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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).

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

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Perickly Heat (Miliaria)

Prickly Heat or Miliaria (miliaria rubra, sweat rash ) is a skin disease marked by small and itchy rashes. Miliaria is a common ailment in hot and humid conditions, such as in the tropics and during the summer season. Although it affects people of all ages, it is especially common in children and infants due to their underdeveloped sweat glands.

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It is a skin rash caused by trapped sweat under the skin. Sweat can become trapped when the narrow ducts through which sweat travels to the surface become clogged. Prickly heat tends to be more common in warmer, more humid climates. The condition usually appears on the torso and thighs.
Pathology
Miliaria (Prickly Heat) occurs when the sweat gland ducts get plugged due to dead skin cells or bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, a common bacterium that occurs on the skin which is also associated with acne. The trapped sweat leads to irritation (prickling), itching and to a rash of very small blisters, usually in a localized area of the skin.

Prickly heat develops when the narrow ducts carrying sweat to the skin surface get clogged. The trapped sweat causes inflammation, which produces irritation (prickling), itching, and a rash of very tiny blisters. Prickly heat also can appear as large, reddened areas of skin.
Prickly heat results when sweat glands are blocked and ruptured, and sweat is trapped below the skin.

Clinical features:
Symptoms of miliaria include small red rashes, called papules, which may itch or more often cause an intense ‘pins-and-needles’ prickling sensation. These rashes may simultaneously occur at a number of areas on a sufferer’s body, the most common including the face, neck, under the breasts and under the scrotum. Other areas include skin folds, areas of the body that may rub against clothing, such as the back, chest, and stomach, etc. A related and sometimes simultaneous condition is folliculitis, where hair follicles become plugged with foreign matter, resulting in inflammation.

The following are the most common symptoms of prickly heat. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently:

*itching
*irritation (prickling)
*small blisters
*large, red areas on skin
The symptoms of prickly heart may resemble other dermatologic conditions. Consult a physician for diagnosis.

The symptoms relating to miliaria should not be confused with shingles as they can be very similar. Shingles will restrict itself to one side of the body but also has a rash-like appearance. It is also accompanied by a prickling sensation and pain throughout the region. Those who suspect they have shingles and not miliaria should seek medical advice immediately as the sooner antivirals are taken, the better.

Other types of miliaria:
In a similar mild condition called miliaria crystallina, instead of small rashes, there are tiny blisters that look like beads of perspiration. miliaria profunda, sometimes referred to as Wildfire due to the rapid spread and severe burning sensations, is a severe form of miliaria caused by a complication due to repeated outbreaks of miliaria rubra, the sweat ducts are completely blocked. This inability to sweat may cause the patient to be prone to heat exhaustion. Once triggered, a severe attack of miliaria commonly lasts 5-6 weeks because the plugs which form in the sweat duct openings can only be cast off by the outward growth of the sweat duct cells.

The most severe forms of prickly heat have very similar symptoms to severe burns. The term Wildfire is used because the generation of excess heat and the inability to expel the heat can lead to a cascade effect where the trapped sweat causes blisters to break, the immune system, adrenal system, and patient psychological response to the pain and panic response to the rapidly spreading rash causes additional biological activities and heat and the entire system cascades (or breaks down). The rash can be visually seen to progress rapidly similar to scenes from various horror movies, accompanied by the associated pain which will become quite severe.

Prevention:
Prickly heat can be prevented by avoiding activities that induce sweating, using air conditioning to cool the environment, wearing light clothing and in general, avoiding hot and humid weather. If that is not possible, and especially if air conditioning is unavailable or unaffordable, then taking multiple showers throughout the day (and night as well if needed) to unplug and clean the sweat glands is the best defense against it.


