Ringworm can be stubborn to treat especially when it affects the toenails, fingernails and scalp. Ringworm is caused by fungi (microorganism) known as dermatophytes. They flourish in warm, moist environments. Ringworm can be very itchy and can even affect one’s self-esteem especially in severe cases. I really dislike ringworm. I had it a couple of times on my scalp when I was younger. It is common among children and adolescents but it can also been seen in adults. Ringworm is contagious. It can be transferred through direct contact from person to person, pet to person. One can get it indirectly from clothes of infected persons, combs, brushes and infected moist surfaces like locker room floors. The soil also harbor the spores of dermatophytes.
Ringworm is medically known as Tinea. Another word is added after ‘Tinea’ depending on the affected area. On the scalp ringworm is called tinea capitis (characterized by hair loss in patches and itching), on the hands it is known as tinea manuum (raised round shaped itchy rashes or tiny blisters which can be seen on the palms, back of the hand or on the fingers), on feet it’s called tinea pedis or athlete’s foot (peeling of the skin between the toes, scaling on the heels), on the nails it’s called tinea unguium (loss of nails, nails become yellow, thick and crumbly), on the groin it is known as tinea cruris or jock itch (symptoms include redness and persistent itching at the groin area), on the body it’s called tinea corporis (round shaped rashes with raised edges on the skin), on the face it is known as tinea faciei (red scaly patches on the face).
Symptoms of ringworm appear within a few days of infection. In severe cases, it is best to seek medical help. Home remedies work best in minor cases.
Garlic is used as a food spice and medicine in different parts of the world. This wonderful spice has antimicrobial effects against many strains of bacteria, fungi and virus. It was also used by ancient Egyptians for food flavoring and traditional medicine. The amino acid Alliin is one of the main active constituents of garlic. This Alliin and its derivatives like allicin, ajoene are responsible for its strong smell and antimicrobial benefits.
A study published in 2007 tested the antifungal property of garlic. In the clinical test, an aqueous extract of garlic was used against 88 clinical isolates of dermatophytes. It was confirmed that garlic inhibited the growth of these organisms. The downside is that people who are allergic to sulfur compounds can be allergic to garlic. This is because sulfur compounds are also present in garlic. So first try in small quantity over a small uninfected area to know if you are allergic.
How to apply: Mash a few cloves of garlic. And apply on the affected areas. Apply two or three times daily. You can wash off with warm water after some hours. Another method is to slice a few cloves of garlic into tiny pieces and place on affected area. Then tie with a bandage. If someone is helping you to apply, make sure the person puts on disposable gloves to avoid getting infected.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Vinegar has been used for many years as disinfectants and preservatives. Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar derived from apple and is an effective remedy for ringworm. Apple cider vinegar is made up of antimicrobial constituents like acetic acid which inhibits the growth of microorganisms. A lot people have attested to the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for treating ringworm. This is as a result of its anti-fungal property.
How to apply: When first applied, it can have stinging effects but it will help in treating ringworm. It should be used in small quantity first in an unaffected area to ascertain if you are sensitive to it. If there are no reactions, you can apply on affected areas. Apple cider vinegar should be dabbed on the affected area with a cotton ball 3-5 times daily. For the toes or nails, mix a cup of apple cider vinegar with warm water. Soak affected area for 15 to 25 minutes. Dry with a clean towel. Use organic apple cider vinegar because its nutrients and enzymes are still intact unlike the non-organic that has gone through pasteurization.
Human beings are the only creatures able to shed tears in response to emotional stress. This is what makes us different from animals. But because of social, cultural or parental influence, crying makes us feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. How often have we heard the admonition “Big boys don’t cry.” It is dinned into the minds of children, that crying signifies weakness. An advertisement on TV showed how a boy who throughout his growing years was reminded that ‘boys don’t cry.’ He grew into an emotionally repressed adult and became moody, glum and short tempered. Later in life he turned into a tyrant and wife batterer and was convicted for domestic violence.
In ancient literature we read about great heroes who were not afraid to cry. Achilles cried at the death of his friend Petroclus. Aneas wept for the loss of his friends and companions in war. In Egyptian mythology Isis wept for the dead Osiris. In the Bible, we read that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. In recent times Presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Regan, Clinton and Bush (Sr) have been known to shed tears in public. So crying is not just the prerogative of women. Males also shed tears in public, disputing the belief that ‘boys don’t cry.’ Of course women cry more readily than men. But girls who break into sobs at the slightest provocation are called ‘cry babies’ and even suspected of emotional instability. Neurotics cry easily and alexithymics don’t cry at all.
God has endowed human beings with a gamut of emotions – to feel, to cry, to be happy or sad or angry. Crying is a healthy response to some of life’s problems. We shed tears of joy when we are happy. People who receive unexpected awards or recognition are overwhelmed with tears of joy. Some people cry out of frustration. Children, who cannot have their way or cannot retaliate against elders, exhibit their frustration through tantrums. But usually crying is associated with grief. The loss of a loved one or a job or a business or even a pet are hurtful psychological experiences which create a great deal of stress. Tears are one way to relieve tension and initiate the process of healing.
