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Healthy House, Healthier Body

Posted By Home Advisor - Jon Nunan, Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Though factors like exercise, lifestyle, and age certainly play a huge role in our bodies' natural immunities, your environment can also help or hurt your chances of getting sick. If your home contains one or more of these elements, you may be at risk for ailments that could have been avoided!

Mold Problems
One of the most well-known culprits in house-borne illness is mold. Generally associated with upper and lower respiratory symptoms, some estimate that up to 30% of American houses may have a mold problem. The best way to find out if your home contains toxic mold is, of course, to have it tested. Mold testing averages less than $1,350 and mold removal generally runs about $2,500.

Ventilation Issues
On a similar note, indoor air quality in this country has taken some serious hits in recent years. Probably the biggest factor in this trend is the fact that many remodels and new constructions are far more air-tight than older homes. While this is great for heating and cooling costs, when extra insulation is not supplemented with better ventilation the air-borne particles that would seep out of an older home can become trapped indoors and reduce air quality. The average cost of installing an attic or whole house fan at $890.

Radon Gas
January has been designated National Radon Action Month, and both the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General have recommended that "all homes be tested." Aptly dubbed "the silent killer," tasteless, colorless, odorless radon gas can be extremely harmful (or even deadly) in high concentrations. The only sure-fire way to tell if your home has a radon problem is to have it tested. You can test your home yourself with a kit or hire a professional to do it for you.

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Tags:  health  Healthy living  home  home owners  mold 

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15 Superfoods for Fall

Posted By Health.com, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall superfoods
The weather is getting cooler, but your produce choices are heating up. These amazing superfoods are either hitting their peak in the garden or can easily be found in your local farmers market or grocery store.They're the perfect excuse to get cooking on cool nights

Sweet or tart, apples are satisfying eaten raw or baked into a delicious dish. Just be sure to eat the skin—it contains hearty-healthy flavonoids. Health benefits include:
• Full of antioxidants 
• 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving
Harvest season: August-November

Brussels Sprouts 

Made the correct way, these veggies taste divine. They have a mild, somewhat bitter taste, so combine them with tangy or savory sauces, like balsamic vinegar. Health benefits include: 
• 1/2 cup contains more than your DRI of vitamin K 
• Very good source of folate 
• Good source of iron 
Harvest season: September–March


Though these veggies may resemble carrots, they have a lighter color and sweeter, almost nutty flavor. Use them to flavor rice and potatoes or puree them into soups and sauces. Health benefits include: 
• Rich in potassium 
• Good source of fiber 

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Exercise Reduces Suicide Attempts by 23 percent among Bullied Teens

Posted By Newswise , Monday, September 21, 2015

Newswise — As high schools across the country continue to reduce physical education, recess, and athletic programs, a new study shows that regular exercise significantly reduces both suicidal thoughts and attempts among students who are bullied.

Using data from the CDC's National Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 13,583 high school students, researchers at the University of Vermont found that being physically active four or more days per week resulted in a 23 percent reduction in suicidal ideation and attempts in bullied students. Nationwide nearly 20 percent of students reported being bullied on school property.

Previous studies have shown that exercise has positive effects on various mental health measures. This is the first, however, to show a link between physical activity and a reduction in suicidal thoughts and attempts by bullied students, who are also at increased risk for poor academic performance, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, sadness and substance abuse.

Overall, 30 percent of students in the study reported feeling sad for two or more weeks in the previous year while more than 22 percent reported suicidal ideation and 8.2 percent reported actual suicidal attempts during the same time period. Bullied students were twice as likely to report sadness, and three times as likely to report suicidal ideation or attempt when compared to peers who were not bullied. Exercise on four or more days per week was also associated with significant reductions in sadness.

“I was surprised that it was that significant and that positive effects of exercise extended to kids actually trying to harm themselves,” said lead author Jeremy Sibold, associate professor and chair of the Department Rehabilitation and Movement Science. “Even if one kid is protected because we got them involved in an after-school activity or in a physical education program it’s worth it.”

High schools cutting physical edcuation programs nationwide

The release of Sibold’s study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry comes at a time when 44 percent of the nation’s school administrators have cut significant amounts of time from physical education, arts and recess so that more time could be devoted to reading and mathematics since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The same report showed that the percentage of schools offering physical education daily or at least three days a week has declined dramatically between 2001 and 2006.

Overall, it is estimated that only about half of America’s youth meet the current evidence-based guideline of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department of at least 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity daily. In its biennial survey of high school students across the nation, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly half said they had no physical education classes in an average week.

“It’s scary and frustrating that exercise isn’t more ubiquitous and that we don’t encourage it more in schools,” says Sibold. “Instead, some kids are put on medication and told ‘good luck.’ If exercise reduces sadness, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts, then why in the world are we cutting physical education programs and making it harder for students to make athletic teams at such a critical age?”

Sibold and his co-authors, Erika Edwards, research assistant professor in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Dianna Murray-Close, associate professor in psychology, and psychiatry professor James J. Hudziak, who has published extensively on the positive effects of exercise on mental health outcomes, say they hope their paper increases the consideration of exercise programs as part of the public health approach to reduce suicidal behavior in all adolescents.

