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Understanding Ostomy Skin Care

ostomy supplies

Living with an ostomy presents unique challenges, and an important aspect of managing it effectively is proper skin care. The skin around the stoma needs special attention to prevent irritation, inflammation, and potential infection.

Why Ostomy Skin Care Matters

An ostomy is a surgical procedure that creates an opening in the abdomen (stoma) to divert bodily waste. Whether it is a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, the stoma requires care to ensure the surrounding skin remains healthy. The constant contact with bodily waste and the adhesive products used to secure the ostomy pouch can lead to skin issues such as irritation, redness, breakdown, and infection if not properly managed and maintained.

Key Components of Ostomy Skin Care

Cleansers: Proper cleansing is the foundation of ostomy skin care. Gentle, non-abrasive cleansers help remove bodily waste, adhesive residue, and oils without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Skin Barrier Products: Skin barriers play a critical role in protecting the skin around the stoma from irritation and damage. These products create a protective layer between the skin and the adhesive ostomy appliance, minimizing the risk of leakage and skin breakdown. Available skin barrier products include sprays, wipes, powders, and films, to cater to individual preferences and skin sensitivities.

Adhesive Removers: Removing the adhesive ostomy appliance can be challenging and may cause skin trauma if done improperly. Adhesive removers help dissolve adhesive residues gently, making pouch changes easier and reducing the risk of skin irritation. Adhesive removers help ensure safe and efficient removal without causing discomfort or damage to the skin.

Skin Protectants: For individuals with sensitive skin or a history of skin irritation, skin protectants offer an additional layer of defense against friction and moisture. These products help soothe, moisturize, and condition the skin, promoting healing and preventing further damage.

Choosing the Right Products

Selecting the appropriate ostomy skin care products is essential for maintaining optimal skin health and comfort. Factors such as skin type, stoma location, activity level, and personal preferences should be considered when choosing products.

Ostomy skin care is a critical aspect of managing life with an ostomy. By using high-quality products specifically designed for ostomy care, individuals can minimize skin complications, enhance comfort, and improve overall quality of life.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. For medical questions and advice, it is always best to consult with your trained physician.

Sources: 

Basic ostomy skin care. (n.d.). https://www.ostomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/wocn_basic_ostomy_skin_care_2018.pdf 

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Urostomy - stoma and skin care: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000477.htm 

What is an ostomy? L United Ostomy Associations of America. United Ostomy Associations of America. (2024, March 21). https://www.ostomy.org/what-is-an-ostomy/ 

 

Ten Tips for Reducing Allergy Symptoms

man helping boy blow nose

Allergies can be a nuisance, affecting millions of people worldwide and causing symptoms like sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and congestion.  While allergies cannot always be completely cured, there are several strategies you can adopt to lower your allergy symptoms and improve quality of life. Below are ten tips, supported by research and medical experts, to help you manage and reduce allergy symptoms.

1. Identify and Avoid Triggers: The first step in managing allergies is to identify the specific allergens triggering your symptoms. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and certain foods. Once you know your triggers, take proactive measures to avoid or minimize your exposure to them. For example, use allergen-proof pillowcases and mattress covers to reduce dust mites, keep windows closed during high pollen seasons, and limit contact with pets if you're allergic to animal dander.

2. Keep Indoor Air Clean: Improving indoor air quality can significantly reduce allergy symptoms. Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in your air conditioning and heating systems to trap allergens. Regularly clean and vacuum your home, including carpets, rugs, and upholstery, to remove dust, pet hair, and other allergens. Consider using an air purifier to further enhance indoor air quality, especially in rooms where you spend a lot of time.

3. Monitor Pollen Counts: Stay informed about pollen counts in your geographic location, especially during allergy seasons. You can check local pollen forecasts online or through weather apps. On high pollen days, try to stay indoors as much as possible, keep windows closed, and use air conditioning with a HEPA filter to reduce pollen exposure.

4. Practice Good Hygiene: Good hygiene habits can help prevent allergic reactions. Wash your hands frequently, especially after outdoor activities, to remove pollen and other allergens. Shower and change clothes after spending time outdoors during high pollen seasons. Keep your living spaces clean and free of dust and mold to minimize allergy triggers.

5. Use Allergy-Proof Bedding: Investing in hypoallergenic bedding, including pillows, mattress covers, and sheets, to create a barrier against dust mites and allergens may be helpful. Wash bedding in hot water regularly to kill dust mites and remove allergens effectively. Consider using allergen-blocking pillowcases and mattress encasements for added protection.

6. Consider using Nasal Irrigation: Nasal irrigation, using a saline solution or a neti pot, can help clear nasal passages and reduce congestion caused by allergies. This simple technique flushes out allergens, mucus, and irritants, providing relief from symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting nasal irrigation to ensure it is appropriate for you.

