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Archive for July, 2006

Thank you for all the comments that everyone left wishing me a Happy Birthday, I enjoyed my day.

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Pictures can be found here.

These are my favorites:

Magnetism, Blue, Obsession Sheer, Obsession, Obsession Night, Angel, Beyond Paradise, Tuscany Per Donna, and Pleasures Intense.

And For Men I Like: Romance, Polo Blue, Polo Black, Platinum, Beyond Paradise, and Intuition.

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I want to welcome my friend Chris to the world of blogging. The two of us have been friends since we were five years old.

Chris has an interesting life and I’m sure that she will have a great blog. Everyone please stop by her new blog to welcome her.

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On June 8, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced good news about cervical cancer prevention. Following successful clinical trials, a vaccine called Gardasil was approved to ward off the strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer. The impact of the vaccine could be huge, given that cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide, responsible for about 240,000 deaths per year.

But the HPV vaccine is not be recommended for every woman, which means that it may not be right for you. As with any important health issue, you should discuss the new vaccine with your doctor. But to help you better understand the cancer and how to prevent it, Prevention.com asked cancer researcher Dr. Doug Lowy, M.D. to answer some common questions about the vaccine. Dr. Lowy is chief of the laboratory of cellular oncology at the National Cancer Institute, specializing in HPV and cervical cancer.

What is HPV and how does it spread?
HPV is the most common kind of sexually transmitted virus, affecting over 50 percent of sexually active adults. There are more than 80 types of HPV. Some types cause irritation, genital warts and other kinds of lesions. Other HPV types–classified as “high-risk” types–can cause cervical cancer.

Is it possible to have HPV and not know it?
Yes, many HPV infections go undetected. Your immune system is capable of clearing the virus on its own within six to twelve months, so in the absence of symptoms, you might never know you had it–and passed it along. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 20 million people are currently infected with HPV and that, by the age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have had an HPV infection.

How can a virus cause cancer? Isn’t this unusual?
If the immune system isn’t able to clear the infection and the virus lingers, HPV can cause genetic changes in cells in the cervix, affecting their ability to control normal growth. When looking at all kinds of cancer, this sort of trigger is unusual: viral infections are not considered a common cause. But there are other examples of cancer-causing viruses, including hepatitis C, which can result in liver cancer.

Is cervical cancer caused solely by HPV?
HPV is a factor in every case of cervical cancer. But not every woman infected with the cancer-causing strains of HPV will actually develop cancer. Science doesn’t fully understand the other factors that contribute to cervical cancer, says Dr. Lowy. But it appears that women who smoke and who have many pregnancies have a higher risk. So are women who have compromised immune systems, such as women who are HIV-positive or who are kidney-transfer patients on medication to suppress immune response. A family history of cervical cancer does not appear to be a risk factor.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?
In approving Gardasil, the FDA does not make recommendations regarding its implementation. That’s the job of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is scheduled to meet within a few weeks after FDA approval. But the data submitted from the clinical trials involved women ages 9 to 26, with the best immune response seen among the youngest study subjects–not only because the adolescents had little to no sexual activity but also because vaccines in general tend to “take” better among young people. So it stands to reason that the vaccine will be recommended for females between the ages of 9 to 26. That’s not to say “that the vaccine will be illegal to administer to older women,” says Dr. Lowy. But there’s no data suggesting that it would be effective and as such, insurance policies would probably not cover it for women over 26.

Does getting the vaccine guarantee that I won’t develop cervical cancer?
No. Gardasil was formulated to vaccinate against the two types of HPV that are responsible for 70% of all cervical cancers. The remaining 30% of cervical cancer cases are caused by other types–against which Gardasil offers no protection. Further and like any vaccine, it is not protective against a virus that you already have, so if you are infected at the time of your vaccination, Gardasil will not work.

Is the vaccine available?
Yes. Merck, Gardasil’s manufacturer, made the vaccine widely available upon FDA approval, which was this Thursday, June 8.

If I get the vaccine, will I still need to have a regular pap smear?
Yes! And this message is an important part of a public-service campaign about the vaccine. Pap smears as a means of cervical cancer prevention are crucial, given that Gardasil only offers protection against the HPV types that cause 70% of all cervical cancers.

Will men be vaccinated?
Merck has ongoing trials looking at the effects of Gardasil for protecting men from HPV. It is likely that the FDA will consider approving the vaccine for men: even though men don’t develop HPV-related cancers, they do spread the virus to women.

