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Xeroderma versus Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Xeroderma is the name for the condition characterized by dry skin or xerosis. It’s a term for ordinary dry skin usually caused by old age, dry or cold weather, or atopic dermatitis. It is quite different from another condition called xeroderma pigmentosum.

Xeroderma

Xerosis is not a life-threatening condition but it could be a result of the use of harsh skin products which dry out the skin. It’s also a symptom of eczema or atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and itchiness. If that is the case, then you should consult a dermatologist to get proper treatment. Otherwise, ordinary dry skin can be avoided by applying moisturizers that contain glycerin, mineral oil, petroleum jelly, salicylic acid, or lactic acid.

Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Xeroderma pigmentosum runs in families and it is a dangerous condition which makes a person vulnerable to the effects of the ultraviolet rays from the sun. This means that when a person is exposed to sun, he/she does not have the ability to repair the damage to the DNA. It is also not uncommon for people with XP to experience problems in hearing, vision, coordination, and intellectual function.

If not properly diagnosed and treated, they are prone to a lot of complications including cancer and cataracts. The name xeroderma pigmentosum comes from the first symptoms of the illness which are dry skin and pigmentation or changes in skin color after being exposed to sunlight.

Causes and Risk Factors of XP

Because xeroderma pigmentosum is an inherited disorder, this means it can be passed down to the next generation. Based on ongoing research, at least 8 genes are associated with the condition. It is more likely that a child who inherits the mutation from both parents will suffer from the symptoms. If only one copy of the mutation is inherited, the person will not necessarily experience the symptoms. Although it’s a rare condition, it’s not uncommon in some parts of Asia.

Signs of XP usually appear during infancy especially after being exposed to sunlight even just for a few minutes. The severe sunburn and blistering is the first sign of an abnormality, and by the time the child is a toddler, he/she will have freckles in areas of the skin that are often exposed to sunlight. Besides a photosensitive skin, the child will also have joint pain or arthralgia, cognitive impairment, and conjunctival telangiectasia.

Complications and Treatment of XP

This extreme sensitivity to sunlight makes them vulnerable to skin cancer, especially around the face and scalp. It’s not unusual for children to go through multiple skin cancers even before they reach adulthood. They are also at risk of developing other types of cancer like eye cancer. It’s not clear why a lot of children with XP also develop neurological abnormalities that worsen over time.

The child may suffer from seizures, loss of intellectual function, difficulty talking, poor coordination, difficulty swallowing, and others. Treatment therefore is aimed at protecting the child from the complications. Regular examinations are required to monitor and stop progress of cancerous tissue and skin lesions as well as constant protection from UV light. Neurological examination and psychosocial treatment will help the person cope with daily life.

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What is Legionnaires’ disease?

The name legion is usually associated with something sinister because its association with demons. This reputation makes the name all the more appropriate for this lethal form of pneumonia.

Causes and Risk Factors

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by an infection of the bacterium Legionella. The name was taken when an outbreak of pneumonia affected people who attention the American Legion convention in July 1976. The bacterium Legionella was unknown prior to that discovery. It is usually found in bodies of freshwater and are not harmful but only if it affects water systems built for human consumption.

This means that the bacterium may be found in plumbing systems, water tanks, heaters, cooling towers, hot tubs, fountains, showerheads, and sink faucets. When the bacterium grows and multiplies in a water system, it has to be inhaled by people through small droplets for it to infect.

Some people may have already been exposed to the bacterium, but they are not affected because they are healthy. Most of those affected usually have weaker immune systems especially those who are smokers (even after you quit), older than 50 years, have cancer and other diseases, or those that have a chronic lung disease.

Symptoms and Complications

It takes at least two days after the infection for the symptoms to show up. The first symptoms, including chills, fever, muscle pain and headache, might be mistaken for flu, but the fever can go as high as 104°F which is similar to that of pneumonia. Then in the next several days, the person will experience chest pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, cough that is sometimes accompanied by mucus and/or blood, shortness of breath, and confusion. The symptoms can also be confused with Pontiac fever because it’s caused by the same bacterium but is milder and will usually go away even without treatment.

Legionnaires’ diseases, however, can be fatal when not treated. It affects the lungs, but it can affect other organs by wounding them. Untreated, it can lead to respiratory failure, acute kidney failure, and septic shock. It’s not a contagious disease, however, so if there is an outbreak, the common source of water is most likely the culprit and not the people who have Legionnaires’ disease.