7. Consider using Over-the-Counter Medications: Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroids can effectively relieve allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, congestion, and runny nose. These medications can be used on an as-needed basis or as recommended by your healthcare provider. Always read and follow the instructions on the label and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or medical conditions.

8. Consider Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy): For individuals with severe or persistent allergies, allergen immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots, may be recommended. This treatment involves regular injections of small amounts of allergens to desensitize the immune system and reduce allergic reactions over time. Allergy shots can provide long-term relief for many allergy sufferers and are typically administered under the supervision of an allergist or immunologist.

9. Manage Stress: Stress can exacerbate allergy symptoms and weaken the immune system's response. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or tai chi to help manage stress levels and improve overall well-being. Getting an adequate amount of sleep and engaging in regular physical activity can also boost your immune system and reduce allergy flare-ups.

10. Consult with an Allergist: If you are struggling to manage your allergies despite trying various strategies, consider consulting with an allergist or immunologist. These healthcare professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating allergies and can provide personalized recommendations and treatments tailored to your specific needs and triggers.

Reducing allergy symptoms involves a combination of identifying triggers, creating allergy-friendly environments, using appropriate medications or treatments, and adopting lifestyle habits. By implementing these ten effective strategies, you may be able to take control of your allergies and enjoy a better quality of life with fewer bothersome symptoms. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance on managing your allergies effectively.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. For medical questions and advice, it is always best to consult with your trained physician.

Sources: 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, August 5). Allergies. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351503

Seasonal allergies: Causes, symptoms & treatment. ACAAI Public Website. (2022, November 7). https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/seasonal-allergies/ 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018, November 1). Seeking allergy relief. National Institutes of Health. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/06/seeking-allergy-relief 

Exploring the Range of Vitamins and Supplements Available at Mayo Clinic Store

woman checking vitamins

Thorne Research is renowned for its commitment to using premium-quality ingredients and rigorous testing processes to ensure the potency and purity of its products. Learn more about Thorne Vitamins and Supplements below. 

In 2014, Thorne began a Master Clinical Study Agreement with Mayo Clinic. This involves a series of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials with a variety of nutitional supplements. The central focus has been testing products and ingredients that are considered GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and highlighting the use of these products.

The Variety of Vitamins and Supplements

Multivitamins: Thorne offers a comprehensive range of multivitamins tailored to meet various nutritional needs. Whether you are seeking support for overall wellness, immune health, or specific concerns such as prenatal nutrition or athletic performance, Thorne's multivitamin formulations are designed to provide essential nutrients in optimal amounts.

Specialty Formulations: From targeted support for cardiovascular health and joint function to cognitive support and stress management, Thorne's specialty formulations address a wide array of health goals. These specialized supplements are formulated with clinically researched ingredients to support specific aspects of health and well-being.

Nutritional Supplements: Thorne's extensive line of nutritional supplements includes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and botanical extracts carefully selected for their bioavailability and therapeutic benefits. Whether looking to enhance your immune system, support bone health, or improve digestive function, Thorne offers a range of high-quality nutritional supplements to support your goals.

Sports Nutrition: For individuals engaged in physical activity and sports, Thorne provides a range of sports nutrition supplements designed to optimize performance, support recovery, and promote overall wellness. From protein powders and amino acids to energy-boosting formulations, Thorne's sports nutrition products are formulated to meet the unique needs of athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Health Maintenance: In addition to targeted formulations, Thorne offers a variety of foundational supplements to support overall health and well-being. From omega-3 fatty acids, ashwagandha, and probiotics to antioxidants and adaptogens, these supplements provide essential support for maintaining optimal health and vitality.

Why Choose Thorne?

Quality Assurance: Thorne's commitment to quality and purity is reflected in its rigorous testing processes, which exceed industry standards. Each Thorne product undergoes extensive testing for identity, purity, potency, and safety to ensure that it meets the highest quality standards.

Clinically Researched Formulations: Thorne collaborates with leading researchers and clinicians to develop formulations backed by scientific research. By prioritizing evidence-based ingredients and dosages, Thorne ensures the efficacy and safety of its products.

Trusted by Healthcare Professionals: Thorne supplements are trusted by healthcare professionals worldwide for their quality, purity, and efficacy. With a reputation for excellence in the medical community, Thorne is a preferred choice for individuals seeking reliable nutritional support.

Commitment to Sustainability: Thorne is committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. From sourcing ethically harvested ingredients to using eco-friendly packaging, Thorne prioritizes sustainability in every aspect of its operations.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. For medical questions and advice, it is always best to consult with your trained physician.

