With summer fast approaching, many College staff are welcoming the warm rays of the sun. But before you head out for that lunch-hour walk, take proper precautions to protect your skin.
Most of us grew up in an age when a tan was considered a healthy glow. In fact, a tan is a sign of damage, your skin’s effort to protect itself. The thinning ozone layer and our continued quest for that tanned look are making us more susceptible than ever. These days, skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Canada, and will affect one in five people.
There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Always use sunscreen. (MS-Office ClipArt)
The Canadian Cancer Society’s top five killer facts about tanning and skin cancer are:
There is no safe tan. Tanning beds cause skin cancer, and a gradual early season tan does not protect you.
Melanoma skin cancer is one of the most common and deadliest forms of cancer in those 15 to 29 years of age.
Tanning bed use before the age of 35 increases your risk of developing skin cancer by 75%.
UV rays from tanning beds can be five times stronger than the mid-day summer sun.
Tanned skin is damaged skin. Even when the tan fades, the damage is still there.
We all know that prevention is key. Take precautions and be proactive.
Reduce your sun exposure. Avoid the sun especially between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are the strongest. Up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, and you can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day.
Cover up. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 15 SPF to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Wear hats, sunglasses and clothing to protect your skin. Apply 20 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply at least every two hours. Remember that sunscreen cannot totally protect you.
Know your skin. See your health care provider immediately if you notice changes in a mole or discolouration; a sore that does not heal; or red and bumpy areas of skin that are itchy or bleed.
This is not so funny if you are a student at exam time.
Which brings us to all-nighters. Do they work?
Quite simply, no, according to psychiatrist Robert Stickgold at Harvard Medical School. His research suggests that we need six hours of sleep to remember newly learned material effectively.
It seems our brains use the first two hours (slow wave sleep), to store long-term memories. After that, the brain sorts and files the knowledge and really plants it. Interrupt this, and the knowledge just won’t stick. The last two hours are spent in REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep. This is also when dreams occur. The brain reviews what it has learned and strengthens the many connections between nerve cells that reinforce memory.
Your mother was right. Even if you pull off an all-nighter and manage to grind out those passing marks, it is unlikely you will retain this knowledge for a significant length of time.
Are you achy and stiff after a day on the keyboard? Wearing all kinds of wrist splints to fend off tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome? Your ergonomics are good, but you’re still suffering?
Consider the keyboard itself. Kinesis Corporation has a contoured keyboard that reduces strain by eliminating the excess stretching that traditional keyboards require. Research and years of commercial use have proven its worth.
The keys for each hand line a bowl to fit your relaxed fingers naturally. Keys are set at various depths that relate to the length of different fingers. The bowl shape means you do not have to reach as far. The layout is still QWERTY, but can be switched to Dvorak. The right bowl can also work as a number keypad (very easy if you use the optional foot pedal), which is much appreciated by those in accounting and finance.
Aside from relieving pain and strain, the contoured keyboard also improves productivity. While it might look awkward to new users, they soon find they can type more comfortably and even faster than before.
Let’s face it, the floors at RRC are rock hard, and the campus is huge. Our feet pay the price, and many RRC staff have learned the hard way about a condition called plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue in the sole of the foot. Do you get up in the morning and find your first steps agonizing? Are you paying for all kinds of Dr. Scholl’s products looking for relief? If so, you need to understand this condition and seek treatment.
While we often have tired and sore feet after a busy day, plantar fasciitis pain is usually acutely felt in the heel, especially first thing in the morning. It can feel like you’re walking on the ends of your bones. You may find that flexing your toes upward is also difficult. The condition can lead to knee pain, or heel spurs (a small bony growth on the heel bone). In severe cases, surgery might be indicated.
While the pain seems to originate in the heel, it is often the result of what is commonly referred to as “falling arches,” which can be expected as you age and/or gain weight. Yes, it’s time for sensible shoes and proper arch supports. Shelve those stilettos and save your feet.
Treatment for plantar fasciitis is effective, but can be slow, depending on the severity of your symptoms. Consult a physiotherapist for proper diagnosis and a personalized course of therapy to alleviate your discomfort and prevent a recurrence. There are many tools and treatments that can (literally) get you on your feet again.