When to Worry About a Spider Bite

Bug bites are an unfortunate part of life. Though annoying and itchy, they usually resolve without treatment and leave no permanent damage. However, some spider bites can be more problematic due to their toxic venom. It is important to know that not all spiders are venomous, but some are. Knowing about certain venomous spiders can tell people when to worry about a spider bite. 

When to Worry About a Spider Bite

One of the most important factors affecting the seriousness of a spider bite is what type of spider made the bite. Of particular concern is the brown recluse spider, though other spiders can have problematic bites as well. If one receives a bite from one of the spiders listed below, then they should have the bite evaluated by a medical professional.

Brown Recluse Spider

This species of spider is of particular concern because it is one of the few spiders that could potentially harm a human. They live in the Southern and Central states of the United States, such as Missouri, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Normally, they grow to about an inch long. They can be identified by a black marking on their back that looks like a violin. Like their name indicates, these spiders tend to hide in dark, dry, hidden places. Fortunately, they are not aggressive and will only bite when threatened or trapped. Unfortunately, they can hide in bedsheets or shoes, become trapped, and bite.

Because they carry a highly toxic venom, any bite from a brown recluse spider is a “when to worry about a spider bite.” Fortunately, they only inject a small amount when they bite and most cases result in few complications. However, in rare cases, these bites can lead to clotting problems, acute anemia, and kidney failure. The venom can also blister and turn skin the purple, which causes the skin to become necrotic. If this occurs, skin tissue dies and the bite will not heal for weeks to months. There is no anti-venom available.

Although these bites can be serious, 90% of bites have minimal complications and no deaths from these spider bites have been recorded. Skin reaction generally occur within several hours, but any yellowing, fever, rash, or vomiting that occurs in the next week should also be evaluated by a doctor. Medical treatment commonly involves antibiotics, though surgery and hospitalization are required for serious cases.

Black Widow

Living in the southern and western parts of the United States, black widow spiders are another venomous spider. They are identified by a red hourglass marking on their black bodies. Bites result in pain, nausea, cramping and restlessness. Elderly adults or children are the most at risk for health problems from these bites. Fortunately, anti-venom exists and can be administered by a doctor.

Hobo Spider

These spiders live in the Pacific northwest and run quickly on their long legs. They can bite when provoked. Their bites result in pain within 15 minutes, and the area can eventually turn into a red or purple blister that heals very slowly. Patients may also have visual changes, headaches, or nausea. Treatment is similar to that of brown recluse spider bites, with antibiotics given typically and surgery only for severe cases.

Tarantula

These large, hairy spiders can grow to 3-5 inches and live in deserts in the southwestern United States. One may find them hidden under rocks, in tree trunks, or tunneled inside burrows. They have venom, but it is not as harmful to humans as that of some other spiders. Still, bites can result in low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and breathing difficulties along with redness or an itchy rash. Medical attention is required if patients show more serious symptoms.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Growing up to 5 inches, these aggressive spiders are one of the most dangerous and poisonous spiders in the world. Bites are extremely painful and cause swelling, redness, and a hot sensation. Serious cases can cause sweating, drooling, and sometimes even death. Prompt medical attention is required and anti-venom is available. Fortunately, these spiders tend to be limited to Central and South America.

Of course, whether the bite comes from one of these spiders or another, there are symptoms that will tell you when to worry about a spider bite. At the same time, while many other symptoms may be annoying, they will resolve on their own and aren’t a cause for worry.

Serious Symptoms of a Spider Bite

Any spider bite can cause some pain or a mild, itchy rash, but other symptoms require medical attention. A doctor should immediately examine any bite that is red, oozing with fluid, extremely painful, or just not healing. Any symptoms that affect the whole body, such as chills, restlessness, high blood pressure, or difficulty breathing also require a medical examination. In general, treatment is more effective when started soon after a bite.

How Do You Treat a Spider Bite?

If the bite did not come from one of the spiders above, a number of home remedies will help. If you catch it early, the Bug Bite Thing can be very helpful. Cleaning the bite area with soap and water will reduce the risk of infection. Antibiotic ointment can also help, especially if the skin begins to blister. Icing with a cold pack for 10 minutes and elevating the swollen area will help reduce swelling.

Antihistamine medication, such as Benadryl, can help with any itchiness that develops in the bite. As it heals, remember to clean the bite repeatedly to prevent the risk of infection. If the bite does not heal with these home remedies, one should seek medical attention.

Conclusion

Spider bites are only an annoyance in most cases. However, if the spider bite is from a brown recluse or black widow spider, that is when to worry about a spider bite. These and other spiders with venom can cause severe symptoms. Fortunately, these are only in rare cases. Most bites can be treated by cleaning the bite, ice, and medication. However, if the bite does not heal over time or results in difficulty breathing or some other systemic symptom, one should seek immediate medical attention.

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3 Types of Food That Cause Acne

A common skin condition that causes inflamed bumps, spots, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads, acne affects up to 10% of the world’s population. There are many treatment options available for acne; this skin condition can, however, be stubborn and persist for a long time. If you or a loved one is dealing with this annoying skin issue, keep reading for more information. Here, we discuss the top foods that cause acne and also talk about anti-acne foods that can help combat this skin disorder naturally.

What Are Some Foods That Cause Acne?

Dairy food that cause acne

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Acne is usually caused by excess oil production by the sebaceous glands in the skin that can lead to clogged pores, causing break-outs. Genetics, hormones, stress, etc. are known triggers that cause acne. Researchers have now identified a strong link between diet and acne, so what you eat impacts your skin, especially if you’re acne-prone. Scroll down below to learn the top inflammatory foods that cause acne.

Sugar and Refined Grains

A diet rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars is linked to greater inflammation, which can trigger acne in individuals prone to this problem. Foods made from refined flour like white bread, cereal, pasta, deserts, and soda spike up your insulin levels, leading to hormonal imbalances, activating sebaceous glands. As sebaceous glands produce more oily secretions, your skin breaks out into acne.

Dairy Products 

The Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series Pediatric Program conducted a study in 2011 that determined that in industrialized countries, dairy consumption past infancy contributes to acne later in life. Dairy stimulates the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and boosts enzymatic activity of mTORC1, both of which contribute to the development of acne and other inflammatory diseases.

Processed Foods

Increased consumption of processed foods like burgers, fries, chips, nuggets, hot dogs, milkshakes, etc. are among the top foods that cause acne. Researchers are yet to find an exact link between fast food and acne; processed food contains a significant amount of refined grains, dairy, and chemical ingredients all of which can trigger acne. Eating excessive fast food leads to hormonal imbalances, which can result in acne.

Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

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If you have acne-prone skin and love chocolates, this may be an intense question raging in your mind. However, most dermatologists and researchers agree that there’s no conclusive evidence linking chocolate directly to acne. That being said, certain ingredients in chocolate, including sugar and dairy, can aggravate existing acne and pimples. Sugar leads to insulin spikes and increased production of androgens, which results in increased sebum production, causing acne and pimples.

face-mask for acne

So, the next question is: what about the cocoa found in chocolate? With all the hype around the anti-inflammatory properties of dark chocolate, you’d wonder if eating dark chocolate with less sugar and dairy can cut the risk of acne. Well, researchers and dermatologist are divided on this as well.

Some studies suggest that the fatty ingredients in dark chocolate can actually trigger acne. However, most experts agree that more detailed research and studies are required to establish a clear link between chocolate and acne. After all, dark chocolate also contains dairy, even if there’s less than in milk chocolate. You can also try making your own hot chocolate with coconut milk or another dairy substitute and an artificial sweetener.

face-mask for acne

Ultimately, the best thing to do is keep a food journal will help you identify your trigger foods, and if chocolate is among them, you’ll unfortunately have to forgo this particular treat to prevent acne flare-up.

