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Nurse Bridgid

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Can I drink on antibiotics?

It's a question that I get asked frequently, and I do tell people not to drink while they are taking antibiotics...I actually got into quite a heated discussion not too long ago about it, so I figured that most of the public is either getting mixed information, doesn't even think twice about it, or for some reason are too worried to ask their HCP.  I figured we could get that all cleared up and get everyone on the mend!

How do antibiotics work?
Basically, antibiotics are selective poison for a bacteria that is replicating/growing in your body.  And each antibiotic has a different way of working, so one antibiotic might be absorbed into your body and into the bloodstream, get to the source of infection, and cut off the glucose supply to the bacteria, essentially starving the bacterial cells to kill them off.  And others work to invade the bacterial cells and destroy them from the inside.  So, the reason that there are so many different antibiotics on the market is because they are each made to kill off a specific type of bacteria and the way that they act is also very specific.  Your antibiotic chosen by your HCP is done very specifically to the type of bacteria present and the site of infection.  One thing that all antibiotics have in common is that they are excreted from either your liver or kidneys.

Can I drink on them?
The old adage is that alcohol counteracts antibiotics: alcohol doesn't counteract the effects of the antibiotics. There are there antibiotics, specifically, that you really should not mix with alcohol: metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax), and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim).  Mixing alcohol with these three antibiotics can lead to a very severe reaction with a rapid heart rate, drop in blood pressure, and it can be very dangerous.  In general, alcohol can enhance the side effects of the antibiotics like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing (like getting a red face), or dizziness, and drowsiness.  Essentially, if you are on antibiotics and you drink alcohol, you get very drunk, much faster than you normally would. Also, you need to think about the fact that alcohol is excreted through your liver and kidneys....exactly where the antibiotics are broken down and excreted.  So drinking alcohol and taking antibiotics (or any other drug really) can put a lot of strain on your liver and kidneys. But here's the deal: you are on antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection somewhere in your body, and you are usually low on energy and not feeling well because your immune system pulls all its energy together to fight off the bacteria and the antibiotics just assist your body, so why mess with that and drink?  Why do you want to put alcohol in your system that will make you feel crappier the next day, when you already don't feel well?

Bottom line? Don't drink while taking antibiotics.  If you feel good enough to go out and drink, you most likely do not need antibiotics AND if you literally cannot stop drinking to take a week off of drinking, you need to get help, and tell your HCP when they are giving you the prescription.

Yours in Good Health

Friday, January 27, 2012

In a slump?

I am sure that everyone has a "thing" that they notice about other people, and therefore work on it themselves, or try to prevent it from happening. So what is one of my "things"?  Posture.  I am constantly seeing people who are totally haunched over, thinking that they are walking upright, and it makes me sad when I see young people with poor posture, because it doesn't give of a great first impression, but also think of all of those muscles that you aren't using which will just make your posture worse and worse as you age.  There is nothing better than seeing someone walk into a room standing straight and tall, they appear confident, strong, and ready to tackle the next obstacle.  Here are some tips to get you upright and sitting pretty!

What can I do?
1. First, stand in front of a mirror and stand up straight, if your shoulders are slouched forward, pull them back, keep your core muscles taut, and your ears should align with your shoulders and hips, with feet flat on the ground. This is how you feel when you are standing straight up....remember this and try to realign to this when you are out and about and feel yourself slouching!
2. If you are at work and sitting in your chair, make sure that your lower back is supported and that you keep your ears, shoulders, and hips still aligned. BUT most importantly is to keep moving every 2 minutes or so, shifting your weight, so that muscles don't get over strained from holding the same position; even small shifts in pressure and weight can make a huge difference.
3. Get 20-30minutes of aerobic exercise a day, whether it is walking, running, biking, or swimming. It all helps to strengthen your core muscles and the muscles you need to stand up straight and tall!
4. Perform core exercises like holding a plank pose (elbows on the ground, but otherwise in a push-up position) hold for 30-60 seconds and do it 5 times (with breaks in between), increasing the amount of time you hold the pose and the amount of reps.
5. Perform exercises that strengthen your upper back and shoulder muscles:
- Keep arms out straight (from shoulder outwards) and with a weight that feels comfortable, curl into your shoulders then back out straight, keep your ears aligned with your shoulders, and keep one fluid motion.  If the weights are too heavy, start with a lighter weight and increase the reps and weight.
-Start with arms out straight again, with whatever weight feels comfortable, slowly lower arms to your sides, then raise them back up (again playing with weights and reps for whatever feels comfortable to you).
6. DO YOGA!!  Yoga helps you to stretch and be present with every movement of your body, so you know how to feel proper alignment, and what feels wrong, probably is wrong.  A great way to learn your body.

