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Ailmemts & Remedies

Ear Health

Waxy ears:
One of the most common complaints seen by GPs is a blocked ear, usually caused by wax that has been pushed into the ear by a cotton bud.
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As well as the blocked sensation, waxy ears can reduce hearing, cause a ringing sound (tinnitus) and, occasionally, pain.
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There’s no need to clean your ears with a cotton bud. The ear has its own internal cleaning mechanism. Fats and oils in the ear canal trap any particles and transport them out of the ear as wax. This falls out of the ear without us noticing.

When we try to clean the ear, this wax gets pushed back and compacted. There’s also no need to dry ears with a towel, cotton buds or tissue paper. Let them dry naturally or gently use a hair-drier on low heat.

Olive oil can help to soften the wax and enable it to come out. Apply two drops in each ear twice a day. Wax-softening drops can also be bought from a pharmacist.

Sometimes, the wax needs to be syringed out by a GP or practice nurse.

Itchy ears:-
These can be irritating, and when ears are affected with eczema or psoriasis they can cause constant discomfort. But scratching or poking damages the ear’s sensitive lining, allowing infection in, called otitis externa.

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The immune system normally responds to harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins by producing symptoms such as runny nose and congestion, post-nasal drip and sore throat, and itchy ears and eyes. An allergic reaction can produce the same symptoms in response to substances that are generally harmless, like dust, dander or pollen. The sensitized immune system produces antibodies to these allergens, which cause chemicals called histamines to be released into the bloodstream, causing itching, swelling of affected tissues, mucus production, hives, rashes, and other symptoms. Symptoms vary in severity from person to person.

This can also happen when ears gets waterlogged through swimming. The ear canal swells, becoming narrow and painful. Hearing becomes a problem and discharge often appears.

Treatment requires antibiotic drops and strong painkillers. In severe cases, the ear needs to be cleaned by an ear specialist.

Piercing:-
Anything that damages the skin can allow infection in. This is often the case with ear piercing, especially when the skin isn’t cared for properly during or after the piercing. Follow care advice carefully.
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Many people are allergic to certain inexpensive metals, such as nickel, which can make the outside of the ear swell and feel uncomfortable.

Sunburn:-
The tops of the ears are exposed to the sun and sensitive to its harmful UV rays. Skin cancer affects ears, too.

Make sure you apply suncream and wear a hat that keeps your ears in the shade.

You may click to see :Herbal Remedies For Ear Infections

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/ears1.shtml
http://www.qualityhealth.com/health-encyclopedia/multimedia/foreign-object-ear
http://www.urgentcarect.com/Services.aspx
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/01/health/adam/19316Allergysymptoms.html
http://thebeautybrains.com/2009/11/15/what-should-i-do-about-my-ear-infection/

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Insect Allergy

Definition:
Insect  allergy from its venom is a harmful reaction to insect stings that occurs in people who have an abnormally high sensitivity to insect venom. It is an acquired trait, which is not present at the first exposure to the venom, but sensitization can occur after the first or subsequent exposures. Animals classified as insects usually have three main body segments (head, thorax and abdomen), six legs and a pair of sensory antennae. Winged insect species have two sets of wings, such as mosquitoes, bees, and wasps. Other biting or stinging insects include fleas, lice, and ants. Many other related animals that are frequently mistaken for insects such as ticks, spiders and mites also bite human beings. They can transmit infectious diseases or cause poisoning but generally do not cause allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to the venom of some stinging insects, such as honey bee, yellow jacket, hornet, wasp or fire ant can be life threatening.

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Who gets it?
While not everyone is allergic to insect venom, reactions in the skin such as mild pain, swelling, and redness may occur with an insect sting. Anyone can experience an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting. However, only a small number of people with insect bite or sting allergies suffer fatal reactions.

Who is at risk for insect sting allergies?
Over 2 million Americans are allergic to stinging insects. The degree of allergy varies widely. Most people are not allergic to insect stings, and most insect stings result in only local itching and swelling. Many, however, will have severe allergic reactions. Severe allergic reactions to insect stings are responsible for at least 50 deaths each year in the U.S.

If you are known to be allergic to insect stings, then the next sting is 60% likely to be similar or worse than the previous sting. Since most stings occur in the summer and fall, you are at greatest risk during these months. Males under the age of 20 are the most common victims of serious insect-sting allergic reactions, but this may reflect a greater exposure to insects of males, rather than a true predisposition.

