Low Fiber/Low Residue Diet

What is it? A low fiber and low residue diet means eating foods that do not have a lot of fiber or residue,  Fiber is the  part of fruits, vegetables, and grains not broken down by your body.  You may need a diet low in fiber and residue if you have diarrhea and cramping, problems digesting certain foods, and after surgery until your bowel returns to normal.  A low fiber and low residue diet will make your stool smaller and softer.

What can I eat?:  The foods you should and should not eat are listed below.  The amounts next to each food are the serving sizes.  You may be able to eat the foods you usually eat when feeling better.

Serving sizes:

    • 1 cup (8 ounces) of food is the size of a large handful.
    • ½ cup (4 ounces) of food is about half of a large handful.
    • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) is about the size of the tip of your thumb (from the last crease)
    • 1 teaspoon (tsp) is about the size of the tip of your little finger (from the last crease)
    • A serving size means the size of food after it is cooked.  Three ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.  One ounce of hard cheese is about 1 inch (2.54 cm) cube.
    • A serving of vegetables is ½ cup (1/2 handful) cooked or 1 cup (full handful) of raw vegetables.

 

MEAT/ MEAT SUBSTITUTES:

Eat 2 to 3 servings a day from this list:

    • No more than 2 ounces of cheese a day
    • 1 large or 2 medium egg
    • 3 ounces of tender, well cooked meat, fish, poultry

Do not eat these foods:

    • Foods with a breaded coating or that have been deep fried
    • Meats with a breaded or crusty coating
    • Crunchy peanut butter
    • Dried cooked beans, peas, or lentils
    • Tough or stringy meats (like corned beef or beef jerky)

 

MILK/ DAIRY:

Do not eat or drink more than 2 cups (16 ounces) a day TOTAL from this list:

    • Custard
    • Cottage cheese
    • Milk
    • Milk drinks (like a milk shake)
    • Pudding
    • Yogurt

 

BREADS/ STARCHES:

Eat 6 to 11 servings a day from this list:

    • ½ cup cooked regular pasta, macaroni, or noodles
    • ½ cup cooked cereals or 1 cup flakes
    • 5 inch (12.70cm) size pancake or waffle
    • 6 small saltine crackers
    • 1 slice white bread
    • ½ cup cooked white rice

Do not eat these foods:

    • Bran and wheat germ
    • Breads or cereals made with nuts, seeds, or whole grain flour
    • Brown rice
    • Corn and corn bread
    • Granolas
    • Oatmeal

 

FRUITS:

Eat 2 to 4 servings a day from this list:

    • ½ cup applesauce
    • ½ cup canned or cooked fruits
    • ½ cup fruit cocktail
    • ½ large or 1 small ripe banana
    • ½ cup strained fruit juices

Do not eat these foods:

    • Any kind of berry (like cherries, blueberries, or strawberries)
    • Dried fruits, dates, figs, or prunes
    • Oranges, grapefruit, or pineapple
    • Prunes or prune juice
    • Raw fruits that have skins or seeds (like apples)
    • Rhubarb

 

VEGETABLES:

Eat 2 to 4 servings a day from this list:

    • ½ cup chopped lettuce if you can
    • 1 cup vegetable juice (like tomato)
    • ½ cup cooked or canned vegetables without seeds

Do not eat these foods:

    • Raw (uncooked) vegetables (except lettuce)
    • Vegetables that have seeds or peels (like broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, lima beans, or squash)

 

DESSERTS:

Eat up to 2 servings a day from this list:

    • ½ cup of cake or cookies
    • ½ cup frozen yogurt
    • ½ cup gelatin with soft or canned fruit
    • 2 pieces wrapped hard candy (without nuts)
    • ½ cup ice cream or ice milk
    • ½ cup sherbet

Do not eat these foods:

    • Any dessert with nuts, dried fruit, or seeds in it

 

OTHER FOODS:

Do not eat these foods:

    • Coconut
    • Nuts
    • Peanuts
    • Popcorn
    • Seeds
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Traveling First Aid Recommendations

Malaria Prevention
Malarone should be taken 2 days before being exposed to areas that are at risk for Malaria, regardless of whether you plan on going into the back country, as the mosquitos can fly all over the area. Since you may be traveling back and forth between areas at risk and since the Malarone is needed for 7 days after exposure, it may be necessary to continue on this medication for the duration of your trip. It depends on when the last time you will be in an area at risk. Although the use of Larium is more convenient being dosed weekly it has more side effects and I would recommend Malarone daily instead.

