Skin – Is It Just for Beauty?

SkinHere in this season of thankfulness and celebration, I offer you a part of yourself worthy of thanks and great care.

Did you know…

  • your skin is the largest organ of your body
  • your skin is your primary defense against infection
  • millions of bacteria live on your skin – and it’s a good thing
  • your skin sheds 50,000 cells every minute
  • you get a new layer of skin about every 28 days
  • your skin weighs about 9 pounds (for the average adult)
  • your skin covers about 21 square feet (for the average adult)
  • your skin plays a big role in regulating your body temperature
  • the melanin in your skin is responsible for its color

As our chief protector, our skin deserves some respect, care, and attention.

Burns

In this season of celebration, there is often a lot of cooking. For me anyway, that means an increased likelihood I’ll burn myself. If the same is true for you, here are some facts about treating your burns.

  • First, if a burn is larger than 2 inches, on a very tender area, or caused by a fire, electricity, or chemicals, go get it checked out by your doctor or the emergency room.
  • Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water.
  • For a minor burn, wash it with mild soap and water then cover with aloe vera or petroleum jelly (not butter, egg, cortisone, lotion, or oil).
  • Do NOT break blisters.
  • You can cover with nonstick gauze to help protect the burn.
  • If your doctor has approved you taking over-the-counter pain medicine like acetaminophen (brand Tylenol), ibuprofen (brand Motrin), or naproxen (brand Aleve), this can help control the pain. NOTE, avoid aspirin in children under 2 or people recovering from chickenpox or flu.
  • Do not scratch the burn as it heals (it will be itchy).
  • Consider a tetanus shot if you have not had a booster within the last 10 years.

Dry Skin

This is also the season where we often spend more time indoors with the heat on (if you’re in a more northern climate). This plus the blustery, drier air outside, can make your skin more dry. When your skin gets too dry, it can crack and lose its ability to protect you. Here are some tips to help you keep your skin moist:

  • Limit your bath/shower to 10 minutes and avoid very hot water.
  • Blot your skin dry gently after cleansing.
    • Apply an ointment or cream after cleaning. Note, these will moisturize better than a lotion, and you don’t have to buy the expensive products. I recommend the generic or store brand that’s on sale.
  • Choose ointments and creams without fragrance. Fragrances and other additives can further irritate skin.
  • Wear lip balm.
  • Protect your skin when outside with gloves, scarves, and hats.
  • As good as it feels, sitting in front of the fire or heater can further dry your skin.

Skin Cancer

1:5 Americans will have skin cancer in their lifetime. Be sure to show any changes in moles, spots, or other skin markings to your doctor. Use of sunscreen, even on cloudy days, helps protect your skin from harmful UV rays. The earlier a skin cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat, typically.

So, enjoy the beauty and festivity of this holiday season, and keep your chief protector, your skin, moist and healthy.

For more information about skin protection, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Are you afraid? Do you feel exposed and at risk?

I know several people who are dwelling on the events in the news. It seems there is so much bad news. There is so much killing and strife. Wars are being waged in new, frightening ways. People are living in fear of one another on the basis of superficial labels of race, religion, or skin color rather than the person inside the skin.

Protection from fear and evil is on many minds and being spoken about at many dinner tables.

I often read (and try to memorize) Psalm 121 at times like these. It begins with:

Psalm 121:1-8 ESV

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

I encourage you to listen to ‘Praise you in this storm’ by Casting Crowns. It incorporates this Psalm into a beautiful message of hope in God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjZBZv_771o

There is hope at all times, even these times of turmoil. Jesus gives us the spoiler alert about how all things will ultimately resolve in Him.

John 16:33 NIV

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Consider how you can reach out to other hurting people and spread the light and love of Christ.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source:  MedlinePlus; National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Happiness, Hope, and Health

Slide2What defines your best days?

When do you feel the most happy and free?

In your darkest days, what is your source of hope?

Scientists, philosophers, and every-day people have been asking these questions for centuries.

Interestingly, studies have shown that more money is not linked to happiness. Actually, more money is associated with higher depression and anxiety rates.

Thinking kindly about other people and helping other people is linked to health, living longer, and overall well-being. Rather than focusing on yourself and your own problems, who could benefit from your care?

