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
No sooner was I on the road to recovery from the flu, then I came down with a cold, courtesy of a family member who stopped by for a visit and spread his germs around my house.
Please everyone! If you’re sick or think you’re getting sick, STAY HOME!
Anyway, as I said in my previous post about home treatments for the flu, there’s not a lot to do for a cold or flu virus other than treat the symptoms and wait it out.
I like to use my neti pot to help ease nasal congestion, and the Food … 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
Flu is epidemic in Washington
Flu has claimed almost 80 lives in my state, and thousands of people have been sick with the flu or other upper respiratory illnesses.
Last week I succumbed, as well.
And boy, was it a loooong week. And I mentally kicked myself many times, because I probably could have avoided my ordeal if I had just WASHED MY HANDS more frequently.
I don’t know if I had an official influenza virus. I didn’t see a doctor and wasn’t tested. I did get my flu vaccination in October, but those are never 100% effective. A … Continue reading
The allure of whiter teeth
I’ve never whitened my teeth, and usually I’m happy with that. But sometimes I get the niggling idea that I would look younger and more sparkling if only my teeth were whiter. My life would be so much better!
Not true, of course, but we all have those unhelpful thoughts now and then, don’t we?
Having your teeth whitened professionally, by a dentist, is the safest way to go and offers the best result. However, it can be expensive.
There are many over-the-counter teeth bleaching sets available for a fraction of the cost—although still pricey, … Continue reading
This guest post is from a good friend of mine. She’s not in the healthcare industry, but she is one of the most savvy healthcare consumers I know. When she was telling me about some of her recent dealings with providers and insurance, I immediately asked her to write up her experiences to share with my readers!
I don’t willingly part with my money, especially when I see a healthcare provider.
I question unnecessary tests, and I don’t want the office staff to be cavalier about spending my money. I expect the office to be familiar with my insurance plan, … Continue reading
Wear a wrist brace at night
I’m one of millions of women over the age of 45 who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel—numbness, tingling, pain and eventually weakness—occur when the median nerve is pinched as it passes through the “tunnel” of your wrist.
Because I definitely want to avoid surgery, I’ve done a lot of research into the best home treatments.
Studies show that a three-week stint of wearing wrist braces at night helps alleviate mild to moderate carpal tunnel symptoms. Wrist braces are a low-cost, low-risk home treatment, and a good place to start.… Continue reading
A smart way to quit smoking
Is quitting smoking on your New Year’s resolution list? Or that of a friend or family member?
If so, consider the SmartQuit app.
But first I’ll tell you what I do and don’t like about it.
I like that it seems to be pretty effective. The SmartQuit program and app were developed by researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington (my alma mater!), with funding from the National Cancer Institute.
It uses a particular type of behavior modification—acceptance and commitment therapy—that has proven more effective than other smoking … Continue reading
Happy New (Calendar) Year!
It’s the start of a new year or, in health insurance lingo, the start of a new calendar year deductible. I’m reposting this from last January, because this month is the best time to start trying to schedule that annual exam or annual wellness visit (it could take weeks, after all, to get an appointment!)
I usually advise people to get any screening tests or annual exams done early in the year, just in case an abnormality is found and more testing/treatment is necessary.
Especially with the current trend towards enormous deductibles (up to $14,300 for … Continue reading
Physicians don’t agree on statin use
This subject came up in my family recently after my husband’s last annual exam. He has always had borderline high cholesterol, and as the “target” or ideal cholesterol level keeps falling, his cholesterol seems to be rising.
His primary care provider immediately told him he should take a statin.
“Hold the door!” I said, when he told me his doctor’s recommendation. “Let’s think about this a little more.”
I know there are two schools of thought about statins: those researchers and physicians who think statins are so wonderful they would like to put them … Continue reading
I’m spending the day online getting some gift shopping done, and I thought I’d post about some of the healthcare books and gifts I’m buying for friends and family this year.
I use Amazon a lot (Prime, so I get free 2-day shipping), and I have to include a disclosure here that the following links will take you to my Amazon Associates page. That said, I’m not trying to make any money with my blog, so if you can find these products for better prices elsewhere, great!
For the sleep deprived
As someone who has battled insomnia most of her … Continue reading
Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t take sunny days for granted, especially during our perpetually gray and wet winters.
Yesterday we were lucky enough to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day! It was really cold, at least by our standards, but a friend and I still bundled up and ventured out for a long walk along the beach.
And we weren’t alone. With the blue skies and the crowds of people, it seemed more like a summer day. Perhaps they read the same article I did a few weeks ago: Here’s a Major Health Reason to Get … Continue reading
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month!
Miami Children’s Hospital has a great public service video with toy safety tips.
My local pediatric hospital, Seattle Children’s, has a webpage devoted to toy safety and safety tips, including how to choose age-appropriate gifts, how to recognize potential dangers, and how to keep toys in good condition to keep them safe.
They also offer links to toy and gift suggestions for different age groups.
The sponsor of Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Prevent Blindness, has this toy safety list on its website:
… Continue reading
It’s easy; it’s cheap; it’s delicious
I awoke this morning to the amazing smell of simmering chicken bone broth.
Before I went to bed last night, I placed a whole chicken into a crock pot with some vegetables, seasonings, water and vinegar. Then I turned the pot to low and let it work its magic.
Twelve hours later I have several cups of nutritious broth to use in soups, and about 4 cups of shredded chicken meat.
I’m not just frugal about healthcare. I’m frugal about a lot of things, and I love seeing the money I spend on food … Continue reading
LASIK isn’t a cure all
LASIK has tempted me.
I’ve been nearsighted almost my entire life, and began wearing glasses when I was 5.
I would love to wake up in the morning and not have to fumble for my glasses, or worry about my lenses getting wet in the rain or fogging up when I come in from the cold.
I would love to say goodbye to irritating contact lenses, and the yearly expense of buying contact solution, new lenses and some years new eyeglasses. They’re expensive and I don’t have vision insurance.
But the truth is LASIK isn’t … Continue reading