Traveler’s Diarrhea (Cipro 500 mg (or Bactrim DS) twice a day for 7 days)
This is caused from contaminated water and/or food. Although 98% of the time this illness goes away without any antibiotics being used it would be prudent to have some on your trip. There are serious side effects in using antibiotics indiscriminately so I would consult a physician on your trip before starting this if possible. Antibiotics are warranted to treat diarrhea in those who develop moderate to severe diarrhea as characterized by more than four unformed stools daily, fever, blood, pus, or mucus in the stool. A full course would be Cipro 500 mg every 12 hours for 7 days so 14 pills would be needed. If you start the Cipro I recommend taking a Probiotic (Probio by Pharmanex, one pill twice a day) in order to minimize the side effects of diarrhea and yeast infections that may result from the Cipro. A probiotic puts back the good bacteria that the Cipro (or other antibiotics) kills. The use of an anti-diarrheal should be minimized as the body’s defense mechanism for food poisoning is to shed bacteria in the stool and if the diarrhea is stopped the infection can be prolonged. If the diarrhea is resulting in dehydration then judgment needs to be used as to what to do. Consult a physician on the trip if possible.

Skin Infections (Keflex 500 mg three times daily or Bactrim DS two times daily for 7-10 days, use until at least 2 days after the infection appears to be totally resolved)
Skin infections occur within 2 days of getting cut. The best treatment is washing the wound with soap and water vigorously. If the wound is a dirty one then 3 days of antibiotics may be used for prevention of an infection. Should a wound appear to be infected (increased warmth, redness and tenderness) then at least a 7 day course should be taken. Any infection associated with a fever over 101 or red streaking going towards the center of the body warrants medical attention.

Skin lacerations
Bring along Steri-Strips which is medical tape to hold cuts together. Before applying this, clean and dry the wound thoroughly. Applying Benzoin or another medicinal liquid for the strips to stick to is recommended. Do not get the Benzoin in the wound. It is only to provide a sticky area for the Steri-strips to stick securely. As the strips start peeling back simply trim them with scissors. After 10 days the strips can be removed entirely. Reapply fresh ones to help prevent the wound from reopening after cleaning the area.

Respiratory Infections
Most respiratory infections are due to viral illnesses and do not respond to antibiotics. If the following symptoms occur then the likelihood of a bacterial infection increases and a course of antibiotics might be warranted. These symptoms consist of a persistently colored productive cough (green, yellow or blood tinged) and a fever >101. Symptoms that occur upon awakening and then resolve as the day goes on is not likely due to a bacterial infection and therefore do not respond to antibiotics. Symptoms consisting of generalized body aches and fatigue with a nonproductive cough without a fever is usually viral. Anytime this occurs with a significant headache and a stiff neck it needs to be evaluated promptly to confirm that meningitis is not present.

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Influenza

Influenza (also called ?the flu?) is a viral infection in the nose, throat and lungs which affects 10% to 20% of Americans during flu season (January thru March). Of these, 20,000 people die because of the flu and complications. Most of these people are in a high risk category and should absolutely have a yearly vaccine.

Those at risk include:

  • All children age 6 to 59 months
  • All adults age 65 and over
  • All women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season
  • Residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Those with long-term health problems
  • Health care workers who have direct contact with patients
  • Caregivers and household contacts of high risk individuals noted above.

The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get the influenza vaccine each fall before the flu season begins. The flu shot contains dead viruses that are thought to be most likely to cause infection for that given year so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. If the choice is right, the vaccine is 70% to 90% effective in preventing the flu in healthy people under 65 years of age. If you’re older than 65, the vaccine is less likely to prevent the flu but even if you get the flu after being vaccinated, your flu symptoms should be milder than if you didn’t get the vaccine. You’ll also be less likely to get complications from the flu.

The flu shot should be avoided if you have had an allergic reaction to a flu shot in the past or if you have an allergy to eggs. Eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep play a major role in preventing the flu because it helps to boost your immune system. Should you develop symptoms suggestive of the flu there is antiviral medication but it requires you to start it within 48 hours of the start of the symptoms.

