Health Information

Learn more about common health issues, or browse below for health tips on how to look and feel your best.

Proper Procedure for Sunscreen

To decrease the likelihood of developing skin cancer, wear a sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, and do the following:

  • Apply the sunscreen liberally over all exposed skin surfaces.
  • Put it on at least 20-30 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Even if you are wearing one of the waterproof varieties, you should reapply frequently as it wears off.

Hot Weather Exercise Tip

When exercising during hot weather, be sure to drink plenty of cool fluids. Not only will it help improve your performance, but it will reduce the chances of getting a heat-related illness. Try drinking two glasses of water prior to exercising, another glass every 20-25 minutes during exercise, and several after exercising to replace lost fluids.

The Best Time to Work Out

Since many people are prone to finding excuses for working out, the best time to do it is the time that will enable one to do it consistently. From a medical perspective, however, it may be best to exercise shortly after rising in the morning. The body is more likely to burn off fat following a night fast. Also, a study showed that 75 percent of morning exercisers were likely to still be at it one year later, as opposed to 50 percent of those who exercised at midday, and 25 percent of those who exercised in the evening. It seems that as the day progresses, would-be exercisers are more likely to think of excuses to avoid working out.

An Apple a Day...

There may actually be something to the expression "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," as the fruit is very healthy. Apples are a good source of vitamin C and potassium and are virtually fat free. A medium sized apple contains only 80 calories making it a good low-calorie snack. It also contains fiber and pectin which may help lower cholesterol. Finally, your teeth get a little cleaning due to an apple's crispness.

A Healthy Way to Eat Fast Food

Now there are many healthy choices at fast food restaurants. Try a grilled chicken sandwich or broiled lean hamburger instead of a cheeseburger and french fries. For toppings, select lettuce and tomato while eliminating special sauces and bacon. If you're having dessert, select low-fat frozen yogurt rather than a pie or cookies.

Pump Iron in Your Diet

With many Americans reducing their red meat consumption, there is likelihood they are not getting enough iron. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for women between the ages of 11 and 50 is 15 milligrams. For men and older women, the RDA is 10 milligrams a day. Try to eat or drink a lot of vitamin C at meal time as it helps the body absorb the iron in other foods. Also, choose whole grain cereal, pasta, bread, or foods that are labeled "enriched" or "fortified" with iron, and don't drink tea with meals. Tannic acid in tea can cut iron absorption by 50 percent.

Food Without Thought

It is well known that eating a large meal can make you sluggish, but now it appears that it can also decrease your ability to concentrate. Be sure to eat in moderation before an activity where you have to recall information, such as making a speech, taking an exam, or working on an intricate project.

Your Mind Affects Your Body

A good deal of research is looking at the relationship between one's emotional state and the likelihood of becoming ill. A study conducted at John Hopkins University of Medicine found that healthy adults possess the following characteristics: positive relationship with their parents during childhood, strong self-esteem, optimism, minimal depression, and an ability to cope with stress.

The Good, the Bad, and the Cholesterol

Research has shown that it is as important to have high levels of good cholesterol (HDL), which helps remove harmful cholesterol (LDL) from the bloodstream, as it is to have low levels of LDL, which transports cholesterol to cells of the body. For every ten milligrams you increase your HDL level, your heart attack risk can decrease by as much as 50 percent. Ways to increase HDL levels include losing weight, quitting smoking, and doing aerobic exercise on a regular basis.

Avoid Tetanus

Tetanus is a serious disease of the central nervous system. The tetanus bacterium can be found in the soil and can infect open sores or wounds. The main symptom is stiffness in the jaw and face ("lockjaw") that moves to the back and stomach. Other symptoms include pain while chewing, fatigue, headache, fever, and weakness. To prevent tetanus, adults should get a tetanus shot every 10 years.

Treatment for Burns

As a general rule, first and second degree burns that are smaller than a silver dollar can be treated without a doctor. First degree burns, such as a sunburn, are superficial and cause the skin to turn red. Second degree burns are deeper and tend to blister and ooze. First and second degree burns are painful. Third degree burns, however, are painless because nerve endings have been destroyed. They are charred, white, or cream colored. All third degree burns and second degree burns that are extensive or on the face should be treated by a physician.

Put Insomnia to Bed

An occasional sleepless night is nothing to lose sleep over, but if insomnia bothers you for three weeks or longer, it can be a real problem. Many old-fashioned remedies can cure insomnia. Avoid caffeine in all forms after lunchtime, don't nap during the day (no matter how groggy you feel), develop a regular bedtime routine, and read a dull book in bed. Don't watch TV as it may stimulate you.

Quick Freeze

If you need a quick, handy ice pack, use a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas or corn. The bag is clean and pliable, so it will wrap around most parts of the body.

Cold Sore War

Nothing is more annoying than a cold sore that appears right on the edge of your lip for all to see. To prevent cold sores, do your best to manage emotional and physical stress and limit exposure to the sun. If you must be in the sun, apply zinc oxide or sun block to the lips or other susceptible areas. Also, wash your hands frequently while the cold sore virus is active to prevent it from spreading.

Be Well By Doing Good

Although not given as much publicity as nutrition and fitness, being a volunteer may also have a positive effect on your health. A study found that in a group of 3,000 volunteers, 95 percent experienced increased optimism, decreased chronic pain, and a kind of euphoria often associated with long distance runners. In addition, 80 percent of the volunteers said that the good feelings returned when they reflected upon their experience.

Cold Hard Facts

Colds are caused by viruses, and there are more than 150 kinds. Since the cold virus is often transmitted through mucous, to prevent spreading, wash your hands often and use disposable tissues.

Sneezin' Season

The fact that hay fever has nothing to do with hay or fever is a small consolation to the 35 million sufferers. The best way to control this problem is to minimize exposure to allergens. Keep windows and doors shut and stay inside when the pollen count or humidity is high, dust frequently, and keep household pets outside.