10 Most common Insect Bites to look Out for the Summer

As soon as the summer is here, we tend to spend more outdoor time. That also means the annoying critters get the more opportunity to bite or sting us. In this article I have discussed ten most common insect bites and how to deal with them.  In case we get bitten, a red bump appears on the skin, along with swelling, pain and burning sensation. These are the most common symptoms of insect bites. We may experience some of them or all of them. Fortunately, these symptoms are only localized and stay for short period of time.

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 What is anaphylactic Reaction?

Some people are hypersensitive to insect bites. People may have family history of allergies to particular insect bites. Though the general symptoms of insect bites are easily treatable with antihistamines, and anti-itching creams but sometimes the reaction goes too far.  For example, if the patient feels difficulty in breathing, hives on skin and throat swelling, this emergency is called anaphylactic reaction. They need to see a doctor.

Here I have discussed well-known insect bites and how to deal with them.

Mosquito Bites

 Mosquitoes are notoriously annoying insects. They are capable of spreading horrible diseases. Though most of the time, a person will experience just a red spot and itchy skin. Mosquitoes live on blood. Therefore, they can transfer on many viral diseases including Dengue, Zika, West Nile, Malaria and yellow fever.

In case of allergic reaction to mosquito bites, people may experience skin hives, blisters, vomiting and difficulty breathing. If this happens to you, see a doctor.

 Also, you need medical treatment if you develop a fever, body aches, headache, or any other signs of viral infection after a bite,

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Bee Stings

Bee stings usually hurt us mildly. Bees don’t bite, they sting us only once, after that a bee dies. It is known fact that some people are very allergic to bee’s venom of stings. Therefore, they need immediate medical treatment after a sting. Bees attack us only when we pose danger to them. We must know the signs and symptoms of severe allergic reaction of bees’ venom, because they prove life threatening to some people. 

Bees are very active during summer season; we must be cautious of them.

First Aid for a Bee Sting   

If you are stung by a bee, immediately wash the area with a mild soap and water. Then remove the tiny stinger with tweezer, fingernail or gauze. The next step is to soothe the pain and swelling with ice pack. After it some antiseptic would be enough to prevent an infection.  In case of severe allergy, the person must seek medical emergency care.    

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Spider Bites

Thousands of spiders’ crawl around in our environment but only few of them are potentially harmful for us.  The harmful ones are black widow, brown widow and tarantula. If we are bitten by a spider, we will get a red bump and itching most of the time.  We must Pursue medical help if bitten by them. Following are simple precautionary measures to protect ourselves from spider bites.

  •  Do not place your hands on spaces where spiders can be hiding.
  •  Shake out dresses, towels, beddings, Shoes before using them.
  • Find some medical help right away if you are bitten by black or brown widow spider. Though, very few people get the intense pain and cramping of a widow spider bite.  

First Aid

  • Most spider bites are poisonous and can be treated at home.
  •  wash the bite area with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment
  •   use a cold compress to reduce any pain and swelling,
  •  And keep your arms or legs raised if that is where you were bitten.
  • Take some over the counter pain reliever, and antihistamine
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Tick Bites;

Ticks are small, flat eight-legged parasites related to spiders, they crawl out on vegetation and extend their hooked front legs to latch onto passing animals and people. Ticks can be compared to mosquitoes for spreading disease. For example, in the US, ticks are responsible for spreading Lyme disease, West Nile, rocky mountain spotted fever, and tularemia to humans. For protection wear insect repellents when outdoors in areas where ticks might be. Treat pets with a flea and tick regime.  

Some Common Symptoms

Most of these illnesses spread by ticks have common symptoms.

  • All tick diseases have classic flu-like symptoms
  •  Some have a rash
  • In most cases the tick bites can be treated with antibiotics, but they have to be rightfully diagnosed
  • Bed bug Bites;

As the name suggests, these are the bugs or insects that live and hide in beds or other furniture. They bite us inside our very homes. Bed bugs are small in size, almost four to five millimeter in length, flat and brown. They are blood suckers. Naturally they bite at night, during sleep. They spread very secretly, and it is really hard to get rid of them without the help of pest control experts.  

The mode of attack of bed bugs

When bed bugs latch themselves to our skin, we don’t feel the bite. The reason is that they inject an anesthetic. Some people get a very bad reaction to their bites, while others do not. Although, they don’t infect us with any disease, but they are quite annoying. Some people develop bite marks but usually disappear in days. Just do not scratch the bite mark. An anti-itch and antiseptic lotions may help. If you have allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing, get medical help.

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Flea Bites

When we let our pets outside, they get fleas and then bring these inside homes.  So naturally we are most likely to run into fleas because of our pests. These fleas can bite us as well. Following are the important points about flea bites; 

  • You will see little red bumps if you have been bitten by fleas. Typically, there will be three bumps together, usually on your feet band ankles.
  •  It is important that you do not scratch flea bites.
  • Fleas defecate when they bite you, itching can pull bacteria into the skin and cause an infection.
  • Itching is the most basic symptom of flea bites, although if you are allergic, you may have breathing problems. Infected bite areas may swell and fill with pus. Oral antihistamine or topical ointments or lotions, can help with itching and allergic reactions.
  •  Do not take hot showers or baths, which can increase the itching.
  •  Fleas are typically more of a misery than a health threat, but in some areas of the country, they can transmit potentially life-threatening plague and hantavirus.  

Chigger Bites in Summer

 Chiggers have several names like berry bugs, spider mites, harvest mites, and red bugs. Their bites are red and itchy and look like pimples or blisters. They are usually found around the soft skin areas like waist, ankles or warm skin folds. The spots get bigger and itchier over the following days and often appear in clusters

         Chiggers are mites that suspend on vegetation, waiting for you to pass by. Rubbing up       against infested plants allows chiggers to attach to your clothes and make their way to your skin.

Chigger Larva

Chiggers attack humans only during larval stage. They burrow deep into the top layer of skin, secrete saliva, then suck up the dissolved skin cells. Chigger larvae attach to a host, but do not burrow into flesh. the itching from a chigger bite does not begin until three or more hours after the feeding. the itchy red welts that signify their presence typically appear only after these pests have dropped off.  They do not remain attached to their hosts for more than a few days. chiggers feed on liquified skin cells for days.

The bites usually do not hurt but they do itch, starting within a couple of hours and getting worse over the next few days. The itch will decrease in a few days and the red spots will fade in one to two weeks. Scrubb the area with soap and water then try  calamine lotion or antiitch cream. An antihistamine can also reduce the itching

Ant Bites in Summer

 Ants only enter intohome,looking for food or water. If we come very close to them, they are most likely to bite us. So, do not leave any kind of edibles out. Even the smallest food particles are enough for a swarm of ants.

  • Of all the different varieties of ants, fire ant bites may be the most detestable. Not only do ant bites hurt and sting, they also itch. They can also turn red, swell, and fill with pus. The best thing to do is wash the bite area with soap and water. Then put an ice pack on the affected area.  Try antihistamines to suppress itching.
  • As long as you are not allergic, you will be back to normal in a few hours. But, if you are allergic, you may have trouble breathing or feel your mouth swell and your heart rate race up. If that happens, call your doctor or get to an emergency room.
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Wasp stings

During hot summer days, wasps seem to be everywhere outdoors. Wasp stinging is very common. These stings are painful but most people recover quickly without any further trouble. Wasps are equipped by nature with stingers for self-defense. These stings have venom.  Wasps transmit the venom to their victims. Wasp venom can cause substantial pain and irritation. The initial sensation is sharp pain with burning and swelling of the area.

Wasp Allergy

It is also possible to have a serious reaction if you are allergic to the venom. In either case, quick treatment is vital for easing symptoms and complications.