 

 

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Healthy Aging

Whether you are forty wondering why you ache after doing activities that were simple just ten years prior or over seventy and find it difficult preventing a fall, there are ways to actually slow the aging process also known as healthy aging.  Although the risk of disease and disability clearly increases with advancing age, poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging.  Much of the illness, disability, and death associated with chronic disease are avoidable through known prevention measures.  Key measures include practicing a healthy lifestyle which encompasses exercising, healthy eating, keeping your mind stimulated, avoiding toxins and practicing early detection.

EXERCISE

There are four types of exercises necessary to have the right mixture of physical activities; endurance, strength building, stretching and balance training.

Endurance

Get at least 30 minutes of activity that makes you breathe harder on most or all days of the week such as swimming, jogging or walking.  This aerobic activity builds your energy or “staying power”.  Ideally this should be done at one time although dividing this up throughout the day is still beneficial.  For example, walking for 10-minutes three times a day adds up to a total of 30 minutes.  A simple guide on how hard to push yourself is if you can talk without any trouble at all, you’re not working hard enough.  If you can’t talk at all, it’s too hard.  Unless you are on medication that slows your heart rate such as betablockers (Atenolol, Metoprolol, etc.) the ideal heart rate is 50 – 85% of your maximal rate depending on your level of conditioning. Maximal heart rate is about (220 minus your age).  If you are over 50 years of age or have chronic medical conditions, consider a cardiac stress test before starting an aerobic exercise program.  This link provides a quick guide to measure your target heart rate.  http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4736

Strength Building

Exercising your muscles until they fatigue promotes strength, protects joints, helps to regulate sugar and insulin levels and promotes better balance.   This should be done between three and five days a week for twenty minutes at a time.  Muscles that are not used waste away.  Even a healthy twenty year old who is bed ridden for two weeks would be too weak to walk a significant distance.  When you have enough muscle, you can be a weekend warrior and play sports with less risk of injury or get up from a chair by yourself. When you don’t, you avoid participating in physical activities or have to wait for someone to help you get up. When you have enough muscle, you can walk through the park with your grandchildren.  When you don’t, you may have to stay home as fatigue and weakness makes activity difficult.  This is true for both younger and older adults.

Stretching

Stretching helps keep you flexible enabling you to move more freely. Only stretch when your muscles are warmed up such as after walking or using a stationary bicycle for at least five minutes.  Never stretch so far that it hurts.  A proper stretch takes you just before pain occurs and should be held for at least fifteen seconds.  Be sure to stretch opposite muscle groups. For example, stretch your hamstrings (back of thighs) then stretch your quadriceps (front of thighs).  Never bounce during a stretch as it may result in tearing muscle.  It is best to obtain proper instruction in stretching so that you may acquire a routine that is both safe and effective.  This link through the Women’s Heart Foundation gives an excellent diagram of a sample stretching routine for both men and women. http://www.womensheart.org/content/Exercise/stretching_exercise.asp

Balance Training

Many times we take for granted the importance of good balance yet it is critical to our independent living.  Practice these activities with care as they might be difficult at first.  For example, stand on one foot, then the other.  If you can, don’t hold on to anything for support. Stand up from sitting in a chair without using your hands or arms.  Every now and then walk heel-to-toe.  When you walk this way, the toes of the foot in back should almost touch the heel of the foot in front.  Practice Yoga on a level that challenges you without resulting in over exertion and injury.  Improving your balance will help prevent falls and injury.

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HEALTHY DIETS

Whole, natural, fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, healthy sources of protein (poultry, fish, eggs, tofu) and dairy products that contain calcium constitute efficient eating.  The following basic guidelines are what you need to know to construct a healthy diet.

1.  Eat plenty of high-fiber foods—fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

2.  Make sure to include green, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables—such as broccoli, carrots, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits which are high in antioxidants. Eat five or more servings a day.

3.  Limit your intake of sugary foods, refined-grain products such as white bread, and salty snack foods. Sugar, our No.1 additive, is added to a vast array of foods providing excessive calories with little nutrition.

4.  Cut down on animal fat which is rich in saturated fat, boosts blood cholesterol levels and has other adverse health effects.

5.  Cut way down on trans fats, supplied by hydrogenated vegetable oils used in most processed foods in the supermarket and in many fast foods.

6.  Eat more fish and nuts, which contain healthy unsaturated fats. Substitute olive or canola oil for butter or stick margarine.

7.  Keep portions moderate, especially with high-calorie foods. Choose an appetizer instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything.

