Alternative Health Care For You

health medicine tipsYou probably already know that you’re supposed to finish all of your medication when prescribed and get plenty of exercise in order to stay healthy, but did you know that many of the best kept secrets in the medical community have nothing to do with medicine?

In recent years alternative health care (health care that doesn’t involve pumping your body full of chemicals that were never supposed to be there) has become increasingly popular as its benefits have begun to be recognized among the medical community, but there are still plenty of things your doctor isn’t telling you.

Here are the top 5 alternative health care tips you need to know:

Alternative health care tip #1: Aloe Vera

You probably already know that you can pick up aloe vera lotion at the grocery store to ease a sunburn, but did you know that you can break off a piece of an aloe vera plant and smear the juice over your arm to soothe a grease burn? Aloe vera is one of the most versatile plants in alternative health care history.

Alternative health care tip #2: Acai berry

Okay, you’ve undoubtedly heard this “miracle” product touted by the scientific and non-scientific community alike, but acai berry definitely has some positive power when it comes to your body. This isn’t just another advertising gimmick!

Along with suppressing your appetite and food cravings to help you lose weight-and giving you a great little energy boost in the middle of the day-this cool little berry also acts as an antioxidant to prevent cancer and protect your skin and organs from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Alternative health care tip #3: Chamomile tea

Parents, you’re going to love this one. You’ve been drinking chamomile tea for years to soothe your nerves, but did you know that this alternative health care remedy has actually been shown to be effective in the fight against colic?

Parents in Latin America and Asia have been using this remedy for years to help them sleep at night, and the rest of the world is finally starting to catch on. Just steep one teaspoon of chamomile in hot water for five to ten minutes, then slip your baby a half an ounce every few hours.

Alternative health care tip #4: Acupressure

Stop! Before you go running to the doctor for your latest symptom, why not give acupressure a try? Your body is connected in an intricate web, which means that yes-putting pressure on your hands and feet can in fact influence your nose and back.

There are hundreds of books on the subject, and acupressure has been proven to be an effective alternative health care treatment for stress, headaches, digestive problems, joint pain and a multitude of other disorders by stimulating the body’s own natural curative abilities.

Alternative health care tip #5: Probiotics

Save the best for last. Dieticians and nutritionists around the globe are just starting to see the value in probiotics, healthy bacteria that compete with unhealthy bacteria in the digestive tract and can solve chronic digestive problems (including gas, constipation and diarrhea) in both children and adults.

Probiotics are recommended by gastroenterologists and professional nutritionists around the globe for anyone with a glitch in their digestive tract-or who just want to keep themselves as healthy as possible.

Alternative health practices are gaining popularity simply because they work. Conventional health care treats diseases that have already struck, alternative health care seeks to create and maintain the best health while stopping disease and physical ailments before they begin. Old fashioned methods of keeping healthy are worth another look. That is why alternative health regimens are becoming popular again. The most coveted benefit of alternative health methods is the holistic approach taken by practitioners. The idea that the mind body and spirit work together to maintain wellness.

Health

Alternative medicine is the fastest growing segment of the health care industry in America. Alternative medicine offers amazing benefits such as increased self-awareness, abounding peace, feelings of “centeredness,” and increased mental and physical health. The best alternative therapy or health products for your individual needs can be researched at Alternatively-Healthier.com. Without researching appropriate alternative health methods your wellness, peace of mind, and well-being can suffer, leaving you feeling “stuck” with conventional health care methods that you may feel are too invasive.

Body

What does your body need to function properly? Many people are attracted to alternative physicians emphasis on treating the whole person body, mind and spirit. Chiropractic is one form of alternative health care, or complementary and alternative medicine, that focuses on the structure of our body, specifically the spine, nerves, muscles and all their related functions.

The primary concept of Chiropractic is that the misalignment of the spine (subluxations) is the cause of many disorders or illnesses in our body. Chiropractic treatment primarily involves the use of hands to manipulate and adjust the structure of our body and it does not make use of any surgery or operation in treating spinal and muscular related ailments. More importantly, patients who take the natural approach believe that they are more in control of their health and body.

