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Friday, July 28, 2017

Bouncing Back From Mild Fitness Injuries

Most all of us know that if we twist our ankles we must walk in a boot for a few weeks, if we injure our knees we must walk on crutches, and so on. But what about mild fitness injuries, like sore muscles or excess fatigue? Should we ignore them, suspend our fitness regimens altogether, or take some action that lies somewhere in the middle?

As in many other areas of life, the answer is probably “do something in the middle.”

Sore muscles are perhaps the most common mild sports injury, and many times, our first reaction is to find the best muscle relief cream possible and begin using it straightaway, and this idea is not a terrible one. However, be aware that if the discomfort persists after one or two applications, the pain may indicate that there is a problem in that area, and this potential problem should not be overlooked or masked with additional creams.

Hydration

For athletes, water is the most important, and usually the only, way to lubricate muscles. Without lots of water, these muscles work harder and therefore become inflamed. Similarly, there is also some evidence linking dehydration with some back issues, because the viscous substance inside the spine can dry out.

The following paragraph about the signs of dehydration is rated PG-13.

A significant number of athletes, even people like marathon runners, are dehydrated. Many people believe that they should only drink water if they feel thirsty. But, if you do not have the urge to urinate, you are probably dehydrated. Moreover, if your urine is colored or bubbly, regardless of the volume, you are probably dehydrated.

The rule of thumb to stay hydrated is eight, eight-ounce servings of water, sports drink, or juice a day. Caffeine is a mild diuretic, so people who drink lots of soda, coffee, or tea may need even more water than that. However, it’s not very hard to work in all those servings. If you drink one bottle before exercise and one bottle after, and drink water with meals, that’s probably five or six servings, so you would only have two or three to go.

Rest

Another good way to relieve sore muscles is some added rest. After all, it works for baseball pitchers. This season, Detroit Tigers righthander Justin Verlander, who may have a new home after the trade deadline, has a 6.11 ERA when pitching on four days’ rest and a 3.18 ERA on five or more days’ rest.

Verlander likes to stick to the same schedule and pitch every fifth day, but the extra day of rest may be a necessary concession to keep his performance at a peak level. After all, he isn’t doing anyone any favors, except for the other team’s batters, by giving up six runs a start.

Regular exercisers are much the same. We like to stick to the same schedule and sometimes consider skipping a day to be a sign of weakness. However, if that is what it takes to keep your body in top condition, take the extra day, because physical condition is what it’s all about.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

5 Challenges Your Loved One Might Face and How to Overcome Them

Whether your loved one is elderly or has disabilities that limit her daily life, it's important to face the challenges that greet her head on. Falls are one of the worst things that can happen to your loved one and a little bit of attention and preparation can help to forestall them. Consider some of these challenges that your loved one might encounter and brainstorm some ways you can solve those difficulties quickly.

Trouble with Stairs

Stairs can be particularly dangerous for your loved one to manage. Having extra sturdy hand rails can help, but if your loved one doesn't feel that those are reliable enough, other alternatives are worth looking into. Something like an EasyClimber makes stairs effortless for your loved one. What helps even more is that you don't have to worry at all. Keep stairways clear of clutter and anything that could impede your loved one's progress and make sure that the entire stairway is well lit.

Difficulty with Knobs

If your loved one has arthritis or trouble with grip strength, then operating door knobs or even faucet knobs can be painful and sometimes even impossible. Switching out those knobs for levers is a fast and easy way to make a difference for your loved one. Your loved one can operate a lever with her wrist or elbow with far less effort. This works best for interior doors, of course. For exterior doors that still need knobs for security purposes, consider adding a door knob helper which squeezes down easily and allows the knob to turn more readily.

Trouble with Entrance Areas

Entrance areas can pose a special set of problems for your loved one. Assess the area thoroughly and look for anything that might give your loved one particular trouble, such as stairs or wobbly hand rails. Fix what you can correct, or consider adding additional assistance in the form of a ramp or an extra hand rail. Try to look at the area from your loved one's unique perspective. Something that is easy for you to navigate won't necessarily be simple for your loved one.

Making Room for Assistive Devices

One big problem that your loved one might run into is lack of room for the devices that she now needs to use regularly. Wheelchairs, walkers, and even canes need a little more leeway around them than you might think at first. If your loved one doesn't have enough room to maneuver safely in a doorway or hallway, you might need to consider modifications that give your loved one the room that she needs. Look for space in living areas, too. Rearranging furniture, even a little, can open up way more space than you realize.

Instability in the Shower

When your loved one is in the shower, she's at her most vulnerable. The first thing to do is to ensure that the floor of the shower stall or tub isn't slippery. You can do this with a non-slip shower mat inexpensively. You may also want to install grab bars. If your loved one has difficulty standing in the shower, a shower chair can help quite a bit. Consider also a shower head with a longer hose and handle to help your loved one to wash and rinse with greater ease.

Keeping your loved one safe at home might mean exploring different tools or methods to help correct existing issues. Revisit these solutions regularly to make sure they're still working for your loved one.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

The Most Common Medical Emergencies in the Home and How to Deal with Them

Emergencies can happen without a moment’s notice. In those times’ it can be very difficult to know what to do and how to react as emotions run high and panic can set in. Waiting until those moments happen in order to come up with an action plan is never a good idea. Instead, it’s wise to prepare yourself for a few of the most common medical emergencies that can occur. Being prepared may not just save your own life - it could also save the life of a loved one.