8.  Keep your cholesterol intake below 300 milligrams per day. Cholesterol is found only in animal products, such as meats, poultry, dairy products, and egg yolks.

9.  Eat a variety of foods. Don’t try to fill your nutrient requirements by eating the same foods day in and day out.  A wide assortment of foods helps to ensure that you will get all the necessary nutrients.

10.  Maintain an adequate calcium intake. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Get your calcium from low-fat sources, such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt.

11.  Try to get your vitamins and minerals from foods.  If this is not likely then add a quality supplement. Supplements cannot substitute for a healthy diet, which supplies nutrients and many other compounds besides vitamins and minerals.

12.  Maintain a desirable weight. Balance energy (calorie) intake with energy output. Exercise and other physical activity are essential.

13.  If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

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KEEPING YOUR MIND HEALTHY

Inactivity is the precursor to a failing memory and can be strengthened just as we strengthen our bodies with exercise. A decline in memory is not always a function of serious disease, like Alzheimer’s. Sometimes memory loss is caused by factors that can be changed — such as diet and alcohol, medication misuse and depression. Memory gradually declines until age 70 then the pace increases, but not so much as to impair us. The greatest enemy to the healthy senior mind is depression.  New activities, hobbies, and exercise are wonderful anti-depressants. If you truly are depressed, don’t bear it alone and seek help.

Stay active doing things that use your memory:

  • Be with people. Take a class at the community HS or college, play games, join a social club such as a bowling league or book club.
  • Maintain a dynamic lifestyle. Seek out variety and challenge in your daily life, choose a new hobby every six months.
  • Travel. After a lifetime of raising children and working, older Americans love to travel — to see new things and experience new cultures. By beginning to plan a trip you will notice that half the excitement is in the planning.
  • Communicate Regularly.  Learn how to email and keep in touch with family and friends.  Send and receive pictures and interesting articles then pick up the phone and call them, just to “chat”.
  • Laugh Loud, Laugh Often. A good sense of humor is essential. Start the day off on a light note by reading the comic sections of your local newspaper. Find humor in every day events. Be ready to laugh at yourself and with others. See comedy movies, go to a comedy club and read books with a comical flair.
  • Volunteer your time. Be generous with the most important thing you own — your time. Volunteer in a local nursing home, hospital, youth center or school. Get involved with a cause you believe in or in something that interests you.
  • Seek Inspiration/Keep the Faith. Belief in a higher power is of paramount importance.  This can be done in an organized group or privately.

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AVOIDING EXPOSURE TO TOXINS

What we expose ourselves to is usually in our control and can benefit us or harm us depending on what it is.  Avoiding smoking is the single most important factor in avoiding health related problems and this can not be over stated.  Keep alcoholic beverages to no more than two drinks per day with one drink being either one and one half ounces of liquor, six ounces of wine or twelve ounces of beer. This assumes that a medical condition does not preclude even this amount.  Minimizing processed foods is also critical as the nutrients in foods that are found in a box or package almost always contain preservatives and sweeteners which promote obesity and diabetes. ___________________________________________________________

PREVENTION

Obtaining a yearly preventative physical exam helps you to review the recommended prevention opportunities for your individual age and medical condition.  Some of these topics include immunizations, blood tests for diabetes and cholesterol, risk assessment for premature heart disease, accident prevention, depression and dementia screenings, mammograms, pap smears, prostate exams and colonoscopies.

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Aging is an inevitable part of life but how we age is the key to our success and happiness. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a choice but the benefits far exceed the time and commitment spent.  Million dollar race horses are usually pampered, thousand dollar pedigree dogs are treated with kitten gloves yet our billion dollar bodies are usually ignored. Where do you want to be 10, 20, 30 years from now?   Invest in your body. Treat it well. It is the only one you have.

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Cold Medicine Chart

SYMPTOM GENERIC SOME NAME BRANDS OTHER NAMES
headache/body aches/ acetaminophen Tylenol non-aspirin pain reliever
sore throat/fever ibuprofen Motrin, Advil NSAID
(pain reliever) naproxen Aleve NSAID
aspirin Bayer, St Joseph’s analgesic
runny nose/nasal congestion pseudoephedrine Sudafed D, non-drowsy
(decongestant) phenylephrine Sudafed PE PE, non-drowsy
oxymetazole Afrin
watery or itchy eyes/sneezing brompheniramine Dimetapp
(sedating antihistamine) chlorpheniramine Comtrex
diphenhydramine Benadryl PM, nighttime
doxylamine Nyquil
pheniramine Theraflu
(non-sedating antihistamine) loratadine Claritin, Alavert non-drowsy
cetirizine Zyrtec
cough
(expectorant, mucolytic) guaifenesin Mucinex, Robitussin
(cough suppressant) dextromethorphan Delsym DM
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Why do I need to take a vitamin?

