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.

Veggie Vitals: Carrots are a Punishment

I don’t know about you, but carrots seem to be the number one diet food.  Going on a diet?  Stock up on carrots.  Which might be why my co-worker views carrots as a punishment and not a pleasure.

Carrots, however, should not be reserved for diets alone.  They provide a number of health benefits that can be enjoyed year round.carrots

  • Improves vision – beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the liver and the vitamin A is then transformed by the retina to rhodopsin which is necessary for night vision.
  • Helps prevent cancer – Studies have shown a reduction in the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer.
  • Slows down aging – beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism.
  • Promotes healthier skin – vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Helps prevent infection – shredded raw or boiled and mashed can be used on cuts.
  • Prevents heart disease – Studies have shown diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Cleanses the body – Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing toxins from the body.
  • Protects teeth and gums – They scrape off plaque and food particles and stimulate gums.
  • Prevents stroke – Studies show that people who are more than 6 carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate 1 or less.

So, go ahead and “punish” yourself by eating carrots.  The health benefits make it definitely worth it.

 

Veggie Vitals: To Beet or Not To Beet

A couple of years ago I went to a healthy cooking demonstration here on campus.  The goal of the demo was to introduce different ways that veggies could be incorporated into a meal.  They started out with a beet smoothie.  Beets were not something that I had incorporated into my diet at that time, but I’m always game to try new things and I like smoothies, so I gave it a try.

Now, before allowing us to sample the smoothie they instructed us that we should carefully wash the beets and they recommended peeling it to remove the earthly taste.  They also suggested adding strawberries or some other fruit to add a bit of sweetness. They passed round the samples for us to try and well let’s just say I was not impressed.  To be honest I felt it tasted like dirt.  Blah!  Needless to say I was not enamored with the beet.

Fast forward a couple of years and I have joined an organic co-op, where they deliver a bag of fresh veggies to me every week.  And one week – yes, they include beets.  Not just the bottom portion which is what I would have considered to be the beet, but the whole plant, leafy greens included.  I must admit I was baffled.  Why not cut off the greens?  Were they just being lazy?  Or is this part of the organic thing – to give you the whole plant?

I did a bit of research and found that the whole plant is edible and that the greens offer benefits as well as the bulb or root.  Here are some of the health benefits of a beet as a whole:

raw-beets-6

  • Low in calories with zero cholesterol and a small amount of fat
  • Rich source of glycine betaine which can lower your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular diseases.
  • Raw beets (ugh, think dirt) are an excellent source of folates which are necessary for DNA synthesis within cells. Cooking, however, significantly reduces the folate levels.
  • Rich source of B-complex vitamins.
  • Moderate levels of potassium which lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism
  • The greens are an excellent source of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant.
  • The greens are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoids antioxidants, and vitamin A which is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision.

I have now embraced the beet, all of it, bulb/root and greens.  I, however, choose to roast the bulb with a bit of olive oil and garlic powder.  This removes the earthy taste and actually makes it kind of sweet.  The greens – those I put into a smoothie with a banana and berries.  Much, much better than the bulb!

I should caution you, however, that there is a very noticeable side effect from eating beets.  A day or so after consumption you will see a noticeable color change in your stool and potentially in your urine as well.

Tina Comston, M.Ed.

It’s OK to use your sleeve

Growing up sleeves were a big no-no.  We weren’t supposed to use our sleeves to wipe our noses or our mouths.  We weren’t supposed to stretch out our sleeves. And we weren’t to use our sleeves as rags to wipe things down.  Sleeves were to be – well – sleeves.

The wiping of the nose thing – that’s still good advice, but our sleeves can serve a purpose other than being sleeves.  Sleeves are great for coughing and sneezing.  If you’re coughing/sneezing into your sleeve, you’re limiting the spread of germs into the air, protecting those around you.

Mirror Lake Jump Traditions

http://www.dispatch.com/content/slideshows/2012/11/mirror-lake.html

Beat Michigan Week Mirror Lake Jump

Every year it’s the same.  I ask a friend of mine – “Hey are you going to jump in Mirror Lake?”  And every year he’s says – “You bet!” And then every year I reply with – “I’ll make sure we have an appointment waiting for you at Student Health.”

Hah. Hah – right?  Kind of.  The Mirror Lake Jump is indeed a tradition at Student Life Student Health Services (SLSHS), just not in the way most students like to think.

For us, the tradition consists of making sure that on the morning after:

  • We have plenty of walk-in appointments available.
  • We have plenty of supplies on hand to treat eye infections.
  • We are ready for colds/nausea/diarrhea.
  • We are prepared to handle injuries.

Yes, the day after the Mirror Lake Jump is exciting at SLSHS.  But, it doesn’t have to be. 

Feet: Wear something on your feet! Between glass shards on High Street and sticks in the grass and unknown objects buried in the muck on the bottom of the lake, bare feet are prime targets for cuts and other trauma. At a minimum, consider wearing a cheap pair of flip-flops, strapped on with duct tape so that they don’t fall off in the mud.

Neck: Never, ever dive into Mirror Lake or any other shallow, murky body of water. The risk of disaster, including catastrophic injury to the brain or spine, is ridiculously high.

Skin: When running, jumping, wading, and falling meets rocks, sticks, broken glass, and throngs of partiers, there is great opportunity for bruises, abrasions, and lacerations. Add contamination with skanky lake water, and risk for infection is high. When you get home, take a shower (seems like reasonable advice regardless) and pay special attention to wash any broken skin with soap and water.

Eyes: If you wear contact lenses, consider leaving them at home. At a minimum, take out the contacts as soon as you get home and wash or replace them. Skanky water (a recurring theme) + contact lenses + horseplay + late night = increased risk for funky mirror lake eye infection, especially if the cornea has been abraded by friction from the contact lens.

Hypothermia: Our colleagues in the Emergency Department at the OSU Wexner Medical Center tell us that many of the students who end up in the ER in the hours during and after the Jump suffer from hypothermia. This isn’t surprising given typical midnight temperatures in Columbus in late November coupled with the dubious heat-retaining properties of a wet pair of speedos. The nature of the Jump does not lend itself to staying warm and snuggly, but it also does not require coursework in computational astrophysics to appreciate that intoxication makes hypothermia all the more dangerous.

Soul: Friends don’t let friends do the Mirror Lake Jump alone. Go with a friend. Keep track of your friend. If there’s trouble, ask for help. Call 9-1-1. Do the right thing.

If you Jump, please be safe.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.