Causes:
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system produces antibodies and other disease fighting cells in response to an allergen, in this case the insect venom. The antibodies release chemicals that actually injure the surrounding cells and cause the physical symptoms of an allergic reaction. Certain antibodies release histamines, which affect the skin, mucous membrane, mucous gland, and smooth muscle cells. Life-threatening allergic reactions can occur without any previous symptoms of allergy. In fact, most people with insect bite or sting allergies do not experience a severe reaction with their first bite. Multiple bites or stings increase the risk of an allergic reaction, but just one bite will cause serious symptoms for someone who is severely allergic.

What insects are usually involved?
Most serious allergic reactions to insect venom are caused by stinging insects, such as bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps and imported fire ants. As natives of the tropics, fire ants can live only in the warmer climate of the southern states and cannot survive in the north. They are extremely aggressive and sting exposed parts of the skin when they feel threatened. Bites or stings from other insects usually do not cause allergic reaction.

Symptoms:
Symptoms of insect venom allergy often begin within 15 to 30 minutes and arise distant from the site of sting. The first symptom is often itchiness that can affect all or any part of the skin, the eyes and the nose. As symptoms progress, the patient begins to sneeze, cough and wheeze, feel congested, and develop hives or swelling. These symptoms may be warning signs of a dangerous condition called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include sudden anxiety and weakness, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, lightheadedness and palpitation, and loss of consciousness. Anaphylactic shock can occur within minutes and result in death. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that needs immediate medical treatment, and any delay may reduce the chance of survival.

Diagnosis:

Insect venom allergy is suspected based on a constellation of suggestive symptoms that follow an insect sting. The diagnosis is confirmed by performing a skin test with the venom of specific insects, such as honey bee, yellow jacket, hornet, wasp or fire ant that may be the culprit of the allergic reaction.

Treatment:
If you have been bitten or stung by an insect, carefully remove the stinger, if it is left behind. Wash the bite/sting area gently with soap and water. Apply ice to the site of sting. People who are allergic to insect bites should, of course, avoid situations in which they are likely to get stung or bitten. Mild reactions, such as pain, itching, and swelling, can be treated with an over-the counter antihistamine, pain reliever and topical corticosteroid creams. Anaphylactic shock is treated with an injection of epinephrine, a hormone that stimulates the heart and relaxes the airways. This may be combined with an injection of an antihistamine, which counteracts the histamine produced by the immune cells during an allergic reaction. Those who are known to have severe insect venom allergies should carry a self-injection kit, including antihistamine tablets, for emergency treatment. However, they should still seek emergency medical care after any type of reaction to an insect bite or sting.

People who are severely allergic to the venom of stinging insects, such as bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps or fire ants may, undergo a desensitization. First, skin testing is performed by an allergy specialist to determine the type of insect that responsible for the venom allergy. Then the patient receives a series of injections of the venom from the same insect(s). Starting dose is minute but increasingly larger doses are given until the venom doses several times larger than a single insect sting can be tolerated. This type of program must be administered by an allergy specialist, and it usually takes 20 weekly injections to eliminate this abnormal and exaggerated sensitivity. These are followed up with monthly booster shots and continued for 3 to 5 years to consolidate the cure.
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Alternative Treatments For Insect Bite Allergy

Alternative therapy for insect bites

Are There Any Ways To Treat Insect Sting Allergies Using Alternative Medicine?

Self-care tips
There are many ways you can help prevent insect bites and stings. Don’t use flowery colognes, soaps, or lotions, or wear brightly colored clothing, which attract insects. Do not keep open garbage or food that attract stinging insects when you are outdoors. Avoid drinking sweet beverages especially from open cans that have been left unattended and may harbor insects. Wear light, protective clothing such as long sleeves top and long pants whenever you will be outside for longer periods of time. Wear work gloves when you are gardening. Do not walk barefoot on the grass where insects are difficult to detect and can be stepped on. If an insect is near you, move away. Do not swat at the insect, which may awaken its defensive instincts and trigger aggressive behavior. Make sure any insect nests around your home are removed and destroyed.

Stinging Insect Allergies At A Glance:-
*Severity of reactions to stings varies greatly.

*Most insect stings do not produce allergic reactions.

*Anaphylactic reactions are the most serious reactions and can be fatal.

*Avoidance and prompt treatment are essential.

