Sunscreen & Bug Spray
Its that time of year again for sprays and creams to protect us from the sun and biting insects such as mosquitos and blackflies. It can be difficult to navigate the numerous products available to ensure we are making the best choice for ourselves and love ones. As with most things, I say everything in moderation, this includes creams and sprays. The first line of defense should always be to avoid or limit exposure. If exposure is unavoidable, then using oral or topical lines of defense can be helpful. When despite our best efforts, we still get bitten or burnt, there are some products that can help heal and minimize the discomfort associated with bites and burns.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when possible.
- Tuck pants in socks when working outside or at play.
- Wear denim. Mosquito can easily bite through tight fitted clothing and athletic gear containing materials such as cotton or spandex.
If you are not able to cover up, the next line of defense includes oral and topical bug repellants.
Ramp up your B vitamin intake. There are patches available at some hardware stores which contain the B vitamin thiamine (also known as B1), which deters bugs from biting.
I prefer to take a B-complex through bug season. It’s a good energy booster, and it keeps the bugs away.
I love to use combination products with citronella, lemon eucalyptus and camphor. These can be found as sprays to put on your clothing, or as oil based sprays that can be applied directly to exposed skin.
Research has shown products containing the above ingredients to be equivalent to DEET, without the associated risk.
If you have a bite, then my go to approach is combination creams that contain homeopathic and botanical ingredients, as well as ice.
If the bite is really bothering you, then you can start by putting ice on it. I especially like to do this with kids to provide immediate relief and prevent scratching. Next, I love to use combination products that have soothing botanicals such as calendula, chamomile and plantain to help heal, sooth, and reduce itching of bites. They work best in my opinion when they also contain homeopathic remedies such as Apis and Ledum which are used to reduce discomfort and swelling. These combinations can be found at your local health food store.
As with bug bites, the first line of defense should focus on prevention and limiting exposure.
- Avoid being out in the sun between the peak hours of 10am to 4pm. If outside, try to stay in shaded areas whenever possible.
- If you are out working in the sun, wear clothes and wide brimmed hats to prevent direct exposure. There is clothing available that is light weight, breathable and even contains material that can protect you from UV exposure.
- If you are going to be exposed, then apply mineral sunscreens to protect yourself from getting burnt.
- Retynl palmitate,
- Titanium dioxides.
- Zinc oxide
- Mexoryl SX
For more information on products and chemicals to avoid, you can visit the following two websites by the “Environmental Working Group” and “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics” at http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/#.WXZn24TyvIU and http://www.safecosmetics.org/ .
If you get a sunburn, then Start by cooling the skin – you can take a quick dip in the lake, then get yourself to a shaded area.
- Put a cool damp cloth over affected area to cool skin.
- Apply soothing lotions that contain aloe vera to sunburned areas.
- Avoid oil based products! Those can trap in heat.
Make sure you drink lots of water, it helps to keep the body cool and hydrated. Especially important is get drinks with electrolyte in them to prevent dehydration.
By Dr. Nina Lauffer, ND
Stretching is important for maintaining range of motion and supporting the integrity of your joints. Incorporating a stretching routine into your daily wellness program can have tremendous benefits, including:
- Increased flexibility
- Reduced muscle soreness
- Increased range of motion in the joints
- Improved posture
- Increased circulation
- Reduced stress/increased mood
- Decreased chance of injury
The best part of stretching is its simplicity as it requires very little, if any, equipment. The challenge most people face is knowing what to do…and what not to do. Below are some general guidelines to help you ensure that you are stretching in a way that is both safe and effective.
What to do:
- Warm up first (anything that raises your body temp a couple of degrees)
- Move slowly into a stretch, stopping when you feel a “pulling” sensation in the muscle
- Hold till the “pulling” sensation decreases, and then deepen the stretch if desired
- Breathe (take slow deep breaths, allowing the body to relax with every exhale)
- Ensure proper technique (get proper instruction from a qualified professional)
- Consult with a medical professional prior to commencing a new stretching/flexibility routine
What not to do:
- Don’t stretch first thing in the morning or when cold
- Don’t hold your breathe
- Never “bounce”
- Never stretch if it causes pain
- Don’t overstretch
- Don’t stretch an injured part of the body or unstable joint unless you have been given proper guidance/instruction from a qualified professional
The best way to ensure that you are stretching in a safe and effective way is to seek instruction from a qualified professional such as a registered massage therapist. Your therapist will work with you develop a plan specific to your individual needs and goals. Contact us to book a consultation or massage and be sure to ask your therapist what stretches will most benefit you.
Becky, RMT, FIS
Food Allergy and Eczema
Can food allergy cause eczema in my child?
Having a skin condition in your child can be very frustrating and difficult to treat, if the root cause is not found. Many parents are not even that what they are putting in their child’s mouth could be worsening their child’s eczema and causing a weakness in their general immune.
Are there different types of food allergies?
There are two types of food allergies, IgE and IgG. An allergic reaction to an IgE food typically happens quickly. Symptoms of an allergic reaction then go away, usually after several hours, as long as the food is not eaten again. Eczema is a chronic condition that does not go away quickly, and is often associated with IgG allergies, delayed sensitivities. Eczema tends to show up in predictable places, such as on the cheeks of young babies or elbow creases of older children. The places on the skin where symptoms of an allergic reaction to food appear are more unpredictable. Hives, redness and itching from an allergic reaction can show up just about anywhere on the body and even in different places each time the food is eaten. Testing for these various allergies can be done with your naturopathic doctor with a simple blood test.
Why is it important to control my child’s eczema?
When eczema is not well controlled, it can affect a child’s quality of life and health. It increases the chance of skin infections, and it can also be painful. Itching and scratching can be distressing for your child and for you as a parent to watch. Physical comfort, sleep, social interactions and self-image can all be affected. Good control allows your child to feel well and stay focused on childhood activities such as learning and playing.
Some new research shows there may be an additional benefit to keeping eczema under good control. Good control might help prevent food allergy. This is especially good news for parents who have babies and toddlers who are at increased risk for food allergy. For More information on food allergy testing click here.
How can good eczema control help prevent food allergy?
Since healthy skin acts as a barrier, it also helps prevent substances like food allergens from getting into the body through the skin. Healthy skin helps protect the immune system from being exposed to food allergens. When your child’s eczema is under good control, your child’s skin is better at preventing food allergens from getting in.
New research suggests that when your child’s skin is scratched open, food allergens can get into the body more easily to make contact with the immune system. Direct contact between open skin and food, such as peanuts, may increase the chance that an allergy will develop to that food. The immune system may be more prone to developing a food allergy if the first exposures to the food are through scratched open skin.
The opposite may be true if the immune system is first introduced to the food by eating it. If the first exposure to a food is through the digestive tract, the immune system may more likely tolerate the reaction
by Dr. Brandy Strelec