What Foods Help Heal Acne

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We’ve talked about foods that cause acne; now let’s focus on nutrient-rich, antioxidant-loaded food sources that can actually heal or prevent acne. Keep reading to know the top foods that can help combat this common yet distressing skin condition.

Turmeric

A bright yellow spice native to Asia, turmeric contains a powerful polyphenol, curcumin, which has strong antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial properties. Consuming turmeric in your daily diet has an anti-inflammatory effect on your body and can help reduce acne.

Fatty Fish

Eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines a couple of times a week is beneficial for your overall health and skin in particular. These fatty fish are rich in the Omega-3 fatty acids that promote the growth of healthy skin cells, improving the overall texture and appearance of complexion. Fatty fish is also rich in those antioxidants that prevent free radical damage and reduce inflammation on the skin. Reduced inflammation combined with an anti-oxidant boost can significantly reduce acne and pimples.

Probiotic Foods

There is increasingly evidence between a healthy gut and good skin. Probiotic-rich foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain beneficial bacteria that can not only improve digestion, but also block sebum production and reduce inflammation, reducing acne and pimples.

​​Conclusion

Acne is a stubborn skin condition that can wreak havoc with your skin and dent your self-confidence. As credible research points to a connection between an unhealthy diet, rich in refined grains, sugar, and saturated fats to acne, it is evident that what you eat has a huge impact on your skin.

Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder which can be managed with a combination of medication and a healthy diet. If you’re prone to acne, it’s important to monitor the foods that may be triggering a flare-up. Loading up on nutrient-dense food, rich in plants, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein is a great way to combat the overall inflammatory response of the body, which can improve your skin, reducing acne, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Managing your stress is also an important factor in controlling acne flare-ups.

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How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel: A Complete Guide

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Anyone who works with their hands, whether in an office or on a production floor, has probably felt those shocks of pain shoot through their wrists. These pains are no fun, and more than likely they are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.If you have ever wondered how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, read this article to get a comprehensive look at the problem and find surefire ways to help prevent and ease this pain.

What Is Carpal Tunnel?

Before we talk about how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, we first need to know what it is. The carpal tunnel is actually a narrow path in our wrists made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons. There is a nerve, called the median nerve, that passes through this tunnel. Any swelling in these ligaments or tendons will cause the carpal tunnel to shrink and compress the median nerve. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) usually happens gradually, as continual repetitive use of the wrists will cause damage and swelling. The symptoms associated with CTS are numbness or tingling in the hand, and sometimes it feels like an electric shock between the thumb and fingers (mostly the index and middle finger). Sufferers can also feel an unusual and tingly pain moving from their wrists up their arm towards the elbow. In most cases, this sensation is on the thumb side of their arm.

Who Is At Risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The risk for carpal tunnel syndrome is far reaching. If you were born with a smaller carpal tunnel, then you are more likely to have issues. Females suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome more than males. As we age our chances of contracting carpal tunnel syndrome increase because of the wear and tear we’ve put on our bodies over the years.

Also, some health conditions can make you more susceptible. Rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism makes you more likely to have symptoms. Most all of us use our wrists heavily throughout the day, but those who work specifically with their hands like heavy laborers, musicians, or office workers see the syndrome more often than other types of workers.

Carpal Tunnel Prevention

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is an epidemic that continues to grow amongst American workers. Virtually every profession is affected in some way. Any time a worker performs repetitive or strenuous movements with their wrists, they are at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and the painful and debilitating symptoms that follow. As you will see from the research and statistics below, there is a dire need for carpal tunnel syndrome prevention.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 32.8% of repetitive motion job injuries lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This syndrome is vast in its reach and affects over eight million Americans annually. In 2010, The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that over five million workers reported problems with carpal tunnel syndrome that year.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

While heredity and other factors like pregnancy or some diseases make it near impossible to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome for many people, there are some practices you can adopt to lessen your chances of suffering from this condition. An overall healthy lifestyle will help prevent CTS, or at least minimize the painful symptoms.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking are some daily practices you can adopt to help prevent CTS. Obesity, which is often caused by overeating and lack of exercise, will slow down the nervous system and make you more susceptible to the syndrome. Smoking interferes with blood flow, which can also lead to CTS. Practicing better posture will help keep your wrists in good shape. If you slump over, this makes the muscles in your neck and shoulders shorten, which puts more pressure on your arms and wrists.

Daily Habits to Keep CTS Away

Other daily practices can help you prevent CTS. Make sure when you sleep that you aren’t bending your wrists. If needed, you can purchase an over-the-counter brace to help keep your wrists straight at night. Keep your muscles, especially those in your wrists and hands, warm. Warm muscles are more flexible and get better blood flow. Also, concentrate on loosening your grip when performing any tasks with your wrists. Pay attention to how tightly you grip keys and even a pen.

If you work in a position that would make you more susceptible to CTS, make sure you take frequent breaks. It is recommended that you take a stretching break at least once an hour during your work day. If your job requires you to perform the same movements each day, switch it up by trying to use your other hand or work from another position. 

One of the most important practices you can adopt is frequent stretches. The following stretches are our favorite for helping to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome:

Steeple Hands Stretch

This is a great stretch you can do anytime you feel your wrists are getting tight or sore. With relaxed and bent elbows, hold both hands out in front of you with your palms facing each other. Touch each finger and your thumb with the same finger on the other hand. Push your hands together until all fingers and your palms are touching each other.

Then slowly roll your palms back out away from each other while leaving the tips of your fingers together. This will look almost like you are holding a hamburger. Repeat this movement between five and ten times, or until your hands and fingers feel warmed up and stretched. This is a nice stretch you can do sitting at your desk without disturbing your office mates. Try this exercise as many as a few times an hour if needed.

Stretch Them Out

If you are continuously typing on a keyboard, or your work requires you to repeat the same movements with your wrists each day, it’s important to take time, at least once an hour, to stretch out your wrists. One way to do this is by holding out one arm straight in front of you with your wrist relaxed. With the other hand, gently pull your relaxed hand towards you until you feel a stretch in your wrist. Repeat with the other hand.

Another way to stretch out your wrists is to take each wrist and circle it around. Circle each wrist clockwise for three revolutions and then repeat the stretch moving in the opposite direction. This is a quick and simple stretch that you can do while sitting at your desk, and you can repeat it as many times as needed throughout your work day.

Shake Them Out

This is another simple activity you can do periodically while working. Place both hands out in front of you with your elbows bent and your wrists relaxed. Shake your hands back and forth quickly, as if you just washed your hands and you’re trying to fling the water off of them. 

Conclusion

Now that you know how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, you will be healthier and feel great. The better you feel, the more productive you will be in your job and daily life.   

How Do Braces Work & How Do They Straighten Your Teeth

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For a lot of us, braces are a rite of passage. If you’ve ever wondered, how do braces work?, one answer is that it is a gradual and scientific process. While you may ask your orthodontist every visit how much longer you have to wear them, the fact is that braces work best if they apply pressure to your teeth slowly and gradually. If the process is hurried, it won’t be effective and you won’t be happy with the results. To understand more why that great smile takes some time, read below.

How Do Braces Work?

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Braces work by applying just the right amount of pressure to your teeth to move them into a new and straighter position. The technical term for this process is biomechanical response, or remodeling. While getting braces is considered a dental procedure, you usually see an orthodontist to have it done. 

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who concentrates in correcting irregularities in the teeth. We will discuss the specifics of this process below, but first we need to look at the various components that make up a set of braces.

Equipment Used in Braces

The first piece of equipment used in traditional braces is a bracket. This small, typically metal, deviceis bonded to the front of each of your teeth. It is built so that wires and bands can be attached to it. The archwire is a pre-shaped wire with an arch shape. The orthodontist will attach the wire to all the brackets on your teeth.

