Diet and Nutrition
Preventive Health Measures
- How to talk to your Doc
- Jetlag Antidote
- Don't Shirk that Warm-up
- Positive Thoughts for Health
- Treat yourself to a Nap
- Help for Blisters
- Combat Driver Fatigue
- Treat Injuries with RICE
- Avoiding Travelers Diarrhea
- Medication Hazards
- Heimlich Maneuver
- Care For A Small Wound
- Breaking the Habit
- High Stakes Fashion
- Health Review
- Remember Your Mouth
- Prevent The Flu
- Winter Sports Hazards
- A Stitch, in Time Goes Away
- Help For Dry Skin
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Heat-Related Illnesses
- Report All Medication
- Bacteria Begone?
- Over-The-Counter Drugs
- Prevent Neck Pain
- Nasal Sprays
- Fever Facts
- Lifting Properly
- Sunless Tanning Lotions
- Eye Injuries
- BUBBS Service
Eat A Healthy Breakfast
Add a cup of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese to your toast and fruit in the morning — it will give your brain the added protein it needs to get going. It also can provide energy and help fight fatigue. In contrast, not eating breakfast may cause you to lose mental focus and feel tired and irritable. If you're not a breakfast person, try taking a container of yogurt to work and eating it when you arrive.
Taking Care, June 1999
Don't Sell Shrimp Short
- Shrimp are the second most popular seafood in the U.S. after tuna.
- Shrimp have more cholesterol than any other shellfish except squid: about 195 milligrams per 3.5 ounce serving (the daily limit is 300 milligrams).
- But the cholesterol in shrimp may not be as much of a health problem as cholesterol in other foods.
- And shrimp are very low in saturated fat - only 0.3 grams in that serving. Saturated fat, even more than dietary cholesterol, raises blood cholesterol.
- And shrimp also contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- The aroma should be fresh and sea-weedy, not fishy. A whiff of ammonia means the shrimp are deteriorating.
- If cooked shrimp (especially brown ones) taste slightly of iodine, that only means that they fed on algae.
- The "vein" running down the dorsal side is actually a tiny intestinal tube. In large shrimp, it can be a little gritty, and most cooks prefer to remove it. But if the shrimp have been cooked, eating the "vein" won't harm you.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 1998
Fiber (also called roughage) is considered a very important part of our diet. It refers to components of plant foods that cannot be digested or absorbed. A diet with 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily has many beneficial effects, including improved digestion and regularity, lowered cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease, colon and breast cancer, gallstones, diabetes, obesity and hemorrhoids. Unfortunately, the average American consumes only 10 to 15 grams of fiber daily. See below for good sources of fiber.
Taking Care, February 1996
Where To Find Fiber
Check out the grams of fiber in your favorite foods.
|Food||Serving size||Total fiber||Soluble fiber|
|Broccoli||1/2 cup cooked||2||1|
|Kidney Beans||1/2 cup canned||6||4|
|Oatmeal||1/2 cup dry||4||3|
|Wheat Bread||1 slice||2||1|
American Health, June 1998
If you already eat broccoli but are ready for a change, check this out. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. It comes in a bunch of long slender stalks with small buds and is reminiscent of asparagus in flavor. One serving delievers your daily quota of vitamin C plus lots of vitamin A and potassium.
Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2000
Water and Digestion
Q. Does drinking water with meals aid or hamper digestion?
A. There's no clear evidence either way, according to Dr. Sheldon Margen, professor emeritus of Public Health Nutrition at the University of California at Berkeley, nor is there any reason to think it would help or hinder. Water is necessary to the digestive process, but the stomach automatically "adjusts" the fluid it contains, drawing on body fluids when necessary. So follow your preference. Even if you don't drink water or other liquids with meals, everything you eat contains some water; many fruits and vegetables are more than 90% water. If you prefer not to drink fluids while you eat, there's no harm in that, provided you drink enough between meals.
Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 1999
Taking Herbs? Do Tell
If you're taking an herbal supplement, it's time to fess up. That's the latest advice from health professionals in light of a recent study that found that 38% of patients who take medicinal herbs including echinacea, ginkgo, St.-John's-wort, or valerian root, do so without their doctors' knowledge. Study author Robert Hilsden, M.D., of the University of Calgary in Canada, says it's important for physicians to know if you're self-treating with herbs, because some herbs not only don't mix well with traditional medicines, they can also cause unwanted, even dangerous, side effects.
Cooking Light, September 1999
New Facts On Folate
For years it's been thought that folate, the B vitamin known for preventing birth defects and reducing risk of heart attack and stroke, was pretty much interchangeable with its synthetic counterpart, folic acid. But according to the Institute of Medicine's recent recommendations, the two aren't quite the same. Folic acid - found in most multivitamins and folate-fortified foods such as cereals and breads - is better absorbed by the body than folate, the form of the vitamin found in many fruits, vegetables, and legumes. So to get the recommended 400 micrograms of folate per day, you'd only need 200 micrograms of folic acid (or double that amount if you're pregnant).
