20 Common Medical Conditions You Can Treat With Home Remedies

Woman drinking herbal tea

You might have grown up hearing your grandmother tell you about a variety of home remedies for common medical conditions. Some of your grandmother’s home remedies might actually be very effective for treating common medical conditions that may not be serious enough to require a trip to the emergency room.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have any doubt about whether you need to see a doctor, do not hesitate to schedule an office visit or make a trip to the emergency room.

With that being said, let’s take a look at 20 common medical conditions that you may be able to treat with home remedies.

1. ACNE

If you have stubborn acne which can occur at any age, there is a natural remedy which may help.  Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties. You can simply dab some apple cider vinegar onto the areas where you have acne, and do this several times a day, to alleviate the problem.  

2. ARTHRITIS

Joint stiffness and pain from arthritis can happen as we age, but there is help. You can try rubbing some flaxseed oil on your joints, for example. Flaxseed oil is a known anti-inflammatory that might help with your arthritis.  Tai chi, meditation, heat packs, ice packs, yoga, and weight loss might also help as well.

3. ATHLETE’S FOOT 

Athlete’s foot, caused by a virus infecting the foot, becomes worse if moisture is trapped inside your shoes.

Several different home remedies might help kill the athlete’s foot virus. You can try a mix of 25 to 50 percent tea tree oil, or 50 to 75 percent coconut oil, and apply it several times a day. You might also try applying full strength hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to your feet several times a day.

If you have athlete’s foot and you are also a diabetic, don’t try to treat it yourself. See a doctor right away. Even if you’re not diabetic, but the rash does not go away, or the rash turns into a sore that leaks fluid, spreads to other areas of your body, or affects your toenails, seek medical attention immediately.

4. BURNS

Man putting calamine lotion on bug bite

Whether you burn yourself on an iron or a toaster, or you are burned in a fire, the condition is very painful.

You can treat small, minor burns at home. Start by running cool, not cold water, over the burn area. Then try applying a cold compress. You might also try applying some aloe vera gel, or some diluted cider vinegar to the burn area.

What’s interesting is that the old remedy of putting butter on a burn can actually harm your skin, because the grease in the butter slows down the release of heat from your skin. When you run cool water on your burn area, instead of applying butter, it releases the heat from the burn area and may soothe the burn area more quickly than applying butter.

If you have increased pain, redness, swelling, fever, or oozing, however, these are signs that you need to see a doctor. If the burn is larger than 2 inches, and it is painful for more than a few hours, or it worsens over time, get medical attention as soon as possible.

If you have a minor skin burn, try applying some honey to the burn area to get some quick relief. Honey is a great natural remedy that you can buy over the counter. It removes heat from the burn, and it is antimicrobial, so it helps to keep the area free from infection. Remember to always consult a physician immediately if your burn becomes a serious or ongoing chronic condition. 

5. COUGH

The Healthline site lists 92 conditions that may cause coughs. Most often, though, this symptom is a result of a cold or the flu.

People swear by a variety of home remedies for treating a cough. You might try honey and lemon, or your might try different lozenges. You could also try covering your head with a towel and then leaning over a pot of steam, or sipping alcoholic beverages, or eating dishes made with hot peppers (if you don’t have high blood pressure).

Generally, coughing improves once you get over the cold or flu, but sometimes a cough can be serious. Seek medical attention if you experience chest pain, wheezing, or shortness of breath, or if you start to cough up blood. Green or yellow mucus, or a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, are also signs that you need immediate medical attention.

6. DARK CIRCLES AROUND YOUR EYES 

Dark circles can be an annoying cosmetic problem, but not usually a medical condition. It happens because the skin under your eyelids is very thin, and when blood is pooled in the area beneath your eyes, it causes your undereye area to look discolored.

Lack of sleep, excess stress, eye strain, or other issues of general wellness can cause this problem. The Mayo Clinic says it’s okay to use home remedies to treat dark circles, but if discoloration and swelling appear under just one of your eyes, or it gets worse over time, then it’s time to make an appointment to see your doctor.

You might also want to try some popular topical treatments. For example, you might want to try closing your eyes, and applying cucumber slices or cooled wet tea bags to your eyes while you have them closed. Another suggestion would be to try placing a mask of pureed mint leaves around the perimeter of your eyes. Don’t forget that rest, stress relief, and good nutrition are essential to helping with dark circles under the eyes. Staying out of the sun can also help too. 

7. DIARRHEA

If you’ve ever suffered from diarrhea, you’ve probably heard of the “BRAT” diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). It is a bland diet that you can use temporarily to give your stomach a rest. Try this, and see if it helps with your diarrhea.  

8. GOUT 

If you’ve ever suffered from gout, you know it can be a painful experience. Gout is a form of arthritis. Gout occurs when you have too much uric acid in your blood. It can be caused by eating the wrong foods or drinking alcohol, for example, because the alcohol causes uric acid to form in your blood. Symptoms include intense pain in the big toe, a swollen foot, or a swollen knee joint, for example.

