Don’t want hepatitis A? Get vaccinated!
At last report there were 61 cases of hepatitis A resulting from contaminated frozen berries sold at Costco in several states. Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver, and the virus is usually passed along from an infected person through contaminated food.
The CDC recommends the hepatitis A vaccine for all children, and for adults who might be at higher risk, such as those who travel frequently. But the vaccine is available (requires 2 doses) to anyone who wants to be protected. Bonus: the vaccine is covered under Obamacare’s preventive care services mandate.… Continue reading
The high cost of genetic testing
Angelina Jolie and her preventive mastectomies are still making news, as is the business of genetic testing.
On May 14, the day Ms. Jolie revealed her story, Myriad Genetics, the company that holds the patents on both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene sequences, saw its share price rise by 4% to the highest point in its history.
How happy the company’s board must have been when Ms. Jolie wrote in her New York Times op-ed piece that “every woman” should have access to such information. She did acknowledge, however, that the $3,000+ price tag … Continue reading
Being prepared makes a difference
I taught first aid classes for the American Red Cross for many years. I liked to use a statistic that I found in an obscure study done by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the professionals that respond to aviation and other disasters.
According to their data, how people – not including trained personnel – respond to an emergency pretty much falls along a typical bell curve: 10% aid in evacuation and helping others; 10% totally freak out and are useless, if not actually making matters worse; and 80% stand around and do nothing.
Why … Continue reading
Types of burns
Burns are very common injuries that can be caused by heat (fires, hot liquids), electricity (wires, lightning), chemicals or the sun.
First-degree burns only involve the upper layer of skin. The skin will be red and painful, but will typically heal within a few days. Most sunburns are first-degree burns.
Related reading: First aid for sunburns
Second-degree burns are also red and painful, but slightly deeper and blisters may appear.
Third-degree burns go through all layers of the skin down to the bone and muscle. Such burns may be black or even white rather than red. And … Continue reading
Preventing eye injuries
Vision is important, so nature created several levels of protection for our eyes. First, they are surrounded by bone. Second, our eyelashes prevent dust and dirt from entering the eyes. Third, our tears effectively wash away any small bits that get past the eyelashes.
The eye tissue is very delicate and easily injured, and prevention of eye injuries is key.
Wear protective glasses whenever small particles, objects or chemicals could accidentally enter the eye. The wraparound style are best as they offer side protection, as well.
Woodworking is especially risky because of splinters, sawdust, staple guns and … Continue reading
Stock up on DEET?
Any report that contains the word “deadly” gets the attention of the media, and this report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was no exception. Last year 5,674 cases of the mosquito-borne virus were reported, and 286 people died. In comparison, only 43 deaths were recorded in 2011.
Weather conditions that favored the mosquito – warm and humid – were probably factors in last year’s increase in cases.
This news reminds me that I want to spend some time researching insect repellents and then write a post about them. Does anything work as well as … Continue reading
My belief as a frugal nurse is that each of us has the power to improve our health and lower our health care costs. Prevention is key, and in my posts I advocate such preventive actions as vaccinations, hand washing, adequate sleep, drug safety, exercise and a healthy diet.
Diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and, I think, is crucial to cancer prevention.
Therefore, I read with keen interest a recent post by David Katz, MD, on the HuffPost Healthy Living Blog.
Dr. Katz interviewed a one-time student, Nicole Larizza, a nutritionist currently … Continue reading
Health and Fitness Apps
I recently upgraded to a smartphone, and I’ve been having fun trying out a bunch of different apps (the free ones, of course!).
Coming somewhat late to the whole app thing, I’m amazed at how many there are, and especially how many health and fitness apps are available for free.
I’ve seen different numbers, but there are somewhere between 15,000 and 35,000 and the number is growing all the time.
Apps can be patient-centric, used for keeping track of diet, exercise, symptoms, health records, or doctor-centric, used for aiding in diagnosis, research, scheduling, and so on.… Continue reading
Before I left on vacation a week ago, one of the popular health-related news stories was that in a rare show of bipartisan support, Congress was set to approve a 75¢-per-shot tax on the flu vaccine. Critics of both government and vaccines in general jumped on this congressional tidbit, although for different reasons.
The more conservative media decried the tax, saying it was unnecessary and simply a sneaky way for Washington to grab money to fund our ever-increasing national debt.
Anti-vaccine activists saw the tax, which funds the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, as proof that vaccines are … Continue reading
Florida. The Sunshine State. I am here on vacation enjoying some much-needed warmth and sun. I’m also enjoying the abundance of fresh oranges and grapefruit.
Luckily for me, I don’t take any prescription medications. I remember all the dire warnings in the media last fall that grapefruit juice is more deadly than ever—beware!
Of course, grapefruit has not suddenly turned evil. The problem is that there are so many medications on the market, more every year, that interact badly—yes, even lethally—with that ruby red fruit.
Grapefruit, as well as limes, pomelos and Seville oranges, contain chemical compounds called furanocoumarins, … Continue reading
Continuing my frugal first aid series, this post is about treating sunburns—appropriate since I am writing this as I sit on a beach in Florida!
That’s right, I’m on vacation 😎
For some, sunburns are a minor, seasonal annoyance and they don’t give them much thought. But if you’ve ever had a really bad sunburn, you know the days of pain and sleepless nights that follow. I’ve had a severe sunburn once in my life, in college, and I learned my lesson!
Sunscreen—Prevention is key
Use sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology says we don’t use nearly enough to be … Continue reading
Sometimes drastic change is required
Last night I watched a truly inspiring documentary, a testament to the power of a healthy diet.
Fat Sick & Nearly Dead chronicles Australian filmmaker Joe Cross’s journey to health. Fat, fortyish, and suffering from an autoimmune disease, Joe spends 60 days traversing America. But no fast food stops for Joe—his mission is to drink only fresh fruit and vegetable juice (he travels with his own juicer) for the entire 60 days. Joe believes fasting on juice will allow his body to heal from the inside out.
We all know the typical American diet (and … Continue reading
The other day I was in Target shopping for toothpaste, and I thought, “Wow, do Americans really need this many toothpastes?”
At first glance I couldn’t even find the toothpaste I normally use, no doubt because the packaging had changed. It’s probably “new and improved.” Aren’t they all?
Ignoring the hyperbole of “advanced”, “intense” and “extreme”, I started looking at the ingredient lists on the backs of the boxes. I know exactly which ingredients I want to see to get the most effective toothpaste at the lowest price.
For me, the most important ingredient in a toothpaste is fluoride. … Continue reading
One of the advantages of being a nurse/mom is that I can tend to a wide variety of illnesses and injuries without seeking medical help. I have probably saved my family a lot of money over the years!
Anyone can learn the basics of providing first aid. I taught American Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes for years, and I highly recommend taking a class, whether you are a parent or not. Even kids as young as 13 or 14 can take the classes.
Spring is a good time to sign up for a class. Once schools are out … Continue reading
The sunshine supplement
Last week I learned that my vitamin D level is slightly below normal. My physician recommended that I take a daily vitamin D supplement of 1000 to 2000 IU.
I didn’t want the test, but what’s done is done. Now I need to decide what the test result means to me, and if I should follow my doctor’s recommendation.
A few years ago, vitamin D was the new wonder supplement. Various studies associated a low vitamin D level with an increased incidence of all kinds of diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, prostate cancer, breast cancer, … Continue reading