Bed Bugs and Public Health

Bed bugs have been around for centuries, and big cities have always had a certain low level of them. In fact, we’ve had a bit of a reprieve from them over the last 40 years because people used harsh poisons to keep them at bay, but due to a ban in poisons or toxic pesticides-bed bugs are now making a comeback are being blamed for the increase in infestations.

Well, the first thing that you need to know about is that bed bug bites are itchier than mosquito bites. This is because of the anesthetics in bed bug’s saliva. Bed bug rash will appear an hour after you were pierced. But to some people, the bed bug rash appear only after some days or week from being bitten. This depends upon the body’s reaction to chemicals being secreted by bed bugs.

The most commonly affected areas of the body are arms and shoulders. Reactions to the bites may appear delayed: up to 9 days before lesions appear. Common allergic reactions include development of large wheels, often>1-2 cm, which are accompanied by itching and inflammation. It has also been suggested that the allergens from the bed bugs may also be associated with asthmatic infections.

Even though the public health concerns are authentic, they are not good enough to importune widespread panic. Bed bug invasion can be eradicated or eliminated with pesticide sprays and dusting but the owner should get professional help, in case the condition gets traumatic or irritating.

So, above are some of the common symptoms and methods to detect and treat a bed bug infection. Keep your home and surroundings clean and neat, and enjoy a healthy life!

What Causes Color Blindness

Vision and the ability to differentiate between colors in the spectrum are extremely essential in order to meet day-to-day chores of life. Human eye contains two specialized kinds of photoreceptor cells namely rods and cones that actively participate in regulating these activities. Any abnormalities or errors in these cells can result in the individual being unable to identify colors, a medical condition better known as color blindness or color vision defect.

Abnormalities in the color vision can occur either due to genetic disorder or acquired.

Genetic defects or inherited disorders are primarily as a result of mutated genes. Inherited color vision defect is primarily an X-linked disorder that is mostly prevalent in males. This is because males have only one single X-chromosome while females carry two sets of X-chromosomes. Hence, if the X-chromosome transferred to the male contains mutations that can cause color blindness, the child is definitely going to suffer from the disease. In case of females, chances of both the chromosomes carrying mutations are practically negligible. There are three different types of inherited color vision defects; namely monochromacy, dichromacy and anamolous trichromacy.

There are different reasons due to which a person can acquire color blindness and color vision defects. Some of these include any disease in the eye, injury to the retina, ageing, injury to the optic nerve, damage to the brain, damage caused due to excessive exposure to UV radiation or even as a result of side effects of certain medications.

Defects in the color vision were first identified and reported in 1798 by John Dalton, an English chemist. As a result, these diseases are sometimes referred to Daltonism. Today, detection and diagnosis of color blindness is extremely simple and easy. There are certain specialized color vision tests such as pseudoisochromatic plate tests and arrangement tests that are routinely used to screen for inherited color blindness disorders.

Making Use of Your Doctor

When a busy person goes to see his doctor, it is because he wants to get better. This may sound obvious – but often things happen so quickly, or the tests and treatment sound so complicated, that one can lose sight of one’s original goal. It can even happen that one ends up feeling worse than one was before!

Here are some practical hints to help you get the best possible treatment from your own doctor. Decide before you actually go to see your doctor, in what way you are feeling unwell. Plan how you will describe these symptoms to your doctor. Thinking about them beforehand and even writing down exactly what bodily changes you feel which make you think that you are unwell, will help clarify things in your own mind and so will help your doctor get a clearer picture of what is going on. Remember – doctors can only diagnose from the information which you, the patient, reveal to them!

Don’t underplay your symptoms – either because you feel that the symptoms are trivial, or because you are frightened that they will cause the doctor to suspect that you have some serious disease. This may sound silly but I have met patients who did not reveal to their doctor that they had a lump in the breast “because it might have been cancer”. It is far better to voice one’s fears to the doctor, get him or her to do a full examination and reassure you that you have no serious cause for worry(or, on the other hand, detect in its early stages some major ailment) rather than keep one’s symptoms hidden.

At the same time, don’t exaggerate your symptoms either.

Natural Remedies Best for Head Lice Treatment

Natural Remedies Best for Head Lice Treatment

After treating an outbreak among elementary school-age children, public health doctors in Wales discovered that 80% of head lice were resistant to the insecticidal shampoos commonly used to eliminate them.

Despite the wide availability of treatments, head lice infestations are on the rise. Why? After years of using the same products to eradicate lice, they are becoming immune to our treatments. Insects either evolve methods of neutralizing the insecticide before it destroys them or simply become less sensitive to the toxins in the insecticide.

At the National Public Health Service for Wales Communicable Disease Surveillance Center, Dr. Daniel Thomas discovered that four out of five lice were resistant to pyrethroids (the chemicals commonly used in head lice treatments) due to the development of a specific gene.

