The Problem with Antibiotics

There are many types of antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics treat bacterial infections.  Penicillin was discovered in 1928.  It was first used on a patient in 1941.  It was mass produced by the end of World War II.  There are now dozens of antibiotics on the market.  These drugs have reduced illness and death from infectious diseases.  However, bacteria have adapted resulting in these drugs becoming less effective.

These antibacterials medicines do not work on all infections. They treat bacteria but not viral infections.  Common viral infections are colds, influenza, bronchitis, and most sore throats and sinus infections.

Overuse of antibiotics contributes to more serious drug-resistant bacteria. The CDC estimates that 23,000 people in this country die yearly from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Reasons for overuse include pressure on healthcare providers to prescribe these drugs, patients using leftover antibiotics, and patients using antibiotics purchased overseas.

What can we do? Do not expect antibiotics to cure every illness.  Please do not pressure your provider to prescribe an antibiotic.  Most colds and coughs will take two weeks or longer to resolve.  Complete the entire course when an antibiotic is prescribed,.  Also, never take someone else’s medication.

 

Dr. Matthew Peters, MD

How do I know if I have frostbite?

ehow.com

Q: I was out in the cold in tennis shoes for a long time. When I came inside my toes were blue and hurt really bad for a few hours. Did I get frostbite?

A: Frostbite occurs when tissue freezes.  The condition mainly affects the fingers, toes, ears, cheeks and nose, but any body part can freeze – even your eyeballs!  When exposed to prolonged cold temperatures, blood flow is decreased to the extremities and diverted to more vital organs, like your heart, lungs and brain.  Unfortunately, this leaves the vulnerable areas even more at risk.

There is a spectrum of severity in frostbite.  Superficial frostbite occurs when the areas of the skin close to the surface freeze. There is often a burning sensation, numbness, or tingling.  Affected tissue becomes cold and white, but maintains some of the elasticity of normal skin.  This type of frostbite can be serious, but is potentially reversible with no loss of tissue or function.

The deeper the freeze, the more serious the disease.  When there is more extensive damage the tissue becomes white and hard, sometimes with superficial blood blisters. Sensation in the tissue is either absent or profoundly decreased. There probably will be loss of tissue, and sometimes surgery is required.

Frostnip is a cold injury to the tissues that is different from frostbite.  In frostnip, superficial tissue becomes cooled, but is not cold enough to freeze.  Skin is usually pale and numb, but recovers fully with gradual warming.

People with frostbite should be seen by a physician as soon as possible.  The area involved should be elevated and gradually warmed.  No rubbing! Clapping, rubbing, or slapping those cold frozen fingers together is only going to cause more damage to already stressed tissue.

Of course, the best way to avoid frostbite is to listen to your mother (and Dr. Vicki) and wear your hat and gloves. Minimize your exposure during severe weather. Be extra careful if you’re sick, have diabetes, vascular disease, or you smoke. Be wary of cold weather and alcohol. Stay warm out there, Buckeyes!

Victoria Rentel, MD (OSU SHS)

Reviewed by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Are you getting enough?

Sleep, that is.

Sleep is more important than you think.  Most people don’t function well with less than 7 hours of sleep.

Sleep deprived students more readily reach for candy and desserts.  The so-called ‘freshman 15’ may be related to widely changing patterns of sleep (sleeping different hours each night) and abbreviated (too little) sleep.  Lack of sleep makes the body less sensitive to insulin increasing the risk of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

Sleep deprivation affects brain functions including memory, emotion, and regulation of appetite.  Poor sleep can, under certain circumstances, lead to depression severe enough to be diagnosed as major depression.

Without enough sleep, the immune system cannot work as efficiently to fight off illness.

Sleeping pills provide only modest benefits.  People fall asleep between 8 and 20 minutes faster when taking prescription drugs for sleep.  Often, people end up functioning worse the next day – so drowsy that they cannot drive safely.  Sleeping pills can pose other dangers, too, like falls, dizziness, and fractures.