The Holistic Approach

Considering that some scientific research shows that around 80% of health issues are caused and/or negatively affected by stress and over 90% of today’s cancers have an environment cause, seeing health care as a holistic enterprise begins to make sense. Alternative health care professionals emphasize holistic health care for their patients.

Alternative health practitioners study holistic medicine in-depth through the study of disease and pathology, anatomy, energy healing, physiology, herbal medicine, detoxification, homeopathy, iridology, orthomolecular holistic nutrition, flower essence remedies and a host of natural medicine practices. There are both degreed and non-degreed programs in holistic medicine.

There are many natural medicine schools that give basic workshops and seminars in holistic practices for the public at large. Sometimes, you can find a beginner’s look into self-massage, homemade herbal remedies, natural vitamins and supplements, reflexology and more.

Holistic health zeros in on the Mind-Body-Spirit connection and how it interacts with the environment. More than eating organic veggies or taking yoga, alternative health is about gaining optimal health. The difference from conventional health care is the search for creating good health and preventing disease and physical ailments from striking all together.

The increased popularity of alternative health is a bonus to chiropractic medicine as an inclusive part of regular health maintenance. The differences from technology to alternative medicine is a strength in our world. We are responsible for our health and it is good to remember that there is always a choice in medical care. Alternative health continues to grow as we seek holistic solutions to our health complaints so we may hold on to a better quality of life for more years than previously thought possible.

Natural Heartburn Relief

If you suffer from heartburn then should you be concerned? Well, those that suffer occasional attacks may not need to worry too much about it. However, those who experience regular attacks, several times each week for instance, should definitely be concerned and take some positive action.

The normal course of action is to take some form of antacid or medication which will generally bring temporary relief. However, we regularly hear about the adverse side effects that drug based medications produce, so it is no surprise that more and more heartburn sufferers are looking at alternative ways to solve their problem and towards natural heartburn relief, in particular.

For those enlightened folk, the possibility to cure your heartburn permanently may not be just a dream. Read to the end to find out more. But first, let’s briefly consider the three main aspects of natural heartburn relief which are Diet, Lifestyle and Natural Medication.

(a) Diet – your food and what you drink can be one of the major triggers for a heartburn attack. So, identify those particular items of food and drink that do bring on a heartburn attack and avoid them. Some of the most well known items that do cause heartburn include alcoholic and carbonated beverages, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, coffee, fatty foods, garlic, black pepper, peppermint, raw onions, spicy foods and tomatoes.

In addition to watching what you eat you should also consider carefully when and how you eat. It is recommended that you eat smaller meals more regularly throughout the day and take your time eating, chewing your food well. It is also advisable not eat a meal close to your bedtime.

Finally, as for every natural remedy, drink plenty of water.

(b) Lifestyle – food is not the only thing that can trigger your heartburn. The way you live your life can also be large factor in causing it.

o Weight – being overweight, you put pressure on your stomach which can cause heartburn
o Exercise – as well as helping to control your weight will benefit your body in many ways
o Raise your bed – raising the head of your bed will help gravity do its work
o Reduce stress – stress is a known factor in triggering heartburn attacks, so any way that you can reduce stress levels will have a positive effect.
o Alcohol – if you cannot eliminate alcohol completely then cutting down on alcohol intake will certainly be beneficial
o Smoking – no alternative here… QUIT SMOKING

(c) Natural Medication – there are many natural treatments and medications widely available today, mostly based on herbs, which will not produce the adverse side effects that drug based medications are known to do. Also, it is definitely worth considering holistic treatments that deal with all factors that cause heartburn and not simply the symptoms.

Prevention is always better than cure and by making changes to your diet and lifestyle you will certainly help to reduce or eliminate your heartburn. However, should you still suffer occasional attacks then natural heartburn relief in the form of herbal medication is widely available, which as well as being completely safe will almost certainly save you a lot of money.

Most conventional treatments for heartburn are temporary because they treat the symptoms and not the root cause of the problem. So, if you want to successfully and permanently rid yourself of your heartburn then you must address all the factors that contribute to the problem i.e. you must treat it holistically.

Natural Medication For Depression

When we talk about natural medication for depression, we probably think of herbs, homeopathy, yoga, meditation and Bach flower remedies, just to name a few! All these are actually valid ways we can approach the problem of depression. But let us look first at why anti depressants are not suitable for many patients.

