FUNGI and FURUNCLE – Here is What You Need to Know

Have you ever noticed a brittle nail, with a flaky texture or yellowish tinge? Or maybe a painful, red bump on your skin, especially after a tropical vacation or a trek outdoors? Don’t worry, you’re not alone and you have plenty of options as far as treatment is concerned.

Although fungi and furuncles are equally uncomfortable, they are completely different from each other. It’s important to know these differences so that they may be successfully diagnosed and treated. Let’s start with the basics- fungi affect the nails whereas furuncles affect the hair follicles. There are treatments available for both, so there’s no need to worry if you notice either of the two erupt on your skin or nails. Let’s go into detail:

What are the symptoms of fungi?

  • The initial symptom is spotting on the nails, they begin to get stained yellow or white, and then get darker from the debris that collects under the nail
  • The texture of the nails is notably different, they tend to become extremely brittle, fragile and crumb-like.
  • There is also an unpleasant odour that develops if the nail is covered for a long time
  • In extreme cases, or if not diagnosed on early, the nail can also be dislodged from the skin

What causes fungi and how can I prevent it?

  • If you wear socks and shoes on a daily basis, you are at risk because you’re feet do not get the ventilation they need. This is the perfect chance for bacteria and infection to spread. Make sure that your shoes aren’t too tight, and your socks are made from a breathable fabric. Thick socks that absorb perspiration work the best.
  • Walking around public areas, such as swimming pools or saunas barefoot may not be the best idea. This is because these areas are an open ground for infections. If you are going to the nearest club for a swim, or for a relaxing massage at a spa, make sure you are wearing some sort of footwear at all times.
  • If you have an injury on your fingernail or toenail, make sure it is covered up. This is because an open wound makes you more susceptible to disease, especially fungi.

What are the various treatments for fungi?

  • A long-term treatment for fungi would be oral antifungal medicines which can be prescribed by a doctor. This treatment could last for six weeks, or could even take as long as five months for a healthy nail to grow back.
  • Another long-term treatment is medicated nail polish, which can also be prescribed by your doctor. This usually takes a year.
  • If you’re looking for something faster, there is laser therapy treatment for fungi as well.
  • In extreme cases, you might have to get your nail surgically removed. In this case, you will have to wait for a new, healthy nail to grow back.

 

So now that we have an understanding of what fungi is, why it’s caused and how to prevent it, let’s move on to furuncles!

What are the symptoms of furuncles?

  • A furuncle usually begins with a tiny, pea-sized reddish bump, and can be quite painful
  • The skin around the bump gets inflamed and appears red and swollen
  • The furuncle actually grows continuously as it fills with pus. If it’s not treated on time, it can grow to the size of a tennis ball
  • Like pimples and boils, the top of the furuncle has a tiny, white tip which is where the pus can be drained out from

What causes furuncles and how can I prevent them?

  • Furuncles are caused by a bacteria which infects the hair follicles
  • If your skin is broken due to an injury or an insect bite, you’re at risk because bacteria can enter your skin with ease. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly and keep it covered and dry till it scabs. Scratching insect bites is a big no-no as it’s a sure way to rupture irritated skin

What are the various treatments for furuncles?

  • If your furuncle is detected before it grows too big, it can be drained by a doctor
  • If your furuncles are severe or keep recurring, antibiotics are usually prescribed
  • A simple home remedy is to apply a warm, muslin cloth on the furuncle through the day. This helps it rupture and drain quickly. If you are not a professional, do not try rupturing the furuncle by yourself! You’ll need the help of a doctor for the same

Fungi and furuncles can be easily avoided if you take care of yourself and maintain proper hygiene. If you find yourself in the great outdoors, make sure you’re equipped with the right footwear, socks and insect repellent. The next time you see early signs of either fungi or a furuncle, remember it’s best to nip it in the bud. Remember not to self-diagnose or self-medicate, you can always reach out to us if you’re in need of a trusted Doctor.

4 Ways Smartphones Can Help Patients and Doctors Save Valuable Time

The past couple of years have seen the monumental impact that the smartphone has had on our everyday lives. From banking to retail, to manufacturing…there is hardly an industry that has not been touched by the smartphone revolution. Healthcare is no different. The smartphone has made inroads into the healthcare segment to improve efficiencies and aid decision-making. Modern-day healthcare mobile apps, leveraging digital technologies, cloud computing, etc. are working towards upending every aspect of healthcare and place the doctor and the patient in the centre stage.

The smartphone revolution had also led to the consumerization of healthcare. Patients want to now take charge and be in control of their healthcare decisions, want more clarity regarding healthcare and demand value of their time. At the same time, physicians juggling multiple clinics and hospitals demand more control of their time.