Why do I need to take a vitamin? As we age, our cells become susceptible to damage from many sources including toxins, pollution, disease and stress. A diet high in brightly colored fruits and vegetables (red grapes, blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, etc) provide naturally occurring antioxidant vitamins that help to repair this cell damage. Since very few people consume enough nutrients through foods, taking a multi-vitamin can help supplement this deficiency.

What is a good multi-vitamin to take? This question comes up repeatedly from my patients. Until recently, I was hesitant to answer. However, after researching the subject, I have concluded that Lifepak Nano is an excellent choice. It is a highly absorbed, quality assured, properly balanced source of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to meet the demands of everyday life.

How do I know if I am absorbing vitamins the way I should? In the past, a very expensive blood test was needed to measure anti-oxidant levels and the results represented the levels only at the time it was taken so that consumption of a recent meal high in vitamins could falsely elevate the value. I have recently obtained an biophotometric scanner which accurately measures the anti-oxidant levels in your body using your hand. With this scanner, we can monitor the level of anti-oxidants and track your progress while improving your health.

Why is this score so important? Your antioxidant level is an indicator of the status of your protection against free-radicals that can lead to diseases and can speed up the aging process. Antioxidants are your body?s first defense against these free radicals.

What are anti-oxidants? Anti-oxidants are vitamins like A, C, E, Coenzyme Q-10, carotenoids and phytonutrients that reverse or slow down oxidation in your cells by neutralizing free-radicals. What are free-radicals? Free radicals are unstable molecules that are missing an electron and ?steal? an electron from a stable cell resulting in that cell becoming unstable. The new unstable cell ?steals? an electron from an adjoining cell and so on, causing a chain reaction that can result in cell damage and potentially illness. The process of ?stealing electrons? is oxidation (a form of rotting) and is repaired naturally by our body through the use of anti-oxidants.

How do I increase my anti-oxidant level? You can increase your levels by eating plenty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables (which are high in flavonoids and carotenoids) and by taking a multi-vitamin supplement. Avoiding excess stress and toxins such as smoking, pollution, toxins and pesticides can also increase your anti-oxidant level.

How do I get scanned? You can be scanned in our office. There is a $20.00 charge per scan. However, as part of your annual physical, a biophotometric scan will be included at no charge along with the other routine lab tests.

It must be emphasized that the use of multi-vitamin supplements are just that, a supplement, or an addition to a healthy lifestyle that is balanced with healthful eating, moderate exercise and avoidance of toxins.

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How to choose the right cold medication

One of the most confusing events pertaining to healthcare occurs while trying to determine which over the counter (OTC) cold remedy to purchase at the drug store. This article will attempt to clarify this task in order to save you money, time and most importantly a potential medical complication. I will review the names of the most common medications found in these cold remedies and recommend you keep the attached chart for easy reference the next time you go to the pharmacy or supermarket to buy something for your runny nose.

There are essentially four types of medications found in hundreds of cold remedies to relieve the following symptoms: headache/body aches/sorethroat/fever; runny nose/nasal congestion; watery or itchy eyes/sneezing; and cough. The type of medication that you need depends on the symptoms you wish to alleviate. Remember that all medications, whether they are purchased OTC or by prescription, have side effects. Your goal should be to alleviate your symptoms enough to function and get the rest you need with the least amount of medication and therefore, the least amount of side effects and expense.

There are three types of OTC pain medications or analgesics which also help lower a fever: acetaminophen (Tylenol), anti-inflammatories (also called NSAIDS, for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin (name brands including Bayer, St. Joseph?s, etc.) The location of your pain is irrelevant as analgesics work all over, whether it is a headache, back pain or sore throat. Although NSAIDS and aspirin help to decrease both inflammation and pain, acetaminophen which only decreases pain is much gentler on your stomach.

