Health in a Minute: New Year 2016

For the Kids

Checkup Guide

When Your Child Should See the Doc

Regular checkups are key to proactive health care – particularly for the little ones. For children and parents, frequent well-child visits to the doctor can help answer general questions and concerns about development, behavior, and general well-being. They can also be a great opportunity to stay up-to-date on vaccinations and can be used as a benchmark to see how much your child has grown. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends scheduling well-child care visits at the following intervals:

• 2 to 5 days
• 1 month
• 2 months
• 4 months
• 6 months
• 9 months
• 12 months
• 15 months
• 18 months
• 2 years old (24 months)
• 2 ½ years old (30 months)
• 3 years
• 4 years
• Once every year thereafter for an annual health supervision visit.

Parents can make the most of their well-child visits by creating a list of things they’d like to discuss with their child’s pediatrician. Also, consult with others who care for your child, such as a grandparent or babysitter. They may offer a new perspective and provide additional questions.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Mono

Know the Signs and Symptoms

Infectious mononucleosis (“mono”) is an infection caused by the very common Epstein-Barr virus. Many people are exposed to this virus in childhood, but not everyone exposed will develop mono. Symptoms take a while to appear – usually four to seven weeks after becoming infected with the virus. Signs that you or your child may have contracted mono include:

• fatigue
• fever
• sore throat with swollen tonsils that may have white patches
• loss of appetite
• swollen lymph nodes
• headaches
• sore muscles
• weakness
• larger than normal liver or spleen
• skin rash
• abdominal pain

If mono is diagnosed as the cause of your ailments, you’ll have to let it run its course naturally. Symptoms typically last two to four weeks, and the best treatment is getting plenty of rest and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for aches.

Source: Nemours

For the Whole Family

Combating Antibiotic Resistance

What’s Being Done

At least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics each year in the United States. As a result, at least 23,000 people die annually as a direct cause of these infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why the resistance? Antibiotic drugs have been used so widely for several decades that infectious organisms have adapted and become resistant to them. The result is less effective drugs.

The CDC is working to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance through its Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative. The initiative is part of the broader national strategy to improve antibiotic use. The National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria identifies a number of core actions, including:

• slow the development of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections

• advance development and use of rapid and innovative diagnostic tests for identification and characterization of resistant bacteria

• accelerate basic and applied research and development for new antibiotics, other therapeutics, and vaccines

• improve international collaboration and capacities for antibiotic resistance prevention, surveillance, control, and antibiotic research and development

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Donating Blood

The Role Blood Groups Play  

There are four major blood groups determined by the presence or absence of two antigens – A and B. Antigens are substances that can trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body. If you’d like to donate blood, you might be curious to know which donor blood groups match with recipient blood groups. The American Red Cross breaks it down like this:

Group O
can donate red blood cells to anyone, as it is the universal donor.

Group A
can donate red blood cells to As and ABs.

Group B
can donate red blood cells to Bs and ABs.

Group AB
can donate to other ABs and can receive from anyone.

Source: American Red Cross

For Him

Low Testosterone

What to Do?

Testosterone is a sex hormone that helps maintain a man’s muscle strength and mass, facial and body hair, and deep voice. Levels of testosterone can affect a man’s sex drive, erections, sperm count, mood, muscle mass, and bone density. Signs that indicate testosterone levels might be low include low sex drive, low sperm count, increase in body fat, low energy, and reduced muscle mass, among others.

If you’ve experienced the symptoms of low testosterone, there are many choices for boosting your testosterone levels. First, however, it’s important to have low testosterone diagnosed by a doctor, who will administer a blood test to determine if your hormone levels are lower than normal.

Testosterone replacement therapy is one treatment option, and it can be administered via shots, a skin gel, long-acting pellets, patches, and pills. The most common treatment is skin gel, which is rubbed onto the shoulders and upper arms after showering.

Source: The Official Foundation of the American Urological Association

Male Acne

What You’re Doing to Cause a Flare-Up

Male skin produces more than twice as much sebum (skin oil) than a woman’s skin. This, coupled with male hormones, creates a breeding ground for acne-inducing bacteria. If you’re a man who experiences bouts of breakouts, consider the following lifestyle components that could be exacerbating these issues.

Shaving. It might be cost-effective to use any ol’ razor and shaving gel, but choosing the cheapest versions can cause irritation and perpetuate acne. Choose products wisely, and make sure to use a razor that won’t cause added irritation.

Bodybuilding. If you’re increasing your calorie input in order to bulk up, you might be producing more hormones, which can lead to acne flare-ups. Make sure to use an effective face wash and skin care routine if you plan on increasing your muscle mass.

Wearing face masks. Many occupations and hobbies require you to wear a face mask, which can cause physical irritation that aggravates acne. When combined with sweat, it’s a recipe for bacteria and more blemishes.

Source: Acne.org

For Her

Urinary Tract Infection

How to Prevent This Common Infection  

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) occurs when microbes, like fungi, viruses, and bacteria, overcome the body’s natural defenses and cause an infection of the urinary tract. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that live in the bowel. If you have a UTI, you’re certainly not alone, as they’re the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for nearly 8.1 million doctor visits per year. For women, the lifetime risk of having a UTI is more than 50%.

If you’ve contracted a UTI, treatment can be as simple as taking a bacteria-fighting medication such as an antibiotic or antimicrobial. However, if you’re hoping to ward off a UTI altogether, there are some smart steps to take. Drink lots of water to flush bacteria from your system. Urinate often and as soon as the urge arises. Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to avoid trapping bacteria-friendly moisture.

And finally, talk to your physician about switching to a form of birth control other than unlubricated or spermicidal condoms, as they increase irritation and may help bacteria grow.

Source: National Institute of Health

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Ways to Ease the Syndrome 

When it comes to the common disorder known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), women are nearly twice as likely to be stricken with this uncomfortable gastrointestinal and bowel condition than men. Symptoms of IBS include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. But there is good news – many people can successfully control symptoms of IBS by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Suggestions for lifestyle and home remedies include:

Experiment with fiber. Fiber can help reduce constipation, but it can also increase gas and cramping. Try slowly increasing the amount of fiber in your diet over a few weeks’ time. If you find that fiber helps your IBS, make it a staple of your diet for the long run.
Avoid problem foods. Certain foods and drinks, such as alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated beverages, dairy products, and sugar-free sweeteners, can exacerbate your IBS. Drink plenty of fluids each day.
Don’t skip meals and eat at regular times.

Exercise regularly.

Be cautious about anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives. These medications can cause problems in the long run if not used correctly.

Source: Mayo Clinic