A mild case of gout can be treated at home. If you have gout, try to ice and elevate the affected joint. Ask for help with daily tasks so you can relax as much as possible, especially if you have gout in your feet or your knee joints. Drink plenty of fluids, but no alcohol or sweet sodas. You might also try some common home remedies for gout, such as concentrated tart cherry juice, ginger, magnesium supplements, a mix of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, warm water, and turmeric.

Always call your doctor the first time you have symptoms so you can learn about ways to control your uric acid by avoiding certain foods and certain drinks for instance, to help prevent future attacks of gout. You can find additional information by contacting the Arthritis Foundation.

9. HAIR LOSS

Hair loss can occur at any age, in both men and women. Hair loss may occur for any number of reasons, including stress, low vitamin levels, anemia, or chemotherapy, for example. If you are losing your hair, you might try coconut oil hair treatments, or you might consider taking ginseng, fish oil, or Visviscal vitamin supplements (to promote hair growth from the inside out). Massaging the scalp might help also. You can find some additional tips for hair growth here.

10. HEADACHES

You can get headaches for a variety of reasons. Headaches may be caused stress, or caused by a medical condition that has not been treated. High blood pressure or depression might also cause headaches. More severe forms of headaches include migraine headaches and tension headaches. Migraine headaches are often caused by stress or anxiety, while tension headaches are caused by muscle spasms in the head and neck region. The mental stress of daily life can also cause eye strain that can lead to headaches, as well as sitting or working in an uncomfortable position.

Relieving stress, getting enough rest, and healthy eating can help you prevent different types of headaches. For immediate relief without medication, try placing hot or cold packs on your forehead or back of the neck. You might also try drinking some water or a caffeinated beverage, or getting a neck massage. Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other mild pain medication often offer relief, but it’s best to avoid long term use. If your headaches are frequent or are severe enough to disrupt your life, see your physician as soon as possible. Click this link for more suggestions on how to relieve headaches.

11. HEARTBURN

Many of us have probably experienced heartburn, the burning pain in the upper abdomen, usually at night or after eating a heavy meal. Heartburn can be brief, or it can become a chronic condition that occurs over a long length of time.

When it only occurs once and awhile, or only when we eat certain foods (and we expect to get heartburn from eating certain foods we like), it is not usually a serious condition. But if you start to have chest pain or pressure in addition to heartburn, this might be a sign of a heart attack. In this situation, you should call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room immediately, especially if the condition persists, or if you have other symptoms such as difficulty eating or nausea and vomiting in addition to the heartburn and the chest pain or chest pressure.

To alleviate heartburn, you can also try standing up straighter, wearing loose clothing, taking a mix of backing soda and water, drinking pure organic apple cider (also available at your local vitamin store), sleeping in an elevated position, and other home remedies.

12. INDIGESTION OR UPSET STOMACH

You can get indigestion or an upset stomach from something as simple as eating or drinking too much, or can be a sign of a more serious undiagnosed condition, especially if you have indigestion or an upset stomach that lasts for a longer length of time. You might try drinking ginger ale, because the real ginger helps with queasiness. You can also try drinking some ginger tea to help settle your stomach. You might also find some good teas to settle your stomach by making a quick trip to the nearest Vitamin Shoppe, or to another vitamin store in your area.  

13. INGROWN TOENAILS 

If you have ingrown toenails, your shoes or socks might be too tight. Ingrown toenails can also be caused by wearing high heels, or not trimming your toenails correctly, so remember to always trim your toenails straight across. Don’t make the sides rounded. Training your skin is another great way to cure or prevent problems with ingrown toenails. Apply lotion every evening, and push the skin away from the sides of your toenail. Your goal is to free the tip of your nail by pulling your skin to the side. Try soaking your feet several times a day in warm water also. Another suggestion is to run a strand of thin dental floss back and forth between your toenail and your skin, once you have separated the two.

To prevent ingrown toenails, remember to wear absorbent, natural fiber socks, or socks made of modern moisture wicking materials. Change your shoes and socks as often as possible, and see your doctor if the problem does not resolve itself quickly. If you are a diabetic, talk with your doctor to confirm that it is okay to cut your own toenails, and about the best method to use when cutting your toenails if you are a diabetic, because your doctor may want you to cut your toenails to the shape of your toes, and not straight across.

14. INSECT BITES

It’s hard to get through summer, without at least a mosquito bite or a bee sting. Unless you have an allergic reaction to a bee sting, for example, you can usually treat yourself at home without making a trip to the emergency room.

Apply rubbing alcohol or ammonia immediately to the affected area to prevent pain and swelling. You can also try using cold packs to reduce swelling. If your skin is itching, try applying some calamine lotion or some rubbing alcohol to the area to stop the itching.

