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Itchy Feet? Check If You Have Athlete’s Foot

The Kashmir Monitor

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Medically known as Tinea Pedis, Athlete’s foot is a foot infection caused by fungus that usually begins to grow between toes. It is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on the foot. Athlete’s foot can also affect soles or sides of the feet. If not treated well, it can spread to the toenails and hands. Athlete’s foot commonly occurs in people whose feet become very sweaty due to the confinement to tight fitted shoes. Athletes are more likely to sweat because of tight shoes. This is the reason why this fungal infection is known as ‘Athlete’s foot’. Athlete’s foot sometimes causes fluid-filled blisters. These blisters are small pockets of body fluids like lymph, serum, plasma, blood or pus within the upper layers of skin. They are caused by rubbing, burning, freezing, chemical exposures or injections. Most blisters are filled with clear fluid, either serum or plasma. Athlete’s foot isn’t serious but it is sometimes hard to cure. If you are diabetic or have a weak immune system, you must see a doctor. Common symptoms of Athlete’s foot include a scaly red rash between the toes, itching, blisters, chronic dryness, etc.
Causes of Athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot occurs primarily because of the growth of tinea fungus on the foot. It can also be caused because of other kinds of fungi which produce ringworm and jock itch. Damp socks and shoes contain a lot of moisture and this might favour growth of fungi. It is commonly found in showers, locker room floors and around swimming pools. You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching objects contaminated with the fungi, such as towels, floors, and shoes.
Risk factors for Athlete’s foot
1. Risks of athlete’s foot are higher in men than in women.
2. Wearing damp socks or tightly fitted shoes can increase risks of athlete’s foot.
3. Sharing mats, rugs, bed linens, clothes or shoes with someone who has a fungal infection can also cause athlete’s foot.
4. If you walk barefoot in public areas where the infection can spread, such as locker rooms, saunas, swimming pools, communal baths, and showers, you can be infected by Athlete’s foot.
5. After keeping your feet wet for long periods of time, your feet becomes moist. This also happens after swimming or taking a long shower. The foot area becomes extremely soft and sensitive, hence encouraging the growth of fungus.
6. If you have a minor skin or nail injury on your foot, it may lead to athlete’s foot.
7. If you have generally sweaty feet, you are prone to risks of athlete’s foot.
Symptoms of Athlete’s foot
Itching, stinging and burning between the toes or soles, blisters on the foot causing itching or irritation, cracks or peeling on feet’s skin, dry skin on soles and sides of feet, raw skin on feet, discoloured or crumbled toenails or toenails pulling away from nail bed are all symptoms of athlete’s foot.
Do’s and Don’ts for Athlete’s foot
Do’s
1. Dry your feet after washing them, particularly between your toes. Dab them dry instead of rubbing them.
2. Use a separate towel to wash your feet and wash it regularly.
3. Take off your shoes when you are at home.
4. Wear clean socks and shoes every day. Cotton socks are most recommended.
Don’ts
1. Don’t scratch the affected skin- this can spread the infection to other parts of your body.
2. Don’t walk barefoot. Wear flip-flops in places like showers and changing rooms.
3. Don’t share towels and socks with anyone and especially those who are already affected by the infection.
4. Don’t wear shoes that confine your feet and make them sweaty. Wear shoes of your size; one which does not restrict your foot movement.
Preventions of Athlete’s foot
Following are some tips to prevent athlete’s foot
1. Put antifungal powder on your feet every day.
2. Don’t share socks, shoes or towels with others.
3. Wear sandals or flip-flops in public areas like swimming pools, saunas, etc.
4. To kill the infections wash your feet regularly. Washing with an antifungal recommendation would treat most cases of an Athlete’s foot.
5. Change socks every day and shoes on every second day.
Athlete’s foot infection generally responds to the antifungal treatments. However, long-term infection is difficult to eliminate. For long-term treatment for athlete’s foot, antifungal medication is necessary.
Monsoon season is such that the foot is more likely to carry moisture. So this season, if you get drenched in the rain or otherwise, remember to keep your foot clean and sanitized. We don’t want you to be wearing shoes to an Athlete’s foot.


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Health

Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

The Kashmir Monitor

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Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:

 

Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.

Symptoms

Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Headaches
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Health

Busting myths around blood donation

The Kashmir Monitor

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As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.

 

The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Health

Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF ED

We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION, LONG-TERM CURE

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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