About Arthritis

One in five adults and 300,000 children suffer some form of disability caused by arthritis, and more than 50 million Americans haveRheumatoid_arthritis been diagnosed with some form of the disease.

What is arthritis and what causes it?

Arthritis is not just minor aches and pains that come with aging, it is a complex network of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that can affect people of all ages, races and genders. It is a painful musculoskeletal disease attacking the joints. And like diabetes and multiple sclerosis, it can also be an autoimmune disease, as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, which dates back to 4,500 BC.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis afflicting primarily older patients. This condition targets the cartilage in our bodies, the material that cushions the joints, making the bones rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement.

There is no one reason attributed to arthritis. Depending on the type, it can be hereditary or caused by factors such as bacterial or viral infections, problems with your immune system, or an injury that can lead to osteoarthritis.

Can you prevent arthritis?

Because arthritis is not one but a 100 different conditions, disorders and diseases, there is no one way to ensure you are notimages-1 afflicted. But the Arthritis Foundation recommends the following guiding principles:

  • Educate yourself – In this case the best prevention is education – knowing the various forms the disease might take on and understanding the progression. Stay current on the latest research and findings.
  • Remain physically active – Maintain a good exercise routine that promotes weight management and joint health (such as walking, aerobics and yoga). Always seek the advice of your health care professional before any lifestyle change.
  • Protect your joints – No matter what you do, whether at work or working out, take care to protect your joints to ensure they continue to work for you.

Treatment

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For people with arthritis, lessening pain is what they often seek. As such, arthritis treatment usually focuses on pain relief and improving joint function. The medications available to treat arthritis vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. The Mayo Clinic lists the following commonly used arthritis medications and treatments:

  • Analgesics – Reduce pain but have no affect on inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – These act on both pain and inflammation.
  • Counterirritants – These creams and ointments contain ingredients that can interrupt transmission of pain signals.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – These stop or slow the immune system’s attack on your joints.
  • Biologics – These are genetically engineered drugs that target various protein molecules that are involved in the immune response.
  • Corticosteroids – These are aimed at reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune system.
  • Physical Therapy – Focuses on improving range of motion and strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints.
  • Surgery – Used if all else fails. Involves replacing your damaged joints with artificial ones.
If you are on a prescribed medication to help manage arthritis symptoms, or for any other condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References: About, The Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis.org, Medicine.Net, OnHealth, WebMD

By WHBlogger
07/29/2014

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Unsung Heroes of WWI

By: Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

July 28, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, the “War to End all Wars”, which sadly as we look at the world

Source: Wikimedia Commons

today, clearly did not accomplish that feat. During the 4 years of war that followed, more than 8.5 million lives would be lost and roughly 21 million would be wounded. Through the violence and sheer inhumanity of that war, a few unsung heroes of WWI rose to the occasion. The stretcher bearers who placed personal safety aside and courageously went out into the battlefield to collect the wounded, and the nurses who tended to the casualties of war as they came in, a never ending stream of broken bodies. 

Who were the stretcher bearers? Some were conscientious objectors who elected to join the fight but not to carry or use weapons. They wanted to do their bit for the cause and ended up doing the bravest possible job. Others were a regular part of the infantry assigned to the task of getting the dead and wounded off the battlefield and, in some cases, served double duty on the frontline.

This group of important heroes changed the way war wounded received treatment. Because they received basic first aid training, they could begin treatment of the wounded before they arrived at an infirmary or makeshift hospital, and for some that made the difference between dying and surviving a wound.

For many of the stretcher bearers, life was lived dodging snipers and artillery while ensuring the survival of some and the retrieval of others. There were only four stretcher bearers per battalion so their job was an infinite marathon to get to those who could be helped, often arriving too late because of the enormity of the job.

If you were lucky enough to be rescued by a stretcher bearer, then you were placed in the hands of the nurses. They were mostly

Source: Wikipedia

young, patriotic and courageous. They came from various parts of the world to patch the wounded and tend to the dead. At the start of the war, women who were already enlisted in the Navy and other areas of the military as nurses were called upon to serve at the front and in the hospitals in their individual countries. But as the war raged on, many more enlisted or were recruited.

