Sunday, March 30, 2014

CDC resource

2014 Yellow Book from CDC

If you are planning to travel international, the CDC has released their 2014 “Yellow Book”
This free information guide (updated every two years) gives information we can use to stay healthy while traveling.  You can find the website at

If you want to download the mobile app for iPhone, find it at

The website for the mobile app for an android phone is



Friday, March 28, 2014

In the News--Children experiencing several diarrheal illness linked to antibiotics

Have you heard about C. diff infections?  C. diff (Clostridium difficile) is a bacterial infection that can cause problems when a person is taking strong antibiotics. For example, little Jimmy has an ear ache and his mother takes him to their doctor for treatment.  The doctor prescribes antibiotics and Mom takes little Jimmy home to get well.  This treatment has always worked well before. 

But this time, things are different:  as the antibiotics work to kill the infection in Jimmy’s ears, the antibiotics also kill germs that live in Jimmy’s gut.  As the beneficial germs in Jimmy’s gut are killed, he is vulnerable to a germ called C. diff.  Jimmy begins to have diarrhea and becomes very ill from the C. diff infection.  With treatment Jim does get well but it’s a tough time for their family. 

Here’s statistics from the Centers for Disease Control:  71% of C. diff infections in children aged 1 through 17 years are community-acquired (the germ is picked up outside the hospital—no hospital admission for these kids).  73% of these kids had received antibiotics within the four months prior to their illness.  The CDC estimates 17,000 children ages 1 through 17 come down with C diff infections each year.  The C. diff infections can be severe and even life-threatening.  

I share this with you to make this point—antibiotics are wonderful, miracle working drugs when needed, but they have their own unique side effects—they kill our normal, beneficial germs which live inside our bodies and this absence, makes us vulnerable to germs like C diff.  Talk to your doctor about whether antibiotics are needed or not; never demand your dr. prescribe antibiotics. Also ask your doctor if he/she recommends you take a probiotic type supplement to help protect your normal healthy gut germs and if so, what brand and how much probiotic he recommends.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In the News--People across the US deal with allergies

We in the Midwest may think we are allergy haven.  Not so, according to a recent New York Times article.  The researchers took blood samples from over 8000 people, with 856 being children to look for IgE antibodies which indicate the risk of allergic reaction. 

This is what they found:  all parts of the US have allergy problems.  45% of people over age 6 showed positive for some type of allergy.  Among children, 36% of children ages 1 through 5 years have allergy issues. 

Different parts of the country show different allergens (causes of allergies).  For example, grass and ragweed rank high in the western USA while mold causes more allergies in the east.  Allergy reactions to peanuts, shrimp, dog and cat, rat and mouse rank at similar levels across the US. 

When the researchers compared cities vs rural areas, they found at 50% of metropolitian dwellers have allergies while only 40% of rural people have allergies. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Being a superb grandma

Last weekend we traveled to Dallas to visit daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters.  Soon after we arrived at their home, it became apparent that Granddaughter 1 (the older girl) had become ill with a stomach ailment.  She became ill and began throwing up.  Poor child was so miserable; this continued through Friday night with many episodes of her being sick.  Being the good grandma I am, I would check on her whenever I heard her.  Finally I went into her room and sat at the foot of her bed.  She was so miserable and welcomed the company.  She laid her head on my leg and tried to sleep.  I rubbed her hair and her shoulders and could feel her relaxing and falling asleep.  I even sang “Soft Kittie” to her  (think Big Bang Theory for that one).   

Saturday morning she began to feel less nauseated and recovered from whatever caused her illness.  By Saturday nite she was able to eat the homemade chicken noodle soup I had cooked for us.  I felt that the time spent comforting my granddaughter was a precious time together and worth the sleep I missed that night.  I washed my hands a lot that weekend; I guess it worked because both hubby and I stayed healthy. 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Plantars warts

“What’s that?”  you ask.  A plantars wart is a painful growth caused by a virus.  Think in terms of “avoid walking barefoot at the gym locker room, around the pool or hot tub.”   The virus which causes plantar warts lives in warm, moist environments.  If untreated, this virus will thrive and the plantars wart will grow and multiply into clusters of painful growths.    

Home treatment of plantars warts isn’t recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association.  “It is wise to consult a podiatric physician when any suspicious growth or eruption is detected on the skin of the foot in order to ensure a correct diagnosis.”  Treatment of plantars warts may include a “freezing” treatment, may require laser treatment or involve wart removal by surgery.  More about plantars warts can be found at

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Plantar fasciitis

Do your heels hurt when you walk?  One of the causes of heel pain (and heel spurs) is plantar fasciitis.  I’ve dealt with this painful foot condition twice and hopefully never again.  Plantars fasciitis happens when the fascia (a strong band of tissue on the bottom of the foot) is strained over time. As the fascia stretches, it may tear.   An xray of a foot with plantar fasciitis shows a bony spur where the fascia attaches to the heel bone. 

 When I experienced plantar fasciitis, nothing I did on my own fixed the problem so I visited my orthopaedic surgeon.  He diagnosed my problem, taught me stretching exercises and about proper shoes to support my arch, and injected my heel with a steroid shot. 
The second time I experienced plantar fasciitis, I had failed to replace worn out shoes quickly enough. 

