Another post related to seasonal allergies, because 2017 is apparently going to be a nasty spring for allergy sufferers! Like me. 😥
As I said in my last post, I prefer to use a neti pot over taking medication (and it works great for me!), but I know a neti pot won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
Over-the-counter allergy medications can be expensive, though, even the generics. Know what you need before you buy. Then shop for the best price. I always recommend buying the store brand.
Here is some information about the various types of drugs marketed to … Continue reading
How will you use the information?
Home genetic testing kits have been available for several years now.
With a drop of spit and a couple hundred bucks, you can learn a lot about your genetic ancestry and your risk for developing certain diseases.
Although I’d accept without question a report that told me which continent my ancestors hailed from, I’d be much less willing to make decisions about my health based on one of these home genetic testing kits.
Why? Isn’t all information good?
Only if you know what to do with it after you have it.
Dr. … Continue reading
Younger is better, but…
The HPV vaccine protects against the most common types of viruses that not only cause cervical cancer, but mouth and throat cancers, as well.
It’s most effective when given before a child becomes sexually active.
But what about all the 20-somethings out there who didn’t have access to this vaccine? After all, it’s only been available since 2006, and before 2011 it was only offered to girls.
Is there any benefit, especially for young men, to getting vaccinated in your twenties?
I found an interesting article written by a journalist who asked the same question—because … Continue reading
Papillary thyroid cancers are overtreated
In 2010 my husband almost died while being treated for a small papillary thyroid cancer.
Papillary tumors are by far the most common type of thyroid cancer, and are typically very slow growing. Most doctors I know say that if you have to get cancer, papillary thyroid cancer is the one to pick!
My husband didn’t choose to get thyroid cancer, of course, but once his primary care physician found the lump during a routine physical, he was put on a fast track to being overtreated.
Back then, we just didn’t know any better.
I … Continue reading
The debate over screening ECGs
When my son was a teenager, he participated in several school sports, including track and field.
And it always freaked me out when I heard a news report about a young teen athlete suddenly dying on a track or a basketball court.
The stories were similar: young, seemingly healthy teenagers died because no one knew they had a problem with their hearts.
Every time I wondered if I should immediately take my son to his pediatrician and demand an (electrocardiogram) ECG to make sure his heart was OK.
I had to remind myself that these … Continue reading
Colon cancer on the rise in young adults
I recently read a disturbing report that colon cancer is on the rise in Millenials and GenXers.
People born in 1990 now have double the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer, compared with those born around 1950 when the risk was lowest, the researchers said.
The overall risk is still very low for that age group, but the study certainly suggests that lifestyle factors—obesity, diets high in processed foods, sedentary habits—could be a factor.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month!
A healthy diet and exercise are … Continue reading
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just released a warning about keeping hand sanitizers out of the reach of small children. Because more people use hand sanitizers during cold and flu season, there are more reports of children being poisoned by the main ingredient, either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. About 90% of these poisonings were in children younger than five.
Anyway, here is a re-post about preventing childhood poisonings in general, and links to Poison Control and other resources.
Stay safe! FN
A rising number of childhood poisonings
I don’t know much about e-cigarettes and vaping, but a recent study … Continue reading
Newer drugs are not necessarily better drugs
A few days ago at the gym, I was leafing through an issue of Health magazine.
What caught my eye was not the article about preventing stress injuries, or the recipe for a zingy, low-fat curry, but rather the pages devoted to ads for prescription drugs. Drugs to treat psoriasis, hepatitis C, dry eyes, depression, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and overactive bladder, to name but a few.
Each ad took three pages. After doing a little mental math, I discovered the ads for these new prescription drugs made up more than 30% of the … Continue reading
Homeopathic remedies don’t cure, and they can harm
I’ve posted before about homeopathy and homeopathic remedies. In short, they don’t work. There is absolutely no sound scientific evidence that supports homeopathy.
Related post: A homeopathic parody
At best they’re a waste of money; at worse, homeopathic remedies may be harmful, especially to infants and small children.
In recent months, certain homeopathic remedies for teething babies have been targeted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These products, Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Hyland’s Teething Gel, contain very small amounts of a well-known poison—belladonna or “deadly nightshade.”
How can poison be a … Continue reading
A hospital puts profits over patient safety
First do no harm.
That’s part of every medical school graduate’s oath. It should be the motto of anyone working in healthcare.
But I just read a disheartening piece of investigative journalism in my local newspaper, the Seattle Times, about a hospital where I trained, worked, and received care. The story highlights how the perverse financial incentives in healthcare (do more, get paid more) undermine patient care and safety.
…the aggressive pursuit of more patients, more surgeries and more dollars has undermined Providence’s values — rooted in the nonprofit’s founding as a
… Continue reading
The good news and the bad news
A few years ago my state, Washington, legalized marijuana. I voted in favor.
Since then I’ve wondered if that was a good idea. Tax windfall aside, what do we really know about the health effects of pot, good or bad?
Recently, one of my favorite health news sites, Healthcare Triage, posted this video: What we know about pot in 2017
Dr. Carroll presents a good summary of available research on the health effects of pot. Unfortunately, as he points out, there just isn’t enough quality research being … Continue reading
More tests = more money
Anyone who has read my blog over the years knows this is a subject I come back to again and again: the overuse of screening and diagnostic tests.
It’s a problem in our healthcare system for a couple of reasons.
First, the majority of healthcare providers are paid based on volume. In other words, the more patients they see, the more tests they run, the more surgeries they perform, then the more they get paid. It doesn’t matter if the outcome is poor, because they still get paid. In fact, they make even more money … Continue reading
♥It’s Valentine’s Day!♥ In honor of that I thought I would re-post about learning CPR. It’s a great skill to have! FN
Here’s a feel-good story about a young man who saved a life because he knew how to perform CPR—and wasn’t afraid to use it!
CPR delivered: “I left a pizza boy and came back a pizza man”
CPR is a great skill to know. It’s not going to be useful in every scenario, but just having the knowledge of how to do it can be very empowering in an emergency situation. And many CPR classes also teach you … Continue reading
Don’t get health advice from commercials!
While nursing my cold last weekend, I was watching TV and one prescription drug commercial caught my eye. (One of oh so many. FTC—please make these go away!)
Actually, the ad didn’t mention any drug by name, but it was sponsored by Gilead Sciences, the makers of the new hepatitis C drug, Harvoni.
The commercial was aimed at baby boomers, who were advised to get tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
One in 30 baby boomers could have HCV and not know it, the voice over said, “…because Hep C can hide … Continue reading
Not safe for everyone
I’ve had problems sleeping most of my adult life. And I admit over the years I’ve tried using Benadryl (diphenhydramine) as a sleep aid now and then.
So I was interested when Consumer Reports recently published a warning that too many people are too frequently turning to over-the-counter sleeps aids.
A 2015 Consumer Reports national survey of 4,023 adults found a troubling trend: Of the 20 percent who took an OTC medication within the past year to improve sleep, almost 1 in 5 respondents, or 18 percent, said they took it on a daily basis. Most
… Continue reading