These wires are special in that they have a tendency to want to reshape into an arch, even after they have been manipulated to hook into the brackets. It’s their tendency to straighten that moves your teeth and eventually gives you that beautifully straight smile you’ve been dreaming about. The archwires come in varying thicknesses and shapes depending on your specific treatment plan and needs.

If you have an overbite or underbite, you may also need some jaw movement. For this, the orthodontist will use elastics. These are rubber bands that attach to your brackets to realign your jaw. They are removable, and your orthodontist will tell you when it is necessary to install them. Your orthodontist could use a few other items like springs, headgear, or spacers if needed.

The Science Behind “How Do Braces Work?”

Contrary to popular belief, our teeth are not growing directly from our jaw bones. If they were, it would be impossible to manipulate them into a new position. The roots of our teeth are surrounded by a membrane called the periodontal membrane. This membrane can grow and break down the cells in the roots to make it possible to move them to a new permanent position.

When a tooth is moved because of the constant and gentle pressure of the archwire, it is moving away from the periodontal membrane on one side and closer to it on the other. On the side where the tooth is moving away, bone growing cells called osteoblasts are produced, making this new position permanent. This process is called deposition. Deposition takes an average of three months.

On the other side of the tooth where the archwire is pushing the tooth into the periodontal membrane, the pressure breaks down bone in a process called osteoclasts. This breakdown makes room for the tooth in a process called resorption, which takes about three days. Every time your orthodontist adjusts your braces, this process takes place.

The Different Types of Braces

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While the science behind “how do braces work?” is true for all types of braces, there are options for you and your orthodontist to choose from. In most cases your orthodontist will choose the style that works best for your treatment plan. Many patients are in adolescence when braces are applied, but adults can get braces too, and your age may be a determining factor for the type you choose.

Traditional

Traditional braces have the classic metal brackets with the metal archwire. The archwire is held on by tiny elastic o-rings. To make the brackets a little less visible, most orthodontists offer ceramic or clear brackets. Depending on the quality of the material, these brackets can yellow.

Lingual

If you prefer your braces to be invisible, you can request lingual braces. They are made the same way as the traditional ones, only the brackets and archwire go behind your teeth. One thing to watch out for with these braces is that your tongue might accidentally brush up against the metal, causing some discomfort.

Calledaligner

A new style of braces is calledaligner trays. These braces are clear plastic molds of your teeth that get changed out periodically in order to slowly re-align your smile. They fit on almost like a mouth guard, and this style is very appealing because they are clear. Since the patient can remove these braces, they are not recommended for younger children.

Things to Know Before You Get Braces

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Some teens look forward to the day when they get their braces. The newness is exciting. Others might dread it because they’ve heard stories about the soreness, or they are afraid others might tease them. It’s a privilege, and the beautiful smile you have when the orthodontist takes them off will be worth the time and any mild discomfort.

Installation

When the day comes for your braces to be installed, it may take anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour for your orthodontist and his team to finish the job. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort during the process, and typically there isn’t any soreness this first go around. The wiring in your mouth will take some getting used to, and your orthodontist will give you some wax to cover any parts of your braces that are making the inside of your mouth sore.

Follow Up and Care

You will probably see your orthodontist every eight to ten weeks for adjustments, and after these adjustments you may feel a little sore. This can easily be fixed with some ibuprofen or tylenol, and possibly a milkshake. A milkshake here and there won’t hurt, but it is very important that you take care of your teeth while wearing braces. This means no popcorn, hard candy, or chewing gum.

It’s advised that you brush after every meal and floss with special flossers specifically for braces. Some patients use water picks to help clean in and around the brackets.

You may miss some snack foods, and flossing and brushing with braces will take some getting used to, but typically you will only wear them for one to three years.

Retainers

Retainers are plastic inserts you wear that help maintain your new smile. The braces, retainer, and all the visits in between is an investment, and the overall financial cost averages $5,000. Typically orthodontic offices will let you pay this in installments. Overall, it’s a small price to pay for that new beautiful smile.

Conclusion

Now that you know the answer to the question “how do braces work?”, you can appreciate all that goes into a beautiful smile. Using a series of slow and steady pressures, your teeth can be taken from crooked to straight, and the results will leave you full of confidence. Getting braces is a commitment, but it is one you will never regret.

What to Do When You Feel a Cold Coming On: A Guide

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What to do when you feel a cold coming on is probably one of the most common questions you could ask. Should you try to power through your day or take it easy? What should you eat, how can you relieve symptoms, and what natural remedies work? Read on to learn how you can best care for yourself and be on the mend as soon as possible.

Tips for What to Do When You Feel a Cold Coming On

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It’s Not Too Late to Save Yourself!

If you are searching for tips on what to do when you feel a cold coming on, chances are you are feeling under the weather. Maybe you have a scratchy throat and lower energy levels than usual. Yesterday you felt motivated to tackle all your deadlines at work, hit the gym, and hang out with friends or family. Now, you just want to stay in bed. The good news is that there are ways to stop a cold early and prevent a full-blown illness.

Relax and Get Some “Zs”

Getting rest is essential for a healthy immune system. Rest means getting enough sleep and also doing things to relax yourself. The mind-body connection is very important when it comes to fighting colds. Especially when you feel a cold coming, you should strive to get as much sleep as your body needs, which will vary according to the individual. Some people feel good after 4 or 5 hours, but most adults age 25-64 need a minimum of 7 to 9.

Give Yourself a Time-Out

When you start feeling sick, cancel some of your plans and spend more time at home. Maybe this means postponing a meeting with a friend or calling out from work. Don’t worry – doing so isn’t selfish or unreliable. It will help you feel better faster so that you can bring back your A-game for the people who need you.

Go on a Healthy, Non-Alcoholic Drinking Binge

Getting enough fluids is one of the biggest factors that determines the duration of your cold. If you are trying to squash a cold in its early stages, drink lots of clear fluids. Water, tea, or sports drinks will aid in your recovery. Try keeping a glass of some liquid near you at all times. Avoid alcohol, which will only dehydrate your system and make your cold symptoms worse.

How Do You Manage Cold Symptoms Naturally?

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Rest and Fluids Are the Best Medicine

While there are many over-the-counter remedies on the market, most doctors agree that rest and fluids are the most effective ways to fight a cold. These remedies are natural, inexpensive, and proven to help your immune system.

Don’t Use Medicine as an Alternative to Rest and Fluids

For people over 5 years of age, it is ok to take antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers when sick. However, do not take these medicines instead of resting. They might make you feel better, but you shouldn’t use them to power through normal activities. The rest is key to recovery. Instead, take medicine to relieve the symptoms of a cold in combination with rest–which will provide the real recovery.

Don’t Take Antibiotics

Antibiotics are effective for fighting bacterial infections, however the common cold is caused by a virus. Antibiotics will have no effect.

Try Having Tea with Honey

This is one home remedy that actually works. It will soothe your sore throat and provide hydration. However, do not give this drink to babies, as it can make them very sick.

Relieve Congestion

To fight the stuffy feeling you have and thin the mucus that your body needs to eliminate, sip warm beverages and eat soup. You can also try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Relieve That Sore Throat

To make a sore throat feel better you can use a saltwater gargle with a solution of ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt per 8 ounces of water. You can also suck on ice chips.

Eat Nutritious Food That Is Easy to Digest

Chicken noodle soup and miso soup are ideal foods when you feel sick. They provide nutrition and calories without giving your digestive system a work-out. Miso soup also has healthy bacteria that will support your gut. While you are recovering, skip foods that are heavy or spicy.

What About Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Zinc?