Crying is a normal response to bereavement. When sadness reaches a peak of intensity, tears bring therapeutic release. Once the crying stops the body relaxes, heart rate slows, breathing becomes regular and blood pressure is back to normal. So crying is actually a transitional point between tension and feeling better. It will not make problems disappear but will help put them in perspective so that one can deal with them in a level headed way.
Even 2000 years ago the Greeks and Romans were aware that shedding of tears relieved tension. “It is a relief to weep. Grief is satisfied and carried off by tears,” said the poet Ovid. Aristotle was of the opinion that crying “cleanses the mind” of suppressed emotions. Freud and Breuer considered crying “an involuntary reflex to relieve tension and allow blocked negative emotions to be released.”
Professor William Frey of the University of Minnesota in his study said that chemicals which build up during emotional stress are removed through tears. Tears associated with emotions have a higher level of certain proteins and chemicals such as magnesium and potassium. Manganese which affects moods was found to be thirty times of greater concentration in tears than in blood serum. So unalleviated stress was likely to cause heart attacks or even damage certain areas of the brain.
The presence of the hormone Prolactin in tears explains why women cry more easily than men.
Alexander Fleming (discoverer of Penicillin) did a chemical analysis of tears and found that they contain an enzyme Lysozyme which dissolves the outer coat of many bacteria. Through suppression of tears we may suffer both physical and emotional consequences.
Weeping is not weakness. Those who put on a brave front and bottle up their emotions are merely internalizing their pain and suffer symptoms like headache, peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, irritability or depression. Inability to cry can make a person dysfunctional. Men giving vent to tears is now acceptable in society. In Japan they call it the ‘crying boom’ encouraging people to express their emotions.
God has placed in our bodies a natural provision for relief of tension and grief. Everyone grieves differently depending on one’s personality, coping skills, faith, nature of loss and tradition. In some cultures it is okay to cry loudly without inhibitions and make a show of their grief. I witnessed a death in a Khurdish community in Iran. It was frightening to see women tearing their hair, clawing at their cheeks to draw blood and rolling on the ground, and screaming. They believed that the departed soul would rest in peace knowing how dearly he or she was loved. Though both of these men initially practiced as surgeons, today’s gastroenterologists can thank Japanese-born doctor Hiromi Shinya and his for his contribution to their field of medicine. The colonoscopy has become a common procedure used to diagnose and treat conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Shinya’s Life and Career
Born in 1935 in Yunagawa, Japan, Hiromi Shinya graduated medical school in 1960 and was selected to an exclusive internship at the United States Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, a placement requiring excellent English skills. This paved his path to the US where he entered residency at Beth Israel in New York City as a general surgeon. While he was a senior resident in the 1960’s, he and cardiothoracic surgeon William Wolff began collaborating over their shared interest in a new fiber-optic endoscope technology, which they thought could improve screening for colon polyps and cancers.
A Major Development
In 1969, Shinya and Wolff performed some of the first modern colonoscopies. The advantage of this new method was its ability to inspect the entire length of the large intestine. Previously, intestinal polyps were only observed when painful symptoms occurred, and required abdominal surgery when identified. The new procedure removed much of the uncertainty surrounding this medical issue. Additionally, they honed the technique so that only one physician was needed to perform a colonoscopy while other methods required two.
Eventually, they tested Dr. Shinya’s design, a tiny wire loop that could remove a polyp right during the procedure, eliminating the need for surgery entirely. The team performed over 2,000 procedures before making their findings public to the medical community, which they did in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1973. Gastroenterologists were initially slow to adopt this approach, wary of it being surgical in nature, but by the 1980’s the colonoscopy had become a widely accepted practice.
Importance of Colonoscopies
Before these two doctors changed the landscape of this field of medicine, the danger of intestinal polyps was underestimated. Today, it is common knowledge among physicians that they often progress from small benign growths to carcinoma, or cancerous tumors. For this reason, many medical societies recommend a screening at age 50, followed by another each decade thereafter. It is currently the best tool available to prevent the development of colon cancers. It has been estimated that each year, this procedure prevents tens of thousands of new cases of cancer.
In addition to its use for preventing and diagnosing cancer, gastroenterologists in the US use colonic endoscopy to diagnose and observe other diseases of the GI tract, most notably Irritable Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis.
The newest enhancement of this type of exam is the Virtual Colonoscopy, which uses computer imaging to show the findings of a completely non-invasive scan. This technique is still under development and testing, and it remains to be seen whether it will eventually supplant the regular colonoscopy. Once a cutting-edge development in its own right, the work of Dr. Wolff and Dr. Shinya is now a standard for gastroenterologists and surgeons.