Toothpaste wars

crest sensitivity toothpasteBeware false advertising

As often happens on the internet, while looking for information about one thing, I stumbled across something else I found interesting.

In 2011, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Procter & Gamble for “false labels” on one of their toothpastes. The toothpaste, Crest Sensitivity Treatment & Protection, advertised “relief within minutes” from sensitive tooth pain.

The label promised that users did not “have to wait to enjoy all [their] favorite hot and cold foods.”

Who filed the claim against Procter & Gamble? Colgate-Palmolive, the makers of the line of Colgate toothpastes, including Colgate Sensitive.

The lawsuit … Continue reading

Eye Trainer: An app for eyestrain

eye trainer health appTech takes a toll on eyes

I’ve done it again. For way too long I’ve sat hunched in front of my computer without taking a break, and now my eyes burn, my vision blurs, my head aches, and my neck . . . ouch!

Of course I know better. Prolonged use of your eyes, such as working at a computer, reading, driving or playing “Words With Friends,” can cause eyestrain. And in our technology-centric world, eyestrain is pretty hard to avoid.

Symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Sore, tired, burning, itching, dry or watery eyes
  • Blurred vision, difficulty focusing
  • Headache
  • Sore
Continue reading

Weekly rounds May 17, 2013

Stock up on DEET?

Any report that contains the word “deadly” gets the attention of the media, and this report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was no exception. Last year 5,674 cases of the mosquito-borne virus were reported, and 286 people died. In comparison, only 43 deaths were recorded in 2011.

Weather conditions that favored the mosquito – warm and humid – were probably factors in last year’s increase in cases.

This news reminds me that I want to spend some time researching insect repellents and then write a post about them. Does anything work as well as … Continue reading

The cost of cancer

Cancer and bankruptcy

A large study looking at the cost of cancer was released yesterday by the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research in Seattle. It offers a somber but perhaps not surprising conclusion that cancer patients are “2.5 times as likely as others [non cancer patients] to file for bankruptcy.”

The highest rates are seen among young women, largely because young people are often uninsured, have little savings, and have part-time or entry-level jobs. But as the study points out, even those with insurance can face “financial distress” because of the high cost of deductibles, co-pays and other non-covered … Continue reading

First aid for puncture wounds

puncture woundWhen an object breaks through the skin, the injury is called a puncture wound. Stepping on a tack is a minor puncture wound; being stabbed or shot are more deadly examples.

Luckily, most of us don’t need to worry about being shot or stabbed.

But puncture wounds are not uncommon (your mother taught you not to run with sharp, pointy objects, didn’t she?), and there are a couple special things to remember when treating them.

Typically, first aid for puncture wounds is similar to that for cuts and scrapes. Clean the wound well with soap and water, and bandage … Continue reading

Diet for cancer prevention

My belief as a frugal nurse is that each of us has the power to improve our health and lower our health care costs. Prevention is key, and in my posts I advocate such preventive actions as vaccinations, hand washing, adequate sleep, drug safety, exercise and a healthy diet.

Diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and, I think, is crucial to cancer prevention.

Therefore, I read with keen interest a recent post by David Katz, MD, on the HuffPost Healthy Living Blog.

Dr. Katz interviewed a one-time student, Nicole Larizza, a nutritionist currently … Continue reading

The UV index: Health and fitness apps

health and fitness appsHealth and Fitness Apps

I recently upgraded to a smartphone, and I’ve been having fun trying out a bunch of different apps (the free ones, of course!).

Coming somewhat late to the whole app thing, I’m amazed at how many there are, and especially how many health and fitness apps are available for free.

I’ve seen different numbers, but there are somewhere between 15,000 and 35,000 and the number is growing all the time.

Apps can be patient-centric, used for keeping track of diet, exercise, symptoms, health records, or doctor-centric, used for aiding in diagnosis, research, scheduling, and so on.… Continue reading

Weekly rounds May 10, 2013

I’ve finally realized there are just too many health-related news stories every week for me to comment on in a timely manner. And some news tidbits are interesting or funny, but really not worth a whole post.

