Seasonal allergies are inconvenient and annoying, but food allergies can be very dangerous. An estimated 4%-8% of children have an existing food allergy, so it’s important for parents, and children, to know the symptoms of an allergic reaction and understand how to respond.
Most food allergies are reactions to food proteins, most commonly:
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to food include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Facial swelling
Most allergic reactions to food happen within minutes of consumption, but it’s not uncommon for them to take a few hours to develop.
Severe reactions to food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, which can result in a narrowing of the airways and a sudden drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis develops fast, and should be treated immediately with an epinephrine shot and a trip to the ER. It can be fatal if not treated quickly.
If you think your child may have a food allergy, consult with his or her pediatrician and visit an allergist. Once your child is diagnosed, your allergist will likely prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector, known as an EpiPen or EpiPen Jr.
If your child does have a food allergy, educate them on how to respond if you are not around. Include a plan for avoiding their allergy triggers and an emergency plan for responding to them.
About 13% of food allergy deaths occur in schools and daycares, so be sure to talk to school administrators and health care providers and advise them of your child’s allergy status. Special permission may be needed for your child to carry allergy medication or an EpiPen at school.
You already know there are many benefits to eating healthy, including improved energy levels, reduced calorie intake and a greater overall feeling of satisfaction. But what healthy foods should you choose?
Here are a few foods you can add to your healthy menus.
- Walnuts – These nuts are digested slowly, which helps you feel full longer. Plus, they’re easy to eat on-the-go or to add to a salad.
- Asparagus – This vegetable contains a high level of the b-vitamin folate, which aids in the production of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin to enhance your mood.
- Legumes – (beans, peanuts, alfalfa, lentils) Your body has to work extra hard to break down these high-fiber foods, which can help with weight loss. The high protein levels also help you feel full so you don’t over eat.
- Artichokes – Loaded with magnesium, this vegetable promotes muscle efficiency and reduces fatigue. They also help boost your energy and have just 60 calories each.
- Salmon – The high content of omega-3 fatty acid helps regulate oil production, reduces collagen loss and boosts hydration, which makes it great for your skin.
In addition to eating right, being hydrated is key to staying healthy because your body can confuse thirst with hunger. Researchers suggest drinking 16 oz. of water before each meal, which helps prevent overeating and is an easy way to consume 48 of your total ounces of water each day. When you stay hydrated, your body will release any additional water that may make you feel bloated.
Since the amount of water you should drink each day is based on your weight and activity, click here to see how much water you should be consuming.
We all want to take care of ourselves, especially when it comes to having a healthy heart. One of the main ways of making sure your heart is healthy is to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
What do the two numbers mean?
When your blood pressure is taken, your health care provider will read two numbers. The top number is your systolic level, and the bottom number is your diastolic level. The systolic level measures the pressure within your arteries when the heart beats. The diastolic level measures the pressure within your arteries between beats.
Both of these numbers are equally important when monitoring your blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Levels
Your systolic level should be below 120 and your diastolic level should be less than 80. When either of these numbers is higher than those levels, a number of health issues can come into play.
|High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 1||140-159||or||90-99|
|High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 2||160 - higher||or||100 - higher|
|Hypertensive crisis||higher than 180||or||higher than 110|
High blood pressure can cause an extreme amount of stress on the heart and coronary arteries, which can cause a heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure, aortic dissection and atherosclerosis.
High blood pressure is symptomless, so it’s important to have it checked regularly – every year is ideal for most adults. If you have high blood pressure, you’ll want to monitor your readings several times a year.
How to lower your blood pressure
There are several steps you can take to lower your blood pressure:
- - Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- - Exercise regularly
- - Maintain a healthy weight
- - Avoid tobacco (including secondhand smoke)
- - Limit your stress
- - Monitor your prescription drugs for side effects
- - Limit your alcohol intake
In addition, there are prescription drugs your doctor can prescribe to help keep your blood pressure at ideal levels. SEORMC also offers a number of services to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and blood pressure level, including:
- - Body Fat Analysis
- - Community Wellness Events
- - Nutritional Counseling
- - Diabetes Education
- - Weight Management
To learn more about these services, call 740.439.8000.
Your mother was right – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, eating breakfast provides a lot of health benefits.
Read this before you head out in the morning on an empty stomach.
Why is breakfast important?
For starters, breakfast gives us energy to start our day. It has also been shown to improve weight control by kick starting the metabolism.
People who typically eat breakfast experience the following health benefits:
• More energy for physical activities
• Lower cholesterol levels
• A more nutritionally complete diet with higher nutrients, vitamins and minerals
Foods to help make breakfast healthy
You can choose from a variety of healthy foods to make your breakfast. Try to include a lean protein, fruit and whole grain, even if you have a hectic morning routine.