The warnings about these drugs can all be found in the FDA website. You can also visit other websites where the side effects and warnings are all there on a sidebar which outlines in great details what the problems could be. Putting it simply, these are usually related to eating disorders and weight problems, insomnia and a loss of libido or sex drive. Many patients also report that they feel like zombies. Other patients are not so affected by the side effects.

Whatever your views on anti depressants, we should also look at the alternatives available. Looking at natural medications for depression, I wanted to outline some of the advantages and then let the reader decide what is best for his or her wellbeing.

People on natural medication for depression such as a homeopathic one or a herbal remedy, can usually find relief after a few weeks and it may be several months, before the long term effects begin to kick in but it is well worth waiting for. The best herb for depression is St. John’s Wort (SJW) and you should take up to at least 600 mg a day. Then there is 5-HTP which is not exactly a herb. It is actually an amino acid and it has been found to increase levels of serotonin, which is the main neurotransmitter which is responsible for our good moods, happiness and feeling self confident.

The news on clinical trials regarding SJW is impressive. Over twenty trials show that it is effective in treating moderate depression. Another study showed that about 1,800 patients found it useful and there were certainly less side effects than the conventional antidepressants. There are some mild side effects and there can be dizziness, nausea and mild headaches. However, that does not seem to have stopped the German nation from taking it as it is the favourite natural medication for depression there.

When choosing your natural medication for depression, it is always wise to choose one which is using qualified herbalists and homeopaths on its staff. It should also be a FDA registered facility and following the GMP practices as laid down in the USA

Online Medical Information

You may be surprised to find that many people get their medical information from TV commercials, soap operas and websites that claim to be medical experts A lot of people obtain their knowledge about health check from advertisements, TV series, and sites which declare and assert that they are medical specialists. Of course, not everything on the web is trustworthy and not every medical web site should be trusted that claims to offer reliable facts about health and medicines. There are a lot of sites and people out there in the Internet that are misleading instead of being of help.

Doctors are not capable to give an answer to every question. And this is another shocking truth. In other words, you could only obtain the accurate medicinal knowledge if you got them from the correct doctor and from the correct source from the web, if online. So, how would you carry that out?

You could find the most excellent resources of information about health and medicine from trustworthy institutions. Example of this are the Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The facts and figures they provide are mostly reliable.

There are of course other good sites that offer reliable information as well. For instance, websites that connects to the proven reliable sites are expected to comprise dependable contents. That is because they permit guests to find more dependable content that supports the contents within their site. One of these sites is 800-health.com which offer discount medical supplies from reliable medical supply distributors.

In order to identify the correct medical advice, use more than one resource. Double checking is vital. You will find that a genuine information is emphasized by numerous sites. In the instance that you found an information in one site only, its legitimacy is very doubtful.

Sometimes, you may locate two sources that contradict each other, what do you do then? When this occurs, locate someone whom you trust to help sort things out. This procedure can be used verify medical information collected both offline and online. Not to mention medical supply distributors which should be investigated for price comparison to insure you are dealing with reputable manufacturers.

Numerous facts and reports about medicine and health can also be found in public libraries. Before going to the library make a list of the topics you want to research and questions you want answered. Medical dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks are very plentiful with information about your health and they all can be located in a public library Some medical supplier also distribute these kind of resources. Availing of these kind of sources along with trustworthy online websites and your doctor would surely help you in many ways in resolving your queries about health and healing immediately.

Finding Reliable Cancer Medical Information On The Internet

The medical environment has changed completely with the introduction of the internet and the proliferation of web sites offering free medical and healthcare information.

In today’s world, more and more patients are using the internet to search for information about their diseases and for the latest treatment options. In fact, according to a recent Harris Interactive survey, more than 100 million adults in the U.S. are using the internet to search for health information.

Gone are the days when patients passively accepted the treatment offered by their doctors. Today, patients are partners in the decision making about their health.

So, the obvious question is – How reliable is the medical information you find on these free medical web sites?

By the way, the fact that there are incredible free medical and healthcare information web sites on the internet doesn’t necessarily make it easy to find good information.

