Tag: Sick

I Got That Good Stuff!

I have some delicious blood! I just came back from my trip overseas & brought back a total of 15 mosquito bites. My right leg got hit the hardest, followed by my left leg, my foot, my arm, my back & even my hand. Fortunately my upper body & face was left untouched. Of course, being bitten sucks but it’s certainly not my first time being attacked by mosquitoes. For some reason whenever I travel I tend to come back home with a few “souvenirs” so I’m quite used to the bites, but I still wish it didn’t happen to me so much.

This got me to wondering, why do I tend to attract so many mosquitoes when other people don’t? Well, I did a little digging on what attracts mosquitoes, how to prevent them from biting and finally what to do when you get bitten. Here’s what I found out –

 WHY’D THEY BITE ME

 Most mosquitoes seek out certain blood types and certain characteristics when choosing their prey. On average 1 in 10 people are considered extremely attractive to these insects. It’s also been noted that genetics account for 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites. And since it’s the female mosquito that does all the biting, they seek out human blood because it enables their eggs to become fertile. Here’s who at higher risk:

1. You wore too much perfume or cologne. If you must wear any at all then bathe yourself in the strongest perfume possible. But beware, floral scents are especially attractive to mosquitoes.

2. Watch what you wear – Darker colors make you stand out to mosquitoes

3. You’re sweating too much -Mosquitoes are very attracted to a person’s sweat. This is due to the combination of lactic acid and emitting more carbon dioxide.

4. All that carbon dioxide – Try not to breathe so much! Mosquitoes are drawn to carbon dioxide, so the more you emit the more likely you’ll be bitten. Adults emit more carbon dioxide than children so in general, adults are more likely to be bit than children.

5. Higher body temperature -Some people naturally have higher body temperatures than other people and mosquitoes are drawn to warmer blood.

6. Drink liquor outdoors – Drinking alcohol can drastically increase your chances of being bit. This is because drinking alcohol increases your body temperature.

7. Using alpha hydroxy products on your skin – Many skin care products contain lactic acid which might help boost your chemistry with these blood-seeking bugs. Look for lotions and creams labeled “alpha hydroxy,” which provide the most lactic acid & avoid them at all costs!

8. You have high cholesterol – If you know you have high cholesterol then you can be certain that your blood makes you automatically more attractive to mosquitoes. Having low cholesterol doesn’t just save your life, it can also save your skin!

9. Are you pregnant? – Expectant women naturally exhale more frequently, drawing more carbon dioxide. She also runs a higher body temperature and has more blood circulating through her body than someone who’s not expecting.

10. Don’t stand or sit still too much- Mosquitoes seek out people who they believe will provide them with the best opportunity to feed (after all it is hard to hit a moving target!). If you are standing around, taking a nap outside or just relaxing — you are more susceptible to getting bit by a mosquito.

11. Your blood type If you have ‘Type O’ blood, you are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than any other blood type. Sorry O’s!!

12. Good ole genetics – Ah, something else to blame on your parents! Around 85% of your chances for being popular in the mosquito community is linked to your genetics.

YIKES! I’VE BEEN BITTEN, NOW WHAT?!

Try not to scratch the itch! Doing so will only aggravate the bite, making it itchier and more prone to infection. Here are some ways you can “soothe” that itch:

  • Use your own saliva – I know it may sound gross but it will alleviate the itch & “wash” out any fluids left behind by the mosquito
  • Use your fingernail to press an “X” into the bite. This disperses the protein and stops the itch for a while
  • Hold a penny directly on top of the bites – Copper often makes the skin feel better after being “stung” (this may work for a bee sting as well)
  • Nail polish (hopefully it’s clear polish)
  • Calamine lotion or an hydrocortisone cream, like Cortizone
  • Water may help alleviate the itch, whether it’s super hot or super cold
  • Dab some deodorant over the bite area (a deodorant stick, not the gel)
  • Rub a wet aspirin or a Tums over the affected are. Basically anything with a chalky-like substance
  • Dab some toothpaste over the bite area (not the gel kind though)
  • Dab some mouthwash over the bite area – It might sting a little but it’ll be better than the itching
  • Mix baking soda & warm water – Apply the paste to your bite for a little soothing action
  • Put a wet sponge in the freezer so that when you get itchy you can put the sponge on the bite. Just make sure that the sponge is clean
  • Take a nice, relaxing hot bath – This is a good remedy for a lot of things, not just bug bites
  • Lemon or lime juice (even if it’s artificial juice)
  • Aloe Vera
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cooled tea (or a chilled teabag) – It can work wonders when applied to insect bites. Apply it like a cold compress
  • Tee tree oil or lavender oil
  • A raw potato
  • Vapor rub – Good ole’ Vicks; it’s good for more than just colds!

