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What You Need To Know About Eczema

What You Need To Know About Eczema

Eczema is uncomfortable, itchy, and causes social stress. It is very important for an individual to understand the basic information about this unpleasant skin condition.

Besides being irritating to live with, eczema can cause an individual to feel embarrassed about the way his/her skin looks. Treatment has to be consistent and long-term, but the rash can be controlled.

What is Eczema?

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a type of skin disease that produces an itchy, non-contagious rash. It can affect people of any age, but is most common in young children. It usually goes away in childhood, but for some people it is lifelong.

What Causes Eczema?

Eczema is considered hereditary and is associated with food allergies, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. It is caused when the skin is inflamed and cannot retain sufficient moisture.

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Eczema can be aggravated by moisture from sweating or humid weather, but also by dry, cold extremes. It can also flare up from stress, irritants (materials, soaps and lotions), particular foods, or dust and molds.

What are the Symptoms of Eczema?

The symptoms of eczema can vary depending on the age of the individual involved:

Infants

For infants, there is usually an itchy rash over the face, neck and scalp, and sometimes on the front of the limbs.

If the infant scratches, the rash can become wet, spread and crust over.

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Older Children

Eczema in older children is usually behind the knees, on the inside of the forearms, and opposite the elbows.

If the skin is covered with the rash for long periods of time, it can become more brown in color, thicker, and drier.

Teenagers and Young Adults

Teens and young adults most often get eczema in more places, including the ankles and wrists, bend of the elbows, behind the knees, face, neck, chest, soles of the feet, and palms of the hands.

Basically, for all ages, eczema is a rash that leaves the skin dry, hot and itchy. The itchiness can be extreme at times. The rash can also be weepy or scaly. In some cases the rash is mild, in others it can cause the skin to crack, peel, and bleed.

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How is Eczema Diagnosed?

To diagnose eczema, a medical expert will examine the rash and take the patient’s history. He/she will likely look at the family history of allergies, eczema, and asthma. Tests may be done to determine if a food allergy is responsible for the condition. Suitable treatment will be recommended.

How is Eczema Treated?

It is very important for eczema to be treated and controlled. Scratching can cause infections, and if the rash is left untreated, the skin can become thick and discolored.

When it comes to medications, a medical expert can make the best recommendations.

Here are some efficient eczema rash tips you should consider:

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  • The individual should avoid any known foods or allergens that aggravate it and cause inflammation.
  • Perfumed soaps, lotions, detergents, and cleaners should be avoided. Gloves can protect the hands when cleaning or doing chores.
  • Baths in soothing solutions can help to relieve itching. The skin should also be kept hydrated with appropriate lotions.
  • It is a good idea for children to keep their nails short to avoid excessive scratching. They can also wear cotton socks and gloves when sleeping.
  • The individual or family can also try to avoid stress and to seek support for the unpleasant emotions that eczema can bring on.

Eczema is an unpleasant skin condition, but it can be treated and controlled. It can take a while to figure out the triggers and what works best for an individual, but, with effort and education, there is almost always improvement over time.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock via thumb9.shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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