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Signs of Lyme Disease

Signs of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected blacklegged tick – also known as the deer tick.  If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Nonetheless, prompt treatment can help you recover quickly.

Lyme disease cases have traditionally been more prevalent in the Northeast, but have now been found in all 50 states. You’re more at risk to contract Lyme disease if you live or spend time in heavily wooded or grassy areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease can thrive.

Early signs of Lyme disease may include flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever and chills. Typically, but not always, the disease is marked by a red “bull’s-eye” rash. Later symptoms may include pain, weakness, numbness in the arms and legs, changes in vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash, and facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy).

The key to preventing Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by ticks. Follow these suggestions:

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants with high socks when in the woods or doing gardening or raking leaves
  • Wear a tick repellent that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus on your skin and clothing
  • When coming in from outside, check thoroughly for ticks and do the same with pets
  • Shower within 2 hours after coming inside, if possible.

If you find a tick embedded in the skin, remove it with tweezers and clean the area with rubbing alcohol and anti-bacterial soap. You are unlikely to get infected with Lyme disease if you remove the tick within 36 hours. Consult your health care provider if you have questions

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Technology Overload

Technology Overload

Do you find yourself endlessly checking email and social apps? Do you have these accounts on all your devices? People routinely are using multiple devices simultaneously – and there are many! One’s smartphone, Apple watch, tablet, laptop, desktop and tv keep one connected at all times.  In a technology driven world, it may become necessary to set boundaries to manage use so one doesn’t lose out on ‘real life’ experiences and develop very real negative side effects of technology.

Granted, technology has advanced our lives in so many ways and this affords so many benefits. Not too long ago, our communications were so limited. Homes had a landline phone, equipped with a rotary dial and mounted on the wall! One number per household and if you were lucky, your phone had an extra long cord so if you needed some privacy, you could stretch it to reach the laundry room or hall closet. These were the days of electric typewriters! When you made an error on your paper, you needed to hit the ‘correction key’ to apply white ink over your mistake.

We are so fortunate to have the advances of today! The internet has provided a great wealth of information at our fingertips and technology has simplified so many tasks of daily life. Navigating the world is as easy as a few clicks. Communication has never been easier – texts, video calls, zoom conferences…there are a myriad of choices for instant connection.

But despite the benefits, the use of technology does have a downside – to your health. The use of personal devices can lead to poor posture and repetitive stress injuries that cause back pain, neck pain, arm pain, wrist pain and trigger thumb. Headaches are on the rise and digital eyestrain is real. Physiologically, studies have shown that the extensive use of technology can affect memory, attention span and sleep cycles. The constant barrage of information can actually re-wire the way our brains work and can have negative effects on our mental well-being. Many studies link anxiety and severe depression. FOMO (fear of missing out) is defined by The New York Times as “the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media.” Social sites are filled with posts of fabulous parties, amazing travel check-ins and photo-shopped pictures of perfect people who seem to be living enviable lives.  This can lead to depression for those left feeling that they do not measure up.

If you are struggling with negative side effects of technology, try cutting back on your screen time. If you find that social apps are a constant interruption to your daily performance, you may need to clear your devices of non-essential apps for a while to keep you from constantly checking them for updates. Break the habit. Make a point to prioritize real-world, in-person communication over online interactions. Be sure to engage in physical activity every day. Make time for ‘real life’ in your every day!

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Remedies For Restless Legs Syndrome

Remedies For Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS may be considered a sleep disorder since symptoms are more common and intense during the evening when at rest so it can become difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up.  Moving the legs or walking usually relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement stops. RLS affects about 10% of people in the U.S. and is more prevalent in women with middle-aged individuals having more severe symptoms.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a nervous system disorder that causes uncomfortable tingling, aching sensations in the legs and an overpowering urge to move them.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, lack of iron or the incorrect use of iron in the brain are the main causes of RLS. People suffering from iron deficiency may see improvements in their symptoms by addressing that deficiency. Dietary iron can be found in foods such as red meat, dark leafy greens, liver, lentils, beans and iron-fortified cereals. However, some RLS sufferers may need supplemental iron (orally) to see  a reduction in symptoms. Since vitamin C helps the body better absorb iron, taking iron pills with orange juice may be beneficial. If you are struggling with restless legs syndrome, talk to your health care provider about getting a blood test to check for iron deficiency.

RLS may also be caused by folate or magnesium deficiencies. Both these nutrients are necessary for proper muscle contraction and nerve impulse conduction. Eating more foods rich in these nutrients may help RLS symptoms. Some foods rich in folate include avocados, spinach, asparagus and brussels sprouts. Foods rich in magnesium include almonds, black beans and whole wheat pasta.

Exercise and physical therapy can help individuals with long-lasting relief. Gentle joint pressure, hot and cold therapy, and manual manipulation by a chiropractor or physical therapist can provide relief. Leg exercises can help contract the problematic muscles and can re-oxygenate them with fresh blood. Ellipticals and rowing machines are popular choices for this reason. Physical therapy can also manipulate the pelvis and feet to increase functionality throughout the entire area.

The most obvious remedy that people use to stop restless legs is getting up and moving. Leg movement often only helps for a very short period of time. Here are some alternative remedies for reducing symptoms:

  • Hot or cold therapy: ice the legs or take a warm bath to relax the leg muscles before bed
  • Decrease caffeine intake
  • Decrease alcohol intake
  • Stop smoking
  • Good nutrition and vitamin D supplementation
  • Massage
  • Regular exercise
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Yoga
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