Here are some healthy breakfast foods:
Avocado: Packed with fiber and cholesterol-lowering fats, this creamy fruit can be a great replacement for butter. Mash it up with a little olive oil and lemon juice and enjoy it on a piece of whole-grain toast. Or add to your whole-wheat English muffin and top it off with pinch of dill weed.
Eggs: Eggs contain high-quality protein, which has been proven to satisfy hunger. Try them hard boiled with your morning toast, or cook one over-easy to spice up some quinoa.
Fruit: Full of vitamin and nutrients, fruit can be found in many breakfast dishes, including parfaits, smoothies. You can even enjoy it on its own in the car on your way to work.
Cardiac Rehabilitation is a form of rehabilitation that teaches you to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle, if you have had or are suffering from heart problems. Whether you’ve exercised before or not, if you have a heart condition or have suffered a heart attack, starting a new exercise program can be a daunting task. Cardiac rehab is designed to help you start and maintain a health regimen that will restore your heart health.
Benefits to Cardiac Rehab
The chief benefit of cardiac rehab is that it helps reduce your risk of complications following a cardiac event and lowers the chances that you’ll develop additional heart problems in the future.
Cardiac rehab can help you maintain your physical health by improving your:
- blood pressure
- heart strength
It can also help reduce emotional stress and anxiety, which can have an effect on your physical health.
Our certified cardiac rehab health team will help you on your road to recovery by going over various exercises and lifestyle changes that are focused on improving your specific heart condition.
To get started, our team will assessment your physical, emotional, social and nutritional states. They will then come up with a variety of activities for you to complete. Some of those items include:
- Individualized plan
- Education about your plan
- How to reduce risk factors
Who benefits from cardiac rehab?
People who have experienced major heart issues – especially those who have had a heart attack or bypass surgery – are often prescribed cardiac rehab. But in addition, people who have any number of heart or blood vessel diseases can benefit from cardiac rehab, including those who have:
- Heart failure
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Had or plan to have a heart transplant
- Had angioplasty to open a coronary artery
- Had another type of heart surgery, such as valve replacement
To see when classes are held and which insurances cover cardiac rehab, visit our cardiac rehabilitation page or call 740.439.8297.
Diabetes affects more than 29 million children and adults in the United States. In recognition of American Diabetes Association Alert Day, Southeastern Med’s Diabetes Education Program and Wellness Resources Department will be hosting an informative discussion on Tuesday, March 22nd, from 5:30-6:30 pm at the Community HealthLink. The Community HealthLink is located on the corner of Clark Street and Edgeworth Avenue in Cambridge. Dr. “Jeep” Naum, Superior Med family practice physician, will be speaking on diabetes prevention. A boxed dinner will be provided.
“ 86 million American adults have pre-diabetes and do not know it,” noted Christine Veselenak, RN, CDE, certified diabetes educator at Southeastern Med. Veselenak explained, “Risk factors for developing pre-diabetes and diabetes include: being overweight, being age 45 years or older, a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, having a history of gestational diabetes, belonging to an ethnic group that has a high risk for diabetes including Native American, African American, Hispanic or Asian.”
This program is geared to those who are at risk for diabetes, have a family member at risk for diabetes, and those who have been told by their physician that they have “pre-diabetes”.
This event is free and open to the public, although seating is limited. For more information or to register, please call Southeastern Med’s Wellness Resources Department at 740-435-2900.
Your child’s first year of life is a magical time. You’re likely spending a lot of time feeding, changing, soothing, holding, and playing with your baby.
While your baby is growing and changing, his or her health is a top priority. Read on to learn about the most common health concerns your infant may face, and also learn to trust your in-stincts. If you are at all concerned about your child’s health, consult with a physician immediate-ly.
Your child’s bowel movements will change dramatically in the first few weeks. At first, your ba-by’s bowel movements will be a black or dark green substance called meconium. This will even-tually change to soft or runny stool that is mustard yellow if you breast feed or tan if you feed your infant formula. Seek help immediately if you notice hard or dry stools. This may be a sign of dehydration, which can be very dangerous for infants.
If your infant is unusually fussy, screams and cries inconsolably, passes a lot of gas, and seems to have an enlarged stomach, she may be suffering from colic. This is a fairly common condition and there is no definite cause or remedy. Colic is sometimes linked with dietary sensitivity and other medical problems like a hernia. If your infant shows signs of colic, talk to your pediatrician. You may be able to find a solution that will soothe the discomfort and quiet your baby.
Diaper rash is a common irritation of the skin under the diaper. The rash usually forms when your baby’s skin is in contact with urine and stool for too long. Most of the time, diaper rash can be prevented by frequent diaper changes. If your child does develop diaper rash, rinse the skin with warm water and only use soap after bowel movements. Try to expose the skin to the air as much as possible in order to properly dry the skin. You can also use diaper creams and corn-starch powder to soothe the area. If the diaper rash doesn’t go away within a few days, consult with your doctor.
