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Category Archives: Skin Care

Washed Your Hands Lately?

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It's important to wash your hands to avoid disease.

Like so many other times in your life, your mother was right when she told you to wash your hands. Most children reach adulthood without having encountered lots of serious illnesses. And the reason for this why may revolve around parents’ insistence that their children wash their hands.

Because Mountains Community Hospital cares about you and your family’s health, we advise parents to teach kids how to wash their hands when they’re young. Demonstrating proper hand-washing techniques is an easy way to model responsible behavior. Children who attend preschool or other childcare facilities are particularly at risk for catching and/or spreading disease. So teaching them how to wash their hands is vital to safeguarding their health.

Unfortunately, many adults have forgotten those lessons and don’t wash their hands often enough or thoroughly. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick as well as spreading illnesses. Generally speaking, people are unaware how many thousands of items they touch each day, often to the detriment of good health.

We advise everyone to wash their hands before preparing food, eating, treating wounds or administering medicine to themselves or anyone else, touching a sick or injured person and before inserting or removing contact lenses. One of the main reasons people get eye infections is because they touch their eyes with unwashed hands.

So be careful to wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially while preparing food. This is particularly important when handling raw meat or poultry, after using the toilet, changing a baby’s diaper, cleaning up Fido or Fifi’s waste and toys, coughing or sneezing into hands, handling garbage or anything that could be contaminated.

While hand sanitizers are good, especially when soap and water isn’t available, they will not remove as many germs as plain old soap and water. How you wash your hands is as important as how often you wash them. And, in many cases, it may be even more important. Be sure to lather well with soap and rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. If you or your children need a reminder about how long 20 seconds is, try humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Don’t forget that your wrists and the top and underside of the fingernails are where germs may hide. So be sure to rinse your hands well under running water. The old saying, “better safe than sorry” certainly applies to keeping your hands clean.

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Eczema: Help is on the Way from Mountains Community Hospital

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Hope for those with Eczema

Ever heard of Atopic Dermatitis? How about Seborrhea Dermatitis? If not, you’re hardly alone. These strange names are just a few of the medical terms for common allergic reactions to a condition known as eczema.

Eczema can cover several skin issues that cause swollen, irritated and/or itchy skin and make life generally miserable for those who suffer from this all-too-common condition. Dandruff, diaper rash and rashes that appear after touching plants like poison oak or poison ivy are also considered types of eczema.

Cold, dry winter weather can wreak havoc on skin and can lead to a variety of skin conditions that require special attention. Eczema is one of those conditions as it can pop up suddenly and is adversely affected by weather and dry winter air. Often times, the result is dry, flaky areas of skin that can be very uncomfortable and for the patient and unsightly to all.

Because winter air generally has less moisture, patients often experience outbreaks characterized by scaly, itchy, swollen spots when the weather is cold. People who know they are prone to experiencing dry skin during the winter should be vigilant by using a reliable product to keep their skin moisturized. Working to keep skin moist is important any time of year for eczema patients. So they need to use lotions that do not contain dyes or fragrances since these ingredients can exacerbate breakouts. Many dermatologists urge patients to moisturize two or three times daily during winter months.

Eczema patients should take warm baths or showers and should moisturize their bodies after they emerge from the tub or shower. The Mayo Clinic urges patients to use dye and fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip fabric softener as well as perfumed dryer sheets. Also, people with eczema should keep their fingernails short so they will do only minimum damage to their skin if they scratch itchy spots.

Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge eczema patients who smoke and/or who suffer from a lot of stress to quit smoking and work toward reducing stress levels, both of which will help keep flare-ups at bay.

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of eczema but it occurs in people who have a predisposition to allergens which can range from food to hay fever and other airborne allergens such as weeds, flowers and pollen. It is vital that people who suffer with this type of eczema learn what their “triggers” are so they can reduce the possibility of outbreaks.

Remember, Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health and invites you to log onto their website at www.mchcares.com. For information on medical issues click on the link entitled Resource Center. “We’re here to help” and have been for over half a century.

MCH Caress: Test Your Sunburn IQ!

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cartoon sun wearing sunglasses

Be careful in the sun or you can get burned.

It’s that time again. The snow has melted. The kids are out of school. Vacation time has begun. Along with the fun comes a warning—particularly about sun exposure.

Most people don’t give much thought to the fact that sunburn is actually evidence that rays have killed living tissue (skin). When skin is burnt, it will peel off. Sunburns occur when people spend too much time being exposing their skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays. While getting sunburns is easy to do, those who consistently spend a lot of time in the sun (particularly without any type of sunscreen) are apt to encounter a variety of related issues: scaly skin, to peeling layers of skin, to the ultimate possibility of skin cancer or other types of skin tumors. The sun may feel good. But people who spend an inordinate amount of time enjoying it are apt, ultimately, to have skin that looks and feels like leather resulting from too many years spent basking in its rays.

In the past couple of decades, physicians have stepped up their warnings to patients to be vigilant about sun exposure, particularly if they refuse or forget to wear sunscreen. Many, but not all, skin cancers can be traced to too much time in the sun.

Sun damage doesn’t just occur to light-skinned people. It can happen to people with many skin shades. And, oddly enough, certain pharmaceuticals can affect a person’s sensitivity to UV radiation. For instance, many antibiotics, oral contraceptives and tranquilizers increase the damaging effects of the sun. A person’s family characteristics can also affect how vulnerable they are to excessive ultra-violet radiation. People who have very fair skin and/or those who easily freckle are at greater risk due to their light skin.

Using sunscreen prevents the direct DNA damage that causes sunburn and the two most common forms of skin cancer–basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma. However, if the sunscreen penetrates the skin, it can promote indirect DNA damage, which can cause the most lethal form of skin cancer—malignant melanoma. This form of skin cancer causes 75 percent of the all skin cancer-related deaths.

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is one way to help block the direct rays of the sun. It’s also important to remember that lying outside and enjoying the sun should be taken in small doses. Those who lay out on the sand all day without any protection are those who may end up in the MCH Emergency Room. When it comes to sun exposure and potential problems, the term “better safe than sorry” certainly applies.