Strep Throat


Fall Down & Go Boom – Three C’s of Minor Wound Care

Minor cuts, scraped knees, and small puncture wounds are hard to avoid.  Most of these minor injuries can be treated at home.  Follow the three C’s of minor wound care to speed healing and avoid infection.


The 3 C’s of caring for minor cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds:


1.     Control Bleeding

a.Apply direct pressure to a cut or scrape to stop the bleeding.

b.Allow a minor puncture wound to stop bleeding on its own, unless the bleeding is heavy as this may help cleanse the wound.


2.     Clean the Wound

a.Kill germs and remove the dirt by washing the wound with warm water and soap.

b.Soak a minor puncture wound in warm, sudsy water for several minutes.  Repeat this at least twice per day every day.


3.     Cover the injury

a.Hold the edges of a cut together with a butterfly bandage

b.Apply antibiotic ointment

c.For a cut or scrape, apply an adhesive bandage or clean gauze and tape it in place.

d.Cover a minor puncture wound with gauze to absorb drainage and let in air to help with healing.



*If you are experiencing heavy bleeding or your wound is not healed within a couple of weeks, see your health care provider.

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What Happened to Your Feet? Inside Fungal Infections


*I first published this article as What Happened to Your Feet? Inside Fungal Infections on Blogcritics.

Interestingly enough, a fungus is a kind of plant many of which we eat. Mushrooms, mold, and mildew are examples of fungi. Fungi live in air, in soil, on plants, and in water, and on our bodies. Fungus grows best on warm, damp skin.  Given all the many places that fungi grow, it’s no wonder catching a nail infection can appear very easy.

According to Richards (2011), the fungus that infects the nail usually spreads from infected skin close to the nail.  Risk factors for catching a fungal nail infection are diabetes, immune system weakness, participating in contact sports, swimming and frequent contact with animals.

Fungul Infection Symptoms

Infected nails are by far not attractive and no amount of manicures and pedicures will beautify or camouflage a raging infection.  Infected nails are brittle, thickened, ragged, and yellow or brown. Because they are brittle, they may lift, crumble, or flake.  If you

suspect a nail infection, see your healthcare provider. If your infection is mild, your provider may prescribe a topical medication.  More severe infections may require taking pills by mouth. Your medications may come with instructions to take until the nail grows all the way out and there is no longer any sign of the fungal infection.  Fingernails usually grow out within six months, twelve months for toenails. 

Fungal Infection Prevention

Keep your hands and feet as dry as possible. Change socks often.  Wear shoes that breathe well. Avoid going barefoot in public places, such as shower stalls and locker rooms at the gym. It is best to wear shower shoes in public showers and clean them often.

Might Just be Graves’ Disease!



Graves’ disease, more common in women than men, is a type of hyperthyroidism (the body has too much thyroid hormone).  It usually occurs in young and middle-aged women and does not cause severe illness.  The exact cause of Graves’ disease is not known; however, it mimics autoimmune diseases, in which, the body’s defenses against infection attack the body’s own tissue. In the case of Graves’ disease, the body makes antibodies that cause the thyroid gland to make too much hormone.  There is no known way to prevent Graves’ disease.

Hormones made by the thyroid gland control your metabolism (the chemical processes your body uses to turn the food you eat into energy). Metabolism affects your heart rate, the amount of calories you burn when you are resting, your energy level, and other body functions. When your thyroid is not working properly, the effects on your body can be dramatic.

The most common symptoms of Graves’ disease are:

  • weight loss
  • rapid heart rate
  • anxiety
  • feeling hot
  • Sweating a lot.

Many people feel nervous or not able to control their emotions. Some feel muscle weakness, especially in the thigh muscles when they climb stairs. A few people have a swelling in their neck (goiter) because of an enlarged thyroid gland.

