of serum sickness may develop as long as fourteen days after the injection. However, they may occur more promptly in previously sensitized persons. The illness begins with a skin eruption resembling hives. There is fever, enlargement of the lymph nodes, pain in the joints, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Emergency treatment for serum sickness requires the use of carefully graduated small injections of a 1:1000 solution of epinephrine. Usually the beginning injection consists of.5 ml. of this dilute solution. It is followed a few minutes later by an injection of 1 ml. depending upon the patient’s condition; the injection may need to be repeated two or three times at intervals of a few minutes.

DRUG ALLERGY

An allergic reaction may occur in sensitive individuals after the taking of certain drugs. There are said to be more than one hundred drugs which provoke an allergic response in sensitive persons. Notable offenders are the sulfonamides and penicillin.

Development of a skin rash is the usual manifestation of a drug allergy. Fever and symptoms of shock may occur in extreme cases. Discontinuance of the offending drug is the obvious treatment, the symptoms usually disappearing soon after the drug is discontinued.

Thick Toenail Fungus Is So Ugly – Learn 3 Things That Will Fix Them Fast

If you have ever suffered from thick toenail fungus you know firsthand how ugly and embarrassing it can be.

Most of the people that suffer from this ailment seem to complain of dealing with symptoms like brittle nails with debris growing from beneath them that usually has a smell, or even sometimes they complain of the toenail being so thick that they need to use special nail clippers to cut them and then they are so hideous that all they want to do is keep them hidden.

It’s situations like this that if you’re not careful will cause you to take actions to make matters worse than they are.

What I am trying to tell you is that when you dealing with thick toenail fungus the absolute worst thing that you can do is to hide them and forget about them.

Instead of doing something that will make your situation worse, here are 3 things that you can do that will help you get rid of your nail fungus for good.

1st Thing

Wash and dry your feet as soon as you get home from work., then let them get as much air as possible before you go back. To do this you should wear a pair of flip flops around the house instead of closed up slippers. This will eliminate you keeping your thick toenail fungus in an environment that will make it thrive as it needs a dark, warm, moist place to do this.

By eliminating this you will help to disrupt the natural habitat and give you a better chance of gaining control over it.

2nd Thing

No matter how tempting they may sound stay away from fake remedies that weren’t designed to fix a situation like yours like vinegar or Listerine foot baths. This will do nothing but eat up the fungus on the surface of your toenail but it will leave the underlying problem intact to do more damage. This leads me to the next thing that you should do.

3rd Thing

Buy an all natural herbal treatment that is specifically designed to penetrate thick toenail fungus and deal with the underlying cause of your problem.

See when you can destroy the habitat that your problem is dwelling or thriving in and the cause of your problem you can count on the symptoms to disappear as well and when you destroy them this way they will never come back.

Many people fail to realize this and waste time treating the symptoms which is why they get nowhere with solving their problem.

Aspergillus Nail Infection

Fungal nail infections can be caused by a variety of species of fungi; aspergillus nail infection (onychomycosis) is a relatively unusual type caused by an environmental fungus. There are many different species of Aspergillus fungi – they grow on decaying plant and animal matter in nature and disperse their spores throughout the natural world. As well, aspergillus thrives in human environments: in moist damp cellars, sheds and barns, on moldy food, straw, grains, and in fields where plant stubble is decomposing. We come in contact with aspergillus spores constantly. Usually the mold is not a health problem; however, occasionally inhalation of spores causes fungal lung infections, and contamination of nails can result in onychomycosis.

Aspergillus onychomycosis is generally a distal subungual infection: it starts under the nail near the tip of the finger, where spores may have lodged under the nail or at the sides where the nail creases the skin. Once the fungus starts to grow, the infection spreads back toward the cuticle. It looks much the same as any fungal nail infection, discoloring the nail, causing it to become thick, distorted and flaky. The fungus will not, however, spread to the surrounding skin like some other fungal causes of nail infection. Aspergillus species growing in nature often produce colorful pigments; therefore, an aspergillus nail infection may well appear greenish, black, brown or various other shades.

It is not possible for a doctor to diagnose aspergillus onychomycosis just by looking at the affected nail. Only about half of nail diseases are caused by fungi, and only a small percentage of those are aspergillus nail infection: onychomycosis is more often caused by one of the dermatophytes (fungi that grow on skin) – Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, and others. To determine what species of fungus, if any, is responsible, a nail sample must be cultured in the laboratory and any fungal growth identified by experts.

