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Rhus toxicodendron

Botanical Name : Rhus toxicodendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Toxicodendron
Species: T. pubescens

Synonyms: Toxicodendron pubescens, Rhus pubescens (Mill.) Farw. R. quercifolia. Toxicodendron radicans. T. pubescens. P.Mill.

Common Names: Atlantic poison oak,Eastern Poison Oak

Habitat:
Rhus toxicodendron is native to South-eastern N. America – New Jersey to Delaware, south to Georgia, Alabama and Texas. It grows on dry barrens, pinelands and sands.

Description:
Rhus toxicodendron is a deciduous upright shrub that can grow to 1 m (3 ft) tall. Its leaves are 15 cm (6 in) long, alternate, with three leaflets on each. The leaflets are usually hairy and are variable in size and shape, but most often resemble white oak leaves; they usually turn yellow or orange in autumn. The fruit is small, round, and yellowish or greenish. It is not closely related to true oaks.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Judging by the plants natural habitat, it should also succeed in poor acid soils and dry soils[K]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species is a small suckering shrub, it can spread freely in suitable conditions. There is some confusion over the correct name of this species. It is united with R. radicans (under that name) by some botanists whilst others split this species off into another genus, Toxicodendron, and unite it with R. radicans as Toxicodendron radicans. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses: Oil

Medicinal  Uses:
Poison oak has occasionally been used medicinally, though it is an extremely poisonous plant and great caution should be exercised. Any herbal use should only be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity. A fluid extract of the fresh leaves is irritant, narcotic, rubefacient and stimulant. It has been used with some success in the treatment of paralysis, obstinate herpatic eruptions, palsy and in various forms of chronic and obstinate eruptive diseases. A mash of the leaves has been used to treat ringworm. An external application has also been used in the treatment of herpes sores. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat infectious sores on the lips. The root has been used to make a poultice and salve in the treatment of chronic sores and swollen glands. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves. These should be harvested of a night-time, during damp weather and before the plant flowers. This remedy has a wide range of applications and is one of the main treatments for mumps, it is also used in a wide range of skin disorders.

Other Uses:
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The milky juice makes an excellent indelible marking ink for linen etc. It is also used as a varnish for boots and shoes.

Known Hazards: This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people. The sap is extremely poisonous. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_pubescens
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+toxicodendron

Frostbite

Alternative Names:- Cold exposure – arms or legs,congelatio in medical terminology

Definition:
Frostbite is damage to the skin and underlying tissues caused by extreme cold.It causes fluid in skin cells and the tissues beneath the skin to freeze and damages blood vessels. This leads to the formation of blood clots which block the flow of blood and prevent oxygen from getting to the tissues. All cells need oxygen to function properly, as without it they die.

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Frostbite  is the medical condition where localized damage is caused to skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and those with large exposed areas. The initial stages of frostbite are sometimes called “frostnip”.

Classification:-
There are several classifications for tissue damage caused by extreme cold including:

*Frostnip is a superficial cooling of tissues without cellular destruction.
*Chilblains are superficial ulcers of the skin that occur when a predisposed individual is repeatedly exposed to cold
*Frostbite involves tissue destruction.

Stages:-
At or below 0 °C (32 °F), blood vessels close to the skin start to constrict, and blood is shunted away from the extremities via the action of glomus bodies. The same response may also be a result of exposure to high winds. This constriction helps to preserve core body temperature. In extreme cold, or when the body is exposed to cold for long periods, this protective strategy can reduce blood flow in some areas of the body to dangerously low levels. This lack of blood leads to the eventual freezing and death of skin tissue in the affected areas. There are four degrees of frostbite. Each of these degrees has varying degrees of pain.

*First degree……..  CLICK & SEE

This is called frostnip and this only affects the surface skin, which is frozen. On onset there is itching and pain, and then the skin develops white, red, and yellow patches and becomes numb. The area affected by frostnip usually does not become permanently damaged as only the skin’s top layers are affected. Long-term sensitivity to both heat and cold can sometimes happen after suffering from frostnip.

*Second degree…… CLICK & SEE

If freezing continues, the skin may freeze and harden, but the deep tissues are not affected and remain soft and normal. Second degree injury usually blisters 1–2 days after becoming frozen. The blisters may become hard and blackened, but usually appear worse than they are. Most of the injuries heal in one month but the area may become permanently insensitive to both heat and cold.

