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
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
And save money, too
With both Thanksgiving and Black Friday over and done, the holiday season is in full swing!
But so is the cold-and-flu season :/
Want to stay healthy and save some money? Here are some of my favorite cold-prevention, money-saving posts.
… Continue reading
Watch for cars!
What is the biggest risk to kids on Halloween night? It’s not an overdose of sugar, or the possibility of tainted treats. It’s the traffic.
The Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety says child pedestrian accidents increase 400% on Halloween, compared to an average day. The greatest number of accidents occur between the hours of 5 pm and 9 pm.
The guide gives the following tips for kids and parents:
- Use crosswalks.
- Stay alert to your surroundings—that means put the phone away and keep your eyes up!
- Plan your route ahead of time.
- Make eye contact with
… Continue reading
Bad lens hygiene, or what was I thinking?
I’ve worn contact lenses my entire adult life. I remember many, many times throughout high school and college when I would pop out a lens, stick it in my mouth to wet it, and then put it back in my eye.
I really can’t believe I used to do that!
But at least I’m not alone in being careless with my contact lenses and eye health.
A couple weeks ago the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a report that said more than 99% of contact lens wearers (and that’s well over … Continue reading
Kids need flu shots!
Pediatricians recommend all children over the age of 6 months get a yearly flu shot.
In previous years, a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine, FluMist, has been available to parents who wanted to avoid subjecting their children to another needle jab.
But for the last 3 years FluMist has not been nearly as effective as the standard flu shot. So for the 2016-2017 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) are recommending against FluMist for flu prevention.
For the 2016-2017 flu season, the Advisory Committee on
… Continue reading
Triclosan isn’t effective
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began drafting guidelines for the use of the popular antibacterial, triclosan, about 40 years ago.
Two years ago they announced they were ready to implement some much-needed oversight of this chemical. They asked the manufacturers of soaps and body washes to provide more evidence of both its effectiveness and safety.
Well, those companies came up short. Last week the FDA made its final decision to ban triclosan and some other chemicals used in “antibacterial” soaps.
Manufacturers haven’t shown that these ingredients are any more effective than plain
… Continue reading
Hepatitis A outbreaks
This morning I read about a hepatitis A outbreak in Virginia. The source is apparently contaminated strawberries used to make smoothies. So far, 40 people have become sick.
This outbreak follows on the heels of another in Hawaii, where 168 cases of the virus have been linked to frozen scallops.
Let these outbreaks be a reminder or an incentive to anyone NOT vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus—get vaccinated!
The hepatitis A virus attacks your liver and causes varying degrees of nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice. It rarely causes long-term liver damage or … Continue reading
Kids and vaccines
It’s that time of year when the days shorten, stores advertise trendy back-to-school clothes, and parents scramble to make appointments with their kids’ pediatricians for sport physicals and immunizations.
At least, I hope they do.
I am a fervent believer in vaccinations, even though I live in the state (Washington) with–sadly–the highest “opt out” rate in the country.
In 1998 a medical journal published a paper by (now debunked and disgraced) scientist Andrew Wakefield. He implied a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Since then, many parents have feared vaccinating their … Continue reading
Bad advice to whiten your teeth
I have a lot of fun on Pinterest and have been collecting different “pins” of home remedies for all sorts of minor afflictions. Some are commonly used, such as aloe for sunburn, but others can be pretty far out there, such as human breast milk to treat pink eye.
One by one, I research these remedies, and I am creating a “board” on my Pinterest page dedicated to the frugal home treatments I think have some benefit.
Mostly these home remedies do not have a great deal—if any—research to support their claims. University … Continue reading
Germs and travel
I recently returned from a road-trip vacation with a nasty summer cold. It was my own fault—I didn’t heed my own advice to wash my hands as frequently as I should have.
Related post: Hand washing 101
Our hands are responsible for bringing a lot of germs into our bodies. We touch our nose, eyes or mouth, or our food, and voilà! the germs have found a nice, new home.
Although we usually associate colds with the winter months, germs for colds and other common viral illnesses are all over objects we touch every day, year round.… Continue reading
Last week Florida health officials announced that Zika is “actively circulating” in certain parts of the state. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has even gone so far as to issue a travel warning to advise pregnant woman not to travel to these areas.
Related post: Protect yourself from mosquito bites
The CDC has been really proactive in educating and updating the public about the Zika virus—what it is, where it is, and how we can protect ourselves.
In addition to their Zika virus homepage, they also have a great series of short videos called Zap Zika.
Many years ago I had a primary care doctor who used to perform a total body skin examination (TBSE) on me every year as part of my annual exam.
Of course, those all-inclusive physicals are a thing of the past. I haven’t had a physician perform a TBSE for a long time.
I often wondered about that. A TBSE seems like a relatively easy and harmless way to quickly screen for skin cancer. The goal, of course, is to find a melanoma, the deadly skin cancer, when it’s small and possibly curable.
But the go-to source for screening … Continue reading