Last month, a medical advisory group to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted “overwhelmingly” to limit the sale of codeine products without a prescription and advised “drugs containing codeine should not be used to treat children or the majority of teens suffering from pain or a cough.” [my emphasis]
I knew you could buy codeine painkillers and cough syrups in Canada, but apparently you can in 28 states, as well. The FDA hasn’t acted on the advisory committee’s recommendation yet, so these products are still available over the counter.
Parents—be especially cautious when buying cough or cold medications … Continue reading
Last week a young college student drowned.
Normally I wouldn’t have paid much attention to the media surrounding this tragic event—Dartmouth swimmer dies in pool mishap on vacation—but sadly the young man happens to be the son of friends.
He was a life-long swimmer and was on his university’s swim team; the least likely person, you would think, to drown.
But I learned something about a potential danger to young swimmers, and want to help raise awareness about “shallow water blackout.”
Experienced and competitive swimmers are most at risk, as they may challenge themselves or others to do … Continue reading
Cold and flu season is in full swing!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released a public service announcement with tips to help people stay healthy this winter.
In addition to what we already know—but the basics bear repeating—such as get a flu shot and wash your hands frequently, their web page Get Set For a Healthy Winter Season also provides information about what to do if you’re already sick, how to choose over-the-counter (OTC) cold and flu products, and when you should seek medical care.
Related post: Be informed – The best cold and flu medicines
The … Continue reading
It probably wasn’t the best idea to watch this documentary just a few days before one of the most sugar-laden holidays of the year.
On the other hand, I will definitely be more conscious about how much sugar I eat and will hopefully avoid a huge sugar hangover—that slightly sick, tired, yucky feeling I get after eating too many sweet foods.
That Sugar Film is one of several sugar documentaries that have come out recently that attempt to show us just how bad sugar is for our health.
Related story from Time: Sugar is definitely toxic, a new study says… Continue reading
Women who take common antidepressants while pregnant have a slightly higher risk of their children developing autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
This study was just released by JAMA Pediatrics.
Use of antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases the risk of ASD in children, even after considering maternal depression. Further research is needed to specifically assess the risk of ASD associated with antidepressant types and dosages during pregnancy.
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, include Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) and Sertraline (Zoloft).
They are by far the … Continue reading
I just learned that it’s National Handwashing Awareness Week!
That works in nicely with it also being National Flu Vaccination Week, as handwashing is your first line of defense against not only the flu virus, but all sorts of germs.
Related post: Handwashing 101
The Henry the Hand Prevention Program, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), offers these 4 Principles of Hand Awareness:
1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
2. DO NOT cough into your hands
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
4. Above all, DO NOT
… Continue reading
Every fall I post my recommendation that everyone get a flu shot.
In support of this week being National Influenza Vaccination Week (what, you haven’t heard?), here is a pretty cool animated video from NPR: Flu Attack! How A Virus Invades Your Body
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which sponsors Vaccination Week, offers these key points on their seasonal flu webpage:
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease.
- CDC and its partners want
… Continue reading
The overuse of antibiotics continues to be a big problem in this country, and do you know who doctors blame? The patients.
That’s right. Doctors know that antibiotics don’t work against the common viruses that cause colds, flu, coughs and sore throats, but many admit they prescribe them anyway when patients ask for them.
In a five or ten minute office visit, doctors don’t feel they have time to explain the difference between a virus and a bacteria, and how overuse of antibiotics causes the very real problem of antibiotic resistance. So they do what’s easiest, fastest, and results in … Continue reading
When you go to the grocery store is your cart full of “free” foods, such as soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, etc.?
With so many of these products being heavily marketed, and poor health information being widely spread on the internet through Facebook, blogs and other social networking sites, it’s easy to make assumptions about food allergies for your and/or your children.
Common symptoms that everyone gets occasionally—nausea, diarrhea, acne, fatigue, weight gain, rashes, and sinusitis—are frequently misdiagnosed as food allergies or intolerances.
I have had many friends over the years who have told me they or one of … Continue reading
It’s October and time for my annual reminder for everyone age 6 months and older to get a flu shot!
Flu season typically runs from November to March, but no one can predict with accuracy exactly when the first cases will start showing up or when the season will end—sometimes as early as October to as late as May. It’s unpredictable as well how severe the upcoming flu season will be, so just assume it will be a bad and early flu season and prepare accordingly.
In other words, get your flu shot now. And remember to always wash your … Continue reading