While vomiting in adults is a clear sign that something is wrong, spitting up is very common for infants. Try to keep your baby upright and calm after feeding and keep a burp towel handy, just in case. Talk to your doctor right away if your infant is not gaining weight, is experiencing violent regurgitation, is spitting up green, yellow, or red liquids, or has any other signs of illness like fever or chills.
For most infants, teeth begin to push through the gums at around six months of age. After the first few years, all 20 baby teeth should be visible. This process can be challenging and painful for your little one. Your baby may have trouble sleeping, be more fussy than usual, show de-creased appetite, and drool more than usual. This to be expected. If these behaviors continue, or if you notice a fever or long-lasting diarrhea, talk to your pediatrician.
You can generally spot jaundice by a yellowing of your infant’s skin, eyes, and mouth. This yel-lowing is caused by a build-up of bilirubin, which is a natural substance resulting from body breaking down old red blood cells. Your infant’s liver usually filters this substance out of the body. When your child is first born, it may take a few days for the liver to start functioning fully. This fairly normal. If the yellow color doesn’t go away after a few days, it is very important to take your child to a health care provider. In rare cases when jaundice is left untreated, the high levels of bilirubin can result in brain damage.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection that attacks your mouth, throat, lungs, and other parts of your respiratory system. It can be spread in many ways like through the air, skin-to-skin contact, and skin contact with contaminated surfaces.
While it may not be possible to avoid contracting the flu this winter, these seven tips will help you reduce your risk.
1. Get a flu shot
The flu virus is constantly changing, so it is important to be vaccinated every year against as many of the latest strains as possible. And just a head’s up: because the vaccine does not contain a live virus, it is impossible to catch the flu from a flu shot.
2. Avoid contact
Because the flu virus can travel through the air, every cough or sneeze makes you vulnerable. Also, avoid touching those who are sick, and handle any tissues with caution. Rubber gloves are a nice barrier if you’re cleaning up after a loved one who’s ill.
If you do happen to get sick, your family, friends and co-workers will be grateful that you stay home until you haven’t had a fever for more than 48 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medicine.
3. Rest up
Getting enough sleep helps maintain your body’s immune system, which makes it easier to fight infection if you do come in contact with the flu virus.
4. Cover nose and mouth
If you are around someone who has the flu, encourage him or her to always cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. This will help prevent it from spreading to you and those around you.
5. Maintain excellent hand hygiene
Wash your hands often, particularly if you’re around a sick person or when you’re in public places. Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and warm water. If you have no access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer, but try to wash your hands as soon as possible.
6. Wash contaminated surfaces, clothes, and linens
Use a disinfectant on all surfaces in your home, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom and on doorknobs. Wash your clothes and bed linens regularly in hot water and disinfecting detergent if you are around a sick person.
7. Consume a healthy diet
Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids, and don’t skip the fruits and vegetables. Your body needs these things to keep your immune system strong.
If you think you might have the flu, contact your doctor. The two of you will be able to determine the right steps to get you back to your healthy self.
When winter rolls around, many of us start to worry more about our health. Everyone seems to have the sniffles, and there are a host of ways to get sick or hurt. But you may be fretting for no reason. Read up on these 10 common winter health myths and worry a bit less.
1. Cold air can make you sick.
As a child, every time you stepped out of the house during the winter, someone probably yelled at you to button your coat and wear a scarf because “you’ll catch a cold.” The truth is that the cold temperatures actually kick your body’s defenses into high gear, making it harder to get sick and the common cold virus is most at home at 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. The flu shot can give you the flu.
The flu shot does not contain a live virus, which makes it impossible to catch the flu from a vac-cine. The vaccine contains just enough flu information for your body to build up an immunity to the strains represented in the vaccine.
3. Don’t exercise in the cold.
This one is a bit tricky. Doing certain types of exercises, like running, outside in the cold can ac-tually help you burn calories faster, increase your mood, and help you achieve a better overall work out. However, shoveling and other forms of heavy activity in the cold have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack. If you plan to start a cold outdoor exercise routine, first check in with your doctor to talk about any risks.
4. Vitamin C prevents colds.
While consuming the recommended amount of vitamin C every day does support your immune system and overall health, vitamins can’t prevent colds all by themselves. To stay healthy this winter, your best bet is to eat a healthy diet that gives your body all of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to keep up your natural defenses.
5. Allergies go away in the winter.
This one is half true. While the causes of your outdoor allergies may be dead or dormant during the winter, you may also suffer from indoor allergies which actually get worse during the winter. You’re likely around your pets more, the cold air outside means a lack of fresh air in the house, and the warm, moist conditions in your home are a prime breeding ground for allergy-causing molds.
