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Antacids

One of the common stomach disorders encountered is gastro esophageal reflux also known as heartburn. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid which helps in digestion of the food and subsequently killing ingested microorganisms. The acidity of the gastric HCl is 2M and any increase in the acidity leads to reflux, in which the gastric HCl travels through the cardiac sphincter muscle to the esophagus causing burning sensation and discomfort. Antacids are common choice of drugs which are administered in these conditions as they reduce the acid reflux and peptic ulcer.

Antacids act locally in the stomach region to neutralize the effect of the gastric HCl in order to prevent the onset of peptic ulcer. Most antacids are not absorbed and they are easily excreted in the stool. The predominant forms of chemicals used in the preparation of antacids include sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum carbonate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate. The natural forms of antacids include ginger, bananas, aloe vera, chamomile (used along with tea), carrots and turmeric. The action of antacids on the stomach is carried out throughout the wall to prevent ulcer formation.


Types of antacids

Antacids are recommended depending upon the intensity of the gastric disorder. In normal or mild conditions of acidity, non systemic antacids are recommended as they do not cause much damage. Prolonged administration of systemic antacids may lead to a condition called alkalosis in which the PH of the blood is raised leading to renal failure. Some of the common types of antacids used in the treatment of reflux and peptic ulcers are:

Sodium bicarbonate: It is recommended by many doctors to treat acid reflux and also reduce the acidity of urine and blood. Antacids which contain sodium bicarbonate also contain baking soda and hence it is not recommended for patients having congestive heart failure, hypertension, kidney disorders and gastrointestinal bleeding. Antacids containing sodium bicarbonate should be taken only after meals on a partially full stomach. The side effects include nausea, flatulence, weakness, increased thirst, black stools and irritability.

Aluminum hydroxide: Aluminum hydroxide is widely used as a non-systemic antacid and in most cases is available without prescription. The side effects of aluminum hydroxide include constipation and abdominal discomfort. In order to avoid constipation and abdominal stress, aluminum hydroxide is given in combination with magnesium hydroxide which has laxative properties along with antacid effects The combination of two such compatible antacids helps in sustained action in relieving peptic ulcers and protecting the wall of the stomach.

Calcium Carbonate: These antacids are mainly used in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence along with acidity and more commonly used as it is less expensive than other types of antacids. They are mostly recommended for children below the age of 12. In patients who have a previous history of osteoporosis or any other type of calcium deficiencies, the intake of calcium carbonate in case of acidity also helps in balancing the calcium requirement. If patients have a history of renal calculi or any other allergic reaction, calcium carbonate antacids should be avoided. The major side effect of this antacid is that it interacts with cardiac drugs. Calcium carbonate based antacids usually disintegrate and dissolute in forty minutes.

Drug side effects

Antacids react with many medications; digoxin, isoniazid, quinidine, pseudoephedrine and tetracycline. The potency and absorption of the drug reduces when the antacids interact with the corresponding drugs.

Windburn

Windburn is not sunburn in the winter. It feels similar as in it makes the skin red, dry and irritated. Any exposed skin can get windburn. This happens in the cold temperature with low humidity. It robs the skin of its natural oils making it start peeling. The blood vessels in the skin's outer layer start dilating making the skin appear red. The skin then becomes sensitive to any product. Skiers and winter runners suffer this condition if not adequately protected.


Preventing and treating windburn

Cover your skin before exposing to cold winds. Wear a hat and sunglasses. Apply thick moisturizer to exposed skin every few hours.

If your skin is already sore with windburn, wash it with lukewarm water and apply a healing moisturizer. Coconut oil also works well. Keep yourself well hydrated and stay in humidified room if possible. Stay clear of harsh exfoliators on the skin. Allow the peeling to heal the skin and resist the urge to pick at it.

Aloe Vera Gel, cucumber, potato slices or oatmeal are excellent home remedies to soothe windburned skin. You can also apply Vitamin E oil or a paste of cornstarch or baking soda.


Windburn Vs Sunburn

Sunburn and Windburn may appear alike and often occur together but are not same. It often becomes difficult to be able to distinguish.

Windburn occurs due to depletion of natural oils from the outer layer of the skin. It does not result in long-term skin damage. It is similar to 'irritant dermatitis'. Preventive measures include covering the skin and keeping it well moisturized.

Sunburn occurs due to harmful UV rays of the sun causing damage to the skin cells resulting in discoloration and age spots. Prolonged sun exposure and sunburn can lead to skin cancer.



Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a skin condition caused by the infection of hair follicles. Hair follicle is a small sac out of which hair grows. When small pus-filled bumps develop at the base of a hair, often in clusters, it is said to be Folliculitis. It can occur anywhere on the skin or scalp. However, Folliculitis typically occurs at the sites that are prone to friction. Shaving and friction from tight clothes are the most common culprits that damage the hair follicles. Poor hygiene, obesity, skin injuries, wounds, excessive sweating, weak immune system are also some of the causes that damage the hair follicles.


These impaired follicles thrive a bacteria called Staphylococcus (staph) and lead to an infection. Beard area of men, arms, legs, armpits and buttocks are the most common areas affected by Folliculitis. Though Folliculitis is primarily a bacterial infection, it can even be caused by virus (herpes simplex virus), fungi (tinea capitis), or yeast. Barber's itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area of the face. It worsens on shaving. Tinea barbae is similar to barber's itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.


Deep-seated and chronic lesions are called sycosis. Hot tub Folliculitis refers to pustules and lesions that result from bathing in a contaminated hot tub or public swimming pool.

Symptoms

Folliculitis presents itself with symptoms such as itchy, white, pus-filled bumps in clusters, surrounded by red inflamed skin associated with tenderness and pain. There is whitish blood-tinged discharge from the boils. Tenderness and pain might be experienced. Mere observation of symptoms is often enough for the doctor to diagnose Folliculitis. However a biopsy may be ordered in case of severe infection.


Treatment

Mild form of Folliculitis does not need treatment and usually clears off with self care practices. Washing the area with medicated lotions, maintaining hygiene and applying hot compress over the affected region helps relieve the symptoms of Folliculitis. Natural products like Aloe Vera gel, Neem (Azadirachta indica) juice and coconut oil are highly effective in treating Folliculitis.

In case of severe infection, doctor may prescribe topical anti bacterial creams and washes containing benzoyl peroxide (Clearasil, Proactiv), chlorhexidine (Hibiclens), Phisoderm and may also treat with oral antibiotics such as tetracycline or minocycline.


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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 18, 2019