Sources: 

Ingredient index. Thorne. (n.d.-a). https://www.thorne.com/ingredients 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2018, November 7). Multivitamins and supplements: To take or not to take? - mayo clinic news network. Mayo Clinic. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/multivitamins-and-supplements-to-take-or-not-to-take/ 

Thorne® Collaborations. Thorne. (n.d.). https://www.thorne.com/company/strategic-collaborations 

Unparalleled quality: Inspired by science. Thorne. (n.d.-c). https://www.thorne.com/quality#:~:text=Only%20a%20handful%20of%20U.S.,company%20to%20be%20fully%20certified.&text=Thorne%20cares%20deeply%20about%20where,quality%2C%20science%2C%20and%20responsibility

 

Understanding Blood Pressure Monitors: Ensuring Accuracy for Your Health

couple taking blood pressure

Selecting a blood pressure monitor may be overwhelming with a variety of options and styles to choose from. Monitoring your blood pressure can be important, especially for those with hypertension or other cardiovascular conditions.

Why Accuracy Matters

Accurate blood pressure monitoring is crucial for managing various health conditions and making informed decisions about treatment plans. Inaccurate readings can lead to misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, or unnecessary worry. That's why selecting a reliable blood pressure monitor is key for maintaining your health and peace of mind.

AMA Testing Standards

The American Medical Association is renowned for its commitment to upholding the highest standards of medical practice and patient care. As part of its mission, the AMA conducts rigorous testing of medical devices, including blood pressure monitors, to ensure their accuracy and reliability.

Blood pressure monitors available at Mayo Clinic Store undergo thorough testing by the AMA to verify their precision in measuring systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as pulse rate. These tests are conducted under various conditions to simulate real-life scenarios and ensure consistent performance across different user profiles.

Choosing the Right Blood Pressure Monitor

When selecting a blood pressure monitor, it is important to consider factors such as cuff size, ease of use, memory storage, and display readability.

Additionally, blood pressure monitors are available in both digital and manual varieties.

Benefits of Accurate Monitoring

Accurate blood pressure monitoring empowers you to take control of your health by providing timely insights into your cardiovascular well-being. By tracking your blood pressure trends over time, you and your healthcare provider can make informed decisions regarding medication adjustments, lifestyle modifications, and overall treatment strategies.

All blood pressure monitors available at Mayo Clinic Store have been validated by the American Medical Association’s (AMA) validation program for accurate and reliable blood pressure readings.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. For medical questions and advice, it is always best to consult with your trained physician.

Sources:

1, D., & Berg, S. (2020, December 1). BP monitoring you can count on-list of validated devices grows. American Medical Association. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/hypertension/bp-monitoring-you-can-count-list-validated-devices-grows 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, July 8). Get the most out of Home Blood Pressure Monitoring. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20047889 

Picone, D. S., Padwal, R., Campbell, N. R. C., Boutouyrie, P., Brady, T. M., Olsen, M. H., Delles, C., Lombardi, C., Mahmud, A., Meng, Y., Mokwatsi, G. G., Ordunez, P., Phan, H. T., Pucci, G., Schutte, A. E., Sung, K.-C., Zhang, X.-H., Sharman, J. E., & Accuracy in Measurement of Blood Pressure (AIM-BP) Collaborative. (2020, December). How to check whether a blood pressure monitor has been properly validated for accuracy. Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8030032/ 

 

Understanding Cold vs. Flu and Appropriate Treatments

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When the sniffles and sneezes arrive, it can be common to wonder whether you have the common cold or the more formidable influenza, commonly known as the flu. While both are respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, distinguishing between the two is crucial for effective treatment.

Differentiating the Cold and the Flu

The common cold and the flu share several symptoms, making it challenging to recognize the differences between the two without a closer examination. However, there are key distinctions that may be able to help you identify which ailment you might be facing.

Cold Symptoms:

  • Gradual onset of symptoms
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Mild to moderate fatigue

Flu Symptoms:

  • Rapid onset of symptoms
  • Fever (can be high)
  • Body aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (can be severe)
  • Dry cough
  • Chills and sweats

It is important to note that complications arising from the flu can be more severe than those from a cold, potentially leading to pneumonia or other respiratory issues. Seeking medical attention for severe symptoms or complications is advisable.

Treatment Approaches

Cold Treatment

Rest: Allow your body the time it needs to recover by getting adequate rest.

Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrating.

Over-the-Counter Medications: Non-prescription cold remedies can help alleviate symptoms, including pain relievers for aches and pains, decongestants for nasal congestion, and cough suppressants.

Flu Treatment

Antiviral Medications: Prescription antiviral drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) may be recommended if taken within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms. These medications can shorten the duration of the illness and reduce the severity of symptoms.

Rest and Hydration: Similar to cold treatment, rest and hydration are crucial for flu recovery.

