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.


Moms, Taking Blogging by Storm!


By far SAHM (Stay At Home Moms) have taken the blogging community by storm. According to Williamson (2010), the number of moms who blog is 32 million in the US alone. It is speculated that daily, more new blogs are created by aspiring moms than any other specialty group. It would appear that SAHM bloggers have plenty of support for their fledgling blogs via social networking sites such as Bloggy Moms, The Blog Frog, SocialMoms, The MomBlogs, and Moms Buzz. With so many moms blogging what is the best way to insure unique content?

Written by Mom

Pregnancy is a common starting point for enterprising mommy bloggers. Blogs written by first time child-bearers chronicling the woes of pregnancy that mature into blogs covering the joys of parenting abound. From there, where does the new mom go for fresh content? After all, there are only so many first time mom stories of interest to go around.

 Moms, especially stay at home mommas, can turn to their hobbies for blog content. A clever crafting mom can potentially earn money by selling her wares VIA Etsy, a site devoted to buying and selling vintage and handmade items. Bloggers share crafting ideas and projects while connecting with other crafters and would-be crafting moms. The same can be said for culinary geniuses who rule kitchens. Moms who share recipe flops and successes add interesting content while mentoring the rest of us who may not be as familiar with various kitchen appliances and gadgets.


Many blogging moms are turning to give-a-ways to build a successful blog. A word of caution for the give-a-way moms, focusing totally on give-a-ways without any other content may deter faithful followers. It is difficult to write an interesting and informative post built solely around give-a-way items. Give-a-way bloggers can strengthen their content by writing product reviews for many of the items they are giving-a-way.

Momma’s Mad Money

When it comes to making money with a blog, ambitious blogging matriarchs will need to monetize and it is best done with a strategy. Whether using affiliate marketing or Google Ad Sense, mom bloggers seeking to earn money need to develop goals along with a strategy. For instance, if a mom blogger plans to earn say $2000 per month VIA her blog, she will need to hone her content by understanding her readers and then select the monetization vehicle that best matches her blog. Amazon affiliate marketing is a great tool and may actually be the best tool for moms who write product reviews and host give-a-ways on their blogs. Google Ad Sense works for any blog. Google ads are placed on blogs and bloggers generally earn money based on several different factors such as click rates and click through.

Networking Chica

Unfortunately, blogging does not operate on the “build it and they will come” principal. The successful mom blogger will spend a considerable amount of time networking to build a following. The best way to achieve new followers is to visit other mom blogs, read some posts and leave comments. This will almost guarantee a new follower. This method of networking also helps mom bloggers to support each other, share tips, and other information related to blog growing.

What Are You Waiting For?

Moms and dads reading this, try your hand at blogging today. Blogging is a fun, creative and potentially lucrative way to share your knowledge, life experiences and to network with others. Follow the lead of the many mommy bloggers already filling the internet with their talents, hopes, dreams, and the often-hilarious ups and downs of raising a family while making money. Start writing today!



First published @ http://www.suite101.com/content/moms-taking-blogging-by-storm-a377653

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.

Monkey Breath

Monkey Breath


Are your friends missing eyebrows?  Do your friends wear masks when talking to you?  Are your friends and family avoiding talking to you up close or even in person?  Does your significant other retreat rather than kiss you?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might just have a bad case of Monkey Breath! 


What causes monkey breath?


Monkey breath commonly known as bad bread is actually halitosis.  Halitosis may be caused by many things. The most common cause is from not brushing and flossing your teeth daily. If you don’t practice good oral hygiene after eating, food is left in your mouth. The food collects bacteria, rots, and causes a bad odor.  Monkey breath can also be caused by eating foods such as garlic or onions. When these foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, substances from the foods get into the air that you breathe out of your lungs. This can cause bad breath until all of the food is gone from your body. Other causes of bad breath are:



Tooth decay and gum disease caused by plaque (Plaque is a sticky material made of mucus and saliva, food particles, and bacteria.)


Using tobacco products


Dry mouth from medicines you are taking, salivary gland problems, or always breathing through your mouth (This means you have less saliva to cleanse the mouth.)


Eating infrequently


Infection with the bacteria that can cause ulcers (H. pylori)


Mouth infections


Other infections such as a cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, and tonsillitis


Other medical problems such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or gastrointestinal problems


How do I know if I have monkey breath?


A quick way to check your breath is to lick the side of your finger, then let the saliva dry for a minute or so. Smell the spot and you’ll know what your breath smells like.


How is monkey breath (halitosis) diagnosed?


If you are concerned about bad breath, talk to your dentist about it. The dentist will examine your mouth, looking for tooth decay, pockets of plaque, and gum disease. If your dentist finds that your mouth is healthy, he or she may refer you to your healthcare provider to check for medical problems that can cause bad breath.