We cannot guarantee that these common treatments will work because the scientific evidence is inconsistent. However, when taken in reasonable quantities they are unlikely to do any harm. If you review the evidence and believe that you might benefit from one or more of these remedies, go ahead and take them. Be careful with echinacea, as it may have negative interactions with certain drugs, and with zinc, as it can have some unwanted side effects.

What If You Could Just Skip the Cold Altogether?

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Prevention is the Best Cure: Maintain Healthy Eating Habits

One easy, natural way to manage cold symptoms is to prevent them in the first place. The stronger and healthy your body is, the less likely it will be to catch a cold if you are exposed to the virus. Eating nutritious food and avoiding a diet that is high in sugar, saturated fat, and processed foods is key. Focus on whole foods, fruits, vegetables, good sources of protein, and healthy grains.

Exercise Regularly

Another component of maintaining a healthy body year-round, not just during the cold season, is getting exercise. If you enjoy working out hard, you can train for a marathon, go to the gym for some lifting, or work with a personal trainer. However, if heavy exercise isn’t your thing, some yoga or walking several times a week is all you need to make a difference. You can even try adventurous, creative ways to exercise such as rock climbing or dance.

Manage Your Stress

Managing your stress isn’t something you should do only when you feel a cold coming. Among the negative effects stress has on your body is the way in which it depletes the cells in your immune system that fight viruses. Cortisol, a hormone your body releases in response to stress, will also compromise your immune system. It is important for you to find ways to relax naturally, such as spending time with friends, meditation, or activities that you enjoy.

Don’t Hang Out With Sick People

The common cold is caused by a virus. Viruses are spread person to person, so if you are in the same space as someone who is sick, you might get sick too. If you know your friend has a cold, it might be a good idea to wait until he or she is better before you make plans.

Limit Your Exposure to Healthy People When You are Sick

Inversely, when you are sick you can pass the virus on to others. If you know you have a cold, it is ok to cancel plans with people and stay home. It is ok to stay home from work. It is ok to skip the gym. Don’t succumb to the pressure many of us feel to honor all of our social and work commitments even when we feel sick. Doing so will only extend the duration of your cold and spread it to others.

Wash Your Hands Regularly

When you are exposed to common cold viruses, they often end up on your hands and can enter your body when you eat or touch your face. Washing your hands removes those viruses and reduces your likelihood of getting sick. Remember, you won’t have to ask yourself what to do when you feel a cold coming on if you don’t get sick in the first place.

When Should You See a Doctor for a Cold?

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Maybe you have tried rest, fluids, some natural remedies, and some medication to relieve the pain. If your symptoms don’t clear up within 5-7 days, if you have severe pain in your head or throat, run a high fever, or if you think you have the flu, you should see a doctor. Going to the doctor early might be a good idea in the case of pregnant women, small children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.

Flu Symptoms:

  • A sick feeling that is more intense and comes on faster than what you would experience if you had a common cold
  • Chills and body aches
  • A high fever

Conclusion

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Getting sick is no fun. Knowing what to do when you feel a cold coming on will help you reduce the duration of your illness. First and foremost, rest and fluids are the best solutions. Taking some mediation to ease your symptoms, eating healthy food, and managing your stress will also help you feel better. Hopefully, with some preventative measures, you won’t have to ask yourself what to do when you feel a cold coming on again in the near future.

Knee Popping: Why Is It Happening & How to Stop It

knee

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The older you get, the more you can expect your body to make noises; especially your joints. If you find that your knees make sound when standing up or going up and down stairs, this could be completely normal. Whether or not you need to be concerned about knee popping will depend on if it is accompanied by pain.

What Is Knee Popping?

When it comes to knee popping, this can be caused by a variety of things. Some of them are harmless while others might be a sign of a serious issue. Below are some of the reasons why you might experience popping or other discomfort in your knee.

Mechanical Popping

When it comes to this kind of knee popping, it might feel like something is caught on the inside of your knee and is popping as you move your leg back and forth. Often, this is a sign of a meniscus tear or a piece of cartilage that has become loose within the joint. These components may get caught in the knee as you move your leg and cause a popping sensation.

Crepitus

This word sounds incredibly scary and like some serious disease, but it actually describes the crunching sound that you can hear and feel in your knee as you move the joint back and forth. It can be caused if you have chondromalacia, cartilage wear, or arthritis in your knee.

Crepitus is a more constant problem than mechanical popping, and it is often felt more than it is heard. If you’re curious to know what it feels like or if you have this issue, then sit on a high chair or table and let you knees dangle over the edge. Place your hand over your kneecap, and then gently swing your legs back and forth. If you feel a crunchy sensation under your hand, you might have crepitus.

Snapping Tendons

If your tendons are swollen due to an injury or other issue, they may catch on the knee as you bend it. If you have this ailment, you may be able to feel it right beneath your skin at the back of your leg.

Is There a Need for Knee Popping?

In some cases, you may get a pocket of air trapped in your knee, which will give you the sensation you need to pop it—kind of like you pop your knuckles. Knee popping can be done, but it should be done safely, which means you’ll have to move with intention as well as carefully and slowly.

The best way to pop your knee is to stretch it. To accomplish this task, you’ll want to take pressure off the joint by sitting on the floor. You’ll then extend your leg out in front of you and point your toes upward. From there, you will then raise your leg upward as high as it can go. You can then bend your knee in and out toward your body until you hear a pop.

Reasons Why You Might Need to Pop Your Knee

If you don’t have one of the ailments listed above and you actually have to pop your knee, there could be many reasons for this. One of those reasons has to do with the synovial fluid in your joints. This component contains oxygen and nitrogen, as well as other elements, and on occasion, these gases build up and need to be released. This can cause the popping sound or the need to pop your knees.

Why Knee Popping Happens and How to Stop It

There are many reasons why knee popping happens, but most of them are associated with age, injury, or other ailments such as arthritis. When it comes to crepitus, there’s not much that can be done to fix this problem. It’s not possible to smooth cartilage that has become roughened.

If crepitus is accompanied by pain, the only thing you can really do is control the swelling that might be occurring inside your knee. This can be accomplished through physical therapy and exercises, over-the-counter medications, or maybe even steroid injections administered by a doctor.

When it comes to mechanical popping and snapping tendons, surgery may be required to fix these issues. Often this is done arthroscopically. However, you can expect time for recovery after the process and physical therapy to get you back on your feet and moving the way you should.

Stretch and Strengthen Your Legs

stretch leg

image by pexels

In addition to treating whatever condition might ail you, you might also consider doing some stretching or leg strengthening to reduce the amount of knee popping you experience. Some of the exercises you might consider include:

Calf Release

Sitting on the floor, you will place a tennis ball under your calf. You will then move your body so that the ball rolls along your calf muscle. If you find a tender spot, you’ll need to move your foot up and down for 30 seconds.

These exercises can be beneficial because if your calf muscles are tight, they will put pressure on your knee and may even pull the knee cap out of alignment. This exercise can be done up to six times a week.

Quadriceps Strengthening

Your quadriceps is the muscle at the front of your thigh. To do this strengthening exercise, you’ll want to sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your back straight. You can put your hands out to your sides on the ground for balance. You’ll then tighten your quads and hold them for 8 seconds, then release them for 2 seconds. The goal will be to work up to a set of 30 repetitions at least 2 to 3 days a week.

Making these muscles stronger will give your knee better support. It may help so that knee popping doesn’t happen as often or so that you don’t injure yourself, which could also lead to popping in your knee.

Conclusion

image by pexels

In most cases, the knee popping your feel or hear in your body is normal and nothing you have to worry about. However, if you experience pain or other discomfort along with the knee popping, you may consider getting it looked at by a professional.

