Here comes the sun!
Once again, the Seattle area is experiencing record-breaking temperatures and it’s not even summer yet! This seems like a good time to re-post some sun safety tips. People can die from excessive heat, so here are some tips to protect yourself and those most vulnerable to the heat—the very young and very old. Sláinte, Frugal Nurse
This post was first published June 26, 2015
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we rarely have to worry about heat stroke or other heat-related illnesses.
In fact, it so often rains through the Fourth of July, we joke that summer … Continue reading
May is National Osteoporosis Month
I can’t let May and the NOF’s awareness campaign pass without giving a shout out to the best way to prevent bone loss or osteoporosis.
It’s not taking enormous calcium supplement tablets every day or occasionally choking down a couple of chalky TUMS.
It’s a combination of eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and exercising every day.
Actually, no one can prevent bone loss altogether. That’s like saying you can prevent wrinkles. As we age our bones lose strength and flexibility. But we can slow the process down and prevent it from turning into significant … Continue reading
Do you suffer from DBS?
As far as I know, Dormant Butt Syndrome (DBS) isn’t really a disease, but rather a phrase coined by a physical therapist at a medical center in Ohio.
Millions of Americans (myself included) suffer from knee, hip and/or lower back pain. Therapist Chris Kolba, PT, PhD, MHS, blames too much sitting, which is weakening our gluteus or butt muscles.
The entire body works as a linked system, and a lot of times when people come in with knee or hip injuries, it’s actually because their butt is not strong enough. The rear end should
… Continue reading
It’s Stroke Awareness Month!
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) want you to be aware of the most common stroke symptoms, and know what to do if you see them.
The five most common symptoms, which tend to come on suddenly, are:
- Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially when on just one side of the body;
- Confusion, including having trouble speaking or understanding;
- Trouble seeing, in one or both eyes;
- Dizziness, having trouble walking or balancing;
- Headache, especially pain
… Continue reading
Hospital safety and medical mistakes
A friend forwarded an email to me. It was from a retirement blog he subscribes to, and this particular post was about what the writer, a doctor as well as a blogger, considers “The deadliest place you’re likely to visit this year…”
He’s talking about hospitals. And he’s not being overly dramatic, either.
He knows what many of us in health care know: hospitals can be dangerous to your health. One of my best friends is a physician. We have a pact that if either one of us has to go into the hospital, the … Continue reading
I just came back from vacation. Between airports, restaurants and public attractions, I washed my hands in a lot of public restrooms. I noticed that more places, especially newer ones, have installed high-tech hand dryers rather than paper towel dispensers. Some have both.
I usually use a paper towel because it’s faster and I can use it on the handle of the restroom as I’m leaving.
But I’ve never really considered if there’s a health difference between the two ways to dry your hands. Apparently, there is.
A recent study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology compared how many germs … Continue reading
The wellness blog in the New York Times had an article about brain health that has strengthened my resolve to exercise every day.
Walk, Jog or Dance: It’s All Good For the Aging Brain
It turns out that regular walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and even gardening may substantially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The author is referring to a recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study looked at 10 years’ worth of lifestyle data, including exercise levels, on 900 men and women over the age of 65. Over the course of those 10 years, the … Continue reading
It’s spring and sporting equipment is coming out of the closets!
That’s why April is designated Sports Eye Safety Month.
If you and/or your kids play a sport that involves fast-moving balls, frisbees or sticks, the American Academy of Ophthamology (AAO) wants you to take steps to prevent eye injuries.
Every year, more than 42,000 people are seen in ERs with sports-related eye injuries, and 13,500 suffer some degree of blindness as a result.
Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eye. Basketball players tend to get poked in the eye with fingers. Tennis and
… Continue reading
I just read about health insurance giant UnitedHealth’s bold but risky new insurance plan, Harken Health:
UnitedHealthcare is betting $65 million that it can profit by making primary care more attractive.
With little fanfare, the nation’s largest health insurer launched an independent subsidiary in January that offers unlimited free doctor visits and 24/7 access by phone. Every member gets a personal health coach to nudge them toward their goals, such as losing weight or exercising more. Mental health counseling is also provided, as are yoga, cooking and acupuncture classes.
At this time, Harken Health is only available in Chicago … Continue reading
Just in time for spring and summer fun in the sun, the results of a large and long-term study on the hazards of avoiding the sun were published last week in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Usually all we hear about are the bad things about too much sun exposure—skin cancer, melanoma, wrinkles, sunburns, etc.
But this study out of Sweden, which followed 30,000 women for 20 years, found:
Nonsmokers who stayed out of the sun had a life expectancy similar to smokers who soaked up the most rays, according to researchers who studied nearly 30,000 Swedish women over
… Continue reading
Just in time for spring breaks across the country, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has posted the following fact sheets on its Zika Virus homepage:
Most of the tips concentrate on avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites by using recommended insect repellents and bed nets, and wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants, or clothing treated with permethrin.
It’s believed the Zika virus causes the really tragic birth defect microcephaly, so pregnant women or women planning on becoming pregnant need to … Continue reading
For years I’ve heard that blueberries are good for brain health. Which is great, because I love blueberries and try to work them into my diet several times a week.
So I was happy to read the results of some new research that supports the connection between blueberries and the human brain.
Most blueberry studies to date have been performed on animals, but two recent studies—funded in part by the National Institute on Aging and the blueberry industry—used human subjects.
One study used adults over the age of 68. Half ate the equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries daily for … Continue reading
If you have Netflix, I highly recommend watching Michael Pollan’s new series, Cooked.
Based on his book of the same name, Cooked, in typical Pollan style, shows us a fresher, healthier, and more enjoyable way to eat. He focuses not only on the nutritional value of foods, but also the culture of preparing and sharing meals.
The series is divided into four parts: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Each episode features mouth-watering meals from a variety of countries and cultures.
Pollan also offers theories as to how America’s diet and food culture got so completely messed up.
… Continue reading
Just yesterday I posted about the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the fine line they walk between providing evidence-based recommendations for screening tests and making medical specialist groups happy.
Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
The task force recently gave an “I” grade to vision screening in patients over 65. An I grade, or Insufficient evidence, means that the task force can’t definitively say that the benefits of vision screening in older adults outweigh the possible harms.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) doesn’t agree.
Specifically, the task force reviewed the evidence for primary care doctors screening for … Continue reading
I wear contact lenses. Several years ago, when my eyes began to be more dry and easily irritated, my ophthalmologist recommended using the new 3% hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning solution.
The preservatives used in many eye drops and contact lens solutions can be irritating, especially if used over time. Hydrogen peroxide solutions don’t contain these preservatives.
Related post: The eyes have it
I was interested in getting rid of my red eyes, but the thought of using hydrogen peroxide on my eyeballs scared me. I had to have a lot of faith in the science that the little piece of platinum … Continue reading