So, what are the most common medical emergencies that may occur in your home, and how should you deal with them? Let’s take a closer look.

Ingesting Poisonous or Hazardous Materials

This particular medical emergency applies more to parents than anyone else. While you may not think you have a lot of hazardous materials in the home, chances are good that once you start to look around you'll be quite surprised.

Things such as fertilizer, makeup, antifreeze, cleaning products, alcohol, lead paint, and medications (prescription and non-prescription) can all prove to be extremely poisonous and dangerous in the hands of children. This is exactly why prevention is key, which means keeping any hazardous or poisonous product up high and out of reach of kids, or better yet, locked up.

Children should also be taught that these products are all extremely dangerous and should never drink or eat them. Should a child come across one of these items that isn’t stored away, they need to know that they shouldn’t touch it and instead should tell an adult right away.

Should these items be ingested, you will need to call the poison control number immediately, and likely 911. It's also a very good idea to have proper CPR training and hold your CPR and First Aid certification, as well proper training in the Heimlich maneuver. Each of these can end up saving a person’s life.

Choking

Choking can happen at any time to an adult or a child. This is a very scary situation where your response time can mean the difference between life and death. It's important to first determine if it is just mild choking or severe choking. If it is mild choking, you will want to encourage the person to cough in order to get rid of the partial blockage.

If a person's airways are just partially blocked, they will still be able to breathe, cough, cry, and/or speak. Encourage them to spit out whatever it is, and continue to cough. There is no need to stick your fingers in their mouth. In these situations, it's usually unnecessary to call 911.

If a person is severely choking then they won't be able to breathe, cough, cry, or speak - coughing it out won't be possible. If the person doesn't receive immediate help, they will lose consciousness fairly quickly. It's best to call 911 immediately and start to administer the Heimlich manoeuvre. Should they lose consciousness and stop breathing before medical responders arrive, you will need to administer CPR.

Bleeding

There are all kinds of different levels of bleeding, so this particular situation can be a non-emergency or an emergency. The severity of the situation will depend on how deep the cut is and where the cut is located. Sometimes, a cut that isn't terribly deep can end up being an emergency just because of where it's located. There are also certain areas of your body that bleed a lot more than others, including your nose, toes, fingers, and scalp. An extreme quantity of blood in these areas is enough to make most people panic, but it’s important to remain calm in these situations.

Unless you are a medical professional, it's pretty hard to tell how serious the cut is and whether the bleeding is life-threatening. Obviously, there will be some cuts and scrapes that you can just clean up at home and apply a bandage, but if you feel scared by the amount of blood or where the cut is, it's best to seek help. You can either go to the hospital or call 911.

Chest Pain

This particular issue seems to have received more attention as of late and people are starting to understand that the faster you respond, the better the outcome. Chest pain should never be brushed off or ignored, no matter how young or old the person is. Experts recommend that any type of chest pain be treated as a heart attack until proven otherwise by medical professionals.

When someone complains of chest pain, a call should be placed to 911 immediately. From there you want to check on their breathing and make sure they are able to still catch a breath. It's best to have them lay down and position their head with the chin pointing up, make sure the tongue is out of the way so it can't be swallowed. If they aren't breathing, CPR will be necessary.

For the person who is experiencing chest pain but is still breathing, it can be a very scary experience. Talking to them and keeping them calm will help to keep things under control until first responders arrive.

Dizziness and Fainting

This particular medical emergency is more common than you may think. While mild dizziness may not point to anything too severe, it's still important to keep an eye out and watch if it is getting worse. Should the person feel dizzy, ill, and weak, it's important to call 911 immediately. They may even end up fainting, depending on the cause. Things that can cause dizziness and fainting include low blood sugar, diabetes, a heart condition, a heart attack, pregnancy, and heatstroke.

While you are waiting for responders to arrive you want to be watching that they are still breathing okay and what their level of alertness is. Talking to them, asking them simple questions, and watching their chest to be sure it's rising and falling is ideal. Should they stop breathing, it will be necessary to administer CPR.

The Basic Takeaways

These are just a few of the most common medical emergencies that can happen in your home, either to you or a loved one. Going through each of these medical issues, it becomes clear that there are a few main takeaways, which are:

Learn lifesaving techniques: A number of these situations require you to either perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver. This means you need to have taken a course and have your certification. Keep in mind something such as CPR will require you to become re-certified every two years.
Stay calm and in control: Emergency situations are extremely stressful and scary, but it’s very important you stay calm and in control. You need to be able to answer questions from medical personnel and take the proper steps while waiting for them to arrive.

When in doubt, call 911: You should never feel as though a medical emergency isn’t big enough or severe enough to call 911. If you are scared or you are in doubt about what you should do, call 911 immediately. Let the medical responders decide what is an “emergency” and what isn’t. Remember, they have the training, they have the experience and knowledge, so let them do their job.

By having a medical emergency action plan in place, you will be that much better prepared to handle one of these situations in your home should one occur. Your quick response could just save your life or someone else’s.

This is a guest blog entry.