*Third and Fourth degrees...  CLICK & SEE

If the area freezes further, deep frostbite occurs. The muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves all freeze. The skin is hard, feels waxy, and use of the area is lost temporarily, and in severe cases, permanently. The deep frostbite results in areas of purplish blisters which turn black and which are generally blood-filled. Nerve damage in the area can result in a loss of feeling. This extreme frostbite may result in fingers and toes being amputated if the area becomes infected with gangrene. If the frostbite has gone on untreated they may fall off. The extent of the damage done to the area by the freezing process of the frostbite may take several months to assess, and this often delays surgery to remove the dead tissue

Symptoms:
The first symptoms are a “pins and needles” sensation followed by numbness. There may be an early throbbing or aching, but later on the affected part becomes insensate (feels like a “block of wood”).

Frostbitten skin is hard, pale, cold, and has no feeling. When skin has thawed out, it becomes red and painful (early frostbite). With more severe frostbite, the skin may appear white and numb (tissue has started to freeze).

Very severe frostbite(Third and Fourth degrees) may cause blisters, gangrene (blackened, dead tissue), and damage to deep structures such as tendons, muscles, nerves, and bone.

Causes:
Factors that contribute to frostbite include extreme cold, inadequate clothing, wet clothes, wind chill, and poor blood circulation. Poor circulation can be caused by tight clothing or boots, cramped positions, fatigue, certain medications, smoking, alcohol use, or diseases that affect the blood vessels, such as diabetes.

Exposure to liquid nitrogen, oxygen and other cryogenic liquids can cause frostbite.

Risk factors:
Risk factors for frostbite include using beta-blockers and having conditions such as diabetes and peripheral neuropathy.

Those with blood vessel damage caused by medical conditions, such as diabetes, or because of poor lifestyle habits such as smoking and high-fat diets, may also suffer frostbite more easily than others.

Drinking alcohol and taking certain medicines, such as beta blockers, also increases the likelihood of developing the condition.

Treatment:
When frostbite is suspected, the affected areas need to be warmed. However this should only be done when there’s no risk of them freezing again, which could cause further and possibly irreversible damage.

Ideally, warming should be performed under medical supervision, but this isn’t always possible.

It should be done slowly by immersing the areas in warm – not hot – water. As normal colour returns, they may appear red and swollen. Once this happens they can be removed from the water.

First Aid:

1. Shelter the person from the cold and move him or her to a warmer place. Remove any constricting jewelry and wet clothing. Look for signs of hypothermia (lowered body temperature) and treat accordingly.

2. If immediate medical help is available, it is usually best to wrap the affected areas in sterile dressings (remember to separate affected fingers and toes) and transport the person to an emergency department for further care.

3. If immediate care is not available, rewarming first aid may be given. Soak the affected areas in warm (never hot) water — or repeatedly apply warm cloths to affected ears, nose, or cheeks — for 20 to 30 minutes. The recommended water temperature is 104 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep circulating the water to aid the warming process. Severe burning pain, swelling, and color changes may occur during warming. Warming is complete when the skin is soft and sensation returns.

4. Apply dry, sterile dressings to the frostbitten areas. Put dressings between frostbitten fingers or toes to keep them separated.

5. Move thawed areas as little as possible.

6. Refreezing of thawed extremities can cause more severe damage. Prevent refreezing by wrapping the thawed areas and keeping the person warm. If protection from refreezing cannot be guaranteed, it may be better to delay the initial rewarming process until a warm, safe location is reached.

7. If the frostbite is extensive, give warm drinks to the person in order to replace lost fluids.

DO NOT

•Do NOT thaw out a frostbitten area if it cannot be kept thawed. Refreezing may make tissue damage even worse.
•Do NOT use direct dry heat (such as a radiator, campfire, heating pad, or hair dryer) to thaw the frostbitten areas. Direct heat can burn the tissues that are already damaged.
•Do NOT rub or massage the affected area.
•Do NOT disturb blisters on frostbitten skin.

