October 18, 2016

Copper Is The Simple Solution To Hospital Infections

Copper Sink Hospital Health Bacteria InfectionHospitals are a center for bacterial infections; people sometimes leave with a bacterial infection that they did not have before entering the hospital. The 2011 Health Grades Hospital Quality in America Study stated that the medical harm caused in the United States led to over 40,000 harmful errors each day, causing hundreds of millions in damages [1]. It is essential that there are efforts made in order to reduce this number. Some of this can be rectified by maintaining higher levels of cleanliness in a hospital, but there is always human error. Recent studies based on common knowledge has yielded a unique new approach.

In an article by the New York Times, a new study performed by the American Journal of Infection Control was reviewed. It determined that “installing copper equipment in hospital rooms may be a good way to reduce infections” [2]. Historically, copper has been used to sanitize water and clean wounds. Researchers arrived at a more scientific conclusion by comparing the abundance of bacteria on commonly touched equipment made of copper and commonly touched equipment made of more common materials (metal, porcelain, plastic, etc.). After contamination researchers took swabs of this equipment (toilet flush levers, door handles, light switches, etc.) and tried growing the bacteria in the lab.

The results indicated that the copper fixtures had as much as 98% less bacteria on them, and on half of the swabs taken from the copper fixtures did not grow any additional bacteria.

Although hospital staff have certain procedures for cleansing and sanitizing their environments these new ideas can have a positive effect on improving hospital conditions. Copper fixtures are not yet common in hospital environments but may have a great effect in minimizing bacteria.

[1]Health Grades 2011 Healthcare consumerism and Hospital Quality in America Report. Health Grades. Retrieved from: http://hg-article-center.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/7b/de/dc25d2c94d25ad88c9e1688c9adc/HealthcareConsumerismHospitalQualityReport2011.pdf

[2] Copper Sinks and Faucets May Stem Hospital Infections. Bakalar, Nicholas.  New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/well/copper-sinks-and-faucets-may-stem-hospital-infections.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&rref=health&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Health&pgtype=article

September 20, 2016

Why is Vitamin D Important for Nursing Babies?

pill-316601_960_720Vitamin D is an essential vitamin and an important part of everyone’s diet. Getting a good amount of vitamin D in the early stages of life can help prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Most importantly, Vitamin D increases calcium metabolism and reduces risk of current infections. Sometime this can be tricky because the main source of our vitamin D comes from food and the sun.  Proper diets have a huge influence in determining our levels of this crucial vitamin.

It is vital that a baby consume enough vitamin D during the first year of life. This is particularly hard to do because breast milk and baby food may contain very little amounts of vitamin D.  However, “new research has found that giving breastfeeding mothers monthly high-dose vitamin D supplements may be a possible way to improve their babies’ vitamin D status”[1].

[1] University of Otago. “Increasing nursing mothers’ vitamin D levels may benefit babies.” Science Daily. Science Daily, 30 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160830101350.htm>.

June 21, 2016

What Parents Need To Know About Prescription Drug Abuse


Collegiate Cocktail

Of the numerous threats to teenagers, abuse of prescription drugs tops the list of parental concern.  Teenagers often lack the knowledge of the danger behind their actions when taking a concoction of drugs that may result in adverse effects, which is why education at home is the vital first step in preventing unfortunate cases of teenager drug abuse.  At times, teens are aware of the dangers of drugs they are ingesting, but many times, they are uneducated about the risks they are taking.  Parents are the increasingly important factor in preventing teenager drug abuse.

Gone are the days where putting a lock on a medicine cabinet and using proper disposal methods could stem the flow of prescription drugs into teenagers’ hands.  An increasing popularity in the legitimate use of online pharmacies to fill prescriptions have led to an abuse of this system.  While there are online pharmacies that perform their due diligence in ensuring the safety of their products and customers, there have been cases of online pharmacies that provide drugs with hazardous substances and inaccurate does to people with no prescription, enabling the potential for teenage drug abuse.  This is the reason why a direct conversation with your child is extremely important, as it is much harder to recognize that drugs are being ordered online.

Prescription drug abuse using painkillers causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing in teenagers.  What are some ways to prepare and navigate these issues?

Learning the Dangers

Before talking to your child, ensure that you know all the risks and dangers associated with prescription drugs and drug abuse. Prescription medication are very potent and can interact with other medication or conditions.  The effects can result in harm or even death if taken improperly, which is why it is essential for any pharmacy, online or local, to know your medical history.

