Category Archives: Ailments: S-T

Stress

Stress can be said to be our physical or emotional reactions to outside stimuli that is beyond what is normally experienced by us.

What to look for

  • Physical symptoms may include headachefatigueinsomnia, digestive changes, neck or backache, loss of appetite, or overeating, increased use of tobacco or alcohol, tics or twitches.

  • Psychological symptoms may include tension or anxiety, anger, being reclusive, pessimism, lack of concentration, resentment, increased irritability, feelings of cynicism, performance problems.

We need to have a certain level of stress in our lives, as it inspires us to move ahead, to accomplish tasks and it motivates us to action. However, when there is more stress in our lives that we are able to cope with, the negative symptoms of stress may become apparent.

When we feel intense stress or fear, a hormone called adrenalin secretes from the adrenal glands above the kidneys. This hormone gets us ready to take action against the ‘enemy’. Our heart beats faster, our blood pressure rises, and our muscles will tense up.

Different people have different levels of stress that they can cope with. The stress may not even be apparent to us.

If we allow the stress to continue, it can eventually cause numerous problems within our body such as ulcers, fatigue, skin diseases and it puts stress on our immune system.

Causes

When life throws more things at us than we are able to cope with at a certain time, we are under stress. It could be related to our occupation, family life, a loss of someone close, money problems, conflict or even positive events. Other causes are internal: illness, loneliness, pain, or emotional conflict. The different stresses in our life accumulate and we reach a point when we show the effects of not coping with it.

You should be able to identify the triggers of stress in your life so as to teach yourself to be prepared and to learn how to best handle it.

Traditional Treatment

Often talking your problems over with someone helps you to see things from a different slant. This can be helpful in finding a solution which you did not think of before.

Otherwise, your doctor may be able to prescribe certain forms of medication for you. Remember, some are addictive and you should beware.

Your doctor may suggest a counsellor to pinpoint events or conditions that are stressful to you, and to devise ways of reducing the stress they cause.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Any therapy that promotes relaxation and clarity are helpful with this condition.

Aromatherapy  – Essential oil of lavendersandalwood, and tangerine can help reduce stress: Try 5 drops of each in a bath. Essential oil of lavendersandalwood, and tangerine can help reduce stress: Try 5 drops of each in a bath.

Massage  –  This helps relax your whole body and mind. Use the following essential oils – lavender, sandalwood, tangerine, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, Frankincense or grapefruit.This helps relax your whole body and mind. Use the following essential oils – lavender, sandalwood, tangerine, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, Frankincense or grapefruit.

See Our Aromatherapy Section for a complete listing and information on oils

Herbal Therapies  –  A traditional response to stress is to drink a cup of hot tea. Some herbalists suggestchamomilepassionflowervalerian, or ginseng tea. A traditional response to stress is to drink a cup of hot tea. Some herbalists suggest chamomilepassionflowervalerian, or ginseng tea.

Lifestyle –  If you feel stressed, try exercising to use up the hormones released.

Dietary Considerations

Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and filtered water. Less caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea. Plenty of sleep and exercise.

Personal Care

  • Exercise

  • Breathe deeply and fully.

  • Try yoga to learn to relax and refocus.

  • Meditation creates relaxation.

Prevention

  • Get an enjoyable hobby or interest.

  • Get plenty of exercise that you enjoy, and rest.

  • Watch a funny movie, listen when people tell funny jokes.

  • Count to 10 and take a deep breath before reacting to a potentially stressful event. This old wives tale can actually help you keep your calm.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your stress is unbearable and persistent

     

Stroke

Occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped.

What to look for

  • abrupt loss of vision, energy, coordination, sensation, speech.

  • weaknesses or paralysis down one side of the body, loss of balance.

  • sudden and severe headache followed rapidly by loss of consciousness.

Our brain must be continually supplied with blood through the arteries. If the blood supply stops for some reason, the result is very serious. Disruptions of blood flow to the brain are known as stroke. There are two types – a cerebral infarction and a cerebral haemorrhage.