Contact your health care professional if:-

•There has been severe frostbite, or if normal feeling and color do not return promptly after home treatment for mild frostbite
•Frostbite has occurred recently and new symptoms develop, such as fever, malaise, discoloration, or drainage from the affected body part
•Do NOT smoke or drink alcoholic beverages during recovery as both can interfere with blood circulation.

Surgery:
Debridement and or amputation of necrotic tissue is usually delayed. This has led to the adage “Frozen in January, amputate in July” with exceptions only being made for signs of infections or gas gangrene
You may click to see:Herbal treatment for frostbite

Prognosis:
A number of long term sequelae can occur after frost bite. These include: transient or permanent changes in sensation, electric shocks, increased sweating, cancers, and bone destruction/arthritis in the area affected

Research:
Evidence is insufficient to determine whether or not hyperbaric oxygen therapy as an adjunctive treatment can assist in tissue salvage. There have been case reports but few actual research studies to show the effectiveness.

Medical sympathectomy using intravenous reserpine has also been attempted with limited success.

While extreme weather conditions (cold and wind) increase the risk of frostbite it appears that certain individuals and population groups appear more resistant to milder forms of frostbite, perhaps due to longer term exposure and adaptation to cold weather environments. The “Hunter’s Response” or Axon reflex are examples of this type of adaptation.

Prevention:
Be aware of factors that can contribute to frostbite, such as extreme cold, wet clothes, high winds, and poor circulation. Poor circulation can be caused by tight clothing or boots, cramped positions, fatigue, certain medications, smoking, alcohol use, or diseases that affect the blood vessels, such as diabetes.

Wear suitable clothing in cold temperatures and protect exposed areas. In cold weather, wear mittens (not gloves); wind-proof, water-resistant, layered clothing; two pairs of socks; and a hat or scarf that covers the ears (to avoid substantial heat loss through the scalp).

If you expect to be exposed to the cold for a long period of time, don’t drink alcohol or smoke, and get adequate food and rest.

If caught in a severe snowstorm, find shelter early or increase physical activity to maintain body warmth.

Exposure to liquid nitrogen, oxygen and other cryogenic liquids should be avoided or to be handeled with care.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/frostbite.shtml
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000057.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frostbite

http://healthwise-everythinghealth.blogspot.com/2010/01/frostbite.html

http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/frostbite

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Burns and Scalds

Scalding caused by a radiator explosion. Pictu...Image via Wikipedia

Definition:
Burns are injuries to tissues caused by heat, friction, electricity, radiation, or chemicals. Scalds are a type of burn caused by a hot liquid or steam....CLICK & SEE
Description:
Burns are classified according to how seriously tissue has been damaged. The following system is used:

* A first degree burn causes redness and swelling in the outermost layers of the skin.
* A second degree burn involves redness, swelling, and blistering. The damage may extend to deeper layers of the skin.
* A third degree burn destroys the entire depth of the skin. It can also damage fat, muscle, organs, or bone beneath the skin. Significant scarring is common, and death can occur in the most severe cases.

The severity of a burn is also judged by how much area it covers. Health workers express this factor in a unit known as body surface area (BSA). For example, a person with burns on one arm and hand is said to have about a 10 percent BSA burn. A burn covering one leg and foot is classified as about a 20 percent BSA burn.


Causes :

Burns may be caused in a variety of ways. In every case, the burn results from the death of skin tissue and, in some cases, underlying tissue. Burns caused by hot objects result from the death of cells caused by heat. In many cases, contact with a very hot object can damage tissue extensively. The contact may last for no more than a second or so, but the damage still occurs.

In other cases, cells are killed by heat produced by some physical event. For example, a rope burn is caused by friction between the rope and a person’s body. The rope itself is not hot, but the heat produced by friction is sufficient to cause a burn.

Chemicals can also cause burns. The chemicals attack and destroy cells in skin tissue. They produce an effect very similar to that of a heat burn.