The majority of people without sting allergies will show only minor symptoms during and after a wasp sting, the initial sensation can include sharp piercing pain or burning at the sting site. Redness and swelling and itching can arise as well.

When you look at the affected area you will find a raised welt, with a tiny white mark in the middle.

In case of allergy, extreme redness and swelling increases for two or three days. Even vomiting can also occur. Let your doctor know your large local reaction to wasp sting. They may direct you to take an over-the-counter antihistamine medication to reduce your discomfort.

Anaphylaxis after Wasp Sting

Anaphylaxis occurs when your body goes into a quick shock in response to wasp sting. Its reaction to venom. It is important to seek immediate emergency care to treat anaphylaxis symptoms of anaphylaxis are as under.

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of lips, tongue or face Breathing difficulty
  • Formation of hives on the skin Loss of consciousness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

There is possibility to experience all or some of these symptoms after a wasp sting.  Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that needs instantaneous treatment.

How to Treat mild reaction

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water to eliminate as much of the venom as possible
  • Use a cold pack to diminish the swelling and pain
  • Use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream for itching and skin irritation
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Scorpion Stings

Scorpionsarenight time predators that eat insects and other scorpions. Though they are generally terrifying looking with their pincers and stinger on their segmented tail. So, a scorpion never bites, it stings.  If a person develops some alarming symptom, they should go to the doctor

Though scorpion stings are quite painful, but majority do not require special medical treatment. most of the times washing the sting site, applying ice pack and using a painkiller will successfully handle the wound. It is not uncommon that the pain and numbness may linger for days.

The Severe Symptoms of scorpion sting

These symptoms include uncontrolled jerking, difficulty in breathing, wild eye movements, muscle twitching and drooling. these severe symptoms are caused by scorpion venom that may disrupt the nervous system of the person. In such cases the affected person must get medical treatment.

These are some important facts about scorpions

  • There are several species of scorpions, but only few have venom that is life-threatening.  
  • Scorpions do not attack; they only defend themselves. So, we need to stay away from them.
  • If scorpions enter our home, they would hide anywhere, for example, laundry, shoes, boxes, beddings, even in the crevices of walls.

So, I think we already know how can we protect ourselves from scorpion stings. We must seal all their entry points

Conclusion

Though insect bites may occur any time of the year, but we notice that these insect bites or bug bites pick up in summer, when we stay more outdoors. Almost all bug bites look similar. But everyone’s immune system reacts differently. Moderate itching, pain, and swelling are normal but if you experience more severe symptoms, you should see your doctor. Insects can even transfer diseases through bites or stings. So, its necessary to have some knowledge about them.

How does our brain identify faces?

Recognizing faces is our basic need, and we do it endlessly all the time.  Our brain is very efficient in this service for us. Do we want to know how does our brain does this? Studies have shown that, a region of the temporal lobe becomes active when we look at faces. Some neurons in the temporal lobe respond to specific features of faces.  People who suffer damage to the temporal lobe, also lose their capability to identify familiar faces  

 The Importance of Facial Recognition 

Our ability to recognize faces is so important that the brain seems to have an area exclusively devoted to the task and this is the Fusiform Gyrus. Brain imaging studies constantly find that this region of the temporal lobe becomes active when people look at faces. Neurons in this area help humans identify faces- and only faces, not other body parts or things.

 According to studies there are six areas in the brain’s temporal lobe, called face patches, that contain some specific neurons. These neurons seem to be much more active when a person is observing a face than other objects. When we see unfamiliar faces, neurons in the temporal lobe produce less activity.

How many faces our brain can recall?

How many faces can we record and recall, there is science behind it.  Researchers have found that our brains can remember 10,000 faces over the course of a lifetime. And the average person can recall around 5000 but, the scientists say, that does not mean that we will also remember their names.

Can our brain create faces on its own?

Very obvious and simple question, but it is impossible. It is believed that our brain is unable to generate a new face. Every person you dream of has been someone you have either known personally or came across somewhere.  

The brain does not make faces in dream. Dreams are accounts that we visualize, experience and feel in the deep phase of sleep or REM state (rapid eye movement). So, in our dreams we will never see faces that we do not know, our brain does not invent faces.

 Are the strangers in our dream really strangers?

It is possible that we will see some faces in dreams that we do not identify because they are of people that we saw maybe only once, but our brain saved them, as it keeps the hundreds of thousands of faces that we see when we visit them. We never run out of faces in our dreams.  

How does our brain interpret face?

Human beings are highly skilled to process the social information that faces provide us, not only that related to their identities, such as gender or age, but also the emotion that these faces convey.

In the social interaction, the ability to interpret faces is a basic human aspect. Faces are one of the first stimuli, we receive at birth and it is, from a biological, psychological and social point of view, the most important visual object for us.

 If there are difficulties in processing faces, for example in case of brain injuries or dysfunction, the importance of social impacts become clear.

It is easier to recognize faces than recall names!

The memory for a face will be stored in one specific brain area, while a name is stored in a completely different brain area. In order to put together those two pieces of information, the brain has to perform a collaboration, and sometimes that does not work well.  

Human brain recalls visuals features in opposite order than it perceives them.

When observing a scene, the brain first processes details like spots, lines and simple shapes and uses that information to build internal representations of more complex objects, like cars and people. But during recall, the brain remembers those bigger concepts first.

How do we recognize familiar faces?

 There is a relationship between face identification, memory and social knowledge. Brain learns to identify familiar faces regardless of where they are in the visual field. A new study finds that recognition of faces varies by where they appear in the visual field and this variability is reduced by learning familiar faces through social interactions. The finding suggests that repeated social interactions may tune populations of visual neurons in the face processing network to enable consistent and fast recognition of familiar faces.

When I know you  

Brain contains a network of areas that respond selectively to faces as opposed to other kinds of objects. Humans mind processes familiar and unfamiliar faces very differently. We excel at recognizing pictures of familiar faces even when they are disguised by poor lighting at odd angles. But we struggle to recognize even slightly altered images of the same face when it is unfamiliar to us.

The significance of facial recognition for survival

The ability to recognize faces is very important to many aspects of life. It only helps us to recognize those close to us but also allows us to identify individuals, we do not know so that we can be more aware of possible dangers.

However, there is little relationship between face recognition abilities and intelligence. In other words, you could be clever but bad with faces, or vice versa. face processing is still very special ability.

Does the brain process face and objects differently?

Although the human brain is skilled at facial recognition and discrimination, new research suggests that the brain may not have developed a specific ability for comprehending faces but instead uses the same kind of pattern recognition techniques to differentiate between people as it uses to search for differences between other groups of things, like plants, animals and cars. Face processing is said to be discrete from non-face object processing in that it is more holistic. Faces are represented as non-decomposed wholes, rather than as a combination of independent component parts, and the relations between them. 

Are upright and upturned face processed differently by the brain?

 Upright faces are believed to be processed holistically, a processing style that makes the best use of the ability to utilize configural information because individual features are processed together, however inverted faces may be processed more like objects, where individual parts are processed relatively.

The mystery of pareidolia objects

While human faces all look a bit different, they share common features like the arrangement of the eyes and the mouth. The basic pattern of features that describe the human face is something that our brain is particularly accustomed to. Therefore, we are likely to be drawn towards pareidolia objects. (Objects that look like faces)

Face pareidolia

The phenomenon of seeing faces in everyday objects-uses the same brain processes that we use to identify and understand other real human faces. Face pareidolia is a human condition that narrates how our brains are wired. We see faces even in objects that are strikingly un-human like. the striking feature of these objects is that they not only look like faces but can even convey a sense of personality or social meaning. for example, the lights of a car might feel like two eyes watching you, and a mango might have a happy look on its face.