In this blog, we take a look at a few ways smartphones can assists doctors and patients save valuable time.

Access to Complete Health Records

Physical documents are not only hard to manage but also prone to getting lost and can be difficult to organise. In most cases, healthcare history and health records are stored in fragments…some with a medical practitioner, some at a hospital or some at home, etc. In order to save time during a consultation, having access to the complete medical history saves both the physicians’ and the patients’ time. Mobile apps can be used to upload the patient’s complete health history, lab reports, test results, pathological reports, prescriptions, x-rays, etc. which can be securely accessed both by the doctor and the physician. No time is then lost rummaging for information since all of it is documented in an organised manner on the handy smartphone itself and can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

Clearer Communication

How many times have you, as a patient, gone and spent time waiting at a doctor’s clinic only to be told that you need to come back after conducting certain tests? Even doctors, who always are time constrained, have spent time with patients going through their records only to realise that they need to send the reports for a consult with someone else or need the patient to go for another round of tests.

The healthcare scenario is replete with such examples where better communication between the patient and doctor could help both capitalise their time and reduce time wastage. Smartphone health apps can improve the channels of communication between doctors and patients. Since all the health care records, data and information are stored and uploaded to the application, the doctors can easily access these and identify if additional investigations need to be conducted, additional consults need to be made or if the patient can be sent a message regarding any vital piece of information to manage his/her health. The doctors can also share the patients’ medical report with other doctors for consultation with just a tap on the screen which also contributes to saving a lot of time.

Further, using the smartphone, doctors can send patients automated updates regarding health management and pre and post-op management instead of having to do so physically.

With access to their health data, patients too can ask more relevant and focused questions to their doctors. They can discuss medications, side effects, health impacts of their current physical condition etc. more accurately with their doctors. This ensures that the time spent with the physician is optimised and the discussion there is result-driven.

Finance Management

Medical finances can be quite complex to manage and lead to a lot of time wastage for both, the doctor and the patient. Smartphone apps can help immensely here by keeping track of all medical expenses for the patient. Medical bills, doctors’ fees, insurance claims details, cost of lab reports, hospital reports etc. can all be stored the mobile app and accessed from the smartphone whenever required. For doctors too, mobile apps can be of great help in making finance management simpler and more organised. Instead of wasting their time managing their financial transactions and making sure that these are organised, doctors can simply use a smartphone app to centrally store and manage all financial information such as transactions, referral fees, consultation charges, clinic and hospital billings etc. easily and access them whenever needed easily.

Analyse This

Data is king. It gives us detailed and quantified insights to make better and well-informed decisions – both for the patients and the doctors. Better decisions mean better health and patient management which consequently translates to optimal time usage and lesser time wastage. Access to medical health analytics can be easy using a good smartphone app. These apps compare health history, evaluate crucial checkpoints, and reveal relevant data that gives patients intelligent insights into their current state of health. Armed with this information the patients can take preventive steps to improve their health and avoid medical problems.

Doctors also can leverage healthcare analytics to better schedule their time and take a more preventive approach to health and disease management. Analysing medical and health data can inform doctors when patients tend to get sick most, the kind of health risks emerge at which times in the year, what kind of tests are being run repeatedly, what factors are contributing to repeated ailments etc. Analytics also helps in better clinic and practice management – all of this ensure that the time at hand can be used for the best purpose.

Clearly, time today has become the ultimate commodity and a common denominator for both physicians and patients. As the smartphone becomes a ubiquitous part of our lives, it only makes sense to use it to increase the time efficiency of our healthcare interactions and make sure that the time doctors and patients have at hand is utilised in the best possible manner – in decisive conversations that make health better.

All You Need To Know About Cataract

Many assume cataract is vision problems in the elderly since it is estimated that half the people who reach the age of 80 years are going to develop cataract. Did you know? That’s just half of the story. If you’re approaching 40 or may have passed that mark, here is more information and insights for all you need to know about cataract.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the naturally clear lens of the eye which lies behind the iris and the pupil that is responsible for vision. Cataract can occur in one eye or both the eyes but it’s not contagious! The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. However, if the lens is cloudy due to cataract, the image you see will be blurred.

Types of cataract

Cataract can be categorised under various categories such as:

  • Subcapsular cataract that occurs at the back of the lens. If you are diabetic or have been taking high doses of steroid medications, then you are at a greater risk of developing subcapsular cataract.
  • The nuclear cataract forms deep in the nucleus of the lens and is usually associated with aging.
  • The cortical cataract is characterised by white, wedge-like opacities that start at the periphery of the lens and work their way to the centre in a spoke-like fashion. This type of cataract occurs in the cortex, which is part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.

