How to Remove a Tick!

Ticks are parasites that live outside of the body and feed on blood. They are typically found in grassy wooded areas.  Ticks prefer to live in warm and humid environments.  They transmit infections into other living creatures as well as humans of at least 12 types.  The risk of developing an illness related to tick bites depends on

  1. The type of tick. Investigate what ticks are in your area.
  2. The time of the year
  3. How long it was attached. Ticks should be removed quickly to prevent illness’s associated with tick bites.
  4. Geographic location

Removing a tick

Use very fine tweezers, and grab the tick close to the skin and the ticks head. Do not grab the tick by its body. Pull gently upward until the tick releases itself. Avoid twisting and squeezing, as you want to prevent the head from coming off the body of the tick.  This can cause germs to enter your body and result in illness.  Once removed, wash the bite site with soap and water, and apply an antibacterial ointment or cream to prevent skin infection.

Do not try to remove tick with matches, petroleum jelly, or finger nail police. They will not remove the tick and may increase chance of fluids entering your body.

An evaluation between 2-4 hours is recommended if a sudden onset of hives, rash, itching or swelling occurs in areas outside of the original tick bite or if there has been a history of allergic reactions to tick bites in the past. An evaluation within 24 hours is recommended if  you are unable or unwilling to remove the tick, and the tick head imbedded in the skin, redness, pain, swelling, drainage or heat at the tick site (may be a sign of infection), or rash or flulike symptoms develop 2-4 weeks after a tick bite.

See future articles for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme’s Disease!

Heat Exhaustion!

combat summer heat

When it is hot outside your body cools itself by sweating. Your body cools as the sweat evaporates from your skin.  But if you are overexposed to heat or are doing strenuous physical activity your body loses its ability to cool itself properly.  This is called heat exhaustion. This can be caused by loss of water and electrolytes through sweating as a result of hot, sunny, humid weather, and physical exertion in that weather.  Elderly and children are at greater risk due their body’s inability to regulate body temperature, and lack of cool air. Drugs, such as, ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines, can cause rapid rise in body temp.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include, nausea, dizziness, irritability, headache, thirst, weakness, high body temperature, excessive sweating, decreased urine output, confusion, vomiting, muscle cramps, which is related to low blood sodium and potassium.

Heat exhaustion can occur in the elderly because they are less likely to drink enough fluids or sense significant changes in temperature. Heat exhaustion in kids can occur as babies and young kids are very sensitive to extreme heat.  Keep cool and hydrated. Don’t leave them in the car, even with the window open.

Treatment- When the temp is over 91 you need to take precautions

  1. Go to a cool area
  2. Remove layers of clothes
  3. Fanning and wet towels
  4. Dizzy may be related to low BP, so lay down and put your feet up
  5. Drink water or sport drink, and sip slowly
  6. If you have continuous vomiting get medical attention immediately

Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.

Heat Stroke (Sun Stroke) occurs when there is a high body temp of 103 or higher. It is considered hyperthermia without fever.  Symptoms include hot, red, dry or moist skin, rapid and strong pulse, and loss of consciousness.  Call 911, move person to cool area, cool person down with cool cloths or bath, DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.

Those at risk for heat stroke are those wearing dark, heavy, padded clothes, and over dressing, has a high percentage of body fat, dehydration, Fever, beta blockers (cardiac medication), antipsychotic medication, alcohol and caffeine.

The most important thing to remember is to not wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids.

Sunburn!