You can easily get the folate you need through a combination of foods fortified with folic acid and fruits, vegetables, and legumes that are high in folate, such as those listed below. Remember: The cereals contain the better-absorbed and therefore more-potent folic acid.
|Total breakfast cereal (3/4 cup):||400 micrograms|
|Post Raisin Bran (1 cup):||140 micrograms|
|pinto beans (1 cup):||294 micrograms|
|asparagus (1/2 cup):||131 micrograms|
|spinach (1 cup):||262 micrograms|
|orange juice (1 cup):||80 micrograms|
|black beans (1 cup):||256 micrograms|
|strawberries (1 cup):||26 micrograms|
Cooking Light, Dec. 1998
If you exercise a lot, you don't need extra high-protein powders, drinks, tablets, capsules, or bars. You do need adequate protein intake to build muscles, but most Americans, even vegetarians, get more than enough of it. Studies suggest that some endurance athletes or weight lifters need more protein than other people, but because of their greater food intake, they get the extra protein with little trouble. Consuming protein supplements or isolated amino acids don't stimulate muscle growth - only exercise, specifically strength training, does. Excess protein is simply broken down in the body and burned for energy or turned into fat.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, March 1999
Caffeine and Your Health: Grounds for Concern?
How Much Is Too Much?
Although there are no life-threatening risks with normal everyday consumption of caffeine, it can be the cause behind some medical conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations and diarrhea. "If you're anxious or suffering from insomnia you should consider whether caffeine is making your condition worse," says Roland Griffiths, PhD., professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and neuroscience at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. How much caffeine is too much varies from person to person. It's possible to develop tolerance to caffeine. If you experience any negative effects such as: anxiety, shakiness or nervousness from caffeine you may want to cut back on your intake.
Calling It Quits
Cutting down on caffeine may be more difficult than it sounds. When someone who is dependent on caffeine stops taking it, he or she will probably experience withdrawal symptoms within 12 to 24 hours. The most common withdrawal symptom is a headache. Symptoms can also include drowsiness, difficulty working, irritability and even flu-like symptoms. Don't be discouraged. If you try to cut down, do so gradually instead of abruptly. You are much less likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. If you're a heavy coffee drinker, you can start cutting down by mixing decaffeinated coffee in with your regular coffee. Then after a week switch to drinking half decaf and half regular. Then switch to drinking only decaffeinated coffee. Another Tip is to wait as long as you can before having your first cup of coffee each day and experiment with teas or other drinks that contain less caffeine.
The bottom line is to be sensible. Caffeine is a stimulant and it does have effects. And, if you stop taking it, it has effects. Don't abuse it, and if you're going to cut down, do so gradually.
Taking Care February 1999
Surviving the Snack Bar
Making it through a Saturday night at the movies without hitting the snack bar is a supreme test of anyone's will. Is there any hope? Can a health-conscious cinephile find any joy in noshing at the multiplex? Stay tuned...
Act I: A Savory Solution. Movie popcorn is no low-fat treat. Although many theaters now pop up fresh batches using heart-friendly canola oil, a small bag of just the plain stuff - even without the fake-butter flavoring used by some vendors - still contains 360 calories and 22 grams of fat. Want salt with your flicks? Try a baked pretzel instead.
Act II: Sweet Success. Stay away from Godzilla-size confections. A supersize Snickers, for example, weighs in at 510 calories and 24 grams of fat. If you can't find your favorite candy in a smaller package, it's OK to go gargantuan - just split it with your movie mate.
Act III: Think Small. Some theaters offer a kid-size popcorn bag (usually about two-thirds the size of a small), and other theaters even offer a kind of kid's meal - a trip of scaled-down popcorn, candy, and drink. Consider buying the small fry size to keep your intake low.
Act IV: Surprise Ending. Many theaters offer coffee or even cappuccino. Order yours with skim milk, and sip slowly through the show. You may lose your appetite for the snack-bar stuff altogether.
Cooking Light, September 1999
If you order a shake in a fast-food restaurant, expect good and bad. The good news: a medium (16-ounce) shake provides about 400 milligrams of calcium, 40% of the daily requirement for a young adult. The bad: it also supplies 400 to 600 calories and at least 9 grams of fat. Most of the calories come from added sugars, such as corn syrup and dextrose.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, March 1999
Chocolate Gets a Nutritional Nod:
Here's good news for the estimated 40% of women and 15% of men who crave a daily dose of chocolate: It may have some redeeming nutritional qualities. Chocolate contains antioxidants similar to those in red wine that may help lower LDL cholesterol, says Kathy Knight, R.D., Ph.D, associate professor of family and consumer science at the University of Mississippi. Chocolate is also a good source of magnesium and contains no cholesterol - but it's high in saturated fat, so indulging too much may offset any health benefits. Knight suggests eating small portions of your favorite chocolate treats to feed the cravings instead of trying to fool your palate with a less-than-satisfying substitution. Cooking Light, March 1999
A Nutty Quiz
All nuts have a lot in common. With one exception, they have 160 to 190 calories and 14 to 19 grams of fat per ounce; at least three-quarters of the calories come from fat. But there are some nutritional differences among nuts, as this quiz reveals. Match the nut to its special trait.