Just remember what proper posture feels like (from when you looked in the mirror and stood straight and tall), and actively think about it when you are walking around.  Eventually it will become habit to you, but at first, you really need to be cognizant of your posture and keeping your body upright.  If you are tired, and feel yourself with bad posture, pull yourself up, it will give you a boost of energy and actually make you feel better.  Keep working those muscles and stand up tall, you'll notice a difference, and so will everyone else!!

Yours in Good Health

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whats' your Aura?

I am a huge fan of trying things that are new and healthy, promote wellness, and of course add organic to the mix, and I am head over heels in love.  There was a new product I saw the other day in my local grocers organic produce area, called Aura Water.  It seemed intriguing, so I tossed it in my basket and headed on my way...I am SO GLAD I DID!!

What is Aura Water?
It is Natural Botanical water that is 100% naturally enhanced, and infused with herbal extracts and fruit juice. They come in three flavors, which is what really got me: cucumber lemon rosemary, orange basil, and grapefruit sage.  Let me go on record as saying that each flavor is just as amazing as the next, but my favorite is the grapefruit sage.  They are all crisp, refreshing, and they really taste healthy and natural.

The Real Scoop?
 Each bottle has 15.2 oz and approximately two servings, with each serving being around 45calories AND a full serving of fruit, along with 100% recommended daily value of vitamin C and 50% of your Vitamin B3, B5, B6, and B12.  There is no added sugar or artificial flavors.  So, you may be adding 90 calories to your diet BUT you are getting vitamins, one serving of fruit, and and extra 500 mls of fluid into your day.  The product is made by Bolthouse Farms, which is an innovative health and wellness company from California, that grows and processes their own fruits and vegetables; so the fruits and herbs that are used in these beverages are as fresh as possible and grown in the good old USA!

I think that these are a great supplement beverage for your day, not to drink constantly, there are some calories involved, but it gets you added vitamins, and a whole serving of fruit while you are busy and on the go. Plus, it is great for me to add into the mix of my beverage selections, because I usually just drink water or sparkling water, and I am constantly running around, and rarely have time to add in extra fruit while I'm at work.  Give it a try, and I promise you won't be disappointed, they are amazing!!!

Yours in Good Health

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anorgasmia: Are you effected?

I get a lot of questions, mostly from women, about how they can reach an orgasm , because they never have before, and have tried "everything" and still cannot reach orgasm.  Sadly, it's kind of a common occurrence and 1 in 5 women experience what is known as anorgasmia.  And 1/3 of women cannot consistently have orgasms with sexual intimacy, or they are just not happy with the orgasms they have.  Thats a bummer, but the good news is that there are a few things you can do to try and change that!

What is anorgasmia?
Literally it is difficulty or inability to reach orgasm with ample sexual stimulation.   An orgasm is the release of intense physical pleasure, followed by involuntary contractions of your pelvic floor muscles. It can be amazing, but  it causes many women a significant amount of distress to not be able to reach that level of stimulation.  All orgasms very in intensity, frequency, and amount of stimulation to lead to that defining moment, and it can clearly be really frustrating for women who can never get to that point, or never be satisfied with how their bodies respond.  There are three levels:
Primary: Never being able to reach orgasm.
Secondary: You were once able to reach orgasm but no longer can.
Situational: Only being able to reach orgasm in  certain situations, like only with direct clitoral stimulation, in the form of masturbation (around 80% of women).

Why does this happen?
There are three main reasons that these forms of anorgasmia can occur:
Physical Problems:
-Chronic medical issues: such as diabetes, vascular disease, or cardiac issues can impede blood flow, and any form of surgery that is performed on/in your sexual regions (hysterectomy, etc)can lead to issues with orgasm later on.
-Medications: The biggest offenders are SSRI's (a form of antidepressant) and it can affect both men and women equally (leading to erectile dysfunction in men.
-Alcohol: while it can put you in the mood, it can impede you from actually reaching true orgasm.
-Aging: It is just part of the aging process, just like a drop in the estrogen levels due to menopause and a decrease in blood flow.
Psychological Issues:
-Anxiety and Depression: Can cause the neurotransmitters to be off and
-Guilt related to sex
-Stress related to the sexual situation or STD's
Relationship Issues:
-Lack of intimacy/connection with your partner
-Lack of trust
-Poor communication related to sexual needs

What can we do to fix this??
First of all, you need to learn your body.  Understand where your clitoris is, what is it is, and what feels good to you.  So use a mirror, check out your goods, and play around to see what feels good; there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, and it is totally healthy! If you have a partner, talk to them about what feels good, or buy a kama sutra (or another adult book) and play around with different positions that excite YOU and will stimulate your clitoris....if it doesn't work, no harm no foul, try a different position, it's just sex, and it's fun!  If there are relationship issues, therapy can help to work through those problems, and allow for you and your partner to feel more connected, and allow for a better chance of orgasm.  Also Sex Therapists can help you and your partner to learn some new techniques to reach orgasm, and to learn some moves that might just feel good and there is no stress or worry related to attempting to reach orgasm.  If it's a medical issue (or related to medications), talk to your HCP to see if you can switch medications that might work better for you, and sometimes hormone replacement therapy can be helpful.  Also, Zestra is a massage oil said to stimulate blood to the clitoral area and ArginMax is a nutritional supplement that is said to increase blood flow to the clitoris. As always, talk to your HCP before starting any supplements or OTC meds!

