All posts by Aris Eff

Metatarsalgia – Overuse Injury Of The Foot

Metatarsalgia is an injury also known as stone bruise. The inflammation, pain and swelling are usually felt on the metatarsals of the foot (commonly known as balls of the foot), including its joints and bones. Metatarsals are the small, round bones in the foot below the big toe and two middle toes.   Although the largest metatarsal under the big toe is commonly affected, other smaller bones can also suffer from stone bruise.

Who Are Commonly Affected By This Injury?

People engaged in extreme physical activities with too much use of the foot are the ones who usually suffer from metatarsalgia. Athletes (particularly runners and gymnasts), who perform high impact jumping, running and twisting of the foot, are more likely to experience this kind of overuse injury. However, there are times when tight-fitted shoes or underlying medical condition can also cause metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia is also common among male athletes, but middle-aged females, who usually wear high-heels, can also suffer from this condition.

The pain felt on the foot vary depending on the severity of the pressure or impact received by the foot; sometimes only a portion of the foot feels the pain, but there are instances when the entire foot is affected. When too much weight is put on the foot, it can worsen the symptoms of metatarsalgia – such as when walking, prolonged standing, running, or high-jumping.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Metatarsalgia?

  • Pain ranging from mild to severe
  • Different pain characteristics – burning, sharp, aching, localized on a part of the foot or generalized on the entire foot
  • Increasing pain severity when walking, standing, or moving about
  • Diminishing pain when weight is removed from the foot, such as when sitting or lying down
Sitting while resting can help relieve the weight and pressure on the foot.
Sitting while resting can help relieve the weight and pressure on the foot.

These symptoms usually vary from one person to another. In addition, they may either develop abruptly or slowly, depending on the activities and weight received by the injured foot.

First Aid Options For Metatarsalgia

  • Rest can help relieve pain and relax the foot from overuse
  • Ice application can help decrease swelling and minimize pain
  • Avoid too much work, pressure or exercise on the foot if pain is already noticed on the metatarsals
  • Pain relievers may be prescribed if pain is intolerable.
  • When to Seek Medical Care? If the pain does not subside after a couple of days rest or the foot becomes more swollen even after taking medications. There may be underlying reasons for the injury so it is important to seek medical supervision as soon as possible.

Related Video On Metatarsalgia:

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“Metatarsalgia Introduction.” Web MD. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from

“Metatarsalgia Definition.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from


The Basics Of Mental Health First Aid

Many people are already familiar with the traditional “First Aid,” in which medical help is given to individuals with different physical conditions – whether it is an illness, an injury or other emergency conditions – before they eventually consult for professional medical assistance.  This kind of first aid, therefore, is all about providing care to the physical needs of an ill or infirm individual. But there are times when first aid is not just about giving physical medical assistance, because there are individuals who also need mental healthcare. Individuals who have mental problems need to get the necessary care they need just like those individuals who need CPR or wound care – this is where mental health first aid comes handy.

Why Mental Health First Aid Is Also Important?

Just like how we pay attention to the importance of health awareness, determining the needs of individuals with mental problems is also necessary. There are instances when we do not know if our loved ones or neighbors are already suffering from some form of mental health illness. Worse, they may not have any idea at all when it is necessary for them to turn for further mental health care. Signs and symptoms of mental health illness can be hard to detect, and even if the families of these people realize that something is wrong with them, they do not have enough knowledge how to intervene or send that person to necessary treatment.

These all boil down to one thing – people with mental illnesses do not receive prompt treatment until it is too late. As part of a large community, we should also have the necessary knowledge on how to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness in order for these people to be directed to proper care sooner than later. By enrolling in a mental health first aid course, we can increase our chance to help others within the society, who are in need of mental health services.

People with depression or other mental disabilities should also be given proper treatment.  Mental Health First Aid can help them.
People with depression or other mental disabilities should also be given proper treatment. Mental Health First Aid can help them.

Important Mental Health Conditions Addressed in the Course

Different mental health challenges are addressed in this 8-hour course. Some of the basic knowledge that can be derived includes teaching parents, teachers, neighbors, teenagers about lending a helping hand to people experiencing substance abuse problems and other minor mental health issues like depression.

The course also tackles important developmental challenges experienced by youths, adults and older adults, as well as how to help someone during a major life crisis. Finally, becoming aware of someone’s mood, behavior, and physical characteristics is one important concept of the mental health first aid, so it would be easier for the community to direct these people to proper treatment.

Related Video About Mental Health First Aid:

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“Mental health first aid fills knowledge gap.” ABC Health & Wellbeing. Retrieved online on August 14, 2014 from

“Mental health first aid.” MHFA Australia. Retrieved online on August 14, 2014 from

Acrocyanosis – What Does The Bluish Discoloration Indicate?

