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.

Fasting in the Holy Month of Shravan? Read This!

Believers around the world observe Shravan by fasting once a week. Monday fasting is traditionally followed during Shravan. You may have heard your relatives and loved ones tell you all about the traditions; what is important though, is to do a fast that would not harm your health. It’s about time you knew the facts about your health care in the holy month of Shravan.

Fasting, from a health perspective

When you fast, from a health perspective, you abstain from solid food. Fasting in a healthy way allows you to drink water through day while abstaining from food. By abstaining from food, your body gets a break and enough energy to focus on removing toxic poisons from your body. Otherwise, your body is too busy just digesting what you eat. By eliminating toxins, your body feels lighter and healthier in every way. Monday is considered the worst day around the world, no? The beginning of work week, end of a weekend. During Shravan, Monday fasting is the norm. So, what how does this fasting once a week help your body?

5 Health Benefits to Fasting

If this your first time, it could be hard for you but give it a few more tries and you will see how easy it is to just go with your routine and fast on Mondays.

Stimulation of mind

When the negative ions from your body drop, it gives you a sense of mental clarity. When you fast that’s what your body is doing; it is busy flushing these negative ions out of your body. Hunger may humble you and you may think about the higher powers of God in your life and His creations.

Look Young and Beautiful

The negative ions are also responsible for increasing the aging process in your body; so more wrinkles, fine lines, more stress, and worry. Without these ions, your skin directly clears and you may find yourself beaming with a glow! Fasting is one of the best ways to lose the extra fat and calories from your body too.

Eat only when hungry

Absence makes the heart grow fonder they say. In the same way, when you stay away from food for a while, it can increase your appreciation for it. The same old dal and rice will taste even better and you will taste and enjoy every morsel after you’ve fasted for long hours. With regular fasting, you can even train yourself to eat only when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.

Less is more

The adage can’t be truer now with fasting. The more food you put into your body the more time it needs to positively process it. If it doesn’t have enough time, it will only focus on digestion, rather than repairing of tissues, regeneration of cells and things of that nature. When you fast at least once a week, your body gets that much-needed break to focus on other vital processes and duties for your health.

Important Points to Remember Before Fasting

Monday is a great day, specifically if you have been bingeing over the weekend, yes? However, for healthcare for Shravan or fasting any time, consider not bingeing on the earlier day. Keep it light to prepare your body for fasting the next day.

It is also important that you choose wholesome organic food to eat the day before the fast, so no samosas or fried food, but lots of fresh veggies, fruit, nuts, and sprouts should do it. If you are not a vegetarian that’s ok too. Just that eating meat during the night time may hamper digestion, so it’s better you stick to meat only during the day time.

While you are at it, stay away from caffeine or alcohol on the day before fasting. Help yourself with a lot of fluids to keep up your energy. Your water needs to be purified. Here are the many benefits of fasting and doing it the right way can give you:

  • Improved digestion
  • Instant detox
  • Weight loss
  • Improved circulation
  • Better skin and hair

If you find yourself too tempted to eat during the day, drink fruit juices that will keep you hydrated, satiated and energised. So remember, fasting just once a week is the best gift you can give to your body.

It’s a Myth that Plastic Surgery is Just for Vanity

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear plastic surgery? Nose jobs, liposuction, breast implants? If you associate plastic surgery with these (now alarmingly) common procedures, you are not alone. There is a rise in cosmetic surgeries on popular celebrities, both men and women today. So, many wrongly believe plastic surgery is just for vanity, only a luxury for the rich and the famous. That is not true.

Cosmetic Vs Plastic Surgery

Many use the names interchangeably and wrongly assume that both are the same things. However closely related they may be, cosmetic and plastic surgery both have different goals.

Cosmetic surgery, as the name implies, is only focused on improving the appearance. Breast augmentations, liposuction, Botox and tummy tucks all fall under this category. Cosmetic surgery is generally not covered by the insurance.

Plastic surgery is primarily focused on the repair or reconstruction of dysfunctional body parts so that the person undergoing the procedure may live better. Burn repair surgery, hand surgery or scar revision surgery etc. fall under this category. Plastic surgery is expensive, but for the right reasons, it can be covered by your insurance.

Women and Plastic Surgery

Women with breast cancer may have to undergo a mastectomy but not all women with mastectomy will pursue breast reconstruction. In another scenario, some women want breast reduction to help reduce chronic back pains.  Either way, plastic surgeons closely work with such cases. While this may not be medically necessary, it helps women enhance their quality of life. Although it is a part of it, plastic surgery is not just to enhance a person’s appearance or beauty. In many ways, surgical enhancements develop into a medical necessity.

Check out the following cases where it is not only medically essential but proves that plastic surgery is not just for vanity.

Skin Cancer

Plastic surgeons work closely with people with many types of skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, etc. The surgeon first removes all the skin affected by cancer. Then reconstruction is performed which includes sutures or skin graft – which is the process of replacing skin with skin from another part of the body. This is an extremely intricate procedure.