So, pareidolia is a kind of visual deception. We know that the object does not really have a mind.   We cannot help but see it as having mental characteristics. like, we see the direction of stare, because of mechanisms in our visual system that become active, when they perceive an object with basic face-like features.

The role of Evolution in Facial Recognition

There is an evolutionary benefit to being really competent at detecting faces.  It is also important to us socially in sensing predators. So, if you have evolved to be good at detecting faces, this might then lead to false positives. Like, you may sometimes see faces that are not actually there. Another way of putting this is that it is better to have a system that is excessively sensitive to detecting faces, than one that is not sensitive enough.

Conclusion

Face identification is an important guide in the formation of social perception and neurodevelopment in humans. Changes in face perception and memory are connected with transformed sociability, which is a symptoms of numerous brain conditions. Many brain areas and neuropeptides are implicated in face processing. The neuropeptide oxytocin plays an important role in numerous social behaviors, including face and sentiment recognition. Face awareness and identification are two necessary elements of social collaboration. These represent critical skills developed early in human life.

Heatstroke, Causes and Treatment

Most of us already have some knowledge about heatstroke, but still not many know it in details. Suppose it happens to somebody around you, how would you deal with it as a first aid? These and many other questions I have answered in this article.  How much potentially dangerous this condition can turn into? Yes, it can develop into fatal condition if the first aid is delayed.  The good news is, actually this catastrophic condition is preventable and also treatable if one gets ill. But of course, there is no time to waste if one falls a victim to it.  

How Does Heatstroke Develop?

Heat stroke is not just feeling very hot during summer. It is an acute form of illness and a life-threatening emergency. Usually, it is result of prolonged and extreme exposure to the sun or physical exertion in hot weather. The body temperature rises above 40 C or higher and the  heat starts damaging the body. The person does not sweat enough to cool down. This condition progresses quickly and needs instant medical intervention. Untreated heatstroke can rapidly damage your vital organs like kidneys, heart, brain and general muscles which may result in expiry. The more delay to treatment means the worse damage to the patient.

Dehydration, sweating and heatstroke

Sweating cools down our rising body temperature and helps the heat radiate through our skin.  Our body needs plenty of water to stay hydrated. But in certain circumstances, such as high temperature and humidity in the atmosphere or forceful activity in the hot sun, this cooling system may start to fail. If there is dehydration and the person cannot sweat enough to cool down. Ultimately the body’s internal temperature soars to the point where it causes heatstroke.    

People Who are Most vulnerable to Heatstroke

  • Too young like infants and toddlers are at the highest risk of heatstroke. The central nervous system in the too young patients is not fully developed, therefore they are incapable to cope with the fluctuation of extreme body temperature. In the same way the central nervous system starts deteriorating in the elderly, who are above 65. Ultimately, they are also susceptible to heatstroke more than other age groups.
  • People with health issues like heart and lung disease, obesity and having sedentary life style are more likely to suffer with heatstroke.
  • People who are not used to extremely hotter climates and they experience it.
  • People who have mental issues and they are taking certain drugs and others who take such medicines that narrow their blood vessels. These meds affect a person’s ability to stay hydrated and respond to heat.
  • There are those who over exert in hot weather like builders or sports men or who take military training.  

Precautionary measures /prevention

Heatstroke is definitely avoidable. We know our body has limits of endurance. Prevention is always better than cure. Preventive measures take less time and energy than actually fighting with the unfortunate engagement with this fatal condition of heatstroke.  

Following are some effective measures that can help protect you against the adverse effects of heatstroke 

  • Water, yes take plenty of plain water and liquids on hot days
  • Keep your body cool with showers, especially before leaving for work, shopping or other engagements
  • Always wear clothes according to weather. That also means to wear loose, light colored, breathable and organic clothes during hot summer days
  • If you feel your body temperature rising, sprinkle water over skin or clothes
  • Reschedule your working hours in the sun. Do not stay in the sun between 11 am and 4 pm
  • Use protective accessories like, sunglasses, hat, and umbrellas
  • Use plenty of sunscreen in outdoors
  • Reduce alcohol, coffee and  soda; they can lead to dehydration.
  •  Schedule your work out sessions for cooler times of the day.
  • Every year in summer some unfortunate incidents take place. By mistake pets and children are left in the locked vehicles on hot sunny days.  When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F in 10 minutes.  
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Some Common Symptoms of Heatstroke  

The following are the most common symptoms of heatstroke. However, these symptoms may vary from person to person.

  1.  Confusion is one of the early signs of heatstroke. If you find the person disorientated, confused agitated or unconscious call 911. 
  2.   Incoherent or slurred speech  
  3. Rapid pulse and breathing
  4. Extreme headache
  5. High body temperature, mostly above 104 F  
  6. Dry and hot red, skin due to extreme hot weather; but if the heatstroke occurs during exertion the skin can be slightly moist.
  7. The patient may feel ill even after drinking plenty of liquids and cooling down the body  
  8. Extreme weakness
  9. Hallucination
  10. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  11. The patient may fall unconscious
  12. Seizure
  13. It is also important how long the patient has been exposed to extreme hot temperature. Heatstroke causes vital organs and brain to swell that can be fatal.
  14. The person may expire if the treatment is delayed  

The difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Though both these conditions are pretty serious. Heat exhaustion starts with muscle weakness, profuse sweating, nausea and vomiting. The patient may fall unconscious. While in heatstroke the body temperature soars above 103 degrees and there is little to no sweating.  Heat stroke is more dangerous than heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is usually not very serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. The patient with heatstroke needs medical intervention and stay in the hospital at least for a day or more. Hospital stay also makes it possible that if any complication arises, it can be identified and addressed immediately.

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                First Aid measures for Heatstroke

 Heatstroke as we know is a medical emergency. Any delay in treatment can cause permanent damage to vital organs or even death. Following are first aid measures you can take ,while waiting for medical help to arrive  

  1. Take the affected person to a cooler area
  2.  Gently remove the clothing and sponge the patient’s body with water and fan the skin
  3. Apply ice packs to the groin and armpits areas. Use evaporative cooling technique.  
  4. Do not cool off the body with icy cold water too fast. It will cause more damage than any good
  5. Keep the feet of patients slightly raised from the rest of the body
  6. Intravenous iv fluids are most of the times obligatory to compensate for fluid or electrolyte imbalance.
  7.  Bed rest is mostly advised and body temperature may fluctuate abnormally for a week after heatstroke. 

  7.   It may take two months to a year to entirely recover from a heatstroke                                               

Disclaimer

The material and information contained on this article is for general information purpose only. This article does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of my readers. Medical information changes quickly. Nevertheless, information in this article may prove outdated, or contain inaccuracies. So, in case of need consult your doctor.

 14 Best Dental Care Tips for Healthy Teeth

Your oral health is fundamental to your overall health and well-being. You have to carry out dental care regime on daily bases. Nevertheless, you eat daily and use teeth many times a day, to chew food. You need to protect your teeth all life. Dental health has serious effects on your overall health and it must be taken as a fundamental aspect of your overall wellness. People who ignore tooth cleaning, lose teeth early and go through bad oral health all life. Dental care is not difficult at all. You just need to be vigilant and take regular cleaning steps for your beautiful and healthy set of teeth.  

Do you know Your teeth and tongue are unique!

Yes, just like your fingerprints, both your teeth and tongue are unique. For that individuality, dental records are occasionally used to recognize human remains. Teeth are not identical even in identical twins. Same is with tongue print. 

What is Tooth Enamel?

The outermost, thin layer of your teeth is called enamel. It is see- through covering, and its function is here to protect the teeth. Enamel is the hardest tissue in our body. It is mostly made of calcium phosphate, specific proteins and crystallites. Although tougher than simple bones, it’s still susceptible to break or decay. Therefore, dental care also involves taking care of your teeth enamel.