Frequently, people with Graves’ disease have an eye problem called exophthalmia.  The eyelids do not completely close over the eye and the eyes may protrude or appear to protrude from their sockets.  Even if the eyes are not protruding, they may look like they are bulging because the eyelid closes over less of the eye. When the eyelid does not close over the entire eye, eyes may become dry and irritated. Sometimes the eye muscles are affected, which may limit movement of the eyeballs. Sometimes just one eye has symptoms, but usually both eyes are affected.

If you think you may have symptoms of Graves’ disease, visit your healthcare provider. A serious problem called thyroid storm can happen, if Graves’ disease is not treated.  Thyroid storm is the buildup of thyroid hormone causing severe restlessness, fever, confusion, sweating, and diarrhea, tachycardia, and hypertension. Thyroid storm can be a life-threatening emergency.

To diagnose Graves’ disease, healthcare providers may order blood test to check thyroid hormone levels and for antibodies that attack the thyroid gland.  Healthcare providers will likely perform a physical exam checking for a goiter, muscle strength, heart rate, and blood pressure.  Healthcare providers may also order other test such as a radioactive iodine scan, or RAI uptake. This test shows if there are areas of the thyroid gland making more or less hormone than normal. A scan of the thyroid gland with ultrasound is another way to look at the thyroid gland. The ultrasound scan can show cysts or tumors in the gland. It can also be used to measure the size of the gland.

Medications to treat Graves’ disease help the body to achieve a normal level of thyroid hormone and control hyperthyroidism symptoms. Two anti-thyroid drugs used to stop the thyroid gland from making too much hormone are propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole (Tapazole). Anti-thyroid drugs can cause a decrease in white blood cells and thus require frequent follow-ups to check for unwanted side effects or the need for dosage adjustments.  

In addition to anti-thyroid medications, beta-blockers such as Inderal may be used to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, and may help calm feelings of anxiety. Beta-blockers do not change how much thyroid hormone is made.  For eye problems caused by hyperthyroidism, sometimes, a steroid medicine (prednisone) is prescribed.  Keeping the eyes moist is important and eye-drops maybe recommended.

If Graves’ disease symptoms are severe, healthcare providers may recommend destroying some of the hormone producing cells of the thyroid gland.  This is accomplished in either one of two procedures. The preferred method, and the one the method with the least complications uses radioactive iodine to kill some of the cells in the thyroid gland.  The other treatment for severe or long-term hyperthyroidism is surgery to remove the thyroid gland. Because there are so many important structures in the area of the thyroid gland, the surgery can have some serious complications.  Either treatment can possibly result in taking replacement thyroid hormone for life.  The other treatment for severe or long-term hyperthyroidism is surgery to remove the thyroid gland. Because there are so many important structures in the area of the thyroid gland, the surgery can have some serious complications. You can reduce the risk by choosing an experienced thyroid surgeon who does the surgery often. After surgery, you will need to take thyroid hormone for the rest of your life.

Are You That Guy?

Nobody wants to be That Guy, the one who after one too many drinks, loses control of self or situation with humiliating or embarrassing results. To prevent excessive drinking as we move into spring, or during “101 Critical days of Summer,” and beyond Our Banana Moments is participating in a military service-wide initiative called That Guy to help reduce excessive drinking among young enlisted personnel. Even though this program is designed to target young enlisted military personnel, we are hoping to raise awareness outside of the military to high school and college-aged students. In any setting, being That Guy is not cool.
The 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors revealed a rising rate of “binge” drinking among junior enlisted personnel in all Services. Additionally, the data in the survey indicated the problem was particularly evident among young enlisted males between the ages of 18 and 24. This trend toward heavy, or binge drinking, has the potential of adversely affecting the health and welfare of service members and their families and the combat readiness of the military as well. In response, in 2005, the Department of Defense’s TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) retained Fleishman-Hillard International Communications (FH) to create a multi-year, integrated communications campaign with goals to: 1) help reduce alcohol abuse among active duty military, and 2) raise awareness of the negative effects of excessive drinking among enlisted personnel ages 18 through 24. That Guy is designed to respond to this problem through an innovative multimedia campaign that focuses on enlisted personnel, E1-E4, age 18 to 24. The theme, “Don’t be That Guy,” aims to increase social disapproval of excessive drinking by highlighting the resulting embarrassment and negative consequences that most resonate with young adults in general, and specifically with those serving in the military. The campaign has been tested at multiple installations since the launch of the campaign in 2006. Feedback from testing has been used to shape a campaign strategy and components that will be most effective. Moreover, it is working!

