Fighting the Common Cold – My Personal Experience With Over-The-Counter Sambucol

Background

In my line of work as a Medical Librarian in a community hospital, I receive a number of weekly email updates from publications and databases to help keep me informed on topics likely to be of interest to the clientele I serve – our physicians, nurses, hospital staff and general public. A little over a year ago, I received one during the height of the H1N1 or Swine Flu outbreak that was of particular interest to me.

I am unable to get the flu vaccine, due to a previous reaction a few years ago. This is of some concern to me, since I do work in a hospital. (And even if you can get the flu shot, it is not always 100% effective against the year’s current flu strain as it must be produced ahead of time; it’s at best an educated guess as to which strains will be involved — so it’s great to have some additional support on hand). Fortunately, I’ve only had the flu once in my life — but it was enough to know that it’s something I don’t want to go through again! So when this email came through with an update titled “Elderberry Extract May Reduce Influenza Symptoms”, I was definitely interested.

Not only was the subject pertinent, but the source was one of the most highly respected in the medical field. It came from DynaMed, an evidence-based “reference tool created by physicians for physicians and other healthcare professionals” by monitoring over 500 medical journals and databases. The editors select “articles most likely to change clinical practice”. What makes this topic particularly fascinating is that elderberry is an herb, not a pharmaceutical. It is not often that mainstream medicine shows an interest in “folk remedies”.

Summary of the Article

In a spring 2009 study done in China, patients were given either elderberry extract or a placebo within 24 hours of exhibiting flu-like symptoms. After 48 hours, the elderberry group had a higher rate of either complete symptom relief or significantly reduced symptoms. Other studies showed similar results with an elderberry extract syrup called Sambucol. In one of those studies, conducted by the Norwegian University of Oslo School of Medicine, those individuals given Sambucol showed significant improvement after an average of just 3.1 days, as compared with 7.1 days for the placebo group. Anyone who has ever had the flu can appreciate the value of those 4 days! And unlike many medications with long lists of side effects, no major adverse effects have been reported with Sambucol, as long as the proper recommended dosing is followed.

How Sambucol Works

It’s important to note that the only version of elderberry syrup used in the studies and definitively shown to have an effect is marketed as “Sambucol”. It’s available in the cold and cough syrup aisle of the pharmacy. One dose of 2 teaspoons contains 3.8 grams of elderberry extract. The packaging for Sambucol describes it as providing “Immune System Support”. Elderberries are unusually high in phytochemicals called flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants These anthocyanins enhance our body’s immune system by aiding in the production of cytokines. Cytokines essentially let the body know when an increased immune response is required. The healing properties of the flowers and berries of the black elder bush were noted as far back as in the ancient writings of Hippocrates, considered to be the “Father of Modern Medicine”.

My Experience

Sambucol must be taken within 48 hours of your first symptoms in order for it to have an effect — and the sooner the better. Consequently, when I first read the email from Dynamed over a year ago, I decided to buy a bottle to have on hand — just in case. It was not cheap compared to some cold syrups — $12.99 — although I was able to find it on sale for around $10.00. I would have paid the higher price anyway, as it’s still less expensive than a visit to my doctor. (It should be noted that although Sambucol provides immune system support, there is no evidence to date that it works to actually prevent the flu; it just lessens the symptoms and allows for a quicker recovery once you think you have it).

Late on a recent Friday evening, I started to develop the unmistakable signs of a cold coming on. I guess it wasn’t too surprising since a number of people I work with had really severe colds and even my hair stylist (who I had just visited two days earlier) had one. Although Sambucol is indicated for flu, not colds, I remembered the bottle I had on hand. I figured any immune support would be welcome and decided to give it my first test. Even though my bottle had been purchased over a year earlier, I was relieved to see that it apparently had a very long shelf life and was not due to expire for another 11 months. So about 2 hours after the onset of my symptoms, I took my first dose (2 teaspoons). I was pleasantly surprised that my symptoms (mainly a runny nose) seemed to disappear within about 10 minutes. I had a good night’s sleep.

But when I woke up the next morning, I realized the cold symptoms had returned — although they were still relatively mild. But I could definitely tell I had a cold. So I took another two teaspoons, as well as some Vitamin C — which I figured couldn’t hurt (although I’ve never been able to prevent a cold by taking Vitamin C alone). Again the symptoms disappeared within 10 minutes. However, they did return throughout the day, about every four hours (when the dose would wear off). I continued to take the Sambucol — with the same symptom-reducing effects each time and had another good night’s sleep.

By day 3, I still had to take the syrup, which I might note is rather pleasant tasting, thank goodness. But I was able to go longer between doses. And by that evening, I didn’t even feel like I had a cold. I took it for one day longer though, just for additional support. I can definitely say that the Sambucol helped limit the severity of the cold and quickened my recovery. I went out and bought two more bottles since they were on sale for $3.00 off and won’t expire for more than two years.

Conclusion

Based on the medical literature and my own personal experience, it is my belief that it is definitely worthwhile to keep a bottle of Sambucol on hand — just in case. It seems to have worked to lessen the severity and duration of my cold. But I hope I never have to find out whether or not it works on the flu!

Disclaimer

Sambucol is not a substitute for visiting your doctor or for taking adequate precautions against the flu such as recommended immunizations, hand washing, adequate rest, and avoiding crowds and sick people when possible during the flu season. There is a child’s version available for children as young as 2 years old; it is not recommended for children younger than age 2. Please remember that all such herbal remedies and other supplements should be discussed with your health care professional. Herbal remedies are not regulated by the government and quality can vary widely from brand to brand.

Essential Oil of Balsam Fir – A Royal Oil Fit For Kings

This particular balsam fir comes from up on the Canadian border from Christmas tree farms that became overgrown. Idaho Balsam Fir is in the pine family of essential oils.There is some evidence now that the “liquid gold” referred to in the Bible was none other than Balsam, an oil fit for kings and royalty. It was one of the three oils found in King Tutankhamun’s grave in 1922 and it is now thought that balsam was the “Balm of Gilead.” Balsam has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal oil for respiratory and muscular and rheumatic pain. Balsam Fir is mentioned 18 times in the Bible in 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, the Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and in the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Nahum and Zechariah.