What is dentin?

Dentin is the part of tooth that lies next to the enamel. It is made of small tubules and passages that convey nerve signals and nutrition through the tooth. In case enamel is lost, dentin allows heat, cold or acidic food to stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth.

What is plaque in teeth?

Plaque is a sticky white substance that contains bacteria in it. You have to keep it removing or it will continue to grow. The acids in plaque destroy tooth enamel and can cause tooth decay.  Plaque can develop around teeth, under the gums and near tooth roots. If the plaque is not removed, it develops into a hard form called tartar. Following are some essential dental care tips for healthy teeth, everybody should know.

Brush your teeth frequently

Cleaning your teeth is the first and foremost step towards dental care. You need to brush your teeth twice a day at least.  It is one of the most important practices to get rid of plaque and bacteria from your teeth. Plaque affects not only teeth but gums also. It can cause” gingivitis, a gum disease. However, it is also necessary to adopt the right kind of brushing technique

What is the right kind of brushing technique?  

  • Do not go to bed with plaque in your mouth; brush your teeth
  • Bacteria accumulate in the mouth overnight, make sure to brush every morning
  •  Brush in small circular motions, clean your teeth all around.
  • This process should take between 2 to 3 minutes. So, take your time and do not hurry.  
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Because hard-bristled toothbrush can damage tooth enamel and the gums.
  • People should replace their old toothbrush with new one every 3 month almost
  • Do not let the plaque harden and turn into tartar. If so, go to dentist for scaling of tartar  
  • Also do not brush aggressively. You could wear down the enamel layer that protects dentin.

Smoking Tobacco is a Big Threat to Dental Health

  • Smoking changes the color of teeth and produces bad breath.
  • Smoking is linked to cancer
  • Smoking weakens the persons immunity, and delays healing of tissues.  
  • Smokers are at high risk of gum diseases. 
  • Smokers have the double threat of losing teeth one way or the other
  • Smokers are twice to be expected to need root-canal treatment

So, if you are a smoker, do your teeth a much-needed favor and quit smoking.

Health Benefits of Flossing Your Teeth

  • Flossing is intended to remove plaque from between the teeth, where a toothbrush is unable to reach.
  •  Flossing removes trapped debris between the teeth. This left-over tiny food particles become cause of bad breath. Flossing helps maintain teeth hygiene 
  • Flossing can be hard for children and old adults.  Instead of giving up on flossing they should buy ready-to-use flossers or tools from the drug store.

Importance of a Mouthwash for Dental care

  • Importance of a Mouthwash for Dental Care
  • Mouthwash is not an alternative for brushing your teeth. But it enhances cleaning regime.
  • Mouthwashes are very effective to remove bad breath
  •  Some mouthwashes contain essential oils that are helpful for dental health.
  • Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine, help control plaque and gingivitis

When to See Your Dentist ?

  •  
  • A person should see a dentist after every 6 months for a check up
  • During a routine dental examination, a hygienist will clean your teeth thoroughly.  
  • If you notice a change in their mouth, that is the time you should visit a dentist.
  • You need to address the gum diseases at an early stage. Must pay a visit to your dentist.  If left untreated these diseases can lead to bone loss in your jaw.

How do sugar and starch affect oral Health?

  •  When you eat sugar, the bacteria in your mouth create acid. This acidic environment causes tooth erosion
  • The WHO recommend that we should keep our sugar intake below 10 percent of our daily calories
  • When you eat starchy food, it breaks down to simple sugars, again bacteria produce acid by feeding on sugar and then damage the teeth enamel.  
  • You should replace sugar with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts as well as dairy products for oral health

Why Fluoride is Necessary for Healthy Teeth ?

  •  Fluoride fights germs that can lead to tooth decay.  
  • Many Dental experts believe that fluoride helps stop cavities, and it is a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash.
  • Drink plain water instead of Sugary soft drinks
  •  The acid in soda drinks attacks teeth. It may lead to creating cavities and stains on the tooth surface and erosion in the inner structure of the tooth

Drinking Plain Water

  • Drinking plain water or unsweetened tea throughout the day.
  • If you must drink sugar-sweetened drinks then limit them to meal times and in small volumes

The Effects of Coffee , Tea and Wine on Dental Health

  • All dark colored drinks affect the teeth enamel and even dentin.
  • Coffee also contains acid, which is corrosive to tooth enamel
  • White wine is more acidic than red and is therefore more efficient to abolish tooth enamel. So, anything over moderate ingesting is harmful.

Citrus Fruits and Dental Health

  • Citrus fruits are great source of vitamin C. vitamin C is necessary for the function of gums and teeth.
  •  All citrus fruits including oranges, grapefruits, lemons are highly acidic. Acidic food softens the tooth enamel, which makes teeth vulnerable to damage.
  • These fruit acids create a development of calcium chelation on tooth enamel, means that the acids bind to calcium and strip it away.
  • Preserved fruit juices from the market are even worse, as they are containing added sugars too

Eating Crunchy Fruits and vegetables is actually good for your teeth

  • We should give some work to our teeth and gums. Soft and ready to eat foods are very easy to chew but not good for your teeth.
  •  To keep your teeth healthy and strong, eat fresh, crunchy produce that contains more healthy fiber

Remineralization of your teeth

  • With age you lose the minerals in your teeth. This may be caused by eating sugary and acidic food
  • Once the enamel or bone are gone, there is no way to grow them back without substituting the tooth completely.
  • However, prevention is better than cure, it is possible to let it not happen. By providing minerals with lifestyle changes and home remedies, you can help your teeth.
  • Dairy products contain calcium and phosphate and may help you to rebuild lost minerals of teeth.

Chewing Sugarless Gum

      Sugar free gum helps get rid of sugar and plaque from teeth and encourage salivary glands to produce saliva   

Seafood May Heal periodontitis

Periodontitis is kind of gum disease which causes inflammation of the gums, triggering them to separate from the tooth. That may result in many bacterial infections causing tooth and bone loss. Omega -3 fatty acids and vitamin D, and calcium in fish play an important role in keeping teeth, gums and jaw bones strong and healthy. Omega-3 fats may help to reduce oral inflammation as well.

Conclusion

                   Your oral health is related to our whole body. Good oral health is significant both for eating and digesting food.  When your teeth are healthy, you are healthy too. If you do not take care of your teeth now, chances are you will lose or wear them out prematurely.  taking balanced diet and keeping your teeth clean is a necessary favor that you must do.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is for general informational purpose only. Nothing here should be taken as medical advice for any individual case or situation.

10 Outstanding Health Benefits of Swimming

 Who does not love swimming? Swimming has always been glamorized but what are the health benefits of swimming? That’s the center of my interest here. Swimming is an excellent exercise as well as a fun activity. It involves both physical and mental rewards. Without much impact on the body all the joints and muscles get involved in the process of swimming. Swimming offers many outstanding health benefits. It also suggests great opportunity to socialize and make friends. While the elderly people who always find it difficult to move around, can benefit greatly from this activity.  All age groups of people can acquire swimming skill and stay fit 

image by pexels

How to start swimming?

While you are thinking about starting swimming, always make sure that the environment you choose to swim is safe. If you are new to swimming, consider taking lessons. There are a host of benefits you may gain through swimming regularly. It is one of the most popular activities in the world. Following are the safety measures for swimming.

  • Be careful that the water temperature suits your physical needs
  • Do some warm up and stretches exercises before entering the water
  • Stay hydrated and drink regularly, your body needs plenty of liquids
  • You may have fun with swimming but don’t overdo it
  • Always wear sunscreen to protect your skin, if you are swimming outdoor.
  • Do not forget to take breaks after 20 to 30 minutes of swimming.

Now here are some of the outstanding health benefits of swimming.

