Category: Health & Fitness

Springtime Allergies? Here’s Some Help

allergies, woman suffering from

Spring has sprung and so have your allergies? The birds are singing and the bees are buzzing. It’s spring, glorious spring. Unfortunately, for those of us with springtime allergies, it’s also time to break out the hankies. I’ve suffered from “hay fever,” also known as “allergic rhinitis,” since childhood. Unless you lock yourself in the house, you can’t escape pollen. And the sneezing, congestion and runny nose can be made even worse by non-seasonal allergens like dust and pets. Read this before you stock up on tissues and meds. You may need the tissues, but before you resort to over-the-counter allergy medications, read “Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud” by the Mayo Clinic. The article includes tips on reducing your exposure to allergens as well as info on types of nonprescription medications, nasal rinses, allergy testing and allergy shots. Because I was allergic to my cats in addition to having seasonal allergies, I went for allergy shots for years. When the cats went to the “great litter box in the sky” I stopped going for shots. Five years ago, despite suspecting I would have to start shots again, I adopted a kitten. Surprise! I haven’t had any allergy symptoms […]

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How to Recognize Heat Stroke Symptoms

Danger of heat stroke on a hot summer day.

To quote Gertrude Stein, “August is a month when if it is hot weather it is really hot.” It’s also when lots of us are out relishing the last days of summer. Camping. Biking. Running. Hiking. Tennis. Good for you, but if it’s really hot, you risk heat related illnesses like heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Years ago, I learned about heat related illnesses the hard way. I ended up in the emergency tent at a county fair, dizzy and weak. I didn’t know what was wrong. Fortunately, the nurse did. It wasn’t heat stroke…it was heat exhaustion. She cooled me down and sent me home with an ice pack and first hand knowledge of  how to recognize heat stroke and heat exhaustion symptoms. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911. If possible, move the person to a cooler place and try to cool them down with cool water cloths or a bath until help arrives. Don’t give them anything to drink. Heat stroke symptoms may include: High  body temperature Hot, red skin Fast, strong pulse Headache Dizziness Nausea Confusion Fainting Heat exhaustion is a little different. To learn the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion symptoms, see this […]

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The Truth About Covid

Coronavirus photo

What’s the truth about the Covid virus? There are so many conflicting “facts,” it’s hard to know who to believe. The only thing that’s certain is the information changes every day. I checked the World Health Organization website for information, but lost confidence in it. The home page states “These materials are regularly updated based on new scientific findings as the epidemic evolves. Last updated 29 April 2020.” Really? April 29? That’s over two months ago! The Centers for Disease Control website is updated daily. After exploring the options, I decided the most trustworthy source of information is the CDC website. It’s the best place to get the facts about symptoms, who’s at risk, how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick and testing. The site also provides the latest number of cases in the country, your state and county. To sign up for email updates on the latest news, click on “More,” then click “Guidance Documents.” Learn the latest Covid developments. The doctors are in. If knowing about the virus itself isn’t enough, check out Brief It’s a daily review of the latest Covid-19 research and policy written by several doctors, including editor-in-chief Jeremy Samuel Faust, MD.. Dr. Faust […]

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DIY Hand Sanitizer and Surface Disinfectant Recipes

DIY hand sanitizer and surface disinfectant

We know we need to sanitize our hands often with soap and water and wipe down surfaces with disinfectant to combat Corona virus. But outside of your home, soap and water may not be available. And your store may be out of commercial hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants. If you already have commercial hand sanitizers at home, check the expiration date on the bottle. Once expired, they may become less effective. In case you need them, here are DIY recipes for hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants.   DIY Hand Sanitizer Experts say the Corona virus is often spread when people get it on their hands, then touch their face, where it gets into the respiratory system. That’s why washing your hands with soap and water is so important. But if you’re away from home and can’t use soap and water, hand sanitizers are the next best thing. On the way back into your home, use surface disinfectant (see below) to wipe down anything you touch, like doorknobs or the mailbox. Then head straight to the sink for a soap and water scrub down. What you’ll need: Small pump or squeeze bottles Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99%) 1/4 cup aloe vera […]

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Flu Shot Reminder, Tips & Info

Flu shot info & tips

If you’ve been good about getting your shot and haven’t had the flu for years, it’s easy to forget how terrible it makes you feel. A fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and headache are common symptoms. But in some cases it can be even worse. In the 1918 flu pandemic, before vaccines, it’s estimated one third of the world’s population was infected. About fifty million people died. Thankfully, most people get vaccinated every year. But it takes about two weeks to become effective. That leaves procrastinators vulnerable right when the virus ramps up in October. What you should know about the flu. Flu season starts in fall and can last as long as May. Based on the last 37 years, the flu virus is most active in February. If you’d like to know more, see Key Facts About Influenza at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Flu shot tips and info. Unless you’re among the few people who should not get a flu shot, the time to get it is now. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the protective antibodies to develop in your body. Different vaccines are available depending on your age […]

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It’s About Your Eyes

about eyes vision health

Most of us don’t think about our eyes or vision health until there’s a problem. Obviously, if you already wear corrective lenses, you’ll see a healthcare professional for a new prescription when things get fuzzy. But even if you’re lucky enough to have 20/20 vision, it’s a good idea to get your eyes examined by a professional. Why you should get an eye exam even if you have 20/20 vision. The vision test you take at the motor vehicle department isn’t a good substitute for an exam by a professional. Neither is the vision screening your children get at school. A doctor’s exam is the only way to know if you are seeing your best, whether for sports, driving, reading, work or school. Some eye diseases such as glaucoma may not show early symptoms. Early detection and medical treatment could possibly prevent additional vision loss. Eye exams can detect other health problems, too, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. To learn more about eye health and vision, including eye care, conditions, glasses, contact lenses and vision surgery visit The section on how to choose the right frames for the shape of your face is especially helpful. Should you […]

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Do You Need a Measles Booster Shot?

measles booster shot

Measles is highly contagious. Because the number of cases is rising at an alarming rate, health officials encourage adults who haven’t had measles to get vaccinated, or in some cases, re-vaccinated. Unlike most adults born before 1989, I’ve never had measles, so had no immunity. When the recent outbreak made headlines, I headed for the local pharmacy to be vaccinated. Even if you’ve been immunized, you may need a booster. See below.  For more information visit the Center for Disease Control. If any of these apply, consider vaccination or a booster. You’ve never been immunized against measles with the MMR vaccine. You’re not sure whether you received the MMR vaccine. Ask your doctor for a lab test to check your immunity level. You were vaccinated between 1963 and 1967. Some measles vaccines available in the early 60’s were the “killed” version, now believed to be ineffective. Ask your doctor for a lab test to check your immunity level. You received the vaccine before 1989. Back then it was common to give only one dose of the vaccine. Today two doses are given and believed to be more effective. Ask your doctor for a lab test to check your immunity level. […]

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