How Did Medieval Healers Use Balsam Fir?

Balsam fir has been used for respiratory and muscular system ailments. In the 12th century, Hildegard of Bingen referred to balsam and said it was of “royal nature” and advised that it ought to be used as a medicine with great caution because it was so powerful. She used it for fevers, for paralysis, and for someone who was insane by making an ointment with it and rubbing it on their temples and around the head to restore their mind and good health.

How Can Balsam Fir Help Us Stay Healthy Today?

Balsam fir has proved to be an anticoagulant and an anti-inflammatory. It is used by many massage therapists because it is a relaxant to the nervous system and to muscle spasms. Balsam can lower cortisol levels. Studies have shown that balsam will inhibit MCF7- (Aggressive Breast Cancer cells). Idaho Balsam Fir and Frankincense work great together inhibiting cancers in seven different cancer lines. Balsam is used for throat, lung, sinus infections, for fatigue, arthritis and rheumatism. It is also good for urinary tract infections, for scoliosis, lumbago and sciatica. The main effects of Idaho Balsam fir is anti-inflammatory.

How Is Balsam Fir Used?

This oil can be inhaled, applied neat (undiluted) on the body or diluted one part Idaho Balsam Fir to one part mixing oil. It can be diffused or taken as a dietary supplement and can be applied on location for muscle spasms. as for safety, Idaho Balsam fir is non-toxic.

For more information on how this ancient oil has modern day applications, you may wish to attend an aromatherapy program that discusses the Biblical oils. The Institute of Spiritual Healing and Aromatherapy offers courses across the United States and it discusses the biblical oils including balsam fir.

Weight Loss – 5 Effective Ways to Lose Weight

Weight-loss is about diet. Losing weight requires two main activities: burning calories through regular exercise and cutting them through the selection of smart food choices and portion control. A one-sided and unbalanced way to create a calorie deficiency is spending hours in the gym, but that would be unrealistic and removing all the fun. And who wants to continuously feed on lettuce leaves? Instead, develop these seven easy everyday habits to burn belly fat effortlessly.

1. Drink 8 glasses of water per day

Drink a glass of water the first thing every morning. The body is more than 60% water and must remain hydrated to function optimally. We suffer a lot of health challenges simply because the cells of the body are dehydrated. For example, many times we can cure a headache by simply drinking some water. Water carries the miracle of life. Getting a better understanding of the health benefits of water will resolve many of the health issues we struggle with in life.

2. Keep most meals less than 400 calories

Many studies have clearly revealed that effective weight-loss comes by having smaller meals on a regular interval through the day works to your body. Spacing your meals like this and keeping them all about the same size is the official recommendation.

Eating smaller meals several times during the day has been linked to more calorie burning after eating, causing a better response to insulin, and lowering the blood cholesterol levels. When you eat regular meals throughout the day, you will have better control of eating correct portions and less likely to become greedy and overeat.

3. Jump on a mini trampoline

Rebounding exercise has been studied by The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and found to be 68% more oxygen efficient than other forms of exercises. What that is saying is this, you can exercise vigorously on the rebounder without feeling breathless, and the benefits received are better than jogging, swimming, cycling and mountain climbing all combined. This is fantastic news for persons who can not go jogging for various reasons. The greatest part of rebounding exercise is, it is fun, and you can be jumping while watching the news or your favorite TV show.

4. Sleep comfortably

Our health is directly linked to the way we sleep. It is commonly said that our quality of life is related to our quality of sleep. It's important to know that good quality sleep can produce longevity and happiness. Studies have shown that improper sleep may cause a lot of problems and even diseases like arthritis, insomnia, osteochondrosis (a defect in the developmental process of normal bone growth), allergy, asthma, radiculitis (pain due to inflammation or other irritation of the nerve) root), blood supply disturbance and others. The best way to sleep comfortably is to get rid of all electronic gadgets out of your bed room. Create a dark, cool and noiseless environment with a firm comfortable mattress. Peace of mind contribute to effective weight-loss.

5. Meditation and reflection

Life is complete without Divine connections. Human beings are more than physical, we are a triune being of body mind and spirit. If we live our life without a spiritual connection, we can become frustrated, miserable, stressed out, confused, and uncertain about the present and the future. A divine connection can put life in perspective and make us face every day with confidence vigour and zest, all of which can create a hormonal balance for our system causing an improved homeostasis.

Our metabolism will then be increased and weight loss will become almost effortless in the process of burning belly fat. Weight-loss around the weight line is most critical because that is one of the worst places to store excess fat.

Tips to Buy And Take Care of Display Cabinet

Display cabinets can be a great addition to your home as they are used for a number of purposes. Since there is a large variety of them, making a choice is not easy. However, you don’t have to make this decision in a hurry. You can follow a few common best practices in order to get started. If you want to get the most out of your purchase, make sure you read through this guide.

Materials

Nowadays, display cabinets are made of different types of material. Based on the look you like, you can opt for the right material, which will add to the beauty of the environment you want to place the cabinet in. What you need to do is find out what works. In addition, you need to find out about the features of each material.

Wood is the most common material and is of different kinds, such as elm, rosewood, oak, beech, and mahogany, to name a few.

Types

Display cabinets are of different types. The traditional ones feature solid doors and a glass front. If you have a collection of figurines, you want to opt for a cabinet that has enough space.

Another common type is a good choice for room corners. They are used to display trinkets and other small elements of decoration. If you want to save space in your room, this type can be a great choice.

Hanging wall type is also common. As the name suggests, this type requires a special installation technique.

Factors to Consider When Buying

When purchasing a cabinet, make sure you consider a few factors. This will help you get the most out of your investment. Style and appearance matter a lot. Choosing a product that doesn’t look good is not a good idea. Finally, you should take a look at your budget as well. Spending too much on this product is not a good idea.

As a matter of fact, appearance is the most important factor. Choosing one that doesn’t match the environment of your house is not worth it. It will make your room look sort of ugly, which will defeat the purpose of buying one.

Taking Caring of Your Display Cabinets

Make sure you take good care of your cabinets, especially if you want them to stand the test of time. You may think quality products don’t require a lot of care. But it’s not true. You still need to take care of them.