So if your roommate (not you) is in a bad mood, crabby, has decreased energy, poor judgement, and is gaining weight, maybe they just need more sleep.

More later on how to get a good night’s sleep.

Pat Balassone, CNP

In search of the perfect pillow

When changing the sheets last month, I noticed that our pillows looked – well – disgusting. They had a

Could this be the pillow I seek?

Could this be the pillow I seek?

bunch of yellowish slobber type stains on them and no longer held their shape. I couldn’t remember when we purchased them and decided then and there it was time for new pillows.

I had no idea there were so many different types of pillows. Pillows for back sleepers, stomach sleepers, side sleepers.   Down pillows, down alternative pillows, memory foam pillows. Expensive pillows, cheap pillows. Pillows to keep you cool at night. You name it – there’s a pillow.

I had determined not to go with the cheapest, but to try and go up a notch and pick a good quality pillow. I am a side sleeper and set my sights on those types of pillows. I pulled out a few, squeezed them, felt them for support, etc. and selected our replacements. Side sleeper pillows come in medium firmness and firm with the thought being that they need to support the head for the width of the shoulders.

I got home, changed out our pillows and tossed the old ones into the garbage. Three days later I was greatly regretting this new purchase. Sore doesn’t even begin to describe the state of my neck. I was so uncomfortable that I chucked the new pillow and just slept without. I then went on a search for a new pillow.

I googled pillows to find out which were considered the best. I researched side sleepers to see why there was a pillow specifically for this. I read reviews. I was determined to find a pillow that would not hurt my neck, even if I had to try out every pillow in Columbus.

I found a suggestion that recommended holding a pillow up to the wall and laying your head against it – simulating sleep – to see if it was the pillow for you. I received quite a few strange looks , but gave it a try. After much trial and error I finally found the pillow for me. That first night’s sleep was glorious and I haven’t experienced any neck issues.

Now, there are lots of opinions about pillows, how often they should be cleaned and replaced. As far as cleaning goes:

  • Huffpost Healthy Living recommends a zippered pillow protector (not the pillow case) that is washed every 3 weeks and washing the pillow itself every 3 months. (Down pillows have to be dry cleaned, but down alternatives can be washed.)
  • Martha Stewart recommends washing twice a year.

Replacing of pillows should be done every 2-3 years to ensure proper head and neck support.

Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis is a viral infection. It is spread through direct contact with saliva from another person infected with the virus. The infected person can spread the infection by kissing, sharing food, coughing, or shaking hands. It is spread less often through contact with blood or semen.

Symptoms usually begin 4-6 weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, fever, sore throat, and swollen neck glands. Most people will improve within 2-4 weeks.

The doctor will diagnosis mononucleosis from your symptoms, exam and lab tests. Treatment includes rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever. Antibiotics do not help.

Mononucleosis can cause your spleen to enlarge and possibly rupture with minimal injury. Therefore, it is wise to avoid contact sports until a month after your mono symptoms have resolved.

The best prevention is to avoid contact with the infected person’s saliva and other bodily fluids until their symptoms have completely resolved.

Submitted by Matthew Peters, MD

Do I need a tetanus shot?

Tetanus is a problem with the nervous system. It is caused by bacteria. This bacteria releases a toxin that causes severe muscle contractions and can cause death. The disease has been called “lockjaw” because it can cause severe painful spasm of the muscles around the jaw.

The disease usually occurs after suffering a deep cut or puncture wound, or foreign body such as a splinter. Most people will develop symptoms within a week of injury. Treatment for the illness once symptoms begin is very difficult and intensive.

The good news is that this disease is preventable with immunizations. Most people have received a series of tetanus immunizations during childhood. Adults should get a tetanus booster every ten years. If you have a deep or dirty wound, it is likely your healthcare provider will recommend a booster if it has been longer than five years since your last booster.