Remember to apply any of the items mentioned above very gently apply to the affected area. Use your clean fingers or a cotton swab to apply. Leave on only for a few minutes then wash it off with warm water. And just like with any other physical ailment, go see a doctor if you develop an infection or think you have more than just a mosquito bite.

HOW TO PREVENT BITES

There are a few ways to keep the biting to a minimum. Let’s take a look at some of those ways:

  • Burn a candle – Mosquitos don’t like flames or smoke so stay close to anything burning!
  • Keep covered. Also, try to wear lighter colors because darker colors make you stand out to mosquitoes.
  • Take your vitamins! – There is something about vitamin B that keeps the bugs away. It’s very safe & good to keep in your luggage
  • Stay close to a fan – Supposedly, mosquitoes aren’t very good at flying
  • Professional mosquito control – Go for the big guns! If prevention doesn’t produce adequate results, professional mosquito control companies provide barrier spray treatments.
  • Eliminate standing water – The #1 thing you can do to reduce mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes go through four stages in their life cycle: egg, larvae, pupa and adult. All but the last stage occur in water. Without water, mosquitoes can’t reproduce.
  • Remove yard debris – Be aware of areas where debris collects in the yard, such as grass clippings and piles of leaves
  • Trim back vegetation – Mosquitoes feast on plant nectar when they aren’t prowling for blood, so they spend a lot of time in tall grasses or around shrubs and bushes. Mosquitoes like a place to hang out during the heat of the day so if you’ve got heavy vegetation around the house, it’s cooler and it’s damp and they’ll hang out on the leafy tissue on the bottom of those plants.

So which insect repellent should I use? The Center for Disease Control recommends a variety of safe and effective repellents for you and your family. Look for these key active ingredients:DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. Pick your favorite insect repellent and use it whenever you go outside!

Do you have any tips on how to keep the mosquitoes away? If you’ve bitten like I have, what did you do to keep from scratching too much? Share in the comments below –

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Alzheimer’s In The African American Community

The Alzheimer’s Association has identified an emerging public health crisis among African-Americans — the Silent Epidemic of Alzheimer’s Disease. Many Americans dismiss the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, believing that these symptoms are a normal part of aging. This is of even greater concern for African-Americans, who are two times more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer’s disease than whites and less likely to have a diagnosis of their condition, resulting in less time for treatment and planning. By working together, we hope to reduce the risk factors and reverse the growing trend of Alzheimer’s disease among African-Americans.

While there are currently no treatments to stop or even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, early detection and diagnosis can allow for earlier use of available treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help maintain independence longer.

Delays in diagnosis mean that African-Americans are not getting treatments when they are most likely to be effective at improving quality of life, as well as taking critical steps to educate themselves on Alzheimer’s and establish support networks. Below are the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s. Individuals may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please consult your physician.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.

4. Confusion with time or place.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

For more information, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Khloe & Lamar: What Ever Happened To ‘In Sickness & In Health’? Shouldn’t That Include Drugs Too?

So the latest in all-things-Kardashian is that Khloe Kardashian’s marriage to Lamar Odom is on the rocks. The source of this purported split is Lamar’s battle with substance abuse. In other words, they might be getting a divorce because he’s reportedly addicted to drugs.

Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t the wedding vows say something like, “in sickness and in health…till death do us part”? Well, we already know that most marriages today don’t last until death but what about the “sickness and in health” part?

Let’s examine the word addiction. It’s a neurologically based disease, which means that drug addiction is a chronic often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug use despite any & all consequences. The repeated use of drugs leads to changes in the structure & function of the brain so while the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, over time the changes in the brain can affect a person’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions. In other words, a person can develop an intense impulse to take drugs. Many people don’t understand how someone can become addicted to drugs. They mistakenly view drug addiction as strictly a problem brought upon one’s self & that anyone who gets addicted is weak. But that’s simply not true.