What can I do to prevent monkey breath?


First, try this:


Clean your teeth better. Food trapped between teeth breeds stinky plaque. Brush for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Be sure to use a clean section of floss each time you clean between two teeth.


Brush your tongue, especially the back, to remove odor-causing bacteria.


Drink more water. Monkey breath in the morning is caused by dehydration because your body uses up water at night. If you don’t drink plenty of fluids, your breath can get sour.


Use a fluoride or antibacterial mouth rinse to help prevent tooth decay.


Avoid smoking, coffee, alcohol, onions, and garlic.


When you cannot brush after eating, chew sugarless gum. It stimulates saliva, which neutralizes acid and helps remove plaque, and thus freshens your breath. Gums containing the sweetener

Xylitol can help limit the growth of bacteria.


You can try drinking tea. Lab studies have shown that black or green teas block bacteria in the mouth from making the chemicals that smell bad.


If you wear dentures, remove them at night to clean them thoroughly. When possible, leave them out to soak while you sleep. Soak them in a denture cleaning solution and then brush them thoroughly to remove molds, fungus, and bacteria. Don’t forget to brush all the areas in your mouth that are touched by the dentures.


See your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for checkups and cleanings. They can check for gum disease or other dental problems.


You can use a mouthwash or other breath freshener to temporarily hide bad breath. Nevertheless, if you need to constantly use something to freshen your breath, you should see your dentist to help find the cause.


If better dental care doesn’t make your breath smell better, contact your healthcare provider to evaluate other possible causes of bad breath.


For more information, contact the American Dental Association at (800) 621-8099 or visit their Web site at http://www.ada.org.


Suddenly a Photographer?


It only took a few months of blogging to realize that I was running out of pictures to cover all of my various blog topics.  Of course, I could buy pics but, a start up blog owner has got to be frugal.  The answer sounds quite simple, buy a camera and take your own pics.  The cost of the camera will repay itself by attracting hundreds if not thousands to your new blog.  Afterall, I picture is worth a thousand words or readers in the blogging world. A catchy title and picture to match can make all the difference in attracting new readers who may become followers.  Hmm well that plan worked up until I found myself with a Nikon DSLR with more knobs than whisltes and a brick sized user’s manual to match.  Luck for me, I found the following article written by Darren Rowse, the editor and founder of Digital Photography School that covers important DSLR camera basics.

Introductions to Useful Modes and Settings on Your Digital Camera

digital-camera-modes.jpg1. Digital Camera Modes Explained – I spoke with a family friend recently who had just bought a new point and shoot camera. She came up to me with her camera when no one was watching and embarrassedly asked me if I could tell her what all the little icons on the dial on top of her camera meant. This article explains what each of these most common digital camera modes means and does. Knowing them can take your shots to the next level.

2. Aperture and Shutter Priority Mode – this introduction talks you through these two very useful settings that can be found on many digital cameras. Aperture and Shutter Priority modes take you out of Automatic mode giving you more control over your images – but don’t thrust you fully into manual mode – they are great settings to explore and master.

3. Introduction to White Balance – one of the most common problems that I see in beginner photographer images are shots with incorrect color. We’ve all seen them – portraits where your subjects teeth and eyeballs (and everything else) has a yellowish tinge. Learn what causes this and how to combat it with this tutorial on White Balance.

histogram.jpg 4. Understanding Histograms – ‘histograms are scary’ – this is what one reader said to me recently when they discovered that they could view these little graphs or charts on their camera. While they might seem a little technical it is amazing how simple a histogram is to interpret. Know what you’re looking for and with just a glance you’ll know if your image is under or over exposed. It’s a useful tool to master.

5. Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) – this feature is another of those often unexplored settings that many cameras have built into them that will allow you to get well exposed shots in even the trickiest of lighting situations.


Other Basic Camera Techniques


6. How to Hold a Digital Camera – this beginner tutorial covers a topic that most camera owners skip over without realizing that it is a foundational lesson in photography. Get this wrong and it can impact the quality of your shots.

7. Shutter Release Technique – another ‘basic’ or ‘beginner’ type tip that many do intuitively – but which can drastically improve your photography if you don’t do it.

8. How to Use Focal Lock – yet another beginner technique that many of us take for granted yet which is at the core of how all digital cameras focus automatically. Get this wrong and you’ll take a lot of shots of out of focus subjects and in focus backgrounds!