Over-the-Counter Medications: Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help manage fever and body aches.

Prevention Strategies

Regardless of whether you're dealing with a cold or the flu, preventive measures can play a crucial role in minimizing the risk of infection:

Vaccination: Consider receiving the annual flu vaccination to protect against influenza.

Hand Hygiene: Regular handwashing helps prevent the spread of viruses and germs.

Respiratory Etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent the transmission of respiratory droplets.

Avoid Close Contact: Limit contact with individuals who are sick to minimize the risk of transmission.

Distinguishing between a cold and the flu can be challenging, but understanding the differences is essential for proper treatment. While rest and hydration are fundamental for both, antiviral medications may be helpful for treatment of the flu. Whether battling a common cold or a more severe influenza infection, following the guidance of medical professionals and adopting preventive measures can help contribute to a quicker recovery and a healthier community overall. For personalized advice, consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not substituted for medical advice. For medical questions and advice, it is always best to consult with your trained physician.

Sources: 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, October 24). Key facts about influenza (flu). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm#:~:text=Flu%20is%20a%20contagious%20respiratory,a%20flu%20vaccine%20each%20year 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, June 27). Common cold. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/colds.html 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2023a, May 24). Common cold. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605#:~:text=Most%20people%20recover%20from%20a,see%20your%20health%20care%20provider 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2023, November 21). Influenza (flu). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719 

Breastfeeding and Pumping: Benefits and Tips for You and Your Baby

woman breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a natural and beneficial practice that not only provides essential nutrients to your baby but also offers numerous health benefits for you. As you embark on this journey, it's crucial to understand the importance of breastfeeding for the well-being of both you and your baby, as well as the safety measures to ensure a healthy breastfeeding experience.

Health Benefits for You

For mothers, breastfeeding offers a multitude of health advantages. Breastfeeding can aid in postpartum weight loss by burning extra calories and contracting the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size. Additionally, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, as well as osteoporosis later in life.

Furthermore, breastfeeding stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps the uterus return to its normal size and reduces postpartum bleeding. The emotional bond formed during breastfeeding can also contribute to maternal well-being by reducing stress levels and promoting feelings of closeness and relaxation with your baby.

Health Benefits for Your Baby

Breast milk is uniquely tailored to meet the nutritional needs of infants, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and antibodies, supporting their growth and development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that breastfed babies have lower risks of developing asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear infections, and certain respiratory infections compared to formula-fed infants.

Additionally, the antibodies present in breast milk help protect babies from infections and illnesses, providing them with a strong immune system during their early months of life. Breastfeeding is also associated with lower rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Safety Measures for Breastfeeding

While breastfeeding is a natural process, it is essential to follow safety guidelines to ensure the well-being of you and your baby. Several key safety measures to promote a healthy breastfeeding experience:

  • Proper Latching: Ensuring your baby latches onto your breast correctly can prevent nipple soreness and discomfort. Seek assistance from a lactation consultant or healthcare provider if you encounter difficulties with latching.
  • Hygiene: Maintain good hygiene by washing your hands before breastfeeding to prevent the spread of germs to your baby. Keep your breast and nipple area clean and dry to reduce the risk of infections.
  • Nutrition: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to ensure that you are providing adequate nutrients to support breastfeeding. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Medication: Consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medications while breastfeeding to ensure their safety for you and your baby. Certain medications can pass through breast milk and may affect your infant.
  • Avoiding Alcohol and Tobacco: Limit or avoid alcohol consumption while breastfeeding, as it can pass through breast milk to your baby. Similarly, refrain from smoking or exposing your baby to secondhand smoke, as it can increase the risk of respiratory illnesses.
  • Breast Pump Safety: If you are using a breast pump, ensure that it is clean and properly sterilized before each use to prevent contamination. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance and cleaning.

By following these safety measures and embracing the numerous health benefits of breastfeeding, you can ensure a positive and fulfilling experience for both you and your baby. Remember to seek support from healthcare professionals, lactation consultants, and support groups if you encounter any challenges along the way. Your commitment to breastfeeding plays a vital role in promoting the health and well-being of your baby, laying the foundation for a lifetime of good health.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. For medical questions and advice, it is always best to consult with your trained physician.

Sources: 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, November 19). Breastfeeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/index.htm 

Dieterich, C. M., Felice, J. P., O’Sullivan, E., & Rasmussen, K. M. (2013, February). Breastfeeding and health outcomes for the mother-infant dyad. Pediatric clinics of North America. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3508512/ 

Making the decision to Breastfeed. Making the decision to breastfeed | Office on Women’s Health. (n.d.). https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/making-decision-breastfeed#1 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, August 24). Do you know which medications are safe to take while breastfeeding?. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breastfeeding-and-medications/art-20043975