Swimming Improves Blood circulation

  • Swimming definitely improves blood circulation; blood reaches all parts of the body. Better blood circulation means better health.
  • An efficient blood circulation reduces the risk of embolism, that is typical blockage caused by a blood clot in the vein of leg, when the blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lung. It poses fatal risk to the individual   
  • Improved blood circulation reduces the risk of stroke
  •  People with type 2 diabetes can find swimming very beneficial therapy to improve blood circulation. They need an efficient blood circulation for their extremities

Swimming diminishes risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Swimming helps building heart muscle stronger. It is basically a cardio activity.
  •  Half an hour of swimming per week can diminish the risk of coronary heart disease in females, significantly.
  • Swimming keeps the cells lining of your arteries stretchy and in good form.

Swimming decreases blood pressure.

  • As soon as we immerse our body into water our mammalian diving reflex lowers our blood pressure and slows down our pulse to save oxygen.
  •  Engaging in cardiovascular exercises increase the size and strength of your heart muscle. Over the time this can make the heart so robust that it does not need to labor as hard to meet the basic needs of running your cardiovascular system. That decreases stress on the heart throughout life

Benefits of swimming for pregnant women.

These are some peculiar benefits of swimming for the expecting mothers.

  • Pregnancy often puts strain on the lower back. The body feels the weight of baby bump. As soon as you immerse your body in water, the resistance of water takes the pressure off, providing much desirable respite
  • Studies showed that Women who swam during their first trimester of pregnancy, had lesser risk of pre term labor
  • Swimming exercises relieve lower limb edema and discomfort.
  •  Swimming makes the abdominal muscles strong.
  •  Swimming is a low impact exercise that builds strength and do not twist the abdomen.
  • During last trimester of pregnancy, it is possible to have safe workout in the pool.  

 Contraindications of swimming during pregnancy

  • Always keep in mind that there is no alternative to doctors’ advice about your specific condition. Only you can decide what is best and ideal for you.  Some women have complications about pregnancy and any kind of exertion is contraindicated to them.
  • Avoid very warm water for swimming during pregnancy, it may raise body temperature.
  • You may tire quickly as compared to normal people. it is not unusual in your case
  • Be careful if there are reports of some microbes in water
  • The cold water can drop body temperature and place the body in shock or result in illness. You must know the pool temperature before you enter the water.
  • Swimming and Asthma.   Asthmatic patients need humid warm environment. The indoor pools provide helpful atmosphere to them. How far swimming activity can prove beneficial to asthma patients is as under.
  • Breathing exercises associated with this sport, may help you expand your lung capacity and gain control over your breathing.
  • Swimming exercises strengthen the muscles and your control over breathing improves.

Contraindication. The biggest known disadvantage for an asthma patient is chlorine in the pool water.  look for a pool that uses salt water instead of chlorine.

How far Swimming can be Beneficial to Osteoarthritis?

  • People with osteoarthritis suffer with constant pain in joint and muscles. They are incapable to do high impact exercises due to their specific condition. Swimming can be a safe kind of exercise for them. The expected advantages of swimming are as under.
  • Swimming may reduce some of the body aches and discomfort
  •  In a study Patients with   osteoarthritis reported significant reduction in both pain and stiffness,
  •  They felt less physical limitation after engaging in activities in swimming. Their joints and muscles achieved more flexibility.  So, the patients felt more at ease to move around. Subsequently their quality of life improved.

   Health benefits of swimming for Multiple Sclerosis

 An easy movement is one of the major concerns for the MS patients. With their weakening bodies, swimming may provide some support and relief. Let us discuss some health benefits of aquatic exercises for MS patients.

  • An aquatic therapy may delay the progression of MS and improves balance, and walking ability.
  •  Water is viscous and it offers resistance to movement. That means it can help MS patients with limb coordination, and building up muscle strength
  •  MS patients often feel painful fatigue. They may find swimming helpful to reduce pain. Over time these people also show reduction in symptoms like fatigue, depression and disability. Following are some of the points important for MS with regards to swimming
  • Water offers support and helps them feel light. So, it can put less strain on muscles, makes them more flexible. Patients become capable of great variety of motions. Water exercises even help relax tight or spastic muscles.
  • Swimming helps build up stamina, and strength in MS patients
  •  MS patients can use it as an opportunity to socialize with other MS patients and develop their community.
  • Though some MS patients may not know swimming already, but they can learn easily.

Swimming helps to achieve your dream weight.

 Are you looking for some easy and reliable way to lose weight? Well, it is time to put your foot into pool now.  Swimming is an efficient and reliable way to burn calories. Even without putting much strain on your body, you can lose weight effortlessly. Swimming is an excellent way to get in shape. The simple formula to lose weight is that you must burn out more calories than you take in. people who are not big fan of working out in gym, may use swimming as an alternative to tone up their muscles and shape up their bodies.   

Swimming Uplifts Mood and takes away Stress  

  Swimming lowers our stress levels by maintaining a positive outlook on life. These aquatic workouts are psychologically beneficial for people with anxiety and stress. Swimming helps manage stress and it is potentially powerful way to relieve anxiety fast.  

Sleep improvement with swimming

  Swimming may have the power to assist you sleep better at night. After engaging in regular exercise participants reported both an improvement in quality of sleep and duration.

Conclusion

Swimming is wonderful support for general wellbeing. People who have chronic illnesses can benefit from swimming. They can find a solace in it as their chronic illnesses make life stressful. Swimming helps release stress and anxiety. At whatever point your fitness level is, you can still get benefit. Swimming helps you to regain your muscle and cardio strength and rejuvenates your skin. In a way it turns back the clock in your life.  It is also helpful to keep us in good health and shape. Swimming offers a complete body workout, so no other exercise can be better than this.  

Disclaimer: This article is meant for general information purpose only. It can not be taken as a professional alternative to medical advice .

10 Most Beneficial Plants for the Production of Herbal Cosmetics

We need to live in harmony with nature. No doubt, nature is our ultimate destiny. If we want to thrive, we must make nature as our guide to save us from health damage. Mother Nature is our home. After creating so much harm in many ways, it is time to return home. The production of herbal cosmetics is one step towards healthy living.

image by pexels

 The Organic, and the Herbal Cosmetics, what is the difference?

There is only one difference between organic and herbal products. Organic products are derived from plants that are grown without the addition of any chemicals, additives or pesticides. Plant based or herbal cosmetics are extracted from nature or plants that may or may not are grown without use of chemicals. All parts of plants provide raw material to the production of herbal cosmetics that are gentle to our body and nutritious.

The raw material or ingredients of herbal cosmetics

These herbal or botanical cosmetics use the raw material directly from plants. Natural cosmetics lack harmful ingredients. Therefore, they are getting more and more popular. Plant-derived cosmetics include flowers, roots, leaves, bark seeds etc.; Some natural or herbal cosmetics can be harmful to people who are susceptible to allergy. They should be careful about what product they use on their skin or hair.

The history of herbal cosmetics                                                                                                      

Ancient civilizations, especially Egypt and Greece, had discovered the healthy properties of essential oils. In the modern age, there is mass production of herbal cosmetics. It would be very interesting to know what flowers and plants are famous for their special characteristics, that make them sought out for the production of natural cosmetics.

The most common forms of herbal cosmetics

The most common herbal cosmetics are oils, creams, hair dyes, lip oils, perfumes balms, serum, toners, conditioners both for skin and hair. This wide range depends on nature for its preparation.  Flowers not only add color and fragrance to herbal products but also provide nutrients. Vitamins and antioxidants in plants help moisturize, rejuvenate, smooth and repair damaged skin. Following are some of the flowers and plants that are used in the production of herbal cosmetics.