What it comes down to, is that you need to feel relaxed and comfortable with your body, if you don't, you won't reach orgasm.  And, you need to understand what works best for you, play around by yourself AND with a partner...maybe use some "adult" viewing to get some inspiration, or purchase an adult "body massager" to help stimulate your clitoris while you are having sex, or just with your partner.  When you learn to feel good about yourself, relaxed, and you are able to communicate to your partner what you want done, you are most likely to have an orgasm.  If all this fails, talk to your HCP and get a physical exam, maybe there is something else going on that can be women are such finicky creatures, and there is always something we can try to make you feel that ultimate pleasure!

Yours in Good Health

Friday, January 20, 2012


In honor of mental health week, I thought that I would talk a little bit about anxiety: something that affects us all, in different ways, and totally different levels.  We all face stress, and we all get some form of anxiety, and every single person has a different way of dealing with it...some healthy, and some not so healthy.  I want people to know the difference between "normal" anxiety and "I really need some help" anxiety, and how we can treat it.  Anxiety disorders can start as a child and be a lifetime battle, or it can crop up at any point in your life.

What are some symptoms of anxiety?
Restlessness, feeling "on edge"
Constant worry about issues (small or large)
Difficulty concentrating
Poor sleeping (unable to get to sleep OR waking up in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep- constant exhaustion)
Constant muscle pains/strains (i.e. that tension that might occur in your back, shoulders, etc)
Rapid heartbeat
Shortness of breath

What can put you at a higher risk for anxiety disorders?
-Simply being a woman (gross!): women have a 2 times higher rate of anxiety than men
-Personality: Some personality types are more prone to be anxious (hello Type A! I'm not judging, I am a Typer A'er!)
-Genetics: If you come from a family of worriers and stressed out people, you are much more likely to sweat the small stuff.
-Trauma: Anyone who has survived a trauma (childhood, adult) as either a bystander OR someone directly involved in the event, you are much more likely to develop an anxiety disorder if you don't get help to cope with the situation.
-Chronic Illness: If you have a chronic medical problem which can have flare-ups or cause you to require medical treatment on and off, it can be a constant stressor.
-Substance Abuse: The use of drugs and alcohol can make general anxiety disorders worse, but people try to use the drugs and alcohol to treat the anxiety,and it leads to a very unhealthy cycle of "self treatment".

What can happen to me when I have an anxiety disorder?
-Chronic headaches
-Substance abuse
-Digestive difficulty
-Teeth grinding (TMJ)

What will my HCP be looking for?
Just like a medical diagnosis, with anxiety disorders there are some criteria that HCP's are looking for to "diagnose" you with a general anxiety disorder:
-Excessive worry or anxiety about numerous events several days out of the week
-Difficulty controlling your feelings of worry
-Anxiety or worry that interferes with your activities of daily living
-Anxiety that isn't related to another mental health condition (like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, etc)
-And at least three of the following symptoms: insomnia, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension.

OK. SO what do we do?  How do we treat this?
Alternative therapies:
-Exercise: Many studies have shown that daily exercise of 30 minutes (at least) can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
-Eat Healthy: cut out processed foods, fatty, and high sugar foods and add things that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B
-Avoid Alcohol and other drugs: as I said before, they can make things worse!
-Use relaxation techniques: yoga, mediation, and take time for yourself to shut off your phone, TV, and all other stimulation if only for 20 minutes a day, or when anxiety is at it's worst.
-Sleep: shut off your TV, set a bedtime, get into a routine to help your mind turn off.
-Kava*: can help to promote relaxation, but be careful if you have any liver disorders.
-Valerian*: It can help promote sleep and help with relaxation
*talk to your HCP before starting any new supplements!
-Antidepressants: can help reduce anxiety and fight off the depressant hat can come with anxiety (i.e.Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor).
-Benzodiazepines: sedatives for SHORT-term relief of anxiety, they should only be used for anxiety attacks and for other sporadic treatment of anxiety, not every day and NOT for long-term use- they can make anxiety worse if taken long-term.
-Buspirone: Can take weeks to get full effect, but can be used for longterm or ongoing treatment of general anxiety disorders.
-Psychotherapy: AKA Talk therapy. For some people scheduling an hour a week of talking to someone who won;t judge you and can help to shape your behavior really works, and I suggest that anyone taking medication is also getting psychotherapy, they really enhance one another!

