It’s that time of year when the temperatures rise and the amount of clothing we wear falls.
For those of you headed to the shore this summer, or for those lucky enough to live here in Wilmington, a standard part of your wardrobe should be sunscreen. Even if you’re just out walking the dog, protecting your skin should be your number one priority.
But with recent reports about sunscreen not protecting skin as well as we think it will, how do you know what to buy?
According to Consumer Reports, many sunscreens claiming to be SPF 30 or even SPF 50, were found to have much lower SPF values. Some only proved to be an SPF of 8! Consumer Reports found that of thirty-five SPF 30 sunscreens, thirteen revealed a lower SPF than the label claimed. When the various brands had the opportunity to react to the report, all of them claimed that their own testing is accurate and the ratings are correct. However, Consumer Reports studies test the effectiveness of the sunscreen after being in the water for 80 minutes.
The most important lesson in all of this is to apply sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 every two hours for the most effective results. And, to reapply when you get out of the water, even if it’s water resistant.
If you do find yourself with sunburn, it’s good to have some aloe on hand. Either pure aloe gel, or a product like Solarcaine with aloe and Lidocaine, can provide instant relief. You’ll need to reapply every few hours depending on the severity of the burn. Pure aloe contains vitamin C and E which hydrates skin, improves firmness, reduces pain and swelling experienced in sunburn, and acts as a protective layer on the skin.
Another effect of playing in the water can be swimmer’s ear. This painful condition occurs when water gets trapped in your ear, usually after swimming. The result is inflammation, irritation, or infection. Ear plugs can be used to prevent water from getting into your ear. However, if it’s too late to prevent it, you can apply After-swim ear drops which will dry out and clear out the trapped water in the ear.
Before hitting the beach, stop by one of our stores and pick up plenty sunscreen, aloe, and ear plugs and drops for your family for a burn-free and pain-free summer!
We recently shared information with you regarding an autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. This issue, we’ll feature another autoimmune disease. However, instead of targeting bone joints, this disease targets any and all parts of the body. Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body.
In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs. Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
A wide range of symptoms can occur with lupus and they can appear over several weeks or months.
These symptoms are common in both men and women, though 90% of people diagnosed with lupus are women. Many times, lupus is misdiagnosed since its symptoms are common to other illnesses such as RA, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Lyme disease, to name a few.
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so common with other diseases, More than half of those afflicted with lupus suffered at least four years, and saw three or more doctors before obtaining a correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single blood test to diagnose lupus. If you notice signs or symptoms of lupus, be sure to engage your doctor and ask questions. Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing long-term consequences of the disease.
While the causes of lupus are unknown, scientists believe hormones, genetics (heredity) and environmental factors are factors.
Lupus symptoms vary from one person to another. Work closely with your doctor and let her know about all of your symptoms so they can tailor the best treatment to your specific condition.
Medications ranging in strength from mild to strong can be prescribed for your needs. It can take months and sometimes years before the right combination of medications is found to help keep your lupus symptoms under control.
There are many categories of drugs physicians use to treat lupus. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only a few specifically for lupus, which include:
Corticosteroids, including prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, and hydrocortisone
Antimalarials, such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) and chloroquine
The monoclonal antibody belimumab (Benlysta®)
Acthar (repository corticotropin injection), which contains a naturally occurring hormone called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
Lupus can be expensive to live with and treat. The average annual direct and indirect costs incurred by a person with lupus can exceed $21,000 annually, a higher cost per patient than those living with heart disease, bipolar disorder, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
If you are experiencing any of the above listed symptoms over the course of more than a couple of weeks, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Keeping a list of symptoms and how long you’ve had them can also help provide insight for your treatment. Also let them know of other medications that you are taking and talk with your pharmacist to make sure there are no harmful drug interactions.
What is happening to cause all of the stress? We’ve read many articles and studies and have found many contributing factors including:
However, not all stress is bad. It can be good for competition and pushing kids to to do their best. Perhaps it instills a certain ‘drive’ in some kids. But parents need to be sensitive to the needs of their child. Not every child can handle multiple AP classes and the pace of the academics required for those courses. Parents put extra demands on the kids to take these classes so they can get into “better” colleges, and that can cause some undue stress in your kids.
Some tips for parents in reducing stress in their kids include:
The song by Twenty One Pilots has lyrics that describe what many people feel like when they reflect back on their youth:
“I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink,
But now I’m insecure and I care what people think.
My name’s ‘Blurryface’ and I care what you think.
Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out”
Then the song goes on to say:
“Out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the latter.”
Let your kids know that you have stress too, but without going into detail. It’s important to let them be aware that stressful situations will occur throughout their lives and to understand how to cope with situations at an early age so they can handle even more difficult situations when they are older.
We all hear that the holidays are the most stressful of seasons. However, stress can happen any time of year and can be triggered by a number of different situations. Everyone experiences some level of stress at different points of their life—how we all manage our stress is a completely different story. Something that could roll off of one person’s back could send someone else into a panic. An important aspect to managing stress is knowing what triggers your own stress and learning how to cope with it. For people who are mentally ill, coping can be more challenging.
The month of May has been identified as Mental Health Month. In order to raise awareness of this taboo subject, we’d like share some information on how to identify what triggers stress, and how to manage and avoid stressful situations.
Triggers are people, places, words, or situations that increase negative feelings that can make it difficult to cope, especially if you have a history of mental illness. One way to learn how to cope is to work on exposing yourself to triggers when you are well so that negative experiences are lessened when you’re stressed. For example, if going to the grocery store or crossing bridges is scary – take small steps to expose yourself to these situations. However, there are some triggers, like yelling, or abusive relationships that you might consider avoiding all together. It’s important to take care of your own well-being first and identify some triggers that you can work through. And identify if there are triggers that you should avoid.
Early warning signs of how you are coping with stress are personal changes in thoughts or behaviors that signal that things are getting worse. The sooner you intervene when these signs occur, the better. Stress can creep up on you when it seems like you have so much to get done and not enough time to do it. Or sometimes when symptoms of mental illness come back, normal every day activities become stressful. When stress comes, it often affects sleep.
Some examples of not being able to cope with a situation might include:
When these signs occur, it’s helpful to call your treatment provider, or call your emergency contact so you can talk through what is going on in your life.
Some other activities that can reduce stress include:
If you feel like the stresses of life are more than you can bear, and are beyond the simple steps to reduce stress, please talk to your doctor about other options including counseling and medication. And be sure to talk to your pharmacist to make sure any new medications prescribed don’t counteract other medications you are currently taking.