What Is Known About Acrocyanosis?

This is a vasospastic condition affecting the supply of blood from the arteries to the skin of the feet and hands. The vasospasm usually pertains to the process in which the arteries go into spasm and contraction, resulting in decreased blood flow to the different parts of the body. The smaller arteries that carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to the hands and feet usually receive insufficient amount of blood supply, because of spasm and contraction. Because of this kind of obstruction, the skin receives inadequate amount of oxygenated blood, resulting in a bluish to purplish discoloration. This characteristic discoloration is known as cyanosis. Acrocyanosis is a combination of two words – “akron” which means extremities and “kyanos” which means blue. Therefore, the bluish discoloration of the extremities indicates that there is not enough supply of oxygenated blood within the blood vessels of the skin, particularly the dermis and hypodermis.

What Are The Possible Reasons For Acrocyanosis?

According to a recently published study at the National Institutes of Health, there are two reasons why acrocyanosis happens. First, an individual might be having some kind of cardiac or pulmonary illness that makes him at risk for central blood oxygenation problems. Second, there might be problems with local tissue oxygenation. Either way, the results are usually the same; although there is a presence of discoloration in the upper and lower extremities, pain is often not associated with acrocyanosis.

What Are The Clinical Features of Acrocyanosis?

Acrocyanosis is a rare condition, but the painless discoloration is usually associated with cold and clammy skin. Other peripheral parts of the body can also be affected include the nose, lips and ears, and these clinical features are often exacerbated during cold weathers with high chill-wind factor. Although there is no swelling in the discolored part of the body, it usually exhibits profuse sweating and moisture.

The only time that acryocyanosis becomes slightly painful is when the affected peripherals are exposed to cold environment for a prolonged period of time, making them swollen and providing a tingling to numbing sensation.

First Aid Tips for Acrocyanosis:

  • Staying indoors during winter and cold seasons
  • Wearing of gloves or socks to provide heat and wick away moisture
  • Smoking cessation – because smoking can exacerbate vasospasms of the small arteries

The first aid for acrocyanosis are simple common sense prevention techniques to prevent discoloration from getting worse and the symptoms from exacerbating.

Related Video On Acrocyanosis:

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“Acrocyanosis: An Overview.” National Institutes of Health. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from

“What is Acrocyanosis?” Web MD. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from

Knowing what a high-risk pregnancy is

For expectant mothers, a high-risk pregnancy can be very stressful, because it poses a challenge before, during and even after the delivery of the baby. This means that mothers need to have a special kind of monitoring in order to determine if any danger might arise from the entire course of pregnancy. It is therefore important for soon-to-be mothers to see their doctors regularly to know if they are within the high-risk pregnancy category or not. Apart from this, it is also necessary to determine what factors might contribute to a high-risk pregnancy and if there are steps mothers can do to protect themselves and their babies.

What Risk Factors Contribute To A High-Risk Pregnancy?

  • Pregnant mothers age 35 and above
  • Certain lifestyle habits such as smoking, using of illegal drugs and drinking during pregnancy
  • A multiple pregnancy, wherein the mother is expected to deliver two or more babies
  • Pregnancy that is overdue
  • Complications developed during pregnancy can also contribute to a high-risk pregnancy. This includes problems with the placenta, uterus or cervix, too much or lack of amniotic fluid that could affect fetal growth, blood incompatibility between the mother and the fetus, and severe vomiting that persists even after the first trimester.
  • Underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes and anemia.
  • If the mother has already given birth with certain conditions like a cesarean section, preterm birth or low birth weight, this can put her present pregnancy at high-risk.
  • There are also instances when a high-risk pregnancy results from certain medical conditions that a mother develops during her pregnancy, which can either affect her or the baby in the long run.

Promotion Of Healthy Pregnancy Is Very Important

Whether you are a new mother or you already know that your pregnancy is categorized as high-risk, it is important to follow a healthy regimen for the entire course of pregnancy. Doing some of the simplest yet helpful maternal health promotion is very effective during this time. For instance:

  • Scheduling an appointment with your obstetrician ahead of time if you and your husband are planning to have a baby – this can help determine if you have certain conditions that might increase your risk of pregnancy
  • Gaining weight properly, while eating healthy foods and avoiding risky substances
  • Having a regular prenatal care to help you and your healthcare provider monitor the condition of your pregnancy, especially the baby inside your womb

Related Video on High-Risk Pregnancies:

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“Health Risks.” Healthline. Retrieved online on August 16, 2014 from