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Symptoms:
The major signs of a burn are redness, swelling, and pain in the affected area. A severe burn will also blister. The skin may also peel, appear white or charred (blackened), or feel numb. A burn may also trigger a headache and fever. The most serious burns may cause shock. The symptoms of shock include faintness, weakness, rapid pulse and breathing, pale and clammy skin, and bluish lips and fingernails.
Burns and Scalds: Words to Know

Burns and Scalds: Words to Know

BSA:
A unit used in the treatment of burns to express the amount of the total body surface area covered by the burn.
Debridement:
The surgical removal of dead skin.
Scald:
A burn caused by a hot liquid or steam.
Shock:
A life-threatening condition that results from low blood volume due to loss of blood or other fluids.
Skin graft:
A surgical procedure in which dead skin is removed and replaced by healthy skin, usually taken from the patient’s own body.
Thermal burns:
Burns caused by hot objects.

Diagnosis:

Most burn cases are easily diagnosed. Patients know that they have touched a hot object, spilled a chemical on themselves, or been hit by steam. Doctors can confirm that a burn has occurred by conducting a physical examination.
Treatment:
The form of treatment used for a burn depends on how serious it is. Minor burns can usually be treated at home or in a doctor’s office. A minor burn is defined as a first or second degree burn that covers less than 15 percent of an adult’s body or 10 percent of a child’s body.

Moderate burns should be treated in a hospital. Moderate burns are first or second degree burns that cover more of a patient’s body or a third degree burn that covers less than 10 percent of BSA.

The most severe burns should be treated in special burn-treatment facilities. These burns are third degree burns that cover more than 10 percent of BSA. Specialized equipment and methods are used to treat these burns.

Thermal Burn Treatment:
Thermal burns are burns caused by heat, hot liquids, steam, fire, or other hot objects. The first objective in treating thermal burns is to cool the burned area. Cool water, but not very cold water or ice, should be used for the cooling process. Minor burns can also be cleaned with soap and water.

A burn victim receiving debridement treatment, or removal of dead skin, for severe burns.

Blisters should not be broken. If the skin is broken, the burned area should be covered with an antibacterial ointment and covered with a bandage to prevent infection. Aspirin, acetaminophen (pronounced uh-see-tuh-MIN-uh-fuhn, trade name Tylenol), or ibuprofen (pronounced i-byoo-PRO-fuhn, trade names Advil, Motrin) can be used to ease pain and relieve inflammation. However, children should not take aspirin due to the risk of contracting Reye’s syndrome (see Reye’s syndrome entry). If signs of infection appear, the patient should see a doctor.

More serious burns may require another approach. A burn may be so severe that it causes life-threatening symptoms. The patient may stop breathing or go into shock. In such cases, the first goal of treatment is to save the patient’s life, not treat the burns. The patient may require mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or artificial respiration.

There are three classifications of burns based on how deeply the skin has been damaged: first degree, second degree, and third degree.

Specialized treatment for severe burn cases may also include:

* Installation of a breathing tube if the patient’s airways or lungs have been damaged
* Administration of fluids through an intravenous tube
* Immunization with tetanus vaccine to prevent infection
* Covering the burned area with antibiotic ointments and bandages
* Debridement, or removal of dead tissue
* Removal of scars as healing occurs in order to improve blood flow
* Physical and occupational therapy to keep burn areas flexible and prevent scarring

Sometimes skin tissue is damaged so badly that it cannot heal properly. In that case, a skin graft may be required. In a skin graft, a doctor removes a section of healthy skin from an area of the patient’s body that has not been burned. The tissue scarred by the burn is also removed. The healthy tissue is then put into place where the damaged tissue was removed. Over a period of time, the healthy tissue begins to grow and replace the damaged tissue.

Chemical Burn Treatment:
The first step in treating a chemical burn is to remove the material causing the burn. If the material is a dry powder, it can be brushed off. If the material is a liquid, it can be flushed away with water. If the chemical that caused the burn is known, it may be neutralized with some other chemical. For example, if the burn is caused by an acid, a weak base can be used to neutralize the acid. The burned area can then be covered with a clean gauze and, if necessary, treated further by a doctor.
Electrical Burn Treatment

As with severe thermal burns, the first step in treating electrical burns usually involves saving the patient’s life. An electrical charge large enough to burn the skin may also produce life-threatening symptoms. The source of electricity must be removed and life support treatment provided to the patient. When the patient’s condition is stable, the burn can be covered with a clean gauze and medical treatment sought.

Alternative Treatment:
Serious burns should always be treated by a modern medical doctor. Less serious burns may benefit from a variety of alternative treatments. Some herbs that can be used to treat burns include aloe, oil of St. John’s wort, calendula (pronounced KUH-len-juh-luh), comfrey, and tea tree oil. Supplementing one’s diet with vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc may help a wound to heal faster.