|1. highest in fat||(a) almonds|
|2. only low-fat nut; rich in fiber||(b) brazil nuts|
|3. rich in vitamin B-6 and heart-healthy oil||(c) cashews|
|4. rich in vitamin E and folic acid||(d) chestnuts|
|5. rich in selenium||(e) hazelnuts|
|6. not true nuts, but legumes||(f) macadamia|
|7. rich in copper, iron, and Folic acid||(g) peanuts|
|8. rich in calcium, vitamin E, and fiber||(h) walnuts|
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, April 1999
Answers to Nutty Quiz: 1 (f), 2 (d), 3 (h), 4 (e), 5 (b), 6 (g), 7 (c), 8 (a).
Yogurt is a good source of calcium, but not all frozen yogurts are. Look for Frozen yogurt (or ice cream) with 10 to 20% of the Daily Value for calcium. That's 100 to 200 milligrams in half a cup. Also look for less than 5 grams of fat per half cup.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, October 1999
Tomatoes May Help Fight Cancer
Ketchup may have a leading edge over all other condiments, thanks to cancer-fighting properties found in tomatoes. Research suggests that a diet rich in tomatoes and tomato-based products, such as ketchup, tomato paste, sauce and soup, may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer - especially prostate, lung and stomach cancer. Tomatoes contain lycopene, and antioxidant that may prevent the breakdown of healthy human cells and protect them from cancer-causing agents.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute Taking Care June 1999
Balance in Your Food
Don't believe claims that consuming a particular food or beverage will cancel out the high fat content of another. For instance, "Have apple juice or an apple with a Big Mac," one magazine recommended recently. Even if apple juice (like other fruits and vegetables) does contain antioxidants and other healthful compounds, there's no evidence that these have any effect on the fat you're eating. In addition, even if a food contains some cholesterol-lowering substance, that wouldn't counter all the adverse effects of saturated fat in the body.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, October, 1999
Rejuvenate with Water
Drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day to stay refreshed and hydrated. And watch your caffeine intake. While caffeine may help you think more clearly in the morning, it's also a diuretic, which means it can contribute to dehydration.
Taking Care, June 1999
Cinnamon may cause Mouth Sores
At a recent meeting of the Academy of General Dentistry, experts reported that cinnamon and products flavored with the spice may cause a condition called cinnamon-induced stomatitis. Symptoms include mouth sores, inflamed gums or taste buds, a burning sensation of the tongue and mouth tissue. "Because cinnamon is caustic, it can irritate soft tissue in the mouth," says Michael A. Siegel, D.D.S., associated professor of oral medicine at the University of Maryland at Baltimore Dental School. People who eat small amounts typically won't have problems. It's those who chew pack after pack of cinnamon gum or consume cinnamon-flavored drinks or foods regularly who may develop stomatitis. It may be advised at that time to curb or stop eating foods that contain the spice. The discomfort should clear up within two weeks if cinnamon is the culprit. To prevent flare-ups, limit the amount you eat.
Women's Day, December 1998
Want to know how much vitamin C is in your morning bowl of cornflakes? The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Web site offers free nutritional information on more than 6,000 foods. To analyze your favorite food, visit http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp
Cooking Light, December 1998
When Eating Meat, Lean Is Key
There's good news for meat lovers: Lean red meat may be equally effective as lean white meat in lowering cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a healthy diet. In a study funded by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, researchers assessed nearly 200 adults with mild-to-moderate-high cholesterol levels. Those who ate lean red meat (beef, veal, pork) experienced similar reductions in LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, as those who ate lean white meat (poultry, fish).
The researchers note, however, that LDL cholesterol levels decrease only when lean meat consumption is part of a low-fat-cholesterol diet that contains less than 30 percent of calories from fat and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat.
Archives of Internal Medicine and Taking Care October 1999
Oil-based Salad Dressing: Good for the Heart?
New research suggests that people who eat five or more servings of oil-based salad dressing a week have a lower risk of heart disease and fatal heart attack than those who rarely consume oil-based dressings. Oil and vinegar, mayonnaise and creamy salad dressings contain alpha-linolenic acid - an excellent source of polyunsaturated fat, the type of fat that protects the heart's arteries from plaque buildup. Remember that fat is still fat, and too much of any oil can lead to extra calories. So think moderation.