So many people have anxiety, we live in a high stress world, and I see people all the time that try to combat their stress with drugs and alcohol, because they don't understand that what they are doing is self-"treating" their anxiety. And I see other people that end up completely breaking down from stress and unable to live their lives. In times of high stress, like a family member is sick, or you are tight for money, etc these things might happen for a few days/weeks.  BUT is this your life?  Am I describing things that you feel every single day?  If so, you need to talk to your HCP to get help and it is not a sign of weakness, it is not something to be embarrassed about- EVERYONE needs a helping hand sometimes!If you have any of these symptoms, PLEASE GET HELP!  If you know someone who needs help, urge them to go to their HCP, bring them to the Emergency Room if it is life threatening; just make sure that your love ones get treated and ask for help- there are tons of people out there to help and support you.  You aren't dealing with stress and anxiety alone, I promise, and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.  Please talk to someone, and your HCP, and just tell them what you are going through, we can help you!

Yours in Good Health

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shaper Shoes: Worth the price tag?

There was a time when everyone I knew was purchasing these "shaping" shoes, saying that they were going to have amazing shaped booties and calves, without a hard workout, just from walking around. I never joined the trend but I didn't buy into it either.  Some interesting new information from independent studies is coming out about these shoes, and it really questions not only if the shoes help to build muscles and burn more calories, but can they actually cause harm?? Yikes!

What's the Claim?
The shoes are basically created so that they are unsteady, thus requiring you to use more energy and different muscles when walking, doing everyday chores, this shaping and toning your abs, glutes, calves, quads, etc (basically from toes to tummies, they claim every muscle will tone up).  The companies have said that basically, they created shoes to emulate when you are walking on sand and each step you take, is harder than if you were walking on a flat surface. So, the companies claim that by wearing their unstable shoes, the muscles you will use to stabilize yourself and propel yourself forward will help to use new muscles and tone the ones you have.

What have the studies shown?
Most recently, there was a study performed by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) comparing people working out on treadmills at various inclines and rates, and measuring blood pressures, heart rates, respiratory rates, etc. on people who were wearing the shape up shoes versus those wearing regular athletic shoes. They found absolutely no difference, in that the people wearing the shape changing shoes, were not working any harder than those not wearing them. This means, they were not burning more calories, and most likely not toning up or building any other muscles, they would have a physical reaction and be working harder than those who weren't making those muscles.  Huh, right?  And, there have been a few lawsuits against these companies (Reebok, Sketchers, and Masai Barefoot Technology are the three largest companies) that gross over $1.5 Billion a year!  People are suing claiming that they saw no results, and that the companies are boasting false other words, they saw no booty tightening or calf toning seen after months of use!  And, some people are even claiming they have been injured.

So, CAN you get hurt?
The bottom line is that these shoes are created to be unstable, so that you can use your muscles to strengthen your muscles by stabilizing yourself and allowing your body to walk normally.  Thus, anyone with ANY form of muscle or joint issues that can cause difficulty walking, can actually get HURT from these shoes, or worsen problems that they have had.  Plus, anyone with balance issues probably should steer clear of these shoes, they don't need their shoes causing instability.  Also, if women with low bone density trip due to these shoes, break a leg bone or hip, they can have lifelong mobility issues.

Is a possibly tighter butt and calves worth a lifetime of mobility issues?  I would rather wear regular shoes and weight train at the gym a few times a week- better results and less chance of tripping and breaking a hip!  Plus, the studies have not shown that these shoes help you one bit.  It's another one of those magic beans kind of situation, and I am all for something that would help you strengthen muscles without even realizing it, so you can spend the cash and wear them if you want, but you might want to invest in some'll be better off in the long run!

Yours in Good Health

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Broken Heart Syndrome

There is another reason to worry about the living partner of someone who has recently passed away.  I know that close family and friends are always worried about the partner that survives because of depression and they always have questions related to: financial stability, how they will run a household, issues with children, etc. But there is one huge risk that has always been sort of a myth, and now it has shown to actually be true.

What is the scoop?
A study from Harvard (the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), just published last week in the journal Circulation, they found that there truly is a Broke Heart Syndrome: The risk of suffering a heart attack increases by approximately 21% in the first 24 hours after losing a loved one.  And for the first week of your mourning  period, the risk of heart attack remains 8 times above normal, and it remains elevated for up to a month after, but the risk does slowly decline throughout that time period.  Over 2,000 people were interviewed after heart attacks over a five year period, asking about events that might trigger a heart attack, including losing a close loved one, and it was a positive risk factor for many of the people interviewed.