9. How to Take Sharp Digital Images – ‘my shots are fuzzy’ – it’s a common problem that we’re asked about at DPS so we wrote this tutorial to refer people to to help them get the sharpest images that their camera can take.

flash.jpg 10. Shooting with an In Camera Flash – flash photography with an in built flash can lead to some terribly blown out images – here are a few tips on how to avoid them. On a similar topic – here’s 7 Strategies for Avoiding Flash Blow Out.

11. How to Get Shallow Depth of Field in Your Digital Photos – a great technique to learn if you’re into many types of photography (portraits, macro etc) is how to control the depth of field in your shots and make your main subject ‘pop’ out by making your background nicely blurred – this tutorial talks you through how to do it.

12. Understanding Exposure – this post talks new camera owners through the three main elements of Exposure. Once you’ve read it also check out our introductions to ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.

Camera Care and Maintenance

broken-camera.jpg 13. How to Avoid a Dirty DSLR Sensor – one of the fastest ways to ruin every single shot you take with your new DSLR is to end up with a dirty image sensor. This tutorial gives some basic tips on how to ensure it stays as clean as possible.

14. How to Clean a DSLR Lens – as much as you try to protect them – lenses tend to get a little grimy over time. This tutorial shares some basic tips on how to clean them up so that your shots will be as clear as possible.

15. 7 Digital Camera Predators and How to Keep them at Bay – this tutorial talks you through 7 of the most common ways that digital cameras get damaged – what to look out for and what preventative action to take to avoid them.

Composition Tips

200605022117.jpg 16. The Rule of Thirds – whether you know it to follow it or break it – it’s something you should at least know about.

17. Points of Interest – an image without some visual point of interest in it is unlikely to hold the eye of anyone viewing it.

18. Getting Horizons Horizontal – the perfect way to ruin that lovely sunset or landscape shot is to make it lean to one side. Get your Horizon Horizontal!

19. Fill Your Frame – this is not applicable to every shot you take but many photographers could drastically improve their photography by getting in close to their subject and filling their frame.

background.jpg20. Getting Backgrounds Right – the background of your shot can make or break your image. This tutorial talks you through a number of things to look out for and techniques to use to get them just right.

21. Adding Randomness to Your Photos – learn how to set your images apart from everyone else’s by injecting creativity, variety and a little randomness into your shots.

Of course the above 21 Settings, Techniques and Rules for beginner camera owners just scratch the surface of all there is to learn about the art of photography. Subscribe to our blog here (via email or RSS) to get more free daily tips to help you keep improving and learning.

Food Labels Demystified


Food Labels Demystified



Serving Size:


The serving size is usually less than most people eat.  If you eat, two servings make sure you double the calories and all of the other daily values.  When comparing foods, make sure the serving sizes are the same.




This list the total amount of fat in one serving.  Try to limit the amount of saturated fat and trans fat you eat.




Try to eat less than 300 mg each day




Try to eat less than 2400 mg of sodium each day




This helps give you energy.  It is found in bread, pasta, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables.  Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, peas, and beans.  Try to eat at least 20 to 35 g of fiber per day.




Protein helps build muscle.  It is found in meat, nuts, eggs fish, dry beans, and dairy products.  Try to eat lean cuts of meat and nonfat or low-fat dairy products




Calories are the measure of how much energy you get from a serving of food.  Calories not used for energy are stored as fat Watching the number of calories in your daily diet can help you manage your weight.


% Daily Value: 


This shows how much of the daily recommended amounts of these nutrients are in one serving (based on a 2,00 calorie diet.  These percentages make it easy to compare one brand with another.  Just make sure the serving size is the same.  The goal is to eat no more than 100% of each nutrient each day.


Vitamins and Minerals: 


This shows how much of the recommended amount of certain vitamins and minerals are in the food.  Your goal is to reach 100% for each vitamin and mineral every day.


Recommended Amounts: 


Here you can see the recommended daily amount for several nutrients for 2-calorie levels.  A 2000-calorie and a 2500-calorie daily diet.  Your recommended daily calories may be higher of lower, depending on your age, gender, and how active you are.  However, notice that the recommended amount of sodium and cholesterol are the same no matter how man calories you eat a day.



Facebook Users Plummet



Yes, finally someone somewhere has figured out that living life through facebook is not really living. TechNewsDaily reported new U.S. facebook users plummeted in June “According to statistics from Inside Facebook Gold analytics service — which gets its information from Facebook’s advertising tool — new Facebook users totaled 11.8 million people in May — an impressive number by any stretch of the imagination. But that compares to the 13.9 million who joined in April, and an average of about 20 million in the 12 months prior.

This drop is primarily due to a plunge in registered users in the US. The number of US Facebook users fell from 155.2 million to 149.4 million during the month of May alone. That’s nearly 6 million people who decided they no longer need to stay connected through the service, and is the first time Facebook has lost users in the last year.”