Prognosis:
The prognosis for burns depends on many factors. These factors include the degree of the burn, the amount of skin affected by the burn, what parts of the body were affected, and any additional complications that might have developed.

In general, minor burns heal in five to ten days with few or no complications or scarring. Moderate burns heal in ten to fourteen days and may leave scarring. Major burns take more than fourteen days to heal and can leave significant scarring or, in the most severe cases, can be fatal.

Prevention:
Most thermal burns are caused by fires in the home. Every family member should be aware of basic safety rules that can reduce the risk of such fires. The single most important safety device is a smoke detector. The installation of smoke detectors throughout a house can greatly reduce the chance that injuries will result if a fire breaks out. Children should also be taught not to play with matches, lighters, fireworks, gasoline, cleaning fluids, or other materials that could burn them.

Burns from scalding water can be prevented by monitoring the temperature in the home hot water heater. That temperature should never be set higher than about 120°F (49°C). Taking care when working in the kitchen can also prevent scalds. For instance, be cautious when removing the tops from pans of hot foods and when uncovering foods heated in a microwave oven.

Sunburns can be prevented by limiting the time spent in the sun each day. The use of sunscreens can also reduce exposure to the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburns.

Electrical burns can be prevented by covering unused electrical outlets with safety plugs. Electrical cords should also be kept out of the reach of infants who may chew on them. People should seek shelter indoors during thunderstorms in order to avoid being struck by lightning or coming in contact with fallen electrical wires.

Chemical burns may be prevented by wearing protective clothing, including gloves and eyeshields. Individuals should also be familiar with the chemicals they handle and know which ones are likely to pose a risk for burns.

For More Information:

Books
Munster, Andrew M., and Glorya Hale. Severe Burns: A Family Guide to Medical and Emotional Recovery. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
Organizations

American Burn Association. 625 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1530, Chicago, IL 60611. http://www.ameriburn.org.

Shriners Hospitals for Children. 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607–1435. (813) 281–0300. http://www.shriners.org.
Web sites

“Cool the Burn: A Site for Children Touched by a Burn.” [Online] http://www.cooltheburn.com (accessed on October 11, 1999).

You may also click to learn more about Burns & Scalda:->..(1)……..(2)…...(3)…..(4)…….(5)

Sources: http://www.faqs.org/health/Sick-V1/Burns-and-Scalds.html

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Dyshidrosis

Definition:
Dyshidrosis, also termed Dyshidrotic Eczema, Pompholyx and Dyshidrotic Dermatitis, is a skin condition that is characterized by small blisters on the hands or feet. It is an acute, chronic, or recurrent dermatosis of the fingers, palms, and soles, characterized by a sudden onset of many deep-seated pruritic, clear vesicles; later, scaling, fissures and lichenification occur. Recurrence is common and for many can be chronic. Incidence/Prevalence is said to be 20/100,000 in the USA, however, many cases of eczema are diagnosed as garden-variety atopic eczema without further investigation, so it is possible this figure is misleading.
It is a non-contagious skin problem that is thought to be perhaps a reaction to some environmental irritant; it may also be an autoimmune disease. It is common, slightly more women get it than men, and has been one of the earliest known skin problems. It is rare in children under 10.

This condition is not contagious to others, but due to its unsightly nature can cause significant distress in regards to social interactions with others.

The name comes from the word “dyshidrotic,” meaning “bad sweating,” which was once believed to be the cause. Sometimes called pompholyx (Greek for “bubble”) which is generally reserved for the cases with blisters; in some countries, pompholyx refers to hand dyshidrosis.

……You may click to see the picture.

Symptoms:
Small blisters with the following characteristics:

*Blisters are very small (1 mm or less in diameter). They appear on the tips and sides of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles.

*Blisters are opaque and deep-seated; they are either flush with the skin or slightly elevated and do not break easily.
*Eventually, small blisters come together and form large blisters.

*Blisters may itch, cause pain, or produce no symptoms at all. They worsen after contact with soap, water, or irritating substances.