If the insect bite causes severe hives, redness, and heat, call your doctor. If red streaks appear on your skin, moving away from the bite site, or if you experience shortness of breath, get immediate medical attention. WebMD’s insect bite diagnosis section offers a great guide for home treatment and deciding whether you need to seek help for your insect bite.  

15. INSOMNIA

Are you having a hard time sleeping or staying asleep? You might try drinking a cup of chamomile tea. This is an old remedy that works really well. You might also try listening to subliminal videos or downloading audio tracks from YouTube for relaxation. If you download audio tracks for relaxation, try plugging a sleep mask into your listening device, and placing the sleep mask over your eyes to block out light while you listen, to help you drift off to a peaceful night’s sleep and to block out excess noise. If you have a TV in your bedroom, consider moving your TV out of your bedroom, or turning it off before you go to sleep. Considering purchasing blackout curtains to block light from coming into your bedroom. Another suggestion would be to turn on a ceiling fan to use as white noise and to create a peaceful atmosphere for sleep.

16. MENSTRUAL CRAMPS

Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus during the female monthly menstrual cycle. If you are a female and you suffer from cramps each month, try wearing loose fitting clothing. You might also try some herbal tea, such as green tea, ginger tea, or a tea that you can purchase in a vitamin store to relieve cramps. Also try a heating pad with an automatic shut-off option, in case you fall asleep after placing it on your stomach or your lower back overnight. Contrary to old wives’ tales, a hot bath might help also.

17. NASAL CONGESTION

Nasal congestion is usually caused by a cold or seasonal allergy. If you have nasal congestion from a cold or seasonal allergies, you can use natural saline spray. A few squirts to each nostril will moisten your nasal passages and help with inflammation.  

18. POISON IVY

If you go camping in the summertime, for example, you might accidentally come in contact with poison ivy. Some people are immune to the effects of this plant, but if you are not immune to poison ivy, it can cause itching, skin rash, blisters, and shortness of breath, among other conditions.

A common home cure that you can try is calamine. You can also try an oatmeal bath with Epsom salt. Consider trying a paste of cold coffee and baking soda, or rubbing a banana peel or watermelon rind over your skin rash.

If your rash extends to the eyes or your mucous membranes, or if you have a fever, trouble breathing or swallowing, or puss-filled blisters, you need to see a physician immediately. Here is an excellent link for poison ivy treatment and prevention information.

19. ROUGH DRY SKIN

There are many reasons why you might have rough dry skin. You might be washing your hands frequently or dry weather may cause your skin to become rough or dry. To moisturize your skin, check your kitchen cabinet and see if you have any olive oil in your kitchen. If so, rub some olive oil lightly on your skin to get some instant relief.  

20. SORE MUSCLES

If you’ve been standing on your feet all day, or you just ache all over from exercising or working outdoors, for example, try pouring some Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) into a warm relaxing bath.  

Can you think of some more home remedies? Feel free to add some more home remedies to our Facebook page. If you’d like to learn more about different areas of healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog for news you can use about many different healthcare subjects. If you’re interested in pursing a career in healthcare, or you’re interested in learning about healthcare-related subjects, such as how to prevent disease by eating fruits and vegetables, enroll in the fruits and vegetables course offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. Visit our website for more information on the many different courses that we offer.

How to Prevent Disease In Your Body (By Eating Fruits and Vegetables!)” – offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. Click here for more information about this course.

Welcome to The Avidity Medical Design Blog

Avidity Medical Design Consultants, LLC specializes in all areas of healthcare instructional design. We develop courses in health information management, allied health, Just-In-Time training, and job aids for performance optimization.

Avidity Medical Design Academy offers courses in a variety of healthcare subjects including:

“How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!)”

“How to Protect Your Own Medical Identity (in 8 EASY Steps!)”

“How to Prevent Medical Conditions Caused By TOXIC People in Your Life (and Be Healthier!”

“How to Learn Basic Medical Terminology (in 5 EASY Steps!) (and USE IT in EVERYDAY Living!)”

“How to Learn in the Healthcare Classroom (and ANY Classroom) (in 10 EASY Steps!)”

and much much more…

Visit the Avidity Medical Design Academy website for more information on current healthcare courses, course discounts (50% off), and future healthcare courses currently being developed.

How to Fill in Gaps in Your Resume When You’re Starting a New Career in Healthcare

woman holding resume

The time has finally come: You’re ready to begin a new career in the healthcare industry. However, if you’ve recently been unemployed, you will have gaps in your resume. There are a lot of legitimate explanations for resume time gaps. Maybe you were taking care of a sick relative, or maybe you went back to school. You could have been laid off, or you could have had your own health-related problems. Potential employers will understand these gaps, but only if you handle them correctly.