Treatment:

The condition usually clears up when sweating is avoided. Other treatment may include:

  • keeping the skin cool and dry
  • corticosteroid lotions

There is currently little in the way of specific medical treatment, but in most cases the rashes disappear by themselves. Severe infections can last weeks. Early and continuous treatment of minor infections can effect recovery within a matter of days. Staying in an air-conditioned environment to avoid sweating will speed-up the healing process and lessen symptoms. Anti-itch lotions, such as calamine and topical steroid creams can be used to sooth and control the itching. Use caution however as anything which blocks the release of sweat and heat and in particular oil based products block the glands and slow the defoliation process and should be avoided. Antibiotics and topical antiseptics are used to prevent bacterial blooms, reducing the chances of the sweat glands being plugged and causing inflammations. In some cases, vitamin A and C supplements can help shorten the duration and severity of the symptoms. Prickly heat powders, using antibacterial agents and ingredients like menthol and camphor with mild analgesic and cooling properties, can be applied to the affected areas to relieve the itching and discomfort. Healing takes time even when bacteria are reduced as new sweat gland cells need time to regrow as the damaged cells defoliate.

Instead of medicating, it is usually best to simply keep the skin clean by taking multiple showers to keep affected areas clean and sweat free. Stay calm and stay cold. Dunking in cold water is effective. Mild antibacterial soaps may be helpful as well to slow spread and prevent future outbreaks. In most cases, these simple steps alone will make the rashes disappear naturally in a few days. If they persist, it may be advisable to consult a doctor in case a more serious infection is occurring.

In the cases where the rash has caused open blisters to form a doctor should be consulted immediately as the open sores are almost certain to infect and cause secondary problems without preventative measures.

Homeopathy :
To prevent heat rash, take a 30C dose of Sol three times a day for up to three weeks, writes Andrew Lockie, M.D., in his book The Family Guide to Homeopathy. If you do develop a rash, Dr. Lockie recommends trying a 30C dose of Apis as soon as the prickling or itching sensation starts. Take this remedy every two hours for up to ten doses, he says, and repeat this routine daily, if necessary.
Sol and Apis are available in many health food stores. To purchase homeopathic remedies by mail, refer to the resource list on page 637.

Food Therapy
To get over heat rash more quickly, increase your intake of essential fatty acids,   advises Julian Whitaker, M.D., founder and president of the Whitaker Wellness Center in Newport Beach, California. “Salmon and other cold water fish (such as herring and mackerel) are excellent sources of these fatty acids, as are flaxseed oil and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach.” Flaxseed oil is available in most health food stores.

Hydrotherapy :
Take an alkaline bath to soak away heat rash, suggests medical pathologist Agatha Thrash, M.D., co-founder and co-director of Uchee Pines Institute, a natural healing center in Seale, Alabama. Add one cup of baking soda to a tub filled with lukewarm water (94 to 98°F; you can use a regular thermometer to check) and soak for 30 to 60 minutes, using a cup to pour the water over any part of the body that isn’t submerged in the bath. Pat dry.

HOME REMEDY FOR PRICKLY HEAT

Ayurvedic Treatment for Prickly Heat

Simple Remedy for Prickly Heat

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/Prickly_heat
http://www.umm.edu/dermatology-info/prickly.htm
http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/21/126.cfm
http://www.merck.com/mmhe/print/sec18/ch206/ch206b.html

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Anxiety and Panic

Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but some people are uneasy so often — or have scary episodes called panic attacks — that anxiety interferes with their normal life. Taking B vitamins, certain minerals, and calming herbs .
Symptoms

Acute anxiety.
Extreme fear.
Rapid heartbeat and breathing.
Excessive perspiration, chills, or hot flashes.
Dry mouth.
Dizziness.


Chronic anxiety.
Muscle tension, headaches, and back pain.
Insomnia.
Depression.
Low sex drive.
Inability to relax

When to Call Your Doctor

Do not replace prescription anti-anxiety medications, such as alprazolam, lorazepam, or diazepam, with herbs or supplements without talking to your doctor. Cutting back suddenly can be dangerous.
Anxiety symptoms can mimic those of a serious illness, or may be caused by certain medical conditions or drugs. See your doctor to rule out these as possibilities.