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that happier people are healthier people. It is fascinating that happier people don’t necessarily have more stuff, live with more innovations, or have more resources. This is especially true for psychological and emotional health.

Proposed keys to a happier and healthy life:

  • Feelings of enthusiasm, engagement, and hope
  • Feeling optimistic that good things are going to happen
  • Having supportive family and friends
  • Being able to bounce back from bad situations and make healthy choices

Some aspects of health go beyond diagnoses and medications. Perhaps those elements are at our deepest core and the ones that need the most attention.

Hope is integral to happiness. It is also a key aspect of recovery. It is the element that pulls you away from the slippery slope to negativity. Many people with hope usually believe in a higher power with a sense of spirituality.

So, again, ask yourself, what makes you happy? For what are you grateful? What is your source of hope? What changes can you make today to do something helpful for another person?

The answers could be your source of health.

For more information about the literature on this topic and the relationship between happiness, hope, and health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

So what are the answers to the questions? God, your loving, merciful, forgiving, creator is the source of all hope. Have you experienced that grace? Are you confident in that unconditional love?

It is hard to imagine life without this source of hope. What would each day be like not knowing the God of the universe?

If you do not have a daily, personal relationship with God, keep reading.

God can be your source of hope to get beyond anything that has happened in the past, of strength in the present, and of excitement for the promises of the future.

Romans 12:12 ESV

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 15:13 NIV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

You are deeply and unconditionally loved. God has big plans for you.

Bad things will still happen. Some days will be harder than others. Most of the future will be unknown. (But we know the ultimate outcome is eternal life in Christ!)

Romans 5:2-5 ESV

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

May this hope and love be your source of happiness and health!

Blessings,

Michelle

Flu Shots – Do I REALLY need one?

Most of us grew up Flu vaccine CDCbefore influenza (flu) shots were recommended for nearly everyone. We lived a lot of years just fine without them. Sure, we got sick for about a week sometimes, but we lived through it and got right back on track with our daily lives.

So why make such a big deal now about flu shots?

We are in the last week or so before flu cases start presenting here in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths every season.”

In 2013-14 less than half of eligible people in the country obtained a flu vaccine. For those who were vaccinated, there were 7.2 million fewer people sick with the flu, 3.1 million fewer doctor/clinic visits for flu, and over 90,000 fewer hospitalizations. In particular, there were 55% fewer hospitalizations in people over age 65.

This year (2015-16) the strains of flu covered in the vaccine are even better matched to the dangerous strains expected to cause illness this year. So, this year’s effectiveness will be better than 2014-15.

There are some common beliefs about flu vaccines that are NOT TRUE. Two key myths are:

  • The flu vaccine will make me get the flu
  • The flu vaccine causes problems like autism

The TRUTH is:

  • The flu vaccine is not a live form of the flu virus. It is a killed version that will stimulate your immune system to build resistance against the flu.
  • Many studies have been done that consistently show vaccines are not the cause of the rising number of children with autism. (Unfortunately the real cause(s) have not been found).

You have some options when getting your flu vaccine.

  • Regular vaccine in to your upper arm muscle.
  • High dose vaccine in to your upper arm muscle (approved for people at or over age 65).

Note, there is a live attenuated nasal vaccine. This is for people ages 2-49. There are several reasons why people may not be able to take the nasal vaccine, however, so please talk with us at Meds MASH and/or talk with your doctor about whether this option is good for you.

Be sure to let your doctor and whoever gives your vaccine if you are allergic to EGGS. Note, this is not a reason to avoid vaccination. There is a vaccine you can get. You will be watched more closely for a few minutes after your vaccine.

For more information about flu vaccines, please contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

The flu vaccine can protect us against a week of feeling miserable (and maybe even more dangerous illness).

What protects us from the other miseries of the world?

The Psalms contain many promises about God’s protection for his people.

Psalm 34:7 ESV

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Psalm 17:8 ESV

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,

Psalm 18:2 ESV

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,

    my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 46:1 ESV

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 125:2 ESV

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

My Refuge and My Fortress Psalm 91  – check out this Psalm

You are not alone! Your deliverer and protector loves you dearly.

Blessings,

Michelle

Photo credit: Public Health Image Library cdc.gov

Hate and Health

Slide1

Hate and negativity are bad for your health.

Holding grudges, blame, racism, oppression, and social isolation have all been linked to poorer health.

