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.

The Dangers of Self-Medication

Nowadays, everyone feels like they have the qualities of a doctor. And hence, they often resort to self-medication. ‘Bad stomach? I know the pill for it!’ ‘Pain in the abdomen? It’s probably just acidity!’ While health issues like cough, cold, and fever can be treated at home, at times, the health issue at hand may be much bigger for which, visiting a doctor is an absolute must. The doctor is the only one who can give you a complete diagnosis of your situation and provide you with guidance regarding the steps you can take going forward, to enhance the healing process.

Self-medication is harmful due to a number of reasons. A study by Psychology Today explains that individuals tend to act as their own physicians in an attempt to handle the symptoms of the physical or mental health concern involved with it. A lot of times they want to hide their condition since going to the doctor may come across as a sign of weakness. Sometimes, they are scared or embarrassed, and at times, they simply want to avoid the expenses of getting the diagnosis of the problem from a professional. Truth is, self-medication can ruin a person’s life, the lives of others around him/her and can end up making the original situation much worse than it was.

Some of the important dangers of self-medication are:

Wrong Drug Dosage

When you decide to prescribe drugs for yourself, there is no one to tell you the right dosage for the pills you are using. Even if you have got the drug right, factors such as the dosage of the drug, how it needs to be taken, its composition and its side-effects or reactions, if any, also need to be considered. Ignorance and lack of awareness when it comes to these things can cause serious problems and can also lead to a fatality. According to a study by the non-profit group, Trust for America’s Health, nearly 52% of deaths were related to prescription drug overdoses where the patients did not even know that they have taken an overdose.


Many medicines tend to have side effects on your body. When you go to a physician, he gives you appropriate drugs to counter those effects and stabilize your body. He prescribes medicines keeping in mind your body type, your diet, your daily routine, etc. Self-medication, on the other hand, can lead to severe side effects such as allergic reactions, loose stools, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

Wrong Diagnosis

One of the major things that can go wrong when you resort to self-medication is the wrong diagnosis of the disease at hand. You may be suffering from some specific symptoms and will link those to a disease that you know of. You will end up taking the medicines for it but that probably will not work. This can complicate simple situations and also make it difficult for the doctor to correctly diagnose and treat your situation at later stages.

Self-medication for Pregnant Women

This one could probably be the most dangerous kind of self-medication. Wrong moves or intake of unfamiliar drugs could cause birth defects and congenital anomalies in the child. What the mother consumes during the pregnancy stage directly affects the child so it is very important that they find out all the information about the particular drug that they are consuming. Visiting a physician and taking his recommendations for the medicines would be the best way to go about it.

Addiction to the Wrong Drug

A lot of times, there are cases wherein a patient is taking a wrong drug and gets addicted to it. This is especially true in the case of medical conditions such as depression where the doses of the drug are very high and cause severe effects. If you are following self-medication, there is no one who can reassess the prescription for you. Strong pills and their overdose can lead to severe problems or even death. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 33,175 people died in 2012 due to an unintentional drug overdose.

Masking the Symptoms of a Serious Condition

The route of self-medication may also cause the patients to overlook the symptoms of a serious condition that they may be suffering from. For example, a patient may be suffering from a condition such as pneumonia but may pass it off as a case of the flu. At times, people tend to take this route to save themselves the embarrassment of being the victim of a serious disease. However, this is very harmful and the most inappropriate way of dealing with the problem.

Alternately, there are times when people tend to adopt the route of telemedicine. A lot of times, this may prove to be fruitful since it reduces the hassle of visiting the doctor in person and thus saves time and money. But where does the credibility come in? With so many portals offering medical advice, there are a lot of cases of spam and frauds. The advising authority may not have the right knowledge or skills to guide you with the best possible treatment. Carelessness and lack of precision from their end could lead to devastating results and also a case of fatality. When you are looking for doctors offering telemedicine, look for the credibility of the doctors and the portals which offer this service.

Don’t take your health very lightly. Always remember, Google is not your doctor – avoid self-medication. Always consult a doctor for the smallest of health issue. After all, the preservation of health is always easier than a cure of the disease.


Malaria – Get Facts on Symptoms, Treatment and Home Remedies

Over the past few years, the momentum of research and efforts on malaria has tremendously increased. In many poor tropical and subtropical countries of the world, malaria continues to be one of the leading causes of illness and death. To avoid a decline in the efforts to prevent and treat this disease, World Malaria Day is celebrated every year on the 25th of April. In a bid to promote global efforts to understand and control malaria, WMD is one of eight official global public health campaigns upheld by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In terms of malaria, the statistics are shocking. Across the world, more than 3 billion people in 106 countries are currently at risk of malaria. In 2012 alone, malaria caused approximately 627,000 deaths. Through programs and initiatives taken around World Malaria Day, an estimated 112,235 children under 5 are alive today who would otherwise have died from the disease, and 41 million people have been educated on the prevention, detection and treatment for this deadly illness.