Taking Care, September 1999
Don't expect to get lots of minerals from mineral water
Most contain only minuscule amounts, though the chemical composition varies from brand to brand. All water, except distilled or purified water, contains some dissolved minerals. In fact, your local tap water may have higher mineral levels than most "mineral waters." A few European waters do contain modest amounts of calcium, magnesium, and sodium. (For instance, a liter of Perrier, Vittel, or San Pellegrino has as much calcium as half a glass of milk.) But unless you drink quarts of mineral water a day, the minerals won't add up to much. Possible exception: if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, several brands of mineral water have a high sodium content (but still only about half the amount in club soda), so check the sodium numbers.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 1999
Hooray for Honey
Because honey is made from plant nectar. University of Illinois researchers suspected it might contain the same antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. They were right: Low-to-moderate levels of antioxidants were found in all 20 types of American honey tested. There's no specific research that honey can fight heart disease, cancer or the other conditions aided by antioxidants, but stay tuned for further research data.
Cooking Light, March 1999
Check That Label
Compare "low-fat" cookies and cakes carefully: many contain just as many calories as the full-fat products. Most "light" cookies rely on plenty of sugar and often fruit paste. The sugar comes in many forms: concentrated fruit juice, fructose, corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, molasses.
But sugar is sugar and a concentrated source of calories. Watch the serving sizes - the "serving" described on the label may weigh anywhere from half an ounce to an ounce.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 1998
How to Talk to Your Doc
Bernard Lown, M.D., a world-renowned cardiologist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, describes the doctor-patient relationship as a "special art" requiring cultivation from both parties. He advises patients to take an active role in the relationship and offers these tips.
- Develop a clear description of your symptoms before the visit. Note when they occur, how long they last, and the measures you've taken that seem to afford relief.
- Bring your medications with you, or be prepared to give the exact product names, dosages, and when during the day you take them. Mention any herbs you are taking also.
- Don't offer your own diagnosis. A hurried doctor may accept it without investigating further.
Cooking Light, October 1999
After sitting in an airplane for hours, you sometimes forget you have feet. This classic exercise helps relieve swollen, achy legs and release tension. Lie on your back perpendicular to a wall, scooting your bottom as close to it as possible and resting your legs on it so that they point straight up. Your hands should be by your sides with palms up. Breathing slowly and steadily, hold this pose for five minutes. (For best results, do it as soon as you get home, or in your hotel room.)
Cooking Light, March 1999
Don't Shirk that Warm-up
Get real. As busy as most of us are, we barely have time to exercise at all, let alone waste minutes on a warmup. But warming up isn't a waste; it's a must. Here's why, according to James Peterson, Ph.D., a sports-medicine consultant from Monterey, California.
An easy walk or jog before the meat of your workout raises your body temperature gradually, making muscles more fluid so they contract more efficiently during exercise and your tendons and ligaments more flexible, reducing your chances of injury.
By increasing blood flow, warming up prepares your heart for the higher physical demands of exercise. It also aids in the delivery of fuel to your muscles.
A warmup causes the body's cooling system - its sweat glands - to kick on. The more you sweat, the less likely you are to overheat during strenuous exercise.
The slow transition from rest to workout helps protect muscles from excessive soreness.
Cooking Light, September 1999
Positive Thoughts, Better Health
It's long been observed that optimistic people tend to be healthier. And now researchers think they know why. In a study at the University of California-Los Angeles, first-year law students who felt confident in their ability to succeed tended to have higher counts of infection-fighting immune cells than students who weren't as confident.
Cooking Light, November 1998
Treat yourself to a Nap
The best gift you can give yourself is some restorative nap time, says William A. Anthony, professor of rehabilitation counseling at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitations at Sargent College, Boston University.
Napping can alleviate stress and enhance emotional and physical well-being. That's especially important when you have a full plate of classes, homework, working and late night activities.
He suggests taking a "preventive nap" to restore lost sleep or even a "preparatory nap" to charge up for a long evening.
Twenty minutes to an hour is the recommended length of time for a nap.
Capper's Weekly, 1998
Help for Blisters
Walkers and hikers whose feet are prone to blisters may profit from a study conducted recently with West Point cadets, who found that applying an aluminum-containing antiperspirant to their feet daily for at least three days before a long hike significantly reduces the risk of blisters. This may be because moisture on feet increases friction and thus promotes blisters. The study had its problems - for example, not all the cadets followed instructions. And the cadets had some problems, too: the antiperspirants they used caused skin irritation for half the hikers. However, if your feet tend to sweat, and if you know that antiperspirants don't irritate your underarms, applying antiperspirant to your feet may help. Try a roll-on or stick product.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 1999
Common Coping Strategies Used to Combat Driver Fatigue
Driver Fatigue is recognized as an important highway safety risk. Fatigue has been identified as a major contributor to traffic crashes in the United states. Studies have estimated that up to 37% of all motor vehicle fatalities involve a fatigued or sleepy driver.