I am unable to speak for my friends and family or any of the other millions of users, but I do not access my personal facebook page on a regular basis.  For me, I have grown weary of seeing adult pictures updated weekly when adults do not change their appearance from week to week.  Worse are those who use facebook to play out relationship drama for the world to see.  Who cares how many times you break up and make up?  I can only imagine that if the ritual facebook users put the keyboard down and went outside for a walk, how greatly they would improve the physical and mental well-being.  If taking a walk is not possible, take an online course rather than stalk facebook profiles.  Facebook is not a valid hobby, try riding a bicycle, climb a mountain, read a book.  Almost any other activity is bound to enrich one’s lifestyle significantly more than facebook.  Facebook in and of itself is not the culprit.  Facebook provides a good avenue to connect with friends and family from afar, but it should be used in moderation rather than in excess and in lieu of actively engaging in life.


Grilled Salmon


Kitchen Bananas


1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

4 salmon fillets (about 8 ounces each), each about 1 1/2 inches at thickest part

Ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for grill grate

Lemon wedges for serving

For the Maple-Soy Glaze:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup maple syrup


Stir together soy sauce and maple syrup in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Measure 2 tablespoons glaze into small bowl and set aside. Measure 2 tablespoons glaze into small bowl and set aside. Whisk soy sauce and maple syrup in 13- by 9-inch baking dish until combined; carefully place fillets flesh-side down in single layer in marinade (do not coat salmon skin

with marinade). Refrigerate while preparing grill.


Using chimney starter, ignite about 6 quarts (1 large chimney, or 2 1/2 pounds) charcoal briquettes and burn until covered with layer of light gray ash, about 15 minutes. Empty

coals into grill; build two-level fire by stacking two-thirds of coals in one half of grill and arranging remaining coals in single layer in other half. Position grill grate over coals, cover grill, and heat until grate is hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grill grate clean with grill brush.


Remove salmon from marinade and sprinkle flesh liberally with pepper. Using long-handled grill tongs, dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and wipe hot side of grill grate. Place fillets flesh-side down on hot side of grill and cook until grill-marked, about 1 minute. Using tongs, flip fillets skin-side down, still on hot side of grill; brush flesh with glaze and cook until salmon is opaque about halfway up thickness of fillets, 3 to 4 minutes.


Again using long-handled grill tongs, dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and wipe cooler side of grill grate. Brush flesh again with glaze, then turn fillets flesh-side down onto cooler side of grill; cook until deeply browned, crust has formed, and center of thickest part of fillet is still translucent when cut into with paring knife, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer fillets to platter, brush with reserved 2 tablespoons glaze, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.


Recipe courtesy of www.cooking.com


Got Swimmer’s Itch?

What is swimmer’s itch?


Swimmer’s Itch is a temporary skin irritation you may get after swimming in a pond, lake, river, or ocean.  It is caused by a parasite. On or near the water, there may be snails that are infected with the parasite. The snails pass the parasite on to the birds living near the water. Sometimes the parasite contacts humans who are swimming in the water.  The itching usually happens after the contaminated water has dried from the skin. The itching may begin within a few hours of swimming or not until a day or two later.


What are the symptoms of Swimmer’s Itch?


The first symptom is itching. It may start as soon as 1 to 2 hours after you leave the water. Usually, the itching is mild, at first. The itching may go away, then return after several hours. The itching is usually more intense when it comes back. The itching may last a week.


A pinpoint red rash may develop, but you can have itching without ever getting a rash.  Both the itch and rash are likely to get worse each time you are exposed to water contaminated with the parasite.


How is Swimmer’s Itch it diagnosed?


Your healthcare provider will take your history and examine your skin. Tell your provider where you were swimming or wading. There is no specific test to diagnose Swimmer’s Itch. It is usually diagnosed by an experienced provider who is familiar with the problem in your area.


How is Swimmer’s Itch treated?


There is no specific treatment for swimmer’s itch. It usually goes away on its own within a week after you were in the water. Hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl can help the itching.  Use Benadryl with caution because it can cause drowsiness.


How long will the effects of Swimmer’s Itch last?


The itch and rash may last just a few hours or several days. It is unusual for the symptoms to last longer than a week. However, if you scratch too much, you may break the skin making you susceptible to infection. If your skin becomes infected, there may be more redness and pain at the site and sometimes crusting or pus on the skin. If this happens, you should call your healthcare provider because you may need treatment for infection.


What can I do to prevent Swimmer’s Itch?


Currently medications to prevent Swimmer’s Itch exist. You can ask public health officials in the area where you will be wading or swimming about whether the parasite is a problem in that area. In some areas, chemicals are used to kill the infected snails in an attempt to prevent Swimmer’s Itch.