So what exactly is malaria? Malaria is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes. When a mosquito carrying malaria bites a human, the disease spreads from the insect’s saliva to the person’s blood. If malaria isn’t diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible after becoming infected, it can become fatal. The main signs and symptoms of malaria include headache, high temperature, fever, nausea, diarrhoea, aching muscles, fatigue, and a dry cough. Although these are the most common symptoms of malaria, not all of the above may appear. Sometimes you may only two or three of the most common symptoms, such as a headache, fever, and vomiting. Malaria is mainly found in tropical regions such as large areas of Africa and Asia, Central and South America, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Middle East and some Pacific Islands.

If you are diagnosed with malaria, it is important that you start taking your medicine immediately to avoid the disease from becoming fatal. As much as possible, stay indoors in well-screened areas, especially at night when mosquitoes are most active. Use mosquito nets and bed nets. It’s best to treat the nets with the insect repellents. Wear clothing that covers most of your body. Use an insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin. These repellents are applied directly to your skin, except around your mouth and eyes. If you choose a picaridin-based repellent, you will need to reapply it every several hours.

Travelers occasionally get malaria so it is strongly recommended that you take preventive medication when you travel to a region of the world that has malaria. The treatment may begin two weeks before your trip for the prevention of malaria. It may also continue for a month after you leave the area.

Treating malaria has become much simpler and easier with the discovery of effective medicines and undoubtedly medicines are the first option to treat the illness. The most widely used medicine for malaria is Chloroquine along with Quinine sulfate, Hydroxychloroquine, Mefloquine and a combination of atovaquone and proguanil. Just like any other disease, measures to prevent malaria can be taken by using simple home

remedies too. Although this might not be applicable in severe situations, they will definitely help in building up your immunity and resistance towards the disease.

One of the most effective home remedies for malaria is grapefruit. It should be consumed daily. The natural quinine-like substance can be extracted from the grapefruit by boiling a quarter of it and straining its pulp. Cinnamon is a valuable remedy for treating malaria. Take one teaspoon of powdered cinnamon and boil it in a glass of water with a pinch of pepper powder and a teaspoon of honey. Take this on a daily basis. Lime and lemon also play a vital role to reduce the quartan type of malarial fever. Take 4 to 5 drops of lime, add the juice of one lemon and dissolve it in one glass of water. This mixture needs to be consumed before the onset of fever.

Most importantly, you need to ensure that you maintain a clean and hygienic surrounding around you at all times. Keep yourself healthy by eating the right kind of foods and by keeping away from mosquitoes. The right kind of measures will keep you safe and away from the wrath of this terrible disease.

A Bright and Healthy Summer for Your Kids!

Schools are going to be shut for a few more weeks now. It’s that time of the year for which the kids wait all year round to enjoy the thrill of not having to go to school or sit and complete their daily homework. They sure have a gala time this season but the same creates feelings of anxiety and insecurity in parents. Parents do not have all day to spend with their children so taking care of how the kids spend their time becomes very important. As a responsible parent, it is your duty to ensure that they do not indulge in any kind of wrong activities and also stay fit and healthy!

There are a lot of ways in which you can take care of their health. Children need at least an hour of physical activity per day so getting them registered for a fun activity or sport, such as football, volleyball or badminton would really help. Find out what they like and make sure they enjoy the classes. This will not only keep them occupied but also teach them values such as teamwork, punctuality and maintaining a daily schedule. Do not let them get addicted to playing video games or watching TV. Too much of these will adversely affect their eyesight and also make them lazy.

Although children do not have to wake up early in the morning and get to school, maintaining a rough schedule for their day will really help. Make sure that they do not stay up too late in the night. Sticking to an agenda will make them organized and also make the transition of getting back to the routine of school a lot easier. Place unhealthy snacks out of their sight and reach. Surely, kids love munching on chips and biscuits, or resorting to a bowl of Maggi for their late night hunger pangs. By keeping them away, you can reduce their temptation and avoid the kids from mindlessly reaching out for them time and again. Instead, have a bowl of fruits such as banana, orange, and apple on the dinner table along with a jar of dry fruits such as cashews, almonds and pistachios. These will keep them from eating unhealthy and also provide health benefits.

