Q: Recently I developed a red rash with small pimples after I was out in the sun. What caused this, and how can I prevent further problems?
A: Heat rash is most commonly called prickly heat. It is due to the plugging of the sweat glands. The pimples formed contain perspiration that has accumulated and secretes from the sweat glands. The redness is due to the irritation of the highly salt content of the sweat.
The best treatment is to avoid being out in the sun during the warmest part of the day or for long periods of time. When the heat rash develops on your skin, wash the area with cool water and a gentle soap, then rinse and pat dry with a soft towel. This can repeated several times during the day to help alleviate symptoms and irritation. You may also apply ice to reduce the affected area as needed. In some cases, people complain of itching, and this can be alleviated with hydrocortisone cream or a local anesthetic cream, or by taking an oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). In most cases, the rash will disappear on its own, but if signs of secondary infection appear, call your physician for further consultation or diagnosis.
Q: What is a concussion, and how is it treated?
A: A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that alters brain function following a blow to the head. There are multiple causes, multiple symptoms and multiple outcomes of concussions. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to headache, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or noise, altered sleeping, feeling “foggy,” amnesia and poor concentration. Concussions are frequently seen in high school athletics and require immediate attention.
Concussions have been a recent focus of those in athletics. Last year the state of Iowa passed new legislation that forces an athlete to be immediately removed from participation if a concussion is suspected. That athlete cannot return to any level of participation until there is written clearance by an appropriate healthcare provider. Clearance is often determined by a clinical evaluation including balance, vision, memory and strength testing.
An additional cutting-edge way health care professionals are able to determine when an individual is able to return to play is neurocognitive testing. Fortunately for local athletes, Perry Community School has purchased a neurocognitive testing program called ImPACT to ensure its athletes are ready to return to play after a concussion.
The presence of a concussion means the brain has been injured and needs to recover. The best treatment for concussions is complete physical and cognitive rest until all symptoms resolve. Once symptoms are gone, there is a standard progression to return to activity, with each step lasting at least 24 hours, if not longer, depending on the intensity and presence of symptoms.
Q: What options are available for whitening my teeth?
A: There are many products available over the counter and in the dental office for tooth whitening. Deciding if you are a qualified candidate is necessary before choosing an option, and this can best be decided by your dentist. The first option is an over-the-counter product called white strips. A white strip is a flexible strip coated with a gel containing peroxide. White strips are worn an average of 30 minutes a day for a duration of 10 to 30 days. This method often requires repeating after three to six months.
There are two main options for whitening available at the dental office. The first option is custom-made bleaching trays.
Impressions of the teeth are made and then trays are fabricated from models. A stronger peroxide of 15 to 25 percent is placed in the trays and are worn for four to six hours a day, usually while sleeping at night. After the desired shade is achieved, it will last on average up to a year. This method usually produces the longest-lasting results before touchups are necessary and less gum tissue irritation occurs with custom trays.
The second option is chairside whitening. A peroxide from either 15 to 35 percent is then placed on the teeth followed by a light source for 15 to 20 minutes. This can be repeated up to five times, but does not last as long as the custom trays. Talk to your dentist on your options for teeth whitening.
Q: How can I get a restful night’s sleep?
A: Sleep is a natural part of our lives. However, various health issues can impact our ability to get a good night’s sleep. When our sleep is disrupted, our entire lives can be disrupted.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, where teenagers need eight to nine and younger, school-age children 10 to 11. There are plenty of tips for getting a good nights’ sleep, including making a restful bedroom, going to bed at the same time every night, not eating or drinking too much before bedtime and relaxing an hour before bedtime.
But what if you are still having problems with sleep? When is it time to consult with your health care provider? There are medical issues which can interfere with your sleep. Snoring — yours or your partner’s — can result in waking up over and over, causing lack of deep sleep. Restless Leg Syndrome, when your legs feel “creepy-crawly” or tingly when you lie down, can last for hours before you drift off. Hormonal changes which include night sweats are another culprit. Sleep apnea, a condition where you actually stop breathing for a few moments, over and over through the night, is another reason you may be losing sleep.
If you are sleepy during the day or falling asleep after dinner, it is time to talk to your health care provider tosee what can be done. You work hard — you deserve a good night’s sleep.