What actually happens?
When you are mourning the loss of a close loved one, there are many feelings that you might have related to your depression, such as stress, anxiety, and anger.   These feelings can lead to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and if you are already at risk for a heart attack, that can put you in a dangerous state.  As well, due to the stress response by the body, and all of the hormones that are released, your blood is at a higher risk to clot. This is basically the "trifecta" for a heart attack: easily clotting blood, increased heart rate,and elevated blood pressure.  Even those in optimal health would feel the strains on their body, but if you have any other medical history or any other risk factors, you are at a greatly increased risk for heart attack, just due to the loss of a loved one.

Can anything help?  
Of course, having the knowledge that this actually can, and does, occur is crucial to being able to prevent it, right?  So when you know someone who is going through this grief period or through a new loss, we need to make sure that they are getting medical attention, if they have any signs or symptoms of extreme stress, or if they have complaints of increased heart rate, and they should have their blood pressure checked if they are feeling unwell at all.  We need to make sure that they are getting their medical needs met.  Also strong social support and family at this crucial time can decrease the amount of stress: assisting with figuring out funeral arrangements, financial issues, making food, moving, and any other issue that may be leading to increased stress at this time. Showing love and support can go a long way, and keeping in tune with the person and their level of stress, can help save their life.  If you notice they aren't coping well, appear to be looking unwell, even if they don't say so to you, urge them to get help and to see their HCP so that we can make sure they are healthy and safe.

A family loss can be so difficult on everyone in their own ways, if you bond together instead of pulling apart, it can be healthy and helpful for everyone, and maybe save another life.

Yours in Good Health

Monday, January 16, 2012


I get a ton of requests from people to create optimal diets for them, which is kind of a hard thing to do for someone else.  I mean, I can create something based on what is good for you, meet protein, fat, calorie needs, etc but that doesn't mean you will LIKE the foods that I choose, right?  The USDA just went live at the end of December 2011 with a really awesome online tool to help you with your nutrition and weight loss goals at

What is the SuperTracker?
It helps to track your activity log, a food log, and you can get all sorts of information on how to make healthier choices.  There is a "food-a-pedia" where you can look up over 8,000 different foods and get the nutritional information, so say you are traveling, and at an airport/rest stop/etc and trying to make the healthiest choice, you can compare foods side by side to make the best choices.  You can also track the foods that you eat against your nutritional goals and choices, so you know just how "good" you have been at sticking to your diet.  The physical activity tracker helps to show you how many calorie you have burned throughout the week, and if you are any loser to your weight loss goals, let's say you had an amazing workout one day and two less than stellar workouts, mentally you might feel like you failed that week, but you might still be right on target! There is a weight manager, where you can weight yourself weekly, and enter the weights, and it will cheer you on or give you inspiration to be a little more diligent!  And, the best part is that you can create personalized reports of your progress...long term!  And the best part?  It's totally FREE!!!

I think this is AWESOME! How great is it that the US Government has created this tool to help us be healthier and proactive about our food, health, and wellness choices?  I think there is still tons of work that needs to be done, but I think this is so great to create an on-line food tracking, activity, and goal tracker so that we can make our own nutrition goals and stick with it, and it is available to anyone that has Internet access.  There are other options like this online, but none so comprehensive, all in one spot, and free.  I really encourage anyone who is looking to lose weight, and doing it on their own (i.e. not doing weight watchers or any other program), this is an awesome tool, and I think that everyone should give it a try and get a profile started, solely to compare foods to make healthy choices when out traveling, if nothing else!

SuperTracker is Super Awesome!  Thanks USDA!  Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Yours in Good Health

Friday, January 13, 2012

Decisions, decisions: Shaving, Waxing, Threading?

I get questions all the time from people with sensitive skin, excessive hair,  or just scared of waxing or threading but sick of shaving, and I am always asked what is best.  In all honesty, it is kind of  a crap shoot, and you need to figure out what is best for you BUT there are for sure pros and cons to each.  So I am going to give you the scoop on each and you can decide what works best with your lifestyle, body, wallet, and life in general!

Is simply removing hair with the use of a blade or razor, and cutting the hair off at skin level, nothing fancy, just clean and easy!  Of course there are eight million different razors on the market for men and women, some with one blade up to 5, electric razors, and some used wet and some is ridiculous how many razors there are on the market, and actually it is just mind boggling!
Pros: It is super fast, easy, and can be done pretty cheaply (if you buy cheap razors), and you can shave on your own schedule- all you need is running water.
Cons: It can also be pricey (again, razor choice related), depending on your skin type you can get razor burns (a rash that can occur from using a dull blade that can last for hours to days after shaving), razor bumps (constant inflammation of the skin- looking like bumps- from frequent shaving), and of course, you can cut yourself too!
Razors (straight blade): $10-$100
(then add in extras like lotion, new blades monthly/weekly, shaving cream, etc)