A good maintenance tip is to clean them on a regular basis. All you need to do is wipe them down using a clean, dry piece of clothing. Also, there should be no spills or stains on the surface. For better shine, you can use beeswax. Also, it’s important to keep the product away from direct sunlight if you don’t want the color to fade away.

Conclusion

Long story short, with the help of this short guide, we hope that you can easily opt for the right display cabinets. Following the above tips can protect your investment for several years, which is what we all want.

Get Rid of Fungus Toenails

Get rid of fungus toenails fast using natural ingredients that will not threaten your liver and health like some of the harsh prescription drugs available on the market today.

Fungus toenails are a very aggravating problem and one that more than 35 million people deal with on a daily basis. Toenail fungus attacks both women and men, and it does not really matter how old you are or where you live in the world. It pretty much attacks whenever it finds an opportunity.

Toe nail fungus is caused by the same fungus found in athlete's foot and it gets down into your nail bed and causes them to become yellow, brittle, and cracked. This happens because a small parasite known as a dermatophyte is busy eating away at your nails.

Some people have used some really dangerous and outrageous formulas to get rid of fungus nails but it rarely works and that's why you see them constantly searching to try the next thing. Remedies such as soaking your nails in bleach, or spreading vaginal cream on them are a bit far fetched.

Bleach being absorbed in your bloodstream is never a good idea so that should be avoided. If you want to try a soak, some have recommended a corn meal soak or an apple cider vinegar soak. Neither of these are guaranteed to kill your fungus but both are safer than bleach or other toxic chemicals.

Various natural ingredients such as coconut oil, lemongrass oil, tea tree oil, and lavendar oil have had some success in fighting the fungus.

Philosophy of Deconstructive Architecture

We often relate the Deconstructive Architecture with the works of world famous architects like Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Coop Himmelb (l) au, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, Daniel Libeskind. But before labeling an Architect as ‘Deconstructive’ let us understand the Philosophy behind –

The term Deconstructivist Architecture was first used in 1988 as the title of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, curated by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley. Seven architects assembled beneath this ambiguous banner, they were – Peter Eisenman, Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Koolhaas, Tschumi, and Coop Himmelb(I)au-and were unambiguously seen as “theoretical”. They were criticized by both proponents of various “postmodernisms” and conservative anti-intellectuals. Any idea that “Deconstructivism” was a movement with substance beyond this exhibition was rejected. Yet nearly twenty years later these so called theoretical architects have developed themselves as major practitioners on a global scale. Still theoretical in formal and programmatic stance, they are much more than theoretical in practice, since it is apparent in some of the most significant cultural commissions of the late twentieth century.

As is admitted by its practitioners, deconstruction aims to take form apart – to degrade connections, symmetries, and coherence. This is exactly the opposite of self-organization in complex systems, a process which builds internal networks via connectivity. Extra binding energy is required to hold components together. Natural morphogenesis unites matter, establishing multiple connections on different scales and increasing the system’s overall coherence; whereas deconstruction undoes all of this, mimicking the decay and disintegration of form. For this reason, deconstructivist buildings resemble the severe structural damage such as dislocation, internal tearing and melting suffered after a hurricane, earthquake, internal explosion, fire, or nuclear war!

“This is an architecture of disruption, dislocation, deflection, deviation and distortion, rather than of demolition, dismantling, decay, decomposition, or disintegration. It displays the structure instead of destroying it.”

The deviation from the structural order, threatening the former values of harmony, unity and stability, is therefore isolated from the structure, and can thus be considered as an adornment. The qualities of unity, harmony and balance arise from the geometry of purity and strict composition. The merging of such pure forms adhere compositional rules which do not allow one geometry/form to conflict with another and therefore the overall harmony is maintained. But form is no longer pure with Deconstructivism. It becomes adulterated by some variety of ‘alien’…

“The alien is an outgrowth of the very form that it violates; the form distorts yet does not destroy itself.”

The nature of the word proposes a reversal of construction, thus architecture which seems to take ‘knock down’ a structure, is being called Deconstructive. However Deconstruction is not the dismantling or disassembling of constructions! The imperfections, or ‘contamination’, do not result in the total collapse of structure. Deconstruction, as per Wigley, is a challenging of the values of harmony, coherence and balance. It suggests a new interpretation of structure; that the imperfections are inherent to the structure, and therefore can’t be removed. The flaws are structural!

A Deconstructive architect is therefore not one who dismantles buildings, but one who locates the inherent dilemmas within buildings!

SPG Nerve Block – A New Treatment That Gives Instant Relief for Migraines and Headaches

It is very common in people to experience headaches and migraines. The persistent nature of such kind of pain can cause exhaustion and disability. If you experience these for a long time, you may have to undergo steady, long-term treatment. But worry not; there is also a treatment that provides effective relief in an instant.

There is a new revolutionary treatment that offers instant relief for migraines and headaches without using pills or injections. The Sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) nerve block uses a unique nasal applicator to safely and painlessly eliminate the pain. Other than headaches and migraines, SPG nerve block has been providing successful relief to a variety of conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia and fibromyalgia.

SPG nerve block is a procedure that involves application of a topical anesthetic to the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) in the back of the sinus area. The nasal applicator has a plastic delivery tube that is soft and flexible so that it can comfortably extend to the back of the nasal cavity and place the anesthetic liquid right where it should be applied. It has a small flexible tip designed to help reduce irritation to the nasal lining. In the nasal cavity, the anesthetic liquid is sprayed directly onto the group of SPG nerves.

Also known as nasal ganglion, the SPG nerve is an internal part of the head located behind the nose and sinus area and near the throat. It is where neurons in the head are largely collected. SPG is also covered by a thin layer of connective tissues and mucous membrane.

The nasal ganglion plays a role in causing pain associated with acute and cluster headaches, migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, facial pain and more due to such a wide reach that the nerves from SPG expand to.

SPG nerve block is being performed by placing the plastic tube of the nasal applicator through one or both the nostrils to apply the anesthetic. The anesthetic then works on the ganglion area to relieve multiple head and facial pain conditions. This procedure is done as an outpatient.