When the U.S. entered World War I, the Army had a total of 403 active duty nurses. By the end of the war, there were 21,480 women who were serving both at home and abroad. At least 10,000 were sent to serve in France, England, and Italy. Theirs was a hard fought war to be treated with dignity and respect while caring for the endless wave of wounded.

Though a few died in combat, over 200 died of disease. Some like Lenah Higbee went on to be awarded the Navy Cross, for her unusual and conspicuous devotion to duty during WWI

Elsa Branstrom (the Angel of Siberia) treated German prisoners of war in Siberia, even after her work permit was revoked and she landed in jail for continuing to travel to Siberia to tend to the wounded.

Alice Ross King served in the Royal Australian Imperial Force, and was awarded the Military Medal for putting her patients’ safety ahead of her own during an air attack by German planes. Rather than running for safety, she ran to help her patients.

The devotion to service that the stretcher bearers and nurses of WWI displayed, carries on today with the medical personnel our brave men and women serving in various conflict areas rely on when they are wounded or sick.

References:  BBC, Top RN to BSN, Women in the Military, PBS, Daily Mail, Army heritage

Summer Hives

Summer can be especially hard on people who have sensitive skin or are prone to skin rashes or hives. The heat and humidityimages-11 that accompanies the summer months can lead to a number of different types of rashes that can turn the fun of summer into an itchy, uncomfortable mess, the most common is heat rash.

What is Heat Rash?

Heat rash, also known as “prickly heat” and summer rash”, can manifest in a number of ways. It can look like hives or a sudden eruption of little bumps (and sometimes tiny blisters). On babies and adults you might spot them on the forehead, cheeks, in the fold of the skin, neck, armpits, on bottoms and private areas – any place where sweat might accumulate and get trapped. While not dangerous, heat rash can be discomforting, as it tends to itch and, in some cases, blister.

There are several types of heat rashes, according to experts, and each has a different level of severity. They can be identified as follows:

  • Clear – This is a mild, often non-itchy form of heat rash, which can look like beads of sweat, but are tiny blisters. 
  • Red – Probably the most common form of heat rash, it often causes local inflammation. 
  • Deep – A more severe form, it often occurs after several outbreaks of skin rash. It can spread quickly and cause a severe burning sensation. 
  • White Yellow – This type is often due to bacterial growth, which is due to infection. 

 images-9What Causes It?

In summer when the sweat glands are most active, they can get clogged and back up, mostly due to over dressing. This happens especially with babies because well intentioned parents are hoping to protect the child from sun exposure. Children and adults should dress comfortably in clothing that breathes and allows the body to cool naturally.

How Do You Treat It?

Generally cooling the body down, and remaining in a cool environment when temperatures rise can often prevent it and diminish the condition. Allowing the skin to air dry rather than towel drying is helpful. Most often though, this type of rash will go away on its own or can be treated with a number of over-the-counter remedies.

The key thing is to avoid scratching. With babies that can be tricky, but keeping the nails short and putting socks on the baby’s heat-rash-prickly-heat-baby-infant-face-1hands at night has been recommended to help prevent infection and more serious issues.

If the condition worsens, you may need to consult your health care professional who might recommend antibiotics. Before it gets to that however, make sure to monitor your condition or, in the case of a baby, make sure to consult your pediatrician who should advise you on medicines to use.

As always, the best policy is prevention. Keep cool during the summer months. Dress in light breathable clothing, and do the same for your child. Take cool showers or baths and be sure that your skin is thoroughly dry afterwards. Hydration is also important.  Drinking lots of fluids helps keep pores from clogging, and the body cool by balancing your internal temperature.

WTH_webcard_printed BBBIf you are on a prescribed medication for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References: National Baby Center, Mayo Clinic, Medicine.net, WebMD, 123homeremedies.com.

By WHBlogger
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Parkinson’s Disease

In 1998, actor Michael J. Fox put a young face on Parkinson’s disease. At the time, it afflicted an estimated 1 million Americans,
Parkinsons

Source: Wikipedia

most of them over the age of 60, including famous individuals from the world of sports, politics and religion (Muhammad Ali, Janet Reno and Rev. Billy Graham). The then star of TV show Spin City had been managing his condition for almost seven years before it became impossible to keep the secret much longer.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Named after a general practitioner at the turn of the 20th century, James Parkinson, who was the first to identify the symptoms, Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting movement, muscle control, and balance as well as numerous other functions.