10 Strategies for Coping With Dozing While Driving
- Chewing ice
- Stopping to nap
- Caffeinated drinks
- Taking a walk
- Singing in the car
- Changing drivers
- Loud radio playing
- Rolling the window down
- Talking to a passenger
Educational interventions targeting dozing and driving should focus on primary prevention. Planning to drive during the day and getting a good night's sleep before traveling may be the most effective preventive measures available.
Journal Of American College Health, November 1999
Remember RICE – To Help Treat Injuries
To reduce the chance of injury to muscles and joints, stretch and warm-up before exercising. In the event of a mild injury, treat it with: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. See a physician if the injury leaves you unable to walk; in severe pain, with moderate swelling; isn't relieved with RICE and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Cappers Weekly March 1999
The Healthy Traveler – Avoiding Travelers Diarrhea
You've heard of "Montezuma's revenge" and "Delhi belly." Now you can also get "the Trotskys," a new name for infections acquired in Russia. Laughing off traveler's diarrhea (TD) may help you cope with it, though a severe case is no laughing matter. You can get TD right in your hometown, of course, but it most often afflicts those traveling from industrialized countries to developing ones. However, TD is not some new feature of the global economy — it predates air travel or even steam ships.
Here's the drill
- Don't drink tap water. Don't use ice cubes. Don't brush your teeth or wash fruit in tap water. Don't swallow water in the shower or while swimming.
- Do drink bottled or canned beverages, and be sure you break the seal yourself. Bottled carbonated water may be less susceptible to contamination. Hot coffee and tea are fine, because the water has been boiled.
- You may have heard that drinking alcohol along with a meal will "kill all the germs." This is not true.
- In very remote areas, locally bottled water and soft drinks may not be safe. Stick to hot tea and coffee. Carry a small electric immersion coil and boil water yourself.
- Don't eat anything raw, including salads. Fruit is okay if you wash it with soap and peel it yourself. Don't eat berries. Avoid rare meats, undercooked eggs, and all dairy products, including ice cream (you have no way of knowing if the milk has been pasteurized). Skip shellfish, even if cooked. Don't buy food from street vendors.
- Make sure cooked food is served very hot.
If You Do Get Ill
Sometimes it happens in spite of precautions. The most important thing is fluid replacement — bottled water, flat soft drinks, sports drinks, or tea will help. Drugstores usually sell packets of oral rehydration solution. Or you can combine 12 ounces of boiled water with a pinch of salt, baking soda, and two to four tablespoons of sugar. If you've brought your own medications, take them. But if you have a high fever or don't start to get better in 48 hours, get medical help if possible. If you're close to a U.S. consulate, someone there may be able to direct you.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 1999
Pain pills and dehydration. If you've been exercising strenuously, drink lots of water and wait an hour before taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. These medications restrict blood flow to the kidneys and that effect can be intensified by dehydration, says Minneapolis sports-medicine expert Rob Johnson, M.D. The result could be kidney damage. Photosensitivity. Even just a little sun exposure can cause skin rashes or a bad sunburn if you're taking certain medications. Drugs that can sometimes cause this effect include NSAID'S, Bactrim, and tetracycline antibiotics and Retin-A, as well as certain antihistamines, heart-rhythm medications and oral antidiabetic drugs.
You should know how to do the self-administered Heimlich maneuver, in case you start choking on food when no one is around to help. Make a fist and place the thumb side against your abdomen, slightly above the navel. With the other hand, grasp the fist and press it in and upward with quick, sharp thrusts. Another method: press your upper abdomen (just below the ribs) forcefully against the back of a chair, table, sink, or railing. Repeat until air is forced through the airway and the food is expelled.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, May 1998
How To Care For A Small Wound
- Stop bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth or tissue. A small puncture wound, as from a needle or nail, should be allowed to bleed as part of the cleansing process.
- If you have a puncture wound, make sure you've had a tetanus shot within the past 10 years. If not, or if you aren't sure, go to the emergency room that day and get the shot.
- Take steps to avoid infection. In most cases, all you need to do is clean the wound with cool running water and soap. Make sure your hands are clean before you touch a wound. If you're dealing with a scrape, remove clinging dirt particles with tweezers. Wash the tweezers first and dip in rubbing alcohol before using.
- Don't apply antiseptics. Contrary to myth, hydrogen peroxide does not cleanse wounds, but can irritate the skin and retard healing. Rubbing alcohol, iodine, hexylresorcinol, and similar products can also be damaging and are not needed. Mercurochrome and Merthiolate have been ruled ineffective by the FDA. For scrapers and cuts that are hard to keep clean, try Betadine (povidone iodine) ointment.
