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The Stress of Plantar Warts: The Wrong Kind of Sole-Mate!

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 Warts can occur on any part of the body, but are called plantar warts where you plant your feet on the ground.  These are hard to ignore, as they come into play every time your foot hits the ground.  an image of a planters wart Over a hundred kinds of papilloviruses can be the cause, but once settled in to your foot, these do need some considerable attention.  These are not strictly contagious, as we don’t see them run through families, or even onto the other foot, but indeed the viruses can be harboured in wet shower floors.  So prevention would still benefit  from flip-flops in public (eg sports club) shower stalls.  While resistance varies from person to person, stress can well be a cause and an effect of the condition. 

While not cancerous, infectious, or dangerous, they are often a nuisance especially when on pressure points on the sole of the foot.  Because callous forms around them, they quickly build a hard shell or “helmet” of corn covering them, making it hard to get at them with wart removal liquids.

The wart itself is deep as a thorn, and can be up to the size of a thumbtack.  Some can be more shallow, and spread the size of a coin.  Blood vessels run up and down the roots, so the wart will show diagnostic dots of blood if shaved off with a razor blade.

Treatments have evolved through the centuries, with some very odd “cures” having made the list.  This is in part because warts could just go away on their own one day, and whatever you were doing the day before could be considered a “cure”.  Thus the litany of silly suggestions like putting your foot in a bag of onions, or applying poultices of herbs and spices.

But for a quick summary of how to best treat a wart on the sole of your foot, consider the following steps:

  • Every morning after you shower, use a pumice stone, nail file, or sandpaper to abrade the dead white skin off the surface of the wart.  If soft enough, one can also scrape down into the crater to get part of the roots out as well.
  • Then apply a few drops of wart solution, such as Duofilm, Compound W, or podophylline. 
  • Now apply a square piece of Duct Tape (3M brand) that one can buy in any hardware store.  Just the regular silver tape will do fine.
  • Leave the tape in place until the next morning, then rip it off before the shower.  It will often pull out pieces of the roots with it, and will expose the deeper tissues to the next dose of the liquid wart treatment.
  • Then apply a new piece of duct tape.

If the above is not working fast enough, visit your doctor.  We use Liquid Nitrogen to spray on the wart once a week.  This freezes the underlying tissue like an inverted icicle.  Once the roots are frozen, along with the adjacent skin, the area dies and sloughs off.  Usually treatments are complete in a month or two.

In any event, remember that these warts are a nuisance and not a threat to overall health.  Lay off your treatments if you see overactive blisters forming, or if the area is too tender to provoke.  A day or two later, it is usually safe to rejoin the battle.

For some additional reading, consider the following:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/plantar-warts/DS00509

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Veruca_right_foot_detail.jpg

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Stress Advice: How to be a good boss...to yourself!

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The most important job that any of us can have is that of manager…of our own department of one.  And nobody ever wants to work for a bad boss.  So let’s take a look at some of the working conditions that we place upon ourselves, and see if we would tolerate any of them being imposed by anyone else.

1.       Exercise deprivation:  Out of a standard 168 hour week, this boss only allows 3 hours for any exercise. image of a bad work environment

 

2.       Food rationing: The foods that will prevent disease and promote good health will be locked away.  The only ones served will be those with empty calories, hormones, chemical additives, and known dangers to our health.  The results will be illness and premature death from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

 

3.       Time rationing: The maximum time allowed to speak to our spouse/significant-other in private is no more than 15 minutes a day.  For those with young children, no more  than 9 minutes a day of solo conversation.  The rest of our time away from work will be consumed with talking or thinking “shop”, otherwise known as "unpaid overtime".  New stresses will result: one in two marriages will fail, and friction between kids and their parents will rise.

 

4.       Air contamination:  The work environment will be polluted by carbon monoxide and other chemicals, in doses enough to cause illness, and early death. 

Certainly none of us would put up with these horrible work conditions.  And yet, if we are stressed out, and join most of the general public in the above parameters, we are being the worst possible boss to ourselves.  Let’s take a look at the above parameters:

1.  Most people do not allow themselves 3 hours of exercise a week. If they did, they would instantly improve their cardiac health, muscle tone, their mood, and even their resistance to diseases. 

2.  Most choose the wrong foods, making an epidemic of type 2 Diabetes.  Poor nutrients, high calories, and quick eating make for fattening “fast” foods.  Doctors' offices are filled with people complaining of the resulting ill health.