Summer Series

Sunburn is radiation burn due to overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation mostly from the sun or sun tanning. Too much exposure can be dangerous, but a lesser amount of exposure would lead to a tan. Sunburns are considered a superficial burn. Extreme burns can result in hospitalizations. Sunburns can occur in less than 15 min. Some medications can create greater sensitivity to UV radiation, such as, antibiotics, birth control pills, and tranquilizers.
Suntan is a result of slight to moderate exposure that causes a release of melanin, a protective pigment that is the skin’s natural defense against overexposure. Suntans are viewed as exotic and desirable. Repeated extreme exposure over time can lead to damage to your DNA and skin tumors, dry wrinkled skin, dark spots, and freckles.
Those with the greatest risk for skin burns are those with fair skin, living or on vacation somewhere sunny or at a high altitude, work outdoors, and participate in outdoor recreation.
UV Index is the risk of getting sunburn at a specific location and time of day, such as:
1. Time of Day 10 AM-4 PM- sun’s rays are at their strongest
2. You can even get burn on cloudy days
3. Reflective surfaces, such as, snow, ice, water, and concrete
4. The position of the sun, which is greatest late spring and early
summer
5. The higher the altitude the greater the risk of a sunburn.
6. Proximity to the equator- closer you are to the tropical regions of
the planet 50% greater chance of getting sunburn.
7. Incidence and severity of sunburns have increased worldwide because of damage to the ozone layer of the planet due to ozone depletion.
Appearance of sunburns include red skin that feels hot is caused by the increase of blood to the area to heal the burn. Also there is pain, fatigue, dizziness, swelling, itching, and peeling skin, rash, nausea, fever, and chills. Fluid filled blisters that can burst and become infected. After exposure, skin may turn red from 30 min to 2-6 hours. Worst of the pain is 6-48 hours after exposure. The burn continues to progress for 1 to 3 days. Skin peeling can last about 3-8 days.
Complications include skin cancers (Melanoma, basal-cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma), and sunburn to the corneas of your eyes.

Prevention is the Key: use hats/caps, clothes that cover arms and legs, and use wraparound sunglasses.
Moderate sun tanning without burning can prevent sunburn. A diet rich in vitamin C, and E can help reduce the amount o sunburn. Beta-carotene (Vitamin A) helps protect against sunburn. Protect your skin with sunscreen or sunblock. The higher the SPF the less the DNA damage is to the skin. Sunscreen helps prevent some forms of skin cancers. Apply 30 min before exposure and 30 min after exposure, and any time you get wet.
Treatment options include
1. Pain medication- ibuprofen, naproxen
2. Corticosteroids- for itching
3. Cool the skin- cool compresses, cool shower
4. Moisturizer- aloe vera, hydrocortisone cream
5. Don’t break blisters- it is a protective layer, and breaking it
will slow healing. If it breaks clean with soap and water and apply
antibacterial cream and cover with a wet dressing.
6. Drink plenty of water
7. Avoid further sunlight
8. Products that contain benzocaine can irritate the burn and cause
allergic reaction.

Dehydration!

Staying well hydrated during the summer.

Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluids than you are taking into your body. This results in your body not being able to perform its usual functions that require proper fluid intake. If you don’t replace these fluids, you become dehydrated. We lose water and salt daily through vapor from breathing, sweat, urine, and stool.

Causes include poor fluid intake due to illness or mouth sores, or nausea, intense physical activity,hot weather, severe diarrhea or vomiting, fever, sweating, poor fluid intake with increased activity and hot weather, and increased urination due to a medical condition such as diabetes or medications.

Mild to Moderate symptoms include dry, sticky mouth, thirst, decrease in urination,fatigue, no wet diapers for at least 3 hours, few or no tears when crying, dry skin, headache, constipation, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

Severe symptoms are considered a medical emergency. If you experience great thirst, are irritable or confused, feel weak, have a very dry mouth, little or no urination or sweating, eyes look sunken in, a low blood pressure, rapid heart, rapid breathing, tenting of skin, fever, fainting, and a swollen tongue, you need immediate medical attention.

Complications of dehydration include heat exhaustion or heat stroke, swelling of the brain, seizures, low blood volume shock (Hypovolemic Shock), kidney failure, coma and death.

Treatment for kids includes small frequent sips of rehydrating solutions, such as Pedialyte, popsicles, and water. In adults, Gatorade, PowerAde, water, and ice chips are effective. Additionally, wearing loose clothes, air conditioning, fans, cool wet towels, spray bottle with water, avoid alcohol, caffeine. You can also break up exposure to heat by spending 10-20 min in heat then going inside to get cool.
Milk, caffeinated drinks, fruit juices and gelatins don’t relieve dehydration and can worsen diarrhea.