Don’t be a victim of too much medical care

Too much testing = too much medicine

I just ran across an old doctor joke: What is a well person? Someone who hasn’t yet been thoroughly examined.

It’s not funny, of course, if you’re the patient and have suffered the harms—and the expense—of too much medical care.

In 2010, my husband was the victim of too much medical care. Because of complications and a string of medical errors he almost died. His care cost our insurance company over $100,000 and we were out of pocket for our $10,000 deductible.

Now he has no thyroid and has to take medication every … Continue reading

Deprescribing prescription drugs

What is deprescribing?

As an advocate for less medicine and better health, I love the latest healthcare trend of “deprescribing,” or cutting down the number of prescription drugs a patient is taking.

Dr. Aaron Carroll of Healthcare Triage explains the importance of deprescribing in this video:

Polypharmacy—taking multiple prescription drugs—has become much more common over the last couple of decades. There are more drugs than ever on the market, and the drug companies are spending billions of dollars to make sure we know all about them.

Related post: Bohemian Polypharmacy

The elderly are especially … Continue reading

Make safety a priority this Fourth of July!

fireworks injuriesAny nurse who has worked in an emergency department, especially in a children’s hospital, dreads the Fourth of July.

We’ve seen what fireworks can do to a hand. Or a face. It’s not pretty. (Look on YouTube if you don’t believe me.)

Every state has its own laws on what fireworks are legal. Many cities and communities ban fireworks because of fire danger.

But even legal fireworks are risky and bans don’t necessarily stop people from doing stupid things.

The American Academy of Pediatrics makes this statement on their website:

​The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to urge families

Continue reading

Contrast baths for arthritis pain

contrast bathsArthritis is a pain

I have osteoarthritis. I also have carpal tunnel and some other overuse injuries that are a result of using my hands a lot over the years.

Arthritis runs in my family, but some level of arthritis is just a natural part of aging.

(I don’t mean rheumatoid arthritis, which is a different animal. It’s an autoimmune disease that affects the whole body and can strike at an early age.)

I can live with my hand and foot pain during the day when I’m active and not thinking about it much. But at night when I’m trying … Continue reading

Homemade yogurt – Easy, healthy and delicious

homemade yogurtAnd frugal, too!

I’m so lucky because my husband LOVES making homemade yogurt.

Several years ago, I bought him a yogurt maker for Christmas. He told me once that he used to make his own yogurt when he was in college, so I thought he would enjoy trying it again.

He sure did!  😀

Homemade yogurt has become a staple in our diet, and it is so superior to store-bought brands, I can’t even describe it. You need to eat some to understand.

Anyone who loves yogurt should try making it at home. It’s easy to do with either an … Continue reading

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

alzheimer's awareness monthAnd brain health awareness, too!

At this time, there is no drug or treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia. The best advice is that what is good for your heart is good for your brain, too.

Related post: Don’t buy supplements to prevent Alzheimer’s

Embracing a healthy lifestyle is our best chance to reduce the risk of developing dementia as we age.

That means moderate physical exercise every day, a calorie-appropriate diet full of a wide variety of nutrients, and lots of mental stimulation.

Related post: Do “brain games” prevent dementia?

Socializing and mental exercises help improve brain … Continue reading

Frugal Nurse tips for a safe summer

I’m writing this on Memorial Day while gazing out my window at an (unusually) sunny and warm Seattle day.

We’re on the cusp of summer!  😎

Here is a collection of some of my most popular posts about staying safe during the summer, including information about sunscreens and insect repellents, and first aid tips for burns, bites and too much sun. Stay safe! FN

Be informed – What is SPF?

An SPF rating is an estimate of how effectively a sunscreen product reduces the time it takes your skin to burn.  Some sunscreens use chemical barriers, like oxybenzone, and others … Continue reading

Turmeric for arthritis pain

turmeric for arthritisGood evidence for using turmeric to treat arthritis pain

I’m generally not a fan of supplements or herbal remedies.

There can be a lot of marketing hype behind these products, but not a lot of good science.

However…about a month ago I finally became so tired of living with chronic arthritis pain, mostly in my hands and neck, that I decided to research turmeric to see if there was any chance it could help me.

I wanted an alternative to ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which works great to control my pain, but it’s not only hard on my stomach, it’s a … Continue reading

10 exercises you should never do

Be careful at the gym!

I’ve been working with a personal trainer to improve my muscle strength and cardiac endurance.

At one point my trainer had me doing overhead shoulder presses. After the first few lifts, I knew this was a bad idea. I struggled to lift the bar over my head, even with minimal weight (wimpy arms!).

Since then I’ve been having shooting pains in my right arm and shoulder. Then I watched this video from one of my favorite YouTubers, The Two Most Famous Physical Therapists, who confirmed what I thought: overhead shoulder presses are bad.

5 stress relieving tips you can try at home

stress relieving tipsToday’s post is from guest contributor Helen Sanders, chief editor at HealthAmbition.com.

“Health Ambition’s goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.”

Thank you, Helen!

Each and every one of us will experience stress at some point in our lifetime.

Acute stress is normal following a hugely stressful situation, such as a trauma or natural disaster. However, stress can be more intense for some of us and can sometimes lead to a chronic condition that … Continue reading

Choose sunglasses that block UV rays

sunglasses that block uv raysUV rays damage eyes

As part of May’s Skin Cancer Prevention Month, I wanted to share some tips to protect your eyes.

Just as the sun can injure your skin, it can hurt the delicate tissue of your eyes, too.

Did you know you can also get melanoma of the eye? Unprotected UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds increases the risk of this type of cancer.

Related post: Tanning beds and skin cancer

Long-term exposure to UVA and UVB rays contributes to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Cataracts—cloudy areas on your eye’s lens—can be corrected with … Continue reading

Neti pot for spring allergies

spring allerigesSeattle has had an unseasonably cold and wet spring (even for us!), but that hasn’t stopped my seasonal allergies from arriving on cue.

Time to rinse off my neti pot.

When the pollen counts are high, I use my neti pot every day and it really, really helps.

I prefer using a neti pot rather than antihistamines to treat spring allergies for a couple of reasons.

One, it’s inexpensive. Over-the-counter allergy meds are anything but! Even the generics are pricey.

Two, there are no side effects. I don’t like how antihistamines or decongestants make me feel, and I definitely don’t … Continue reading

Add high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your exercise routine

hiitHIIT for better health— and lower doctors’ bills

A few months ago my husband and I joined a local gym. We wanted to be a little more serious with our exercise routines.

Aging can be expensive. I believe one way to save money on health care as we age is to exercise. Exercise can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and possibly dementia.

I also want to keep my muscles and bones strong, to prevent falls and fractures.

I’m no exercise fanatic (quite the opposite, in fact), but aging healthfully is important enough to me that I worked with … Continue reading

HPV vaccine and 20-somethings

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

Be informed – Poison control number

poison control numberThe 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