The SPG nerve block helps in eliminating pain from a variety of head and face conditions such as acute and cluster headaches, migraines, shingles, head and neck cancer pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, Sluder’s neuralgia, vasomotor rhinitis, and atypical facial pain.

Studies show that SPG nerve block is an excellent treatment for acute and chronic facial and head pain. In a 2009 study, SPG radiofrequency treatment had very high satisfactory results for patients with cluster headaches. Other studies showed that the treatment worked excellently for head and neck cancer pain and for chronic vasomotor rhinitis. It provided overwhelming relief and reduced the need for narcotic medication.

Obtaining relief for migraines and headaches is easy and need not to be painful. For someone who wants to easily get rid of chronic headache or severe migraine, SPG nerve block may just be the answer. This quick treatment needs no toxic medications. With SPG nerve block it only takes few moments to resume your normal lifestyle and live pain-free for the rest of your life.

Alternative Remedies for Children

As a first time mother I started off my parenting career on track with conventional medicine, armed with a bottle of Calpol, to solve every medical dilemma. Confronting my baby's eczema and frequent bouts of tonsillitis led me to discover alternative medicine, homeopathy in particular, and I gradually came to find other ways of dealing with teeth pain and mild fevers.

Let me make it clear that I am writing from my own experience as a mother, I am not a qualified health professional, so before trying any of my suggestions consult your homeopath or doctor to make sure they are appropriate for your child and your particular needs .

In alternative medicine, fever is seen as a healthy sign that the body's immune system is doing its job. By raising the body temperature for a period the bacteria or virus causing the illness can be weakened and killed off by the body's own defense system. Suppressing fevers routinely by giving Calpol or other paracetamol, is there reducing the body's capacity to fight off the illness by itself. It's hard as a parent to see your child ill with fever – you want to dole out some quick fix medicine so they'll be better immediately. Often though by giving paracetamol for a mild fever you can be prolonging the illness, as the body has to fight harder against the bacteria or virus causing it and can then succumb to secondary infections.

There are alternative remedies that you can reach for instead of the Calpol bottle when your child is sick. Tissue Salts are biochemical remedies contain trace trace minerals in minute quantities that our bodies need for balanced health. Ferrum Phos No.4 is excellent for supporting the immune system through fever. Two of the small lactose pills dissolved under the tongue every half hour bring some relief. I experienced this myself when in bed with a fever. On taking two pills I felt the heat draining from my brow. I had to keep repeating the dose every half hour but it also helped psychologically to feel that I was taking something to help myself. There is also a very effective homeopathic preparation in drop form called Infludo by Weleda, which is a combination of remedies to help flu like symptoms.

My second and third babies got through their teeth stages with the help of Chamomilla, another useful homeopathic remedy. It comes in the form of tiny lactose pills that can be put to dissolve on the baby's tongue. They soothe the discomfort and ease the pain.

If you are interested in alternative medicine and homeopathy, find yourself a good homeopath to help you understand how it works and support you through your child's illnesses. Invest in a guide to basic homeopathic remedies for home use.

It has made all the difference to me. My son never had a repeat of the tonsillitis once we stopped treating it with antibiotics and moved on to homeopathic remedies. The children still get their share of colds and flu but I have more confidence in myself and them to fight off these ailments with the true essentials: warmth, rest, love and a few remedies to support the immune system at work. I will never completely get rid of that lurking maternal anxiety wanting a quick fix whenever a child is sick, but at least I can dole out the Tissue Salts, as I mop the fevered brow and supply liquids.

NB I am talking about mild fevers over just one or two days here. High fevers and prolonged illnesses should always be checked out by a doctor or homeopath and treated by them.

Facts About Sinusitis

Paranasal sinuses are air-filled spaces within bone. There are four named sinuses and these are the maxillary, frontal, ethmoidal, and sphenoidal sinuses. These sinuses are named after the bones in which they are located. The paranasal sinuses open into the nasal cavity and are lined with a mucus membrane. There are three primary functions of the sinuses. First, they decrease the weight of the skull. Second, they produce mucus. And third, they also affect the quality of out voice by acting as resonating chambers. The sinuses are involved in many upper respiratory tract infections.

Para-nasal sinuses are air-filled spaces within bone. There are four named sinuses and these are the maxillary, frontal, ethmoidal, and sphenoidal sinuses. These sinuses are named after the bones in which they are located. The paranasal sinuses open into the nasal cavity and are lined with a mucus membrane. There are three primary functions of the sinuses. First, they decrease the weight of the skull. Second, they produce mucus. And third, they also affect the quality of out voice by acting as resonating chambers. The sinuses are involved in many upper respiratory tract infections.

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of any sinus, especially one or more paranasal sinuses. It often follows an upper respiratory infection or cold, or an exacerbation of allergic rhinitis. It can result from inflammation due to allergies or polyps that obstruct a sinus opening into a nasal cavity. The inflammation can also be caused by viral infections like the common cold. The viral infection can cause mucous membranes to become inflated, swell, and produce excess mucus. As a result, the sinus opening into the nasal cavity can be partially or completely blocked.

When mucus accumulates within the sinus, it can provide an excellent medium for bacterial growth, thus, it can promote the development of a bacterial infection. The upsurge of mucus and the inflammation of mucus membranes due to the infection produce pain. Other conditions that can obstruct the normal flow of sinus secretions include abnormal structure of the nose, enlarged adenoids, diving and swimming, tooth infection, trauma to the nose, and the pressure of foreign objects.

If their openings into the nasal passes are clear, the infections resolve immediately. However, if the drainage is obstructed due to certain conditions like deviated septum, nasal polyps or tumors, sinus infection may persist as a secondary infection or progress to an acute suppurative process, causing purulent discharge.

Four types of sinusitis have been identified – acute, subacute, chronic, and allergic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis refers to rapid-injury infection in one or more of the paranasal sinuses that resolves with treatment. Subacute sinusitis is a persistent purulent nasal discharge lasting therapy with symptoms lasting for less than three months. Chronic sinusitis occurs with episodes of prolonged infection and with repeated oradequate treatment of acute infections. An irreversible damage to the mucosa may also occur. The symptoms last for longer for three months. Bacterial organisms like Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis are the most commonly associated organisms with sinusitis. Less common organizations include Streptococcus pyogenes, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and aspergillus fumigatus (fungi). Fungal infections may occur in immuno-suppressed patients.

