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
Every fall my house becomes a mine field of spider webs. When I go out the front door, I immediately step face-first into a big, black, eight-legged bug. Yuck.
Whether it’s spiders preparing for the winter, or fleas and mosquitoes enjoying the wetter but still warm late-summer days, insects are just more bothersome in the fall.
I remember in my childhood my mother used to carry around a huge can of Raid and practically spray it in our faces when she saw a wasp or fly or spider.
Um, that’s not a good idea.
A recent study published in Pediatrics… Continue reading
It’s September and the kids are back in school!
Few things are germier than a school where lots of kids and adults are stuck in small rooms, touching the same objects and breathing the same air.
Then the kids bring those germs home on their hands and touch everything there, too.
Colds are miserable for children and parents alike, and missing work—whether a parent gets sick or has to stay home to care for a sick child—is a problem for many families.
It’s impossible to avoid every cold, and it’s probably better for our immune systems to get sick now … Continue reading
I participate in a world-wide group of health care providers that exchanges information about the high costs of health care and overtreatment in our respective countries. (It’s not just an American problem!)
One provider recently shared for our consideration a paper that stated too many third molars (aka wisdom teeth) were being unnecessarily removed in the US.
Ten million third molars (wisdom teeth) are extracted from approximately 5 million people in the United States each year at an annual cost of over $3 billion.
In addition, more than 11 million patient days of “standard discomfort or disability”—pain, swelling, bruising, and
… Continue reading
Because of the recent outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, California passed a law this summer that will severely limit a parent’s ability to opt out of vaccinating their school-aged kids.
But I understand why some parents, especially those with infants and young children, might be fearful when they hear so many (untrue) horror stories about the safety of vaccinations.
One family practice doctor wrote an open letter to parents about vaccinations—why they are necessary and why it’s safer to vaccinate than not—and published it on the health blog KevinMD.
I thought it was very … Continue reading
I read a disturbing bit of news a couple of weeks ago: Antipsychotic use rising among teens and young adults.
A growing number of teens and young adults are being prescribed antipsychotics, a new study suggests.
In particular, it appears they’re being used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – a condition for which the powerful drugs are not approved.
The study mentioned was recently published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Antipsychotics include such heavily-marketed drugs as Abilify (aripiprazole), Risperdal (risperidone), Seroquel (quetiapine) and Zyprexa (olanzapine).
… Continue reading
My husband just forwarded me this great YouTube video showing how exposure to the sun’s UV rays can damage our skin over time.
It’s a timely reminder to wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, and try to stay out of the direct sun during peak UV ray hours, about 10 to 2. Kids, too!
Protecting our skin not only helps prevent skin cancer, but can keep our skin looking younger as we age. Think of the savings in anti-aging products 😉
Sláinte,… Continue reading
This summer is already unusually hot where I live and kids and adults are flocking to the local public swimming pools and wading pools.
But I read a couple of articles last week that first made me think “Eww!”, and then made me wonder about how healthy public pools really are.
‘Crypto’ Parasite Outbreaks Increasing in Pools Across America
A diarrhea-causing parasite that is often transmitted through water is causing an increasing number of outbreaks in U.S. pools and spas, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Turns out there is a reason pools … Continue reading
Recently, the US Public Health Service issued new recommendations to slightly lower the amount of fluoride that’s put in our community drinking water.
That’s because we have access to other sources of fluoride, mostly toothpaste and mouth rinses, so we don’t need as much in the water supply.
Since the early 1960s our tap water has been fluoridated, and the incidence of tooth decay has been significantly decreased. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hails community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements… Continue reading
I didn’t know this, but apparently in 2008 South Los Angeles enacted an ordinance to regulate or limit fast food sales. It was an attempt to lower obesity rates in some of the poorest and unhealthiest neighborhoods.
Now, seven years later, a study has been published that says the intervention didn’t work. It not only didn’t work, but the obesity rates were higher.
As for the health of the residents, according to the survey, obesity and being overweight increased in all areas from 2007 to 2012, and the increase was significantly greater in the regulated area. Consumption of
… Continue reading