Treatment of Legionnaires’ disease

Even after treatment, some people will experience long-term health effects of the condition or a persistence of problems if there is an outbreak. For proper treatment, the doctor must distinguish it from pneumonia by testing for the presence of Legionella antigens in the urine. Additionally, the severity is assessed through blood tests, chest X-ray, brain CT scan, and a sample of the lung tissue or sputum.

Most antibiotics such as macrolides and quinolones work well against Legionella, but the effects are better if the person is treated as soon as possible. Antibiotics may be administered directly into a vein and the person ahs to be admitted to the hospital in case he/she needs oxygen or a machine for breathing. The antibiotics are taken continuously 1 to 3 weeks, but recovery can take a long time.

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How to Find More Time Despite a Busy Schedule

In this day and age, having nothing to do is now something that everybody envies. This is because we rush from work to home and to the next activity that we could find ourselves occupying to the point that we think that our schedules are fully booked for the week.

But there’s no need to fret. In fact, there’s a good chance that you have a little more free time than you think.

Here’s how you can find it (and use it to your advantage):

1. Find the in-between moments. These can be during your commute to and from work or having lunch with a friend, or getting ready for work or just the day in general. While you would think this transition is wasted time, you can actually use this as your chance to catch up on some reading, enjoy the music in your headphones, or even simply taking a few minutes of quiet meditation.

2. De-clutter your schedule. Is your calendar packed with all kinds of meetings, tasks, projects, and appointments? Then start prioritizing. You can do this by comparing the different dates – the ones that are nearest are the ones you should prepare for first, and focus on one of these activities at a time. If you’re jam-packed with tasks, do the biggest and most important ones first, and work your way towards the least important ones.

3. Take a good look at your routine. If you think your everyday routine takes up too much time, chances are that there’s a particular reason why it is that way. Ask yourself: is there a better way of getting ready or doing things? If there is, what changes can be made? What should be put first, and what can be cut off and done last? Once you’ve made these changes, you’ll notice that going about your day is much easier.

4. Learn to say “no”. Whether it’s taking on extra tasks or nodding to everything asked of you, you need to learn your threshold and be really protective about your time – and more so, since you don’t have a lot of it. If it’s not that important or you have something crucial that needs to be worked on, there’s no need to apologize when you say “no”. Just do it politely and gently. Once you explain that you’re busy, and people will understand.

5. Cut out distractions. Finally, once all your attention is focused towards the tasks you need to finish, you’ll notice that a lot of your time can actually be spent on emails, notifications, or even just time-wasters by browsing the internet for “a few minutes”. Visual clutter is perhaps the biggest time sink that you can encounter, but when you organize everything and actively keep your attention to your tasks, you’ll have more time saved for the things you want to do.

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A Quick Guide on How to Find Good Friends No Matter Your Age

Socializing may be much easier when you’re younger, but there are a lot of factors that can make it harder for you to make friends and enjoy the company of other people as you grow older and, in a lot of ways, busier.

However, there are ways you can squeeze in your social life in the middle of your work and personal life. The best way to do that is to simply pick up something new that you enjoy, or something that you haven’t been able to get back to lately.

Comfort Zones and You
Worried you won’t meet anyone new? Try breaking your routine!

As you get older, you grow increasingly comfortable with the people around you and your routine. But there’s no end to what you can do when it comes to finding ways to meet new people and have new experiences, and have fun doing so.

The more you enjoy, the more people you’ll meet wherever you are or whatever it is you decide to do.

Personalities and Making Friends
While this may be easy for extroverted people who enjoy socializing, highly introverted people may have more trouble doing this.

It all comes down to finding a hobby or activity that suits your preference, and the willingness to open up to the different people who you’ll come across. Taking that first step may not be easy, but once, you do, the results will be much more rewarding.

Meetup apps are another way of bridging the gap to meet new people if you’re nervous, especially if they are linked to an activity that holds your interest.

Anxiety and panic attacks can also set in for those who have difficulty holding a conversation out in public or being in social gatherings in general, but the good news is that there are ways to manage it.

Finding Free Time
As you get more engrossed in your daily life and routine, it becomes more difficult to find free time and the energy to go out and try something new, or even go out of your way to meet new people.

While the busy schedule isn’t likely to go anytime soon, there’s bound to be a certain period of time in your calendar where you won’t be too busy. Use this time to get out there and meet new people or engage in new activities or hobbies.