Symptoms and signs of cataract

A cataract usually starts out small. Initially, it has a very little effect on your vision. You may notice that a little blurred vision – almost like looking through a cloudy piece of glass. The light from the sun or a lamp seems too bright or glaring or you notice when you drive at night, the oncoming headlights causes more glare than ever. Colours may appear dull too. If you pay attention, you can recognise some of their symptoms in the less advanced stages. The symptoms of early cataract may be solved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting or anti-glare sunglasses to some extent. In case these measures do not help, probably you need a surgery.

What causes cataract?

The lens of the eye works much like a camera lens and it is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets the light pass through, but as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. It may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see. Researchers worldwide have identified factors that may cause cataracts besides advancing age:

  • Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged use of medications like corticosteroid
  • Medicines used to reduce cholesterol
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Family history

Cataract may affect only one eye

It’s more common to develop “bilateral cataracts,” but some people are only affected on one side. This can happen when you suffer from a trauma to one eye. It is always recommended that you see an eye doctor if you’ve suffered any type of incident or accident around your eyes. Cataract affects in different forms: A cataract can affect in a different way for different people. Some can develop this disease and see perfectly fine, however, with the only difference being that light affects them more than other people. Others may have difficulty when there is little light or at night, but in natural light, they see well.

You may not need to do surgery

Ask the doctor if the surgery is really needed. Sometimes, some medications and regular visits to the eye doctor might avoid the need for a surgery. Only your doctor can tell you if you have cataract and the best procedure is surgery.

Prevention of cataract

Visit your eye doctor at least once a year to prevent the occurrence of cataract and other eye disorders as you age. They will tell you if you have a specific problem or if there actually are any signs of cataract. Eat healthy to slow their progression.

10 Common Health Notions Examined Closely

Have you heard the notion about not swimming or taking a bath after you’ve eaten? There are many ways to become healthy, all roads lead to Rome kind of situation. Here are 10 common health notions dissected and presented so you can understand the truth thoughtfully too.

Drinking milk every day is good for you.

Call it aggressive marketing or an old wives tale, adults and even senior adults seem to have their hopes for health pinned on drinking milk every day. Milk is miraculous only up to a certain point for humans. Most grownups want to drink milk for their calcium and vitamin D fills. However, now compelling research now shows there is no direct link between drinking milk and less number of fractures in your life. On the contrary, there is a link with drinking milk and a higher rate of mortality in humans.

The 5-second rule of eating food dropped on the floor.

Have you heard this before? If you drop something on the floor, it’s ok to grab and eat it within five seconds of it falling. Now if it’s the last second chip from your pocket or your only piece of chocolate to sweeten your day – what would you do? Since you’ve heard of this common health notion before, you pick it up and eat it without a second thought, no? First, bacteria and virus don’t need seconds, they get attached to your food within milliseconds of falling on the floor. So give this notion a pass the next time your favourite food falls on the ground.

Don’t eat ice-cream when you have a cold

Most people find ice-cream comforting but if your kid has a cold ice-cream is a strict no-no in the house. Did you know? If you have a sore throat or are sick with a cold, ice-cream can soothe you. Besides, the notion “food the cold” stays true and ice-cream can give you those much-needed calories you otherwise may not get by starving yourself from sickness.

Sugar is bad for kids, it makes them hyperactive

One of the recent and most common notions is that sugar makes children hyper or refined sugar causes attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) in kids. Be comforted that many scientific studies were conducted and these have failed to prove this notion.

Spending 1 hour a day at the gym is good for health 

Going to the gym and exercising an hour a day is great for you. However, did you know? Sitting at the desk or on your couch for five hours straight is equivalent to smoking a whole pack of cigarettes. Yes! Your one hour at the gym is one thing but you have many other hours in the day. Make the most of them too for better health.

Flu vaccination is only for babies

We all need a flu vaccination! Having flu is a serious illness and it can cause serious damage to your body, even cancer! Once you get the vaccination, before the flu season starts, it works without giving you side-effect. Prevention is always better than cure and so, flu vaccinations are critical even for adults and specifically the senior adults.

Taking supplements keep you healthy

Popping pills are fine but if you skip meals and then take supplements to make up the loss is a whole different matter. Vitamins don’t work that way. Taking vitamins or supplements without a go head from a physician is risky. Studies have now found a link between overuse of supplements and increased risk of cancer.

