Health in a Minute: Sanitary Kitchen Tips, Wisdom Teeth, & More

For Her

Kidney Disease

Know the Subtle Signs

According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 26 million Americans are living with kidney disease and most don’t know it. Often referred to as a “silent killer,” kidney disease is more common among women, but men with kidney disease are 50% more likely to progress to kidney failure. Getting tested for kidney disease is the only surefire way to know if you have it. However, a number of subtle signs indicate you should see your health care provider. These include:

  • the need to urinate more often
  • foamy or bubbly urine
  • blood in your urine
  • puffiness around the eyes
  • swollen feet and ankles
  • a poor appetite
  • muscle cramping
  • fatigue, low energy, trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • dry, itchy skin

Source: National Kidney Foundation, American Kidney Fund

When Your Skin Won’t Clear

Not all cases of rosacea are the same. According to the National Rosacea Society, the disease can vary substantially from one person to the next, and oftentimes only some of the signs and symptoms appear. However, rosacea always includes at least one of the following primary signs.

  • facial flushing or blushing that comes and goes
  • persistent redness that appears as a blush or sunburn
  • small red bumps or puss-filled pimples that burn or sting
  • visible blood vessels

Other signs and symptoms of rosacea include eye irritation, burning or stinging of the skin, skin dryness, raised red patches on the skin, skin thickening, and swelling. If you think your skin issues could be caused by rosacea, contact your health care provider. A variety of treatments can be tailored to your unique case.

Source: National Rosacea Society

woman with bath towel wrapped on head and moisturizer on face

For Him


Exams and Tests

It is consistently hard to breathe or have a chronic cough, many respiratory infections, shortness of breath, or wheezing, you might suffer from one of the most common lung diseases – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD exists in two main forms: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. With chronic bronchitis, those with COPD will experience a long-term cough and mucus. With emphysema, damage to the lungs can develop over time.

If you think you may suffer from COPD, your doctor might suggest a lung function test called a spirometry. This test requres the subject to blow out as hard as possible into a small machine, which measures how fast and how much air is breathed out.

Imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT scans can also be used to view the lungs and diagnose COPD, and some patients have a blood test called arterial blood gas. This test measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.

man with copd

Once a test has been performed and COPD has been diagnosed, many steps can be taken to relieve symptoms and prevent the disease from worsening.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine

Testicular Cancer

What to Look Out For

Did you know that most testicular cancers can be found at an early stage? Often, the first symptom is a lump. Other times, the testicle is lump-free, but swollen or larger than normal. To check for testicular cancer, some doctors recommend that men perform a monthly testicular self-exam. Here’s how:

  • Hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers of both hands and roll it gently between your fingers. Check one testicle at a time.
  • Look and feel for any hard lumps or smooth rounded bumps.
  • Take notice of any change in the testicle’s size, shape, or consistency. 

If you feel a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testicle, don’t be alarmed just yet. Each normal testicle has a small, coiled tube that can feel like a bump. Normal testicles also have blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that can easily be confused with an abnormal lump. In time you’ll learn what’s normal for you – and what’s not.

Source: American Cancer Society

man sitting down

For the Whole Family

Keep it Clean

How to Stay Sanitary in the Kitchen

The holiday season brings extra bustle to the kitchen as we cook, bake, and mingle with family and friends. With so much activity going on, it can be easy to cut corners when it comes to cleaning – and yet the last thing you want is for someone to get sick from your holiday spread. To keep your family and dinner guests safe and healthy this season, take the following measures:

  • Defrost wisely
    Thawing your holiday turkey? Place it in either the microwave or a bottom shelf in the refrigerator to keep juices from dripping on other foods.
  • Don’t forget to lather up! 
    Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap before and during meal prep – especially after handling eggs and raw meat.
  • Double up 
    Use two or more cutting boards to guard against cross contamination (when juices from raw meats touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods).
  • Keep the fridge tidy 
    You might have loads of leftovers, but if you overstuff your fridge, you’ll hinder cold air circulation. This sets the stage for bacterial growth.
  • Disinfect 
    If you’ve used a cutting board for meat, be sure to sterilize it afterwards. Submerge it in hot, soapy water, and follow up with a bleach solution and good rinse.

Source: Wake Forest Baptist Health

Wisdom Teeth

Is Removal Essential?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the decision to remove or keep wisdom teeth varies person by person. While the vast majority of people will need their wisdom teeth removed, there are a few circumstances in which removal is not necessary. See our chart for info on keeping versus removing wisdom teeth.

Remove If They Are:

  • painful
  • you’ve had a repeated infection of soft tissue nearby
  • the area develops cysts or a tumor
  • nearby teeth are damaged
  • you develop gum disease or extensive tooth decay

Don’t Remove (Potentially) If They Are:

  • healthy
  • grown in completely (fully erupted)
  • correctly positioned
  • biting properly with opposite teeth
  • able to be cleaned daily with ease

For the Kids

Type 1 Diabetes

Could Your Child Be Diabetic?

Diagnosed in children and young adults, type 1 diabetes prevents the body from producing insulin – a hormone that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from the food you eat for energy. Since those with type 1 diabetes are unable to use glucose for energy, they’ll often feel tired and run down.

For parents, it can be hard to tell if a child suffers from type 1 diabetes, as symptoms like tiredness can be subtle and develop over time. Watch out for frequent urination and excessive thirst. In addition, if your child loses weight, despite having a healthy appetite, it could be a sign of type 1 diabetes.

If you fear your child could suffer from type 1 diabetes, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician. Proper treatment can stop or control diabetes symptoms and reduce the risk of long-term issues.

Source: American Diabetes Association, Nemors

school boy sleeping on a desk filled with books

Time for a Tonsillectomy?

Get the Facts

If your child has recurrent tonsillitis or strep throat, a tonsillectomy can go a long way in putting a stop to this chronic sickness. Other reasons your child might need a tonsillectomy include:

  • swollen tonsils that make it hard to breathe, particularly during sleep
  • difficulty eating meat or chewy foods
  • sleep difficulties
  • snoring and sleep apnea (when breathing pauses during sleep)

While surgery can be anxiety-inducing for kids and parents, knowing what to expect can ease your worries. Tonsillectomies only take around 20 minutes to complete, and your child will be under general anesthesia and comfortably asleep during the operation. Plus, the surgery is done through your child’s open mouth, meaning no incisions will be made through the skin. Often, they’ll be able to go home the same day.

Source: Nemours

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