 3.  National averages for meaningful conversation within families are very disappointing.  With the intrusion of 5 hours a day of “tube time”, most children are too engrossed in the internet, video games or television to have a real interaction.  Parents too are watching their own diversions on different screens, either their own laptops or live television.  With the decline of the dinner hour, family opportunities for conversation dwindle.  Not much interaction occurs when one family member at a time reheats their dinner on the microwave, then eats in their room or in front of their laptop.  

4. Smokers are poisoning themselves with carbon monoxide, among other heinous dangers.  While none would allow anyone else to pollute their air,  smokers are completely blocking out their own laws of cause and effect.     

To turn the tables, try to imagine what a great boss would offer.  Healthy nutrition, time away from work for friends and family, and clean air to breathe.  Then commit yourself to being that great boss.  Your stress levels may be the same at work, but your health and performance will improve! 

 

 

 

 

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Stress relief for a Weekend; a Little Travel can go a Long Way!

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Stress makes constant demands on our bodies and minds.   Most people assume their stresses come from the hectic work week, and the weekend is just a couple of blank days on the calendar.  image depicting man skiing on vacation to relieve stressBut stress abhors a vacuum, and we need to program a little stress-break into our schedule, without feeling guilty about it.

Take a look at some classic stress breaks, all taken without associations of guilt:

The lion takes its cat nap.

Kindergarteners take “blanket” time.

Students take recess.

Athletes sit down at half time, or between periods of play.

Executives take a retreat.

In each case, the break is well deserved after obvious periods of stressful activity, and nobody questions the need.

However, left unstructured, today’s week-end can actually leave us weakened.   I participated in an interesting study where over a thousand people were asked to evaluate their weekend breaks.  Over 80% said they were just as pooped on Monday morning as they were on Friday afternoon.  So what happened to TGIF?

Turns out our weekends do not automatically give us a break from stress.   What looked like a blank square on the weeks calendar turned out to be busy and stressful in its own way.  Errands, chores, and kids’ activities generally filled the time, leaving very little in the way of unstructured rest time. (for more on how to clear next weekend's chores during the week, go to How To Clear Chores).

 The definition of a home owner is someone who is constantly seen coming out of a hardware store.  Bag of hinges one time, sixteen wing nuts and a paint scraper the next, you get the picture.  Even renters or condo dwellers noted their weekend routines were filled with “honey-do’s”.

 

This highlights the point of travel as a stress strategy. Granted, we can’t all take luxury trips without stressing our budgets, but there should be some consideration for the true value of getting away from it all.  When your home becomes a source of more work, travel ensures a complete stress break.  Even if only for a day, and if only a short distance away.    

 

Options abound.  Hotels often offer cheap rates, especially on weekends.  an image depicting an sunset vacationIn many cases one can also find bargain packages including airfare for distant destinations, or find something in your own city.  Once you check in, you can feel the stress begin to ease.  You can relax on a sofa and admire the view, without feeling compelled to tinker with some imperfection.  Someone else cleans the towels, vacuums the carpet, and clears the wastebaskets.  If you have room service, the dishes are taken away for you.  If you eat out, someone else has done the shopping, prepping and cooking.  If you use the hot tub or pool, someone else has checked the filters dumped in the chlorine, and turned up the heat.

True, you could do all of this at home, but the distractions only seem to pause, not vanish.  Relax and admire your garden?  Wait, there’s a weed to be picked, or an ant farm to be dealt with, or some paint cracking around the windows.  Relax in your own hot tub?  Sure, right after you brush out the debris from the bottom, skim the surface, crank up the heat, refill the water level, and run to the store to buy another chlorine puck. 

So the value of travel is real, and should be considered as a valuable investment in your stress defense.  As an added bonus, the freedom from routine distractions is well known to improve libido.  That’s why doctors a hundred years ago would advise infertile couples to “take a cruise”; often they would come back pregnant.  The body seems to recognize the change of pace, and increases the sex hormones in both genders.  That’s why the sexy ads for travel destinations are actually quite accurate!

So if you are feeling stressed, don’t hesitate to include travel as an important element in your defense.  With good management, you can find deals to fit your budget.  But please remember to keep all your work stresses away.  Do not take along homework from the office, don’t check your office email every few minutes, and turn your cell phone off.  Do something different, like reading a book, having long conversations, or stroll around enjoying the new scene.  Don’t wait for one big vacation, then have twelve months before the next one.   If you schedule a weekend stress-break every few months, your remaining home chores will still get done, and your renewed energy will help you face your work stresses a lot more efficiently. 

For more info on travel bargains, read the following:

Hyatt Hotels

Mariott Hotels

Hilton Hotels

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