“Considering the often catastrophic and long lasting consequences of bullying in school-aged children, novel, accessible interventions for victims of such conduct are sorely needed,” they conclude.

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Tags:  Exercise  patients  suicide prevention  teen health 

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Are Your Allergies and Asthma Ready for College

Posted By Medwire , Friday, July 10, 2015

Newswise — ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL (July 9, 2015) – Going away to college for the first time can be nerve-wracking, and questions abound. How will you find your way around? Will your classes be too hard? What will the other students be like? Students who suffer from allergies and asthma may also be asking: “Can I keep my symptoms under control?”
“College is a new environment for young people,” says allergist Stanley Fineman, MD, FACAAI, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “A different sort of preparation has to take place for those with allergies and asthma going away to school. They need to consider dorm food, dorm environment and perhaps a new climate if they’re moving to a different part of the country. Students can work with their allergists to put together an action plan to address triggers and keep symptoms under control.”
Following are tips from ACAAI to help college students stay safe, have fun – and enjoy a new learning experience!
Start prepping well before you leave – If Mom and Dad have been handling allergist appointments or picking up prescriptions, it’s time for you – the almost-freshman – to take over. Taking responsibility for your healthcare needs before you go is an important transition step. Figure out what’s involved in keeping yourself healthy and what triggers to avoid. Contact the school’s office of disabilities if special provisions are needed, and make sure they have any documentation needed to provide special services.
Study up! On what’s available on campus – Find out what the campus health service provides before you arrive. Can they fill your prescriptions, and do they understand the nature of your symptoms and triggers? Ask if they offer nebulizer treatments or can transport students to a nearby hospital or urgent care facility. If you use a peak flow meter, bring it with you, along with spacers and an adequate supply of up-to-date prescription medications. If you carry an epinephrine auto-injector, make sure you have at least two on hand.
Cleaning while at college? – Contrary to popular belief, you may have to clean while at college – especially if you’re allergic to mold or dust. Take the cleaning supplies you know work for you. Remember your allergy-proof pillow and mattress casings to protect you from dust mites. Carry and store your belongings in airtight plastic containers to cut down on dust, and keep dorm windows closed to prevent pollen and dust from entering.
Food, glorious food – College dorm food, while sometimes awful, can also be dangerous if you have food allergies. Your school should have special accommodations for students with food allergies. Look into how the cafeterias confirm the ingredients in the food they serve.
Let others be part of your team – Tell your roommate and friends about your allergies, how to recognize a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and where you keep your epinephrine. They should also be aware of what foods and triggers you have to avoid, to help keep you safe.

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Tips for Avoiding or Treating Poison Ivy from the Tennessee Poison Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Posted By Newswise , Thursday, June 4, 2015

It’s the time of year when backyards attract children, trails beckon hikers, and poison ivy attacks the unwary.

This itch-causing plant pest, along with its cohorts poison oak and poison sumac, cause more common allergic reactions than any other source, said Renee Miller, R.N., a certified specialist in poison information at the Tennessee Poison Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“Millions of Americans every year develop an allergic rash after being exposed, and these poisonous plants are pretty much everywhere in the United States except Alaska and Hawaii,” she said.

Miller notes that the oils in the plants (not only the leaves, but in the vines and roots as well) penetrate the skin almost immediately after exposure and bind with proteins, triggering the body’s immune system to make antibodies that get activated with each subsequent exposure.

And you get itchy—at least most people do.

“Only about 15 percent of people are resistant to these plants, and sensitivity tends to decrease with age,” she says.

Naturally, the best way not to have an itchy reaction is to avoid exposure in the first place.

“If there’s a risk for exposure, wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves and boots,” Miller said, although she also notes that rubber gloves won’t protect you. The plant oils are soluble in rubber and will penetrate to the skin.

If your skin is exposed, the most important thing is to wash as quickly as possible with soap and lukewarm water. Some people may get a better result with a specially formulated soap that is designed to wash away urushiol, the active itch-causing substance on the plants.

Here’s why it’s important to act quickly: “If you wash within the first 15 minutes after exposure, 100 percent of the oils can be washed away,” Miller said. “If you wait an hour, zero percent can be washed away.”

And just because you haven’t come in direct contact with a plant doesn’t mean you’re safe, because pets and clothes can carry the allergens and can cause a reaction even in people who have not been exposed to the plant.

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Rx: The Quiet Revolution

Posted By PBS , Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A staggering 50 percent of American adults suffer from a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and arthritis — and one in four has two or more chronic health conditions. In Rx: The Quiet Revolution, you’ll travel across America to discover a quiet revolution happening in medicine. From Maine to Mississippi, Alaska to California, see physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals placing the patient at the center of their practice — transforming the way medical care is delivered while lowering costs and improving outcomes.

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11 Secrets Every Urgent Care Worker Knows (And You Should, Too)

Posted By Prevention.com by Jessica Migala, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

You cut your hand; you've got a fever and don't know if it's the flu; you tripped and your elbow is feeling funky. Should you make a doctor's appointment? Head to the ER? Or go to urgent care?