Its an ancient Eastern technique for hair removal, where a thin twisted cotton thread is twisted over the area of unwanted hair and it plucks the hair right at the level of the follicle.  Twisting of the thread, along with a skilled threader, pulls out straight lines of hair, all at the same time, and it can be relatively painless.
Pros: Because you aren't pulling at the skin and there are no chemicals applied, there is no redness or irritation, and it can be a great option for people that have difficulty getting a great shape to their brows :)
Cons: You need to make sure that you see a skilled technician, if not, they can just be breaking the hairs at the skin level, and re-growth is super fast, and outside of a big city, it is really hard to find people that are good at threading and know what they are doing, plus you need to have a little hair growth to get the process started like 1/16in of hair.  AND, it is usually only done on small areas likes the face, and nor for legs or other areas of unwanted hair.
Eyebrows: $12-20
Upper lip: $6-$20
Full Face: $30-$65

So I have already rocked a whole blog on the ins and outs of waxing but the one thing that I didn't really discuss is the price: Depending on what you want and where you go, the prices can be pretty high for monthly maintenance:
eyebrows:  as low as $15 up to $45
legs: as low as $50 up to $150
Brazilian bikini waxes: from $50 to $125.
So, making sure you are going somewhere reputable is the first battle, and finding the right price point is the second.  OR you can just be like NurseB and wax yourself for pennies on the dollar :)

So see what works best for your skin AND your wallet....and really just what you prefer! 

Yours in Good Health

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Update: Change in Tylenol doses!

Acetaminophen is the generic name for Tylenol, and it is an ingredient in many different products.  It can be found in NyQuil, Alka-Seltzer, Sudafed, and other OTC medications that you might take to treat other ailments, and completely by accident take an overdose of it.  Because of this risk, the Johnson & Johnson Co. has decreased the recommended daily amount of Tylenol, because it is very hard on your liver and an overdose, or taking high doses for long periods of time, can lead to liver failure.  Almost 60,000 people a year, in the US are admitted to the hospital from liver failure due to Acetaminophen overdose and around 500 of overdoses are fatal.

What is Acetaminophen?
Acetaminophen (AKA Tylenol) is a pain reliever and fever reducer, and it can be used to treat a plethora of conditions like: muscle pain, back aches, toothaches, headaches, colds, and fevers.  And, I said before, it is added (in different dosage amounts) to other medications to enhance the effects of the medications, check for ingredients, and if it says acetaminophen or APAP on the label, do not take the product if you are also taking Tylenol.  And in high doses, because Tylenol is excreted from the body through the liver, it can cause severe liver damage, and overdoses can occur, especially if you drink any alcohol....mixing alcohol and Tylenol is a BAD idea and can lead to liver failure quickly.  If you have any form of liver disease (hepatitis, cirrhosis, etc) or drink alcohol daily, it is best to talk to your HCP before taking any products containing Tylenol.

What are the New Adult Recommendations?
Previously, the recommended daily allowance of Tylenol was 4000mg (8 extra strength pills) and they have now suggested that the appropriate daily allowance should be only 3000mg (6 extra strength pills). Regular strength pills have 325mg and Extra Strength contains 500mg, so you can take up to 9 regular strength Tylenol a day or 6 extra strength, for adults.

What are the New Children's Recommendations?
I think this chart says it best:

I cannot stress enough the importance of looking at labels, to see the ingredients and make sure that you know what you are taking, to make sure that you are not ingesting  too much Tylenol and inadvertently overdosing, especially with children, since they have reduced the recommended doses for children as well.  It is really important to read the label, make sure you know how much Tylenol is in each dose, and what time frame to give it in.  Tylenol is a great medication, you just need to be careful, stay off the hooch, and if you notice any yellowing of the skin or eyes, that you are bleeding easily, nausea/vomiting, sweating, stomach pain, or dark urine, call poison control immediately or emergency services for help.

And if you aren't sure of the various medications you take contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) then call your HCP to discuss your medications and what you can and cannot take.  And please double check with your child's HCP before giving them any medications along with Tylenol!

Yours in Good Health

Monday, January 9, 2012

A fresh idea to keep fit while traveling!

I know that when I travel, especially if I am going to a friends house, or somewhere there isn't a gym with weights, I always miss my weights when I am away.  I still can run, obviously, ado the rest of my workout, but I really do miss the whole weight lifting portion of my workout.  And it's not like you can just slap a few kettle bells in your bag without paying through the nose and probably a long explanation to explain why you are flying with weights....which are two things, this kid is NOT interested in doing!