What causes it?

Like others in the group of degenerative conditions known as motor-system disorders, like Alzheimer’s, the root cause of Parkinson’s is not known. However scientific research points to several contributing factors, and according to the Mayo Clinic these are:

  • Genetic – While rare, some specific gene mutations in families are known to cause Parkinson’s.
  • Environmental triggers – Exposure to certain toxins (herbicides and pesticides) or environmental factors could increase the risk of Parkinson’s.
Parkinsons-we-are-in-this-togetherWhat is known is that people diagnosed with Parkinson’s suffer the loss of vital nerve cells in the brain, primarily neurons. These neurons produce a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination.

What are the symptoms?

Over time, people afflicted with Parkinson’s will begin to show visible symptoms that according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation include:
  • Tremors – Uncontrolled shaking of the hands, arms, legs and face.
  • Bradykinesia – Slowness of movement, which affects even simple tasks.
  • Rigidity – A loss of flexibility and stiffening of the limbs and body, which limits range of motion.
  • Instability – Impaired balance and coordination. Also affects posture, which may become stooped.
  • Loss of automatic movements – Problem blinking, swinging the arms when walking, or gesturing when talking. Even smiling may become impaired.

Treatment

At present there is no cure for Parkinson’s, but there have been advances in medicines to help control some of the symptoms – in imgres-5some cases dramatically. But these drugs only improve symptoms, they don’t eliminate them.

Most often doctors will recommend a combination of lifestyle changes, aerobic exercises and physical therapy in addition to medication.

There is also a surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation in which surgeons implant electrodes into a specific part of your brain. The electrodes are connected to a generator implanted in your chest near your collarbone that sends electrical pulses to your brain and may reduce your Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Who is most at risk?

  • Middle aged and older individuals are most at risk. It is rare for a young adult to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s but it is not improbable. 
  • If Parkinson’s has occurred in your immediate family, the risk factor increases, though it is not definitive. 
  • Men are more likely than women to develop Parkinson’s. 
  • People who have had consistent exposure or have worked with herbicides or pesticides have an increased probability. 
There are currently a number of clinical trials being conducted to develop newer, more effective drugs to help with prevention, and to improve quality of life for those with the disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation was established to help find a cure through an aggressively funded research agenda to accelerate breakthrough findings. At least 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. For them, and those at various stages of the disease, finding a cure would be the ultimate game changer.

If you are on a prescribed medication to help manage Parkinson’s symptoms, or for any other condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References: People, MediFocus, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, WebMD

By WHBlogger
07/24/2014

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Smoking

257652-1-0 The general consensus on smoking is that it is a habit that poses significant health risks to those who smoke and to those around them. But smoking is more than a habit – it’s an addiction, one we have not bothered to include when we talk about alcohol and drug addiction.

What’s in a cigarette?

When you take a puff on a cigarette, you are inhaling any where between 4,000-7,000 different chemicals and almost 70 of them can lead to cancer, more than 500 have been approved by the government, for use in the manufacturer of cigarettes.  A partial list of these ingredients include:

  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Hydrogen Cyanides
  • Ammonia Methane
  • Arsenic
  • Nicotine
  • Tar
  • Formaldehyde
This toxic pool of chemicals can damage not only the lungs and a person’s airway system, it can eventually damage the body’s ability to get rid of images-10mucus and germs which can lead to emphysema and bronchitis. That’s just part of the damage that smoking can cause.

Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine is a substance made naturally by several plants including the tobacco plant. It is considered an antiherbivore and used as an insecticide. In humans, nicotine acts as a stimulant raising the feeling of alertness, euphoria, and a sensation of being relaxed.

Nicotine addiction has been compared to heroin addiction because it is one of the most difficult habits to kick. Smokers who attempt to quit experience significant withdrawal symptoms that often include cravings, a sense of emptiness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, irritability, and inattentiveness. The fact that cigarette companies continued increasing the levels of nicotine by almost 10% for 6 years, between 1998 and 2004, has made it even harder for regular smokers to give it up.

