Eyeglasses are too expensive!
Let me start with a disclosure: I’m not in any way affiliated with Zenni Optical; I just think they have a good product at a reasonable price and wanted to share my family’s experience.
My husband and I have an individual health insurance plan that does not include vision. When we need new glasses or contacts, we have to pay the full price.
I think it’s important to get an eye exam at least every two years, but because of the expense I only get new glasses every four or five years. And shopping for … Continue reading
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Every year, more than 250,000 kids under the age of 14 are injured by toys.
So if you’re shopping for young children this holiday season, here are some tips and resources to help keep kids safe!
Prevent Blindness, the sponsors of Safe Toys and Gifts Month, offers this pretty comprehensive do and don’t list:
- Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
- Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child’s ability and age. Consider whether other smaller children may be in the home that
… Continue reading
Do brain games lower dementia risk?
Yes and no.
Most brain or cognitive training apps divide their “games” into several categories, such as attention, memory, speed and flexibility.
However, a study recently published in an Alzheimer’s journal reports that only the speed games were associated with a lower dementia risk (29% lower!).
I was really interested in this report. My husband and I enjoy playing these games, even though I’ve posted before that there was no solid evidence supporting their role in lowering dementia risk.
The games are fun, and if you subscribe—as I do—to the “use it or lose … Continue reading
The hazards of raw cookie dough
Just in time for the cookie-baking frenzy of the holidays, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a consumer warning about the health hazards of eating raw cookie dough.
This didn’t seem like new news to me. We’ve all heard for years that we shouldn’t eat raw cookie dough because eggs can carry the Salmonella bacteria.
But this new warning is not about the eggs. It’s about the flour.
Raw or uncooked flour may harbor an even worse bacteria—Escherichia coli, aka E. coli.… Continue reading
An ambulance ride is often a hidden (and costly) expense
Kaiser Health News just published an article about patients being stuck with outrageously high bills for ambulance rides.
One patient got a $3,660 bill for a 4-mile ride. Another was charged $8,460 for a trip from one hospital that could not handle his case to another that could.
Several years ago when my husband ended up in an emergency room (long story—read my About page), he needed to be transferred to another hospital that was about half a mile away.
The ambulance ride for that short trip cost close to … Continue reading
Target BPs are much lower
Last week the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiologists (ACC) published new guidelines in the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure.
What are the new numbers and what do they mean?
Many people will be surprised to find out they now have “elevated” high blood pressure, which could be a reading as low as 120/70, or Stage 1 hypertension at 130/80 rather than 140/90 (the old threshold).
The new blood pressure guidelines are:
- Normal: Under 120 over 80
- Elevated: Top number 120-129 and bottom less than 80
- Stage 1: Top
… Continue reading
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