I have learned that “good shoes” with a proper arch support do not come cheap and cannot be bought  just everywhere.  But I have learned my lesson:  good supporting shoes provide pain free, happy feet.   More about heel pain can be found at


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Peripheral neuropathy of feet

Have you heard of peripheral neuropathy?  People dealing with peripheral neuropathy experience symptoms caused when the tiny nerves farthest from our spine are damaged.  The number one cause of neuropathy involves diabetes and high blood sugars which damage the nerves.  According to the American Diabetes Association, 60-70% of people who have diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy. 

What are symptoms of neuropathy?  Burning, numbness, tingling, shooting or stabbing pain, and a change in the sensation of toes.  While these symptoms aren’t any fun to deal with, the potential is that as the nerves are damaged more and more, the person will lose feeling in their feet/toes.  When a person does not have normal feeling, he can suffer injuries to his feet and toes and not be aware of the injury.  An open sore can become infected and jeopardize the person’s feet/legs. 

Here’s some suggestions from the American Podiatric Medical Association:

·        If you have diabetes, work with your family doctor to control your blood sugars
·        Inspect your feet on a regular basis and get medical help for any sores, injuries, infections
·        If you cannot inspect your feet, have a loved one help you with this important aspect of your health
·        Wear properly fitting shoes
·        Find a podiatrist to help you care for your feet.  Check with your insurance/Medicare.  Routine care by a podiatrist may be a covered part of your plan, especially if you have diabetes


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Proper care of our feet

Unless you have experienced feet problems, you may take them for granted.   They are just those things on the end of your legs which you wash, put socks and shoes onto and go.  However, after you’ve experienced some aching, hurting feet days, you begin to think seriously about your feet and how to best care for them. 

I recently had my first podiatrist appointment and was very pleased with the care I received.  One week later I am making progress in healing my feet.  Information from the American Podiatric Medical Association on Tips for Healthy Feet can be found at

Friday, March 14, 2014

Oh my aching feet!

Oh my _____ feet!  Do you fill in the blank with words like “hurting”, “aching” or “burning”?  Do you find yourself saying those words?  How are your feet doing these days?  Do you take them for granted and assume they will continue to be fine? If so, I hope that works for you.  It has not worked for me. 

This is a shoe I wear; it fits my foot and provides support. It is also one of the shoe brands recommended by my podiatrist.  But my feet are not the same as yours.   You need to find a shoe that fits you and provides the support you need.  You can buy expensive or inexpensive shoes but if the shoe doesn’t fit your foot and provide support, you are no better off.  The next few blog posts we will consider our feet and how to better care for them.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Health Emphasis

"Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.”

As with many types of cancer, an early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference in outcome.  Colon/rectal cancer often does not show symptoms and become apparent for a long time so regular screenings are important—especially after age 50.
Risk factors for colon/rectal cancer include being over age 50, smoking, having a family history of this type cancer and being African American. 
For more information, visit the Prevent Cancer Foundation at or the American Cancer Society at

Monday, March 10, 2014

Women's heart symptoms explained by

On Feb 18, I posted about the symptoms of heart attack that women can experience.  A really good article in explains it better than I did.  I think it’s important that we all recognize women’s heart symptoms so I share this website and ask that you read this article entitled “Heart Attack Symptoms Women Shouldn’t Ignore” at,,20772927,00.html

Saturday, March 8, 2014

In the News--Vaccine to Protect against Staph pneumonia

This article brings great news.  Researchers from the University of Iowa are working on a vaccine to protect us against pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) bacteria, including the resistant strain of MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureus). 
This new vaccine targets the toxins produced by the bacteria.  The new vaccine has been successful in animals.  The new vaccine isn’t yet available for people but this is exciting news.  This vaccine has great potential to protect us from staph infections.  This article can be found at


Thursday, March 6, 2014

In the News--12 Reasons to STOP multitasking?

Oh good, I am so glad to read this headline.  Do you sometimes get tired of wearing multiple hats at once?  You may be cooking supper, helping your child with homework and answering a text on your phone at the same time.  If you want to do all those things and juggle all those hats, it’s ok.  However, if you find it stressful and tiring to do multiple things, this article gives you justification to relax and do less multitasking.  Health magazine is giving us research results that show we can go back to doing one thing at a time. As my sister would say, “it works for me.”  This article can be found at,,20707868,00.html


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Thank you Doctor

Do you ever thank your doctor?  I did today.  Since my knee injury (and surgery) in November, my knee has been improving and today I was released by my doctor.  I told him thank you for taking good care of me. 

Remember doctors are people too.  They are smart, educated and very busy people. How often do we say a sincere thank you for the care we receive?  Try it; it will ‘make’ your doctor’s day.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New blood pressure guidelines

Regarding high blood pressure treatment, an expert panel called the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) has released new guidelines.  The new guidelines are being presented to doctors in an effort to simplify the recommended treatment of high blood pressure.  I mention this to you so you will understand if your doctor changes your treatment or refers to the new guidelines.