A cerebral infarction occurs when an artery is blocked, halting the flow of blood to the brain. The second basic type of stroke is cerebral haemorrhage which occurs when there is bleeding into the brain. As blood flows into the brain, the build up of pressure results in agonising headache, sometimes followed by loss of consciousness.

Depending on where the brain has been damaged and how badly it has been affected, the patient usually recovers but they may have a physical weakness as a result of the stroke.

Causes

A cerebral infarction occurs as a result of a blocked artery. (see blood clots, arteries and heart disease). The arteries become blocked over the years and this produces slow blood flow to the brain.

Cerebral haemorrhages usually occur as a result of weak arteries or aneurisms in the brain that rupture. High blood pressure is the cause of weak arteries in most cases.

The causes you are able to prevent or charge are – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle,obesity, the abuse of stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, smoking, use of birth-control pills, and stress.

Traditional Treatment

If you have had a stroke or have any similar symptoms, you must be examined and diagnosed by a neurologist or a doctor.

Victims of stroke are hospitalised and given the appropriate medication.

Your doctor will describe the lifestyle changes that will need to be made by yourself.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments can be marvellous adjuncts to conventional treatments with stroke patients.

Several techniques can help restore mobility, circulation, and ease other symptoms associated with stroke. Among these are shiatsu, and massage.

Herbal Therapies  –  A number of scientific studies have shown that ginkgo increases blood flow also reduces blood-clot formation. A number of scientific studies have shown that ginkgo increases blood flow also reduces blood-clot formation.

Lifestyle

It is vital that you commence regular aerobic exercise – swimming, walking or anything safe and gentle that you feel comfortable with.

People at high risk for stroke should not smoke and should eat a low-fat diet and not take contraceptive pills.

Dietary Considerations

To prevent strokes, your diet should be rich potassium, magnesiumvitamin E, and the essential fatty acids contained in fish oils. Some studies suggest that selenium may also protect against stroke. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking at all costs.

Prevention

Eat a low fat, salt and cholesterol diet, exercise regularly; keep to your ideal weight; monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels; and do not smoke.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or someone with you shows any of the signs of stroke

     

Sty

A sty is an acute inflammation of a gland at the base of eye.

What to look for

  • a red swelling near the edge of the eyelid.

A sty is a pimple on the eyelid. It usually means the gland on the eyelid is infected.

Sties are very painful but usually only last 3-4 days.

Sties are usually harmless and rarely affect your eye or sight. They can happen to both sexes at any age and at any time.

Causes

The staphylococcal bacteria is the culprit. This bacteria will survive quite nicely within your nostrils and can easily spread to your eye with the rub of your hand.

Traditional Treatment

Most sties do not last very long, but they will make their presence known while they are there.

Over-the-counter medications are available to rid yourself of sties or you can let nature take its course. If you do apply medications be very sure to follow the advice of our Pharmacist, as well as the directions and never put the ointment inside your eye. The eye area is extremely sensitive.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies –  Calendula may alleviate Sty’s.

Tea Tree Oil may also help but take care not to get any Tea Tree Oil into the Eye

To help reduce the pain and inflammation of sties, Herbalists recommend professionally prepared eye drops made from eyebright. They may also prescribe an oral preparation of burdock.

Dietary Considerations

Supplements of vitamins A and C may help with this problem.

Prevention

If sties recur keep the eyelids scrupulously clean.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the sty refuses to go after a few weeks.

  • the swelling interferes with your vision.

  • there is pain inside the eye.

  • you have recurrent sties

     

Sunburn

Sunburn is the inflammation of the skin caused by excessive exposure to sunlight

What to look for

  • pink or red colour on the skin, the skin also feels tender.

  • itchy blisters.

  • pain and irritation of the eye associated with overexposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight or other sources.

Gone are the days when people go to the beach hoping to get burnt in the hope of eventually getting a great tan. These days, it is almost common knowledge that too much sunburn may equal skin cancer and premature aging.

Everyone is at risk. If you have dark skin do not think you can escape the dangerous rays of the sun.