The symptoms of sinusitis differ from people to people and depend on the age of the person. In adults, most infections involve the maxillary and anterior ethmoidal sinuses. Symptoms may include facial pain or pressure over the affected area, fatigue, facial pain, nasal obstruction, purulent nasal discharge, fever, headache, ear pain, and a sense of fullness. Other symptoms may also include dental pain, diminished sense of smell, sore throat, a periorbital edema in the morning, and a cough that becomes worse when the patient is in supine position. Acute sinusitis can be difficult to distinguish from an upper respiratory infection or allergic rhinitis. If fewer than two symptoms are present, then acute bacterial sinusitis is ruled out. However, the presence of four or more symptoms suggests acute bacterial sinusitis.

If not raised, acute sinusitis may lead to severe and rare life-threatening complications such as meningitis, brain abscess, ischemic brain infarction, and osteomyelitis. Other complications of sinusitis include severe orbital cellulitis, subperiostal abscess, cavernous sinus thrombosis, and meningitis. Brain abscess may take place by direct spread and can be critical. Frontal epidural abscesses are typically inactive. The goal of treatment of acute sinusitis is focused the treatment of the infection, reduction of the inflammation, and relief of pain.

Antibiotic therapy is utilized to get rid of the infecting organism. First-line antibiotics include amoxicillin, ampicillin, and erythromycin. Second-line antibiotics include cephalosporins like cefuroxime, cefprozil, and amoxicillin. Newer and more expensive antibiotics like macrolides, azithromycin, and quinolones such as levofloxacin can be used if the patient has a certain allergy to penicillin. Careful consideration must be given to the potential pathogen before antimicrobial agents are prescribed because of the resistance that has occurred.

Decongestants are also prescribed to promote sinus drainage, reduce tissue swelling, and relieve edema. When mucous membranes are less swollen, breathing is much easier and the movement of mucus out of the nasal cavity is increased. An example of a decongestant is Pseudo-ephedrine Hydrochloride. It acts by reducing the swelling by causing the release of norepinephrine from sympathetic neurons supplying blood vessels. It will increase the vaso-contradiction of blood vessels in the mucus membranes. As a result, there would be reduction of blood flow as well as fluid movement from the blood into tissues. Nasal saline sprays are also available and these can improve the drainage of the sinuses. Topical decongestants should only be used in adults and should not be used for more than three to four days. Oral decongestants must be used cautiously in patients with hypertension. If an allergic component is suspected, antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

It is also advised to drink liquids like water and juice to maintain hydration. Steam inhalation is also considered in order to relieve the discomfort associated to the explosion and these may be effective for opening blocked passage. If the patient continues to have symptoms after seven to ten days, the sinuses may need to be irrigated and hospitalization may be necessary.

Epilepsy Medication and Treatment

Drugs can work very well for many people with epilepsy, which allows them to lead full and normal life. Other, easier to find resources, either because of side effects or simply because it does not work. While many take drugs to be effective, it is a fact that 20-30 percent of people with epilepsy do not respond well to drug therapy. If medication does not prove effective, your doctor may try a higher dose or different medicine or combination of two medicines.

Very rare fight epileptic drugs may lead to more frequent seizures. If this happens your doctor may check the diagnosis. Doctors usually start patients with epilepsy off the lowest dose of anti-epileptic, and then build it to reduce the side effects. What you need depends on various factors such as building and body, to influence how your body processes the medicine and how easy you are to treat epilepsy.

Too high a dose can cause toxicity. Symptoms of poisoning range from drug treatment. If a person gets too much phenytoin, they often become very unstable and may have more frequent seizures. Carbamazepine toxicity usually begins with double vision and drowsi ¬ tion. Another reason why this drug can sometimes seem Seizures will increase if the appropriate type of seizure medication aggravates other types of seizure. Carbamazepine, for example, are effective against tonic-clonic seizures, but not against absence seizures.

There is some confusion about brand vs. generic drugs. Almost all drugs have two names. The first is a common one, even the scientific name of the product that is internationally recognized. Branded drugs name created by individual pharmaceutical companies have produced them. Actual medication is the same, but the problem may occur if you switch from one to another – for example, if you go on Tegretol (brand) with Carbamazepine (generic). This is because sometimes there are small differences in the way drugs are produced. It is best to stick to the type of epilepsy pill are prescribed first, whether branded or generic. Sometimes change may precipitate seizures or side effects. Back man sometimes seizure control may improve or reduce their consequences.

Changing drug treatment
Before treatment was changed on several issues must be considered:

1 is epilepsy? In the misdiagnosis rate is estimated to be between 10 and 25 percent.

2 If it is epilepsy, what type of seizure disorder or syndrome?
Many youth with myoclonic epilepsy (tonic-clonic seizures and myoclonic jerks first thing in the morning) Go undiagnosed, as appropriate leading questions are not asked about myoclonic jerks or early morning tonic-clonic seizures. Specific SYN ¬ Drome responded extremely well to sodium valproate, but carbamaze ¬ pine to create Seizures worse.

3 Are there more appropriate to combat epileptic drugs? All anti-epileptic drugs appeared equally effective (or ineffective!) Discrimination weak, but in primary and symptomatic generalized epilepsy Seizures respond best to sodium valproate, lamotrigine as a second line treatment.

4 provide an adequate drug dose? It is amazing how many people have more than one drug, all drugs inadequate doses. Results of clinical audit are provided in London suggest that the Seizures can be halved to about one third of the people by reducing the number of drugs in monotherapy and in appropriate drug dosage. It is interesting 10% became seizure free as a result of this simple maneuver.

5 you take drugs? If this is a problem that is worth trying to simplify drug therapy to a maximum of twice a day. In midday dose is very easy to forget everything, but gabapentin has a long half-life, to give either once or twice daily.

If you repeat the above failures, then adding a second anti-epileptic drugs are needed, or sometimes the operation as an alternative method of treatment.

