The Zika virus spreads primarily by mosquito bites, so the best way to avoid getting it is to make yourself as repellent to mosquitoes as possible.
Related post: What attracts mosquitoes?
Unfortunately, there are companies that hope to make money off fear of the Zika virus and are selling mosquito-repellent products that just don’t work.
Most concerning to experts is the promotion of many “natural” mosquito repellents — sprays, wristbands, and patches that are touted as alternatives to the products containing synthetic chemicals known to be safe and effective at keeping mosquitoes away.
While mosquitoes in this … Continue reading
An error of omission
A few weeks ago there was a lot of news about how medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.
A medical error is defined as “an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome.”
And now a Philadelphia paper is highlighting one very common mistake: when you and/or your doctor are not informed about a serious finding on a medical test.
The article explains that a well-known local musician (which is why this story is popular on … Continue reading
An ugly problem with an ugly name—hallux valgus
Last summer I noticed I had the beginning of a small bunion.
Horrified, I wanted to find out if there was anything I could do to keep it from becoming bigger, uglier and more painful.
Anything except surgery. The last thing I want is foot surgery.
I also wanted to know how to prevent a bunion from developing in my other foot.
But I had to admit that I knew next to nothing about the lowly bunion, so I had to do a little research first.
Who gets bunions?
A bunion … Continue reading
Yesterday, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital hosted a Twitter chat discussing the dangers of those oh-so-convenient laundry detergent packets or pods that many of us use.
I use them.
But here is a scary statistic: every month almost 1,000 children under the age of 6 suffer the ill effects of biting into a packet and being exposed to the toxic detergent.
A pediatrician at OHSU writes:
If ingested…the highly concentrated packets can lead to vomiting, oral burns and swelling, respiratory distress and even respiratory failure – not to mention the neurologic impacts such as seizures,
… Continue reading
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