Dog Bites

Plastic surgery is key for victims of a dog attacks. It aids proper healing and avoids the risk of skin infections and scarring if treated within the 12-24 hours. Bites that cause serious injuries to the face as those incurred in car accidents may also need plastic surgery.

Face Reconstruction

A severely injured soldier also gets help from the plastic surgeon. The treatment is not just to fix or improve the external look of the person. Plastic surgery helps improve the soldier’s quality of life. They can look in the mirror and not be reminded of the trauma they underwent. The surgery also protects the soldier from stranger’s reactions to the injuries, thus improving their self-esteem.

Deviated Septum

A nasal septum is normally the straight midline of the nose that divides the nose passageway into equal halves. A deviated septum is a severely shifted midline. A person having it may have heavy snoring, chronic sinus infections, nosebleeds, headaches or nasal congestion. Septoplasty is an invasive procedure performed by a plastic surgeon so there is no bruising on the outside of the nose.

Birth Defects

Babies born with a cleft palate or deformed upper lip are unable to nurse or suck the right way. This is a type of birth defect which requires plastic surgery to reconstruct the lip. Others with facial bone defects require plastic surgery not only to enhance their look but to improve the way they eat, breathe and talk too.

Eye Lifts

Some women who still want to wear eyeshadow and look young, go for eyelid procedures. However, eye lifts are medically necessary if the dropping of the eyes interferes with the person’s ability to see. Insurances generally cover the latter case.

Patients who are looking for a surgeon for either cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures should always check out the doctor’s specific certifications and if he or she is a member of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India. There is absolutely no harm is talking to other people who have undergone a similar procedure to know how exactly it works, what to expect and what not to expect.

A Cheat Sheet for Winter Skincare

There’s a slight nip in the air and the woollens are out by now already. Unfortunately, to look and feel good, only wearing sweaters and jackets doesn’t suffice. As much as one would prefer covering up and stay warm and cosy, the low temperatures ultimately manage to affect the skin and cause damage. Ideally, following a good winter skincare regime is the way to go. That takes daily commitment for adhering to a schedule, of course. But worry not. If you are hard pressed for time, here is a cheat sheet to still manage to look radiant.

  • Hydration is the key. Dry weather can cause flaking and itchiness. This is even more prominent for sensitive skin. A simple trick for this is to stay hydrated. Though winter doesn’t make us feel as much thirsty, drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day. Dry skin aggravates skin ageing so it is imperative to keep it moist internally.
  • For cleansing, use a cleanser with Aloe Vera as it helps restore moisture. It doesn’t have any harsh properties and, therefore, post cleaning leaves behind a soft feeling. For very dry skin, avoid soaps. If you follow the daily facial cleansing-toning-moisturizing routine, it is important to use an alcohol-free toner to avoid excessive drying. Look for ingredients such as chamomile and calendula when buying skincare products. These are non-irritants and have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
  • When choosing a moisturiser, someone with an oily skin tone should opt for a light moisturising body lotion whereas; for a dry to normal skin, a thick cream (but non-greasy) should work well. Apply lotion post a shower while the skin is still damp and refrain from excessive towel drying. It helps lock in the moisture. The best routine is to reapply a thin layer of moisturizer as and when you can throughout the day. Massage your hands and legs with argon oil before going to bed to wake up for a supple skin.
  • Speaking of showers, never take a very hot water bath during winter. Of course, the cold weather may want you to increase the water temperature a little more than normal. But that could cause more harm than comfort. Too hot water causes the skin pores to open up exposing them more to the cold air. Hence, go for lukewarm water. Use a detergent-free cleanser, again to avoid dryness.
  • Apply and re-apply a lip balm as and when possible. The thin skin on the lips cracks easily so applying natural protective oils will prevent chapping. The most easily available in this regard is the olive oil. Apply a little at bedtime so the lips too get their share of care.
  • For feet care, apply a thick moisturizer or even Vaseline on those cracked heels, nails, and all over the foot, actually, and wear socks at bedtime. At the salon, opt for a paraffin wax pedicure. Even for hands, for kitchen cleaning, use gloves whenever possible to avoid direct contact with detergents. Also, when you wash hands post some task, pat them dry instead of rubbing hard. For cracked hands and feet, Shea butter creams work wonders. Apply liberally and leave them overnight so they get enough time to recuperate.
  • Sunscreens are a must even during winters. UV rays cause havoc at any point in time and hence, use a broad spectrum sunscreen (for UVA and UVB protection) with minimum SPF 30.
  • If you have access to a humidifier, use one for creating warmth and putting moisture back in the air you are breathing. This also significantly helps in reducing nasal congestions and throat irritations, common due to the dry coldish air. People suffering from sensitive, dry skin completely vouch for the comfort they feel when around a humidifier.

Things to particularly avoid – excessive intake of salt and sugar, and err, alcohol. These will dehydrate your skin and are best to stay away from or at least limit their consumption to a minimal level. Instead, you can drink green tea with natural anti-oxidant properties to stay warm from within.

So get ready for all the New Year celebrations just around the corner. Remember to pamper your skin with all the hydration it needs and let it help you glow in turn.