Protect yourself with a flu shot
Flu season is reaching its peak. Hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients and are running out of spare beds.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting widespread, epidemic-level flu activity in almost every state.
The bad news is that this year’s flu strain, H3N2, is especially severe, and the flu vaccine is not a great match 😕
But the good news is that if you haven’t already gotten a flu shot, it’s not too late. We might be seeing the worst of it right now, but flu season can last another four or … Continue reading
Baby, it’s cold outside!
Most of the headlines over the last few days have focused on the arctic “cyclone” and brutally cold temperatures affecting a big chunk of the US.
Low temperature records are being shattered. Many states are reporting wind chills of -30°F or less.
That’s not just cold—that’s life threatening.
Outside my house, in Seattle, the weather is a pretty seasonal 40°F. And rainy. Lucky us.
But anyone struggling with these super cold temperatures needs to take care. Here are a few tips for avoiding, recognizing and dealing with hypothermia and frostbite.
Hypothermia, or low body temperature, … Continue reading
The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and isn’t that when illness always seems to strike?
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.
Kids bring those germs home on their hands and touch everything there, too. Then parents get sick and spread the virus to co-workers. And so on, and so on…
Colds and flu 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 … Continue reading
It’s easier than you think!
The other day I watched in horror as a friend with mild cold symptoms swallowed two extra-strength Tylenol (acetaminophen) tablets with a large swig of NyQuil.
If he had followed with a double whisky, I would have suspected a suicide attempt.
“What are you doing?!” I shrieked, and grabbed both bottles from him. “You just swallowed a massive dose of acetaminophen!”
“Really?” he replied, without much interest. “Hmm.”
Does anyone read the labels on over-the-counter (OTC) medications?
“Look!” I stabbed a finger at the warning label on the back of the NyQuil bottle.
… Continue reading
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month
October has become the month to pressure women to Buy Pink! and schedule their annual mammograms.
But I’d rather see more women informed about the effectiveness of annual mammograms (not as much as you might think).
And I’d like to see more care providers drop the paternal attitudes and really have a conversation with women about the pros and cons of screening mammograms, and how (or if) this diagnostic tool should be used to meet their health care goals.
I’ve written many posts on this topic, so please check them out!
… Continue reading
More exercise, more soluble fiber
I’ve been posting about my husband’s high cholesterol since it became quite high about a year ago. Last December his total cholesterol was 297, with an LDL (low-density lipoprotein) of 219 and an HDL (high-density lipoprotein) of 65.
Now I’m happy to report that after 9 months of pretty simple lifestyle changes his total cholesterol is down to 240. His LDL (the bad one) is way down at 153, and his HDL (the good one) is way up at 77!
Although he has no other risk factors for heart disease—he’s not overweight, … Continue reading
With the news of another massive hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego, I wanted to re-publish this post from Sept. 2016 about hepatitis A and encourage everyone to get vaccinated! FN
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 … Continue reading
Need more info? Check out these vaccination resources
In 1998, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was FALSELY reported to be associated with autism.
The doctor who published that report has since been disgraced and the report itself debunked. In fact, research has shown again and again that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
However, the fear persists. Worse, the fear extends to ALL vaccines, not just the MMR.
What happens when a significant number of children aren’t vaccinated? We get disease outbreaks, such as the recent outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and … Continue reading
Learn more about your local water supply
I think the water crisis in Flint, MI, a couple of years ago made everyone question the safety of drinking unfiltered tap water.
A recent report shows that almost 70% Americans believe their community’s water is at risk, especially in more urban areas. No wonder we’re buying more bottled water than ever!
But, despite some significant fails, our tap water is some of the cleanest and safest in the world. And do we really want to spend all that money on bottled water?
Rather than worry needlessly about what’s in your tap … Continue reading
Any nurse who has worked in an emergency department, especially in a children’s hospital, dreads the Fourth of July.
We’ve seen what fireworks can do to a hand. Or a face. It’s not pretty. (Look on YouTube if you don’t believe me.)
Every state has its own laws on what fireworks are legal. Many cities and communities ban fireworks because of fire danger.
But even legal fireworks are risky and bans don’t necessarily stop people from doing stupid things.
The American Academy of Pediatrics makes this statement on their website:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to urge families
… Continue reading