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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Health: Things To Look Out For

In case yesterday's post on infants and phthalates left you insufficiently nervous, here's more. Regrettably, it appears to be mostly geared towards women, as in "women are so dumb they use all this stuff to make them more beautiful and then oops, they die!"

We all know that the issue is really "Consumers don't have a fucking clue what's in all the crap that advertising tells them they must buy because their government wants them to spend money to keep the economy afloat, but not be protected from any possible adverse effects that might cut into manufacturers' profits, so they use it on themselves and their families and oops, they die!"

You think we're kidding? No, my friends, we're not kidding. Here, we give you an example in young, athletic Arielle Newman who died because she used an OTC pain-relieving gel on her sore muscles. Either she was peculiarly susceptible to absorbing the gel, or she used very large amounts. Or, like many athletes who might suffer from stiffness and soreness, she used both the gel and aspirin as pain relief. The moral of this story is, that shit will kill ya.

What about the non-athletes? What are they using that might kill them, and for what? Well, apparently, lots of young women opt for laser hair-removal treatments to make their legs and pits look hairless and "pretty." Jeez, people, talk about neonatophilia. Real adult humans have hair all over their bodies and especially in their armpits and crotches. And if you want to get rid of it, try a razor instead of something that could kill you. Is it worth dying just to get laid?

At any rate, ABC tells us that many laser treatment providers give clients a gel that contains both lidocaine and tetracaine, and numbs the areas to be worked on.

Unfortunately, lidocaine and tetracaine, alone or in combination, can cause death in some susceptible people. Because people have different absorption rates, and the product they're using is not reviewed by any agency, because human error exists, and there have not been long-term safety studies done on many of these compounds, users who fail to educate themselves on the issues might just kack from using this stuff.

One of the women in this report, Shiri Berg, put a 10-10 solution (ten per cent hydrocaine, ten per cent lidocaine) on her legs, then wrapped them in cellophane to speed the absorption. Who told her to do this? You read something like this and just go WTF? She puts the stuff on without knowing anything about it, wraps her legs to speed the absorption process, then gets in a car and drives to the spa, and surprise! She dies!

Her family's attorney is now complaining that she received no education on the product. We bet he votes Republican and would be simply scandalized at the thought of losing his tax breaks so the FDA and other regulatory agencies can be beefed up to exercise proper oversight. This is where the "cut the taxes of the very rich and slash all public programs to the bone" policies of the Republican Party and the Bush junta have left us.

Nobody's paying attention to what's in our food, our water, our medicines, our soil, our air, and our bodies. There are a few dedicated nonprofit groups out there, but they are hamstrung by tiny budgets and overworked. We pay taxes in order to create and protect our entire community - in this case the community called a "nation."

Not to give the obscenely wealthy even more wealth. Not to pay for spoiled fratboys to kill men, women, and children. Not so that manufacturers can make huge profits by poisoning and killing people.

Other things that can happen to people who do not insist on better and greater scrutiny of commercial products, or fail to educate themselves thoroughly (which, let's face it, ain't much of a substitute if you don't know a lot about chemistry, biology, medicine, law, and deity knows what else):
  • Chemical face peels can leave you burned and disfigured.

  • Aspirin can interact with any pain-relieving externally applied OTC medication that contains salicylic acid.

  • Blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin or Plavix can interact with these medications and natural healants.

  • Ginger has blood-thinning properties.

    If you're taking other blood-thinning medications or being evaluated for heart health, let your doctor know if your diet is high in ginger. As an example, ThePoliticalCat consumes ginger tea daily. This is important for the doctor to know.

  • Do not use OTC analgesics on children without a doctor's prescription and supervision.

    If they're in pain from athletic injuries, they need to rest and heal, not be medicated and keep going so they can do greater damage to their bodies.

  • If you're using any OTC topical analgesic to deal with vaginal itching, and the itching persists, do not apply more analgesic.

    Instead, go to a doctor and find out why you have the problem.

  • When using topical analgesics, always use the smallest possible amount that does the job.

    Never use more than recommended. Never try to increase the effect by using bandages or other coverings over the affected area. Apply to the smallest possible area.

  • Do not use hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids except as prescribed by a doctor and under medical supervision.

    We are reliably informed that some very stupid people use hemorrhoid cream to remove the bags under their eyes. Listen people, medication that is formulated for your arsehole is not necessarily suitable for your eyes. If you don't want bags under your eyes, quit hitting the bottle, put down the fucking cigarettes, cut out the salt, and ice your eye tissue till it shrinks. Here's a list of the possible side effects of corticosteroids.

  • Do not use creams containing estrogen or progesterone without first having your hormone levels tested.

    If you think you need them to counter menopausal side-effects and your doctor's being a jerk about it, find a different doctor, talk to experts in women's health issues (they do exist) and research the subject thoroughly before slathering on the stuff.

  • Lightening "age spots" with hydroquinone is not for everybody.

    Especially, it appears, for darker-skinned women, who can end up with darker skin instead, or, worse yet, with cancer.

  • Retin-A or glycolic acid, which removes the top layer of your skin, might reduce your wrinkles but it's also going to leave your skin more vulnerable to injury.

    So don't do anything that stresses your skin (like using another exfoliant, or a chemical peel, or waxing your eyebrows, or even lying around on the beach in the sun) shortly after you've used these substances. Put on extra SPF sunscreen, wear a hat, and fer chrisake, stay away from cigarettes.

  • If you're using henna, whether for temporary tattoos or to colour your hair or make nice patterns on your skin, always test it first.

    If you're one of the X number of people who are allergic to the stuff, you're going to look utterly gorgeous with your eyes swelled shut and your whole face, scalp, or other skin red, cracked, shiny, itchy and oozing.

  • If your kid has a cold or cough, do not give them medications, OTC or prescription.

    Such medications send thousands of little children to the ER every year. The unlucky ones die. If they're under 6 years of age, the FDA recommends that you not give them any OTC meds. If they're between 6 and 11 years old, be very careful. Yeah, symptoms suck, but death sucks worse. Antibiotics don't work either. Just put the kid to bed, administer lots of fluids (chicken soup, orange juice, water - not soda), keep the kid wrapped up and warm, and get your tubes tied ASAP so you don't have to do it with a second or third kid.

  • Don't use antibacterial soaps.

    Most of the liquid or gel soaps on the market and about a third of bar soaps are supposedly antibacterial. How does that help us resist illness? It doesn't. Most of the bugs that will knock you and your family out are viral. Antibacterial soaps don't do squat for those. Moreover, a common chemical in antibacterial personal care products, triclosan, is now implicated, ScienceDaily tells us, as an endocrine disruptor, causing a variety of problems, including cancer, reproductive failure and developmental anomalies, according to animal studies.

Finally, consider this enlightening quote:
A study has shown that some women use more than 20 different beauty products a day [...].

This reliance of this ‘cocktail’ of cosmetics to enhance beauty means that 4lb 6oz of potentially dangerous chemicals is absorbed into the body through the skin.
The Environmental Working Group provides a Cosmetic Safety Database that you can use to find out whether what you're putting on your skin is safe.

Remember, sometimes less is more. Many thanks to Sister GTG, Regular Reader and Terrorist Nun, for the info on triclosan.

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