Clear Communication

Establishing a clear form of communicating with your child and demonstrating a genuine interest in their life is the best way to pass knowledge about drug abuse. Conversations about the danger and proper usage of prescription drugs will be easier with a clear way to communicate to your child. Not all teenagers who abuse prescription drugs use it to get a psychoactive state, or to get high. It is becoming increasingly common to see drug abuse in cases where teenagers seek to get better grades or increase energy levels. Being in tune with your child’s life is key to noticing behavioral changes that may indicate drug abuse.

Setting limits

The ability to deal with defiant or disrespectful behavior is key to managing any problems that can be associated with drug abuse. Setting clear, enforceable consequences to all behaviors that can endanger your child is essential for learning. Make sure to monitor that the limits are not being exceeded. In the case of prescription drugs, limits need to be strictly enforced.

Talk to a professional

Get your physician or an addiction professional if you think your child is abusing prescription drugs. Some warning signs to look out for are changes in appetite or sleep patterns, impaired coordination or injuries that they don’t realize they have, dropping attendance in school/work/hobbies, and sudden changes in hobbies/friends.

December 30, 2011

“My New Year’s Resolution…”

Filed under: behavior — Tags: , , , , — drwatson @ 12:32 am

New Years Resolution StatisticsWith the arrival of another year, many people find themselves waking up on January 1st with one question moving forward: “What is my new year’s resolution?” But before you resolve to cut out that one vice in your life cold turkey, you may want to know if New Year’s resolutions are even an effective way to bring out changes in your life?

According to Dr. Kimberly Moffit, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and councilor, the answer is “not really.”

“New Year’s resolutions only work in very few cases and typically with those who have a will of steel,” she says.

Dr. Moffit says the problem is that people usually aim to make massive lifestyle changes. These changes, however, are rarely going to occur within the week that most people expect changes to occur in. The therapist stressed that the psychological impact of taking on too much at once can simply burn a person out such that they give up on whatever initiative they started on.

Dr. Moffit says that trying to quit smoking is amongst the hardest resolution to achieve, because most smokers associate smoking with relaxation, which nearly everyone needs/enjoys.

“So you have to think about how you are going to get these little blocks in the day where you can relax, whether it’s putting on a beautiful piece of music and relaxing at your desk, going for a walk somewhere or eating your lunch on the park bench outside.”

New Year’s Resolutions Statistics

Let’s look at the numbers regarding New Year’s resolutions for Americans. According to the Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ, the percentages are as follows:

  • 45% of Americans usually set New Year’s Resolutions; 17% infrequently set resolutions; 38% absolutely never set resolutions.

How many stay true to their chosen course? How many veer off somewhere before completion?

  • Only 8% of people are always successful in achieving their resolutions. 19% achieve their resolutions every other year. 49% have infrequent success. 24% (one in four people) NEVER succeed and have failed on every resolution every year. (That means that 3 out of 4 people almost never succeed.)

Great New Year’s Resolutions

Dr. Moffit encourages people to concentrate more so on the positives, and less on the negatives. In other words, if you’ve decided you will give up smoking, and eat more vegetables, see the latter a desired benefit—something you get to do, instead of a restriction.

Laura Jackson, founder of Fit Chicks Boot Camp argues that the key to success is specificity and preparation.

“That’s the biggest faux pas people make,” she says, “They say, ‘This year I’m going to lose weight,’ but it’s like, how much weight do you want to lose? By when? And what is your action plan to get there?”

Losing weight and getting healthy isn’t just a numbers game. There’s an emotional factor and social factor that goes into it,” says Jackson. “Are you hanging around with people who are sabotaging you or are energy vampires? New Year’s is a good time to look at your life and ask who is adding to my life and who is taking away?”

Is It Worth It?

According to the aforementioned statistics, there is absolutely no correlation between happiness and resolution setting/success. People who met their goals, versus individuals who did not, saw no difference in happiness—talk about a punch line. This conclusion doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t set a goal for yourself, obviously. It just means you should be realistic about your expectations, and how that will, in turn, affect your emotional well-being. If the prospect of a singular goal seems too daunting, try adopting instead a more of a general theme. While raising your overall happiness may be harder to achieve, instituting some change—any desired change—in your life is easy, and definitely doable.

January 27, 2011

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

Filed under: food — Tags: , , , , , — drwatson @ 12:07 am

Apple cider vinegar is commonly referred to as a cure for just about any ailment you can think of. Could that be physically possible though? Vinegar is used for a lot of things, but there is no concrete evidence found in research to show that any form of vinegar can be used for good health.