Having

  • friends to talk to
  • people who care about you
  • a sense of self-worth
  • forgiveness
  • security
  • conflict management skills
  • religion/spirituality

have all been linked with improved health.

Bad things happen to everyone. Some of these bad things are worse than others.

Every relationship has times of negativity. No person is perfect.

Prolonged negativity with no ability to cope has been linked to mental health and physical health decline.

Negativity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and more.

The health effects of negativity are even more pronounced in people over age 65. All life phases introduce change. Post-retirement these changes can include social networks, family dynamics, physical mobility decline, vision and hearing issues, limited income, home downsizing, new diagnoses, and recognition of mortality.

When harbored resentments, self-pity, and rejection are included, the negative health impact can be dramatic.

Are you living in negativity?

What could you do to let go of hurts, find sources of happiness, and reclaim your health and contentment?

For more information about the link between negativity and health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

The ‘Golden Rule’ holds the key for happy living. Imagine if everyone treated everyone else with the same kindness, understanding, and forgiveness they want for themselves.

Over 20 world religions have very similar versions of the Golden Rule. This concept of loving, honoring, and being tolerant of each other benefits everyone.

Matthew 7:12 NLT

The Golden Rule

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

Not only are we called to treat each other as we like to be treated, we are called to love each other – even those who hurt us. Wow, talk about radical love!

Luke 6:35 NLT

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.

Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Luke 6:37 NIV

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Then, we are called to go another step forward…

Romans 12:14-21 NLT

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;

    I will pay them back,”

    says the Lord.

Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.

    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap

    burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

So we are called to love, honor, respect, and care for those who hurt us. God knows about each of those hurts. He will take care of the justice. Our role is faith and following God’s plan (which is way different than normal human response).

When we release the hurts and negativity, we are free to live unencumbered in true joy and peace.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

May this happiness and joy be yours!

Blessings,

Michelle

Antibiotic Resistance – REALLY, you should take them all

meds and bottleWe are coming into infection season. Colds, the flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, pneumonia, and more seem to occur more often as the we stay inside in the colder weather.

Should all infections be treated with an antibiotic? NO

If your infection is from a virus then an antibiotic will provide NO HELP.

If your infection is mild, and your immune system is strong, you can often fight the infection without an antibiotic.

If you do require an antibiotic, have you ever been tempted to take it until you feel better then stop and save the rest for next time? DON’T DO IT!

If you take nothing else from this blog, please take your entire course of antibiotics.

Antibiotics can either weaken an infection until your body’s immune system can completely get rid of it or kill the bacteria. Either way, if the antibiotic is stopped once most of the bacteria are weak or killed, then those few bacteria that are not weak or killed can come back. When they do come back, they can also change just enough that the antibiotic will no longer work.

Antibiotic resistance, when bacteria stop responding to a particular antibiotic, is dangerous. It requires more advanced antibiotics which have more side effects and have a broader effect. Then, if resistance develops to those (usually when the full course is not taken), then even more advanced antibiotics are needed.

When this happens too much you can become resistant to many antibiotics. Also, when this happens over time, entire communities can get strains of bacteria that don’t respond to the usual antibiotics.

I share this to beg you to take every last dose of your antibiotics if you need them this year.

To help you avoid infections, please wash your hands frequently. Especially when you are out in public touching door handles, shopping cart handles, restaurant tables and chairs, etc, you are increasing your risk of picking up a virus or bacteria. When your hands dirty, avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes, and nose.

Have a healthy fall and winter!

For more information about antibiotics and treatment for colds and flu,contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

It is tempting with antibiotics to stop them once you feel better. But, when you do that, you run the risk of an even more difficult-to-treat infection.

The spiritual equivalent is taking partial doses of all God has to offer. Maybe you go to church once a week and occasionally read the Bible.

Your limited doses of spiritual time can give you glimpses of all of the wonder and glory and peace and joy that is yours in Christ, but not the full view.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

John 14:17 ESV

Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Romans 14:17 ESV

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 5:6 ESV

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Putting Christ first in your life, taking full doses of all He has to offer you, will lead to joy and peace beyond what you can imagine.

Little doses give glimpses. Full doses can change your life forever!

Blessings,

Michelle

Image credit: Centers for Disease Control Public Health Image Library