“What are the factors that put a pregnancy at risk?” National Institutes of Health. Retrieved online on August 16, 2014 from


Skin Health and Conditions: Actinic Keratosis

Characteristics of Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis, commonly abbreviated as AK, is the presence of rough small patches and spots on the skin, which usually develop because of long-term exposure to sun. The size of AK usually ranges between 2 and 6 millimeter in diameter, which is comparable to the size of a ballpoint pen up to the size of a small eraser. They can easily be recognized because the patch is rough, scaly and reddish in color, while the top has yellowish to whitish spots.  Also known as solar keratosis, AK is hard to touch, and there is a tingling and prickling pain when pressure is applied to it. Although the skin is commonly affected, AK can also be present in other parts of the body, such as the lips, around the neck, scalps, the lower portion of the ear, and the back fo the hands and forearms.

Actinic Keratosis Is A Pre-cancer Warning Sign

Development of AKs is considered as an early sign of skin cancer, because if left untreated, it can eventually advance into squamous cell carcinoma (also known as SCC), one of the most common types of skin cancer. It should be noted, though, that only a small percentage of those with AKs had eventually advanced into the SCC stage. What increases the risk of an individual with AK to have skin cancer is his exposure to direct sunlight for a long period of time.

Who Are At Risk For Developing Actinic Keratosis?

  • People who are working outdoors and are usually exposed to extreme heat of the sun
  • People who had numerous cases of severe sunburns in the past
  • People with fair skin complexion, red or blonde hair, and green or blue eyes
  • Older people with weakened immune system
  • People who are taking immunosuppressant medications

What Are The Notable Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis?

  • Appearance of lesions usually starts with changes in skin color and characteristics; begin as scaly and flat.
  • Growth of patches starts from gray, white and pink to, yellowish and red. The hardness of the patch is similar to a wart.
  • Sometimes the areas with lesions are not visible, but the hardness and tingling pain are easier to feel.

Remember That Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure

  • Never go outdoors without proper skin protection, especially during hot seasons and under extreme sunlight.
  • Since sun exposure is the main cause of AKs, avoid direct sunlight if possible at all.
  • If on a beach, apply sunscreen lotion that effectively blocks ultraviolet rays.
  • If working outdoors, always wear adequate clothing – such as long sleeves, large hats and pants.

Related Video on Actinic Keratosis:

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“Actinic Keratosis.” Skin Cancer. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from

“Actinic Keratosis Definition.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from

Helpful Ankle Sprain Prevention Tips

What is sprain?

A torn or stretched ligament is known as sprain. The main function of the ligament is to connect two bones on a joint and prevent the bones from moving out of their place. Because sprain is usually caused by heavy force to the ligaments due to sudden twisting or changing of direction, the normal sites of this injury involve the ankles. For instance, when you had a hard fall, the joints forced out of its position, or you had twisted your ankles too far from its normal rotation, it can tear or stretch the ligaments.  This is why sprains are normally suffered by athletes during sports-related activities.

Common Signs of Ankle Sprain

foot pain - ankle pain - pain


  • Swelling or bruising
  • Tenderness, stiffness and pain
  • Numbness or coldness of the affected foot
  • Inability to run or walk because of pain in the joints

Take note, though, that the severity of these symptoms depends on how bad the ligaments have been stretched or torn. If the sprain, for instance, did not cause too much damage to the ligaments, then the swelling or pain may only be mild. But if there are one or more torn ligaments, the sprain can be very painful and swollen.

Recommended Treatment for Sprain

Doctors recommend the R. I. C. E. approach (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) as the main treatment for sprain.

  • Rest – Resting the affected ankle is important to reduce pain on the weight bearing joints and ligaments. Rest depends, though, on how bad the sprain is.
  • Ice – Application of ice pack on the sprained ankle can help reduce swelling and bruising.
  • Compression – Ice application is also combined with compression (wrapping of the ankles) to avoid inflammation.
  • Elevation – The idea behind elevating the affected ankle above heart level is to keep circulation on the ankles to prevent the swelling from getting severe.

How Could You Prevent Ankle Sprains?

  • Balance and Flexibility Training – lack of elasticity and movements on the torso, legs, hips and foot can increase the likelihood of sprains. Also, improving your balance and coordination is necessary to gain control over the body during movements.
  • Strengthening of the ankles – Exercises that focus on ankle strengthening can improve muscle and ankle functioning.

Finally, make proper preparations before an activity. Immediate changes in the body’s normal movement can make you prone to injury. Activities like warming up and conditioning the muscles are some important preparations you can do.

