Shingles is a painful virus. The pre-requisite is having had chicken pocks first, even if it was decades before. This is because they come from the same virus called varicella roster. Chickenpox causes itchy blisters that can spread on the body, typically in the chest and back areas. On the other hand, shingles is a rash that causes a shooting, painful, sensation. The rash usually stick to one location or side of the body. When the virus first enters the body as chickenpox, after running its course, it retreats to nerve tissues located near the spinal cord and brain just makes its home there. Then for almost no reason doctors can understand, the virus wakes itself up again. That is when shingles occurs which is also called herpes zoster. Doctors do know that a weakened immune system is of course more vulnerable to virus waking itself up.
Others heightened risks for shingles include trauma, stress, have cancer, HIV, or take medications that lower the immune system over time (such as steroids). The mystery is that these possible causes are not always true for everyone.
Going to see a doctor is pertinent especially if the person feels a tingling feeling under their skin, an upset stomach, fever, chills, and/or headache coupled with raised dots on the body. The area of the skin will feel like a stabbing pain and eventually the redness turns into blisters. Within 7 to 10 days the blisters do dry out and pain lessens. Shingles cannot be entirely cured, but the painful symptoms and longevity of the blisters can be reduced.
Shingles is contagious to those who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine for it. A person is contagious until the blisters have dried out and crusted over. Pregnant women, infants, and those with weak immune systems are susceptible.
Currently there are 2 vaccines available for shingles. These include Shingrix and Zostavax. Shingrix is actually considered 90% effective, so it is the preferred option. The CDC does recommend people over the age of 50 get this vaccination, even if they have had shingles before.
Shooting pain should be kept away. Anyone who has had the Chickenpox should be aware of possible triggers and any symptoms associated with shingles. As we always intend to, keeping stress at bay is important. Be aware of germs and germ filled environments. Your body and immune system appreciate self-care. Don’t let the virus in and vaccination becomes very important.
The thought of sitting in a plane for many hours, just screams germs. Everyone is sitting in an enclosed spaced, breathing recycled air, and then there are people who cough and sneeze in this air. Traveling during the holidays also is the time of year for colds and the flu season. Some studies say you are 100 more times likely to catch one of these while up in the air. Switching seats from the sick person next to you is not always an option. Being mindful of what you touch with your bare hands is always a good idea to be highly cautious of. Think about the number of people who are using the same bathroom on the same flight. Think about all the items with luggage, shoes, and matters of personal hygiene that are all in one location.
In between flights, under the constraints of time, the flight staff might not have had enough time to thoroughly clean. Between all the seats, seatbelts, and buttons that people touch, there are a lot of places to wipe down. Going row by row, aisle by aisle, is not always possible when trying to stick to a timely flight schedule. So the germs just stay there and then next layer of germs now enter to make matters worse.
There are shared earplugs, blankets, and pillows. There are so many germs and many people eat the airplane food not even considering to wash their hands first. There are only one or two bathrooms and a line so hand washing gets neglected. Planes are actually pretty old too. Some of the very planes we fly in today are over 20 years old. That means unless the upholstery and additional seat belts have been readily replaced and refurbished, the germs just keep piling on. People become tired and fatigued and then careless with their germs. There are also children who don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and put their hands in their own mouth and noses only to continue to touch parts of the plane.
We have to be ready to fly with our germ protectant force ready. Have hand sanitizer ready, bring your own pillow and headphones, and try to avoid touching any common areas with your bare hands. Staying hydrated and making sure to take a multivitamin to keep immunity up is important to come prepared and try to avoid catching something in the air. Travel is fun and safe, but not free from germs. You never want to arrive at your destination feeling sick and unlike yourself.
Quitting smoking is a battle many cigarette users face when attempting to stop cold turkey or even reduce the number of smoke breaks per day. Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., but nicotine users are certainly addicted and hooked. Smoking kills more than 480,000 people per year. It Is estimated that 14% of U.S. adults are smokers. Of these, 75% of them smoke every single day. Ages 25-65 seem to be the target group most involved. American Indian and Alaska Native are the highest race/ethnicity that smokes.