This and other studies indicate that natural remedies to the problem might be the best solution. Specially designed combs trap and kill lice and nits, and mixtures composed primarily of coconut or olive oil have proven extremely effective in head lice treatment. Not surprisingly, natural treatments are also much safer for the patient. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continually maintains that no pesticide can legally be sold as a “safe” product, and as such, chemical shampoos for head lice treatment cannot be assumed completely nontoxic.

The active ingredients in head lice treatment shampoos are pediculicides: nerve poisons which are neurotoxic to children as well as lice. Lindane is the most dangerous of the pediculicides, and it can be absorbed through your skin. Some of the tamer side effects include headaches and vertigo, but lindane also has the potential to cause nerve damage, convulsions, disrupt hormonal function, and damage the liver, kidneys, and immune system.

Guaranteed safety and guaranteed louse immunity make an all-natural treatment like olive, coconut, or neem oil the preferred choice for many who suffer and are seeking head lice treatment. In addition to being less expensive and more readily available, you can rest assured these natural treatments will always work and that those who suffer won’t run the risk of developing any dangerous side-effects.

Fitness Tips

It is almost the end of the year. If one of your new year’s resolutions is physical fitness, I have a few tips that can help.

1) Focus on positive thinking. When you can keep up with your physical fitness plan, you should congratulate yourself every time. It is not easy to keep up with fitness plan. You really need to have a strong will. Be proud of yourself.

2) When you fall back from your fitness schedule, you should not berate yourself. Some people are too hard on themselves, and they never start over again. Your physical fitness New Year’s resolutions are the promise to yourself. They are not the test of your willpower.

3) You should stay away from unhealthy temptation as much as possible. If you are on the diet, you do not want to keep a huge bucket of ice cream in your refrigerator. It can only make your life harder.

4) Be realistic. Some people expect to achieve physical fitness over night. They make fitness plans that are impossible to keep. Realistic physical fitness plan must fit into your lifestyle. You must ask yourself, “Can I really go out for a run every evening?” If the answer is “No”, you may want to rethink your new year’s resolutions. If you know that you can not do them every evening, you may be able to do them twice a week.

5) Try to keep your resolutions with a friend. You can help encourage each other. A good friend will make your fitness resolutions fun.

Weight Gain Myths

Gaining weight is a gradual process that requires constant training and high intensity workouts. However, people do have certain myths regarding weight gaining program.

High repetitions burn fat while low repetitions build muscle: This statement is far from being true. In order to lose weight, one needs to decrease average calorie intake. However, for gaining muscle strength, one needs to have a progressive workload with a variable frequency of repetitions.

Vegetarians cannot build muscle: Research has shown that vegetarians can indeed gain muscle with regular training and daily supplementation of soy protein isolates.

Strength training will make you look masculine: This is the most common myth among women. However, building muscle is a steady process that needs proper strength-training regime ably supported by proper diet. Testosterone, which is the male sex hormone, is primarily responsible for muscle gaining in men. The secretion of this hormone is quite low in women, resulting in lesser muscular growth.

Many people believe that they can eat anything if they are doing a regular exercise. However, diet has a major role to play in defining a person’s general health and physique. It is always important to balance the ratio of calorie intake and calories burnt.

Occasional break from a rigorous training schedule is useful as it helps in refreshing the muscles and helps them to recover.

Eating more protein doesn’t necessarily help in gaining weight. Muscle building is primarily dependent on two factors which include a progressive workload and eating good calorie food. Diet derived from carbohydrates would be more useful.

One should always avoid taking steroids for building muscle as they are more harmful than being good.

Improving Technology Facilitates Patient Care

More independent physicians are partnering with their local hospitals to deliver efficient care to patients. These doctors and hospitals are employing a range of new information sharing technologies in order to facilitate access to patient information.

Without the aid of information sharing technology, hospitals and doctors often need to contact one another to ensure they have all the necessary information to prescribe treatment. This can lead to delays in treatment due to the waiting time for the transfer of patient information.

Information sharing networks eliminate this downtime by allowing physicians in private practice and those in community hospitals to access all records pertaining to a specific patient instantly.

This also diminishes the risk of valuable information being forgotten or omitted. Patient allergies to medications and previous treatment information are particularly relevant to physicians when trying to prescribe treatment. With new information sharing systems, doctors have a more reliable source to turn to for these types of information.

Integrated technology systems also facilitate physician workflow efficiency. Care providers can electronically submit laboratory and radiology orders to be viewed instantly by physicians either at their practices or at the community hospital.

York Hospital in Maine and San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in California are just a few of the hospitals that have found the use of information sharing technology helpful, enabling them to offer safer, more efficient care to their patients. These programs generally work with the hospital’s existing electronic infrastructure and are therefore easy to implement and use.