Why You Need to Fill in Employment Gaps in Your Resume

Employment gaps in your resume can be detrimental to your job search, especially when you’re interviewing for a new job, so you must be able to explain any time gaps in employment in your resume. Many employers use applicant tracking systems to reduce the number of unqualified applicants. Resume gaps will lower your score on these automated systems, thereby decreasing the chance that your resume will fall into the hands of a human being.

Potential employers will want to know what you were doing while you were away from the workforce, even if you were away for personal or family reasons. This doesn’t mean you have to go into a lot of detail about the circumstances surrounding your unemployment, but you can use these gaps in your resume to highlight important skills you developed during your time off work. Doing this can make you a more attractive applicant.

Different Ways You Can Fill in the Gaps

Never lie on your resume. The number one thing you should not do on your resume is lie. Employers will verify your work history, and if they see that you lied on your resume to fill in the gaps, they are less likely to trust you. This could cost you the job opportunity.

There are better ways to fill in the gaps on your resume, particularly when you’re entering the healthcare field. The key is to demonstrate to potential employers that you used your time away well. Use relevant experiences to boost your resume, such as:

  • Volunteer workDid you do any volunteering while unemployed? The skills you learned can be invaluable in your new career in the healthcare industry. Volunteer work for a healthcare organization is especially relevant.
  • Coursework/CertificationsIf you’re about to switch careers, it’s likely you spent some of your time away taking courses and earning certifications. Emphasize this on your resume.
  • Freelance workIf you spent some of your time off work picking up freelance jobs, explain how the skills you learned while you were freelancing will help you going forward. Feature work you did for clients in the healthcare field, if applicable.
  • Soft skills learnedYou’ve likely picked up skills during your time away from work. Determine what those are and explain how they make you an asset in your new career. For example, if you were taking care of a sick relative, share how that experience will make you a better worker in the healthcare field. If you were dealing with your own health issues, explain that it helped you develop empathy for patients.

Don’t be discouraged by the gaps in your resume. If you fill them in properly and leverage the skills you learned while you were unemployed, you will still be an attractive applicant to potential employers. If you want to learn more tips about entering the healthcare field, check out the Avidity Medical Design Blog. To learn more about the different healthcare careers that you can pursue, especially if you’re interested in working from home, consider enrolling in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

To learn more about how to be a professional in healthcare, which is especially important if you get hired for your first job, consider enrolling in the course entitled, “How to Learn Professionalism in Healthcare (with REAL-WORLD Examples!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy, so you can start out on the right foot on your first day on the job.

If you run into any personality conflicts with toxic co-workers on your new job, or you have toxic family members or friends who are stressing you out, consider enrolling in the course entitled, “How to Prevent Medical Conditions Caused by TOXIC People in Your Life (and Be Healthier!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

For more course offerings, visit the Avidity Medical Design Academy homepage.

3 Mobile Businesses in the Field of Healthcare For 2019 and Beyond

woman getting shot at mobile flu clinic

The mobile medical business has become more popular in the last few years due to increased ease of getting medical equipment and internet connectivity. Healthcare workers have become more reliant on internet technologies including the electronic administration medication record, or eMAR, for patient treatment and documentation. Mobile apps have added to the physician’s list of tools available to them to diagnose and treat many different diseases.

Medical Transcription

Another mobile business that you might want to consider is medical transcription. Becoming a mobile or remote transcriptionist allows the physician to record their notes verbally and have their nurse or transcriptionist type out the dialog, making full and complete sentences out of a few words. Beginning a career in medical transcription requires learning anatomy and physiology, medical terminology (including words that soundalike but are spelled differently), resources such as a medical dictionary and drug book to look up drug names, and hands-on practice transcribing a variety of medical reports. As you practice transcribing different medical reports, you also learn how to listen and understand physicians with different accents so that you can transcribe the dictation more accurately.

Medical Coding

Medical coding involves reviewing a patient’s medical record and assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures, and in some instances, durable medical equipment. Like medical transcriptionists, medical coders must have a good understanding of medical terminology and anatomy and physiology. Coders must be extremely detail oriented, and must stay up to speed on the different guidelines for coding in the inpatient and outpatient setting. Without proper coding, physicians and hospitals may not be reimbursed correctly for their services. As a mobile or remote medical coder, you can choose to work from home for one or more staffing services for hospitals in different locations throughout the country. You can also choose to travel to different hospitals or doctor’s offices in different locations, working onsite, while being employed for the same staffing firm in your home location.

Mobile Clinics

Mobile clinics are clinics that come to patients in poor communities, who are too busy to visit the clinic, or who are incapacitated and unable to leave their homes due a medical condition. More and more healthcare workers are required by their companies to get the yearly flu shots to help prevent sick time and spread of the flu within the clinic. Mobile units hire certified nurses to work part-time during flu season to administer these shots to employees. Some mobile units could be used for settings where a large number of individuals are at risk, community events, and nursing homes, to allow more at-risk patients to be vaccinated at once.