People often underestimate the complexity of drug addiction – it is a disease that impacts the brain so stopping is not simply a matter of willpower. Yes, drug addiction is preventable but it’s a disease nonetheless, just like any other chronic disease – diabetes, asthma, or heart disease. There are many reasons why someone would become addicted to drugs. No single factor can predict whether a person will become addict, just like there is no solid way to predict whether or not a person will develop cancer. So if this is the case, why are people willing to tolerate some diseases & not others?

Addiction is reportedly one of the top 10 reasons for divorce* in 2012. But if addiction is considered an illness, why are people so quick to let it end their marriage? What happened to that part of the wedding vows “in sickness and in health”? Why is it okay to give up on someone with an addiction but not any other disease? Let’s take Khloe & Lamar for instance – while we don’t know for sure if they are divorcing, is it right for Khloe to leave Lamar because he has a bonafide medical illness? We don’t know how long he’s been dealing with his alleged drug addiction but isn’t it safe to say that if anyone should stick by his side, it should be his wife?

Now, I’m not advocating someone staying in an abusive relationship, however, I do think it’s the spouse’s duty to stand by their mate through thick & thin. Besides, doesn’t it just acerbate the situation when the person closest to you doesn’t stick by your side?

So shame on you Khloe for leaving Lamar during his time of need! Marriage is supposed to be forever; at the very least “in sickness and in health.”

khloe

If you know someone who needs help with drug addiction, go to DrugAbuse.com or call 1-800-943-0566 for help. For more information on prevention, please visit the Prevention Research information page; and for more information on treatment, please visit the Treatment Research information page. To find a publicly funded treatment center in your State, please call 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

*DivorceInformationNow.com

The Scarlet Letter “A”

Most of us know someone who is either infected with HIV or someone who has passed from an AIDS related cause. Currently there are a little over 1 million people in this country living with HIV and tens of thousands of deaths every year. HIV is preventable but not curable (that’s debatable, but that’s a conversation for another day). Unlike 20-30 years ago, everyone now knows how to avoid contracting HIV. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised towards AIDS awareness and to develop a cure. Activists like Sheryl Lee Ralph throw benefit concerts every year (Diva’s Simply Singing!) and celebrities such as Elton John & Alicia Keys are everywhere lending their talents and their voice to the cause. There are AIDS walks in mostly every major city and July has even been designated as National HIV Awareness month. Not to mention the AIDS quilt that was created as a memorial to those who have died an AIDS-related death and the infamous red ribbon which is supposed to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS. With all of this publicity it’s hard for me to understand why there’s still such a stigma associated with having AIDS.

Now, get ready for what I’m about to say: I didn’t say all of this to say that I’m an AIDS advocate. I bring this up because I am at a lost as to why anyone would be ashamed to admit that they have HIV or AIDS. I find it odd that it’s only following a person’s death, family members will proudly announce their loved ones HIV status. I understand that people should be allowed to disclose their own HIV status, but in order to support this disease it’s important to know who has it & who doesn’t.

I know that there are still some very ignorant people out there that will discriminate based on HIV/AIDS status and some who just don’t understand the disease. But if you are proud enough to wear the ribbon, raise money for a cure or petition for health legislation then you should be proud enough to admit that you are carrying HIV or have full blown AIDS. Why be so shy about something that affects you personally? Why aren’t your friends & family members able to have an open discussion about your status with other people? Why is it so embarrassing to admit that you have AIDS when you’re living but it is okay to publicize names of people with AIDS on a quilt once their dead?

Don’t get it twisted; I am certainly not anti-AIDS even though I support other causes. But as an African American woman & who knows that African Americans are disproportionately affected (African American men in particular) I believe that I have the right to know if the man I’m dealing with is carrying AIDS. And since we can’t trust that everyone will be forthright if they are HIV positive, I’m all about that Scarlet letter “A”.

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Talk to me; let me know your thoughts….

 

*For more information on AIDS awareness, visit: Black AIDS, AIDS or the CDC.