Saturday, January 2, 2016

Keeping your skin healthy


Did anyone mention the number that humidity can do on your skin and hair? I'm not just talking frizz, I'm talking fungus, I'm talking about hair falling out.

If you're into pain, try a pair of cheap sandals, they have any S&M Dom beat.

A day fishing can turn into a day broiling if you don't take a hat.

That gorgeous hotel balcony may be a landing strip for divebombing mosquitoes.

It's awesome here.... but you'll have a way better time if you take a few precautions.

And I can tell already this is going to take me a couple of days to write out this series.


SUN Chances are you know about sunburns and sunblock is either the first thing you throw in your bag when you pack or you pick up a bottle of sunblock at your first stop. Couple of things here: SLATHER the stuff on if you're going to wear it and REAPPLY OFTEN, but if you're living here you might want to consider covering up instead of sunblocking. Hats, long sleeve shirts, long pants. Your call. Linen is way more comfortable than polyester, and there are great tropical prints all over that you can easily have sewn into the design of your choice. Don't forget a pair of sunglasses, although they're more likely to mark you as a non-local/tourist. Another option is just to stay in the shade.

FUNGUS Stuff is gonna grow on you. It ain't fun to think about, but it's going to happen. Accept it. When you have an itch around your neck, under your arm, under your breasts, in the crease between your thighs and your groin, Bingo! You just won a round of antifungal or antibiotic treatment. The good news is that the pharmacies are happy to help and you'll have plenty of choices of what to apply. Show them what you've got (I recommend a photo rather than a striptease) or describe the symptoms and listen to the directions! It's the strangest thing, but Selsun GOLD (not the blue dandruff treatment) can be used as an ointment. There are a bunch of other ones out there, but what you need will depend on what you've got.

While I did say it's going to happen to you sooner or later, you can make it less likely to happen by bathing daily with soap and water, taking care to scrub every body crease and then rinsing well. Use clean dry towels when you step out of the shower, and consider using a hair dryer on the cool setting to dry those creases and pieces. A dusting of talcum powder or cornstarch can help dry things up, too.

Not sweating in the first place helps a lot, too - wear loose fitting cool clothing. This is the real reason why everyone runs around in Bula shirts and loose pants - we really do need air flow to all our pieces and parts!

Seriously, protect your skin. If you get a mosquito bite DON'T SCRATCH IT! It may be driving you crazy, but you don't want the stuff growing on your skin to get into your system. If you get a blister, watch it. If your skin is broken for any reason - a cut, a scrape, a scratch, a blister, a scratched mosquito bite, you name it - treat it. Generally this is going to be an antibiotic or antiseptic ointment and a band-aid, but certain skin breaks may need special treatment.  

Coral Cuts / Reef Cuts

Coral is alive. When you scrape yourself on the reef, you end up with the exoskeletons of these creatures under your skin. Yup, that's animal protein and calcium deposits right there. Then there are nematocysts in some corals that sting. Open wounds in the water mean any gunk in the open ocean can swim right into your system, too. Yuck, right? Well, it's the price we pay for the awesome snorkeling and scuba diving here, so I'm careful, but I'm also in the water every chance I get.

• If you get beat up by the reef, first off remove any dead skin around the wound. Clean the wound. Like more than you ever thought you should and longer than you think it needs. Really.
• Rinse the wound with an antiseptic wash.
• Apply an antibiotic ointment.
• Check your wound at least twice daily. At the first sign of any infection, see a doctor. Yeah. Not kidding there.

I think this is it for today's post. I've got lots more to say about staying healthy here, but this is it for now.

In general, whenever you walk in the house wash your hands. It's also a good idea to leave your shoes at the door and slip into a pair of slippers at home. Keep all the junk out of the house and out of your system.

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