Apple cider vinegar is made through the process of fermentation. Yeast and bacteria are added to juices that are crushed and squeezed out of apples; the sugars are then turned into alcohol. The alcohol is then converted to vinegar by an acid forming bacteria known as acetobacter. The acid in vinegar is what gives it such a sour taste.

Some health magazines claim that vinegar will do great and different things for an individual’s health. It is claimed to treat diseases, health conditions, and even some annoyances. It is said that vinegar will kill head lice, ease digestion, reverse aging, and wash toxins from the body. All of these claims have been made with little to no research.

Although many claims are made with no research, there are some medical uses that show promise:

High cholesterol – A study on rats done in 2006 showed that vinegar does have the potential to lower cholesterol. While this study looks promising there is still no concrete proof to show it is possible.

Diabetes – Vinegar affects blood sugar levels in very positive ways. Several studies show that vinegar may also help glucose levels.

Weight Loss – Vinegar has been used as a tool for weight loss for a very long time, the reason being that it helps people feel full. A recent study had people eat bread with and without vinegar which showed that those who had vinegar felt fuller after they ate.

While this looks promising, negative effects of vinegar have also been found. Apple cider vinegar and a lot of other vinegars are very acidic; this has a lot of negative health effects on its own. The acidity can harm tooth enamel, and tissue in your mouth and throat. Long term use of apple cider vinegar could lower potassium levels and reduce bone density. It can also affect people with diabetes; vinegar contains chromium which has potential to alter insulin levels.

It is unclear whether or not using apple cider vinegar is a good idea due to lack of research. Using very small amounts from time to time shows very low risk, however using it in large doses is not recommended. Using apple cider vinegar shows both negative and positive results whether or not it’s a good idea or not is up to you!

October 19, 2010

4 Easy Ways to Eliminate Stress

Stress eats away at you and makes you feel your life is full of irreversible, important problems. The majority of illnesses are stress related. Stress is related to high blood pressure, hair loss, depression, memory loss, stroke, weight gain, cancer, and most major illnesses. When you are stressed your body releases hormones that increase your blood pressure and the level of blood sugars in your blood stream. Stress can also cause you to either binge on food or starve yourself. This can result in heartburn, acid reflux, nausea, indigestion and other discomforts. In men, stress can affect sperm production and may result in impotence. In women, stress can reduce libido or cause irregular menstrual cycles.

1. Avoid procrastination – Just stop procrastinating. It causes unwanted and unnecessary stress. Everyone has done it. You put things off and then they just creep up on you until you realize you have a huge meeting or a project due or any other activity involving careful preparation which you have not put in. This type of realization sends you into a fury of action where you are hair lossrunning around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to pull everything together on time. Instead of letting things build up and stress take over simply set aside a small portion of time for tasks each night and stick to it. Break up a seemingly huge task into smaller portions that you can deal with easier.

2. Keep a list – Listing everything you need to do will help you realize you don’t have as much on your plate as you think. It can also help if you plan and organize in your free time how you can fit each task into your already overflowing schedule.

3. Take a short break – Once you’ve been at hard work for a few hours you can, and should take a break. If you continue to work you will just start to work slowly and lose concentration. Taking a break will help renew your mind and clear your thoughts so you can fully focus on working when your return.

4. LaughLaughter is truly the best medicine. It’s been proven! Studies confirmed that laughter actually changes the brains chemistry and reduces 4 stress hormones. Just a simple laugh is as beneficial as doing deep breathing exercises. Laughter strengthens our immune system and helps you to keep a sense of humor.

August 17, 2010

New Super Bug Claims its First Victim

Filed under: health — Tags: , , , , , , — drwatson @ 5:53 pm

Super BugA Belgian man has become the first to die from the new super-bug NDM-1. The super-bug, New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase 1, is named after the capital city of India, where it is believed to have originated from.

While the Indian health ministry disagrees that the bug originated in India, there is evidence that strongly suggests that India is indeed the birth place of this super-bug. However, the bug itself actually allows the host bacterium to become resistant to antibiotics and does not actually create a disease itself.

So far, India and Pakistan appear to be the worst hit by NDM-1, but more cases are being found all over the world. There are reported cases as far away Sweden, Canada, and the United States. There are between 30-50 reported cases of NDM-1 in United Kingdom hospitals, but most of these people received medical treatment in India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh.

