Did you ever stop to wonder how the skin of your lips differs from the skin on the rest of your face?
The skin over your lips is very thin and highly vascular, hence their typical “vermilion” or red color. Your lips also have more nerve endings, making them very tactile and sensitive.
These anatomical differences make our lips attractive and nice for kissing, but they also make our lips vulnerable to dryness, sunburn and chemical sensitivities.
Painful and unattractive, chapped lips are especially common in the winter because of the dry, cold air outside, the dry, warm air inside, … Continue reading
Last fall saw a frightening outbreak of fungal meningitis that resulted in the severe illness of almost 700 people and, tragically, the deaths of 45 others. Contaminated steroid injections were found to be the cause.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices now reports that 13% of pharmacists found contamination in their supposedly sterile, compounded (made in the pharmacy) drugs last year, and almost 75% fear that such a horrific outbreak could happen again.
Several agencies are swaming the compounding pharmacies in a belated attempt to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But will their efforts be enough?
Maybe, but there … Continue reading
Do you suffer from chronically dry, red, itchy eyes? The eye drops you use might actually be making your eyes look and feel worse.
Like so many over-the-counter (OTC) products, there are dozens of eye drops from which to choose. How do you know which is best?
As always, ignore the front of the package and read the ingredients.
Oxymetazoline HCl and naphazoline HCl are decongestants. Drops that advertise “decreased redness”, such as Visine, contain a decongestant that constricts the small blood vessels in the eye. It works temporarily, but has a “rebound” effect; that is, the redness gets worse … Continue reading
Flu season hit hard this year, and the normal, if unwelcome, after effect of many viral upper respiratory infections is a lingering cough.
A recent review of the medical literature found that, on average, a cough will last 17.8 days! Fortunately, most coughs are self limiting; that is, they will get better without special treatment, such as antibiotics.
If you have a question about when to seek medical attention for a cough, visit FamilyDoctor.org ‘Check Your Symptoms’.
For home treatment, however, the drugstore shelves are filled with a dizzying array of cough products. Which one, if any, is best?
Before … Continue reading
Wash your nose?
I wrote in a previous post that frequent hand washing is your best defense against a cold virus; but what about washing your nose? The inside of your nose, to be exact.
You just need a neti pot.
The neti pot is an inexpensive device for saline nasal irrigation, which is a fancy term for nose washing.
A neti pot is easy to use
How do I use a neti pot? It’s very simple. I fill the pot—which resembles a small tea pot or Aladdin’s lamp—with warm saline (salt) solution. Leaning over a sink, I place the … Continue reading
It appears that the 2012-13 flu season is especially severe and has not yet reached its peak, which is when the maximum number of cases have been reported and we start to see a downward trend.
In early November, I posted about the advantages, health-wise and financial, of getting a flu shot.
It’s still not too late, and there is ample vaccine available.
FYI, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full effectiveness.
FN… Continue reading
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report that 1 in 24 drivers admits to falling asleep while driving, and up to 33% of fatal traffic accidents may involve a drowsy driver.
Although frightening, this statistic is hardly news to those of us, myself included, who suffer from chronic sleeplessness. We can just add “death by fiery car crash” to the ever-expanding list of risks related to sleep deprivation, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and cancer.
Such stories invariably conclude with the advice “health officials recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.”… Continue reading
For more than five years, one of my best friends has been battling ovarian cancer. A fierce fighter (and fabulous friend!), she has endured surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy to keep this grim disease at bay. Her oncologist monitors her condition with the blood test CA-125.
Early last summer, her CA-125 began creeping up into the “let’s watch it but not get too excited—yet” territory. She knew from past experience that she might be facing another round of chemo.
Then we began playing mahjongg. Or, more accurately, American mahjongg, which is a variant of the arcane Chinese game … Continue reading
This morning as I scanned internet headlines, one caught my attention: How to beat a cold in just 24 hours.
Wouldn’t that be great if you could cure a cold in a day?
The information source for the article is a professor from the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff, Wales. I never knew such a place existed! I glanced at its website, and it appears to have links to some useful research, so I’ll definitely look there again.
But what does the article suggest and what do I think? Here’s a quick rundown:
- Take a hot shower. Absolutely.
… Continue reading
It’s cold season and products that claim to prevent or significantly shorten colds are flying off the drugstore shelves.
As I emphasized in an earlier post, frequent hand washing is your best strategy to avoid a cold altogether.
Still, the advertisements for such products are both pervasive and persuasive But are they worth buying?
Vitamin C (1000mg) is the major ingredient of Airborne and Emergen-C. Both are made into fizzy drinks. Airborne also claims to have a “proprietary blend” of minerals and herbs, but it’s really about the vitamin C. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not … Continue reading