Submitted by Matthew Peters, MD

Veggie Vitals – Asparagus, A great weapon in your arsenal of healthy foods!

AsparagusThe asparagus spears – get it? Weapon – spears?  Anyway, these spears pack quite a punch when it comes to nutritional benefits and they have been doing so for over 4,000 years.  It was declared a food of the gods by Pharaoh Ikhnaton and his wife Nefertiti and was well liked by the Greeks, Persians, and Babylonians.

Asparagus does take a bit of time, however, to grow into maturity.  It is planted in the ground 3 years before it can be harvested for a full season.  But, once it does start growing, it does so with gusto.  A mature plant is harvested all season – approximately 90 days, and can sometimes grow 6 to 7 inches in one day.

Whenever I pick up some asparagus from the store, my husband always says, “I don’t like the green asparagus, I like white!”  Obviously he is not aware that green and white asparagus come from the same plant.  Sunlight is what causes the spears to turn green.  When the spears puncture through the ground, dirt is piled on top of them to shield them from sunlight.  They continue growing underground and when finally harvested the stalk is all white.  FYI – purple asparagus comes from a completely different plant and if cooked for a prolonged period of time will turn green.

Asparagus is considered by some to be an aphrodisiac.  Apparently there is an Arabian love manual from the 16th century that provided an asparagus recipe for the stimulation of erotic desires.  I did some Googling, but couldn’t find the recipe.  But I did find some scientific rational as to why it might have been considered as such.  Asparagus contains high levels of vitamin E and foliate which are necessary for histamine production and histamine is related to easy sexual orgasm, both in men and women.  Recommendations are that it be consumed over 3 consecutive days for the most powerful effects.

One cup of raw asparagus contains approximately 27 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.  That same cup also provides 70% of your daily vitamin K needs, 20% of vitamin A, 17% of folate, 16% of iron, 13% of vitamin C, 13% of thiamin, and smaller amounts of vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Here are some of the benefits indicated by the Juicing for health website.

Acidity, Blood:  The high alkalinity of this wonder juice is effective in reducing the acidity of the blood and helps cleanses the tissues and muscles of waste.

Arthritis and Rheumatism:   A unique phytochemical in asparagus that produces anti-inflammatory effect helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism.

Bowel movement:  Consume asparagus regularly for its mild laxative effect and dietary fiber that provides for regular bowel movement.

Cancer:   Asparagus is a prime source of anti-oxidant and glutathione that can help prevent the dreaded cancer.

Cataracts:  The anti-oxidant and glutathione in asparagus prevents the progression of cataracts and other eye problems.

Diabetes/Hypoglycemia:  The healthful minerals in asparagus juice make it an important diet for people who are controlling their blood sugar levels. However, it is not to be taken by people with advanced kidney diseases.

Diuretic:  Asparagus is a wonderfully diuretic vegetable and its efficacy is more pronounced when it is taken in juice form.

Heart disease:  Drink a small amount of asparagus juice mixed with raw honey three times a day daily to strengthen a weak or enlarged heart.

Kidney:  The diuretic and alkaline properties of asparagus help prevent or dissolve kidney stones. It helps break up oxalic acid crystals formed in the kidney.

PMS symptoms:  The diuretic effect of asparagus juice helps relieve premenstrual swelling and bloating. The magnesium in this wonder juice also help relieve irritability, fatigue, depression, etc.

Pregnant women:  The high content of folate, calcium and other minerals in asparagus are important in reducing the risk of birth defects and low birth weight. The diuretic effect of the juice is also a big help in reducing water retention in pregnant women.

June 11 is Asparagus Day!

Veggie Vitals: Beans Won’t String You Along

GreenBeansGreen beans are a favorite of my family – well I should say home grown and home canned green beans are a favorite.  I made the mistake a few years ago of picking up some store brand green beans and well let’s just say that the words blah and yuck were heard quite a bit that day.  Anyway, green beans are a favorite and actually one of the few “green” veggies that my husband will eat.  So, I got to wondering what kind of health benefit they had to offer.