For example, if you just enter the term Breast Cancer into Google a total of 130 million sites come up. Obviously, no one is going to look at all those sites -in fact, most people rarely look beyond the sites listed on the front page or two.

As wonderful as the internet is as a resource, you must remember that there is a potential downside as well. In the healthcare market, just like in any other market, there are commercial entities trying to sell you a product. Some products may be legitimate but some may be scam cures just trying to take advantage of a cancer patient’s desperation.

And, since the internet is largely unregulated, there is little regulation of the marketing messages.

So here are five tips as you try to determine if the medical information web site you’re visiting is reliable or not:

1. What Is The Ending Of The Website Name?

There are a number of sources of medical information on the internet which tend to be more reliable and trustworthy. These sources are more likely to be universities, hospitals, government agencies, and major public health and health advocacy organizations such as a national cancer society.

The ending of the web site can give you a clue as to the source. For example, the ending:

.gov means that the source is a government agency;
.edu means that the source is a university or another educational institution;
.com means that the source is run privately and very well may be a commercial enterprise);
.org means that the source is a non-profit organization.

2. Who Is Responsible For The Site And What Is The Mission Of The Site?

Look to see if there is any information on who is responsible for the site and what the mission of the site is. On many web sites you’ll see a link, either at the top or bottom of the page, which says something like “About US” or “Who We Are”.

Click on the link and see what information you find.

3. Is The Medical Information Presented On The Site Scientific Or Anecdotal?

If medical information is presented on the web site then you should ask yourself is the information scientific or not. To be considered reliable, medical advances must be proven in scientific studies in which many patients are involved. Anecdotal studies of one patient’s response to a treatment are not considered to be reliable despite the fact that the stories may be extremely compelling. So, check out the web site. Are the medical facts presented as the results of documented studies or are anecdotal, undocumented stories of patients presented.

Also, check to see if references are presented if the results of studies are discussed. Are the studies from respected medical journals?

4. Who Are The Authors Of The Medical Information On The Site?

Check to see who the authors are. What are the credentials of the authors? If necessary, you can even search using the author’s names to see how well known they are in their fields.

5. How Up To Date Is The Medical Information?

Medicine is a rapidly changing field and you’ll want to make sure that the health information at the site you’re searching is updated frequently. If the information isn’t updated regularly, they you may not learn about the latest developments.

The internet provides wonderful opportunities for patients to find the latest and best healthcare information. Using these tips can help you make sure the information you find is reliable and trustworthy.

Reliable Medical Information

Finding medical information about all the health problems and concerns you collect as you get older is no easy task. Have you ever read the printed information that comes with a prescription? Is that sheet of paper a reminder that you need to expand your vocabulary because you are not familiar with the medical terms? When you read the list of your medical risks taking this medication do you ask yourself why anyone would take it in the first place?

Now you are in a quandary because your doctor gave you this prescription and wants you to take the medication. You want to find out if the risk of taking it is worse than the condition you have that your doctor is treating. You can call the office and ask the doctor or his assistant but you want more information about your condition before you even do that. So where do you go to find medical information that is reliable?

You could watch all the news broadcasts of all the TV stations because just about everyone has a health segment of some kind. You could wait for the Oprah program to see who she promotes as a medical specialist. Or you could devise a plan and find out as much information as you can and at your own pace. I recommend using the library in your community.

One of the best reasons for using your local library to find medical information is that the reference librarians can help you. Most libraries have medical reference books that you can only read in the library. Often times the books are located close to the reference desk because the librarians keep track of them. The librarian knows which books can help you find your information. Take them to a table and either photo copy the pages or take notes or do both.

Most libraries also have internet access and a data base that includes medical information. They usually have a collection of basic medical references which may include medical dictionaries or encyclopedias, drug information handbooks, basic medical and nursing textbooks, and directories of physicians and medical specialists. You may also want to find magazine articles on a certain topic. Look in the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature for articles on health and medicine that were published in consumer magazines. Be sure to ask the librarian which of these resources is available on line and open to the public because life on the internet changes quickly.