Indian politicians have called the link of the new super-bug to India, “malicious propaganda,” as they fear their medical tourism, which has been quite successful lately, may suffer as a result of this bug. However, many reports are showing multiple cases of NDM-1 in various hospitals throughout India. Some Indian doctor’s are not surprised by this either, as they are aware of the misuse of antibiotics that has occurred in India.

August 12, 2010

Young Woman Fakes Terminal Cancer to Raise Money for Herself

Filed under: cancer — Tags: , , , , — drwatson @ 4:28 pm

Ashley Kirilow, a 23 year old woman will be facing multiple charges of fraud under $5,000. The young woman from Ontario, Canada allegedly faked having terminal cancer in order to raise money for herself. Kirilow shaved her head and plucked her eyebrows to make it look as if she really was dying.

Kirilow was eventually caught when her father asked about her treatments at the hospital. Although he had his suspicions, it was not until the news from the hospital that he could confront his daughter and reveal what was really happening.

What is truly unfortunate is that many people gave generously in the belief that their money was going to be donated to help fund cancer research. Some people who were unaware that Kirilow was faking her illness even offered to help her collect funds. Now these people, who were only trying to help what they believed to be a good cause, are receiving death threats and other hate mail.

Other victims of Kirilow’s actions have to include all cancer research centers and any cancer treatment or cancer help centers. When someone uses donations for charity for their own personal gains, it always leaves many worried about donating.  Kirilow’s actions may cause hesitation among those wishing to donate to cancer charities.

As Kirilow is set to appear in court, she will do so without the support of her family. Her father says that they are unable to support her and the acts she has committed, no matter how much they’d like to.

June 7, 2010

Dying For a Good Night of Sleep

Filed under: insomnia — Tags: , , , , , , — drwatson @ 11:38 pm

Ensure a Good Night SleepSleep is always something many of us struggle with. There is just too much to do these days and we rarely ever find enough time to finish everything. Work, children, television, and computers, are among some of the most common reasons why a great number of us are not getting enough sleep every night.

Whether you’re working extra to get that promotion or if you just like surfing the net, sleep or in this case the lack of it, is affecting your overall health. According to new research, someone suffering from chronic insomnia may be up to three times more likely to die early.

Sleep is an enormous contributor to our overall health, but very few ever report problems. We just brush it off and drink more caffeine to keep our bodies alert enough to make it through the day. Insomnia is a very serious condition that can have terrible consequences if left untreated. There are a few things you can do before going to the doctor.

Exercise – Being active can play a huge role in your sleeping pattern. By getting some moderate or vigorous physical activity in every day, you can use up some of that energy that might be keeping you awake at night. Not to mention, it will help keep you fit.

Read – Try reading for an hour before going to bed, it’s relaxing and can help ease your mind and body. Things like the computer and television can really disrupt your sleeping pattern and these things should be avoided for an hour before going to bed.

Listen to Some Music – This doesn’t work for everyone, but I like to play music while I go to sleep. I try not to play anything too loud as that would ruin the point.

Deep Breathing – Believe it or not, taking slow and steady breaths can really calm your body. Try to just focus on your breathing, really become aware of it. Try not to get distracted by anything else and you may find yourself falling asleep quite quickly.

There are probably many other creative techniques that you can find. However, if nothing seems to be working and you just aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis, schedule a doctor’s appointment. It might help save your life.

May 31, 2010

How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Every Day

Filed under: healthy diet — Tags: , , , , , — drwatson @ 10:09 pm

Fruits and vegetables are extremely important to maintaining a healthy diet. However, many of us never get the necessary amount of fruits and vegetables everyday because we choose to fill our diets with bad carbs from fast food chains. Yet, there are simple ways we can increase our intake of fruits and vegetables.

Skip the chips and snack on something healthier. Instead of buying unhealthy snacks like potato chips and cookies, try eating some fruits and vegetables in between meals. I like to buy things like carrots that are a little harder and more solid of a snack, as they remind me more of a cookie or chip.

Add to the meals you already make. Try adding some vegetables to a pasta, or mixing some fruits in with a salad. This can add nutritional value to many meals and if you find some good recipes, you can create some very flavorful dishes.

Have fruits for desert. Try having more fruit after meals than something like ice cream or cake. Something like strawberries with non-fat yogurt can be very delicious. Maybe even make a fruit smoothie. Just add some yogurt, ice, and then fruits of your choice. I personally enjoy blueberries and strawberries.

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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