Results from the 2008 DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors show a decline in binge drinking among the target audience. This represents a statistically significant drop in binge drinking from the 2005 level. In 2005, 51 percent of the target audience admitted to binge drinking, and by 2008, that figure dropped to 46 percent. There was a statistically significant decline of 11 percent at installations* that had implemented the That Guy campaign over those that had not. (*Marines not included in this total because the control sample among Marines is too small to use for comparison with the treated sample (n=3).)(

The Mighty Cranberry

Cranberries, the UTI champion and highly rumored cure for UTIs (urinary tract infections) no data to support their claim to fame. Unfortunately, there is no data proving that the mighty cranberry can treat UTIs. For the sake of the cranberry’s reputation, it has been proven that cranberries prevent bacteria (the UTI culprit) from sticking to the wall of the bladder, which may decrease the risk of acquiring a UTI. Given this, it is safe to drink all of the cranberry juice you can get your hands on. Drinking plenty of water will also help reduce the risk of acquiring a UTI by flushing the urinary tract with water.

If you think you may have a UTI, see your physician as the mighty cranberry is not strong enough to defeat E. coli and other bacteria after they have taken residence in your urination tract. Common symptoms of a UTI are dysuria (painful urination), frequent urination, back pain, hematuria (blood in urine). A UTI left untreated will lead to pyelonephritis (kidney infection).

The Truth About Bland Diets

Lately you have not been feeling well.  You have had nausea, diarrhea, and maybe even vomiting.   You have just left the doc’s office where he may or may not have given you a prescription; however, he has recommended you to start with a bland diet after your nausea and/or vomiting has subsided.  Now you are driving home and wondering, “what is a bland diet?”

Your provider has recommended you restart your regular diet by eating a bland diet to give your gut (stomach) the opportunity to recover from your illness.  The type of foods you should eat are toast, saltine crackers, plain rice, applesauce, tea, yogurt, and pretty much anything else that is not fried, spicy, dairy, or good tasting.  In addition to the listed foods to eat, remember to drink plenty of water or sport drinks to avoid dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting.   Sports drinks will replace electrolytes lost through diarrhea and vomiting.

The bland diet has gone by other names such as the Brat Diet or the Bratty Diet.  Brat and Bratty Diet are both acronyms for the foods that make up the bland diet.  For instance, brat is short for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Before starting this diet be certain that a bland diet is exactly what your physician has recommended.   For children, please consult with your child’s pediatrician before starting your child on a bland diet. Some pediatricians no longer recommend a bland diet for young children, as it is deficient in fats, proteins, and other needed nutrients.   Seek emergency medical services if your child develops signs of dehydration (sunken cheeks, dry eyes with no tears, persistent fever or vomiting and/or diarrhea lasting more than 2-3 days).  Children are unable to tolerate dehydration, as would an adult.

Potty Talk

Almost daily, new products claiming to drastically reduce weight or improve health find their way into stores and onto shelves around the country. Specifically, laxatives for detoxification have grown very popular as a means to rid your body of pollutants that may inhibit weight loss or cause cancer.   Never fear; however, manufactures of laxatives, enemas, and, other supplements designed to increase the frequency and amount of bowel movements have come to your rescue, or have they?   To date, no documented research exists proving excessively large or frequent bowel movements will make drastic changes in your weight or health status. In fact, overuse of these products can cause diarrhea leading to dehydration, which can do far more harm to your body than good. Excessive loss of fluids and electrolytes can lead to heart and/or kidney failure.  Unfortunately for quick fix seekers, the best plan is still regular exercise and a good diet including plenty of fiber to stay regular.