Health Beat

What you need to know about Colds & Flu


COLDS:


Colds are not caused by cold air, drafts, or getting wet or chilled.
Antibiotics won’t help a cold, because it is a viral infection.
Coldy symptoms usually worsen during the first three to five days, then gradually improve.  But it’s normal for coughs to linger for two or three weeks.


FLU:


People with flu virus can be contagious at least a day before they show symptoms – can up to four days after their symptoms begin.


The flu virus is very contagious.  You can become ill from 18 to 72 hours after exposure.
The flu is a major misery – but not usually dangerous for a healthy child or adult.  It can send you to bed for at least five days.  A cough and/or fatigue can linger for days or weeks afterwards.


The flu can be life-threatening for older adults or those with chronic illnesses.
The flu is caused by a virus and cannot be made better with antibiotics.  These drugs are good only for fighting bacteria.


Tips to prevent cold and the flu:



  • Wash your hands frequently. This is often your best defense. Wash the entire hand using warm water and soap. Don’t forget to clean under fingernails. Wash for about 10 seconds.
  • Avoid putting your hands near your eyes, nose or mouth, unless you have washed. Most bacteria and germs are spread from a surface to your hands to your face. Few germs are transmitted through the air.
  • Clean your ‘shared spaces’ more often than other times of the year. Remember phones, keyboards, steering wheels, office equipment and other items used by several people during the day.
  • Get a flu shot. Flu shots are especially beneficial for those with wekened immune systems, the elderly or those who come in contact with a lot of people. Check with Health Services for more information.
  • Get enough sleep. During sleep, your body’s immune system goes into high gear to protect you from illness.  Lack of sleep can reduce immune functioning making you susceptible to sickness.
  • Drink more water. In the fall and winter, it is easy to overlook your thirst and get dehydrated. Make sure you consume 8 glasses a day.
  • Continue a moderate exercise program. Try to maintain a 3-4 day a week exercise routine. Consistency is key.
  • Eat healthily. A good rule is to eat 10-15 calories per pound of “desired body weight.” If your ideal weight is 170 lbs, then consume 1700-2550 calories a day (1700 for sedentary individuals and 2550 for extremely active types.)
  • Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol can be dehydrating which, in turn, may decrease your resistence to bacteria.
  • Eat Yogurt. Some studies have shown that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25 percent. Researchers think the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may stimulate production of immune system substances that fight disease.
  • Finally, listen to your body. If you are less than 100% you will feel better and recover faster if you let yourself rest.

Research news ….. you can use!


exercise & Breast cancer:


Excess weight can mean excess estrogen in postmenopausal women.  Researchers theorize this may be one reason why breast cancer is a bigger risk for older overweight women.  Researchers theorize this may be one reason why breast cancer is a bigger risk for older overweight women.


But if you can shed some of those pounds, both estrogen levels and breast cancer risk drop, say researchers.  One way to drop some of that weight is to get more exercise.


In one study, women were assigned either a stretching exercise routine or about three hours a week of moderate aerobic exercise.


The aerobic group ? who lost about 2% of their body fat after 12 months of exercising ? had lower estrogen levels.  This decline was due primarily to weight loss, say researchers.


Estrogen levels increased slightly in the stretching group.


blood pressure and Weight:


If you have high blood pressure and are overweight, losing even a few pounds may be all you have to do to bring your blood pressure numbers down.


Prolonged bhigh blood pressure damages arteries.  It also causes the heart to work harder, which eventually causes the heart to work harder, which eventually causes the heart to enlarge.  An enlarged heart can lead to hear failure.


stroke & exercise:


Highly active people are 25% to 65% less likely to have a stroke or die compared with people who are inactive.


sharp mind:


Participating in intellectually challenging leisure-time activities ? such as reading or enrolling in classes ? helps improved the middle aged mind, say researchers.


Middle-aged people who take part in more social activities or who participate in stimulating intellectual pursuits tend to have sharper minds than people who pursue more solitary or brain-passive activities, such as gardening or puttering around the house.


This supports the ?use it or lose it? theory, which proposes that the more active we keep our minds as we age, the sharper we?ll stay.


helping others:


People who offer love, listening, and help to others may be rewarded with better mental health themselves. In other words, by helping others, you can help yourself, say researchers.


diabetes & heart disease:


More and more young people are becoming obese and developing type 2 diabetes.  And they?re having heart attacks and strokes as a result.  In one study, adults younger than 45 with type 2 diabetes were 14 times more likely to have a heart attack and 30 times more likely to have a stroke than their peers who did not have diabetes.


It?s long been known that diabetes can lead to heart disease.  What surprised researchers in this study was that heart disease progressed so rapidly in these relatively young diabetics.


The good news is that modest weight loss and physical activity can drastically reduce the risk of ever getting type 2 diabetes.


concussion:


An athlete who suffers a concussion may need a week or longer to recover, say researchers.   Often coaches return athlet es to the field sooner than is safe.  A concussion occurs when a blow jostles the brain inside the skull, stretching and sometimes treating nerve cells.


Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, memory problems, poor concentration, and impaired balance.


mattress ? how firm?


A firm mattress may not be the best thing for a sore back, say researchers.   In one recent study, people who slept on medium mattresses were twice as likely to report an improvement in their back pain as people using firm ones.


Researchers speculate that a firm mattress doesn?t contour enough to our bodies, while a soft mattress flexes too much ? making a medium mattress just right for most people.


smoking:


As if smokers need another reason to quit, scientists have discovered that a byproduct of nicotine ? the substance that makes cigarettes so addictive ? causes a chemical reaction in the body similar to that which occurs when sugar is scorched or food goes bad.


This reaction produces substances called advanced glycation  endproducts, or contribute to the aging process and certain diseases.


impatient?:


Impatience. Hostility. 
Processing either one of these personality traits nearly doubles a young person?s risk of developing high blood pressure later in life, say researchers.


High blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessel walls and the heart.  This raises the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.


spice it up:


Regularly sprinkling less than half a teaspoon of cinnamon into oatmeal, applesauce, or a baked apple may help prevent heart disease and diabetes.


People with type 2 diabetes who took from one to three grams of cinnamon a day capsule form for 40 days were able to lower their blood sugar and blood lipid levels.  Blood sugar was lower by 18% to 29%; LDL ?bad? cholesterol dropped from 7% to 27%; and triglycerides were reduced between 23% and 30%


PS: Remember that the benegirs come from cinnamon?. Not cinnamon rolls.


PMS making you miserable?


9 great ideas to try:



  • Eat less sugar, refined carbohydrates, and fatty animal products (many meats, high-fat dairy).
  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, fish, soy, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Eat more, smaller meals throughout the day )to help balance blood sugar).
    Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Restrict sodium (salt) to help avoid fluid retention.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take time to relax and to be alone.  Learn a relaxation technique like meditation. Practice yoga.
  • Exercise briskly every day.
  • Talk to a knowledgeable doctor about these supplements: calcium and magnesium; vitamin B-6; chasteberry, evening primrose oil; and natural progesterone.

Common PMS Symptoms:



  • Depression and decreased interest in usual activities.
  • Anxiety or tension.
  • Wide mood swings.
  • Persistent anger or irritability.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Lethargy, fatigue.
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
  • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control.
  • Breast tenderness, headache, joint or muscle pain, bloating, weight gain.

STRESS LESS


Be happy


According to ?happiness experts,? Each of us is born with a happiness set point.


This is a genetic level ? from giddy to grumpy ? around which our happiness level tends to settle, regardless of what happens to us.


While happiness is influenced by genes, we can ? with practice ? find ways to dial up our happiness levels.


?HAPPY? ENHANCERS



  • Get regular, brisk exercise.  It?s a natural mood-lifter.
  • Rent funny movies or stand-up comedy tapes.  Just the physical act of smiling can improve your mood.
  • Listen to inspiring music.  Sing along. Dance around the house.
  • Buy some brightly colored flowers.  There?s a reason why flowers are such popular gifts.
  • Snuggle with your dog or cat.
  • Plan a change of scenery ? especially one that gets you back to nature.
  • Take care of your body.  Get enough quality sleep and exercise.  Eat a healthy diet ? which means going light on junk food and sweets.
  • Keep a gratitude journal ? where each day you write down at least one thing you?re grateful for.
  • Learn how to meditate.  Feeling stressed can put a damper on happiness, and meditation helps you shed stress.  Studies also show that meditation sparks higher levels of activity in the part of the brain where feelings of happiness, enthusiasm, joy, high energy, and alertness are generated.
  • Forgive.  Holiding grudges can drain you of energy and the ability to feel happy.
  • Do something for others.  Sometimes, sacrificing what we want for the greater good can boost our happiness levels.
  • Form relationships.  People who have close connections, share physical touch, and enjoy the comfort of friendship and love are generally happier.
  • Follow your dreams ? not someone else?s.  Be true to yourself.
  • Know that a lifetime spent chasing the almighty dollar rarely brings true happiness.  Acquiring things beyond ?middle-class comforts? does not usually make us happier, say experts.  Lottery winners say they?re no happier than anyone else, once the excitement of winning has worn off.

Could it be Depression?


If you are profoundly unhappy and none of these ideas seem to help, you could be clinically depressed.  Depression is a brain disease ? an imbalance in brain chemistry.


If you think depression is the culprit behind your sadness, seek professional help.


Body, Mind, and Soul


?Failure seldom stops you.  What stops you is the fear of failure.?  — Jack Lemmon


?To disbelieve is easy.  To scoff is simple.  To have faith is harder.?  — Louis L?Amour


?Happiness comes when we stop wailing about the troubles we have and offer thanks for all the troubles we don?t have.?  — Susan Thurman


?Cherish all your happy moments.  They make a fine cushion for old age.?  — Booth Tarkington


?Swallow your pride occasionally, and console yourself with the knowledge that it is 100% calorie-free.?  –Unknown


By Various sources

Author: Vandana Rao- USA