  1. Geranium
image by pexels

Geranium is not only popular for its bright color as decorative plant, but also it is a basic ingredient in various herbal  cosmetic  in the form of oil.  This oil has great cleansing and toning qualities. People with dry skin and pimples can benefit from geranium oil. Geranium is cultivated in Europe and some developing countries at a high cost. The quality of geranium oil varies significantly. China and Egypt produce low quality geranium oil. While South Africa and Madagascar produce best quality geranium oil.  France, UK, and Italy are the largest importers of this oil.

Henna

In Asia, Henna is a quite familiar plant. Henna leaves produce dark orang color when soaked in water.  This color is common dye for hair, skin, nails and clothes. Women use henna tattoos during celebrations. Henna extracts are used in cosmetics, hair dye and hair care products. This plant has antifungal properties. Henna hair mask gives volume to thin hair but also dries out the moisture. Hena hair dye is a healthy and natural herbal alternative to people who can’t use synthetic dyes due to allergic reaction.

Saffron

Saffron is a kind of crimson spice, cultivated from dried flowers of a plant called ‘Crocus Sativus”. Saffron has been incorporated in many beauty products.  It is most commonly used in skincare products like serums, masks, facial creams, cleansers and skin whiteners. Saffron has the healing property and repairs cells. Being the most luxurious spice in the world for beauty products, single pound of saffron comes from 75000 dried saffron blossoms  

Sandal wood

Sandal grows at high altitude and it is an aromatic evergreen tree. Sandal wood is a natural antiseptic; therefore, it is frequently used in the production of soaps, beauty creams and other toiletries. Sandal wood powder and oil both contain the remarkable beauty and health benefits. History tells us sandal wood has been used for making perfumes and oils since time unknown. Its oil is fairly beneficial for both hair and skin care products. Acne, pigmentation, blemishes, dandruff can be treated effectively by sandal wood.

Gooseberry.

image by pexels

 Gooseberry is a translucent and sour fruit. Gooseberry juice leaves black color on skin and hair. Therefore, sometimes it is mixed in hair mask to enhance the hair color. Because of its sour nature it cleanses skin and hair. Gooseberry extract conditions the scalp, promotes healthy hair growth, reduces gray hair, increases hair volume, and eliminates dandruff. Gooseberry has high concentration of vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin E.

Rosemary

Rosemary is cultivated in many parts of the world. European countries are the main suppliers of the rosemary. But it is also cultivated in Turkey, Morocco and North America. Rosemary has antiseptic properties. It is used in making natural cosmetics like masks, facial creams, hair products, oils and tones. These are nature ‘s gifts endowed to human beings. The salient features of rosemary flower are as under;

  •  Revitalizes hair growth
  •  Good for the treatment of alopecia
  •  Acts as excellent hair conditioner
  •   Treats acne successfully
  •    Rosemary oils moisturize dry skin and smooths the fine creases
  •   Contains vitamin C, calcium and iron,
  •  Anti-inflammatory characteristics heal the damaged skin

Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle flower has strong sweet smell. Nevertheless, the leaves, flowers and seeds have medicinal qualities. Honeysuckle essential oils are antimicrobial and antiviral, therefore used to preserve cosmetics. These oils correct brittle hair ends, reduce dryness and dandruff.  This plant is rich with antioxidants. The antiseptic characteristics keep skin clean and also help to smooth the skin tone. Honeysuckle extract makes skin supple and elastic.  The manufacturers of herbal cosmetic  products take advantage of these natural qualities of the plant. Massage oil, hair and skin masks, cleanser and exfoliants are derived from honeysuckles.   

image by unsplash

Verbena

Verbena extract is anti-dandruff, skin conditioner, anti-acne and anti-inflammatory. All these properties make verbena skin friendly flower. The flowers have lemony fragrance. Verbena is mostly used in soaps, after shave lotions, moisturizers, facial creams and scrubs. Verbena products are ideal for sensitive skin. Face wipes, body sprays and deodorants saturated with verbena fragrance are excellent herbal products. The pleasant refreshing aroma lasts for hours, excellent during hot summer days.

Chamomile

 Chamomile oil has the power to heal and sooth the delicate skin. Chamomile extract speeds up the healing of burns, reduces eczema, and imparts natural glow to the skin. likewise, it is very beneficial when added to shampoos, soaps, facial serums, hair and skin masks. Chamomile oil and chamomile extract are very different from each other in their composition and usage. Chamomile bath gives relaxing effect on  the skin of people. This flower carries antiseptic, disinfectant, analgesic and healing characteristics.

Hibiscus

image by pexels

Hibiscus contains mild acids. The flowers have   all those ingredients our skin needs. They exfoliate, hydrate, tighten and cleans the skin. Hibiscus is rich with amino acids, oligopeptides, antioxidants that help in reducing fine lines and wrinkles from the skin. Some experts even consider hibiscus as natural Botox because of its skin tightening qualities. Hibiscus creams and cleansers purify and hydrate skin. Hibiscus is rightfully called anti-aging plant as it firms and lifts sagging skin.  Both flowers and leaves of hibiscus are used in making skin and hair herbal cosmetics.   

Conclusion

Ancient civilizations used flowers, and herbs not only to treat wounds and infections but also to enhance their beauty. The herbs had sacred appeal to them. Herbal cosmetics gained popularity again in the modern time because people want to get closer to nature. Botanical extracts have many uses in all kinds of herbal cosmetics.

Disclaimer:

This information is for general educational purpose only and is not intended to replace the expert’s advice.

Amazing nutrition and health benefits of Fish Eggs or roe   

Eggs, yes same old eggs! But today I am talking about health benefits of fish eggs. Fish eggs have special name and they are called’’ Roe’’. The roe we eat are unfertilized eggs like those of chicken. Since time unknown, fish eggs have been used as food

The most common source of roe

Most popular fish roe comes from salmon, mackerel and trout. Roe are fully ripe fish eggs. They are used both as a main dish and as a garnish for a side dish. They can be eaten both fresh and cooked. Fish eggs grew more and more popular with the time. As they are packed with a variety of nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.

 There are two major types of Roe,

 There are two types of roe; hard and soft. Hard roe is the unfertilized eggs that come from some species of female fish. Soft roe is also called’’ milt” or the semen of the male fish. Japanese popular dish Shirako is actually milt

 HOW To clean the roe?

Simply rinse fish eggs under cold running water, then leave to drain for a few minutes before cooking. Fresh roe is seasonal and it is available only during spring when fish are reproducing. Unpreserved fish eggs are called ‘green eggs.  

Some nutritional facts about Roe

1.The most important benefit of eating them is that they provide omega 3 fats. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory.

  •  Fish eggs are low in calory but rich with amino acids and proteins.  Fish roe is a complete protein -rich food, means it has all the essential amino acids our body needs.
  • They contain important minerals like selenium, and magnesium
  • Vitamin B-12 in roe is good for mental health, and energy metabolism
  • Fat-soluble vitamin D.
  • Fish eggs are good for diabetes patients, as they are low in carbohydrates and high in proteins. Animal proteins are necessary for the function of muscles.

Two major types of fish eggs or Roe; Masago and Tobiko

Masago

Masago are the eggs of a small fish named capelin. Capelin is silvery green and mostly used to produce fish oils and fish meals. These fish are very small in size and produce tiny eggs. The eggs have bright orange color and a specific gritty texture. The taste of Masago is slightly buttery. Masago is mostly used as a garnish for a meal. For example, Masago is common garnish on sushi rolls and many other rice dishes.