*Scratching blisters breaks them, releasing the fluid inside, causing the skin to crust and eventually crack. This cracking is painful as well as unsightly and often takes weeks, or even months to heal. The skin is dry and scaly during this period.

*Fluid from the blisters is serum that accumulates between the irritated skin cells. It is not sweat as was previously thought.

*In some cases, as the blistering takes place in the palms or finger. Lymph node swelling may accompany the outbreak. This is characterised by tingling feeling in the forearm and bumps present in the arm pits.

*Nails on affected fingers, or toes, may take on a pitted appearance.

Causes:
Causes of dyshidrosis are unknown. However, a number of triggers to the condition exist:

*Dyshidrosis has been historically linked to excessive sweating during periods of anxiety, stress, and frustration, however, many cases present that have no history of excessive sweating, and the hypothesis of dyshidrosis as a sweating disorder is largely rejected. Some patients reject this link to stress, though as a trigger of vesicular eruption it cannot be overlooked, as with other types of eczema.

*Vesicular eruption of the hands may also be caused by a local infection, with fungal infections being the most common. Sunlight is thought to bring on attacks, some patients link outbreaks to prolonged exposure to strong sunlight from late spring through to early autumn. Others have also noted outbreaks occurring in conjunction with exposure to chlorinated pool water or highly treated city tap waters.

*Soaps, detergents, fragrances and contact with fruit juices or fresh meat also can trigger outbreaks of dyshidrosis, as with other types of eczema.

*Systemic nickel allergies may be related such as foods high nickel content – cocoa, chocolate, whole grains, & nuts.

*Keeping skin damp will trigger or worsen an outbreak. For this reason, people with dyshidrosis should wear gloves, socks, and shoes made of materials which “breathe well”, such as cotton or silk. Certain fabrics may greatly irritate the condition, including wool, nylon and many synthetic fabrics.

*Inherited, not contagious. Often, patients will present with other types of dermatitis, such as seborrheic dermatitis or atopic eczema. For this reason, among others, dyshidrosis is often dismissed as atopic eczema or contact dermatitis.

*Can be the secondary effect of problems in the gut. Some sufferers claim diet can ease symptoms (relieving internal condition of IBS or intestinal yeast infection). Also Inflammatory bowel diseases of Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

*Bandages, plasters or other types of skin-tapes may be irritating to dyshidrosis and should be avoided. As the skin needs to breathe, anything that encourages maceration of the palms should be avoided. If the ‘wounds’ are raw enough to warrant covering, pure cotton gloves or gauze should be used. Liquid Band-Aid brand bandage may be tolerated and helpful, refer to the Treatment section, below.

*Latex and vinyl gloves may increase irritation.

*Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

*Allergic reaction to Potassium Dichromate (leather preservative)

*Dyshidrosis can sometimes even be caused by dust mite allergies, with sufferers having to wash and change bedding weekly, sometimes even every 2 days or even every day, to combat symptoms.

*Balsam of Peru is a common irritant among sufferers of hand eczema, more commonly, people with dyshidrotic eczema.

Treatment:
There are many treatments available for dyshidrosis, however, few of them have been developed or tested specifically on the condition.

*Topical steroids – while useful, can be dangerous long-term due to the skin-thinning side-effects, which are particularly troublesome in the context of hand dyshidrosis, due to the amount of toxins and bacteria the hands typically come in contact with.

*Nutritional deficiencies may be related, so addressing diet and vitamin intake is helpful

*Hydrogen Peroxide – posited as a key alleviating treatment (not a cure) on a popular website, it is used in dilutions between 3% and 27% strength, but side-effects of its use include burning and itching, and there is argument as to whether it only attacks the ‘sick cells’.

*Potassium permanganate dilute solution soaks – also popular, and used to ‘dry out’ the vesicles, but can also be very painful and cause significant burning.

*Domeboro (OTC) helps alleviate itching in the short term.

*Emollients during the drying/scaling phase of the condition, to prevent cracking and itching. While petroleum jelly may work well as a barrier cream, it does not absorb into the skin and or allow it to breathe, so may actually be less helpful.

*Salt soaks

*White vinegar soaks

*Avoidance of known triggers – dyshidrosis sufferers may need to abstain from washing their own hair or bodies, or wearing gloves when they do so, however waterproof gloves are often potential irritants.

