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How many of us have lost our voice after a live concert, sports game, or a medical illness like laryngitis? The answer is likely the majority of us. Therefore, we are familiar with the struggle of trying to communicate with a hoarse voice. Without vocal cord function, one can only whisper. And some people might think that whispering rather than trying to make use of our vocal cords might speed recovery. It might feel like we need to exert less force and strain on our vocal cords. Does this idea stand up to the facts? Research shows that whispering can actually be as hard on your vocal cords as shouting.
Our vocal cords consist of three layers, and we experience hoarseness when the middle, gel-like layer becomes swollen or inflamed. When we whisper, we squeeze our vocal cords more tightly, which might contribute to strain, especially when they are inflamed. This squeezing, combined with the fact that whispering does not vibrate our vocal cords, can also lead to vocal cord irritation from dryness.
The idea is that resting your voice and vocal cords helps speed resolution of the inflammation. One to three days of not talking can help you regain your voice a little more quickly. Some other things that can help your vocal cords are drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier to moisten the air you breathe. Alcohol, caffeine, and smoking all have drying effects and might delay recovery.
We use our vocal cords frequently in our everyday lives, for working and socializing. To speed recovery, limit attempts to communicate vocally, including whispering, and keep your body hydrated and your vocal cords moist!
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Adolescents and pre-adolescents may start thinking about taking up weight training. You may have heard rumors that weight training can stunt growth.
The concern is that weight training can injure the areas of the bone that grow (the growth plates) and limit stature. There is no evidence that high-impact sports like gymnastics, soccer, football, and basketball harm growth plates. The same is true for weight training.
There is a risk of injury from lifting more weight than one can control. In other words, the weights and machines can cause direct blunt trauma. But in general, the health benefits of lifting weights outweigh the risks. Weight training can improve strength, confidence, coordination, psychological well-being, and healthy weight. Weight training strengthens bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, thereby decreasing the risk of injury to these structures.
The key is understanding how to safely lift heavy weights and the potential dangers of a weight room.
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Many of us, especially in cold and dry weather, may see white flakes falling from our hair and assume they are dandruff. Flakes from dry scalp are far more common than true dandruff.
Dandruff is caused by overgrowth of a yeast (malassezia) present on most normal skin. Less washed hair can result in a more oily scalp. Malassezia grow by “feeding” on the oil produced by the sebaceous glands attached to hair follicles. Dandruff is treated with more frequent hair washing to reduce oil. In some cases, specific antifungal shampoos are recommended by a dermatologist.
It’s important to recognize the difference between dry scalp and dandruff, because treatments for dry scalp moisturize the skin, whereas treatments for dandruff try to reduce oiliness and moisture, so using the wrong method can further dry out a dry scalp or overly moisturize an oily one. If you can’t tell the difference, try applying a small amount of moisturizer to your head before sleeping; after rinsing it out in the morning, if the flakes still remain, you’re probably looking at dandruff.
This time of year is famous for dry scalp and flare-ups in dandruff, so make sure to take care of your body and prioritize a healthy scalp!