How to Quit

There is no magic pill to help you stop smoking. Kicking the habit is often a battle of wills. You might think that just knowing what smoking is doing to your body, brain cells and to the people you love, might be enough to help you put it down forever, but addictions are seldom easy to walk away from. Today, those seeking help with quitting have a number of ways to get started, and to complete the journey toward kicking the smoking habit.

The Mayo Clinic suggests the following:

  • Nicotine replacement therapy – Something to speak with your health care professional about. There are nose sprays and inhalers o-QUIT-SMOKING-HEART-facebookavailable, but make sure that you get your doctor’s approval before using any of these.
  • Avoid triggers – Become aware of what things in daily life push your buttons and makes you reach for a cigarette. If you know what these triggers are, you can create a plan to help you avoid them or to help you work through them.
  • Delay – Feel an urge to light up? Find a way to delay having that cigarette for as long as you can – distract the urge by doing something you like or by keeping yourself busy.
  • Chew on it – Having something in your mouth is usually what a cigarette is all about. Substitute the cigarette with sugarless gun, a carrot, celery stick or other healthy snacks.
  • Don’t have ‘just one’ – Avoid the little voice inside telling you that you can stop at one. Don’t believe it. Remind yourself of the goal and why you are doing this. Picture how much better it feels not to have hot smoke coursing through your lungs.
Remember that every day without smoking, means another day your body has to repair the damage – every day without a cigarette means one day closer to a healthier you.

If you are on a prescribed medication to help you stop smoking, or for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone. 

References
: Lung.org, Mayo Clinic, PBS, Medical News Today, Cancer.org, Smokefree.gov, WebMD

By WHBlogger
07/24/2014

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Summer Food Safety Tips

According to recent statistics, about 48 million cases of food poisoning are reported each year, and most ofimgres-4 them happen during the summer months. This is due to bacteria, which is the result of poor food handling practices and higher temperatures that can lead to disaster.

To that end, we have gathered some helpful food safety tips issued and endorsed by the FDA, CDC, FoodSafety.gov and FSIS.USDA to make sure that you know the steps to good food handling and preparations specifically as they pertain to meat, poultry and fish.

Shopping

It begins at the grocery store before you even get to actually preparing your food.

What should you be aware of?

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  • Choose packages of meat, poultry and fish products that are properly sealed. Make sure that they have not been punctured or if frozen, that there are no signs of freezer burn.
  • Always handle meat, poultry and fish properly. Place these products in a plastic bag to avoid cross contamination in your grocery cart and food bags.
  • Make sure to take a cold storage container such as a cooler with you if you don’t plan to head home immediately after shopping. This will reduce bacterial growth, especially when there are higher outdoor temperatures.
  • Place your cooler in the back seat, not the trunk of your car.

Storage

Refrigeration is our best defense against food spoiling. At home, proper storage of meat, poultry and fish will ensure they not just last longer, but remain fresh, tasty and bacteria free. The FDA offers these easy tips:

  • Refrigerate or freeze these perishable products right away. (Stick to the two-hour rule, don’t leave meat, poultry, seafood or eggs out longer.)
  • Keep temperature of refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C).
  • Make sure to store according to label instructions.
  • Don’t just rely on expiration dates – look for signs of spoilage. If it looks or smells suspicious, throw it out.

Preparation

When you are ready to prepare your meat, poultry and fish, whether on a grill outdoors or indoors on aWashing-hands stove top, here are some good ways to ensure your good experience is an enjoyable one:

  • Wash your hands and surface well. If you are away from home or outdoors, rinse with bottle water or use disposable towelettes (always be prepared).
  • If grilling your meat, poultry or fish, make sure the grill has been properly cleaned before using.
  • Cook at the right temperature. (Use a thermometer to check internal temperature of your meats and poultry.)
  • Do not place raw food with cooked food.
  • Refrigerate cooked perishables. Do not leave out for more than 2 hours.

Want to enjoy those leftovers the next day or the next week, these practical steps will make that possible:

  • Place leftovers in plastic containers or bags, and refrigerate immediately.
  • Discard any cooked meat, poultry or fish that has been out for more than 2 hours without proper refrigeration.
  • Leftovers should be used within 4 days.