The ready sharing of information can also help to strengthen bonds among medical professionals. New technologies are reducing the barriers to information between physician practices and hospitals and creating a larger sense of community among those involved with patient care.

TENS Increase Your Profit Margin?

Advertisements are being sent to doctors via facsimile in various parts of the United States from a California company asking them if TENS/EMS units are presently being prescribed to patients for home use? If not, this company reports that they can show how to give patients drug-less pain relief and add a new profit center to the doctors office with TENS/EMS.

The company says their program is simple – they sell TENS to doctors for $29.00 (when 2 or more are purchased) EMS for $38 (when 2 or more purchased) and instruct the doctor on billing procedures for the TENS and fitting fee where the profits range from $200.00 to $600.00 per unit depending on the type of insurance coverage and amount charged for the unit/fitting fee. Next, the company indicates that they provide the patient with necessary supplies (batteries, pads & wires) and will bill the insurance company direct.

Good deal? Maybe.

Many state regulatory boards have prohibitions against excessive charges for health care services rendered – could the billing insurers $200 to $600 for providing a patient with a TENS the doctor purchased for $29 be considered excessive? What would the involved payer think of this activity – are they going to knowingly pay $200 to $600 for your providing the patient with a $29 TENS unit? And, what happens when insurance doesn’t pay – is the patient going to be billed the higher rates for the $29 unit?

I would recommend that doctors ensure that this practice activity is consistent with their administrative laws, third-party payer rules and to check it out first with their attorney prior to use.

An Appreciation For Ernest Schweninger, Pathologist Transformed to Nature Cure

One of the most treasured circumstances for an alternative health care doctor is to find a story of transformation from a medical trained doctor to natural health systems. Ernest Schweninger (1850-1924) is an example.

Schweninger began medical studies at 16 years old and became a physician. He gained extensive experience in surgery at military hospitals during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. He began his practice in pathology and saw the failures of surgeries and drug medicine. He became convinced that any cure was dependent on the healing power of nature. His interest in medical history led him to Hippocrates, Paracelsus, and Hufeland. He arrived at his system of nature cure through his evaluation of the process of disease and cure.

The system that Schweninger developed included:
o Elimination of medical drugs
o No disease diagnosis
o No internal investigations to search for disease
o Increased fluid intake
o Vigorous exercise
o Sweat producing baths
o Sun Baths
o Small frequent meals
o Separation of solid and liquid food
o Increasing arterial blood pressure through a stay at a high altitude spa

Schweninger’s most famous cure was German Chancellor Otto Von Bismark. He was seriously sick. The overworked and overfed 250 lb Bismark was exhausted and paralyzed from a painful liver disease. The famous medical doctor Professor Frerichs diagnosed Bismark with stomach and liver cancer and announced that he might live one year.

Schweninger was called in and immediately restricted Bismarck’s food portions and limited his intake of liquids, especially wines and champagnes, and did away with pain-killers and narcotics. He substituted hot compresses, gentle massage, rest and exercises. The result was that Bismark lived 16 more years with Schweninger as his only medical advisor.

The success Schweninger had with Bismark was taken as an insult to the medical field that did their best to keep Schweninger from the University staff after his appointment by Bismark. He went on to build a hospital that delivered natural health with access to open air, gardens, air baths and a gymnasium. The hospital created an atmosphere where people could heal themselves with natural cure methods.

Schweninger’s last work The Physician was a powerful indictment of the physician as a soulless specialist who has lost sight of his true mission. He believed “a good physician could do more good with a damp cloth than a poor one can with an entire pharmacy.”

There is Health in Wellness

Let’s talk about wellness. It may seem odd for an insurance professional to talk about wellness, but if you give some consideration it makes perfect sense. My main job is to keep your insurance dollars down to a minimum while providing you with your best options for your situation.

Wellness will be a big issue in the State of Alabama in 2010. According to NAHU (National Association of Health Underwriters), Alabama state employees will face financial ramifications for obesity and poor health practices. With benefits for most state employees are low in premium dollar cost, this new mandate will require all employees to “get with the program” and get healthy or see an increase in their insurance costs.

Wellness is also an issue that the new US Administration will be encouraging as they try to figure out the health care for the U.S. With wellness programs in place, the U.S. Government sees a substantial savings as more people stay well and less need medical care.

Wellness is nothing new. We learned it in school through P.E. and our general nutrition classes. We all just tend to migrate toward ease and relaxing and spend less time “Sweatin’ To the Oldies”. The older we get, the slower we seems to want to move. The next time you are out, look for a few things: (1) How many tobacco users do you see? (2) How many people do you see who could be borderline overweight or even obese? (3) What did the people sitting around you get to eat? Things like this, should you choose to notice them will shock you. Then ask yourself why the state of Alabama currently ranks 2nd in the nation for obesity.

A wellness program in your place of employment could be the jump-start you and your people need to be more productive, lead healthier lives, and finally take control of their potential longevity.