DoctorSolve July 2011 Healthletter Edition                                                 (If you cannot read this, click here)
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Hello Again,

Have you been barbecuing this summer? Are those pesky mosquitoes giving you a hard time? Find out how to repel them as well as dealing with their annoying bites.

Have any concerns, comments, or questions? Feel free to send them to: [email protected]

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Repelling Insects

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Summer is the time to be outside to enjoy the sunshine after long and cold rainy days have passed. When everything seems to be going well, it hits you or in this case actually bites you. Mosquitoes and ticks can be the most annoying part of the summer. It is hard to know which repellent is perfect for you which is why it is time to learn about bug repellant and the different methods of relief for itching!

Lyme disease is one of the most common vector borne diseases in the US caused by a bacteria that travels in ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease occur around the area of the bite which causes a large, red rash along with flu-like symptoms. The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus in which a bite from a mosquito can cause someone to be infected. Many people do not experience any symptoms but if symptoms of the West Nile Virus are experienced, they would be flu-like symptoms.

To avoid being infected or even just getting that irritating bite, bug repellent is a key factor in prevention. First, it is best to choose a repellent that you will be comfortable putting on regularly when going outdoors. Repellents can be used on exposed skin as well as clothing. Repellents all have an active ingredient which acts as the main factor in repelling insects. The active ingredient of the repellent is listed right on the front of the package alone with directions on the rest of the package.

If you are in an area of ticks, using repellent with 20% or more DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is the trick to avoid being infected. If mosquitoes are your main concern, any repellent with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 (ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate) will help and can be found almost anywhere. If you are looking for the duration of how long the repellent will work, you will have to look at the concentration of the active ingredient. If the active ingredient is less than 20%, then this is good for people who spend a small amount of time outside. People who spend a lot of time outdoors or are in an area with a lot of mosquitoes should find a repellent where the active ingredient has a concentration of more than 20%.

Insect repellents should not be used on infants less than 2 months of age. Repellents with 30% DEET and under can be used on children but avoid using repellents with oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under the age of 3. However, since mosquitoes and ticks aren't your only problem, sunscreen and repellent can be used together. It is not recommended to use blends of sunscreen and repellent since they need to be applied more frequently in order to be effective. It is best to use them separately and apply sunscreen first then the repellent. If you have a child who is going to camp or you work outdoors, it is good to buy permethrin which is used on clothes to protect against bites and works up to 70 washes.

A few more tricks you can use to avoid getting a bite is:

  • Wearing clothes to cover up as much skin as possible
  • Avoid wearing dark colors as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially black
  • Avoid wearing scented perfumes and lotions
  • Avoid sweating as mosquitoes are attracted to the lactic acid that comes out of sweat
  • Stay away from standing water such as swamps and ponds
  • Buy citronella candles to protect small areas outdoors
  • Use bug zappers around your home

 

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Wild, Wild Baby Boomers

Many people know that drinking red wine has been found to lower the risk of heart disease. However, this should not be used as an excuse to drink. Many baby boomers are actually drinking a lot more than they should without even noticing. The effects of drinking are also much worse in seniors. The body is not able to tolerate it as well as it once could.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to hundreds of different issues: some physical and others emotional. Serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and liver disease are common in people who drink too much alcohol. Depression is also quite common. In the last few years alone, the amount of seniors suffering from alcohol abuse has increased considerably. Most baby boomers are greatly affected when it comes to problems with excessive drinking.

Most people do not understand what makes up a drink. One standard drink is equivalent to a can of beer (355mL) or about 45mL of hard liquor. That's less than 1/5th of a cup! Men should limit themselves at four standard drinks a day however by no means should they drink four standard drinks regularly. Women should not drink more than three standard drinks per day.

The impact of heavy drinking is enormous. Having more drinks than the limitations stated above can result in increasing risk of having an alcohol addiction by 20% - 50 %. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol could also lead to irreversible damage to the brain cells.

Moreover, there are plenty of ways to stop drinking alcohol or different methods of control. Many resources are available. There are even programs available for seniors. Although it can be difficult to change one's way of life, it is definitely a necessary step.

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