*Epinephrine (available in portable, self-injectable form) is the treatment of choice for anaphylactic reactions.

*In selected people, allergy injection therapy is highly effective in preventing future reactions.

*The three “A’s” of insect allergy are adrenaline, avoidance, and allergist.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the following:

*Avoid disturbing likely beehive sites, such as large trees, tree stumps, logs, and large rocks.

*If a colony is disturbed, run and find cover as soon as possible. Running in a zigzag pattern may be helpful.

*Never stand still or crawl into a hole or other space with no way out.

*Do not slap at the bees.

*Cover as much of the head and face as possible, without obscuring vision, while running.

*Once clear of the bees, remove stingers and seek medical care if necessary, especially if there is a history of allergy to bee venom.

For more knowledge you may click to see:->Insect Allergy Reminders

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.hmc.psu.edu/healthinfo/i/insectallergy.htm
http://www.medicinenet.com/insect_sting_allergies/article.htm

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Health Quaries

Some Medical Questions and Answers by Dr.Gita Mathai

Dealing with motion sickness:-

Q: My son vomits every time we travel, whether it is by car, bus, train or in a plane. It is exhausting to us and irritating for other passengers.

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.A: Your son has the classic symptoms of motion sickness. In some people like him, movement by all the modes of transportation you have mentioned causes a dissociation in the information that the brain receives. The person is immobile, seated in a chair, but is actually moving. The balance centre in the ear becomes affected, causing dizziness, nausea and eventually vomiting.
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Simple methods like facing forwards or smelling a lemon may ease motion sickness

Simple methods like facing forwards, or sitting in the centre of the vehicle may help. Smelling a lemon or sucking on ginger-flavoured sweets helps some people overcome the nausea. Medications like Dramamine or Avomine taken half an hour before the journey usually stop the vomiting. Consult your paediatrician, who will be able to prescribe appropriate medication if required.

Fortunately, some children outgrow motion sickness as they grow older and travel more frequently.

Blocked nose :-

Q: One side of my nose is permanently blocked and if I get a cold I cannot breathe at all.

A: If your nose has been blocked from birth, there may be a congenital absence of the opening, a condition called chonal atresia. This requires surgical correction. If the block is recent, you need to consult an ear, nose and throat surgeon to evaluate the nasal passages. He will be able to tell you if the obstruction is due to a mechanical cause like a deviated nasal septum or nasal polyps or a reactive intermittent block caused by a local response to allergens. Just using nosal drops and sprays is not the answer. Many of the chemical drops cause rebound congestion. The saline drops are safer but they are milder and short acting.

Insect stings :-

Q: I got stung by a wasp and the sting remained in my flesh for a long time. Please advise.

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A: An insect sting can be very painful and may cause allergic reactions. The proboscis (stinging apparatus) should be quickly removed. The easiest way to do this is to apply ice to the site of the injury. The swelling subsides and enough of the sting is usually exposed to facilitate removal. If there is redness and itching, calamine lotion can be applied. If the allergy is severe, antihistamines many need to be taken.

Some people can develop life-threatening allergic reactions to insect bites or stings, with swelling in the lips, tongue and throat and breathing obstructed. They need immediate medical attention.

Varicose veins :-

Q: I have ugly blue veins on my legs which swell up when I stand. What can I do?

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A: The swellings you describe are varicose veins. This condition is commoner in women. It tends to get aggravated during pregnancy. It is due to weak and faulty valves in the veins of the leg. Many patients can manage this with weight reduction, exercises and elastic stockings. If there is constant pain and repeated ulcer formation, it is better to opt for surgery.

Pregnancy after a caesarean :-

Q: I delivered my first baby by caesarean and was advised to wait for three years before the second baby. As I did not menstruate for seven months, I thought I did not need contraception. Now I find I am pregnant. Can I have a medical termination of the pregnancy?

A: Unfortunately, after vague post natal instructions stating   “come for a check up after six weeks   or  use contraception  (details unspecified) for three years, most couples are left to their own devices. Here, unfortunately, old wives   tales   You cannot get pregnant as long as you breast feed the baby.” “I did not become pregnant for three years and neither did your grand mother.” “If you have not menstruated, you are safe.” “If you have intercourse infrequently, you will not get pregnant.”

None of these theories has any scientific basis. Even a single act of intercourse can result in pregnancy. In your case, options are limited. Return to the obstetrician who performed the first caesarean and follow her advice.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)