The 7 Reasons Why You Should Stay Away From The Flu Shot

Before we talk about reasons not to get the flu shot, we need to understand two things: what is the flu, and who should get a flu shot?

What Is the Flu?

What we popularly call the flu is in fact shorthand for the influenza virus. Since a virus causes the flu, it is immune to antibiotics. The only protection against such a virus is an immunization.

Types of Viruses

Viruses fall into two broad categories: those that can easily be cured by the body’s own immune system and those that are problematic. The common cold is a virus, but it is one that is usually easily cured by your body’s immune system. Because there are over 190 identified cold viruses, creating a vaccine against them all is virtually impossible.

The Flu Virus

There are many flu viruses, too, so it is very difficult to create a vaccine that will reach them all. The difference between the flu and cold virus is that certain flu viruses first rear their ugly heads one year ahead of their seasonal worldwide spread. So companies who are developing flu viruses have roughly a year to pick which flu viruses they’re going to create an immunization against.

So why do we try to create flu immunization shots but don’t try to create cold immunization shots? Simple. Colds don’t kill people, at least not to the degree that flu viruses do. And while in a typical season one flu virus will shoot ahead of all others and be the primary culprit behind most flu illnesses, colds can’t be predicted in this way. 

Person getting flu shot

image via Pixabay

How Are Particular Flu Viruses Picked for the Vaccine?

Picking the right flu virus to tackle is the challenge for those tasked with picking the viruses for which the pharmaceutical companies will develop immunization packages, popularly know as flu shots. In effect, they have to guess which viruses that started in the previous year are most likely to spread worldwide.

Most flu viruses start in southern China. People there live in the house with both pigs and fowl, and in very hot and humid environments that facilitate the development and spread of disease. The particular strain of the flu virus that will afflict the whole world each year almost always starts in a pig or a fowl somewhere in South China. The flu virus, which mutates rapidly, goes between animals until it reaches a mutation that can also infect human beings. Once that happens, people start to show symptoms of influenza.

Usually, the initial spread of the virus isn’t large enough to cause a pandemic, so, pharmaceutical companies have some breathing room. But since it takes at least six months to create enough of a flu vaccine to immunize a large population, the makers of the vaccine have to guess which of the new strains of the flu have the best chance of transmitting themselves worldwide.

Sometimes they guess right, but sometimes they don’t. Flu vaccines typically contain antibodies against two or three of the influenza strains that experts agree have the most chance of spreading worldwide. So one reason not to get the flu shot is it’s a crap shoot. It may or may not truly protect you from contracting the flu if scientists guess wrong about which strains will spread. They often guess wrong.

How Many People Die Annually From the Flu?

When considering reasons not to get the flu shot, one should look at some statistics. Estimates by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the United States show the average number of hospitalizations and deaths due to influenza in recent years are as follows:

Young lady with bandana on her face

image via Pexels

Hospitalizations

Hospitalization from flu-related causes averages between 140,000 and 960,000 annually since 2010.

Deaths

Deaths due to influenza has averaged between 12,000 and 79,000 annually since 2010.

What Is the Flu Shot?

Flu shots contain inactivated (killed) flu viruses that don’t cause the flu. These allow the body to create antibodies against the specific viruses in the vaccine. Some people fear that the flu viruses had not been completely killed and believe they are at risk of catching the flu by using this type of vaccine. Even though this is not true, many people shy away from using the vaccine because of this fear.

Live but attenuated flu vaccines are used in nasal spray flu vaccines that are sold under the trade names LAIV or FluMist.

Are There Benefits to Getting the Flu Shot?

When looking at reasons not to get the flu shot, we should start by examining the reasons why some people should get the flu shot.

The most obvious benefit is that the flu shot reduces hospitalizations and saves lives. There is no estimate of how many additional hospitalizations there would have been since 2010 if no flu shot had been available. But it is reasonable to assume that if you remove the effectiveness of the flu shot, the numbers would be increased by the same percentage.

For example, in the 2017-2018 flu season, which was one of the worst in recent years, the effectiveness of the vaccine was estimated at 40 percent. An estimated 80,000 people in the US died. By the numbers then, had there been no flu vaccine available, those numbers would likely have increased by 40 percent. Instead of 80,000 people dying, we may very well have had 112,000 people dying from influenza. 

Person adding medicine in a syringe

image via Pixabay

Are There Valid Reasons Not to Get the Flu Shot?

Absolutely. Here are seven reasons why some people should not get a flu shot:

You Are Under Six Months Old

Young children are usually protected by their mothers’ immunities, particularly when a baby is breast feeding. Moreover, it is difficult to perform vaccine studies on children so young; so the risk of a vaccination is just too great.

You Have Had Previous Allergic Reactions to a Flu Vaccine

If an individual has had an allergic reaction, the chances are high that being exposed to another flu vaccine will bring on the same allergic reaction. There are differences in flu vaccines, however, so you should not assume that one vaccine will give you the same reaction as another. Check with your doctor and pharmacist before deciding.

You Are Allergic to Any Component of the Flu Vaccine

Before getting a flu vaccine, you will be given a questionnaire listing all the potential allergy situations that you may encounter.

You Already Have a Fever

if you have a fever at 101 degrees or higher, avoid taking the flu vaccine until you are better.

Person with fever

image via Pixabay

You Have a Known Egg Allergy

Many flu vaccines are cultured in eggs, so if you have an allergy to eggs, those vaccines may cause an allergic reaction. Before rejecting flu vaccines out of hand, realize that many flu vaccines are now cultured in animal cells. So check with your doctor or pharmacist before automatically rejecting the flu vaccine for this reason.

You Have Had Guillain-Barre Syndrome Within the Last Six Weeks

Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which peripheral nerves are damaged and cannot transmit signals efficiently. Because Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, and the cause is not known, taking the flu vaccine is contraindicated for such patients.

You Have a Fear of Vaccines

We all need to be comfortable with the health decisions we make. There is a growing movement that proposes that vaccines cause more harm, or may cause harm to some, that outweighs their benefits in preventing not only disease in individuals, but in a community as a whole.

If you have firm convictions, religious or otherwise, that would cause you significant mental trauma if you, a loved one, or a child were to have a vaccine, then you should weigh your mental angst against the possibility of the benefits having such a vaccine may provide.

Protecting the Herd

One of the worst viruses ever to exist was the pandemic known as smallpox. Because of a world-wide program of immunizations against this horrific disease, it was eradicated. The last known case of smallpox was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease eradicated in 1980.

image of a virus microscopic

image via Pixabay

When people in their 60s today were children, poliomyelitis caused countless deaths of children while fully or partially paralyzing many more. When Jonas Salk created the first polio vaccine, parents all over the world rejoiced. No longer would their children be subjected to this debilitating and often fatal disease. Today, while polio as a disease has not been eradicated, instances of it among immunized populations are now almost nil.

What would have prevented these two diseases from being eradicated if people had decided not to get their children vaccinated?

To understand how large populations become immune from deadly viruses, one has to understand the concept of herd immunity. For a large population to become immune to a disease, a significant portion of the population needs to be vaccinated against the disease. Children in particular, who are more susceptible to disease, need to get this protection early.

Conclusion

Are there valid reasons not to get the flu shot? Certainly. We’ve examined several them in this article. At the same time, one should consider the effects not only on their own family, but on their community as a whole if they decide that they have reasons not to get the flu shot or not to have their children immunized.

How To Lose Belly Fat: Basics, Tips, And Techniques

Woman cyclist drinking supplement to lose belly fat

Belly fat is arguably the worst kind and sometimes the hardest to lose. Belly fat is mostly visceral fat. It’s much deeper than the fat that causes cottage cheese thighs or that waddle under a chin. It surrounds organs and invades much of your abdominal cavity. The real problem with this type of fat isn’t the way it looks but the health concerns associated with it.