If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References: Nofrillssupermarkets.com, helpwithcooking.com, FDA.gov,foodsaftey.gov, hpba.com, Familyeducation.com

By WHBlogger
6/24/2014

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

What is Alzheimer’s?

rita hayworth

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

What we understand about Alzheimer’s is that it is a type of aggressive dementia that affects the brain by essentially erasing an individual’s memory bank. This happens over time, as all of the connections in the brain that allow for easy exchange of information, become corroded by plaque and stop functioning.  

Alzheimer’s is most prevalent among seniors over the age of 65.  However,  recently, early-onset cases have been found among younger individuals.  

Alzheimer’s is not and should not be considered a natural part of aging.

The Face of Alzheimer’s

One of the earliest faces of Alzheimer’s was the beautiful WWII pin-up, actress Rita Hayworth. Though she was not the first patient, by the time her condition became public, many people in the field of medicine as well as the public had long forgotten the 40-year-old woman first identified with the disease by German physician Alois Alzheimer, back in 1906.

But it was Hayworth who put a public face on the condition and through her daughter’s efforts, lifted the disease from obscurity. Over the course of many years, Hayworth endured frequent misdiagnoses because of her descent into alcoholism. It wasn’t until 1979 that a New York psychiatrist, Ronald Fieve, confirmed that she had been suffering from Alzheimer’s.  The disease would take her life eight years after her diagnosis.

What should you know about this disease?

Experts say that about 5 million Americans 65 years of age and older have Alzheimer’s. Less than 5% of the population suffers early-onset Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, while the disease, for the most part remains a mystery, “scientists have pinpointed several rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s. People who inherit these rare genes tend to develop symptoms in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.” This type of Alzheimer’s is known as familial. From studies currently in progress, it is speculated that Alzheimer’s is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.

Scientists are also looking at possible links between Alzheimer’s and other diseases that might act as triggers, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

As more people live longer, doctors believe that more people will be diagnosed with the disease. Right now “the number of people with Alzheimer’s doubles at every 5-year interval.”

Alzheimer’s is irreversible. At the moment there is no known way to stop its progress once diagnosed. It is a slow degenerative disease that occurs in three stages – “an early, preclinical state with no symptoms; middle stage of mild cognitive impairment; and a final stage of Alzheimer’s dementia.”  It is often called THE LONG GOOD BYE.

What we do know is that “plaques and tangles in the brain are two of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease.” The affects are memory loss and impaired thinking as brain cells begin to die. Patients become forgetful, have difficulty with time, language skills and their ability to recognize even loved ones is diminished.

The disease is often misdiagnosed.

    What can you do?

    The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America wants       you to know the early warning signs:

  • Memory loss (is the most common sign, an inability to retain any information as it is given).Symptoms
  • Misplacing items and placing things in odd places (car keys in a blender is a good example).
  • Difficulty concentrating & planning (inability to do simple things such as following a recipe).
  • Getting lost (a visit to the corner store and home becomes a major challenge).
  • Difficulty with time (confusing things that happened in the past as having occurred more recently).
  • Language problems (inability to remember simple everyday words and difficulty putting sentences together).
  • Drastic change in mood and personality (paranoia, distrust, anxiety) 

As the disease worsens, individuals might become withdrawn and delusional.

The National Institute on Aging recommends if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, get tested and participate in clinical trials. “Beginning treatment early on in the disease process can help preserve function for some time, even though the underlying disease process cannot be changed.”

Give to research. So much about this disease is still unknown. Dollars toward research can help fast track important new treatment and continue the focus on better understanding the causes.

If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References: Healthline, Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, National Institute on Aging, Mayo Clinic, NIA/NIH

By WHBlogger

07/13/2014

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Asthma in Summer

For children and adults who suffer with asthma, summer can be both a blessing and a curse. 

Asthma attacks are linked to an increase in pollen, heat, and rain followed by high temperatures that allow the growth of mold. Additionally, asthma in summer is caused by poorer air quality, which can affect the average person, but has more serious consequences for people suffering with chronic breathing ailments (asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, allergies). Spending more time outdoors in warm weather can help alleviate some symptoms. 

Common Triggersimages-6

  • Changes in weather
  • Grill smoke, campfire smoke, as well as cigarette smoke
  • Chlorine can induce asthma-like symptoms in some people
  • Smog and air pollution

Always be prepared for seasonal triggers and make sure not to avoid taking your prescribed medications. And, if necessary, never leave your home for long periods without an inhaler–many triggers are unavoidable.