Low in calories and no saturated fats – approximately 31 calories per serving.

Dietary Fiber – one serving equates to 14-16% of the recommended daily allowance.  Fiber helps to protect the mucous membrane in the colon by decreasing its exposure to toxic substances.

Vitamin A – Helps to protect against aging.

Vitamin C – helps to speed up the healing of cuts and bruises and is important when it comes to cancer prevention.

Vitamin K – This vitamin plays a prominent role in blood clotting and healing of wounds.  It also aids in absorption of calcium and maintaining strong bones in the elderly.

Flavonoids – aid in the reduction of heart disease.

Silicon – a key element in bone regeneration and overall bone health.

Chlorophyll – which can block the carcinogenic effects of that result when grilling meats at high temperatures.  Good to know with summer approaching.

While fresh is best, benefits can be still obtained from frozen or canned.  If you do opt for the canned version make sure to rinse and drain to reduce the sodium content.

Oh my – that soldier just fainted!

A couple of years ago I had the gBriansBasicGradreat privilege of attending my sons graduation from boot camp at Fort Benning. It was quite the ceremony with a tremendous amount of pomp and circumstance. The graduates has been up for the majority of the night and then stationed down at the parade ground waiting for the ceremony to begin and so I’m guessing that while excited they were not physically at their best. We watched all of the young men line up and then stand at attention on the parade ground while the band played, demonstrations were given, and officials spoke. And during the course of all these activities, one of the graduates, front and center, fainted. A couple of sergeants rushed over to him, dragged him to the back behind all of the other graduates while everything else continued. I’m assuming that this young man quickly recovered because the units marched off the parade ground I did not see anyone lying on the ground. When I mentioned the fainting graduate to my son he said something about the soldier locking his knees.

SpencerTurner - FaintingWhenStandingAtAttentionA question of why some people faint after standing at attention for some time was posed of Dr. Spencer Turner in Oct of 1973. Fainting, also called syncope, is defined by WebMD as the sudden, brief, loss of consciousness and posture caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. While there are medical conditions that can cause fainting, what occurred with the soldier was most likely a simple episode known as a vasovagal attack or neutrally-mediated syncope. This type of fainting occurs because blood pressure drops, reducing circulation to the brain and causing loss of consciousness. Typically it occurs while standing and is often preceded by a sensation of warmth, nausea, lightheadedness and visual grayout.

Locking the knees can indeed lead to fainting as it hinders the flow of blood to the brain. The lack of circulation often leads to a light-headed feeling and can end in the individual fainting. The best way to avoidthis situation, if you have to stand for a prolonged period of time, is to bend your knees.

The original article written by Dr. Spencer Turner can be found at the Lantern Archives .

Veggie Vitals – I do not like broccoli

bush-broccoli“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” George H. W. Bush

The above quote was made when then President Bush banned broccoli from being served on Air Force One.  While I can certainly understand not like something – sauerkraut has never been served in my home – President Bush was definitely missing out on a good thing with broccoli.  It has been touted as a super vegetable.

  • Potassium – helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, promote regular muscle growth
  • Magnesium and calcium – helps regulate blood pressure
  • Vitamin C – fights free radicals and effective antihistamine for easing discomfort of common cold
  • Vitamin K and calcium – important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis
  • Beta-carotene, zinc, and selenium – strengthen immune defense actions
  • Glucoraphanin – processed by the body into sulforaphane which rids the body of H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase risk of gastric cancer
  • Fiber – aids in digestion, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
  • Carotenoid lutein – helps prevent age related macular degeneration and cataracts and may also slow down or prevent thickening of arteries.
  • B6 and folate reduce risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.

So, before you side with President Bush and ban broccoli from your home, consider the many health benefits this vegetable offers.  Maybe with a little bit of garlic and parmesan cheese you’ll be able to consume this veggie and reap the benefits of this super food.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.