6. Feed a fever, starve a cold.
You may have heard this expression from your grandmother, but it really doesn’t work that way. It is never a good idea to starve yourself, particularly if you’re sick. The best advice is to help you recover from being sick is eat a balanced, healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, rest, and consult with your doctor.
7. You can’t get a sunburn in the winter.
It is easy to only associate sunburns with time spent in the sun during hot summer months. The truth is that the earth is actually closer to the sun during the winter months and we are exposed to more of the UV rays that cause sunburns. Also, snow and ice reflects much of those UV rays back up at you, which can almost double the exposure to your skin.
8. Most of your body heat escapes from your head.
This one is fairly simple to explain. Any part of your body that is exposed to the cold will release heat faster than other parts of your body that are covered up and insulated. Make sure that you are properly bundled up from head to toe before venturing out into the cold to avoid problems.
9. A shot of alcohol warms you up.
This myth can have very serious consequences if you find yourself stranded in the cold. Drink-ing alcohol can make you feel warm, but the reality is that your core temperature actually drops when blood rushes away from your internal organs to your skin. Alcohol can also slow your body’s ability to create heat by shivering, which increases your chances of developing hypo-thermia. So if you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, or if you become stranded, avoid the urge to drink alcohol. It might save your life.
10. Winter depression is caused by a lack of sunlight.
The lack of sunlight during the winter months doesn’t help anyone’s mood, but the “winter blues” is more linked to busy schedules, family stress, the holidays, and worries about finances than the lack of sunlight. However, some people are directly affected by the lack of sunlight. This is called seasonal affective disorder, which affects just 5% of the U.S. population. If you’re experi-encing any symptoms of seasonal depression, such as moodiness, anxiety or sleeplessness, whatever the cause, consult your doctor right away.
The thyroid gland is a small, often-overlooked part of your body, but its effects on your health are anything but small.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that sits at the base of your throat. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism, which is a general term that describes all of the chemical processes that give you energy, help you think, and keep you alive.
It is very important to know when your thyroid isn’t working properly. Read on to learn the signs of common thyroid diseases and how you and your doctor can treat these problems.
What are the most common thyroid diseases?
Thyroid disease affects about 200 million people around the world. When your thyroid is mal-functioning, it can cause serious health problems, like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and goiters.
If left untreated, these diseases can lead to mental health issues, unshakable fatigue, problems maintaining a healthy weight, and, in severe cases, even death.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland causes your body’s metabolism to speed up beyond normal levels.
This can lead to:
- Dramatic, unexplained weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Rapid heartbeat
- Changes in menstrual patterns
- Sensitivity to heat
- Dry skin
- Brittle hair
A simple blood test to measure the levels of thyroid hormones in your body is used to diagnose thyroid disease. If you do have hyperthyroidism, you have several treatment options. Your doc-tor may try to slow your thyroid using anti-thyroid medicines and/or radioactive iodine. If this fails, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism the opposite of hyperthyroidism. Your thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones to maintain the metabolism your body needs.
This can lead to a host of problems and symptoms including:
- Weak heartbeat
- Weak muscles
- Slow reflexes
- Achy and stiff joints
- Weight gain
- Cold sensitivity
- Thick, puffy, or dry skin
- Memory issues
- Difficulty thinking
Similar to diagnosing hyperthyroidism, your doctor may order a blood test to measure your thy-roid levels. If the results show that your thyroid is underperforming, your doctor will likely pre-scribe a synthetic thyroid hormone such as levothyroxine. This daily, oral medication helps maintain correct levels in your body.
Once you and your doctor find the right balance for you, your symptoms will likely fade and eventually go away.
A goiter is a visibly enlarged thyroid. If it gets too large, it may impact your swallowing and breathing. Goiters are most commonly caused by a lack of iodine in the diet, but may also be a side effect of another thyroid disease, like thyroid cancer or Hashimoto’s disease (in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid).
Symptoms of a goiter may not be immediately visible, but once it reaches a certain size, you may notice:
- Swelling at the base of your neck
- Coughing and hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
If the goiter is small and does not impact your life, it may not require treatment. Because goiters are more often caused by other thyroid diseases, the treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Options include medications, surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid, and radioactive iodine.
If you have any concerns, you may perform a thyroid self-check to monitor your thyroid size:
- While standing in front of a mirror, focus on the base of your neck, just above your collar bone. This is where your thyroid gland is located.
- Keep watching this area while you tip your head back slightly and take a drink of water. As you swallow, check your neck for any bulges or swollen areas.
- If you notice anything that looks unusual, consult with your doctor right away.
Maintaining your thyroid health is critical to your health and well-being. Thyroid disease treatment is generally quite successful, so don’t wait. If you have any questions about your thyroid health, or have noticed any symptoms that concern you, schedule an appointment with your physician.
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