Fall (and flu) is in the air
Tomorrow will be the first full day of autumn and my thoughts naturally turn to . . . influenza. Yes, that’s how my mind works.
I’m already seeing flu shots advertised at my local grocery store pharmacy, and at other chain drug stores in my neighborhood.
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 … Continue reading
Last week there was another warning in our local newspaper that a person diagnosed with measles had traveled through our airport. The article advised anyone who was at the airport during that particular time frame, and who might not be vaccinated and/or might be pregnant, to talk to their health care provider.
Measles is very contagious and can be especially dangerous to pregnant women.
In light of continuing misinformation about vaccinations, and the possibility that more unvaccinated children will be in our schools due to the influx of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, I decided to republish this post … Continue reading
A banana a day?
We’ve all heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” (thank you, Benjamin Franklin!), but a potassium-rich banana might help, too.
A recent study looking at stroke risk in post-menopausal women (ages 50-79) found that, overall, women with the highest dietary potassium intake were 12% less likely to suffer a stroke.
And women who didn’t have high blood pressure and ate a lot of potassium-rich foods had a 21% lower risk of stroke.
But don’t go running to the drugstore for potassium supplements! This study didn’t look at the effect of potassium supplements … Continue reading
Are annual exams a waste of money?
Based on the most recent evidence, I would argue yes. I posted about annual exams a few months ago, and quoted the following from the Society for General Internal Medicine (a primary care specialty group):
Routine general health checks are office visits between a health professional and a patient exclusively for preventive counseling and screening tests. In contrast to office visits for acute illness, specific evidence-based preventive strategies, or chronic care management such as treatment of high blood pressure, regularly scheduled general health checks without a specific cause including the “health maintenance” annual
… Continue reading
The debate continues
Aargh! Last month the media picked up on three studies in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about the association between how much salt we eat and our health.
Unfortunately, the studies didn’t do much to clear up the confusion surrounding how much salt we should be getting in our diets. In fact, popular reporting on the subject did little other than stir up more fear over what we eat.
The world has an increasingly high taste for salty foods — a taste that new research suggests leads to to 1.65 million excess deaths annually.
… Continue reading
Oops, they did it again
This week revealed another major data hack, this time targeting a huge health care group, Tennessee-based Community Health.
A cyberattack suspected to have originated in China stole Social Security numbers and other personal data for 4.5 million patients whose records were in Community Health Services Inc.’s system, the company said Monday.
The data breach included the names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of patients who were referred for or received services from doctors affiliated with the hospital group in the last five years.
4.5 million patients! What a jackpot … Continue reading
Because it doesn’t help everyone
There is nothing I like more than cleaning clutter out of drawers, closets, shelves and…my medicine cabinet.
Over the last year, as I’ve been researching for my blog, I’ve eliminated multivitamins, calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements and niacin. Now it’s time to give that unopened bottle of baby aspirin the heave-ho.
My husband bought it a few of years ago on the advice of his physician. At that time, many doctors were recommending a daily baby or low-dose aspirin to patients that had some risk of heart attack or stroke, usually those … Continue reading
It’s not that contagious
For the last couple of weeks, the terrible outbreaks of the Ebola virus have been all over the news. Especially since two victims, American health care workers in Africa, were brought back to the US for treatment.
Headlines such as “CDC issues highest level alert amid Ebola outbreak” and “Ebola called ‘clear and present danger'” stir fear in Americans. But if you read the entire articles (and not everyone takes time to do that), you discover the danger is limited to certain countries in Western Africa.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from tweeting his … Continue reading
Here comes the sun!
Summer is in full swing and the days are long and hot! It seemed like a good time to republish a post from last year about how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses. Take care! FN
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we rarely have to worry about heat exhaustion—that lousy feeling you get when your body starts to overheat.
But over the next few days the temperatures here are expected to hover around 90°F, which is pretty hot for us. Most of our homes don’t have air condtioning. Why bother when it’s truly hot only one … Continue reading
Don’t avoid all sun exposure
Vitamin D just won’t get out of the news. I posted about it a couple of weeks ago, and here I am commenting again on something else I read.
Actually, a friend sent me a link to a health care blog that referred to a recently-published study out of Sweden. Swedish melanoma researchers followed almost 30,000 women (I’m not sure why just women) for 20 years and concluded:
We found that all-cause mortality was inversely related to sun exposure habits. The mortality rate amongst avoiders of sun exposure was approximately twofold higher compared
… Continue reading