A New Year is a time for new beginnings. A time to take stock of what’s come before and what lies ahead. It’s the time we most commonly use to review our life goals and directions. According to USA.gov, of the top ten New Year’s resolutions in America six are health related (although, I would argue they are all health related). The number one New Year’s resolution? To lose weight.
While losing weight is an excellent and admirable goal, let’s instead make a much more all-encompassing New Year’s resolution. Let’s determine to make ourselves healthier than the year before. And what’s more, let’s do it together. The doctors at North Country Hospital are committed to this resolution too. Throughout the course of the next year we will be contributing articles on a regular basis that address common health issues in our community. We encourage all of you to participate as much as possible. In fact we want you to write in with questions, concerns, and commentary. Since this is a local health column, it truly belongs to each and every one of you: the readers. If there is a subject you feel strongly about, write in.
For instance, recently in my clinic, I was discussing preventive health with a young patient. She was quite concerned when she asked me a question and very shyly followed it up with, “Sorry for the silly question, doc”. I smiled when I answered her, “You’d be surprised by how often I hear that”. Moral of the story: for any question you may have there are probably a hundred people out there wondering the same thing. It helps to know others are in the same boat.
Her main concern was what she perceived as a rash over her hands. It’s something that I see very often around this time of the year. Xerosis, the technical and fancy term for dry skin affects everyone, the young and old and especially during the winter months. Vermont’s driest tend to be December, January and February. It’s no surprise that during this time of year eczema and psoriasis (common skin conditions) tend to flare up causing irritation, itch and sometimes even cracked skin. For some the solution is as simple as applying skin lotion and staying well hydrated. For others medical treatment is necessary.
More tips for preventing a flare and keeping your skin moist, lush and beautiful? Wash with warm and not hot water. Hot water can remove your natural and healthy oils which lock in moisture. In fact, washing too often may do the same. For homes heated by dry air a humidifier is essential (this is advice we give to people who may also have asthma or are suffering from colds). Be aware of the ingredients in your skin care products. Ingredients like alcohol, retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acid will irritate the skin and exacerbate dryness.
Remember, we’ve got some great specialists here at North Country Hospital. Take advantage of their knowledge. Whether it is questions about surgery, caring for your children, caring for your elderly loved ones or caring for yourself there’s sure to be someone here to answer. On behalf of all the staff at the hospital I want to wish you all a happy and healthy 2015. We look forward to hearing from you.
You may email to: TheHealthyWay@nchsi.org or write in to: North Country Hospital, ATTN: The Healthy Way, 189 Prouty Drive, Newport, VT 05855