It isn’t uncommon for people that don’t appear overweight to harbor unhealthy stores of visceral fat since it hides inside you and doesn’t start showing until the problem is pretty bad. That’s not to say all thin people have deadly fat hiding in their gut, but if you eat anything you want and fail to gain weight, you may be at risk for the same obesity-related diseases as overweight people.

Green smoothie for losing belly fat

Several diseases and conditions may be directly related to the amount of visceral fat your body is storing. Some of these diseases and conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Joint inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Artery diseases
  • Sudden heart attack

Carrying around too much fat isn’t healthy no matter where it is stored in your body. However, fat near your skin is much less dangerous than visceral fat. Your body needs fat to function correctly, and it needs to store some fat for various reasons like emergency energy stores or even adding a little cushion here and there.

Subcutaneous fat, the fat you find when you pinch your waist or under your chin is easy to lose. By easy, we mean changing your diet to include a nutritious meal plan and exercise. If you eat right and get yourself moving, subcutaneous fat goes away quickly depending on how much you need to lose. Visceral fat is much more robust and often hangs out in areas that don’t move much during exercise.

So, visceral fat is usually the last fat stores to leave. Your body uses visceral fat, at healthy levels, to protect some organs and it plays a few other roles like helping out your endocrine and immune systems. At unhealthy levels, visceral fat chokes organs and may reduce blood flow to some organs. The end result of carrying a lot of visceral fat for years is terrible any way you look at it.

What Causes Visceral Fat to Grow?

measuring and preparing to lose belly fat

The first step to getting rid of anything is understanding how it works and what factors affect it. The leading causes of visceral fat include chronic stress and consuming too many carbohydrates. We know, you don’t eat stress, but stress does cause your body to store more fat. Stress-related hormones reduce your body’s rate of fat loss and increase the speed at which it saves fat.

Carbohydrates, especially fast digesting carbs like sugar, increase the insulin levels in your blood. Insulin is responsible for directing carbohydrates on their journey through your body, among other things. A rapid spike in insulin caused by processed foods and carbohydrates turns off fat cells. That’s right, like a switch it tells fat cells to stop sending fat to the liver because you have a ton of carbs to use for energy.

The result is not fat is burned for fuel, yet excess carbohydrates get stored as more fat. Hormones and some genetic issues may contribute to weight gain but eating poorly and refusing to exercise regularly get most of the credit for adding fat to your body. If you’re under stress constantly and eating poorly, your chances of accumulating extra visceral fat are much higher than average.

How to Lose Subcutaneous and Visceral Belly Fat Through Dieting

Orange juice for losing belly fat

Losing fat is losing fat, right? In a sense, it is but subcutaneous fat responds well to almost any legitimate meal plan provided it’s balanced, and you lower your calorie intake to force your body to burn fat. For instance, if your body needs 1,500 calories each day to stay exactly like it is now, removing 300 calories from your daily intake may cause weight loss. It won’t be fast, but that’s how it works.

If you add a workout program to your weekly routine, you’ll increase the rate of fat loss. However, exercising alone does little to remove fat. You’ll lose more water than fat which gives the appearance of weight loss. Losing weight and building a healthy lifestyle lives and dies in your kitchen. What you put in your body fuels your muscles or adds fat.

Diets that include a lot of processed foods and carbohydrates help increase your bodies deposits of visceral fat, so removing these two things will help if you don’t do anything else. We recommend trying a ketogenic diet or any high-fat diet. A high protein diet works too, but if you aren’t exercising regularly the excess protein won’t get used, and your body can’t store protein. It may be bad for your kidneys too.

They key to losing visceral fat by changing your nutrition plan is removing carbohydrates or removing fast digesting and processed carbs. Good carbs digest slower and don’t cause insulin spikes in your blood. Two excellent examples of good carbs include oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Both taste good, and the carbs in them digest slowly to provide sustained energy levels.

Citrus fruit for losing belly fat

Intermittent fasting may help you lose weight up to ten percent faster than dieting alone. However, fasting isn’t for everyone and sticking to it requires some willpower the first few times you try it. It seems easy in theory, but your body will fight you and hunger is a hard enemy to beat. The best approaching to fasting is starting slow and working your way up to longer times.

The two most popular ways to fast include 24-hour fasting and scheduled eating. With 24-hour fasting, you just don’t eat for 24-hours and force your body to live off of water. Some fasting programs allow you to drink other beverages but never anything with carbohydrates, protein, or fat in it. Start this process slowly with some test fasting periods of eight to ten hours the first few times.

Scheduled eating programs may not get considered fasting by purists, but it is a form of fasting that works. The concept is simple, set a time period in the morning and another in the early evening where you don’t allow yourself to eat anything. For example, do not consume anything except water before 10 AM or after six in the evening.

Fasting isn’t a license to eat anything you want when fasting periods end. You need to stick to a nutrition plan that includes healthy foods to improve your fat loss rate. Fasting is just a way to speed up the process a little and shock your body into burning fat. No plan to lose weight works if you keep eating junk and letting your taste buds win.

Exercise Regularly to Lose Belly Fat

Jeans after losing belly fat

Like we mentioned above, probably a few times, losing belly fat begins in the kitchen. You may exercise hard for two hours each day and not lose any fat if you continue to eat junk or overeat. If you want to lose belly fat through exercise, you must feed your body correctly and force it to metabolize its fat stores for energy.

The best exercise program for fat loss is, arguably, high-intensity interval training or HIIT. HIIT programs are brutal, so prepare yourself and start slow. HIIT combines cardio and resistance training to test the limits of your endurance. In the process, it really speeds up fat loss. Cross fit, lifting weights, and cardio all help, but HIIT is by far the best if fat loss is your primary goal.

Motivation is a rare thing, and it’s hard to motivate yourself to meal prep and exercise. If you need help, find a personal trainer or ask the staff at your gym for help. Don’t go at it alone based on information you found online. Get serious about your health and find the right solutions for your body. Make up your mind now to change your lifestyle and never look back.

Disclaimer: How to Lose Belly Fat

Abs exercise for losing belly fat

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s safe for us to assume your health is important to you. The worst thing you could do is go into any diet plan or exercise plan without understanding the consequences. Older adults and people with body fat percentages over 20 percent should consult their doctor before any abrupt changes to their diet.

Talk to your doctor about any exercise program you plan to start. You need to know if your body can take the abuse. This goes double for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or any heart condition. If your doctor doesn’t want you attempting HIIT, ask them what type of exercise they recommend for you. Follow their advice and don’t take any chances with your health.

CONCLUSION

measuring belly while holding a salad for losing belly fat

We know millions of people suffer from obesity and weight control problems, so referring to fat loss as easy wasn’t a jab at you. The road to weight loss is simple but finding time and motivation may prove difficult. Personal trainers and apps that log your food intake and exercise intervals help out a lot, so use these tools.

Dilated Eyes? 9 Possible Causes

Blonde woman prone to dilated eyes

Tiny muscles in the colored part of your eye control your pupil’s size. The iris is the colored part of your eye, and it controls how much light enters your eye. A normal, healthy iris expands and contracts to allow more light in if it’s dark and less light when the conditions become brighter. Pupils that get dilated expand to an abnormal size and often refuse to contract.

Normal pupils in younger adults may be 2 to 4 millimeters wide in bright conditions and expand to almost 8 millimeters in very dark states. Pupil size varies a little, but those numbers indicate an average size. Older adults may see their pupils shrink a little with age making it harder to see in dark situations, but the change is often so minor it doesn’t affect eyesight.

Several things may cause pupils to dilate including some medications and medical disorders. While a dilated pupil is a symptom of a condition called anisocoria, it’s not the same thing as dilated pupils, but the two get confused with each other quite often. People suffering from anisocoria may end up with two pupils of varying sized whereas dilated pupils tend to mirror each other’s size.

