A Doctor Explains Why Cruise Ships Should Be Banned

11.19.2014

By Kent Sepkowitz M.D. More than 150 passengers on a California cruise ship came down with norovirus, continuing a trend that happens every year. From a medical standpoint, it’s time to call it quits on cruises. As an infectious-disease specialist, I still surprise friends and family with my unworried attitude regarding my risk of catching most infectious diseases. I have cared for patients with highly resistant TB without a pause; I have weathered anthrax and flu and Ebola-is-going-to-kill-us-all-within-the-hour panics with a bored shrug. As infants, my kids ate food right off the floor without washing or boiling. I don’t carry Purell and can’t imagine why any sane person would consider it. But there is one thing that scares me to death, a single place so threatening, so teeming with contagious organisms that I can’t believe that it is a $36 billion worldwide industry—a place people pay to spend time. Cruise …

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4 easy ways to cut calories from your lunchbag

11.15.2014

Here’s how to boost your noontime nutrition Kids aren’t the only ones who like noshing on cheese and cold cuts on soft, squishy white bread. Ask a few grown-ups and they will probably vote for that combo in their lunch sack over veggie sticks and salads any day. If that’s you, don’t feel guilty about it. Go with what you like—just look for ways to make it a little healthier. Our nutrition pros did a better-for-you redo of some lunchbox favorites. Skip the soda and wash everything down with water. 1. Instead of white bread, try whole-grain white bread They look and taste about the same, but whole-grain white bread—a combo of regular white flour and whole-grain flour—has more than double the fiber. 2. Instead of American cheese slices, try Swiss cheese slices The fat and calories may be similar, but Swiss cheese has 80 percent less sodium per slice. …

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Are Coffee And Wine Good For You?

11.04.2014

In moderation, they might offer some benefits but not when consumed in vast quantities For many people, the day begins with a cup of coffee and ends with a glass of red wine. If you have seen the headlines touting the health benefits of both beverages—and you’re among the 61 percent of Americans who down a daily cup of java or the 31 percent of drinkers who prefer a glass of wine to other alcoholic beverages—you’ve probably been thrilled to watch former vices morph into virtues. But how good are the drinks for your health? Here’s the latest. Some research shows that coffee and wine, when consumed in moderation, may have similar benefits, such as increasing life span, boosting blood flow, and diminishing the risk of depression. And coffee and red wine have been found to contain antioxidants, which may prevent disease. But the beverages aren’t just bundles of antioxidants; …

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Ebola And The Flu

10.05.2014

While the Ebola virus is responsible for 3,338 deaths in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization, more than 226,000 Americans are hospitalized with flu and approximately 36,000 die from flu-related complications every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the daunting thing is that less than half of Americans got a flu shot last year!!! Even though it is recommended for everyone. It’s great that everyone is tuned in to what is going on with Ebola, especially since there have been cases in the US. It is a real learning experience for all of us. Hopefully people will appreciate that, while there is no cure or vaccine for Ebola, THERE IS A VACCINE FOR FLU which kills people every year. Encourage your colleagues, friends and family to get flu vaccine this year. Boca Regional Urgent Care has the best vaccine out there, the Fluzone …

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Emergency Care vs. Urgent Care

09.22.2014

It can be frightening when a sudden illness or injury strikes, especially if your regular doctor is not available. You need to make a choice quickly about where to get the medical attention you need. But, it’s also important to have all the facts before you seek care. What Are My Options? Emergency Rooms: Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day for potentially life-threatening emergencies. Many plans cover some portion of emergency care no matter where you are, even out of their network area. Once your condition is stable, you will generally be moved to an in-network provider for follow-up care. You may have an ER co-payment, co-insurance or deductible. You may also have an additional out-of-network charge. If you have questions about what constitutes an emergency, or about what emergency costs are covered, call your insurer. Urgent Care Centers: These centers have extended hours and are not equipped …

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Will you be able to help your college age child in a medical emergency?

09.07.2014

The HIPAA privacy rule requires you to have a signed authorization Don’t get stuck in an information vacuum if your son or daughter ends up in the ER. Early one October morning, Sheri E. Warsh, a mother of three from Highland Park, Ill., stepped out of the shower to a ringing phone. On the other end, her 18-year-old son’s college roommate delivered terrifying news: Her son—270 miles away at the University of Michigan—was being rushed by ambulance to a nearby emergency room with severe, unrelenting chest pain. “I was scared out of my mind, imagining the worst,” Warsh said. In a panic, she called the ER for details. What she got instead was a total rebuff from the nurse. “She asked me how old my son was, and when I said 18, she told me I had no right to talk to the doctor,” Warsh said. Think the nurse was …

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Four Common Mistakes in Treating Back Pain

08.29.2014

Why you probably don’t need an MRI, strong drugs, bed rest, or back surgery With back pain, less really is more. Up to 90 percent of people who see a doctor in the first three days of a back attack get better within two weeks, regardless of what they do. Aggressive tests and treatments can waste your money and actually slow your recovery. Here are four common mistakes in treating back pain—and what to do instead. Mistake 1: Rushing to test Back pain can be so intense that your first thought might be that you need an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to see exactly what is going on with your spine. But most people who have those tests within a month of the onset of pain don’t get better faster and might get worse. Why? Scans often show small abnormalities that aren’t the cause of the pain but can …

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August is National Immunization Month

08.17.2014

(StatePoint) August, which is National Immunization Month, is a great reminder to keep your family up-to-date on important vaccines. With the kids headed back to school and the upcoming flu season ahead, everyone, young and old, should brush up on the facts about vaccines, say experts. For example, did you know that most healthy adults are advised to get vaccines to protect their health? Anyone can become ill from infectious disease if he or she isn’t properly immunized. Most adults should get an annual influenza vaccine, as well as a Tdap booster shot every ten years, say doctors. Children heading to crowded classrooms are especially at risk for spreading or acquiring illnesses. Parents should check with their pediatricians before the school year about what immunizations their children need to stay healthy for the year ahead. From measles, mumps and rubella to polio, booster shots are crucial life-saving medical care for …

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Eating Raw Veggies Best for Blood Pressure

08.11.2014

Your blood pressure benefits when you eat lots of veggies. A recent study suggests the biggest benefit may come from eating your vegetables raw. In the study, researchers from Imperial College in London followed nearly 2,200 people from Japan, People’s Republic of China, United Kingdom and the United States for three years. The researchers wanted to see how the vegetables the people ate would affect their blood pressure. The researchers also were interested in whether there is a difference in health benefits between eating cooked or raw vegetables. Results showed that raw vegetables were associated with a lower blood pressure overall. The researchers did not count cooked white potatoes and sweet potatoes as vegetables because of their high starch content. What’s the difference between cooked and raw? What’s the nutritional difference between cooked and raw? When you cook vegetables, you change their chemical composition. Depending on the method, cooking can …

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Regular Exercise Can Help Kids Do Better in School

08.01.2014

Physical activity may not be the first thing parents or teachers think about when they want to boost a child’s academic performance, but evidence supports the notion that a bit of exercise for the body is beneficial to the brain as well. In fact, kindergarteners who participated in Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS), a free before-school program involving physical activity and nutrition education, had significantly improved memory skills as rated by teachers, compared to their peers who did not participate. A study of the children’s performance also concluded that those who participated in the program exhibited good behavior in the classroom. “A sedentary life and poor eating habits can lower kids’ performance in the classroom and start a cycle of health problems later in life,” says Kathleen Tullie, Founder and Executive Director of BOKS and the Director of Social Responsibility for Reebok. “Simply stated, a healthy body and a healthy …

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