A Guide to Holiday Wellness

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 12/10/15.

Although the holiday season absolutely warms our spirits, it can also take quite a toll on our health. Between all of the baking, office parties, holiday meals, time spent parked on the couch watching holiday movies, and stress that comes with holiday preparations and spending, it’s no wonder that the most popular New Year’s resolutions involve improving our health and wellness! Make use of these holiday wellness tips in order to keep yourself healthy and sane even before the New Year begins.

holiday-healthy-diet-350x263

Continue reading

The Most Common Holiday ER Visits – And How to Avoid Them

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 12/24/2015.

For many people, the holidays are a joyous and festive time to spend with family and loved ones. However, even with all of the warm holiday wishes and holiday cheer of the season, this time of year can also be an accident waiting to happen. During the holiday season, emergency rooms across the U.S. see an increase in visits due to holiday-related injuries and illnesses. Read on to learn about some of the most common holiday injuries and how you can avoid them.

What dangers are lurking in your holiday plans?

Continue reading

A Round-Up of Women’s Health Resources

When it comes to women’s health issues, knowledge is key! This is because many health issues that are common to both men and women can effect in ways that are vastly that how man are affected by these same diseases and disorders. Further, there are many health conditions that  affect women primarily or more severely than men. For example, almost 12% of women in the United States are at risk for developing breast cancer during their lifetime whereas male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of existing breast cancer cases. In another example, although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US, women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men, and women are more likely than men to experience delays in emergency care and to have treatment to control their cholesterol levels. To help you effectively arm yourself with the the knowledge to keep you and your loved ones healthy and cared for, we’ve rounded up reliable women’s health resources for you!

Continue reading

Sunscreen, SPF, and Skin Cancer: November is Healthy Skin Month!

Although we’ve officially transitioned into autumn here in Florida, that doesn’t mean that sun safety isn’t as important as ever! We certainly earn our nickname of the Sunshine State: on average, we can expect to have more than 260 days of beautiful sunshine every year – including during the autumn and winter months! All of that sun is great for outdoor sports, strolls, and ensuring you reach your Vitamin D needs, but it can also wreak havoc on your skin’s health. So how do you protect yourself? In honor of Healthy Skin Month, in today’s blog post we’ll explore what the sun damage actually does to your skin, how sunscreen works, and various techniques to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays.

Continue reading

Let’s talk turkey: The truth about tryptophan

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on November 26, 2015.

This Thursday after digging into your delicious Thanksgiving meal, you might find yourself slouching on your sofa, pants feeling a little snug, and you might find yourself feeling a dozy. Your first inclination will likely be to blame that delectable turkey and all of that tryptophan. Because turkey has tryptophan, and tryptophan makes us sleepy, right?

Well… This may likely be a myth that we have all been telling ourselves. The science behind tryptophan is pretty clear: tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our bodies need to help make niacin and serotonin. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan, so we must get it from our diet. Serotonin is believed to help us sleep better and stabilize our moods. It would appear, then, if tryptophan helps us make serotonin, and serotonin helps us sleep, that consuming tryptophan would make us sleepy, right?

Continue reading

The Librarians’ Book Recommendations – With a Medical Twist!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on January 14, 2016.

Do you have a goal to read more books? If you don’t, maybe you should! Besides being downright fun, science shows that reading for pleasure can actually be good for your mental and physical health.

According to a study by Dr. Josie Billington at the University of Liverpool, people who read regularly for pleasure report lower levels of stress and depression than non-readers. Pleasure readers also report higher levels of self-esteem and greater ability to cope with difficult situations. Researchers believe this may result from readers gaining expanded models and repertoires of experience when they read that allow them to look with new perspective and understanding on their own lives. According to an expansive study carried out by the UK’s National Literary Trust, reading for pleasure has also been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness in adults and increase ability to prioritize and make decisions.

Continue reading

Spotlight on Resources for Veterans

Did you know that November is National Veterans and Families Month? Veterans Day is still observed November 11th, but this year the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to have the 98-year tradition of observance and appreciation for veterans last throughout the whole month of November!  There are a number of events planned all around the country, so check the official calendar to  see if something is happening near you if you’re interested in participating in some way.

This is also a good time to talk about some of the important health-related issues our veterans might face. If you or anyone in your family has ever served in the military, you may be familiar with some of the health risks that are associated with a career serving our country. Some are more obvious, like injuries resulting in disability or chronic pain. Others might be harder to pin down, like post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. It’s important to remember that each service member will return home with their own range of experiences. Knowing how and where to go to address any issues that may present themselves is key! There are lots of helpful resources out there for veterans and their families should they need access to them.

Continue reading

Tech Talk Thursday: The Best Apps for Better Sleep

The end of Daylight Savings time, another tell-tale sign that we are swinging into the autumn and winter months, is this Sunday – don’t forget to reset your clocks! My favorite part about the end of Daylight Savings (besides the fact that it means the holidays are coming), is that we get an extra hour of sleep as the clocks fall back an hour on Sunday morning. I personally always can use an extra hour of sleep, and chances are, you can too – according to the CDC, more than a third of American adults are not getting at least 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis, causing chronic sleep deprivation. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress. To encourage you to focus on getting better sleep, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sleep apps to help you track your sleeping habits, fall asleep faster, and sleep more soundly.

Continue reading

The Health Benefits of Owning Pets

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 3/23/17

Do you love spending time with your furry friends? The Health Sciences Library is full of animal lovers – collectively the library staff owns more than 20 animals! If you are obsessed with love animals like I do, you already know that spending time with them can improve your mood and make you feel cozy inside. However, did you know that there are actually a myriad of health benefits to owning a pet? And for those of you who aren’t pet owners – many of these benefits also take effect if you just spend quality time with an animal, so you can still reap the benefits through playing with another person’s animal for a bit!

Increased physical activity

It’s no secret that owning a pet increases your likelihood to engage in physical activity – after all, most animals need to be walked and/or played with multiple times a day. This increase in physical activity is very healthy, and can even help you lose excess weight.  A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health of more than 2,000 adults found that dog owners responsible for walking their pups are less likely to be obese than dog owners who pass the duty off to someone else or those who don’t own dogs at all.

 

Spending time with animals can help you get moving more often.

Continue reading

Monday Morning Round-Up #17

monday-morning-roundup-banner

Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

Pollution to blame for 1 in 6 deaths worldwide, study finds via Stat News

Pollution is taking a massive toll on global health, with poor and marginalized populations being hit particularly hard by dangerous contamination. A new report published in the Lancet finds that diseases driven by pollution — which can range from asthma to cardiovascular disease — were responsible for more than 9 million premature deaths in 2015.

Continue reading