Life before vaccines and antibiotics
I know I complain a lot about our current healthcare system and the overuse of medical care.
BUT, I am also very thankful for the advances medicine has made in the last 100 years or so.
The reminder to be more appreciative comes from the hours I spent over the holidays reading old family journals, letters and postcards, most of them dated between 1900 and …
read on Painful and ugly…
…are the best words to describe cold sores.
They typically show up on the lips, too, which makes them so difficult to hide.
Cold sores are caused by a virus, the herpes simplex 1 virus or HSV-1. (Herpes simplex 2 or HSV-2 is what’s known as genital herpes.)
If you’ve ever had a herpes cold sore, don’t feel embarrassed. HSV-1 is extremely common; more than 70% of …
read on What is sinusitis?
Following my recent post about
nasal sprays, I thought it a good time to talk about sinusitis and some simple home treatments.
Sinusitis is the inflammation of sinus tissue. The swelling blocks normal drainage, which can lead to a viral or bacterial infection.
Sinusitis can be caused by colds, allergies, the
overuse of decongestant nasal sprays, or a physical blockage, such as a deviated septum … read on Over-the-counter nasal sprays
It’s cold season, and I see so many ads in the media for nasal sprays.
The best tip for saving money on OTC nasal sprays is to know the ingredients used in the different products. Read the labels!
When you understand which ingredient is best for which nasal problem, you can shop for the best price.
Nasal sprays fall roughly into three categories:
Allergy sprays Decongestant sprays
read on Immediate relief
The other day a family member asked for my advice on treating heartburn. It’s a common problem and fortunately there are many lifestyle changes and simple products to try before spending money on doctors’ appointments and prescription medications.
For the occasional case of heartburn following a large meal, or eating too late at night, or being more stressed than usual, try a herbal product or one of the …
read on Anyone taking an antidepressant needs to read this
Last winter a nurse friend of mine ended up in the emergency department.
Sick with a cold, she took NyQuil before going to bed. She woke up a few hours later with dizziness, tense muscles, her heart racing and her whole body shaking.
Her husband called 911. On the way to the ED, her blood pressure became dangerously high.
At the ED …
read on What causes gas and bloating?
In short, gas is caused by what we eat and how we eat it.
Most gas is formed in our lower intestines where bacteria are busy breaking down any undigested food. Gas is the normal byproduct of this process. In fact, our bodies produce between 1 and 4 pints of gas a day.
Thankfully, most of the time this gas is passed unnoticed by us …
read on Not really.
It’s cold season and products that claim to prevent or significantly shorten colds are flying off the drugstore shelves.
The best strategy to prevent a cold is to
wash your hands frequently.
Still, the advertisements for such products are both pervasive and persuasive. But are they worth buying?
Vitamin C and zinc are the supplements used in most of these products. You can buy them in capsules, lozenges, …
read on Black licorice health hazards
It’s coming up on Halloween and I know lots of people who love to decorate with black licorice candies. They even like the taste (which I definitely do not!).
But every year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes
a public safety message about the possible health hazards of black licorice.
Why is it unhealthy? And which products should be avoided?
Licorice comes from a root …
read on Stick to the basics and buy generic
Everyone has a home pharmacy or medicine cabinet: a drawer or cupboard or box where they stash all their over-the-counter (OTC) products and prescription medications.
Bathrooms are the worst place to store medicine. The above-average temperatures and moisture cause drugs to break down faster.
My home pharmacy is a small basin in a kitchen cupboard. I purposefully chose a small container so I …