These are only a few of the mobile opportunities in the area of healthcare. In addition to exploring opportunities in mobile clinic, you might also decide to start your own mobile clinic. Review this article to learn more about how to start a mobile clinic.

You can also do a search online to locate jobs that involve reviewing or deciphering medical documentation. Online nurses can use video calls to assess different medical situations. To learn more about the different healthcare careers that you can pursue, especially if you’re interested in working from home, consider enrolling in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

To learn about medical terminology, consider enrolling in our medical terminology course also.

Visit the Avidity Medical Design Academy homepage to learn more about many different subjects related to healthcare that you can use in everyday living.

10 Quick and Easy Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress (and Stay Sane Throughout the Day) :-)

Woman drinking tea

Stress is everywhere and it’s easy to get stressed out these days, especially when you feel like you have a million things to do at once, and you’re pressed for time. So how do you reduce your stress level without taking up your whole day? Creating habits for yourself is important because it sets up a framework of consistency and organization in your life. It also helps you stay grounded and sane throughout the day. So let’s take a look at a few quick and easy things you can do each day to reduce your stress level.

When you’re stressed, it can feel like you have no time to add in healthy habits to reduce your stress level during the day. The good news is that there are some daily habits that can lower your stress in just a few minutes, and you can find time to fit them in. Reducing your stress level can make you feel more productive, and it can prevent serious health issues (in addition to just helping you feel better!). Here are a 10 daily habits that can help you manage your stress level. Choose one or two and commit to the ones you choose for a few weeks before adding in more habits.

  1. Take a Quick Walk. Walking helps clear your mind and helps get your blood and adrenaline flowing. A quick five-minute walk can go a long way, especially when you need to calm down after a particularly stressful situation at work.
  2. Exercise. Research has shown that even a short burst of activity can have important mental and physical benefits. In addition to, or as a substitute for, taking a quick five-minute walk, try a five-minute Pilates workout, or even a few minutes of stretching while you’re sitting at your desk.  
  3. Try Aromatherapy. Essential oils are a great way of reducing stress. Many people also use aromatherapy to help with anxiety and insomnia, and to help maintain their physical, psychological, and emotional health. Lavender, rose, sandlewood, and orange blossom are some great essential oils for aromatherapy to help you relieve stress.
  4. Drink a Quick Cup of Tea. Just stepping away to go make a cup of tea can be a relaxing experience. There are a lot of different stress-relieving teas out there that you can make, too, such as Chamomile, Peppermint, Passion Flower tea, or Green tea. Drinking a cup of tea only takes a few minutes and you’ll be rewarded for it in terms of reducing your stress level. 
  5. Chew Some Gum. Studies have shown that chewing gum actually relieves some stress. The harder and more aggressively you chew, the easier it is to relieve stress.
  6. Recognize Your Stress. When you’re stressed out, acknowledge that you’re stressed out. Accepting and acknowledging stress for what it is, is the first step in dealing with it.
  7. Meditate. A short meditation session to start or end your day might be a great defense against stress. Meditation can lower your stress levels, and it’s easy to do. Besides settling your mind, meditation can help you regulate your breathing, which can also help keep you calm for the rest of the day.
  8. Keep a Journal. Whether you prefer a more traditional journal detailing your experiences and emotions, or you want to try something new like a bullet journal or a sketch diary, the simple act of sitting down to write or draw for a few minutes can refocus your stress and bring some order to a chaotic day.
  9. Keep an adult coloring book. Adult coloring books are a trendy way to relax while indulging your inner child. If journaling feels like too much effort, try spending five minutes with an intricate coloring book and some coloring pencils.
  10. Try Meal Prepping. If you like cooking, try spending a few minutes prepping ingredients for the next day’s meals to help you relax. Prepping your meals beforehand also helps save you time the next morning. Chop fruit for your morning smoothie, dice vegetables for tonight’s dinner, or pre-pack your lunch so you can leave for work earlier the next morning.

There are many things that you can do to deal with your stress. Some things take more time than others, so these are just a few quick things you can do, that take only a few minutes each day, to manage your stress. The key is to make a few of these habits part of your daily routine to manage your stress levels more effectively throughout the day.

If you’re interested in managing stress from the perspective of the people that are in your life, some who may be causing you stress, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Prevent Medical Conditions Caused By TOXIC People in Your Life (and Be Healthier!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. Click here for more information on this course.

Plate of healthy food

5 Health Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a New Diet

Plate of healthy food

You’ve heard about this great new diet, and it’s promising real results. You hope this diet will work, after having tried so many others before it, and you’re thinking about trying it out, just to see what it’s all about. Before you try out your new diet, one that may or may not work, ask yourself these 5 important questions to make sure that the diet is safe, and to make sure it’s the right diet for you.