Use Your Subconscious Mind to Heal

The universe is to every man exactly what his mind sees it to be. If the mind is free, and light, and joyous, the world is ablaze with sunshine, joy, and happiness, even though in appearance it will be the darkest day of all the year. But if sorrow and despair have found lodgment there the world's delights and grand activities are huge mountains of dreariness in which is no fascination at all, but the most intense weariness instead.

Develop the mind by educational processes and the universe is no longer the shallow thing it was before, but a comprehensive aggregate of cause and effect, of mysterious laws and forces, of deepest, grandest purposes and design. Instill lustful thoughts into it, and a world of animalism results. While if spiritual thoughts hold possession, and the mind endures as seeing Him who is invisible, the world's barren waste becomes a paradise again.

" Morbid mentality is death's advance agent, and if you persist in picturing calamity it may, indeed, come to pass. "

A physician who for twenty-five years practiced medicine, gives this interesting illustration:

Even the doctor himself shakes his head when he comes, as if to say, you are not much longer for this world. The patient is obliged to submit to his surroundings, take whatever is given him, and, worse than all, has to listen to everything that is said to and about him. And if the patient happens to belong to a family in which some family disease has preceded, such as consumption, asthma, apoplexy, paralysis, or rheumatism, this inheritance is held up before him or her, day in and day out.

Unfriendly suggestions of every kind should be avoided in all cases. If we can not say something good or encouraging, something that will make people feel better, we should say nothing.

An internationally famous physician is on record as saying:

" I, myself, have committed the same fault. A female attendant suffering with pains in the stomach. I diagnosed and treated her anxiously for gastric ulcer. For months she kept her bed, and gradually recovered with the stomach very sensitive for years. have not now the slightest doubt that her long sickness was produced by over-anxious investigations and strict regimen. "

We think many doctors as they read this will search their own memories and find recorded there more than one parallel case.

We hear more about germs and the mischief that they do about the suggestions which render people immune. We see scare-heads and placards and billboards advertising the symptoms of disease and the ills from which people suffer, dangers of contagion, and need for physic at all crossroads of civilization.

If we spent one half as much printer's ink and one-tenth as much energy and one-hundredth part as much faith in creating a healthy atmosphere as we do in advertising the dangers of diseases besetting the human race, it would not take long to shoo-fly diseases, disease germs and medicine kits out of the closets of the human family.

This unfriendly suggestion has been habitual from time immemorial down until the present day. Indeed, in heathen countries now, the suggestion of devils and imps of sickness and sorrow, and superstitious ravings about ill health, misfortune, poverty and death, stares man in the face everywhere.

The suggestion of sickness is seen and heard at every crossroad of man's activity and experience. Warnings of this, that or the other sickness, of nose, throat, ear, eyes, smallpox and yellow fever, bronchitis and appendicitis, operations and amputations, patent medicine and quack serums, make up a major part of man's daily round of living. We come into the world in superstitious dread of sickness, we travel through this "veil of tears" between the two peaks of eternity, prompted on to our dreadful end by ill suggestions of every kind on every hand, at every turn.

The suggestive fear of poverty and old age, of loss of leg, arm or ear, fear of failure, lack and limitation, fear of not getting married and fear of the divorce court after we are hooked up, fear of the circumstances and environment round about us! Fear of getting no business and after it grows fear that we can not take care of it! Fear of the devil, damnation, death and the judgment!

It is one roly-poly, whirly-gig, merry-go-round, ring-a-round-the-rosie of fear, from the time our eyes are opened to see the light of day until they are closed by the hands of another as if to cover the last long fear stare as we make our exit from this stage of life.

It has been assumed that one must pass through a round of children's diseases and other maladies of early and later life, culminating in the loss of hospitals and in death, with all of the horrors and all of the pitfalls that average life may have.

It is asserted by doctors of experience that in cholera epidemics a large proportion – more than half – of the cases are the result of "fear," otherwise suggestion.

Our fear often does more damage than the disease itself. How can we use our subconscious mind to our advantage – to eliminate fear and heal ourselves.

Here are tips to counteract unfriendly suggestion:

  1. Avoid all suggestions, from extraneous sources, which are adverse to health.
  2. If such suggestions are forced upon you, meet them by counter suggestions affirmative of your own immunity from the proposed diseases.
  3. Inhibit all conversation at the table adverse to the quality of the food set before you, especially as to its alleged indigestibility.
  4. Never refuse to give a child the food it desires on the ground of its hurtfulness. If you are too stingy to give him what he wants, say so. But, as you value the health of your child, never suggest that the food he eats isiable to "make him sick," first, because you know you are lying, and, secondly, because he will find it out some day, and despise you for it.
  5. Talk hopefully to the chronic invalid, for his sake; and for your own sake, when you leave him, thank God that you are immune from his diseases.
  6. Think health and talk health on all possible occasions, remembering that under the law of suggestion health may be made contagious as well as disease.
  7. Finally, meet the first symptom of disease with a vivid and persistent auto-suggestion of your immunity from disease or of your ability to throw it off. When you go to bed at night, direct your subjective mind to employ itself during your sleep in restoring normal conditions, strongly affirming its ability to do so; and when you rise in the morning, assume the attitude, in mind and body, of restored health and vigor. Should these prophylactic efforts fail to produce the desired effect, and should disease come upon you in spite of them, it is not the fault of the system. It is because you are not well grounded in the conditions preceded to success. Mental remedies are dependent for success upon mental conditions, just as physical remedies are dependent for their efficiency on physical conditions.

Just as many a man has become sick by reason of adverse suggestion so in the same way sick people became well by positive and helpful suggestions which reach the subconscious.

The Risk of a Stroke During Plastic Surgery

An Unspoken Concern

While most plastic surgeons will outline the risks of having an elective surgical procedure performed, very few tend to speak directly to the issues regarding safety and post operative complications. Often, a surgeon will make a general statement regarding the risks of surgery, such as, “All surgery carries risks which includes, bleeding, infection, difficulty breathing, swelling, clotting, and other illnesses in a small percentage of patients,” and then move directly into talking about the benefits of the procedure. Patients need to inform themselves of the actual risks associated with cosmetic surgical procedures, especially the risk of a stroke or cerebral vascular accident (CVA). As a physician, I understand that there is no value in frightening our patients without cause. Yet I still firmly believe that patients should never be too quick to decide on an elective surgical procedure without fully realizing the potential for devastating complications.