But I would still like to share with you the stories that caught my eye over the week, so on Fridays I will start posting a weekly summing up, or “rounds” to use health care lingo, of what I have found of interest.

Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. Really?

In the did-we-really-need-a-study-to-tell-us-this? file, a research letter published in Journal of the American Continue reading

Medicare publishes health care costs

It’s no surprise to anyone in the health care industry, but Medicare just released a report that shows the incredible variation of health care costs across the country.

Many patients are unaware of these price differences because, as I’ve posted about before, it’s nearly impossible for health care consumers to get information about the cost of a procedure before having the procedure done.

Coming so soon after Stephen Brill’s brilliant (yet depressing) Time magazine article, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, the numbers presented in the report will hopefully provoke consumers to demand more fairness and … Continue reading

First aid for itchy bug bites

I didn’t see them coming

Early one morning last week, while strolling a Florida beach looking for sea shells, I was attacked by the area’s notorious “no-see-ems”, or sand flies or biting midges. I didn’t realize it, however, until later that evening when the itching started – the agonizing, I-want-to-flay-the-skin-off-my-legs itching.  😡

After a sleepless night, I sped to the drugstore to buy something, anything, that might help. As usual, I was faced with an aisle of products all promising “fast” relief.

As miserable as I was (I had over 50 bites!), I doubted that any product would be … Continue reading

A taxing question

Before I left on vacation a week ago, one of the popular health-related news stories was that in a rare show of bipartisan support, Congress was set to approve a 75¢-per-shot tax on the flu vaccine. Critics of both government and vaccines in general jumped on this congressional tidbit, although for different reasons.

The more conservative media decried the tax, saying it was unnecessary and simply a sneaky way for Washington to grab money to fund our ever-increasing national debt.

Anti-vaccine activists saw the tax, which funds the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, as proof that vaccines are … Continue reading

Grapefruit vs. drugs

Florida. The Sunshine State. I am here on vacation enjoying some much-needed warmth and sun. I’m also enjoying the abundance of fresh oranges and grapefruit.

Luckily for me, I don’t take any prescription medications. I remember all the dire warnings in the media last fall that grapefruit juice is more deadly than ever—beware!

Of course, grapefruit has not suddenly turned evil. The problem is that there are so many medications on the market, more every year, that interact badly—yes, even lethally—with that ruby red fruit.

Grapefruit, as well as limes, pomelos and Seville oranges, contain chemical compounds called furanocoumarins, … Continue reading

First aid for sunburns

Continuing my frugal first aid series, this post is about treating sunburns—appropriate since I am writing this as I sit on a beach in Florida!

That’s right, I’m on vacation  😎

first aid for sunburnFor some, sunburns are a minor, seasonal annoyance and they don’t give them much thought. But if you’ve ever had a really bad sunburn, you know the days of pain and sleepless nights that follow. I’ve had a severe sunburn once in my life, in college, and I learned my lesson!

Sunscreen—Prevention is key

Use sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology says we don’t use nearly enough to be Continue reading

What’s in your medicine cabinet?

You might have missed it, but last Saturday, April 27th, was National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. (No, I don’t think Hallmark makes a card for that.)

Since 2007, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has partnered with state and local law enforcement agencies to sponsor prescription drug drop-off sites where unused drugs can be collected and disposed of safely and properly.

The effort is an attempt to get addictive prescription medications off the streets. I don’t know how many of the returned drugs are narcotics; maybe the officials don’t even sort them before disposal. I would guess the unwanted … Continue reading

New prescription? Ask for it in writing

I try to be as vigilant as possible when it comes to medical expenses, but I can still be caught napping on occasion.

Last summer while working in my garden I was stung on the ankle by a wasp. Within 24 hours, my leg from the knee down was swollen to twice its normal size.

Although technically not an allergic reaction, it was a severe local reaction. I wondered what would happen if I were stung on the face or neck. So, last month when I saw my doctor for my annual exam, I asked her if it might be … Continue reading