You can even block an hour or a full day off of work to do the things that you want to do. Between the time-wasters, the actual workload, and the email, there’s bound to be a window for you to get out of your routine.

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6 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Eat Banana Everyday

Bananas might be the most humble-looking fruit there is, but you won’t look at it the same way again when you discover all its health benefits.

They can cure hangovers, fight depression, relieve morning sickness and protect you against kidney cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and even blindness. Plus, they can bring back the shine on your shoes!

To add to the endless lists of benefits, here are 10 more reasons to add mighty banana to your diet.

1. Bananas help you breathe easier
According to HealthHub, about 20% of children and 5% of adults in Singapore have asthma. But it can be treated by eating certain superfoods, since asthma is an allergy-triggered immune disease. Other than bananas, avocadoes and spinach are also great natural fixes to cure asthma.

2. Bananas can control your appetite
Bananas contain good amounts of fibre. One banana can serve 12 percent of your daily value and can keep you feeling full until your next meal. In addition to controlling your appetite, it can also manage your blood sugar, maintain healthy bowel movement and lower your cholesterol levels, aiding you to achieve your ideal weight.

3. Bananas are health drink in fruit form
If you are looking for a satisfying pre-workout snack, bananas fit the bill. The simple carbs present in bananas can easily be converted into energy, and being high in potassium will help prevent you from getting dehydrated during an intense workout.

4. Bananas can treat some skin conditions
Even the skin of this fruit has uses. It is a great natural remedy for acne and psoriasis. Simply rub the insides of the skin over the affected area and leave the residue in place for your skin to absorb. The fatty acid on the banana skin helps relieve the skin problem, as well as provide moisturizing effects.

5. Bananas can cure heartburn and ulcer
Bananas are popular for curing heartburn. They balance out your stomach’s pH levels and enhance its protective layer of mucus, relieving you from the pain. The fruit’s fiber content also helps move the food through your digestive tract much faster, preventing reflux reactions.

6. Bananas relieves menstrual problems
Well, not really the fruit itself but the flower. Drink up a cup of water from boiled banana flowers to relief PMS symptoms and manage excessive menstrual bleeding.

Bananas are popular for all the right reasons. Aside from having a great taste and convenience as a to-go snack, the fruit offers endless of health benefits backed up with scientific evidences.

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6 Secrets of Online Travel Sites You Should Know

Before booking a hotel stay or a flight at your favorite travel site, make sure that you are getting the best deals with these expert advices.

1. Your travel website knows who’s using a PC and who’s using a Mac
According to Wall Street Journal, Mac users tend to spend more on bookings and travels than PC users. On an average, those people who use Mac spend $20 to $30 a night during hotel stays and book hotels with more stars As result, travel websites show MAC users various, more expensive options first. Since we aim to spend more, regardless of the computer we’re using, sort your search results by price.

2. Packages are usually comprised of low-end items
Travel websites often brag about being a one-stop shop for travelers. In a travel website you can book everything from your airfare, hotel accommodation, car rental, tour package and even restaurant reservation. While it’s a convenient way to book, these deals and packages often includes options that no one wants to get, like flights with too many layovers and hotel rooms in unfavorable spot of the hotel. Check the fine print always before confirming your booking.

3. These sites don’t always connect with hotels’ systems
A guaranteed hotel reservation in travel websites is almost impossible to do. While the date you’re booking appears to be available in the travel site, it’s actually taken after calling the hotel directly. These third-party providers are not immune to system errors, so make sure to call the airline or hotel to confirm whether your booking online was received.

4. You cannot build hotel or airline loyalty
Booking at a travel website may save you a lot, but it won’t rack up your loyalty miles and points. Plus, your booking will not make you eligible for exclusive privileges and perks. Instead, work with a travel agent or directly with the company to increase your loyalty points and get you the upgrades and rewards.

5. Once your trip is purchased, you’re on your own
An online website cannot provide travel assistance the same way agents can in case of cancelled flights or a substandard hotel room. Basically, once you’re done booking your trip, you are the one responsible for the convenience of your trip.

6. They can’t give you first-hand experience
A travel online site cannot tell the exact location and the size of the hotel room, or whether the room has an outdoor view or none. You will need to do your own research or take the risk if getting booked in a dimly lit room next to an A/C’s outdoor unit.

Online travel sites can definitely save you some cash, but can you really trade your comfort and experience for a few dollars? Keep these insider tips in mind and make sure to decide smartly before confirming your booking.