Patients and physicians alike need to recognize that most patients who are receiving some sort of cosmetic care are generally considered to be healthy individuals. Thus, neither patient nor physician is necessarily ready for the onset of a complication. This fact alone can make a complication much more serious than if the very same complication arose during a medically necessary procedure. For instance, even during a routine knee surgery, physicians do not see their patients as completely healthy, and are more guarded against the onset of blood clots or other risk factors for stroke.

While the approximated one to two percent of cosmetic surgery patients who will experience a stroke seems like a very limited number of patients, the effects of these strokes can be devastating

Who is at Risk?

Few patients really consider themselves at risk for a possible stroke because they associate the condition as an event that occurs to people over the age of 55. While in some cases age does bear a factor, it is far from the determining factor of a stroke. In fact, a healthy 65-year-old woman can be less likely to have a stroke than a 35-year-old woman who is undergoing invasive cosmetic surgery. Patients should understand the causes of a stroke in a post operative environment in order to assess more realistically their level of risk. However, as a physician I can testify to the fact that sometimes there simply is no way to ascertain why a stroke occurred for one individual and not for another with the same health history, the same risk factors, and the same surgical procedure.

Most post operative strokes occur when a blood clot dislodges, which typically occurs in the lower section of the body. This blood clot then travels through the body and may lodge itself in the brain or more commonly the lungs. This action of a blood clot traveling through the body post surgically is commonly referred to as an embolism and usually arises from a larger blood clot that usually forms in the lower body known as a deep venous thrombosis or “DVT”. DVT is a prime concern for surgeons, and can be considered a precursor to a stroke.

Understanding the Potential Danger

Blood clots generally become trapped in either the lung or the brain when they break free from other parts of the body. When the blood clot becomes caught in a blood vessel in the brain, it results in a CVA or stroke. When it becomes trapped in a blood vessel in the lung it is known as a pulmonary embolism or PE. Either condition is life threatening and can carry serious consequences.

While blood clots and strokes are a significant risk for all patients having any type of invasive surgery, plastic surgeons run into a unique scenario that generally makes it a little more difficult for our patients to get treatment and help in a short amount of time. Incidents of blood clots and stroke can happen anywhere between several hours post operatively up to about ten days after surgery. Thus, these incidents rarely occur within a medical environment and usually happen at home. Patients who remain in the hospital or a medical center after a medically necessary procedure are more likely to have these incidents in the hospital.

Patients, who are going to experience a cosmetic procedure, or any type of surgery for that matter, should familiarize themselves with the general symptoms of post surgical pulmonary embolism or stroke. Symptoms that include shortness of breath, chest pain, disorientation, and sometimes even a sense of altered mental status are likely either to be related to a pulmonary embolism or a stroke. Patients and physicians alike should also understand the basic risk factors for these complications and prior to a surgical procedure. While there are still studies being conducted, which will help determine a patient’s risk level in the future, there are some pretty basic factors, which point to a likely candidate.

Risk Factors For Patients

Women are more likely to experience these types of complications than men, as are smokers. There are numerous medications, which place patients at a higher risk for postoperative blood clots, including but not limited to hormone replacements and birth control pills. Weight plays a significant factor as does the level of activity the patient generally participates in. Patients who generally lead a sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk. Obese patients are at an even higher risk. Increased age and a previous history of deep venous thrombosis are more obvious risk factors. Patients who have a current diagnosis of cancer are at a particularly high risk.

Reducing the Risk Factors for Safer Surgery

Whenever a patient is booked for surgery in my practice, I always insist that they have a medical clearance by an internist to help determine their general risk level for elective surgery and the possibility of medical complications, which includes the risk of abnormal blood clotting. I also take into consideration the type of surgery that I am performing on the patient. In general, surgical procedures that have a longer operative time and involve body contouring carry a higher risk than those that are minimally invasive and are performed on the head and neck. The internist will review a list of current and recent medications, as I do myself, and will verify that the patient is physically fit to tolerate the procedure that is desired. There are still no guarantees, but knowing a patient’s medical history, their obvious risk factors, and having a second pair of eyes look over the same information that I am presented with, ensures that I am taking all possible precautions.

I also use something known as pneumatic compression boots for every patient undergoing any surgical procedure and I urge other physicians to do so as well. These boots are able to keep the muscles of the lower extremities moving in a fashion similar to walking, which can help prevent blood clots. I insist that my patients carry on an active lifestyle, to help prevent DVT formation and to directly assist with both preoperative and postoperative care. Proper positioning in the operating room allows for additional prevention of blood clot formation as well.

Physicians and patients need to understand that the potential for serious complications related to cosmetic surgery can be devastating. Knowledge is power and education can help reduce the number of blood clots and such rare but devastating complications as strokes that occur after surgery. With current research and education practices, we should be able to reduce the number of post operative strokes and blood clots over the coming years.

Loosing My Hair – Could it Be Alopecia?

There are a lot of factors that cause hair loss. In males, it may be associated with hereditary conditions and male pattern baldness. It may also be stress induced or it could be a side effect of medication. It could also be Alopecia. Alopecia is a medical condition that can affect anyone. It is not contagious. Symptoms usually start early and gradually progress and get worse as the patient gets older. However, there have been rare cases in which the symptom will eventually decrease and disappear.

Causes of Alopecia

At present, there is no known cause of Alopecia. It is speculated that the disease may be hereditary since most people who have it, have relatives who also suffer from the condition. It is also believed to be a form of autoimmune disease. How so? Well, that's because Alopecia occurs when the body's immune system rejects its own hair follicles – that, causing hair to fall out. It has also been observed that Alopecia affects patients with other autoimmune disorders such as SLE (Lupus), Thyroid problems, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and others.

Who is at Risk for Alopecia?