Related Video on Ankle Sprains:

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“Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries.” USF Medical Center. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from

“5 Ways to Reduce Your Chance of an Ankle Sprain.” Athletico Physical Therapy. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from

What Is The Difference Between A Strain And A Sprain?

Both sprain and strain are injuries to the bones and muscles, and these words are often used interchangeably.  But it is important to know that these two types of musculo-skeletal injuries are different from each other. Let us discuss the differences between a strain and a sprain below.

Sprain versus Strain

Sprain injuries are caused by the tearing or stretching of the ligament, a kind of tissue that connects the bones to the joints. The main function of the joint is to provide stability and balance, so when the ligament is damaged or injured it can result to joint instability and pain. The symptoms of a sprain include inflammation or swelling, pain and inability to move the affected part (such as the legs, foot or arms). Sprains happen when too much force is received by the joints, such as when turning or twisting the body without moving the feet or when landing from a hard fall or on an awkward position.

Strains, on the other hand, are caused by tearing or over stretching of the muscles and tendons. Strain injuries involving the muscles and tendons usually happen at the part of the muscles that is connected to the tendons. These kind of injuries usually occur when the muscle is instantly stretched and then contracted, such as during jumping or running. The common site of injury of strains is in the hamstring muscles; runners are usually affected by it, especially when they are running at full speed. Similar to sprain, the common symptom of strain is pain and swelling in the affected muscle. Other signs of sprain include loss of muscle strength, spasm and inability to move the injured part.

The Severity Of Strains And Sprains

Healthcare providers usually categorize strains and sprains according to the severity of injury.

  • Grade I sprain/strain means that the injury is mild and involves only minor damage to the muscles, tendons and joints
  • Grade II sprain/strain means that the muscles or tendons are still intact yet partially torn
  • Grade III sprain/strain is the most severe type of injury, because the muscles and tendons are completely torn or stretched, which cause joint instability.

First Aid Techniques for Strains and Sprains

Taking a brief rest after experiencing sprain or strain can help decrease pain.
Taking a brief rest after experiencing sprain or strain can help decrease pain.

Rest of the injured muscle

Application of cold compress or ice packs for a couple of days until the swelling or inflammation subsides

Use of compression garments or bandages to help immobilize the injury

Elevation of the injury above the height of the heart to promote circulation and decrease swelling and inflammation

Related Video on Sprain and Strain Differences:

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“Sprains and Strains: What’s the Difference?” OrthoInfo. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from

“Sprains and Strains.” Better Health Channel. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from

Burn First Aid: Classification of Burns according to Severity

Why is determining the severity of burn important?

Knowing the severity of a burn is very important, because this will be the basis for providing first aid services. Also by determining how severe the burn is, you can have an idea if the victim needs basic first aid or a more advanced emergency medical assistance. The main idea to remember when determining burn severity is how deep the burn has damaged the skin. The thickness of the burn is classified into several degrees, which we are going to discuss below.

Different types of burns according to degree

  1. First-degree burns – This is the least serious type of burn. Only the outer layer of the skin is burned and the damage is just superficial. This means that the inner layer of the skin is still intact, and the nerves still maintain its functions and sensation. Because this is considered as a minor case, it involves first aid burn treatment.
  2. Second-degree burns – The burned area includes the outer and inner layer of the skin. At this point, blisters usually develop, there is severe pain and swelling in the area, and the skin becomes more reddish and splotchy. As part of first aid, if the surface area of the burn is not larger than 3 inches, it can still be considered as a minor burn. But if the affected part involves the face, feet, hands, and buttocks, and is larger than 3 inches, it should be treated as a major burn, where emergency medical assistance is necessary.
  3. Third-degree burns – This is the most severe form of burn. It means that aside from the epidermis and dermis, the burn may have also damaged the nerves, muscles and even bones. This can cause serious tissue damage, nerve death, fluid loss and extreme heat.

Always remember that the higher the number, the more dangerous the burn.

Major burn should be given proper medical treatment: until help arrives, it is necessary to do the following to the victim:

Never remove the victim’s clothes.
Remove the victim from the area of danger.
Do not immerse major burns in extremely cold water or apply ice packs.

Check the victim for any sign of breathing before administering CPR
Check the victim for any sign of breathing before administering CPR

Administer CPR if victim does not have pulse and not breathing.




Elevate the part of the body that is burned higher than the heart level.

In cases like these, you can save someone’s life if you have necessary background about first and CPR. Enroll in a first aid and CPR course in certified institutions only. Check our locations listing for more information.

