BLOG 282 MOSQUITO BITES
Summer time brings those pesky, itchy, pink colored bumps to our skin. Mosquito bites are the result of the mouthpart of the insect puncturing our skin and feeding on our blood…. Yuck!!!! For most of us, they bother for just a couple days then go away. However, certain people have worse reactions (especially children) which can include swelling and soreness to the area. In children, this is called skeeter syndrome. We all get them, some more than others, so let’s explore these common “bites” further.
The trouble is that mosquito bites can carry parasites and viruses. Some parts of the world are greatly affected by the West Nile virus that these bugs. Other illnesses included yellow fever and malaria. A person’s inflammatory response can include fever, hives, and swollen lymph nodes. Typically, one should see if a doctor if after a bite a person they develop a fever, headache, or is have body aches.
Did you know that the only mosquitos that bite us are female?? Males do not have the blood sucking mouth part. Females need the protein from our blood to produce eggs. The “lady bug” fills herself with our blood and then spits it back into our skin which causes the itchy bump. They are drawn to the scent of our skin, sweat, and our exhaled carbon dioxide.
We should avoid areas that are mosquito filled and wear repellent when exposed. The strongest repellent is DEET. Wearing long sleeves and light colors is recommended. Mosquitos like standing water. Simple tricks at home can be changing bird bath water, unclogging roof gutters, getting rid of old tires sitting around, and emptying any flower pots or outdoor items that collect water.
Some funny but effective at home tricks to relieve the itch include toothpaste, oatmeal, honey, baking soda, basil, vinegar, onion, and garlic. So basically the really strong spices.
A few summers ago I was getting really bad reactions to the bites, with major swelling and redness to the areas. I’m an itcher so that didn’t help. However, infection can only worsen if you break the skin of the bite and have it exposed. The itching sensation doesn’t go away when we scratch, it only prolongs the scratching cycle. But that is some serous mental toughness to just let the bite be haha. I’m “bugging” out. I sort of equate mosquito bites to flea bites on our pets. They can be miserable. So this summer, I know I make you sweaty and mosquito tasty, but be sure to shower right after workouts, drink your water so it isn’t idle, and wear long sleeves and pants when you go for your walks and runs at reasonably climate friendly times.
BLOG 281 CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Why is it when we aren’t feeling well, the home remedy of choice is soup, specifically chicken noodle soup? Mom always had a couple cans in the pantry no matter when. The lucky kids got homemade, better yet, homemade by grandma. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia now that makes us feel better. Whether exactly proven or not, there may be some benefits to this warm, tasty choice.
Chicken broth can clear the nasal passages which helps with breathing when all stuffed up. Chicken is protein which has the amino acids good for immunity, muscles, and bone health. The noodles just make us feel full and that’s satisfying when feeling under the weather. The idea is that the soup is warm and clears the mucus out, the water and salt help the body have more fluid which is necessary for all functions, and then what vegetables are in the soup are nutritious. Sometime when you aren’t exactly hungry because you are sick, soup is a lighter option that can help fill you up. Usually one cup has about 100 calories, but the carbohydrates and sodium aren’t the ideal mix for everyday consumption. Besides if you had the soup all the time, it wouldn’t have that same healing feeling when you are actually sick (boy who cried wolf syndrome).
There are many homemade versions and usually mom’s recipe is best that has been passed down over the generations. We know it comes in the traditional can too. Most defer to the can when they don’t feel up to cooking. Many enjoy the varieties of noodle that can be used and the selection of vegetables. Quick and easy, warm and good, it’s a meal in and of itself. I’m sure we can all pinpoint our favorite ca brand. Sometimes even things that may just be in our head, actually do help us feel better and get well faster.
BLOG 280 STRUCTURE
Parents always talk about creating structure for their children via bedtime, homework time, and the varies rules that are set to follow. Structure in the work environment consists of deadlines, requirements, meetings, and protocol. Structure in school pertains to lesson planning, classroom management, and completion of tasks. Routines and patterns help plan for better choices. A programmed system of routines and habits make us feel in sink and naturally allows us to move throughout the day from task to task. Our brains actually depend on structure to be able to complete all our daily routines. Then our behaviors become habitual and instinctive.
We hear about needing balance in our lives. We have to consider how much time we allocate to different activities and responsibilities. When we deliberately schedule our time we are better prepared to follow through, complete, and clear up our schedule for free time later. Structure also provides the foundation to respond better to problems and disruption. We become better equipped to handle triggers because we want to settle ourselves back to where we need to be to have structure. For example a person trying to maintain sobriety knows that situations that make drug or alcohol use possible can threaten their will power. They seek structure to keep on the straight and narrow path.
Even people who claim to be free spirited, know that they benefit from structure. At some point it is needed to function. Jumping up out of bed and running late everywhere at some point causes unnecessary stress.
On your fitness journey, structure provides the means to have time for exercise and to make healthy eating choices. Disorder and chaos lead to poor eating and living in the moment. Structure provides organization. Structure means you pack your clothes to go to the gym. You prep your food and go grocery shopping. Without this, it is most likely you will fall off the path of reaching your goal. Fast food will just become the norm and sleeping in or going straight home from work skipping the gym will just become regular occurrences. I’m a strong advocate for structure and I thrive on this to reach my goals. Maybe I enjoy structure too much, but it has helped me become successful and reach plenty of my goals.
BLOG 279 THERAPY TYPES
Therapy Approaches: Finding Happiness
There are many different approaches to therapy and medication when it comes to psychiatry. Understanding mental health coupled with emotional well being is important to be able to focus, destress, and be happy. Even T.V. stars and elite athletes use therapy. It is human nature to feel protective and guarded with this personal issue, but seeking help, specifically the right type, can save a person’s life.
There are several traditional and new age techniques being used in this realm:
1. Psychoanalytic therapy: This is the oldest technique. This involves setting your past which will help gain insight for the present. It is figuring out your childhood.
2. Humanistic therapy: The therapist listens and lets the patient verbalize their feelings.
3. Exposure therapy: Exposing yourself to the source of fear or anxiety will help you overcome those very things.
4. Mindfulness/Meditation: This is about living in the present and becoming more aware of yourself and other people.
5. Behavioral activation: This is about correcting behaviors that cause depression.
6. Somatic therapy: This approach uses body and movement such as yoga or exercise. These serve as an antidepressant.
7. Emotional regulation: This is about grounding your emotions and finding a better baseline.
8. Assertiveness training: It is okay to say no and not feel guilty about it. This is learning to express yourself in a healthy way.
9. Cognitive restructuring: This is about shifting yourself away from negative thinking and learning how to adapt to new healthy ones.
Some of these therapeutic approaches are coupled with medication. Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can safely treat depression. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) treat depression and help with motivation issues, energy, focus, and concentration. Norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) also help with energy and concentration. Antianxiety medication, also called benzodiazepines, can be used to treat anxiety as well as insomnia and sometimes depression. Stimulants can be used to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
Some of these medications can become addictive. Many find successful help from these therapy approaches as well as different medications. Sometimes finding the right combination or strategy can take time. Although a quick fix is always desired, working through deep rooted issues takes time to heal and figure how to heal. It is okay to interview and work with therapists until the right one clicks. Laying out what is bothering you and finding someone who specializes or has experience with people similar to you, can always lead you in the right direction. Taking control of mental health is necessary for happiness.