How do you react?
Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and fire ants all belong to the same order of insects, Hymenoptera, so their venoms cause similar reactions if you are stung or bitten.
People’s bodies react in one of three ways:
- 85-90% experience a small local reaction—pain, redness and some swelling just around the sting site.
- 10% experience what is called a “large local reaction”—pain, itching, redness and swelling extending well beyond the sting site, 4 to 6 inches or more. (This is me! When I was stung in the hand last year, my entire arm swelled up.)
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Dry drowning and secondary drowning
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about kids and water safety.
I want to add some information about two little known conditions called “dry drowning” and “secondary drowning.” They’re relatively rare, thank goodness, but can happen up to 24 hours following a near-drowning when parents think their child is no longer in danger.
Both a dry drowning and a secondary drowning occur out of the water, after a child inhales some water. He or she might look panicked and cough violently for a short time. Often these kids then feel well … Continue reading
Preventive care saves money
As anyone without dental insurance (like me!) can tell you, dental care is expensive. In a previous post I share some ideas for saving money at the dentist.
But the best thing you can do, and teach your kids to do, is take care of your teeth. Healthy teeth save money.
That means taking time to care for your teeth EVERY DAY.
Did you know that with proper oral care small cavities can heal themselves? If your dentist finds a small cavity, ask about watching and waiting for a few months to see if you … Continue reading
I recently found out about an intriguing non-profit—RIP Medical Debt.
I’ve posted many times about the high cost of healthcare, even for those of us with health insurance. Medical debt is still a leading cause of personal bankruptcies in this country.
What if those debts could just disappear?
For a lucky few, they can.
RIP Medical Debt, Inc., was founded in mid-2014 by two former collections industry executives, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton. Having worked for decades in the medical field, the two were acutely aware of the number of Americans who shoulder the burden
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By July 5, most large communities have reported property damage—fires, mostly—and bodily damage—burns, missing fingers, blindness.
As a reminder to everybody to be careful around fireworks—my preference is to avoid them altogether—the San Diego Fire Department put together this great public service video demonstrating the danger of
If you want some pretty graphic reasons to stay away from fireworks, just go to YouTube and search for “fireworks injuries.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following tips to keep kids safe:
- Fireworks can result in severe burns, blindness, scars, and even death.
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Few summer ailments are as common as sunburns.
Prevention is key, of course, and you can read my previous posts on using sunscreens and how to save money on them.
But if you or your kids get a sunburn, here are some simple steps you can take to stop the burning and promote healing.
You don’t need to buy a bunch of special products. I do keep an inexpensive bottle of aloe vera gel in my medicine cabinet as one of my basic first aid supplies.
Tips to treat sunburns
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I love John Oliver and his show Last Week Tonight. Maybe because he frequently comments on or makes fun of our behemoth and costly healthcare system.
Related post: John Oliver mocks Big Pharma tactics
If you missed it, here’s the video of his show lampooning “scientific studies.” You know, the research mass media loves to package into scary sound bites (everything causes cancer) and healthcare corporations use to sell us something we probably don’t need.
Especially funny is this skit that shows how those TV infomercials can beguile us into thinking their … Continue reading
Last week I posted that you should always ask for a copy of your medical reports.
One of the downsides, of course, is that those reports are often written in medical language that can be confusing or alarming.
But in response to a more savvy patient population, the College of American Pathologists has made a video to explain how the system works and to encourage patients to be involved in obtaining and understanding their pathology reports.
You can watch the video here on the medical website KevinMD.
They also created a two-page educational brochure to guide a patient through … Continue reading
A preventable tragedy
A children’s hospital in Texas just released a grim statistic for the not-yet-over month of June: 15 near drownings and two drowning deaths of small children.
“Can you imagine being a parent, sitting in the ED waiting room, praying that the life of someone you love so dearly is spared, especially since it was something that didn’t have to happen? No parent wants to be saddled with that guilt.”
Such tragedies aren’t unique to Texas. Near drownings and deaths are reported every spring and summer as the weather heats up, kids get out of school, and families … Continue reading
The Zika virus spreads primarily by mosquito bites, so the best way to avoid getting it is to make yourself as repellent to mosquitoes as possible.
Related post: What attracts mosquitoes?
Unfortunately, there are companies that hope to make money off fear of the Zika virus and are selling mosquito-repellent products that just don’t work.
Most concerning to experts is the promotion of many “natural” mosquito repellents — sprays, wristbands, and patches that are touted as alternatives to the products containing synthetic chemicals known to be safe and effective at keeping mosquitoes away.
While mosquitoes in this … Continue reading
An error of omission
A few weeks ago there was a lot of news about how medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.
A medical error is defined as “an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome.”
And now a Philadelphia paper is highlighting one very common mistake: when you and/or your doctor are not informed about a serious finding on a medical test.
The article explains that a well-known local musician (which is why this story is popular on … Continue reading
EpiPens – lifesaving but costly
I’m allergic to bee stings, so I keep an EpiPen handy when I’m working out in my garden this time of year.
But my EpiPens are more than 3 years old now, and it’s time to invest in a new set.
Why do I say invest? Because EpiPens are incredibly expensive!
Related post: First aid for bee stings
I didn’t know that three years ago when I bought them. At that time, my health insurance did not include coverage for prescription medications (all ACA-compliant plans must now), so I paid the full price out of … Continue reading
An ugly problem with an ugly name—hallux valgus
Last summer I noticed I had the beginning of a small bunion.
Horrified, I wanted to find out if there was anything I could do to keep it from becoming bigger, uglier and more painful.
Anything except surgery. The last thing I want is foot surgery.
I also wanted to know how to prevent a bunion from developing in my other foot.
But I had to admit that I knew next to nothing about the lowly bunion, so I had to do a little research first.
Who gets bunions?
A bunion … Continue reading
As a nurse who worked for a surgeon, I had to spend a lot of time talking to patients and educating them about their proposed surgeries.
The surgeon talked to them first, of course, but often patients don’t remember everything the surgeon said. Or they think of questions after the consult.
If I couldn’t answer a question, or if I thought the patient really didn’t understand what the surgery entailed—why it was being done, other options to surgery, recovery time, etc.—I would ask the surgeon to please speak with the patient again.
If I was going to sign my name … Continue reading
Yesterday, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital hosted a Twitter chat discussing the dangers of those oh-so-convenient laundry detergent packets or pods that many of us use.
I use them.
But here is a scary statistic: every month almost 1,000 children under the age of 6 suffer the ill effects of biting into a packet and being exposed to the toxic detergent.
A pediatrician at OHSU writes:
If ingested…the highly concentrated packets can lead to vomiting, oral burns and swelling, respiratory distress and even respiratory failure – not to mention the neurologic impacts such as seizures,
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