- Antibiotic ointments for small wounds are unnecessary and offer no benefits. If you want an ointment to keep a bandage from sticking to the wound, use petroleum jelly. A study from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center showed that plain petroleum jelly was as good as or better than antibiotic ointments for post-operative wound care - effective against infection, less likely to provoke an allergic reaction, and cheaper. (The wounds in the study were surgical, but the findings would also apply to small wounds.)
- Use a small bandage to protect the wound from dirt and friction. You can make your own bandage if you feel so inclined and have gauze and adhesive tape in the house. If you can keep the wound clean, take the bandage off after healing starts. Exposure to air can hasten the healing of small wounds.
Seek medical help if:
- bleeding is serious (especially if it comes in spurts or cannot be stopped)
- you have a gaping wound, your face is cut or scraped, or a scrape is very large
- the wound has dirt or debris that you cannot remove
- you notice signs of infection later (redness, pus, fever).
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, June -1999
Breaking the Habit
Drumming your fingers, twirling your hair, and biting your nails aren't just annoying habits. They're clues that you're under stress. Even if you don't think you are. Nathan Azrin, PhD., professor of clinical psychology at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, shares his habit-breaking ideas.
Be aware of signs of tension, such as stiff muscles or clenched teeth, and make a conscious effort to relax your body.
Whenever you feel the urge to twirl or tap, take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
Do something that will keep you from reverting to the habit you're trying to overcome. For example, if you tend to bite your nails when you drive, make an effort to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times.
Cooking Light, June 1999
High Stakes Glamor
If you usually hobble in high heels for fashion's sake new research may lead you to reconsider. Scientists at the Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, in Boston, recently tested twenty women between the ages of twenty and forty; first the women walked barefoot and then in heels slightly more than two inches high. When wearing heels, the women registered 23 percent more strain on the knee than when barefoot, suggesting the stress traveling up the leg could eventually wear the shinbones, causing premature osteoarthritis of the knee (a degenerative condition that leads to pain, stiffness and swelling). "The damage is irreversible, so the less you wear heels, the better," says lead researcher Dr. Casey Kerrigan, M.D., who speculated that platforms are as harmful as stilettos, and that the higher the heel, the more the trouble. Your best bet: Opt for flats as often as possible, and, when you must wear heels, keep them under two inches.
Ladies' Home Journal March 1999
BODY MATTERS '99 Review
Test your recall of these top medical issues… True or False:
- Strep throat is contagious.
- Your kidneys control your blood pressure.
- Stress and spicy foods cause most ulcers.
- The rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. is declining.
- The primary risk factor for diabetes is obesity.
- A third of asthma attacks are caused by reactions to allergens.
- Iron deficiency in diet is the most common cause of anemia.
- Tuberculosis is the world's leading cause of death from infectious diseases.
- True - The streptococcus bacteria that cause strep throat are spread by physical contact or through the air when in infected person coughs or sneezes.
- True - Your kidneys filter about 1 1/2 quarts of blood every minute; each filter senses the amount of blood, releasing a chemical that helps balance the pressure.
- False - Scientists have recently discovered that most ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori) which is treatable with antibiotics.
- False - The number of STD cases has increased significantly in recent years with million going undetected and untreated.
- True - Being overweight increases your chances of getting diabetes and developing it at an earlier age. Losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds often improves your body's ability to keep your blood sugar normal.
- False - Up to 80% of asthma attacks are caused by allergens such as pollen, mold, cigarette smoke and animal dander.
- False - More common causes of anemia include loss of blood from menstrual periods, ulcers and other disorders of the stomach and intestines.
- True - Tuberculosis is an ancient bacterial disease which most often affects the lungs. The factors contributing to the recent increase in TB throughout the world include the AIDS epidemic, drug abuse, resistance to drug therapy, and immigration of people from countries where TB is prevalent.
Personal Best, Scott Publishing, January 1999
Don't Neglect Your Teeth and Gums
Part of good health is taking care of your teeth and gums. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, everyone is at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. There are, however, preventive steps you can take for healthy teeth and gums:
- Brush your teeth after every meal and floss daily
- The best way is to brush three to four minutes at a time.
- Buy toothpaste that contains fluoride and is approved by the American Dental Association.
- Prevent bacteria buildup by changing your toothbrush every couple of months or when bristle tips begin to bend.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Keep sweets to a minimum.
- Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates like soda, candy, chocolate, ice cream, milk, cakes, fruits, vegetables and juices act with bacteria or plaque in your mouth to produce acids that cause tooth decay.
- See your dentist regularly - At least twice a year for regular checkups and professional cleanings.
Taking Care, September 1999
Bronchitis: The Coughing Illness
Often caused by a cold virus, bronchitis is an infection or irritation of the bronchial tubes, which carry air from your windpipe into your lungs. Cigarette smoke or air pollution can also cause bronchitis. In addition to severe coughing, sometimes producing mucous, you may have a low-grade fever, fatigue, sore throat and chest, or wheezing.