Nutrition facts about Masago are as under;

  • High quality Proteins
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin B-12 that helps with energy production and nerve health and other important bodily functions
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium is a mineral that reduces stress and plays critical roles for your thyroid and immune system
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus

Tobiko Roe

Tobiko come from family of fish called flying fish species. As compared to Masago, Tobiko is more expensive and sought out. Tobiko eggs are also tiny in size and orange in color but brighter than Masago. These are also used in sushi. The eggs have typical texture and burst into mouth when eating. Tobiko eggs are preserved with salt.

Nutrition facts of Tobiko

There are many nutritional similarities between Masago and Tobiko. The flavors of roe vary from species to species. Following are the dietary facts of tobiko.

  • Proteins
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Phospholipid fats
  • High cholesterol (if eaten in moderation it does not pose threat to health)

What is Caviar roe?

Though all fish eggs are roe but not all roe is caviar as caviar belongs to wild sturgeon. Caviar is very delicate and pure luxury food. Very expensive and being very rare caviar is much loved in the cookery world.

Some important facts about caviar

 Caviar comes from wild sturgeon fish and paddlefish. Female fish can lay eggs either fertilized or unfertilized. The roe we eat are essentially harvested prior to being fertilized. Sturgeon roe is small in and shiny in appearance. But the color varies from green to black as well as yellow to green. The texture is crunchy and taste is slightly sweet

How caviar is served?

 Caviar is often served on a bed of rice and eaten with a spoon made of mother of pearl.  Eggs are retrieved from the fish then preserved in salt for 2 to 3 months. Many species of wild sturgeon are categorized as endangered. Therefore, caviar is costly being less available. The age of wild caviar is over now and farmed caviar is used in the cuisine

What is beluga caviar?

The most expensive among all roe is beluga caviar. It has smooth buttery texture and flavor like hazelnut. Beluga fish takes almost 20 years to get mature enough to start reproduction. Again, the beluga fish reproduces once in every several years. This slow reproduction is responsible for making caviar even more costly.

 Salmon roe and its nutritional benefits

Salmon roe is a good source of vitamins and potassium. It has deep orange color and bigger size than other fish eggs. The eggs are lustrous and somewhat transparent. Salmon roe is preserved in salt or marinated in soy sauce. It is high in nutrition and smells wonderful. Salmon eggs are low in calories and they have anti-inflammatory qualities

Potential Risks of eating fish eggs or roe

  1. Eating too much of roe can lead to higher risks of elevated blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. These risks are due to presence of high cholesterol and sodium in roe.
  2. Fish is a common allergen. It is possible to be allergic only to some specific fish or fish eggs. Fish allergy can develop at any age. If you suspect fish egg allergy and symptoms of skin rash, lip or tongue swelling ,headaches, nausea, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
  3. Fish eggs are high in purines, not good for people with gout or arthritis.
  4. Some species of fish eggs contain toxins that can make you sick.

Conclusion

Roe or fish eggs are beneficial for health, because they have healthy nutrients. Roe consumption helps to retain youthful looks with antiaging and antioxidant capabilities. Expecting women should include seafood in their diet for fetal health. Sometimes roe has high sodium when prepared and sodium is added. That can be damaging to health. Both fish and fish eggs provide high quality proteins. They maintain healthy metabolism and strong heart, including many other health benefits.   

 How much mold is harmful to our health?

Let me define what is mold first, I think that is the best approach. Mold is a type of fungi that thrives on living matter, both plants and animals. Mold needs humidity to grow and its reproduction is possible through spores. Mold grows both indoors and outdoors. The spores of mold travel through air and when they land on a damp surface they start growing and multiplying.  

Mold often looks fuzzy, smudge like or discoloration. The most common molds are green, black and white. There are many other colors too and that depends on the age or the stage of their growth

Structure of Mold

Molds consist of long, branching filaments of cells called hyphae. Molds are part of the natural environment and play an important role by breaking down and digesting organic material, such as dead leaves. They are classified neither plants nor animals. They only belong to the kingdom, fungi.   

 How does mold differ from yeasts?

Molds are classified with yeast and mushrooms. The major difference between yeast and mold is that mold is multicellular filaments of the fungi whereas yeast is a unicellular type of fungi. Yeasts are microscopic fungi that reproduce by budding or asexual reproduction. But under stress conditions they can produce spores. Molds on the contrary grow by apical extension of hyphae.

Reproduction of Molds through Spores

Molds reproduce through their spores. These spores are very tiny; microscopic. Their small size makes them easy to spread through water and air  

Why mold grows indoors during winter?

During winter, there is enough moisture and dampness in the environment. Therefore, molds generally grow in basements, and in the areas with less ventilation, in closets or even on furniture. Molds produce musty smell and damage to walls and floors. In addition to hideous looks, molds are health risk.  During extreme winter if the temperature is below zero, mold goes inactive. When the temperature rises again mold starts growing and scattering.  Mold spores love cellulose to grow. The truth is we can not stop spores entering our homes. But we can keep our environment clean and healthy  

image by pexels

Here are some damp areas of our homes, where mold most likely grows

  • Damp kitchen walls due to condensation
  • Showers curtains and mats
  • Leaky roofs and walls
  • Broken pipes
  • Damp laundry
  • Flowerpots
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Cupboards
  • Wooden floors
  • Carpets
  • Wallpapers
  • And storage areas

How does mold enter our living areas?

Mold is everywhere and it’s impossible to evade it entirely. Nevertheless, the good news is that the mold in low density is not harmful. By low density is that kind of mold, still not visible to the naked eye. Once it gets visible, we have to remove it. The spores of mold can enter through doors, windows or even ventilation systems. They attach themselves to our dresses, pets or vehicles and stay invisible

How far mold is potentially harmful?

Mold can trigger sneezing, cough, wheeze, respiratory infections and nasal congestion. A person with asthma can feel his condition worsened after coming into contact with it. Also immunocompromised people may be at risk of fungal infections. For very old or very young people, mold exposure is potentially fairly harmful. The health problems of  prolonged  mold exposure include as under.

  1. Allergies
  2. Severe asthma (mold does not cause asthma, just makes it severe)
  3. Weakened immune system
  4. Respiratory infections
  5. Skin rashes

Mold can harm our respiratory system

 Mold spores are poisonous and inflammatory. Mold harms the respiratory system by causing inflammation in the mucous membranes. Our bodies react by sending antibodies to the inflamed areas, increasing the pressure and inflammation.

Does mold grow in old homes only?

No, mold does not grow only in old homes.  The source of mold spores is not age dependent of the place. A house of any age can develop mold. The damp and moldy environment may cause some health issues. Some people are sensitive to molds, especially those already having some respiratory conditions. Prevention is always better than cure.

Damp and closed environments help mold to grow

 In homes mold usually develops after water damage and then the surface is left damp. It is best to fix leaking pipes and dry wet areas. We must regularly check the dampness, make it dry and clean it. These days we can use air purifiers to remove mold spores from the air.

There are 11 most common types of molds. Only few  are threat to our health.

  1. Aspergillus
  2. Alternaria
  3. Aureobasidium
  4. Fusarium
  5. Cladosporium
  6. Penicillium
  7. Chaetomium
  8. Stachybotrys  chartarum
  9. Trichoderma
  10. Serpula Lacrymans
  11. Ulocladium

What is aspergillosis and what it has to do with molds?

It is an infection or allergic reaction caused by molds. Aspergillus fumigatus is the type of mold that is most likely to cause aspergillosis in certain people when they inhale mold spores.

Who are the victims of aspergillus mold ?

Aspergillus mold is not harmful to the people who have normal immune system. That means majority among us will not fall ill due to its exposure. only people with weak immune system or people with respiratory problems maybe at higher risk for developing infection.  Especially, persons who are going under chemotherapy or those who had organ transplant have weakened immune system. It is estimated that about 10 % of people with asthma or cystic fibrosis experience an allergic reaction to aspergillus  

How can we reduce the formation of mold at our places?