Libraries also have computer databases indexing hundreds of popular magazines and newspapers as well as some medical journals. In these journals you have free access to some of the articles but not to everything without a paid subscription. However, many of the databases or indexes have abstracts that provide a summary of each journal article. Although most community libraries do not have a large collection of medical and nursing journals, your librarian may be able to get copies of the articles you want through Interlibrary loans. You may have to pay for this service.

Again, the reference librarian will be able to walk you through all this and help you organize that information. Again, some of that information may not be available to you at home because you need to be a member of this or that organization. Copy the url addresses that are open to the public so you can look at those sites at home and on your own time.

Organize Your Medical Information

You get a bad infection and the doctor wants to know if you are allergic to any types of medicines. You cut your skin with a sharp instrument and the nurse wants to know your blood type. You keep switching doctors due to changes in your health insurance plan.

Having organized, easily accessible medical records can be the difference between life and death. Sounds dramatic, but it can be true. So let’s look at some of the ways you can organize your medical data.

Idea #1 Expanding Folders with a Flap: One expanding folder per family member. This folder comes with dividers that you can label by doctor name, medical specialty, system within the body (circulatory, etc.) or some other way that works for you. You may want to have a piece of paper at the front of each section for basic information. If you have any test results or notes from an appointment they can be put behind the appropriate divider. By having records in an expandable folder, you can easily take the entire folder to an appointment and have all pertinent information with you.

Idea #2 Binders: One binder per family member with subject dividers. Similar to the expandable folders, these dividers can be named by doctor name, medical specialty, system within the body or some other way that works for you. You may want to have a piece of paper at the front of each section for basic information. If you have any test results or notes from an appointment they can be put behind the appropriate divider. If you have extensive medical history, it may either take a big binder or multiple binders. If more than one binder is necessary, then you have to make a decision about which information goes into each binder.

Idea #3 Electronic: Electronic refers to two different concepts:

• Electronic copies of information you also have in hard copy. The best way to organize these is to set up files within your computer that are parallel to the structure of your paper files. This is a whole article unto itself, so I won’t give additional information on this at this time.

• Websites or software that allows you to manage your medical records online or on your computer.

Products for purchase: As you can imagine, there are some products on the market that can help you organize your medical records. Some of them are listed below. These resources are for reference purpose only and not intended to be an endorsement for any specific product.

• Jakoter Health Organizers has several different products available including a pre-made binder to sort and organize your medical records and “health tag” to house your records on a special flash drive. They have additional resources including free downloadable forms and links to related websites.

• MedicTag is a USB medic alert tag designed for emergency medical information and alerts. It is an easy way to have access to all of your health records. It is especially useful in unexpected medical situations.

• My Pro Medical Health Records Organizer is a combination electronic and hard copy way to save your medical information. Detailed binder includes places to organize your medical records, an instruction guide, tracking forms, and method for organizing contact information for medical professionals. CD with forms allows you to save medical information electronically or print out forms you have filled in.

• Quicken Medical Expense Manager helps you make sense of your medical bills and expenses by organizing your medical history and expenses on your computer. This program keeps your medical information in one easy-to-access place and works on many health plans.

Cheat sheet: If you want to have a document that is easily carried with you at all times, I have found one that I like. It is called Pocket.doc. It is the size of a credit card which then unfolds into a series of forms for specific information. In one small “package,” you can keep local and out-of-state contacts, blood type, primary physician, insurance, current medications, immunization and allergies.

Your well-being is everything. Don’t jeopardize your health because you can’t locate vital information.

Medical Information Security Policy

As information becomes more accessible, as electronic data from around the world can be brought together instantly, information that might have taken months to gather, is now available at the click of your mouse. This power to gather information quickly has gained particular importance in the medical field. Now a patient’s medical records can be assembled from dozens of sources, doctors, hospitals, dentist, pharmacies and insurance companies, and amalgamated into a complete report of a patient’s medical history, a boon to medical professionals who need and use such information to diagnose and determine treatments. The rise of this capability has necessitated the requirement for a comprehensive medical information security policy that will protect your right to privacy without impeding the legitimate use of the information for the health interest of the individual.