To take care of your cough:
- Drink at least 8 cups of water a day.
- Sip on honey and lemon in tea or hot water.
- Breathe moist air from a humidifier or shower.
- Get plenty of rest to speed your recovery.
- An over-the-counter pain reliever may ease body aches.
Elizabeth Smoots, MD
Personal Best, Scott Publishing, Inc., January 1999
Prevent The Flu
What's the smartest health investment you can make this year? Get a flu shot — and get it soon, experts advise, since it takes a few weeks for the vaccine to stimulate protective antibodies. Influenza usually peaks between late December and early March, making mid October through mid November the best time to get vaccinated. Historically the flu tends to alternate yearly between strains A and B.
American Health 1998
Watch out for these common Winter Sports Hazards
- knee injuries for downhill skiers
- wrist, head and neck injuries for snow boarders
- overuse injuries for cross-country skiers
Take precautions. Dress properly for cold weather. And know your limits - stop playing before you get tired. Good advice any time of year: Get in shape to play the sport, don't play the sport to get in shape!
Personal Best, January 199
A Stitch, in Time Goes Away
If you're walking or jogging and are attacked by a painful side stitch, the best advice is to take it easy. "No one knows exactly what causes side cramps," explains Jack Wilmore, Ph.D., professor of exercise physiology at Texas A&M University. "Since we don't know the cause, it's hard to say how to prevent them. If you get a side stitch, the best thing to do is stop and relax. Don't try to exercise through the pain."
Cooking Light, September 1999
Help For Dry Skin
Is dry skin a problem for you in the winter? Here are some hints to help you prevent winter itch:
- Take shorter showers or baths and use lukewarm water.
- Pat yourself dry instead of wiping dry with a towel.
- Use a softer soap that includes a moisturizer. Apply moisturizing lotion while your skin is moist after a bath or shower.
- Limit yourself to one bath or shower a day or every other day.
Mayo Clinic Health Letter, and Taking Care, February 1997
Let comfortably hot water run over your hands for 10 minutes as soon as you feel a headache coming on. The heat draws blood away from your head, making this remedy effective against both tension headaches and migraines. Advice from Robert Kunkel, M.D., president of the National Headache Foundation, Chicago; in Natural Prescriptions for Women.
Cooking Light, March 1999
Tinnitus — (ringing or buzzing in the ears)
Generally, there's no cure for tinnitus (TIN-ih-tus), a common problem that's usually associated with hearing loss or inner ear damage from excessively loud noise. Although you may hear about products that promise a cure, don't be fooled. Anything that sounds too good to be true likely is. Instead, talk with your doctor about possible ways to manage irritating tinnitus noise related to your hearing loss.
- Avoiding possible irritants - Tinnitus may be aggravated by loud noises, nicotine, caffeine, tonic water (quinine), alcohol and excessive doses of aspirin.
- Covering up the noise - In a quiet setting, a fan, soft music or low-volume radio static may help mask the noise from tinnitus. For a few people, tinnitus maskers (hearing aid-like devices that produce a more pleasant noise) may help.
- Wearing a hearing aid - Hearing aids can amplify outside sounds, possibly making the tinnitus noise less obvious.
- Managing stress - Stress can make tinnitus worse. Stress management, whether through relaxation therapy, exercise or biofeedback, may provide some relief.
Mayo Clinic Health Letter, February 2000
To avoid heat-related conditions the Kansas Department of Health and Environment offers tips
- Drink plenty of fluids - especially water - but avoid caffeinated beverages.
- Wear loose and light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers
- Eat light meals and increase the amount of potassium in the diet.
- Try to schedule outdoor activities either before noon or in the evening.
- When outdoors, rest frequently in shady areas.
- Monitor exercise to avoid overexertion.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Capper's June 29,1999
Report All Medication
When filling out the medical questionnaire at the doctor's or dentist's office, be sure to list: any over-the-counter drugs(aspirin, laxatives, decongestants) vitamin pills herbs, other dietary supplements you may be taking, even if you take them only occasionally
A study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that half of all patients did not report the use of self-prescribed drugs and supplements - possibly because the questionnaires did not mention them specifically. But do share this information, which can b pertinent for diagnosing and discussing current problems and for prescribing medication.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, February 2000
Don't bother battling germs with special antibacterial soaps kitchen cleansers, and cutting boards, says Franklin Cockerill, M.D., chairman of the microbiology department at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "It's crazy," he says of the antibacterial obsession that has spawned a $1 billion industry and produced 177 new products between 1996 and 1997. There's no evidence that antibacterial products prevent colds, flu viruses, and other illnesses from spreading, Cockerill says. In fact, you could be killing strains of bacteria that protect you from more dangerous types.