The easiest and direct solution is we must not provide moisture to mold ‘s growth. We should keep rooms dry and ventilated. Not all mold is visible but it has specific smell. Mold damages the surfaces. The moment you notice or smell it, take action to remove it. You must wear gloves and protective clothing, mask and keep the place ventilated when you are removing mold. Use detergent and warm water to wash the moldy places. After the surface dries, use bleach. Repeat this process three times. Vinegar is also good to clean mold from surfaces

Mold and mildew, what is the difference?

Mildew is a certain kind of mold that usually grows flat on a surface. While molds are all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. Mold grows and spreads into porous material and causes substantial damage. Molds exhibit darker colors such as black and green. Molds are often fuzzy in concentration; mildew is often white, gray or brown. Mildew is less toxic than mold. Mildew has dry smooth and papery look, while mold can be even slimy. Again, vinegar is found rather effective surface cleaner, both against mold and mildew.

   Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Molds are very common and natural but we have to keep them away from our homes. While it is nearly impossible to avoid contact with molds. Anyone with compromised immunity should try to stay away from places where they are most likely to encounter mold. Such places can be construction sites, lawns, compost piles and storage buildings for grains.  To keep our places clean and to stay healthy, we need to identify types of molds and prevent their growth

                                                Neck pain and its Causes

 Our neck or cervical spine is a complex web of nerves, bones, muscles and joints. Neck provides support and mobility to head, but sometimes it can become sore or rigid. Neck pain makes every day life difficult .  

There are a number of problems that cause pain in the neck. Some irritation along nerve pathways in the neck can cause pain in the shoulder, head, arm, and hand.

Neck pain usually goes away within a few days or weeks, but pain that lasts for months could signal an underlying medical cause that needs to be addressed. Early diagnosis and treatments are  key for the best results.

The intensity of the neck pain

Neck pain can be negligible and easily ignored to unbearable and interfering with daily life.  Sometimes neck pain can lead to a rigid neck and reduced movement in the neck. Neck pain can be either acute or chronic depending on how long it lasts.

 The Types of Neck pain

 Neck pain can be intense and located in one place, or it might feel less severe but spread across a broader region. Sometimes the pain radiates to the head. Other times it can be with a muscle spasm in the neck. But less common one is shock -like pain or tingling may travel down into the shoulder or arm.  

‘A doctor should be consulted if pain does not go away and life becomes difficult.’

  Signs and symptoms of Neck pain

Some signs and symptoms associated with neck pain could indicate a pinched nerve. Maybe there is an underlying disease or infection. The concerning signs and symptoms include fever or chills, pain or tingling in the limbs. Also, if the person has problem with balance or coordination. Severe neck pain can originate from an injury, such as a hard fall or car crash and needs emergency care of the person affected.

Neck pain usually involves one or more of the following symptoms and signs.

  • Headaches
  • Rigidity in neck
  • General sore feeling
  • Difficulty of picking objects
  • Intense pain  
  • difficulty to bear the head high

The development of neck pain

Neck pain is common among grownups, but it can happen at any age. It can develop suddenly, such as from an injury, or it may develop slowly over time, such as from years of poor posture or wear and tear.

The pain can usually be eased with self-care, such as rest, icing the painful area, or improving posture. Sometimes medical treatments are needed, such as medication or physical therapy. If nonsurgical treatments are not helping, surgical options may be considered finally.

                The most common causes of acute neck pain

  1. Poor posture
  2. Repetitive motions
  3. Injury

The most Common causes of chronic neck pain

  1. Cervical herniated disc
  2. Cervical osteoarthritis
  3. Cervical degenerative disc disease

Some Other neck pain causes

1.  infection.

2.  myofascial pain syndrome

3.  fibromyalgia

4.  spinal tumor

5. Stress

Risk factors of neck pain

Psychological risk factors, such as stress, lack of social support, anxiety and depression are the most important risk factors for neck pain. In terms of the biological risks, neck pain might happen as a result of certain diseases, such as neuromusculoskeletal disorders or autoimmune diseases.

Neck pain is multifactorial disease .and is a major problem in the present society. Although neck pain may not be the most common musculoskeletal disorders, it is still very important and common.  

 Since there is inclination for neck pain to become a chronic problem, it is important to enable prevention and early diagnosis. There are a number of risk factors which can contribute to its development. However, there is more indication for some risk factors, such as lack of physical activity, duration of daily computer use, perceived stress and being female.

some common Psychological factors behind neck pain

Overall, factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, low sleep quality, and alcohol consumption might play some role in changing the central pain processing within the spine, brainstem, or cortical levels.

  1.  Stress is related to pain and disability.  Studies have found that persons with neck pain had significantly more symptoms of stress than those without neck pain, and that constant and/ or regular feelings of stress was significantly associated with an increased chance of reporting neck pain. 
  2. Anxiety is related to different kinds of chronic pain as well as disability. People with neck pain have reported higher levels of anxiety, and anxiety has also been found to intensify pain and disability.
  3. The relationship between sleep quality and neck pain is cyclic as both can lead to the other. People with low sleep quality are at a higher risk of neck pain

 Furthermore, poor sleep quality can lead to an increase in the symptoms of depression for people with high intensity neck pain.

 Computer work related neck pain 

 Working with a computer is considered to be a professional condition that causes neck pain. Multiple factors have been suggested to play key roles in the development of computer-related neck pain, including posture, duration of working at a computer, psychological stress, tedious movements, lengthy static loads, and the psychosocial effects of the working environment.

Neuromusculoskeletal disorders

Neuromusculoskeletal disorders target the bones, muscles, and nerves, and can manifest themselves in numerous ways. Neck pain is one of the most common and obvious complaints of patients with these disorders. Some of the neuromusculoskeletal disorders are the following.

  1. Cervical spondylosis
  2. Fibromyalgia
  3. Cervical radiculopathy
  4. Whiplash – associated disorders

Autoimmune diseases and their role to cause neck pain

Autoimmune diseases are a chronic and clinically varied group of diseases that occur in immunocompromised individuals. These diseases affect various organs and tissues throughout the body. With some autoimmune diseases, the muscles, joints and nerves can be the target of the immune system. Therefore, they are also likely to affect the cervical spine. The most important autoimmune diseases are ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriatic spondylitis and   myositis,

The role of Genetics  

Genetic vulnerability plays an important role in the development of complex diseases. Finding the genetic contributions to complex traits is one of the greatest challenges facing modern medical genetics. The identification of the genetic factors of complex diseases can help provide some understanding of the pathogenesis of the diseases. These genetic factors seem especially important in the development of neck pain in early youth, while their role could be considered negligible at older age.

Age as a risk Factor

Aging is the most important risk factor for the most chronic pain, so identifying protective and risk factors is significant for raising awareness about effective preventative measures. To reduce the damage and suffering of the patient early diagnosis is essential.  Naturally, the normal anatomy of the cervical spine changes at advanced ages. Which can cause neck pain and disability in the long run.

Conclusion

There is high prevalence of neck pain around the world. Unfortunately, neck pain and chronic neck pain, is often multifaceted and cannot be easily managed. There are many potential risk factors, such as history of previous neck injury or medical history of low back pain. Some researchers have shown that people with chronic neck pain were more likely to suffer from psychological disorders compared to those without neck pain. Physical inactivity in youths was associated with an increased risk of cervical pain. Then there are some occupational factors that are preventable. Patients of musculoskeletal disorders should benefit from rehabilitation services. Therefore, it is important to find a cost-effective diagnostic method and treatment plan. Health should be the first priority for every person. After all, our body is the only place we can live.

Disclaimer.

The content here is for your information only. It is not an alternative to professional medical advice. likewise, it should not be used to diagnose or treat a disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. The information I have provided here does not guarantee benefits.