Both men and women suffer from Alopecia. It can affect people from every race and nationality. The disease can also strike at any age – but, most of the time symptoms present themselves in the teenage years. As mentioned, there is evidence that the disease is hereditary. That is why individuals who have relatives with Alopecia are at risk for developing the disease. People who previously suffer from autoimmune conditions also have a chance of developing Alopecia.

Signs / Symptoms and Patterns of Alopecia

Hair loss is the general symptom of Alopecia. The different patterns of hair loss determine what type of alopecia a person has. Alopecia Areata, is a form of Alopecia wherein the patient develops bald spots on the scalp. That is the reason why it is also referred to as Spot Baldness. Diffuse Alopecia on the other hand presents with an even degree of hair loss all over the scalp. Alopecia Barbe referers to spot baldness on beard region and Alopecia Universalis is when a person looses all bodily hair. Early symptoms of Alopecia often include tendness (pain to touch) on the bald spots.

How is Alopecia Diagnosed

Diagnosis of Alopecia often involves a biopsy of the affected scalp tissue. This will determine if the hair fall has been really caused by Alopecia and not by other causes. Another telltale sign of Alopecia is referred to as – Exclamation Point Hair. It means that the strands of the affected hair taper off toward the roots.

Treatment

Since there is no known cause for Alopecia, it has become very difficult to cure. To this day, there is no known cure for the condition. All a patient can do is alleviate the symptoms and help to reverse the hair loss. In this case, common hair loss treatments may be used to re-grow hair. But, a patient must remember that despite the fact that hair is growing back, the treatments can never stop new bald spots from developing. New 'experimental' treatments for alopecia include drugs that subdue the autoimmune system.

Treatment of Middle Ear Infections – Antibiotics

Antibiotics are frequently overused for the treatment of middle ear infections (otitis media). Somewhere between 30-50% of ear infections are bacterial. They are most commonly caused by bacteria like Streptococcus pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae. Viruses can also trigger ear infections, and in these cases antibiotics are useless.

The diagnosis of otitis media, is based on ear pain associated with fever. The ear drum shows red and bulging and the patient feet irritable and restless. In younger children the pain can be so intense as to make them scream and cry.

For the treatment of middle ear infection, a responsible doctor should advise you to wait at least a couple of days, before prescribing antibiotics. Pain killers may be recommended if necessary to dull the pain. This "watch and wait" technique will determine if an antibiotic is really needed.

Studies show that about 90% of children get better just as fast, with no significant differences in speed of relief of pain, how quickly temperature returned to normal, how soon ear discharge stopped or other symptoms – whether they have antibiotics or not.

In one 2000 study, 240 children under age two who were diagnosed with acute otitis media were just watched carefully. After four days, only 3% of the children required treatment with antibiotics, while the infection cleared itself naturally in the other 97%.

When antibiotics are repeatedly used for the treatment of middle ear infection in children, it increases the chances of further infection by up to 600 percent. It also increases the chances that surgery will absolutely be needed. In the 1970s, out of 10,500 children who underwent treatment of middle ear infection without antibiotics, Danish researchers found that over the following 14 years, only 15 required ear operations. This was very low compared to children having surgery after repeated courses of antibiotics.

A 1983 study published in the British Medical Journal showed that in adults who develop active chronic otitis media, there is no benefit at all in using antibiotics.

If antibiotics are needed then make sure you support the immune system so that complications do not arise, and that repeat antibiotic scripts are not required. Be aware that studies have shown that short courses of antibiotics for the treatment of middle ear infection, from two to five days, are equally effective as a ten day course.

Hearing Loss Explained

Balance and hearing are the two primary tasks provided by our ears. As we get older we have to accept that our ability to hear deteriorates, and the deterioration will usually be in our perception of audible frequency range and the ability to hear quiet sounds. Hearing injury is in reality so common that of those older than sixty five, one third experience a degree of hearing loss. For those older than seventy five fifty percent suffer a hearing reduction. There is another factor here as well, and that lies in our genes. Our inherited capacity may also reduce our hearing with age. Some people will suffer due to the effects of heredity alone, and others from heredity and excessive noise damage.

Hearing loss affects us in different ways but usually exhibits as one or more of the following symptoms: –

1) If you find yourself constantly asking for people to speak clearly and sounds are fuzzy or muffled

2) Your understanding fails despite you think you can hear what is said

3) A common request you make is for others to say things for you again, more clearly, loudly etc.

4) You find you are continuously turning up the sound level on the television etc.

If you suffer from any of the above, combined with a desire to withdraw from conversations or avoid social settings, it is highly likely that you are suffering from a loss of hearing. Damage within the cochlea is the most common cause of hearing difficulties. The cochlea is the coiled structure within the inner ear within which hearing takes place. Exposure to loud sounds, that is above 85 decibels is damaging to it after a period of time. A common way to show decibels is to refer in text to dBs.

Other common causes of hearing are: –

1) Diseases of the ear, such as can be during child illnesses

2) Build up of unwanted bone or tissue obstructing the bones of the ear

3) Outer or middle ear tumor growth

4) Ear drums which have ruptured.

Other non-age related causes for deafness include Auditory Neuropathy, Meniere's Disease, Noise Ostosclerosis and Usher's Syndrome.

All of these causes result in just three types of causes of deafness, which comprise: –

A) Conductive Hearing Loss

This occurs when sound is not conductively efficiently to the middle ear, which may be caused by fluid, earwax, infection, foreign matter or malformation of the middle or outer ear.

B) Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Inner ear problems of any kind, and here we include all those listed earlier plus damage due from any accident to the head which also damages the hearing organs. A person suffering from this type of hearing loss may exhibit a lack of speech comprehension.

C) Mixed Hearing Loss

Combine A) and B) and you have this unfortunate type of loss or deafness. Thankfully, this is not a common event.

That completes our discussion of the three types of deafness.

Hearing injury may be sudden and incurable, or it may be short term. Deafness may strike quite quickly and be resolved equally speedily when infections of the ears occur.

This article is for general information use. It does not contain advice, nor must it be in any way be interpreted as doing so. Consult your own doctor, or other qualified hearing expert.

There are very few people who have a hearing loss problem who can not be helped by the careful choice of the right hearing aid.