1. Does your new diet eliminate certain food groups?

When you start to review the details of your new diet, ask yourself this question: Does the diet require you to eliminate a specific food group, or does it require you to add more of a certain food group? The majority of diets have you eliminating carbs and sugar. At first, this seems like a great solution and you might see quick results when you eliminate breads, sweets, cereals, etc. The problem is that, even after just one month, your body is going to start to react to this change and approach it’s nutrition like it’s in starvation mode. It’s going to take its store of sugars from your muscles and your liver and then it’s going to tell your digestive system to hold as much sugar as possible because you are depriving your body of this component. Now you will start to gain weight as your body starts making more fat. Instead, look for a diet that includes a well-rounded mix of the vital nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.

2. Does your new diet promise that you only need to make a temporary change?

Does your new diet give you a way to change your eating plan for a short time, and then promises that you can return to your normal eating pattern after you lose the weight? You’ll have short-term “success” for about 6-8 weeks, and then when you go back to your normal way of eating, you will most likely gain all of the weight back, and possibly gain additional weight, as your body tries to adjust to the rapid changes. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you how to eat for life with healthy results.

3. Is it one size fits all?

Most plans are designed for a woman approximately 5’4″ who does moderate exercise. If you don’t fall into this category (i.e., if you are taller or shorter, or if you do more or less exercise, or if you are a man, etc.), you may not achieve the results you want. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you how to modify the plan to fit your specific characteristics.

4. Can I dine out?

Does your new diet allow you to eat out and still make good food choices that will fit into the diet? If not, you have 2 options: a) don’t eat out anymore; or b) go off the diet each time you are going out to lunch or dinner. Neither answer is going to help you stay on the diet long term. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you the skills to choose foods on the menu that fit into your new diet permanently.

5. Do you have to buy special foods or special drinks to stay on the diet?

It may be easy to choose a diet that gives you exactly what you need to eat in the exact portions. You may get a shake that has everything you need to replace a meal, or you may get snacks and supplements to help you stay on the diet. Unless you are prepared to purchase these items for the rest of your life, you increase the chances of failing on your new diet and regaining the weight, when you try to go back to foods that you can buy on your own. Instead, look for a diet that uses a meal plan that you can shop for in your local supermarket.

Before you begin a new diet, ask your doctor for advice on choosing the right diet, especially if you have one or more medical conditions that may need to be closely monitored, or that may be affected by starting a new diet, especially a diet that requires you to eliminate or add certain food groups. By checking with your doctor first, you can develop a comfortable long-term eating plan that balances your unique medical and nutritional needs with a plan for long-term success in terms of taking the weight off and keeping it off. 

For more informative articles on many different healthcare subjects, visit the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take an online healthcare course, such as “How to Prevent Disease in Your Body (By Eating Fruits and Vegetables!),” visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

.

hospital cybersecurity

3 Things Every Medical Professional Should Know About Cybersecurity

hospital cybersecurity

The healthcare industry faces unique and growing threats to cybersecurity, due to the amount of personal data stored on servers, and the relatively low level of cybersecurity in place for smaller healthcare facilities. The typical medical facility stores electronic health records (EHRs), employment data for thousands of individuals, and personal identity details for many healthcare employees and providers. Although larger healthcare facilities have taken additional steps to implement a multilayered security process to protect healthcare data at all levels of the organization, the abundance of information that needs to be protected, combined with less awareness of security risk in individual practices and smaller medical facilities, makes some healthcare facilities a prime target for cybercrime. If you work for a doctor’s office or a small to mid-size medical facility, or if you are thinking about pursing a career in healthcare, review the following three risks to understand how you can help your facility take steps to reduce security risk before it is too late.

The three risks that you should be aware of include:

  1. The risk of attack by ransomware.
  2. The risk of attack to medical devices.
  3. The risk of password violations and phishing attempts.

The Risk of Attack By Ransomware

Since any business can be crippled by a ransomware attack, a cyberattack that locks a medical facility out of its own records is putting patients’ lives at risk. One Ohio hospital found this out the hard way; Ohio Valley Medical Center had to turn emergency room patients away after a ransomware attack locked them out of their own systems. Because ransomware is a malicious software program that blocks users from accessing the data stored on their own computer until a “ransom,” or money is paid to unlock their computer and regain access to their own data, in the case of the Ohio Valley Medical Center security breach, ambulances were diverted and computer systems were taken offline to address the attack. This meant that if you were a patient, you would not have been able to get the care that you needed while the facility struggled to resolve the ransomware issue. Sadly, this is not an unusual occurrence, and criminals have figured out that disrupting care is the fastest way to a quick payday when it comes to ransomware. 

The Risk of Attack to Medical Devices

Many of the devices used in a standard hospital setting are equipped with IoT based technology. This type of technology allows healthcare providers to collect data easily and to monitor patients long distance. Since these devices are directly accessing the healthcare facility’s network, they increase the risk of a cyberattack. While the use of IV stands, insulin pumps and other devices save lives, medical professionals should be aware that they are putting themselves and their patients at greater risk when using these devices. Placing these devices on a dedicated, separate network can drastically reduce the risk of a security breach. Keeping an accurate inventory of medical devices and where they are located in your facility can also help reduce the risk of attacks to your medical devices.