Often the latter choice is the best one. "Urgent care centers are primarily used to treat patients who have an injury or illness that requires immediate care but isn't serious enough to warrant a visit to a hospital emergency room," says David Kim, MD, facility medical director of Memorial Care Medical Group in Long Beach, California. In other words: non life-threatening. But knowing whether urgent care is your best bet isn't always that black and white. To help you figure it out (and optimize your care once you're there), we rounded up 11 need-to-know secrets from urgent care workers.

1. You still need your doc.
Although urgent care can generally take care of anything a doctor's office can, "we don't replace your primary care physician," says Sean McNeeley, MD, medical director for University Hospitals Urgent Care in the Cleveland area. "Urgent care takes care of you when you're sick—having a regular doctor will ensure that someone is looking out for your health in the future," he says. It's your doctor's office that will watch out for signs of diabetes or track your blood pressure, watch your weight, make sure your immunizations are up to date, and discuss appropriate screenings, like mammograms.

2. They don't want to refill your prescriptions.
It seems easy—ask the doctor at the urgent care center for a refill on a diabetes or pain medication. It takes two seconds, right? Well, patients come in all the time with that request, and they're usually turned down. Chronic conditions are best monitored by primary care doctors because they're the ones who will see your treatment through and help you with lifestyle changes to control the condition. "If you don't have a primary care doc, you may be seen by one of our physicians or referred to a doctor to begin a long-term relationship that's so important for wellness," says Kim.

 3. Whenever possible, you should go mid-day
First thing in the morning and dinnertime are usually busier in urgent care, since patients come in before or right after work or school, says Kim. Later in the evening is another popular time, because doctor's offices are generally closed. He points out that Mondays and Fridays are historically the busiest days. You can't control when you get hurt or sick, but if you can, try to go in the late morning or early afternoon mid-week, when wait times are typically shorter.

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Tags:  differences  er  healthcare  medical care  prevention  urgent care 

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The Truth About 11 Allergy Myths You’ve Probably Always Believed

Posted By Reader's Digest , Friday, April 10, 2015
Are you really allergic to penicillin? Will your pet make you sneeze and wheeze? Is black mold really serious? Doctors clear up our most pervasive misunderstandings about allergies and our health.

The Myth: “Short-haired pets won’t trigger allergies.”
When patients float the idea of a hypoallergenic pet by Nabeel Farooqui, MD, assistant professor of allergy and immunology at Ohio State University Medical Center, he says “there’s no such thing.” What people with pet allergies are actually allergic to is dander, the skin and body proteins found in the animal’s urine, saliva, and skin. These white flakes are present regardless of the amount of hair a pet has (this is true for all mammals).

If Fluffy makes you stuffy, the best thing is to keep him outdoors. If that’s not possible, keep your bedroom—where you spend about one-third of your day—a pet-free zone, don’t allow animals on your furniture, and consider HEPA filters, which can remove dander from the air. Wash your pet at least once a week to help reduce dander levels.
The Myth: “My front yard is giving me allergies.”
Don’t necessarily blame the vegetation around your home. “A lot of people think that an oak tree in the front yard is causing their seasonal allergies,” says Timothy Craig, DO, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Penn State University. “Some of them end up cutting it down. But tree pollen can travel hundreds of miles in wind currents.” Chances are even if you rid your yard of its vegetation, trees from surrounding areas could still trigger allergies.

Consider taking a non-sedating antihistamine, and adjust when you spend time outside. “Do outdoor activities in the morning or evening when the winds aren’t as strong,” says Dr. Craig. “Shower when you come inside so you don’t go to bed with pollen stuck on your body.”
The Myth: “There’s toxic black mold in my bathroom. Ahhh!”
We admit, we’ve seen some pretty scary headlines on this one. Still, black mold is probably not as toxic as you might think. Black mold, or Stachybotrys, is so sticky that it can’t travel in air, and therefore doesn’t enter the lungs or respiratory tract. Some people may develop allergic reactions to certain molds, but symptoms would be similar to those from pet allergies—itchy eyes or sneezing. “The medical evidence for death-like toxic reactions is very, very sensationalized,” says Dr. Farooqui.

If you spot black mold in your home, slip on rubber gloves and use a diluted bleach solution—1 quarter cup bleach in a gallon of water—as a fungicidal agent to scrub it away.

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Tags:  hay fever  myths  seasonal allergies  urgent care 

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Seasonal Allergies

Posted By Heather Rosen, MD , Friday, April 10, 2015

Also known as ‘hay fever’ or ‘allergic rhinitis that affects approximately 20% of people of all ages.

Symptoms include:  sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy or red eyes and/or throat, sore throat, loss of taste, post-nasal drip, congestion or popping of the ears, mouth breathing during sleep or trouble sleeping which causes one to feel tired during the day.

Commonly caused by pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, and mold spores.

 Treatments include: nasal rinses, steroid nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, and allergy shots.

Prevention includes avoiding things you are allergic to and staying inside during the times of the year when the symptoms are at their worst. If you need to be outside during those times, be sure to wear a dust mask.

Tags:  allergies  hay fever  seasonal 

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