What Can I do?
Well, you all know that I am a hug fan of "prison" workouts, i.e. running, crunches, push-ups, and more of a workout that you can do anywhere at any time with a pair of running shoes and a little inspiration.  That being said, I do like to look pretty rock diesel with my arms, and weight bearing exercises  help (women especially) to bind calcium to bones and keep them strong, and help to prevent osteoporosis, so I do lift weights 5 days a week.  If I travel somewhere with a gym, even though I despise gyms, I will go and problem is solved.  But if I travel to someones home, I obviously do not have that luxury, but I have solved my problem: Aqua Bells water weights.  You deflate them to put them in your bag, they weigh barely anything (less than 26oz.) and then when you get to your destination, fill it up with water, and get your work out on (they weight up to 16lbs when filled)!!

I just got mine, and really couldn't be happier- they are super easy to fill, which was my worry, and it is a different feel than my normal weights, but I am loving them, and I can't wait until my next trip!

Yours in Good Health

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Throat Coat: Is it a cure all?

I had a sore throat earlier this week, mostly due to late nights and catching up with old friends (I actually had 4 whole days in a row off!!)  Regardless, I wasn't really complaining about it, but it did cause me to have a scratchy voice and more than one person suggested "Throat Coat", which I had never heard of.  Due to the fact that a good night sleep was not in the cards for me, I decided to go check it out, and see what exactly were the magic ingredients in Throat Coat actually are.

What is Throat Coat?
It is a tea that is made from licorice root and slippery elm bark, which is viscous (thick) and touted to literally coat your throat and make all soreness and scratchiness vanish.  Slippery elm bark has been long since used as a homeopathic treatment for stomach ailments and sore throats, but there has been no real science behind it; it is a demulcent, just like honey, which is a thicker liquid that can coat a membrane and soothe irritation (it can be pretty bitter).  The Licorice root is added for sweetness, but beware when ingesting it over periods of time, licorice root can effect your cortisol (stress) response, thus putting strain on your kidneys,  which can make you waste potassium, and increase your blood pressure, and sometimes even pee a lot. It is warned, right on the box, not to take it if you have liver or kidney problems OR any heart disease or high blood pressure, also if you take diuretics of any sort, and/or have low potassium levels normally.  Also, it can interact with many medications (i.e blood pressure, MAOIs).  It states on the box that it is "clinically tested" but the studies aren't available on the web site, and after an extensive literature search, I came up with nothing on this product.

Does it work?
Again, it has never been scientifically proven, but many people report feeling that their sore throats and/or scratchy throats feel better after drinking this tea BUT there are similar results from people drinking hot tea with honey and lemon or hot water with honey and lemon. So, it may just be the hot thick liquid that soothes your throats (let's keep it clean, here people- I tried writing that a million different ways and each time I knew the comments I would get!) Honey can act the same way, as it is also a demulcent, and it can help to soothe irritated membranes.  So, in a word, yes, it does seem to work.

Would I use it?
No.  All of my avid readers by now know that I don't use things that are not FDA approved and that have no science behind, even though I really don't take any medications, it creeps me out to know that it has so many interactions, and that it can increase your blood pressure, make you hypocalcemic (low in potassium), and cause strain on your liver/kidneys.  When I have a sore throat, I stick to peppermint tea, regular black tea with honey, or (like what happened last night- finally) a good nights sleep cured me of my ailments!

And, if you do live and die by Throat Coat (which it seems to be either you drink it and are obsessed or you could care less about that "soothing earthy flavor") you should just talk to your HCP about it if you have any medical problems, especially liver/kidney problems, high blood pressure, or hyopcalcemia.   I tend to think that any tea that may taste like earth (i.e. dirt) and has this many side effects, may be better off left on the shelf, and drink something that tastes good to you AND makes you feel better, that way, everyone's a winner!

**Also, just to point out that because an organic/herbal supplement says that it is "clinically tested" or that it is supported by "Doctors" does not mean that they have had independent studies performed for safety.  This means that it doesn't have to be a good study, in that it can be a "study" of two people, that the company "scientists" choose to be a part of the study, and the results mean nothing.  If you are ever unsure of the safety of a product, email me, ask your HCP, but please don't trust the companies marketing!

Yours in Good Health

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Years Resolution, Anyone?

I have heard a lot of people that have made the New Years Resolution to "lose weight". And when asked how they plan on doing it, the answer is always "working out more" or "eat better", which I totally think are great ideas, but if you make the same resolution every year, something isn't working, right? First, we have to make sure that you are making the choice for yourself....then you know you won't cheat, and the only person to benefit is you and your health! Second, it to actually make those healthy lifestyle choices and stick to them.  But, where to begin......

Where do I start?
One huge impact that you can have, as far  as eating better, is keeping a food journal. So many of us, unknowingly, deceive ourselves about how much we eat and  when we eat.  We don't do it on purpose, but unless you ate some huge portion of something bad for you, most people kind of gloss over little snacks that they eat, a handful of candy from a candy bowl they might walk by, or even an afternoon soda that you might forget about drinking.  All of those little snacks and foods, anything other than water, are added calories to your day.  The trick is, don't CHEAT!!