Decongestants are used to relieve a runny nose and nasal congestion. There are only two common oral medications, pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, usually found with the letter D attached to the brand name) and phenylephrine (usually found with the letter PE attached to the brand name). All decongestants can make the following conditions worse; high blood pressure (hypertension), glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, anxiety, and insomnia. If you are taking an MAO inhibitor, do not use any decongestants. The absence of decongestants in cold medicine is usually designated by the letters HBP (safe if you have high blood pressure). Nasal decongestant sprays contain oxymetazole (Afrin) or phenylephrine. Care should be used with these since they can be addictive if used for more than three consecutive days.

Antihistamines (as opposed to decongestants) treat the symptoms of allergies (watery or itchy eyes/sneezing) and can cause similar concerns as decongestants although much less likely. They are divided into the older sedating types and the newer more expensive non-sedating types. The sedating types are sold as brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), doxylamine and pheniramine. The non-sedating types are loratadine (Alavert and Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec).

A cough that is productive may be bothersome, but should not be suppressed unless it is causing you harm by preventing sleep or causing significant discomfort. The process of your body producing mucus and coughing is a cleansing that your immune system uses to help rid yourself of an illness. Should you require something to loosen mucus (a mucolytic or expectorant); guaifenesin (Mucinex, Robitussin) is what you want. If suppression is needed then dextromethorphan (DM) is helpful. These are often found together (Mucinex DM, Robitussin DM,).

Be careful when reading the front packaging of OTC cold medications as it can be very misleading. The only significant difference between 4, 6, 12 and 24 hour preparations of medications is the convenience of how often it needs to be taken. It is unlikely for a 24 hour medication to last much more than 18 hours. Many medications come in various forms such as capsules, caplets, gelcaps, tablets and liquid. Once again, it is a personal preference. For people sensitive to adult doses, liquids provide more flexibility in dosing smaller amounts. People with kidney and liver problems should sometimes also have their dosages adjusted. Occasionally, ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be taken together, every six hours, for high fevers or severe pain. During my survey of cold medications at Publix Greenwise, I found Theraflu Severe Cold Formula meant simply adding acetaminophen (Tylenol) and removing the dextomethorphan (DM) whereas Tylenol Sinus Severe Cold Formula added guaifenesin. None of this makes sense. I encourage you to read the actual ingredients in the preparation along with the amount that is found in each and use only the ingredients that you need. It is usually best to try to purchase the ingredients separately and use the dosing recommendations on the box as a guideline. These OTC cold medications can usually be found in generic equivalents and makes it a whole lot easier than looking for the complex formulation that has your particular symptoms that you wish to relieve. When taking antibiotics or herbal remedies as treatment, adding these OTC cold medications is usually fine.

Lastly, remember that the great majority of colds are viral and usually go away within seven to ten days. The following symptoms though would be more concerning; fever above 100.4°F (38°C), thick colored sputum that lasts more than two days or shortness of breath. If you have underlying lung problems such as asthma or COPD or a compromised immune system, you should consider seeking medical treatment sooner.

I hope this article helps to alleviate the confusion and complicated process of selecting a cold medication the next time you find yourself on the cold medicine aisle.

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MRSA

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

There has been much news recently about MRSA (pronounced mur-sa) infections and I would like to help alleviate some unjust fears by focusing on how we can protect ourselves without feeling panicked. In healthcare, we have dealt with MRSA infections in the hospital setting for many years but the emergence in the general community is relatively new. One reason for this newfound prevalence is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics by physicians resulting in more and more resistant strains of bacteria. These ?mutant? bacteria develop ways to resist the effects of some antibiotics such as methicillin (a relative of penicillin), hence the name.

Staphylococcus aureus, simply called ?staph?, are bacteria usually carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Sometimes, staph can cause an infection most commonly of the skin (pimples and boils). However, staph can also cause serious infections such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections and pneumonia. Both staph and MRSA (a specific type of staph) are most frequently transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact. You can protect yourself from infections simply by practicing good hygiene.

1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water (preferably) or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
3. Avoid contact with other people?s wounds or bandages.
4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) students with MRSA infections should not be excluded from attending school unless directed by a physician. Exclusion from school should be reserved for those individuals with wound drainage (?pus?) that cannot be covered and contained with a clean, dry bandage and for those who cannot maintain good personal hygiene as described above. Those with active infections should avoid activities where skin?to?skin contact is likely to occur, such as most sports, until infections are healed.

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