*Zinc oxide ointment

*Nickel-free diets

*When in the scaling phase of the condition, the scales may cause deep cracks and fissures in the skin. Filing (as with an emery board) may help to minimize this.

*Stress management counseling

*Light treatment: UVA-1, PUVA, Grenz rays, Low Level Light Therapy using a Red + NIR (LED) combination

*Ciclosporin a strong immunosuppressant drug used to combat dyshidrosis caused by ulcerative colitis

*Efalizumab (Raptiva) a medication used to treat psoriasis

*Tacrolimus and Pimecrolimus, potent immunomodulators often used to prevent organ rejection in topical, ointment form, may be used in severe cases.

*Unbleached cotton gloves may be used to cover the hands to prevent scratching and vulnerability of the skin to bacteria

*Plantain (Plantago major) infused in olive or other oil can be soothing.

*Band-Aid brand liquid bandage regularly applied during the (often painful) peeling stage allows the skin to breathe while protecting it from further irritation. Some suffers have found that with regular application the skin will close and reform within 1 to 2 days. Protection is sufficient that the user can (gently) wash their hands with no irritation, however additional application after each hand wash is suggested. It does not cure the condition and only aids healing during the peeling stage. Other spray-on or brush-on liquid bandaids can contain irritating ingredients and have not been found to be helpful, some will aggravate the condition significantly.

*Avoid metal computer keyboards and track pads which contain nickel.

Many sufferers of dyshidrosis will find that treatments that were previously suitable for them no longer work or have induced sensitive reactions, which is common in most types of eczema.

*It may be prudent to wear light cotton gloves while reading newspapers, books and magazines. The inks and paper may irritate the condition.
*Avoid Purell and other hand sanitizing products which contain alcohol. These may aggravate the condition.

*Wash affected hands and feet with cool water and apply a moisturizer as soon as possible.

*On the other hand, hot water usually kills the itch.

*Avoid moisturizers that contain water (cremes and lotions). Stick with ointments.

*Valium in small doses during flare ups
Click to learn more about Dyshidrosis and it’s proper treatment

ABC Homeopathy Forum for Dyshidrosis

Allergy testing:
Allergy testing is a contested subject among eczema communities. Some dermatologists posit that if a sufferer is allergic to a substance, then a general allergy test on the forearm will suffice, yet others believe that in conditions like dyshidrosis, the suspect substances need to be applied to the affected area to induce a reaction. -Often seen in people who are already suseptible to allergies and/or asthma.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyshidrosis
http://www.geocities.com/vyera/dyshidrosis/main.html

Cold Sores

Many people eventually become infected with the virus that causes the unsightly and painful lip blisters called cold sores. Using antioxidants, immune boosters, and especially the amino acid lysine, you’ll have the tools to inhibit the virus and help heal the inflamed skin.

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Symptoms
The initial outbreak is often marked by unsightly and tender blisters on or near the mouth; sometimes flulike symptoms and swelling in adjacent lymph nodes occur as well.
Recurrences may be milder: An itchy or tingling sensation on the lips is followed in a day or two by one or more fluid-filled blisters.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you develop eye pain or sensitivity to light — it may mean the virus has spread to the eyes, where it can damage vision.
If cold sores last longer than two weeks or recur often — you may need a cream or oral antiviral drug.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What it actually is?

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Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that usually appear on the lips, though they can also develop on the gums, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, or the area around the nostrils. In addition, the cold sore virus can spread by touch to the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and genitals — or to abrasions. Typically, cold sores (also called fever blisters) break and then form a scab, disappearing in a week to ten days.

What Causes It
Cold sores are usually caused by herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1). This virus is different from the one responsible for genital herpes — herpes simplex type 2 — which is generally transmitted through sexual contact. Because the cold sore virus lies dormant in nerve cells after the first outbreak, new sores are likely to recur as frequently as every few weeks or as infrequently as every few years. Sores often reappear when the immune system is depressed by a fever or a viral infection such as a cold. Recurrences can also be triggered by fatigue, menstruation, stress, or exposure to sun and wind.

Diagnosis of Cold Sores

Secondary to how common cold sores are in the general public they are usually diagnosed primarily by clinical symptoms and history. However, the following represent the most accurate methods in which to diagnose the herpes virus.

