Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease transmitted by infected ticks. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever usually develop within two weeks of the initial tick bite.  Symptoms of the disease include:

  • A sudden onset of fever and headache accompanied by
  • a rash that develops within two to five days of the initial tick bite.

The rash usually begins at the wrists and ankles, and spreads throughout the rest of the body.

In addition to the rash, fever, and headache, Rocky Mountain spotted fever may induce nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, lack of appetite, and red eyes.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever requires professional medical attention. People observing any of these symptoms who live near, or frequently visit areas with dense tick populations, should seek prompt medical attention!

Tick Removal

If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.

How to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
outline of tickAvoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.Sources:

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Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection in humans that is caused by a bacterium carried by ticks. Early symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • a localized rash that gradually expands over several days. As the rash expands, part of the rash may clear and take the appearance of a bulls-eye. The rash is rarely itchy or painful, and usually feels warm to the touch.
  • Other early symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle ache, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes.

Untreated, the Lyme disease bacterial infection may spread from the site of the bite to other parts of the body.  The spread of bacteria produces an array of specific symptoms that may come and go such as:

  • Lesions on the body
  • Loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face
  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness due to inflammation of the spinal cord
  • Pain and swelling in large joints
  • Shooting pains that may interfere with sleep
  • Heart palpitations and dizziness due to changes in heartbeat

Lyme disease requires professional medical treatment. People who live in or have recently travelled to an area known for dense tick populations, that are experiencing any of these symptoms, should seek prompt medical attention!

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Insect Bite

Insect bites and stings may inject venom or other substances into skin that result in a variety of symptoms. Severe reactions include:

  • Hives, nausea, cramps, vomiting, or a rapid heartbeat,
  • Involuntary muscle movement
  • Swelling of the lips or throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, faintness, and confusion
  • Anaphylactic Shock

If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 or emergency medical assistance immediately. Typical reactions are mild and include local itching, stinging, and swelling. These symptoms typically subside within 48 hours.

First aid for insect bites begins with

  • Removing any insect parts from the site and cleaning the area with soap and water.
  • Use ice to reduce pain and control swelling.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to the bite or sting several times daily and take an antihistamine as needed to reduce swelling and prevent allergic reactions until symptoms subside.

In some cases, delayed symptoms such as hives, fever, swollen glands, and joint pain may occur. A person experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention from their health care provider.

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Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider bites usually occur in bed or after putting on clothes. The bite is typically painless. Symptoms of a Brown Recluse Spider bite include:

  • A local stinging pain
  • Six to eight hours after being bitten, aching and itching develop at the site.
  • Within three days an ulcer may develop.
  • If left untreated, in two to five weeks the bite will produce a noticeable hole.

First aid for a brown recluse spider bite starts with

  • Cleaning the area around the wound with mild soap and water.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to the location of the bite.
  • Use ice to control swelling, and
  • Elevate the bite if it is located on a limb such as an arm or leg.

If you have been bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider, seek medical attention as soon as possible.  Venom from an untreated brown recluse spider bite causes skin tissue to die which may result in scarring. Some bites have also caused kidney failure and death in small children.  If you kill a spider that has bitten you, place the spider in a small jar, plastic bag, or other small container and bring it to your health care provider for identification.

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Asbestos Poisoning

Asbestos poisoning occurs when asbestos fibers build up in the lungs after exposure. Asbestos poisoning occurred mostly in commercial and industrial settings during the 1970’s. Today it is more commonly seen in asbestos removal projects inside the home. If care is not taken to prevent asbestos exposure, asbestos poisoning can progress into asbestosis, which can cause permanent lung tissue damage.

First Aid treatment for asbestos poisoning begins with decontamination. Directly after exposure occurs:

  • Remove all affected clothing
  • Scrub all surfaces of the body thoroughly with soap and water. This will prevent lingering fibers from being inhaled.
  • Use an ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier to help break up any bronchial secretions from the asbestos.  Doing so allows affected persons to manually cough and clear their lungs.
  • Asbestos poisoning can cause chest pain. The pain can be treated with over-the-counter products including ibuprofen. In severe cases, your doctor may also prescribe bronchial dilators to help keep your airways open.