A better alternative, he says, is to clean with disinfectants, such as:
- diluted bleach (one part bleach to 10 parts water)
- products that contain isopropl alcohol, which can kill viruses and bacteria.
- To keep from spreading germs yourself, wash your hands scrupulously with a moisturizing soap (to keep your skin from drying out) and water.
Cooking Light, March 1999
The FDA's review of OTC drugs is a massive and continuing project. Some drugs have been sold for decades and have never really been reviewed under the newer laws. Some ingredients once thought safe and effective have proved otherwise. Recalling a product is a complicated, time-consuming business, and some products may remain on the shelves after a recall, but they are gradually being removed from circulation.
The FDA says none of the following OTC drugs, for example, have been proven safe or effective:
- Nail fungus remedies (there are effective prescription drugs)
- Boil remedies
- Digestive aids
- Ingrown toenail relief
- Nail-biting deterrents
- Remedies for eye infections
- Oral treatments for fever blisters and cold sores
- Oral agents for wound healing
- Insect repellents to be taken orally
- Daytime sedatives for nervous tension
- Preventives for swimmer's ear
- Topical hormone products claiming to remove wrinkles
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, October 1999
Prevent Neck Pain
The pain is often caused by posture problems, such as craning your neck forward when you drive, sit at a desk or read a book. Maintaining these positions for a long time can put a lot of stress and strain on neck muscles and ligaments.
To avoid neck trouble:
- Make sure your lower back is well-supported while sitting.
- Place reading material on a pillow in your lap, or use a lap desk. This brings the book or magazine closer to you so your neck doesn't have to do all the work.
- Try using an inexpensive headset instead of cradling a telephone receiver between your neck and shoulder.
- Do stretches such as head rolls and shoulder shrugs periodically.
Toni Tasker,PT OCS/Physical Therapist
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston
Women's Day 7-98
Don't expect saline nasal sprays to relieve the symptoms of a cold or sinus infection or to shorten its duration, according to a recent study, at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Neither a normal saline nasal spray nor a special buffered spray was of any help, compared to a non treatment group. It took an average of eight days for patients to get better, regardless of their treatment. Previous studies have shown that special devices that shoot hot, humid, and sometimes medicated air at or up your nose don't relieve cold symptoms or inhibit viruses.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, May 1998
Fever is not a disease, but a sign that the body's natural defense against infection is working. Fever should be evaluated in the context of other symptoms, such as headache, lethargy, loss of appetite, and chills.
Body temperature varies according to time of day, gender, hormones, age, and other factors: 98.6° F (37° C) is only an approximation of "normal." Adults' normal temperature may be anything from 96.4° to 99.4° F (35.7° to 37.4° C). Temperature tends to be lower in the morning and higher in the evening. Temperatures above 106° F (41° C) are life-threatening and need immediate treatment.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 1999
Handle Heavy Stuff Properly.
Lift heavy objects with your knees bent, holding your burden as close to your body as possible. Likewise, push the recycling bin across the floor rather than pulling it. You've probably heard these things before, but this time, don't just listen. Do it.
Cooking Light, January 2000
Sunless Tanning Lotions
Don't let sunless tanning lotions give you a false sense of security when you go out into the sun. Their active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is colorless, but reacts with amino acids in the top layer of skin to form a light brown stain. Interestingly, researchers recently reported that DHA does provide slight sun protection - equal to about SPF 3 - until it is removed via the natural sloughing of the skin in about three days. But you need sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when your skin is exposed to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially in the summer. (A few self-tanning lotions do contain added sunscreens.)
UC Berkeley Wellenss Letter, February 1999
Avoid eye injury from laser pointers, which are becoming more and more popular at work and school. Some of these pointers can cause more eye damage than staring at the sun, according to the American Optometric Association. Never look directly into the beam, and never point it at another person. There have been reports of drivers being "blinded" by these pointers, leading to at least one fatal crash. When buying a laser pointer, follow the association's advice: Choose one labeled Class II, with a wavelength of 630 to 680 nm; maximum output should be less than 5 milliwatts.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, November 1999
If you have dandruff and regular dandruff shampoos don't relieve it, try Nizoral A-D. Previously available only by prescription, it's now available over the counter, with a lower concentration of its antifungal ingredient (ketoconazole). Nizoral may help if your dandruff is caused by the fungus Pityrosporum ovale. In most people this fungus causes no problems, but in some susceptible people it may produce seborrheic dermatitis, with its flaking and itching, The shampoo needs to be used only twice a week.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2000
HEALTH FORUM Q&A — Check out BUBBS
Hosted by Health Center Director, Marsha Schreiber, and Rosemead Psychologist, Dr. Gary Strauss. Ask questions about Sex, Health and Life according to the folder choice. Use confidential folders for private questions. "HEALTH FORUM Q&A" libraries can be viewed by all after approval by each student. Check off whether you want it posted. Names and references to individuals are removed before posting.