Summer is in full swing, and those long days mean being outdoors until the wee hours…and also trying to avoid being bitten by annoying insects. Some of these biting bugs include ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, mites, fire ants, spiders, bees, wasps, and hornets. Yikes! It’s a wonder we go outside at all! But fear not, there are lots of ways to prevent yourself from being a victim of a nasty bite. In the event you do suffer a bite or sting, there are also things you can do to make it hurt less.
Sometimes it feels as though there are so many health hazards to be aware of during the hot summer months that it hardly seems worth it to step outside. Since that’s unrealistic, it’s good to be prepared when you do find yourself spending a considerable length of time outdoors. Let’s talk a bit about two similar but different afflictions caused by exposure to extreme summer heat: heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Happy (official) first day of summer! Many of us will be seeking ways to stay cool in spite of the heat, and sometimes that can mean packing up the family, the umbrella, and some cold drinks and heading off to the beach. While spontaneous trips can be fun, planning your beach trip ahead of time can mean the difference between a successful beach day and a rough one. To help you get the most out of your beach day, try downloading a few of these apps to your mobile device.
It’s the week before Father’s Day, which means it’s also National Men’s Health Week. So today we’re bringing you some go-to resources for health information specific to men. Did you know that men are less likely than women to get regular checkups? Many diseases, like colon cancer and heart disease, can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis, so it’s important for men to see their doctor regularly. Now is the perfect time to (gently) remind that dad, spouse, brother, uncle, grandfather, partner, or friend in your life to make that appointment.
It is inevitable: we all get older. Aging, however, does not have to be a negative experience. We can make the most of getting older by eating right, exercising, staying positive, and taking care of our minds and bodies. Luckily, there are many excellent and free resources available online that provide sound advice to help us do all of this and more.
As we age, our health concerns change with every decade. A twenty-year-old woman is likely thinking about her health differently than her 70- or 80-year-old grandmother. There are some simple things we can do at every milestone to keep ourselves in the best health possible.
The irony of staring into a computer screen to write a blog post about healthy vision is not lost on me, but here we are. Even if you don’t spend the majority of your day stuck behind a monitor, it’s important to take good care of your peepers. Most vision problems are preventable and can be avoided by following a few healthy suggestions. Here are just a few simple tips for taking an active role in the health of your eyes.
Who remembers those commercials for Flintstones brand chewable multivitamins from back in the day? As a kid, I was happy to take one a day because, let’s face it, they tasted like candy. Now that I’m an adult, it’s definitely a little harder to feel like I should be taking a daily vitamin or other dietary supplement. There are so many bottles sitting on the shelf at the grocery store and so many labels; it can be overwhelming when you’ve just come to pick up some eggs. Understanding a bit more about these supplements and how they work can go a long way towards helping you determine whether or not they should be a part of your life. As National Nutrition Month comes to an end, we’re providing you with an overview of dietary supplements to help you decide whether you need to boost your nutrition this spring.
What exactly is a dietary supplement?
Dietary supplements can contain one or more dietary ingredients like vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other substances. They usually come in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form, but can also come as powders and bars, too. They’re meant to supplement (not replace) the nutrition you get from your daily diet.
Do I even need to take a dietary supplement?
It depends. Your nutritional needs should technically be met as long as you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet full of a variety of foods. The foods we eat are full of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and other substances that are good for your health, but sometimes you might not be getting enough of a particular nutrient. This can be due to lots of reasons even outside of what you eat. For instance, if you’re getting insufficient exposure to sunlight, you might not be getting enough vitamin D; this is where a dietary supplement could be helpful.
What should I take then?
Before you pull every bottle from the shelf, it’s a very good idea to talk to your doctor first to determine what supplement may be right for you, or if you even need one. It can be dangerous to exceed the level of nutrients you can safely intake. Your doctor can tell you just how much of a particular supplement will be beneficial to your health. If you’re already taking one, make sure your doctor is aware – some supplements may not play nicely with prescription medication.
How much of a recommended supplement should I take?
The manufacturers label will suggest a serving size as it relates to the potency of the supplement ingredients, but this can get a little confusing depending on what your doctor has recommended for you. You don’t want to take more (or less) than what you need. Read the labels as carefully as you can, and follow up with your doctor to make sure you’ve picked up the right thing. You can also ask your local pharmacist for help with interpreting supplement labels.
Where can I find more information about the types of supplements that are available?
A good place to start is MedlinePlus. Powered by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), MedlinePlus presents information in an easy to read format and provides you with lots of links to other safe places to look for health-related information. The NIH also has a number of helpful Vitamin and Mineral Fact Sheets that can provide you with scientifically-based overviews about the many vitamins and minerals that are out there.
Knowing our family health history is often the key to our own personal health. Many chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, are often inherited. But we can also inherit genes from our family that can increase our chances of developing certain serious diseases such as cancer. Understanding genetics can be confusing for anyone. Luckily there are many resources available to help you make sense of this important topic.
Raise your hand if you’re tired right now. OK, now raise your hand if you’ve been tired at least a few afternoons this week. Unfortunately, I bet every single one of you lovely readers raised your hand for at least one of those – according to the CDC, one third of Americans are chronically sleep deprived, regularly clocking in at fewer than 7 hours a night. The number of people who experience occasional and/or recurrent sleep deprivation is even higher – studies show that nearly everyone experiences occasional sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can lead to a slew of problems: from reduced concentration, lowered immunity, irritability, and low productivity in the short term to the increased risk of heart disease, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, dementia, and much more over the long term.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to help you sleep more and sleep better! Next week is Sleep Awareness Week, so we want to encourage you to try these tips next week to see how you feel! If you find yourself more rested, you can work them into your regular routine.