Asbestos poisoning does substantial damage to the lungs.  If you have been exposed, take proper preventative measures to protect the lungs from further damage.

  • Stop smoking: asbestos exposure dramatically increases the risk of lung cancer.
  • Asbestos-damaged lungs are also more prone to serious cases of pneumonia, so it is important to take preventative measures to avoid getting sick during the cold and flu season.

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ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is common in children and teenagers, but can also affect adults. The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. These are traits commonly displayed by children at some point or another, so before assuming the worst, realize that some of the symptoms might be normal for the child’s age.

With ADHD in adults, there may be some variation in symptoms. For instance, an adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity. Many adults with ADHD consistently have problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.  A person with ADHD:

  • Will often have difficulty paying attention to details, and a tendency to make careless mistakes
  • Can become easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli usually ignored by others
  • Has difficulty performing tasks that require concentration and
  • Procrastinates or fails to complete tasks such as homework or chores.
  • Frequent shifts from one incomplete activity to another are also common, along with
  • An inability to listen to others, keep focus in conversations, and follow the details or rules of activities in social situations

First Aid treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder includes:

  • Daily exercise.  30 minutes a day is recommended. Activities that require close attention to body movements, such as dance, gymnastics, yoga, and martial arts are particularly good.
  • Get plenty of rest and try to spend more time outdoors.  Studies show that spending time in nature can reduce the symptoms of ADD/ADHD in both children and adults.
  • Schedule regular meals or snacks no more than three hours apart. Make sure you’re getting enough zinc, iron, and magnesium in your diet. Consider a daily multi-vitamin if you’re unsure.
  • Add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. A growing number of studies show that omega-3s improve mental focus in people with ADD/ADHD. Omega-3s are found in salmon, tuna, sardines, and some fortified eggs and milk products.

Treatment for ADHD might also mean seeking outside help. Professionals trained in ADHD can help people learn new ways of coping with symptoms and change habits that are aggravating the condition.

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Obesity

Obesity is the accumulation of excess fat on the body, and it is considered to be a chronic and long-term disease.  It is also the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index greater than 30. The Body Mass Index is calculated by measuring a person’s weight in relation to their height.

Obesity can be caused by:

  • Eating more food than your body can use and not getting enough exercise
  • Having an underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism
  • Stress, anxiety, feeling sad, or not sleeping well.
  • Drinking too much alcohol, or quitting smoking
  • Certain medications such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.
  • For women, obesity can also be triggered by Menopause or pregnancy.

First Aid for Obesity begins with developing realistic, safe, daily calorie counts that help shed pounds while keeping the person’s body healthy. People who lose weight slowly and steadily are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.  For assistance, work with a health care provider or dietitian to learn about:

  • Portion sizes
  • Healthy food choices and healthy snacks
  • Sweetened drinks
  • How to read nutrition labels, and
  • Healthy ways of preparing food

Extreme diets consisting of less than 1,100 calories per day are not considered safe because they often do not contain enough vitamins and minerals. It is also common for people who lose weight through extreme dieting to return to overeating and become obese again.

People suffering from obesity should remember that a lifestyle change to incorporate regular exercise and healthy eating is the best way to lose weight, and that even modest weight loss can significantly improve their health. Learn new ways to manage stress, rather than snacking. Examples may be meditation, yoga, or exercise. People who are depressed or stressed a lot should talk to a health care provider before beginning treatment.

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Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is a complex eating disorder with three key features:

  • refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
  • an intense fear of gaining weight
  • a distorted body image

There are two types of anorexia. In the restricting type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by following drastic diets, fasting, and excessive exercise. In the purging type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by vomiting or by using laxatives and diuretics.