Another activity which kids will heartily enjoy this season is swimming! Get them to join swimming coaching classes if they need to learn the sport or simply a club where they can go and swim. You will have to keep an eye out and ensure that they play it absolutely safe in the water. Once the safety precautions have been taken, swimming is one of the best summer activities for kids! Be it whatever sport you get the children to play, you have to make sure that they keep having a lot of water throughout and do not get dehydrated. Keep a bottle of water handy with them at all times and remind them to keep taking sips since kids often tend to get too involved with their surroundings and forget. Lack of water can cause serious problems such as dehydration and kidney stone. You can also give them fresh fruit juices of watermelon, lemon, orange and sweet lime. These will keep them hydrated and be tasty too.

Protect the kids from harmful UV rays. Make sure that they wear a cap when they step out in the afternoons, encourage them to put sunscreen and wear full sleeves to protect their skin. Too much sun can cause heat boils, causing feelings of itchiness and uneasiness. Direct exposure to strong afternoon sun can even cause heat strokes. Give them light coloured clothing and involve a lot of cotton in their wardrobe. Cotton keeps the body feeling light and absorbs heat easily.

Summer sunshine brings along feelings of joy and happiness. A little weariness from the sun and a few safety measures to protect kids from the scorching heat will keep them feeling fit and healthy throughout the season, and in perfect shape for the next academic year at school!

Night Shifts and a Healthy Lifestyle – Can they ever be BFFs?

Anjali is a successful Operational Manager at a company. She works on night shift four days of the week. While her work gets done quickly and easily due to lesser people in office and the laidback vibe of late hours, her lifestyle is completely out of order during the other three days of the week. She sits up late at night due to insomnia and sleeps through the day. Because of this, she cannot get any other work done and also ends up indulging in unhealthy eating habits. Lack of a schedule makes her hungry at odd hours; she ends up grabbing a packet of chips or biscuits to munch on, only to realize that she hardly has any proper meals throughout the day! Over time, she realized that this has got to stop. What does she do?

This is not only Anjali’s story but of several others who work in night shifts or at odd hours. People assume that working a night shift is easier than the normal shift since you have probably a calmer environment to work in. But these working hours have a tremendous disadvantage upon your health and your personal life. Once you have gotten yourself into the routine of staying up late in the night, taking some precautions and measures to ensure that the rest of your days are spent productively and that you get the rest that you deserve is very important.

The most important thing is diet! When you’re on a night shift, you probably end up eating packaged food or junk food or even nothing at all. While resorting to such means a few times is alright, making it a part of your daily routine is a strict no-no. The best way to go about it is to prepare something beforehand and take it with you in office to eat later. These could be simple dishes such as a chicken salad or a bunch of chopped vegetables sautéed together. Do not waste time being meticulous in the preparations because then you will get bored of doing it after a couple of days. Stick to the basics and make it a habit.

It’s understandable that working late hours is going to need you to put caffeine in your body to give you energy and keep you up. After all, coffee is the go-to option for people working in normal shifts too, so we can’t really blame the ones working in night shifts. If not for coffee, there are people who have energy drinks or soda to keep themselves up, which is alright too. Again, the only thing to remember is to not overdo it! A cup or two of coffee is a given but if you are having six to eight cups a day, you have got to find an alternative. You can try black coffee or green tea. These will prevent your body from heavy intakes of sugar, thus, also avoiding too many calories.

There will, of course, be instances when you really want to cook something to avoid eating junk but you have absolutely no preparation time. In such cases, go in for good liquid calories by preparing yourself a smoothie. Make sure that you have a blender at home or at work (if that’s allowed) and you can just pop in some fruits, add milk and voila! There’s a healthy liquid meal right there! Experiment with flavours, add almonds and nuts for taste and even treat yourself to Nutella and chocolate syrup once in a while. It’s still going to be better than a packet of chips for dinner.

Lastly, make some time for exercise! Working long hours is going to make you feel like you have absolutely no time for it but it is definitely possible if you can push yourself a little. Try cutting your nap time a little shorter. If you do not have time to hit the gym, do

a quick 20-minute workout at home. If that’s not possible either, take a quick walk down the road from your house and back. Make sure that you subject your body to some form of physical exercise, at least, every alternate day. Though this may seem like an impossible task in the beginning, it will make you feel much healthier and fitter in the long run.

Make good use of technology! With the increasing number of apps and websites available in the market today, you can have a virtual assistant for all your chores. These apps can help you keep an account of your weekly intake of food and calories so that you can change your eating habits accordingly.

With a little bit of effort and precautions, working on a night shift can be as smooth as working on a regular shift, and the right diet will help you remain fit and healthy too!