The Risk of Password Violations and Phishing Attempts

Providers and staff members can inadvertently increase a facility’s risk of cyberattack. From poor password choices, including options like “PASSWORD” and “QWERTY”, to a lack of awareness about phishing, employees may accidentally increase the risk of cyberattack. Scheduling online training sessions that incorporate best practices for password use, and how to recognize phishing and ransomware attempts, can drastically reduce the likelihood of responding to these cyberattacks. The IT department can also take additional steps to help protect your facility and ensure that no one without the right to access sensitive patient or employee data can get into your computer network. 

Being aware of these three risks allows you to take steps to protect your facility, contact your manager and/or help desk if something looks suspicious in terms of information access, and safeguard the data of patients as well as managers and other employees in your healthcare facility.

For more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take an online course in healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy

Shot of a young medical practitioner using a digital tablet in a hospital

How to Stay Healthy If You Work in the Hospital

nurse holding patient's hand

You’ve just been hired for a new job in healthcare. Your new position involves working in a hospital in your area. It doesn’t matter whether you are working as a doctor, as a nurse, as a therapist, as a medical coder, or as a receptionist in patient scheduling or patient registration. If you work in a hospital, and you interact with patients at any level throughout the day, you have to take steps to keep yourself healthy, not only for the sake of your patients, but for the sake of yourself, your friends, and your family members as well. Staying healthy means walking a fine line between balancing your responsibilities in terms of caring for other people’s health with taking care of your own health. The unfortunate truth is that you have a lot working against you. Since the vast majority of patients are sick people, since they are coming to the hospital, this means exposing yourself to numerous communicable diseases and conditions, especially if you interact with patients, as well as other staff members.

Here are some things you can do to try to minimize your risk of getting sick in the hospital (and consequently becoming a patient yourself):

Hospital Work Can Be Stressful

If you are new to working in a hospital, it means not only opening yourself up to potential physical illnesses but also opening yourself up to potential mental issues as well, in the form of stress. Although for some positions, a stressful job with long work hours typically “goes with the territory,” so to speak, some jobs are more stressful than others, especially in the hospital setting.

Work stress is associated with a number of physical and medical issues, including:

  • Weight gain, possibly leading to obesity.
  • Stomach problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Headaches or migraines, depending on your stress level.
  • Fatigue or insomnia.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Worsening health conditions that may already exist, apart from working in the hospital setting.

Stress on the job is also associated with mental health issues such as:

  • Inability to focus.
  • Irritability.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Isolationism.
  • Drug and alcohol use.

If you work in a hospital, you may be more susceptible to the effects of stressful situations, especially if your work involves caring for patients in life-or-death situations.

Maintaining healthy exercise and eating habits can help you minimize the effects of physical illness and work-related stress, especially if your stress involves making decisions on behalf of patients in crucial situations where time is of the essence. Maintaining a healthy personal life outside of work can also help you operate at maximum efficiency when you’re on the job. Starting a new job in a new hospital means a fresh opportunity to start off right. 

woman doing meditation at park during sunrise

Also consider doing deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques to stay balanced, focused, stress-free (to the greatest extent possible), and most of all, on track, even if you do not work directly with patients.

Maintain a healthy social life outside of your job, that doesn’t conflict with your work schedule. Take a vacation by yourself if you choose to, without family members or friends at the beach or on a faraway resort, just to unwind, regroup, regather, and refocus.

For more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

To enroll in an online course in healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

The Surprising Link Between Poor Oral Health and Heart Problems

woman brushing teeth in mirror

You try to stay relatively healthy while eating right and exercising occasionally. But did you know that oral health plays a major role in our overall health as well? It turns out that poor oral health can affect your entire body, including your heart.

The relationship between poor oral health and heart problems is an issue that seems to be validated by numerous studies. Although the reasons are not entirely clear, researchers have some evidence-based beliefs about how it might happen. So let’s take a look at how poor oral health might lead to heart problems down the line.

Poor Oral Health May Lead to Bacterial Infection

One study found that poor oral health might lead to bacterial infection. These bacteria can travel through the body and then seep into the bloodstream, over time. Researchers think that the same bacteria that causes gingivitis and periodontitis can also cause inflammation and damage to our blood vessels. As a result, tiny blood clots might develop, which can in turn lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

The same study found a correlation between gum disease, heart disease, and smoking. This was a study that examined almost a million people and at least 65,000 cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks. The study found that there was a link between tooth loss and heart problems. However, this study also found that smoking was also just as strong (if not a stronger) predictor of cardiovascular problems as was tooth loss.

