The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and isn’t that when illness always seems to strike?
Few things are germier than a school where lots of kids and adults are stuck in small rooms, touching the same objects and breathing the same air.
Kids bring those germs home on their hands and touch everything there, too. Then parents get sick and spread the virus to co-workers. And so on, and so on…
Colds and flu are miserable for children and parents alike, and missing work—whether a parent gets sick or has to stay home to care for a sick child—is a … Continue reading
It’s easier than you think!
The other day I watched in horror as a friend with mild cold symptoms swallowed two extra-strength Tylenol (acetaminophen) tablets with a large swig of NyQuil.
If he had followed with a double whisky, I would have suspected a suicide attempt.
“What are you doing?!” I shrieked, and grabbed both bottles from him. “You just swallowed a massive dose of acetaminophen!”
“Really?” he replied, without much interest. “Hmm.”
Does anyone read the labels on over-the-counter (OTC) medications?
“Look!” I stabbed a finger at the warning label on the back of the NyQuil bottle.
… Continue reading
Fear-mongering and clickbait
While sipping a glass of wine with dinner last night, my ears perked up when I heard a teaser for NBC Nightly News: “New report links even light alcohol intake with increased risk of cancer.”
Oh, boy, I thought. Here we go again.
I don’t like network news because of this kind of lousy health reporting (I just wanted to see local election returns). Again and again, research is taken out of context or blown out of proportion simply to use as clickbait. Argh.
My favorite health news website, Health News Review, agrees with me, and … Continue reading
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month!
I am a huge supporter of hospice and palliative care, but I think it’s underutilized in our health care system.
My father, before he passed away two years ago, had the benefit of hospice care for a few weeks before his death. My husband’s family also received support from hospice when his father passed away four years ago.
I’ve found in my own experience that doctors often wait for the patient or the patient’s family to bring up the topic of hospice. That’s why it’s important for everyone to … Continue reading
Wait for the EOB
EOB stands for Explanation of Benefits.
It’s the form from your insurance company that shows how much your healthcare provider was reimbursed for your office visit, lab work, x-rays, etc.
Typically it arrives at your house before the individual bills from the provider, which show the balance owing, or what you are expected to pay.
Keep this in mind: Don’t pay a medical bill until you’ve compared the services and charges to your EOB!
Insurance claims can be wrong
A few months ago my husband had his annual physical. About a week before his visit, he … Continue reading
Watch for cars!
What is the biggest risk to kids on Halloween night? It’s not an overdose of sugar, or the possibility of tainted treats. It’s the traffic.
The Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety says child pedestrian accidents increase 400% on Halloween, compared to an average day.
The greatest number of accidents occur between the hours of 5 pm and 9 pm.
The guide gives the following tips for kids and parents:
- Use crosswalks.
- Stay alert to your surroundings—that means put the phone away and keep your eyes up!
- Plan your route ahead of time.
- Make eye contact with
… Continue reading
Traditional and expensive
This week I received a letter from my health insurance company. My plan’s benefits will remain the same, but the monthly premium will be 21% higher.
That means health insurance for me and my husband now officially costs more than our mortgage. And it’s just a bronze-level plan with a $7,000 deductible (each)!
I really feel for other families receiving similar letters about similar rate hikes. Some families will have to make a difficult decision—will health insurance in 2018 be just too expensive?
There are alternatives to traditional health insurance policies, and I’ve posted about them before. … Continue reading
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month
October has become the month to pressure women to Buy Pink! and schedule their annual mammograms.
But I’d rather see more women informed about the effectiveness of annual mammograms (not as much as you might think).
And I’d like to see more care providers drop the paternal attitudes and really have a conversation with women about the pros and cons of screening mammograms, and how (or if) this diagnostic tool should be used to meet their health care goals.
I’ve written many posts on this topic, so please check them out!
… Continue reading
Brown bag your meds to a local pharmacist
Are you or a family member taking multiple prescription medications? Are you taking them along with several other over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements?
If so, you might want to take advantage of this one-day event.
Saturday, Oct. 21, is the first ever National Check Your Meds Day, sponsored by Consumer Reports and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and supported by pharmacists in the community.
Why is this event an important health service?
Consumer Reports explains:
With half of Americans regularly taking prescription medication—four, on average, according
… Continue reading
More exercise, more soluble fiber
I’ve been posting about my husband’s high cholesterol since it became quite high about a year ago. Last December his total cholesterol was 297, with an LDL (low-density lipoprotein) of 219 and an HDL (high-density lipoprotein) of 65.
Now I’m happy to report that after 9 months of pretty simple lifestyle changes his total cholesterol is down to 240. His LDL (the bad one) is way down at 153, and his HDL (the good one) is way up at 77!
Although he has no other risk factors for heart disease—he’s not overweight, … Continue reading