​The Likely Culprits Behind Your Dilated Eyes

Yellow eyes which is likely to become dilated eyes

Alcohol may cause your pupils to dilate or react slowly to changes in the light. If you often have a few drinks after work or on the weekend and just noticed your eyes widening, wait until the alcohol wears off and see if they return to normal. If they still refuse to contract and expand correctly, consider the following medications since they may cause dilated pupils, they include:

  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Botox medications or treatments
  • Atropine
  • Antihistamines
  • Drugs for motion sickness

Eyeglasses for dilated eyes

Always consult your doctor before stopping or starting any medication whether it’s prescribed or over the counter drugs. Some of the medicines above may save your life. Talk to your doctor if they put you on new medications that seem to cause dilated pupils. They may swap you to a different type of drugs or have some advice on ways to treat the dilation. Either way, always talk to your doctor about drugs.

If you just started taking some new drugs and your pupils dilate, it’s pretty easy to figure out the medication is the culprit. However, some of the drugs on our list may cause dilated pupils months after you start taking them instead of right away. This is why we stress talking to your physician or pharmacists. Either person will tell you if the side effects include dilated pupils.

You probably need to ask your doctor about non-prescription medications as well, especially if you take any of the medicines on the list that requires a prescription just to stay safe. If you suspect a pill that you picked up off the shelf is causing your pupil problems, it’s probably safe to stop taking those drugs and see if the issue ends.

Another problem you may experience is drugs reacting poorly to other medications if you start taking something new. For instance, if you take motion sickness medication and it’s never caused your pupils to dilate, and your doctor recently prescribed an antidepressant, the two drugs may not play well together. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to confirm and seek alternative remedies.

INJURIES AND DISEASES MAY CAUSE PUPIL DILATION

Eyes prone to dilated eyes

Any injury to the eye that includes damage in or around the iris may cause dilation at the time of the accident or years later if scar tissue gets in the way. A number of eye surgeries including cataract and glaucoma surgery. Some eye surgeries carry a fair amount of risk, so ask your doctor about possible side effects before having a procedure done.

Benign episodic unilateral mydriasis which often comes with or before a migraine may cause pupil dilation. If you experience severe headaches with pain behind your eyes, this condition may explain your dilated pupils and blurry vision. In some cases, the pupil dilation and blurry vision that comes with this disorder may last twelve hours or longer. Talk to your doctor about treatment if this is common.

On a side note about benign episodic unilateral mydriasis; young women experience this disorder more often than older women or men of any age. Older women and men may experience this condition, but it’s more common in younger women. When the headaches leave, the symptoms usually dissipate, and your pupils should return to normal without treatment unless your experience this problem often.

Adie’s pupil, sometimes called tonic pupil, is actually a neurological disorder that causes one pupil to grow larger than the other one. The condition is rare, but it may be the cause of dilated pupils. Unfortunately, a cure for Adie’s pupil doesn’t exist at the time of this writing. Also, what causes Adie’s pupil is a mystery, but head trauma, infections, and some surgeries may cause the disorder.

Some brain injuries such as blunt force trauma or piercing of the brain may cause your pupils to dilate permanently. Injuries usually cause only one pupil to dilate, and your doctor probably discussed this with you if you’ve injured your brain. That said, a concussion may not require immediate medical attention if you’re not aware you have one. If you suspect an untreated injury, talk to your doctor.

A random dilated pupil or pupils that seem mysterious may be a sign you have a neurological disorder or brain tumor. If you suddenly find your pupils dilate without cause, consult your doctor right away because you may suffer from an untreated brain injury or a tumor. Getting up to fast and banging your head on a cabinet door or other minor head injuries may hurt your brain. Get it checked out.

​Self-Inflicted Causes for Dilated Pupils

dilated eye peeping at a hole

We don’t have any proof, but alcohol may end up as the chief cause for random pupil dilation. However, if you consume enough to cause pupil dilation, it’s doubtful you’ll notice pupil dilation, and it’ll wear off as the alcohol wears off. This is the primary reason we didn’t count alcohol as one of the causes for dilated pupils, but we felt it needed mentioning and a little explanation anyway.

Recreational drug use sort of falls into the same category as alcohol but some drugs leave you more aware of your surroundings than others. However, LSD, Ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines may heighten your senses but also cause pupil dilation in many cases. We don’t have a complete list of recreational drugs, but if you partake in any, either stop or talk to your doctor about side effects.

Sexual arousal or even mild attraction may cause your pupils to dilate. Pupils dilate during sex, or when we look at people, we find attractive. The change in your iris may go unnoticed, but it’s there nonetheless. It’s rare but not unheard of for pupils to remain dilated after sex for a few hours. If your pupils get stuck after sex in an enlarged state often, talk to your doctor about possible causes for this.

Bonus: Possible Solutions or Cures for Dilated Pupils

Woman holding an eyeglass for dilated eyes

It may sound like a broken record but seek medical attention if the cause for your dilated pupils is not readily determined or if someone else notices them before your vision changes. If you know motion sickness drugs or decongestant medications affect your pupils, you may not need to worry as much. That said, talk to your doctor or pharmacists to see if they have any advice or alternatives.

Some medical conditions or drugs cause pupils to dilate, and there’s little you can do about it. You may end up stuck with the problem until your doctor takes you off the medication of your condition is cured. However, people that wear eyeglasses may need to try a simple remedy and switch to photochromic lenses. These lenses lighten and darken automatically based on the amount of light hitting them.

Your pupils can’t control themselves, or your medications inhibit full control of your iris, so photochromic lenses do the work for them. They’ll limit the amount of light that enters your eye and may help reduce headaches and nausea that often come with pupil dilation problems.  Talk to your eye doctor and find out if these lenses could solve your problem.

If you know you’re stuck with a dilated pupil and worry about the way it looks, talk to your eye doctor about cosmetic contact lenses. Your doctor may call them prosthetic contact lenses. These contact lenses cover up the pupil and make it less noticeable. The only drawback is you may need one for each eye to make your eyes match. Wearing contact lenses isn’t for everyone.

CONCLUSION

shown dilated eyes of a covered woman's face

We listed nine possible causes for pupil dilation above. We considered reactions to prescribed or over the counter medications as one cause since it seemed like one definition with some sub-definitions. Sudden or random pupil dilation may be scary and cause problems driving, so seek medical attention if it happens a lot. Your doctor knows your medical history and may find other causes or concerns.

How To Lose Weight Fast: The Ultimate Diet Guide

No matter if you’re trying to fit into your favorite suit for an upcoming event or are merely looking to jump start the new you, you may be looking to learn how to lose weight fast. Although losing weight takes time, there are some things you can do to help drop the initial few pounds quickly. Below, you’ll find our recommendations on how to lose weight fast.

Cut Down on Carbs

Carbs

You may be well aware of the fact that you should “cut carbs,” but many people fail to recognize just how many foods contain carbohydrates and which types of carbohydrates they should be cutting. If you’re looking for ways to lose weight fast, you’ll most want to focus on cutting sugars and starches out of your diet.

The primary reason for doing this is because you’ll end up cutting your appetite. When you consume a diet that is heavy in sugars and starches, your body feels the need to refuel because of the insulin spikes that these foods provide. When you cut back on these foods, your hunger levels will decrease. When you’re not hungry, you don’t feel the need to eat. So, you’ll end up consuming fewer calories.

However, your body will still need fuel to get through the day. Typically, your body would utilize food you’ve consumed as fuel. But since you’re not eating as much, your body will turn to another source for fuel and will begin burning fat. Additionally, because your insulin levels are lower when you cut carbs, your kidneys will shed excess water and sodium. This could help reduce bloating.