Your reddened skin will normally heal within a few days but the damage can last a lifetime. If your sunburn is accompanied by blisters, the sunburn is quite severe and no doubt will be extremely painful. You will lose a few layers of skin through peeling.

Any sunburn will inevitably cause skin damage.

Causes

The sun has two types of ultraviolet radiation important in a discussion of damaging effects to the skin.

  • The first type, UVA radiation generally only tans skins but it is reported now that it can also take part in premature aging and wrinkling.

  • UVB rays cause sunburn and the potential for skin cancer. You can also become burnt from reflected sunlight- from sand, water, or snow.

Certain drugs can intensify the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Traditional Treatment

At-home care will alleviate many of the symptoms of sunburn, but no treatment can undo the damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Few cases of sunburn require medical care. If the burn is very painful or widespread, a doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids to relieve the discomfort. Treatment for extremely severe cases of sunburn (those involving extensive blistering, dehydration, or fever) usually requires bed rest and possibly hospitalisation. (See Burns.)

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies –  Lotions, poultices, and compresses containing calendula (Calendula officinalis) will reduce inflammation. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) may be used on exposed new skin after peeling or blistering, to help prevent infection. Lotions, poultices, and compresses containing calendula (Calendula officinalis) will reduce inflammation. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) may be used on exposed new skin after peeling or blistering, to help prevent infection.

Preparations containing aloe (Aloe barbadensis) are excellent for relieving sunburn.

Aromatherapy  –  A gentle massage using lavender essential oil diluted in a carrier oil. See our section onAromatherapy for more details.A gentle massage using lavender essential oil diluted in a carrier oil. See our section on Aromatherapy for more details.

Homoeopathy –  Cantharis   taken orally every three to four hours for up to two days is recommended for relieving pain and helping to heal blisters. Cantharis   taken orally every three to four hours for up to two days is recommended for relieving pain and helping to heal blisters.

Personal Care

Apply cold compresses or calamine lotion to ease itchiness, take a pain killer, and have a cool bath or shower for overall relief. Drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol.

When your skin peels or the blisters break, gently remove the dried skin and apply an antiseptic ointment or cream to the skin beneath. If you feel feverish or nauseated, drink lots of fluids and see a doctor immediately.

Prevention

The best way to prevent sunburn is to limit your exposure to direct sunlight, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Take a look at your shadow: If it’s shorter than your height, stay under cover.

Don’t forget to ‘Slip Slop, Slap’.

Just a few sunsense tips for the whole family…

 

  • Get into the habit of using a sunscreen everyday.

  • Always apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside this will allow time for the sunscreen to dry on your skin and form an effective barrier.

  • Keep out of the sun between 10am and 3pm.

  • Re-apply sunscreen after swimming or exercise

  • Wear a hat

  • UV protective swim wear and shirts to be worn by children fro extra protection.

By practising these sunsense tips you should prevent excessive sun damage to you and your family’s skin

When to seek further professional advice

  • your sunburn blisters and is accompanied by chills, fever, or nausea. Severe sunburn requires professional care to limit the risk of infection and to prevent dehydration.

  • your eyes are extremely painful and feel gritty. You should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist to determine whether the corneas are damaged

     

Swimmers Ear

Swimmers ear, also known as otitis externa is Inflammation of the canal between the Eardrum and the external opening of the Ear. 

What to look for

  • itching inside the ear.

  • watery discharge from the ear.

  • severe pain and tenderness in the ear, especially when moving your head or when gently pulling on your earlobe.

  • a foul-smelling, yellowish discharge from the ear.

  • temporarily muffled hearing (caused by blockage of the ear canal).

This is a very common problem that afflicts the outer ear. Otherwise known as otitis externa, an inflammation occurs in the outer ear canal. The inflammation can often lead to an infection. It can often occur in swimmers but it can also afflict non-swimmers.

Causes

Too much moisture inside the ear can cause this complaint. This can occur through normal showering or swimming. The moisture causes an eczema in the ear which can be quite sore and itchy. If the skin tears or breaks, bacteria can get in and cause infection.