The capabilities of internet communication, such as file transfers, email, e-prescribing, and the like have brought to the fore the question of the security of this information as it passes along internet lines. A prescription for a controlled pain killer, for instance, could be intercepted between the doctor’s office and the pharmacy, and the information it contains could be used by an addict to pose as the patient and divert the prescription to him or her instead. The information on the prescription could be changed before being forwarded to the pharmacist, increasing the dosage, even adding other medications to the prescription. Without an information security policy guiding this transaction, your prescription might be easily hijacked.

At a different level, the lack of a medical information security policy designed to protect the confidentiality of patient records could result in anything from losing a job to informing criminals of who in the population are vulnerable to attack. A potential employer might decide not to hire an otherwise qualified person because their intercepted medical records show that person has HIV. The records of a paraplegic who has scheduled home care nursing tells the criminal this patient is vulnerable and alone at certain hours of the day – a good candidate for a burglary. Without a competent medical information security policy in place to avert such possibilities, lives and property may be endangered.

The failure to keep medical information private may allow others to use that information for non-medical purposes. A malicious person might obtain a patient’s medical history and discover there that this person has, at one time, undergone psychiatric treatment, let’s say, for depression. Using that information, the invader could publish that this person had received psychiatric treatment, but fail to disclose the reason, and, instead, suggest the person was treated for more serious mental aliments. Reputations could be destroyed, irrational enemies made, and social standings reduced, all because an adequate medical information security policy was not in place.

A medical information security policy was enacted into law by the U.S. Congress in 1966, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act of 1966. The Privacy Rule in the law was amended in 2002, prohibiting the use of medical information from any use but medical use. It contained the amount of information that could be released, permitting only what was necessary for health care or insurance. It also required the permission o the patient for release of the information to such entities as insurers, banks, marketers, and other non-medical businesses. The penalty for violating this laws is a steep 10 years in prison and $250,000 find.

The importance of medical information security has become greater in recent times with the advance of genetic profiling. This information, in the wrong hands, could target people as potential terrorists, on the basis of their gene makeup. This and other possibilities suggest we should pay close attention to the development of medical records privacy policies in the years ahead. As critical as medical information may be for the patient’s health, it’s security is as critical for the person’s freedom. If we want to keep our freedom, we should take care to keep our medical information private. Know who has your medical records, where they are located, and the medical information security policy guarding them. Privacy is a right we should not give up with a fight.

Natural Diabetes Medicine Tips

If you suffer from Diabetes and you would like to try out natural treatments for the condition, then luckily you have quite a few options to choose from.

There are quite a few different natural medicines for Diabetes available today and more and more people are turning to them for help due to the change in attitude that has occurred regarding conventional medicines. But do these natural medicines actually work?

The Best Natural Medicines for Diabetes

The main reason why people’s attitudes towards conventional medicine have changed is because as time has gone on, more and more side effects have been found. Natural treatments do not pose any threat to your health and in some countries they are given on prescription to Diabetes sufferers. Their effectiveness has been proven and thousands of people suffering from Diabetes have recommended numerous natural medicines for the condition.

One type of natural medicine for Diabetes which proves to be extremely effective are herbs. Bitter Melon in particular is one of the most commonly used to help to treat Diabetes. It is otherwise known as “Balsam Pear” and it is mainly found in South America, Asia and Africa. The reason it is so effective in treating Diabetes is because it helps to lower the blood sugar levels. It is the juice of the plant which really helps to lower the blood sugar and it also has a compound similar to insulin within it too. However, if you do choose to use Bitter Melon to treat Diabetes then the main thing to keep in mind is that if taken in too high a dose, it can bring on abdominal pains as well as diarrhea.

Onion and garlic are also commonly used to help to lower the blood sugar in Diabetes sufferers. It is the Allyl Propyl Disulphide (APDS) in the garlic and onion that really helps. This is because APDS fights for insulin-inactivating sites within the liver and that helps to free up insulin within the body. Even a low dosage of onion extract can really help Diabetes sufferers so it is definitely worth considering as a natural medicine for Diabetes.

Finally another herb which has proven to be extremely useful in the treatment of Diabetes is blueberry leaves. Now blueberry leaves have been used for years to help to treat Diabetes naturally. It is thought that they contain a compound which is weaker than insulin but a lot less toxic. This compound is known as Myrtillin and just one single dose of the compound can give benefits for up to one week.