Virus Culture Detection Tests

In order to prepare a viral culture a physician must collect cells at the base of the genital lesion using a sterile cotton swab The sample is then tested in the laboratory. An individual must have a active or live infection at the time of the swab test to produce a positive result. If the herpetic lesions or ulcers have begun to heal the test may give a false-negative report. However, when active lesions are present, this method is seen as the gold standard for diagnosing genital herpes.

Serology Blood Tests


When an individual becomes infected with the herpes virus the body will produce antibodies designed to fight the virus. These antibodies are specific to each virus and remain permanently in the bloodstream. A blood test for a herpes simplex virus can indicate if someone has been infected at some time during their life.

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Cold Sore Treatment Options:-

Prescription Medications
Prescription medications have been proven in clinical trials to be the most effective treatment option for treating cold sores:

Valtrex is the first and only oral one-day treatment for cold sores. The recommended dose is 2 grams taken at the first sign of a cold sore, such as tingling, itching, or burning and then again, approximately 12 hours later. You should be prepared for subsequent outbreaks of cold sores by having a supply of Valtrex readily available.
Herbal Supplements
Certain amino acids and vitamins have been found to influence the recurrence and duration of cold sores..

An imbalance in the amino acids lysine and arginine has been shown in studies as a contributing factor in cold sore outbreaks. A diet that is rich in the amino acid lysine may help prevent recurrences of cold sores. Foods which contain high levels of lysine include most vegetables, turkey, legumes, fish and chicken. Individuals may also take supplemental doses of Lysine. The recommended dose for the prophylactic treatment of cold sores is 1,000 mg of lysine three times a day during a cold sore outbreak and 500 mg daily.

In addition to taking increase amounts of Lysine individuals should limit their intake of arginine. Foods that contain contain high quantities of arginine include peanuts, almonds, chocolate, and other nuts and seeds.

What Else You Can Do
Apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) to the lips to prevent recurrences. In a study involving people with recurrent cold sores, those who didn’t use sunscreen developed a cold sore after 80 minutes in the sun.
Don’t touch the blisters. This can spread the virus, as can sharing personal items such as towels, razors, drinking glasses, or toothbrushes
Try meditation, yoga, or other forms of relaxation to reduce stress, which is thought to precipitate cold sores.
Stay away from nuts, chocolate, whole-grain cereals, and gelatin. They contain a large amount of the amino acid arginine, which some doctors think triggers cold sores. Lysine may counteract its effect.
Supplements can be safely used with prescription antiviral creams, such as acyclovir or penciclovir, which also promote healing of cold sores.
Holding an ice cube to the affected area for a few minutes several times a day can help reduce pain and dry out the cold sore.
* Avoid excessive sun exposure to the face
* Wash hands frequently
* Avoid contact with those individuals who have active lesions
* Do not touch cold sores (this can spread the virus to other regions)
* Avoid kissing the lips or eyes of infants under six months of age
* Maintain a healthy lifestyle (proper diet, adequate sleep, exercise)


Diet

Proper diet may have an effect on the recurrence, as well as, the duration of cold sores. In general, cold sore sufferers should eat a healthy diet of unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Individuals should avoid alcohol, chocolate, nuts, caffeine and sugar.

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Supplement Recommendations :-
Lysine
Melissa Cream
Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Vitamin A
Echinacea/Goldenseal
Selenium
Flaxseed Oil

Lysine
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day for flare-ups, then 500 mg a day.
Comments: Take on an empty stomach; don’t take with milk.

Melissa Cream
Dosage: Apply cream to sores 2-4 times a day.
Comments: This herb is also called lemon balm.

Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C and 500 mg flavonoids 3 times a day.
Comments: Use for flare-ups; reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Vitamin A
Dosage: 25,000 IU twice a day for 5 days.
Comments: Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.

Echinacea/Goldenseal
Dosage: 200 mg echinacea and 125 mg goldenseal 4 times a day.
Comments: Sold singly or as combination supplement.

Selenium
Dosage: 600 mcg a day only during flare-ups.
Comments: Don’t exceed 600 mcg daily; higher doses may be toxic.

Flaxseed Oil
Dosage: 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
Comments: Can be mixed with food; take in the morning.

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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs and www.eurodrugspharmacy.com

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