Traditional Treatment

This condition is not usually serious and it may just clear up on its own or you can try to relieve the problem with alternative solutions. If the condition does not improve in a day or two, see your doctor for more aggressive treatments.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Aromatherapy  –  To increase blood circulation to the area and help healing, gently massage the area around the outer ear with an oil made from 3 to 5 drops of either eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) or lavender (Lavandula officinalis) diluted in 1 tsp olive or other vegetable oil. Rub the oil into the temples and neck and on the earlobe. To increase blood circulation to the area and help healing, gently massage the area around the outer ear with an oil made from 3 to 5 drops of either eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) or lavender (Lavandula officinalis) diluted in 1 tsp olive or other vegetable oil. Rub the oil into the temples and neck and on the earlobe.

Herbal Therapies  – Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) oil may help soothe and heal an inflamed ear canal. Mullein(Verbascum thapsus) oil may help soothe and heal an inflamed ear canal.

Another useful herb for swimmer’s ear is garlic (Allium sativum). Combine equal parts garlic juice, glycerin, and a carrier oil, such as olive or sweet almond; put 1 to 3 drops in the infected ear every three hours.

Personal Care

  • Make sure you keep the infected ear dry – wear a shower cap or use ear plugs.

  • To relieve pain, place a warm heating pad or compress on the infected ear.

Prevention

  • Do not clean your ears too thoroughly, the ear needs some wax for protection.

  • Wear earplugs when swimming.

  • Avoid swimming in dirty or polluted water.

  • Try to avoid water getting into your ears while showering.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are experiencing dizziness or ringing in the ears.

  • you have severe pain

     

Syphilis

This is an infectious sexually transmitted disease affecting the sex organs and the mouth.

What to look for

There are three stages of syphilis.

  • In the first stage, 9 days to 7 weeks after having the infecting intercourse, ulcers and sores appear on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. Lymph nodes near the groin may be swollen as well. 
     

  • In the second stage, a non-itchy red rash may appear anywhere on the body. Sores may be around the mouth, sex organs or in the throat. You may have flulike symptoms. These symptoms may come and go if not treated. , a non-itchy red rash may appear anywhere on the body. Sores may be around the mouth, sex organs or in the throat. You may have flulike symptoms. These symptoms may come and go if not treated.
     

  • In the dormant stage, the infection if not treated eventually disappear. It could lay dormant for an indefinite period of time. You will show no symptoms and it is no longer infectious. However, women giving birth may pass the disease onto the child. 
     

  • In the third stage, which can start anytime from one year to many years later, serious disorders and diseases occur if the disease is still untreated. You may suffer from ulcers, paralysis, heart disease, blindness, deafness, insanity.

Syphilis is very serious, particularly if left untreated. In some patients, the symptoms and the disease clear totally and researchers do not know the reasons why. This disease always needs to be treated.

Causes

Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called Treponema palladium, which gains entrance to the body through minor cuts or abrasions in the skin or mucous membranes, most often during sexual intercourse. The disease is also transmitted during birth.

Traditional Treatment

If you are lucky enough to catch this disease early on it may be cured with antibiotics. But if the disease is left untreated, you run the risk of incurring irreversible damage to your heart or nervous system.

If you have syphilis, you will need regular check ups well after treatment has finished.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Always see your doctor if you suspect you have this disease. You need to be put on some form of antibiotics immediately. Alternative treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms.

Herbal Therapies  –  Sarsaparilla is said to aid the treatment of syphilis. Ask about this treatment. Sarsaparilla is said to aid the treatment of syphilis. Ask about this treatment.

Dietary Considerations

Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid high fat, salty foods. Eat a balanced diet and avoid high-fat, salty, processed foods, which may make your system too sluggish to fight off disease.

Personal Care

  • Use acupressure massages, which may help rid your body of toxins.

  • Eat a balanced diet to help build up your immune system.

Prevention

Always wear a condom while having sex.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience any of the symptoms listed in the description section