Sun Safety – Protecting your family in the Texas sun

As wsunburn cartoone enjoy more bright and sunny days, the risk of sunburns and skin damage rises for everyone.   Take these steps now and your skin will thank you in the long-run.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or indoor tanning damage the skin. Even a tan is a response to injury, not an indication of good health, as some may perceive. There are many risk factors that can contribute to sunburns, and skin cancer including: family history of skin cancer, sun exposure sun through work and play, history of sunburns (especially early in life), history of indoor tanning, freckles, skin reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun, if you have blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair, and certain types of moles and/or a large number of specific types of moles.

Now that you know your risk factors for UV damage the next step is reducing your risk.sunscreen

Protection from UV rays is important all year round, not just during the summer months. UV rays from the sun can reach the Earth on a cloudy, hazy day as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces such as water, cement, sand, and snow. The hours between 10:00am and 4:00pm during late Spring and Summer are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in North America.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2014) recommends easy options for protection from UV radiation for adults and children.

  • Stay in the shade during peak hours (10:00am to 4:00pm) Plan indoor activities with children during this time unless you can be under an umbrella, seek shade under a tree, or under a pop up tent. An infant’s best defense is sun avoidance.Smiling-Sun-dreamstime_144972-440x372
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Long sleeve shirts and pants may not always seem practical in the Texas summer, but a t-shirt, long shorts, a beach cover-up are good choices too. It is wise to double up on protection by applying sunscreen in the shade when possible.
  • Wear a hat that has a brim to protect your eyes, head, ears, and neck. Baseball caps do not protect ears and neck, so you must apply sunscreen in those exposed areas.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and offer both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Use Sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher and UVA a/UVB protection. Plan ahead, keep a spare bottle of sunscreen in the car, in your purse, or a child’s backpack. For best protection apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes prior before going outdoors. Don’t forget to protect your ears, nose, lips, and the top of your feet! Always follow the directions on the package. All products do not have the same ingredients. If you or your child’s skin reacts to a product, call your primary care provider and avoid that product.
  • Reapply sunscreen.   Especially if outdoors swimming or exercising. This applies to both water resistant and waterproof products as well.
  • Avoid indoor tanning beds and booths.

Try combining sunscreen with other options such as hats, sunglasses, and shade options to prevent UV damage!

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Managing Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the mosteoost common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bone wears down over time. It most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

Osteoarthritis can gradually worsen over time, and there is no current cure for it. It can cause chronic pain, reduce physical function, and diminish quality of life.

An increase in knee OA has been recently tied to an aging population and the prevalence of obesity. However, recent studies have shown that staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercise therapy may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.

Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, loss of flexibility, grating sensation and bone spurs (hard lumps around the affected joint)

OA is more prevalent in females, but other risk factors include old age, obesity, joint injuries (from sports, car accidents, etc), certain occupations (tasks that place repetitive stress on a particular joint), family history, and other chronic diseases such as diabetes, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.

OA is diagnosed by a clinical exam, and or x-rays of the affected joint. An x-ray may show narrowing of the space between the bones in the affected joint. It may also show bone spurs around the affected joint. Specific blood tests may also be ordered to rule out other disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

There’s no known cure for osteoarthritis, but treatments can help reduce pain and maintain joint movement. Exercising and achieving a healthy weight are the best and most important ways to treat osteoarthritis. This can include a multitude of therapies such as:

  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to create an individualized exercise program that will strengthen the muscles around your joint, increase your range of motion and reduce pain.
  • Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can help you discover ways to do everyday tasks or do your job without putting extra stress on your already painful joint. For instance, a toothbrush with a large grip could make brushing your teeth easier if you have finger osteoarthritis. A bench in your shower could help relieve the pain of standing if you have knee osteoarthritis.
  • A chronic pain class. The Arthritis Foundation and some medical centers have classes for people with osteoarthritis and chronic pain. Check with the Arthritis Foundation for classes available in your area. These classes teach skills that help you manage your osteoarthritis pain. And you’ll meet other people with osteoarthritis and learn tips and tricks for reducing and coping with joint pain.

Home remedies and at-home treatments:

Exercise and Stretching. Exercise can increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around your joint, making your joint more stable. Try light walking, biking or swimming which is easier on the joints. You can also do home stretching, and or yoga exercises.

Weight Management. Being overweight or obese increases the stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees and your hips. Even a small amount of weight loss can relieve some pressure and reduce pain. Most people combine changes in their diet with increased exercise.

Use heat and cold to manage pain. Both heat and cold can relieve pain in the joint. Heat also relieves stiffness, and cold can relieve muscle spasms and pain.

For more information on osteoarthritis, or if you and someone you know suffers from joint pain and discomfort, contact your provider for a more in-depth discussion on evaluation, treatment, and therapy. Remember, there are ways to cope and decrease your chronic joint pain and discomfort, and we are here to help.

~Ashley Hollister, Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, Family Medicine

Welcome!

Welcome to our blog!  We know there is an abundance of medical and health-related information out there and it’s hard to know who to trust. We started this blog with the mission to serve as a trusted source in healthcare topics, and to provide guidance through science-based research and studies.

In our practice, we are passionate about caring for people throughout their lifetime.  We believe in prevention, education and providing patients with relevant, research-based facts to help them make the best possible treatment and healthcare decisions for a healthy and active lifestyle at every age.

We will cover a range of topics and hope you will engage with us through comments and questions.