Related Video on Burns:

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“Determining the Severity of a Burn.” First Aid. Retrieved online on August 5, 2014 from

“Burn Classifications.”  UNM Hospitals. Retrieved online on August 5, 2014 from

Letting a Baby Sleep after a Major Fall – Safe or Not?

Children, most especially babies and toddlers, fall most of the time. This can occur while they are practicing walking, running around the house or playing with other kids. But, if your child hits his or her head hard that you can hear a “thud” sound so loudly, particularly when he/she falls off the stairs or bumps hard on the wall, it might mean something more serious.

Does your child feel sleepy after a serious fall?

As parents, it is a cause of concern, because internal injuries might be present on the child without you knowing it. But what complicates the situation is that a child could feel sleepy after a major fall: this is another concern for parents, so it is important to assess on the child’s status immediately. But most importantly, it is not safe to put a baby to sleep after the incident, because this is considered as one of the danger signs of concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a result of a severe blow to the head, which could alter the normal functioning of the brain. Concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain often accompanied by headaches, dizziness, as well as alterations in balance and coordination. But since in our case, the victim is a child, these symptoms cannot be communicated verbally to us. This means that as parents, it is our responsibility to watch out for signs of concussions, one of which is sleepiness.

Call emergency assistance if your child shows the following symptoms:

Aside from sleepiness, here are the other signs to watch out for.

–        The child becomes unconscious immediately after falling or several minutes after the incident.

–        The child’s skin and lips change in color.

–        The child vomits.

–        The child looks confused and drowsy.

–        The child’s pupils are dilated and unequal in size.

–        The child becomes distressed.

–        The child suffers from difficulty of breathing.

Important consideration: If the child is alert and very responsive, this might mean that the fall did not cause any serious problems to the brain. But even if the child does not show the following signs right after the bump or fall, it is necessary to observe him for a couple of days just to be sure.

The only concern of sleeping after a fall is if the child does this right after the incident. But there is actually no need to prevent him from sleeping or taking a nap, especially after a minor fall incident. As a precaution, though, try to wake the child up after a one to two hours to ensure that he is still responding normally to your calls.

Related Video about Concussions on Children:

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“Is it safe to let my baby fall asleep after he’s bumped his head?” Baby Centre. Retrieved online on August 3, 2014 from

“Concussion.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on August 3, 2014 from

Health Information – Traveler’s Diarrhea

What is Traveler’s Diarrhea?

This is a disorder of the digestive tract that commonly affects travelers. It is usually accompanied by loose, watery stool and abdominal aches, resulting from ingestion of contaminated foods or unsafe drinking water. Although there is nothing serious about traveler’s diarrhea, it is usually unpleasant to have this kind of experience, especially if you are on a bus, train or plane.

Abdominal craps and sudden urge to defecate are the common signs of traveler's diarrhea.
Abdominal craps and sudden urge to defecate are the common signs of traveler’s diarrhea.

International travelers are the ones who get the disease, which usually occur at any point of their travel or even after they have returned home. Basically, if you’re going to travel, your risk of developing diarrhea is particularly high when you visit a place with different social conditions, climate and sanitary standards. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the destinations considered as “high-risk” for acquiring traveler’s diarrhea include developing regions like Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. In addition, the most vulnerable population to get traveler’s diarrhea include young adults, individuals who are immune-compromised, individuals with diabetes and chronic bowel disease, as well as those who are taking antacids or H-2 blockers.

What are the signs and symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea?

Similar to the signs of diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea is accompanied by the following:

  • Sudden passage of loose stools more than three times a day
  • Urgency of defecating
  • Abdominal cramps and uneasiness
  • Weakness
  • May be accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting.

There are also instances when the victim may suffer from dehydration, bloody spots or mucus on stool, as well as low to high grade fever.

Helpful Tips for Travelers

  • Traveler’s diarrhea is not totally life-threatening and the symptoms usually go away after two to three days even without giving treatment. However, if the symptoms do not disappear after a couple of days, it is best to seek medical supervision for further management and treatment.
  • Keep in mind that the severity of the symptoms may differ from one person to another, as well as the cause of the disease – either bacteria or a more severe form of organism. In most cases, taking over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications may help speed up recovery and this is usually advised for travelers who are always on the go.
  • Be aware of what you eat. Do not eat in places where you are unsure of the sanitary standards of the foods and drinks.
  • Be more cautious of children with traveler’s diarrhea, because they can get dehydrated more quickly than adults.

Get to know more about common diseases, how to prevent them, as well as basic first aid skills by checking out this site.

Related Video on Traveler’s Diarrhea:

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“Traveler’s Diarrhea.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on August 5, 2014 from

“Traveler’s Diarrhea.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved online on August 5, 2014 from