An aspergillus nail infection can be treated in the same way as any other fungal nail infection. It should be remembered however, that aspergillus may not be one of the fungi that drug manufacturers and producers of antifungal alternative remedies have tested their formulations against. Testing of antifungals is usually done using the most common causes of the infection and aspergillus onychomycosis is relatively unusual. This may explain some treatment failures so often reported for nail fungus treatments.

Bracing and Taping Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are very common in sport and normal functional activities with millions of people suffering this kind of injury every year. Ankle bracing and taping is used to treat ankle sprains and to try and prevent such injuries in sporting activity. The most common type of ankle sprain is an inversion injury where the ankle rolls over on the outer border, tearing the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, with the swelling, bruising and pain which typically accompanies it. The parts of the ligaments are injury typically from the front towards the back.

Ankle sprains are mostly caused by landing from a jump with the foot in an inverted position to some degree, with some loss of the joint position sense being a risk factor for this injury. Sudden onset of severe pain is immediate with the person unable to continue sporting activity and in severe cases finding walking difficult. Ankle sprains grade gently into ankle fractures so a formal assessment is useful if the injury appears severe. While taping and bracing seems a logical course of action to stiffen the ankle the evidence for this is not strong, and taping is known to loosen off after only a short period of exercise.

The reason for increased ankle stability is not clear, but research work indicates that the taping may increase the proprioception or joint position sense of the ankle, allowing the person to more accurately gauge their ankle position and correct any deviations from the stable position. Bracing and taping has not been shown to weaken ankle muscles even when worn for long periods of time. Taping needs skill and repeated application and bracing may have significant advantages over taping as braces are easily applied and adjustable as well as allowing increased rigidity.

Non rigid braces are made of fabric of some kind, with elastic in some braces, but these braces do not impart any stability to either side of the ankle and may again function by increasing the joint position sense of the joint and aiding stability actively. More rigid braces incorporate rigid struts made typically of hard plastic and placed laterally and medially around the ankle to give side to side stability to the ankle. Physiotherapists use braces to prevent injury and to manage athletes in the rehabilitation period after injury, allowing return to sporting activity sooner than would be possible without a brace.

5 Tips For Sex On Your Period

Having sex on your period won’t appeal to everyone but it can offer a surprising benefit. With your libido increasing as your menstrual cycle approaches, your vagina is likely abuzz with a multitude of extra sexy senses. And that means that having sex during your period actually makes having an orgasm that much easier to achieve.

Follow these tips to help you get over any inhibitions and tap in to the likelihood of quicker, stronger, orgasms during sex on your period.

6 TIPS FOR SEX ON YOUR PERIOD

1. The best rule for having sex on your period is that you don’t have to jump in and go crazy on the first day of your period. It will be messier and for some a little sensitive, so wait a day or two before giving it a go.

2. If you feel self conscious about any odour, use a strongly flavoured condom to help mask any smell. However, having a shower beforehand is the best way to prevent any odour.

3. Always discuss with your partner what you are both comfortable with beforehand. If sex on your period for you doesn’t include cunnilingus then there are plenty of other ways to stimulate you. Keep in mind that although oral sex during menstruation can be even more of a taboo than just intercourse, many couples do actually participate in it. So aside from a possible metallic taste, having cunnilingus while you are menstruating is nothing to afraid of and can be done safely between two committed partners.

4. It goes without saying that having sex on your period is always best when you are totally clean. Have a shower beforehand and if you’re still not completely confident due to the ‘ick’ factor, stick to the positions that will create less mess. Missionary is a good way to start out with a dark towel underneath you to spare your sheets. Have a shower together afterwards so you will feel at your sparkling cleanest best.

5. Having said that, sex on your period is always an excellent excuse for shower sex. Get hot and steamy together in the shower without having to worry about your natural lubrication washing away. Your period makes you naturally more wet allowing for slippery sensuous shower sex.

6. If sex on your period all seems too messy you could consider the sponge to avoid messy period sex. Available from most pharmacy’s, the sponge is a small natural or synthetic piece of sponge, that is inserted up in to the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Once removed it is rinsed and washed for use again. If inserted high enough, it can stop the flow of blood during sex and should also be undetectable to your partner. The advantages are obvious, but retrieving it with your fingers can be tricky a task.