Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sun Safety Saves Your Skin

The incidence of melanoma is rising.  Cancer statistics estimate that the incidence doubles every 10 to 20 years.  It is one of several skin cancers that may result from repeated exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR), natural (sun) or artificial (tanning bed, phototherapy lamp). UVA, UVB, and UVC rays cause irreparable skin damage which leads to wrinkles, premature aging, and pre-cancerous lesions. Sunburn during childhood as well as frequent bouts of sunburn increase the risk, too.

Of course total avoidance of the sun would be ideal; however, it is a good source of natural Vitamin D, and should be taken in moderation. Avoiding the painful peril of sunburn is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer.  Simple, easy ways to do this are:
  • Limit sun exposure – avoid 10AM to 4PM, spend less than one hour in direct sun - less if burn easily, prone to skin cancer.
  • Wear protective clothing – wide brim hats, long sleeves, long pants, skirts and/ or clothes made with sun protection fabric.
  • Umbrella and shade.
  • Use sunscreen SPF 15 or greater. Put on every hour if sweating or swimming. Put on every area exposed to sun, and be sure to remember behind the ears and on the neck. Stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Be aware of medication that you take that causes photosensitivity (medication interacts with the light to induce sunburn).
Symptoms of sunburn include redness and pain over the skin (even through clothes especially if wet).  This may be accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and blistering. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Use of cool compresses/bath/shower, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), hydration, and rest should help ease symptoms of mild sunburn.  Oatmeal baths, milk baths, aloe vera plant/products and honey are also useful.

Best health!

by J. L. Richardson, MD, family practice physician, patient advocate, and author of Patient Handbook to Medical Care: Your Personal Health Guide.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Free Prescription: Lifestyle Changes

Behavior modification takes time as most good things do. Studies show that this is a sure way to attain and maintain excellent health. Changing your behavior is safe, inexpensive and free from side effects that you might get from medication. Lifestyle changes that result from behavior modification become habit especially as you feel and see the health benefits.

Exercise and healthy eating are two of the easiest ways you can make your behavior count towards your health. For instance, home preparation of meals makes it easier to select healthy choices. The focus is to eat the proper foods that nourish and heal.  Likewise, exercise keeps the body in motion and less susceptible to pain. Walking and stretching benefit the body as much as an expensive gym membership.  The more you can do in your home or at your home is probably better.  This also provides less stress which is good for mental health.
Give your body and mind what it deserves.  Modify your behavior to help yourself attain better health and fitness.  Use your free prescription freely.
Best health!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Family Doctors: Your Primary Health Care Source

The family physician cares for the whole person and the whole family. Training in this specialty teaches one to care for all aspects of the patient no matter what age, sex, or illness. The Family Physician’s Creed is:

I am a Family Physician, one of many across this country. This is what I believe: You, the patient, are my first professional responsibility, whether man, woman or child, ill or well, seeking care, healing or knowledge. You and your family deserve high quality, affordable health care including treatment, prevention and health promotion. I support access to health care for all. The specialty of family practice trains me to care for the whole person, physically and emotionally, throughout life, working with your medical history and family dynamics, coordinating your care with other physicians when necessary. This is my promise to you.

Because of their versatility, family doctors are excellent primary care physicians. They are able to diagnose and treat many different problems and refer to specialists when needed. They provide continuous routine medical and preventive healthcare. Family doctors may also perform minor surgical procedures in the office. These may include excision of small skin lesions such as warts, opening drainage of a small abscess, and even suturing (sewing up) minor lacerations like cuts. In addition, some also take additional training to perform procedures such as a colonoscopy.

Everyone should have a family doctor as their primary health care source and resource.  You will be guaranteed the most comprehensive care and compassion you deserve. Join the Family Medicine revolution!

Best health!