Drink 8 glasses of water daily to lose weight

Drinking water and staying hydrated is important but strictly eight glasses? If you replace caffeinated drinks with water or replace your canned fruit juices with water, you will consume fewer calories in that perspective.

Cure a hangover by drinking one more of whatever you had last night

No, that one shot of tequila again in the morning will not help your hangover. Even coffee is bad to follow up after all the alcohol binging. You are dehydrated so drinking more alcohol or coffee will prolong the effect rather than help it. Drink lots of water and get breakfast instead.

Sugar causes diabetes

Diabetes is complex and there are is no compelling research to suggest a direct link of sugar with diabetes disease. However, if you consume sugary drinks and sports drinks, you can become overweight and weight gain is associated with many diseases, not just diabetes.

With so much information right at your fingertips now, you can’t help but examine these common health notions that people throw at you every day. So the next time you hear something, question it and do the right thing for your health.

 

 

Performance Perfect – Cloud Technology for Clinics and Hospitals

Technology has been the great enabler of efficiencies across industries and organizations. Amongst other industries, the healthcare sector too has warmed up to the adoption of technology to improve patient outcomes. Greater information exchanges, streamlined processes, better access to patient data and patient information, and better hospital outcomes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the advantages of technology adoption in healthcare.

Most large organizations are investing heavily in IT systems that help them achieve better outcomes. However, is technology adoption exclusive to larger hospitals? As patient expectations from healthcare providers continue to grow, it is becoming evident that technology adoption cannot be exclusive to larger hospitals and healthcare units. In order to meet patient expectation and increase efficiencies, smaller clinics cannot remain locked in the paper trap and have to look towards technology. The cloud is one such technology that can help both large hospitals and small clinics remove infrastructure burdens and improve patient outcomes.

The Cloud has been one of the most disruptive technologies of our times. While there is a lot that has been written about how the Cloud is transforming healthcare, in this blog, we take a look at how cloud can help smaller practices improve their outcomes and focus on what really matters – the patient

Zero infrastructure demands

One of the greatest advantages of the cloud is that it has no infrastructure demands. Cloud solutions do not demand heavy capital expenditure and allow acquisition of IT resources on demand thereby providing a cost effective deployment model. Clinicians wanting to leverage the power of the cloud can simply purchase or subscribe for a cloud-based solution and upload their information into this application environment.

Easy implementation and scalability

Comprehensive cloud solutions can be set up almost immediately. Anyone with absolute no technical knowledge can start using the solutions within a matter of few minutes. Additionally, these applications can be easily scaled according to demand. Adding multiple users, increasing functionalities, modules etc. can be done at the click of a button.

Data security

One of the challenges facing technology adoption was that of data security. However, today’s cloud applications encrypt data in rest and in transit to satisfy the data security concerns of clinicians. Instead of keeping patient records and patient history in a hard copy format that can easily get lost or misplaced, the cloud provides clinicians a way to keep a central information repository and provides application level security. This ensures that only the authorised personnel have information access and that this healthcare data is not misused or misplaced at any given time.

Mobility

The cloud gives doctors and clinicians the capability to host all patient related information in a central repository thus making medical history management inherently easier.  Since doctors are almost always on the move, they need a technology solution that helps them stay productive even when they are on the move. The cloud enables mobility and helps doctors access all patient related information, medical records, test results etc. from the convenience of their preferred device – be it a smartphone or a tablet – and also helps them upload and share information from their mobile device irrespective of their location.

Cost advantage

With Cloud, clinicians have to pay just for the usage on a month-on-month basis. They don’t need to invest heavily in infrastructure and hardware and software. Cloud-based applications can simply be accessed from the web browser. By leveraging the pay-per-use model provided by cloud service providers, clinicians can significantly lower their technology investments.

Improved doctor-patient interaction

Several cutting-edge cloud-based clinic management solutions allow doctors to stay connected with their patients. Using such solutions, clinicians can empower their patients to monitor their own health and store their own health records online. Using this patient data, the doctors can suggest more accurate treatment to their patients. Also, since the information is stored online, patients don’t need to carry heavy files and documents of their medical history with them and at the same time, they can completely update their doctors about their health status.

As the consumerisation of healthcare continues, doctors should look at technologies such as the cloud to help doctors manage their time and resources better and improve the quality of patient interactions.

At Mars Plus, we have created a fully-integrated healthcare platform, specifically for the needs of Indian Medical Practitioners. It helps physicians better manage their practice through a single mobile-friendly system. With modules for patient management, billing management, finance management, referrals and multiple clinic management, Mars Plus makes it easy for doctors to manage all the aspects of their practice, ensure compliance, get more patient time, and offer better patient care. Know more about it at http://marspls.com.