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Common Myths You’ll Hear About Making Money Online

Today, we hear a lot of things about the Internet and one of that is making money online. For one, it just seems ridiculous to hear how a person can make thousands of Singaporean dollars on the internet. But wait, is it actually true? That and many common myths are circulating today, and here are some of them.

The internet is full of scammers
This myth might have come from the idea that you should not trust everything online. Logically, it is true that you shouldn’t trust everything you see on the internet, but it also doesn’t mean that everything online is a scam. If you do want to avoid getting scammed you should only sell your services to websites or people who are reputable and have established themselves as trustworthy businesses.

Additionally, you should only proceed with your transactions if you’re completely comfortable with offers. Nonetheless, not everyone in the internet is a scammer. You will find a lot of legitimate websites where you can earn money.

There’s only one formula to make money online
You will usually hear this from people who claim to have the formula that can make you “earn S$40,000 a month”. This is all too common, but there is not at all one sole formula that can make you earn money online. You can teach online courses, trade stocks online, take paid online surveys, make money through blogs or YouTube videos. Sure, one approach can be more effective than the other, but there are so many ways to make money online!

“The internet is used by almost everyone, you can easily make money”
The first part of the sentence is true, the second? Not so much. Just because the internet opens up new ways for a person to reach out to an audience, it doesn’t mean that money will start flowing instantly. Making money on the internet still takes some hard work and some brains. “The internet is used by everyone”, so you’ll have to work and use your experience to know how you can engage with people and earn money. This basically means that you use the internet not just as a platform for business, but also as a tool.

A website/blog is all you need
You get to see all these famous Singaporean bloggers write about mouth-watering food, or travelling, and now you think a blog is all you need to earn money. This is a usually a rookie misconception, but still a wrong mindset. When you decide to start a blog, for example, you’ll have to be good at writing articles. Even then, you won’t have many readers if you’re just starting out unless you market yourself well. You’ll also have to consider SEO (search engine optimization) to know which topics or words people look for the most.

There are so many things to consider, and nothing comes instantly. So, don’t set your expectations too high and work hard!

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Keto Diet: Would You Really Want to Try It?

What is a keto diet?
Firstly, the term keto diet or ketogenic diet comes from the “ketone” molecules that the body produces as a result of this diet. Ketones are chemicals made in the liver as an alternative fuel source. The body produces ketones if it is short in insulin and cannot effectively turn glucose into energy anymore. With a ketogenic diet, the body is forced to use mostly fat as a fuel supply. Because you’re depriving your body of glucose, your insulin drops and you’ll burn fat faster as it is being used as fuel for the body. This state is called ketosis.

How does it work?
The general idea of keto diets has been discussed above already but there are details you should not miss. Again, the keto diet forces the body to switch its fuel supply from glucose to ketone bodies which are produced from stored fat. What makes this tricky, though, is that you’ll have to deprive yourself of carbohydrates (basic source of sugar/glucose).

This is especially hard for Singaporeans because rice is a staple food and it is a big source of carbohydrates. You’ll have to take only about 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates or less per day. That’s only a cup or half a cup of rice for one day!

If you are able to do this, it usually takes 3-5 days for the body to reach ketosis.

The food you can (and cannot) eat
The most important thing to do to reach a state of ketosis is to cut your carbohydrate intake while focusing on fats and protein. You’ll have to consume mainly healthy fats like olive oil, butter, avocados, nuts and etc. along with some lean protein. Additionally, although fruits and vegetables are high in carbs, there are some that you can have. Berries, broccoli, spinach, onions, cauliflowers, and garlic are good choices.

You should then try to avoid starchy food like rice, bread, potatoes, and pasta, which are all high in carbs. You should also avoid food that’s high in sugar and processed food.

Does it have risks or side effects?
Although keto dieting is getting quite popular for weight loss, it has a lot of risks and side effects.

Firstly, making major diet changes can give you many issues. You’re depriving your body of essential nutrients to force it to change its fuel source, and so the body will always make a significant reaction. At the beginning you could feel extra tired, you may have cramps, headaches, and nausea.

Secondly, because your diet is mainly high in fat, you might have an increase in bad cholesterol which can eventually lead to numerous health complications and heart disease.

Additionally, it’s just really hard to do in Singapore because so much of our food contains carbohydrates. But if you really want to try it just to see how it feels, then, by all means do so.