Reminder: If you have a medical or psychiatric condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What It Is

When faced with a potentially dangerous situation — a large barking dog, for example — anxiety is a healthy response. Your brain, sensing the danger, signals for the release of hormones to prepare your body to defend itself. Muscles tense, heartbeat and breathing rate increase, and the blood even becomes more likely to clot (in the event of injury). In some individuals, this response is set in motion even when there is no obvious threat. Such a reaction can be bad for your health, causing exhaustion, poor concentration, a sense of detachment from yourself or your surroundings, headaches, stomach problems, and an increase in blood pressure.
Anxiety disorders come in two basic forms. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic condition that involves a recurring sense of foreboding and worry accompanied by mild physical symptoms. A panic attack, on the other hand, comes on suddenly and unexpectedly, with symptoms so violent that the episodes are often mistaken for a heart attack or another life-threatening condition.

Panic attacks are surprisingly common: About 15% of Americans will suffer at least one in their lifetime. And as many as 3% of adults have these attacks frequently.

What Causes It

Some scientists think that the central nervous systems of people with anxiety disorders may overreact to stress and take a longer time than most to return to a calmer state. Anxiety may begin with an upsetting event — an accident, divorce, or death — or it may have no identifiable root.
There may also be a biochemical basis for anxiety. Studies have shown that people who are prone to panic attacks have higher blood levels of lactic acid, a chemical produced when muscles metabolize sugar without enough oxygen. Other research suggests that anxiety may be the result of an overproduction of stress hormones by the brain and adrenal glands.

How Supplements Can Help

In many cases, herbal and nutritional remedies for anxiety can be used in place of prescription drugs, which may be addictive and have other unpleasant side effects. Several studies have shown that the herb kava is very useful for anxiety-perhaps as effective as prescription drugs; it reduces symptoms such as nervousness, dizziness, and heart palpitations. In addition, people with anxiety should add calcium, magnesium, and a vitamin B complex supplement, plus extra thiamin. These nutrients are important for the healthy functioning of the nervous system, especially for the production of the key chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters.
Valerian, known as a sleep aid, can be used at low doses throughout the day for a calming effect. Try this herb if kava doesn’t work for you. Even if you’re taking kava during the day, you can have a nighttime dose (250 to 500 mg) of valerian if you have trouble falling asleep. St. John’s wort can be added to kava or valerian if you are depressed as well as anxious. At least a month is needed before the full effect of St. John’s wort will be felt; the other supplements begin working immediately.

What Else You Can Do

Cut out caffeine, alcohol, and excess sugar, which may trigger anxiety.
Do aerobic exercises regularly. They burn lactic acid, produce natural feel-good chemicals (endorphins), and enhance your use of oxygen.
See a therapist to develop more positive ways of coping.
Chamomile makes a pleasant floral tea that will relax you without making you sleepy. It contains apigenin, which animal tests show affects the same brain receptors as anti-anxiety drugs, yet it’s nonaddictive. Chamomile can be used with kava or other botanicals.
Breathing techniques can often help you manage a panic attack. Inhale slowly, to a count of four; wait, to a count of four; exhale slowly, to a count of four; and wait, to a count of four. Repeat until the attack subsides.
Individuals with anxiety symptoms may be uniquely sensitive to caffeine, several studies indicate. Try reducing your caffeine intake — do it slowly to minimize withdrawal symptoms such as headaches — and see if it eases your anxiety.

Yoga and Meditation under the supervision of an expert helps a lot.

Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
Supplement Recommendations

Kava
Calcium/Magnesium
Vitamin B Complex
Valerian
St. John’s Wort

Kava
Dosage: 250 mg 2 or 3 times a day as needed.
Comments: Look for standardized extracts in pill or tincture form that contain at least 30% kavalactones.

Calcium/Magnesium
Dosage: 600 mg of each a day.
Comments: Take with food; sometimes sold in a single supplement.

Vitamin B Complex
Dosage: 1 pill, plus extra 100 mg thiamin, each morning with food.
Comments: Look for a B-50 complex with 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg folic acid; and 50 mg all other B vitamins.

Valerian
Dosage: 250 mg twice a day.
Comments: Should be standardized to contain 0.8% valerenic acid. May cause drowsiness; take at bedtime for insomnia.

St. John’s Wort

Dosage: 300 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Should be standardized to contain 0.3% hypericin.

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 (Reader’s Digest)