Types of burns
Burns are very common injuries that can be caused by heat (fires, hot liquids), electricity (wires, lightning), chemicals or the sun.
First-degree burns only involve the upper layer of skin. The skin will be red and painful, but will typically heal within a few days. Most sunburns are first-degree burns.
Related reading: First aid for sunburns
Second-degree burns are also red and painful, but slightly deeper and blisters may appear.
Third-degree burns go through all layers of the skin down to the bone and muscle. Such burns may be black or even white rather than red. And … Continue reading
Preventing eye injuries
Vision is important, so nature created several levels of protection for our eyes. First, they are surrounded by bone. Second, our eyelashes prevent dust and dirt from entering the eyes. Third, our tears effectively wash away any small bits that get past the eyelashes.
The eye tissue is very delicate and easily injured, and prevention of eye injuries is key.
Wear protective glasses whenever small particles, objects or chemicals could accidentally enter the eye. The wraparound style are best as they offer side protection, as well.
Woodworking is especially risky because of splinters, sawdust, staple guns and … Continue reading
Tech takes a toll on eyes
I’ve done it again. For way too long I’ve sat hunched in front of my computer without taking a break, and now my eyes burn, my vision blurs, my head aches, and my neck . . . ouch!
Of course I know better. Prolonged use of your eyes, such as working at a computer, reading, driving or playing “Words With Friends,” can cause eyestrain. And in our technology-centric world, eyestrain is pretty hard to avoid.
Symptoms of eyestrain include:
- Sore, tired, burning, itching, dry or watery eyes
- Blurred vision, difficulty focusing
… Continue reading
When an object breaks through the skin, the injury is called a puncture wound. Stepping on a tack is a minor puncture wound; being stabbed or shot are more deadly examples.
Luckily, most of us don’t need to worry about being shot or stabbed.
But puncture wounds are not uncommon (your mother taught you not to run with sharp, pointy objects, didn’t she?), and there are a couple special things to remember when treating them.
Typically, first aid for puncture wounds is similar to that for cuts and scrapes. Clean the wound well with soap and water, and bandage … Continue reading
My belief as a frugal nurse is that each of us has the power to improve our health and lower our health care costs. Prevention is key, and in my posts I advocate such preventive actions as vaccinations, hand washing, adequate sleep, drug safety, exercise and a healthy diet.
Diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and, I think, is crucial to cancer prevention.
Therefore, I read with keen interest a recent post by David Katz, MD, on the HuffPost Healthy Living Blog.
Dr. Katz interviewed a one-time student, Nicole Larizza, a nutritionist currently … Continue reading
Health and Fitness Apps
I recently upgraded to a smartphone, and I’ve been having fun trying out a bunch of different apps (the free ones, of course!).
Coming somewhat late to the whole app thing, I’m amazed at how many there are, and especially how many health and fitness apps are available for free.
I’ve seen different numbers, but there are somewhere between 15,000 and 35,000 and the number is growing all the time.
Apps can be patient-centric, used for keeping track of diet, exercise, symptoms, health records, or doctor-centric, used for aiding in diagnosis, research, scheduling, and so on.… Continue reading
I didn’t see them coming
Early one morning last week, while strolling a Florida beach looking for sea shells, I was attacked by the area’s notorious “no-see-ems”, or sand flies or biting midges. I didn’t realize it, however, until later that evening when the itching started – the agonizing, I-want-to-flay-the-skin-off-my-legs itching. 😡
After a sleepless night, I sped to the drugstore to buy something, anything, that might help. As usual, I was faced with an aisle of products all promising “fast” relief.
As miserable as I was (I had over 50 bites!), I doubted that any product would be … Continue reading
Continuing my frugal first aid series, this post is about treating sunburns—appropriate since I am writing this as I sit on a beach in Florida!
That’s right, I’m on vacation 😎
For some, sunburns are a minor, seasonal annoyance and they don’t give them much thought. But if you’ve ever had a really bad sunburn, you know the days of pain and sleepless nights that follow. I’ve had a severe sunburn once in my life, in college, and I learned my lesson!
Sunscreen—Prevention is key
Use sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology says we don’t use nearly enough to be … Continue reading
Sometimes drastic change is required
Last night I watched a truly inspiring documentary, a testament to the power of a healthy diet.
Fat Sick & Nearly Dead chronicles Australian filmmaker Joe Cross’s journey to health. Fat, fortyish, and suffering from an autoimmune disease, Joe spends 60 days traversing America. But no fast food stops for Joe—his mission is to drink only fresh fruit and vegetable juice (he travels with his own juicer) for the entire 60 days. Joe believes fasting on juice will allow his body to heal from the inside out.
We all know the typical American diet (and … Continue reading
I suggested last week that taking a first aid class is a good idea. Buying a good first aid manual for reference is helpful, too.
But I thought I would supplement that advice by posting a few basic first aid tips for a variety of common injuries, and also provide a short—frugal—list of first aid items you might want in a first aid kit. Making your own first aid kit rather than buying one can save money because you only include the few items you really need.
Today’s post focuses on minor cuts, scrapes and bruises. Other than soap and … Continue reading
One of the advantages of being a nurse/mom is that I can tend to a wide variety of illnesses and injuries without seeking medical help. I have probably saved my family a lot of money over the years!
Anyone can learn the basics of providing first aid. I taught American Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes for years, and I highly recommend taking a class, whether you are a parent or not. Even kids as young as 13 or 14 can take the classes.
Spring is a good time to sign up for a class. Once schools are out … Continue reading
Light triggers chemicals in our brains that wake us up. That’s why it’s so much easier to rise and shine in the summer than in the winter.
But I used to dread the long summer days when light would sneak into my bedroom and wake me up before 5 am. I couldn’t find curtains or blinds for my bedroom window that adequately blocked the morning sun. Finally, I invested in some heavy, black-out drapes, the kind used in hotels. They aren’t very decorative, but they help me sleep longer in the morning.
Artificial light also disrupts our sleep. It mostly … Continue reading
The sunshine supplement
Last week I learned that my vitamin D level is slightly below normal. My physician recommended that I take a daily vitamin D supplement of 1000 to 2000 IU.
I didn’t want the test, but what’s done is done. Now I need to decide what the test result means to me, and if I should follow my doctor’s recommendation.
A few years ago, vitamin D was the new wonder supplement. Various studies associated a low vitamin D level with an increased incidence of all kinds of diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, prostate cancer, breast cancer, … Continue reading
I love that first warm touch of spring. But the red, itchy eyes and drippy nose I can do without.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 16.9 million adults and 6.7 million children were diagnosed with hay fever. Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars on prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications in the quest for relief.
I suffer from hay fever, too, but I am not a fan of most of the available medications. Prescription drugs are expensive, and require a costly visit to the doctor. Over-the-counter drugs (and there are dozens of them!) are pretty … Continue reading
Two reports last week reminded Americans—again—that we are eating too much salt (sodium), and the media gleefully passed on the news—again—that what we eat is killing us.
Possibly. But it’s not helpful to focus the blame on salt, when it alone is not the problem.
The American Heart Association (AHA) reported that, on average, adults consume 4,000 mg of sodium every day, or about twice what’s recommended. The United States Dietary Association (USDA) recommends no more than 2,300 mg/day (about 1 teaspoon); the AHA advises less than 1,500 mg/day.
In a coordinated analysis, researchers from Harvard Medical School concluded… Continue reading