There are a number of natural medicines which you can use to help to treat diabetes. All are said to be extremely effective. Since they do not cause any health problems, it is definitely worth trying them out to see if they could help you.

Use Hot And Cold Therapy

Sports medicine professionals see all types of injuries, and orthopedic ones are particularly common. In many instances, these types of injuries are treated with either hot or cold therapy. There are important differences between hot and cold therapy, and it is crucial to know which ailments require these treatments. For those who are treating their own orthopedic sports-related injuries, it is important to keep the following considerations in mind:

What is Cold Therapy?

Cold therapy simply refers to applying a cold compress to an injury. Sports medicine professionals use this process, sometimes called “cryotherapy,” to constrict the blood vessels to encourage healing. After getting hurt, the body naturally tries to begin healing itself. In order to accomplish this, it will rush blood to the area and provide additional oxygen and other nutrients to heal the wound. This process also activates the immune system by rushing white blood cells to fight the injury. The downside to this process is that it causes swelling, which can lead to pain and the inability to move the injured area. Applying a cold compress to these areas can slow the swelling and decrease pain.

Cold therapy should be used to treat anything that is acute. This includes areas that are red, warm, or swollen. It should not be used to treat any residual soreness after the initial injury.

What is Hot Therapy?

Heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy, has the opposite effect of cold. Heat causes blood vessels to expand and open. It relaxes the skeletal and soft muscle tissue by increasing the flow of important fluids through the vessels that supply oxygen to the wound so that it can heal. The open vessels also provide a way to dispose of damaged cells that occur when a wound is healing. Heat is typically used on aches that are at least one or two days old or on chronic pain. Take care when using heat, as burns to the skin can result if the compress is left on the area for a long period of time.

Is a Doctor Necessary?

Seeing a doctor or sports medicine professional for these types of injuries will depend on their severity. Once function in the extremity is lost, it is most definitely time to seek medical attention. Chronic pain should also be dealt with medically. If a bone could possibly be broken, it is crucial to seek the advice of a doctor. Any wound that seems as if it is not healing in a reasonable manner should also be examined to ensure that further damage to the body does not occur.

When it comes to orthopedic injuries, the best route to take is to see a doctor or sports medicine professional. However, for those who prefer to take treatment into their own hands, it is important to know when hot and cold therapy is appropriate. Understanding the reasoning behind theses processes will improve the patient’s chances of a full recovery.

Tips to Help the Medicine Go Down

One of the most frustrating and helpless feelings as a parent comes when your child is sick and blatantly refuses to take the medicine that you know will help make her better. If you’re one of these parents and have a fickle child who will not take medicine of any kind, don’t panic. There are some creative methods that work.

My daughter is extremely sensitive to tastes and smells. It has always been difficult to get her to take any medicine orally, or even topically if it has any kind of odour. The only medicine she would take orally as a baby was gripe water because she loved the taste of it. Gripe water is given for the relief of minor stomach upsets such as colic, cramps, flatulence and hiccups and can be purchased at most pharmacies and health stores. I have taken advantage of this through the years and used it as an aid in administering some medicines to her such as an anti-nauseant or acetaminophen. Most medicines for children do come in a variety of flavours and forms including liquid, chewable tablets and suppositories. If you find one is not working with your child keep switching flavours and forms until you find one that he/she will consider taking. Here are some ideas that worked for me plus more great suggestions from other mothers I spoke to.

Liquid Medicine:

If your children run every time they see the medicine dropper try giving the liquid on a fun spoon that has their favourite character on it. Measure the medicine first in the medicine dropper and transfer it to their favourite spoon. If you don’t have a favourite spoon yet go on a special shopping spree and have them pick out the spoon they like. This puts an element of fun into taking the medicine.

If you are using the dropper, squeeze the liquid into the side cheek area where they won’t spit it out so easily. The roof of the mouth or on the tongue is highly sensitive to taste and touch which may cause the child to gag or spit it out.

Sandra, a mother of two children under the age of six, had this idea to share.

“My son always takes his medicine through a straw,” she says.