How Does the food journal help?
You can track exactly what you eat and when (without cheating or trying to be healthy- honestly write down what you eat for a few days to a week). So, you can trend when you reach for sugary or salty snacks, and learn exactly how much you are eating.  You can actually look up the calories in each afternoon snack, as see how many empty calories that you are ingesting.  Empty calories are calories from foods with little to no nutritional value, like candy, and don't trick yourself that you should eat a candy bar because it may have a couple of peanuts in it, that is not enough protein  vs fat and calories to be healthy for you! But we can see what you normally tend to eat, and what your body reaches for, and fit in a healthy snack instead.  So, in light of the afternoon candy bar, why not choose dark chocolate covered dried fruit OR some homemade trail mix with dark chocolate chunks....and make sure to only eat ONE serving size. And, ideally, you can control what/how you eat by preparing your own meals, or just learning the calorie content of what you do eat, and start making choices with lean protein choices (chicken, turkey, shrimp) and limit sauces.  You aren't stuck eating salads all the time, you can eat whole grains (even in the form of breads!),  and have a healthy diet with carbohydrates and proteins.  Just try to eat protein with every carb.  As long as you now what you eat at baseline, you can start to make adjustments, and once you start to eat healthier, you will feel better, because you are making positive choices to be healthier for no one other than you!!

Once you get on track with healthier food choices, you can also track what exercise you get and how many calories you burn.  So once we know exactly how much you eat, and start making our own snacks and food, or start consciously making healthy choices, you can see your progress on paper (or electronically) and track all of the healthy choices you've made.  Your body and waistline will see progress, but if you SEE the progress you have made before your pants feel looser, you will be more apt to stick with your healthy choices.  PLUS, you will feel good about knowing all of the healthy lifestyle changes you have made and you will keep at it....and not feel guilty for one random cheat day :)

Yours In Good Health

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dry, Itchy, Winter Skin?

A common problem in the winter is that your skin becomes dry, flaky, itchy, and it can really be difficult to make your skin feel normal.  All the fluctuations with heat, feeling cold, warm showers, etc. make your skin worse, but the good news is that there are some pretty simple tips to help keep your skin moist and you can live itch free this winter!

Why is dry skin an issue?
Really, when you have dry skin the fine lines that you can't normally see become apparent, and the skin also feels rough, and can appear flaky.  Medically, it is known as xerosis.  Now, even though you might think this is a purely visual issue, its not.  Dry skin can actually cause some major issues, like infections from the cracked skin just being open to the elements, or from bacteria under your fingernails getting embedded into the skin and cracks from scratching when it gets itchy. There can be large open sores, bacteria in the form of pus, and it can interfere with sleeping, and every day activities....not to mention it can make you feel like everyone is staring at your skin issues (even if they aren't).

Signs of dry skin?
appearance of fine lines
cracks in skin
rough skin
itchy areas (that can crack and bleed)

What causes it?
Weather: when humidity is low along with temperatures, the moisture gets zapped from our skin
Heat: Central air, wood burning stoves, & space heaters all dry out the air
Hot Showers: despite then feeling really good and warming you up, hot showers deplete your skin of important lipids (fats) that help to keep them moist
Sun Exposure: excessive UV exposure (like sun burns) will also dry out your skin.

What can we do to treat it?
The good news is that most of the treatments are home remedies that are not expensive.  Yay!  Avoiding long hot shower is one place to start, try to keep the water warm, but not super hot, and finish your shower with a thick moisturizer. I use   the standard Palmers Cocoa Butter in the winter, and it keeps my skin moist, but I know some friends  that use thicker creams such as Eucerin which is full of emollients and fats.  I must say Palmers also created a line of skin care for dry winter skin, it is too heavy  for my skin, but if you like using cocoa butter, that line might be for you. But in general, you want to look for a cream that is thick (not thin and watery) and is in general free of dyes and scents. Also, some people will apply baby oil to their skin right after showering to add moisture, I just urge you to be careful because that can get slippery!! Use gentle soaps, that are made for the face, and are labelled as gentle with moisturizers added.  Use a humidifier in your home to offset the drying heaters, and allow some moisture in the air that can help your skin.  And, try to wear natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, etc because they are soft and less irritating to your skin than other man-made fibers.  And, finally, if your skin is super itchy, you can apply cool compresses to try to take the itch out of the area (as opposed to scratching) and applying an OTC hydrocortisone cream (1%) can help to stop the itching.  If it doesn't you can talk to your HCP about getting a prescription cream to prevent the itching.  Also, if the scratches or cracks in your skin are painful ,red, or oozing you should see an HCP to treat a possible bacterial infection (usually a topical cream can be used).

So, keep those showers short, slap on that cream, and talk to your HCP if you continue to have trouble with dry skin, they may be able to write you for a prescription treatment.

Yours in Good Health!