Still, other studies have found links between gum disease and heart disease, tooth loss, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure. And it’s not just heart problems that seem linked to oral health.

They’ve also found links between diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis and heart problems. More research is needed to further illuminate the connections, but we do know that taking good care of your oral health is a safe bet.

Brushing, flossing and regular dental appointments can go a long way towards influencing your oral and overall health for the better.

For more informative articles on a variety of healthcare subjects, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

To enroll in an online healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

Five Ways Working the Night Shift Impacts Your Health (And How to Handle It) :-)

Working the night shift is never easy. If this is something you have to do regularly, you may begin to see some negative effects on both your physical and mental health. Here are five of the biggest ways the night shift might impact you, and what you can do to take care of yourself while working these difficult hours.

Social Isolation

Working nights means that your schedule will almost never be in sync with the work schedule of your friends and family, which can lead to feelings of depression, loneliness, and isolation. While it can be easy to push social engagements low on your priorities list, it is important to make time to spend with the people you care about. Just inviting friends over to catch up and watch a movie can help you feel connected and, as a result, can drastically improve your mental and emotional health.

female nurse smiling

Insomnia

Although fatigue frequently comes with overnight work, this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fall asleep as soon as you get home. In fact, insomnia is a common problem for people who work overnight shifts, due to a disruption in your circadian rhythm. If you can, invest in blackout curtains and wear sunglasses on your commute home at the end of your shift. Exercising regularly, wearing ear plugs or listening to white noise, and keeping to the same daily sleep schedule, if possible, can all help you avoid insomnia.

Weight Gain

Stress, lack of time, and fatigue are all factors that can lead to unhealthy behavior and weight gain, especially if you work the night shift. If you are exhausted, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal from scratch. Meal prepping and batch cooking are excellent ways to ensure you’ll always have access to a quick and healthy meal, and snacks like trail mix and jerky can help you avoid getting snacks from the vending machine in the wee hours of the morning, while you’re taking breaks on the night shift. 

Depression

Even if you make an effort to spend time with friends, overnight work can severely impact your mental health. Along with fatigue and poor diet and exercise habits, lack of sunlight can be very detrimental to your mental health. If your schedule allows, try to get some natural sunlight before you report to work. If not, using a sunlamp when you wake up can help you combat feelings of depression caused by a nocturnal schedule.

Stress

All of the health problems caused by overnight work can lead to high levels of stress. Chronic stress is always a drain on the body, so it is important to make a conscious effort to find ways to relax. This could mean meditating, drawing, drinking tea—find the things that calm you down, and make them a priority.

Overnight work is challenging, but the more you know about the health risks involved in working the night shift, and how to stay healthy when you work the night shift, the better you’ll be able to take care of yourself. For more helpful tips on different areas of healthcare, be sure to visit our blog.

3 Ways a New Work Environment Can Impact Your Health (and What You Can Do About it)

You may be wondering how your new career in the healthcare field will affect your life. But have you thought about how your new work environment can impact your health? CNN reported in the article, “A bad work environment can be bad for your health”, that there was a direct impact on stress level and risk of cardiac disease based on an employee’s work environment. Therefore, what are some health hazards and ways that you can maintain your health while transitioning to your new job?

Not Enough Hours in the Day

It’s all too common to be understaffed and overworked, especially in the healthcare environment. You may feel that you need to forego taking a break, avoid eating lunch, or eat lunch on the run, in order to get everything done. While scarfing down your lunch on the run may seem like a better option than skipping lunch altogether, you may have some health concerns that come from eating on the go. Indigestion, nausea and bloating may have you reaching for a Tums or some Pepto-Bismol, for example. A better option would be to force yourself to sit down and take 30 minutes to an hour to eat lunch. If you finish early, enjoy those few moments of peace, resisting the urge to get more work done during this time.

No Personal Space

Sometimes, the lines can become blurred when it comes to separating your work life from your home life. If you work from home, it can be hard to balance the two while keeping them separate from one another. The mental toll that this takes can leave you drained emotionally as you obsess about work duties while neglecting interests and hobbies that you once enjoyed. Take back your personal life. If you have a home office, keep work in the office space and during office hours only. Make it a priority to spend time doing the things you enjoy or spending time with family and friends. 

man coding on desktop computer
Cropped image of It specialist working on code

Intense and/or Repetitive Physical Exertion

Are your daily work tasks leaving you achy and physically exhausted at the end of the day? Back and neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and migraine headaches are some potential side effects, especially when you are at your desk most of the day, or your job is especially stressful. Learn about ergonomics and body mechanics and incorporate both of these into your daily routine at work. Get out of your chair and stretch at least once every hour that you are at work. If your job has you on your feet all day, sit down, stretch your legs, rotate your feet and ankles, and elevate your feet in the breakroom to improve circulation. 

As you consider a new career in the medical field, check out these courses that Avidity Medical Design Academy offers to help you succeed on the job and in your personal life.