Sue has three children and has a hard time convincing her 10 year old son to take pills.

“He still refuses to take pills and will only take medicine in liquid form. This can get quite costly since he needs to take more of the liquid according to his age and weight.”

Suppositories:

Suppositories are soft capsules which melt when inserted into the rectum. These can be a successful alternative if your child is unable to keep anything in the stomach. If your child is afraid of the suppositories try inserting them while he is asleep. If he is a heavy sleeper he won’t feel a thing. If he wakes up it’s usually after the suppository has already been inserted and the only thing left to do is to comfort him.

Chewable Tablets:

Chewable tablets are popular for the 2 – 12 age group. They come in different flavours and forms such as “softchews” that dissolve quickly in the mouth so the taste and texture doesn’t linger (or before the child has a chance to spit it out!). To help with the regular chewable tablets try giving your child a bit of fruit such as banana or strawberry to chew with the tablet. For older children who are learning to swallow pills eating a banana or taking a teaspoon of mayonnaise afterward will help slide it down.

Mixing Tablets With Food or Liquid:

If you cannot find a flavoured chewable tablet that your child will take try crushing the tablet and mixing it with a favourite food or liquid. Before doing this confirm with your doctor that the food/liquid and medicine can be mixed together safely and effectively.

Using a pill crusher (a garlic presser works just as well) crush the tablets and mix them into a desired food such as applesauce, ice cream, jello or pudding. If the colour of the crushed tablet mixed with the food makes your child suspicious, sprinkle some rainbow sprinkles (used to decorate cakes) on top for camouflage, or try crushing the tablets and mixing with a few drops of water first to dissolve. This mixture can then be added to a liquid such as gripe water, juice or water. When using a syringe, squirt the liquid into the side of the mouth and follow up with a favourite treat.

Treats & Sweets:

Children need to know there’s something good coming after the anguish of taking medicine. Theresa, mother of three, is thankful her children are quite cooperative when it comes to taking medicine.

“My oldest daughter, age 7, needs only a drink of juice or water as a chaser after taking her medicine,” she says.

Here are some ideas for chasers, providing of course there are no allergies:

* Teaspoon of honey (never give honey to a child under age two)
* Water or juice
* Gripe water
* Tsp. of chocolate sauce
* Tsp. of ice cream
* Chocolate milk
* Popsicle or freezie
* Ice cube (can also be used before to numb the taste buds)

Medicinal Information:

As a safety precaution, always check with your doctor on the name, dosage and strength of a prescribed medicine for your child before you give the prescription form to the pharmacist. Doctors’ prescriptions are often illegible so when the pharmacist fills the prescription, you can check the label yourself to make sure it’s right.

Acetaminophen
– relieves fever & pain
– comes in various forms including liquid, tablets (chewable & regular) and suppositories

Antihistamine
– relieves hay fever symptoms, itch due to allergic reactions

Antibiotics
– prescription medicines that kill bacteria

Ibuprofen
– relieves fever & pain
– nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
– comes in tablet or liquid form

Anti-nauseant
– prevention & treatment of nausea and vomiting
– comes in various forms including liquid, tablets (chewable & regular), and suppositories

Decongestant
– relieves nasal congestion
– sometimes used in combination with antihistamines to combat colds and allergies

Oral Rehydration Solution
– liquid containing water, sugar & mineral salts
– used during bouts of diarrhea and vomiting

Talk in Children’s Language:

Make the medicinal process into a game or story. One mother wisely used this method to her advantage when she told a story to her son about what was happening inside his body when he was sick. The story was about how a superhero (the medicine) used his mind and weapons to fight against the enemy (the virus) and won.

The 1 2 3 counting method can also be useful. Counting gives a child some time to get mentally ready to take the medicine. By the time you get to “3”she knows it’s time to take the medicine.

Another mother tells about the playful way she gives medicine to her son. “I tell him to hold his nose, open his mouth and close his eyes. It works every time!”

Finally, don’t forget that timing is everything. Avoid giving children medicine when they’re over-tired. Children become very unreasonable when they’re tired and administering a medicine they dislike may become an impossible task. Matching up good timing with some of these creative methods, and lots of love and patience, will help the medicine go down and give you peace of mind.