Knowing what might cause a mild to severe asthma attack is the best protection and will ensure that sufferers will have a safe and enjoyable summer.

WTH_webcard_printed BBBIf you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References: Medicine.net, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Live Science, Hello Life, WebMD
By WHBlogger

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

15 Safe Grilling Tips

images-1July is considered National Grilling Month, but it is safe to assume that most of us look forward to using our grills all summer long. And whether you are a weekend grill master or love firing up the grill every day, there are some grilling safety tips to follow to ensure that your grilling experience does not turn into a disaster.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that all types of grills (gas, charcoal, etc.) are responsible for upwards of 7,000 home fires around this time of the year.

15 Safe Grilling Tips 

  1. Read your grill’s manual for proper instructions on using it.
  2. Never use an outdoor grill indoors.
  3. When grilling outdoors, keep your grill a safe distance from your home, and at least 10 feet from flammables.
  4. Grill in a well-ventilated area away from high traffic areas.
  5. If using a gas grill, check for leaks by rubbing a mixture of dish soap and water on the hoses. Turn gas on and check for bubbles, these are an indication there’s a leak.
  6. Make sure your grill is stable to avoid tipping over.
  7. If using an electric grill, keep electrical cords properly grounded and away from walkways to avoid tripping.
  8. Use proper barbecue utensils to avoid burns, splatter or other injuries.
  9. Wear clothing that will not expose you to additional injuries (short sleeves, mitts, apron).
  10. Always remain in control. Spread coal evenly to avoid flare-ups. And remove food from the grill before spritzing water to douse small flames.images-2
  11. Keep baking soda close by to control grease fires, and have a fire extinguisher handy.
  12. Never grill if you’ve been drinking and are intoxicated.
  13. A grill should never be left unattended once it is lit.
  14. Keep children and pets away from hot grills.
  15. Always allow your grill to cool before moving it.

Follow your city’s guide and rules for using, storing and transporting propane tanks used for your grill. Some cities also have safety tips for proper use of LP gas. A simple Internet search by city will easily provide that information.

Before using your grill, make sure it has been cleaned of any past residue, old smoke, food particles and grease that might harbor bacteria or could add to the possibility of a fire. Using hot, soapy water should do the trick. Get in the habit of cleaning your grill after every use.

References: NFPA, National Safety Council, HPBA, ABC News

Swimmer’s Ear: Cause and Treatment

images-4More than 2.4 million people a year report having swimmer’s ear. Most often affiliated with swimmers, swimmer’s ear is a condition that anyone can develop, though it is more prevalent among children. The cause is related to water that gets trapped in the ear canal, creating a moist environment where bacteria can grow.

5 Unexpected Causes of “Swimmer’s” Ear

  1. Too much bacteria from hot tubs or polluted water.
  2. Over cleaning the ear canal with cotton swabs or something similar.
  3. Certain chemicals such as hair spray or hair dye
    TIP: Avoid this by placing cotton balls in your ears when using these products.
  4. A cut in the ear canal.
  5. Other skin conditions, such as eczema or seborrhea.

images-3Swimmer’s Ear Symptoms:

  1. Drainage from the ear
  2. Ear pain, which may get worse when you pull on the outer ear
  3. Difficulty hearing
  4. Itching 
Treatment for swimmer’s ear can include simple warm compresses to the problem ear, over the counter pain medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen. More serious symptoms might require a visit to the doctor who might prescribe antibiotics to help address the infection. 

Reduce Your Risk

  1. Keep ears dry
  2. Use earplugs and bathing caps
  3. Use a towel to dry your ears well
  4. Tilt head allow each ear to drain out after swimming
  5. Using a dryer on low can help dry ear passage (hold at a safe distance)
  6. Do not insert finger or other objects into your ear, you may risk permanent damage

Consult your health professional if you suspect that you might have swimmer’s ear. Remember, an ounce of prevention can translate into reduction in your health care expenses.

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References: The Mayo Clinic, Emedincehealth.com, WebMD, CDCAmerican Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryNational Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health
By: WHBlogger
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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