There are several different ways to try to quit smoking. Some people have mad multiple attempts, revisiting the addiction after stopping for some time. Some people are able to make up their mind and walk away forever. Our brains are wired differently so finding a solution might be a task of trial and error unit habit is finally eliminated.
1. Quitting cold turkey: Only about 5-7% of people are able to do this on their own without any type of help. About 90% of people attempt to quit smoking without the use of therapy, medicine, or different aids.
2. Nicotine replacement therapy: There are many types on the market. These include patches, gums, inhalers, and sprays. The catch is that the person is trying to quit their addiction to nicotine itself, so sometimes changing for a different form doesn’t make the craving and desire for nicotine any less.
3. Behavioral therapy: This involves working with a counselor to address triggers that make the person want to smoke. These might include emotions or situations. Together, a plan of attack can be created to know what to do when these circumstances arise.
4. Medication: Chantix and Bupropion can be prescribed to help with withdrawl and cravings.
Of course the first few days are going to be difficult. Change of any type adds an element of uncertainty and a withdrawal from something that once was. It becomes important to avoid situations, triggers, or places, that could create a desire to want to reach for a cigarette. It is extremely important to succumb to cravings. Allowing yourself to have that cigarette when the want is so strong, only tricks your brain that permission is granted, and it is okay to keep smoking. Send the right message from the start for long term success. Reward yourself for hitting milestones such as going one week with none. Stay active and busy and get out. Don’t let boredom and too much time let cigarettes lurk in your mind. Of course much of this can be considered easier said then done and for many cigarette smokers they have heard it all before.
Change is possible. Quitting is possible. Think of all the positives and remember your health is a priority and shouldn’t be compromised to the power of nicotine addiction.
We were always told to eat your vegetables growing up. In fact, I can remember one of my go-to snacks after school being carrots and ranch dressing. Those crunchy orange bites are filled with nutrients. So let’s look at the goods and bads of eating carrots on your fitness journeys.
On the positive side, there are a number of benefits as to why carrots are good for us. Here are 10 (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html) :
1.Improve vision: Carrots are good for your eyes: “Carrots are rich in beta-carotene
, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina
, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision”.
2.Prevent Cancer: Up to 1/3 reduction of lung, breast, and colon cancer.
3. Slows Down Aging: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant
4. Healthier Skin: Carrots contain Vitamin A: “Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes and uneven skin tone.”
5. Prevent Infection: can be used on wounds and cuts
6. Healthier Outside Skin: can be used as a face mask to help with acne and blemishes7. Prevents Heart Disease: “Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein. The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids”.
8. Cleanses the Body: helps to flush out toxins in the liver
9. Protect Teeth & Gums: “Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.”
10. Prevents Stroke: studies show carrot consumption less likely to have a stroke
However, everything in moderation right?? Carrots do have a lot of sugar (the good kind) but too much of any one item isn’t good for us. If you are eating too many carrots this could cause Carotenimia which is the yellowing of the skin. As such, “Eating large quantities of carrots doesn’t put you at risk of vitamin A overload because your body only converts beta carotene as needed. However, having large amounts of carotene in your blood can cause carotenemia, or yellowish discoloration of the skin. The harmless condition is typically most apparent on palms, soles and ears and disappears gradually on a lower-carotene diet” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/286531-side-effects-of-eating-too-many-carrots/). And then of course having too much fiber can lead to bowel problems. Be careful if you are a “dipper” and have to have each bite coated in ranch, hummus, or peanut butter (yes peanut butter is a popular carrot dip haha). Carrots don’t have the kick to keep you full long enough so this snack could use some protein with it.
Bugs Bunny vs. your fitness journey. And yes with it being around Easter time when writing this Blog, the idea came to me. Plus, I see carrots in food journals a lot. The winner seems to be the pros/positives, but we know that regardless, portion control is our best fitness journey friend (other than me haha). So crunch away, but just a few!!!! Serving size would of course vary by size 😊