For more information about the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer and how often you should schedule a pap smear, go to CDC.gov.

-by Diane di Costanzo

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Rosacea

Rosacea

No one knows what really causes rosacea, although doctors have noticed that fair-skinned women of Irish or Celtic ancestry are genetically predisposed. Rosacea affects about 5% of the population, most often women between the ages of 30 and 40.

Fortunately, keeping rosacea under control is frequently as simple as treating your skin gently and avoiding anything that’s known to trigger a flush.

Find a gentle cleanser. Use a liquid facial cleanser that contains sodium lauryl sulfate or disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate. Both ingredients will clean your skin gently and without any stimulation that might cause flushing.

Soothe your skin with chamomile. Since chamomile is known to soothe rosacea-prone skin, use cleansers, soaps, and moisturizers containing chamomile, an herb related to the ragweed family. One caution though: If you are allergic to ragweed, you should avoid these cleansers.

Avoid abrasives. Any type of abrasion can cause a flush. So leave abrasive products such as scrubs, buff puffs, or cleansing powders to others.

Keep wrinkle creams to a minimum. If you have rosacea and want to use an anti-aging cream that contains alpha hydroxy acids to prevent wrinkles, proceed cautiously. Read product labels carefully, and only buy creams that keep the percentage of acid under 2.5%. If package directions urge you to use the cream twice a day, don’t push your luck. Use it once a day, tops. If there is any redness at all, discontinue using the product.

Gently apply a cucumber moisturizer. After you cleanse your skin (and also if you apply an alpha hydroxy acid preparation), smooth on moisturizers that contain cucumber extracts. Although no one knows why, cucumber lotions soothe rosacea-prone skin.

Select cosmetics for sensitive skin. Since the chemicals used in most cosmetics will irritate rosacea-prone skin, use only cosmetics that are labeled “for sensitive skin.” Although not chemical-free, they usually have fewer and less-irritating chemicals than regular makeup.

Stay in the shade. Stay out of the sun, period. The sun may set off a flare-up, and no cover-up or sunscreen will prevent it.

Use only a titanium dioxide sunscreen. Even in the shade, you’re exposed to indirect sunlight, so use a sunscreen whenever you go outside. Avoid all the chemical sunscreens, and stick to a sunscreen that lists titanium dioxide as its major ingredient. It’s less irritating to rosacea-prone skin.

Stay cool. Since heat is a major cause of flare-ups, dress in layers of light clothes that you can peel off to keep your body cool, no matter where you are. And take tepid (not hot) baths and showers.

Avoid wool. Wool tends to keep you too warm and seems to cause redness and rashes in those who are prone to rosacea.

Choose cool food. Spicy food is known to make those with rosacea flush. Avoid foods prepared with chili peppers, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, and the like. Try to eat more dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, asparagus, and spinach. These foods are high in vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and bioflavonoids, which can improve rosacea by strengthening capillaries and boosting the immune system.

Don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol causes blood vessels in the skin to dilate, making rosacea more noticeable.

Treatment
Unfortunately, rosacea is a chronic condition that comes and goes. Doctors frequently treat rosacea with prescription antibiotics or topical medication. Here’s what you can do at home.

Apply a cold compress. Soak a cloth or paper towel in ice-cold water, and apply it to the flushed areas of your face. The cold will constrict the dilated blood vessels and halt the inflammatory process.

Use tinted makeup. If you’re prone to frequent flare-ups, use a green-tinted under-foundation cover, available at beauty supply stores, for everyday wear. The green combines with any red in your face and neutralizes it completely.

When to See a Doctor
See your health care provider if:

  • Your nose and cheeks are persistently red.
  • You also have acne-like bumps on affected areas.
  • Article Provided By Prevention Magazine Online

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    I thought that these wild horses were so beautiful. They can often be seen on the beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina

    Picture taken by Jason (my nephew)

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    I went to a reception for my nursing program tonight. I got to meet some of the instructors and I got to talk with two girls that are going to be in the program with me. They both seemed nice. I really hit it off with one of them. We exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses so we can bounce things off one another if we have questions or concerns. I found out that this upcoming semester I will be attending class in the evening. I wasn’t expecting that, but I guess its fine. They told us that we could wait until October to purchase our uniforms, that works out good for me because I didn’t want to buy them now and then have them be three sizes too big by the time that I start clinical’s, which probably wont be until December or January. They only class that we will have this first semester (unless they change their minds AGAIN) is A&P.

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