First Aid for Anorexia begins with consulting a mental health professional who specializes in eating disorders. Common treatments include:

  • Psychotherapy:  Psychotherapy consists of individual, group, and family therapy designed to help victims explore the reasons why their eating disorder developed. Psychotherapy also boosts self-confidence, and teaches healthier ways to respond to stress and emotional issues.
  • Nutritional Counseling is comprised of nutritionists and dieticians who can teach victims how to create individualized meal plans, and help them set goals toward achieving a healthier weight.
  • Support Groups also offer a safe environment for sharing stories, receiving advice and gathering encouragement. Victims of eating disorders, who regularly visit peer operated support groups, often find them very helpful.
  • Residential Treatment is only recommended when treating extreme cases of anorexia; especially when the condition has become life threatening.  In severe cases, behavioral issues and nutritional levels will need constant monitoring in order to increase the odds of recovery.

People suffering from eating disorders like anorexia may choose a combination of these treatments. All forms of treatment might not be available in some areas.  The important thing to remember is that eating disorders of any kind are not healthy, and that it is crucial to seek professional help before the disorder becomes life threatening.  Before help can be obtained, the victim needs to admit there is a problem and must be willing to accept the need for treatment.

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Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury to a ligament caused by excessive stretching. The ligament can have a partial tear, or it can be completely torn apart. Of all sprains, ankle and knee sprains occur most often. Sprained ligaments swell rapidly and are painful, so the greater the pain, the greater the likelihood that a severe injury has occurred. Get emergency medical assistance if:

  • You are unable to bear any weight on the injured ankle,
  • The ankle joint area feels unstable and cannot be used. This may mean the ligament was completely torn.

First Aid for any ankle sprain begins with compressing the injury.

  • Apply an ace bandage to the ankle. Wrap the ace bandage starting at the toes around the ankle ending above the ankle on the leg. If the ankle begins to throb, loosen the wrap.  Specially designed elastic or neoprene sleeves can be purchased that also work well.
  • Ice should be applied immediately, and should continue to be applied for 20 minutes every 2 hours.
  • Protect injured ligaments during the healing process by using an ankle stirrup, ankle brace or crutches as needed.
  • Elevating the ankle will help decrease swelling. Raise the ankle above the heart by propping it on pillows, on a chair, or against the wall.

After a couple of days, gently begin using the injured ankle. You should feel a gradual, progressive improvement. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help manage minor pain during the healing process. See your doctor after two or three days if pain worsens, or the sprain shows no sign of improvement.

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Acne

Acne Vulgaris, commonly known as pimples, is a group of inflamed skin bumps, blackheads or whiteheads caused by blocked hair follicles on the face.  Acne affects 85% of the population at some point, and is often triggered by increased hormones during puberty and menstruation.  Increased hormones cause the skin to produce more of a natural oily secretion known as sebum.  When dirt, dead skin cells, and sebum block hair follicles, it can cause an acne infection.

First Aid Treatment for Acne begins with a good facial cleansing routine

  • When cleaning facial skin, use a mild hypoallergenic cleanser and avoid squeezing pimples
  • When outdoors, use oil-free sunscreen for sunburn prevention
  • Women who wear makeup should also choose to wear oil-free cosmetics during acne outbreaks
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, and drink plenty of non-caffeinated beverages.  When drinking milk, choose organic milk that is hormone-free.
  • Common over-the counter medications that include Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid can also be used for treatment and prevention of acne outbreaks.

Alternative homeopathic remedies for acne include tea tree oil, oatmeal, and aloe.

  • Tea tree oil can be added to any toner or cleanser, or a drop or two of the oil can be applied directly to the affected areas of your face.
  • A natural home acne scrub can be made by combining equal parts of oatmeal and water in a small bowl, and applying the mixture to facial skin.  Allow the mixture to dry and rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  • Aloe has anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce redness and irritation caused by pimples. Be sure to use 100 percent aloe gel when using this method to treat acne breakouts.

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