Some people indicate that they lose up to ten pounds in the first week when they cut carbs. Not all of that weight is necessarily fat, as some of it is water. However, we’re willing to bet that you’ll find yourself feeling much healthier either way. You can learn more about the benefits of low-carb diets by taking a look at this chart, which compares low-carb diets to low-fat diets.

Increase Your Protein Intake

As a substitute for carbs, you should look to add more protein to your diet. The benefits of consuming protein are tremendous. Studies have found that eating an abundance of protein could boost your metabolism and cause you to burn at least a hundred extra calories per day. Additionally, those that consume high amounts of protein stay fuller longer, with 60 percent saying they reduced their cravings.

Furthermore, approximately half of those who ate high-protein diets said that they no longer had late-night cravings for snacks. Because you feel so much fuller throughout the day, a diet high in protein could result in you eating around 440 calories less per day. With those numbers, you would lose nearly a pound per week without incorporating any exercise into your routine.

You can find protein in numerous sources. For instance, if you enjoy meat, beef, pork, chicken, and lamb are all high in protein. If you enjoy seafood, salmon is one of the top sources of protein available. Trout and shrimp would also work. You can also add protein to your diet by consuming eggs, preferably whole with the yolk.

If you are vegetarian, you can still eat a high-protein, low-carb diet, although you may have to get more creative with your meals. Consider foods such as almonds, walnuts, nut butter, and chia seeds. You can also look into dairies, such as cheese and yogurt. Additionally, many vegetables contain more protein than you would think. For instance, kale contains almost 5g of protein per 100g.

Diversify Your Plate

Although you’re looking to cut carbs out of your diet, you will still need to have some carbs in your diet. The recommended carb range for those looking to lose weight is 20 to 50 grams per day. So, when constructing your meals, you should make sure that you include a protein source, a fat source, and a carb source. The carb source should come in the form of a low-carb vegetable.

Low-carb vegetables can help fill you up without bloating you or weighing you down. It’s easy to incorporate side dishes made from low-carb vegetables, especially when you get creative with how you cook them. Don’t just assume that you have to steam or boil your vegetables. Feel free to roast, broil, or sauté them as well. Examples of low-carb vegetables that you may want to consider include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber

Drink More Water

Studies have shown that water is incredibly beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight fast. Keep in mind that if you begin drinking more water, the number on the scale could increase. Know that this is temporary and that you’re losing fat as a result. You should be much more concerned about how you feel rather than the number you see on the scale.

One of the reasons water is most beneficial to weight loss is because it helps you feel fuller longer. When you drink more water, you trick your stomach into thinking you’re full. This will prevent your stomach from signaling to your brain that it needs food, which will help cut down on cravings. Thus, you’ll end up eating fewer calories, which can help you lose weight.  

Additionally, water helps flush toxins from your system, which is imperative when you are losing weight. If you do not drink enough water, your body will release an antidiuretic hormone. As a result, you’ll end up hanging onto water, which could cause you to feel more bloated and could drive up the figure on the scale. The more hydrated you are, the better off you will be.

This does not necessarily mean you have to walk around all day with a gallon of water by your side. Instead, aim for the recommended 64 ounces a day, or eight glasses of water that are eight ounces each. Also, while water should make up a majority of your fluid intake, you can also obtain it in different, more flavorful forms. Make sure they are non-calorie alternatives, such as coffee and unsweetened tea.  

Incorporate Weight Training into Your Regiment

weight training

When it comes to losing weight fast, your diet is by far the most critical component. You could work out for hours each week, but if your food is not in check, you won’t lose any weight. Having said that, if you focus on improving your diet, you may not even need to work out to see the pounds fall off quickly. But, if you’re looking for an extra push or would like to add more, consider incorporating weight training.

To start, try working out at home first. Clear a section where you can perform basic bodyweight movements, such as squats and assisted push-ups. You can also incorporate high-intensity interval training at home by doing things such as jumping jacks or skipping rope. You should be able to find a beginner’s bodyweight workout program online easily.

Also, remember to warm up and stretch adequately. Your body will likely not be familiar with working out, so it will come as a shock to your system. Stretching before and after a workout is an excellent way to prevent injury. If you injure yourself while working out because you pushed yourself too hard, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose motivation to keep working out, derailing your weight loss efforts.

After you’ve eased into things and your body has gotten used to working out and living a more active lifestyle, try going to the gym about three to four times per week. You do not have to become a world-class bodybuilder in the gym. Stick with light weights and high repetitions. Find ways to keep your heart rate up during your workout, as this will help you burn more calories and lose more weight.

If you have never lifted weights before, know that doing so could put a lot of stress on your joints, tendons, and muscles. Proper technique is far more essential than overloading the bar with weight. If you are unfamiliar with the gym, consider asking a trainer or other knowledgeable gym member for assistance and advice. If you’re not comfortable lifting weights, consider other cardio activities such as:

  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running

Lifting weights can be particularly beneficial when losing weight because it keeps your metabolism elevated. When you begin losing weight, your metabolism will want to decrease as a way to maintain fat stores. You need to overcome this and “retrain” your body to operate without such massive fat stores. So, working out not only helps burn calories but it also helps maintain a high metabolism.

Manage Stress Levels

Do you find that when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to eat? If so, you’re not alone. This is a proven phenomenon that occurs thanks to the release of cortisol. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which increases your appetite for junk food. Studies have shown that those who are more stressed have a higher body weight.

Consider Your Long-Term Weight Loss Goals

athlete doing exercise

Like anyone who wants to learn how to lose weight fast, you likely want to see the pounds dissipate quickly. However, you should be more concerned about your long-term weight loss goals rather than short-term results. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that those who lose weight gradually and steady will have better long-term success with their weight loss.

According to the CDC, “gradually and steady” is equivalent to one to two pounds per week. The organization stresses that making overall changes to your lifestyle will increase the likelihood of you staying motivated to keep the weight off. Making fundamental changes to things such as your diet and your exercise habits will have the most substantial long-term results.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics echoes this sentiment, advising people to avoid using products that market themselves as helping people to lose weight fast. They too recommend that individuals lose weight gradually, instead of trying to lose it all at once. The organization says that while people may lose weight quickly, it won’t be healthy weight. Instead of fat, however, it will be a combination of:

  • Bone
  • Muscle
  • Water

We recommend that you find a hybrid between the two. You can look to learn how to lose weight fast, but also know that you must be careful to prevent yourself from adding the weight back on. Perhaps utilize a method to lose weight quickly when you first get started, knowing that you must make efforts to maintain the weight loss over time.  

We also recommend starting with fixing your diet. If you adjust a high-protein, low-carb diet, odds are you’ll see the pounds shed immediately. Depending on your body type, you could lose anywhere from 10 – 20 pounds within the first two weeks. Once you grow comfortable with your new diet, begin incorporating a workout program.

Two critical elements are also worth considering. First is the fact that the more weight you have to lose, the more likely you are to lose it quickly. For instance, someone who doctors consider obese will lose ten pounds more rapidly than someone who is relatively healthy, and doctors consider moderately overweight. The more fat you carry around, the more likely you are to lose weight fast.

Second is the fact that if you try to do everything at once, you likely won’t be able to sustain the results. Telling yourself that you are going to “go for it” is excellent in theory. But if you have spent years eating junk food and not working out, you can’t expect to flip the switch one day and expect the results to last. You are going to have to make fundamental changes to your lifestyle, which takes dedication.

In summary, if you do things the correct way, the weight will fall off naturally. It’s more important that you make sustainable changes to your lifestyle. The quickest way to lose weight is not by trying some fad or some miracle pill, but instead coming up with a diet and workout program that you feel as though you can adhere to for months or years.