Disease Prevention Tips Health promotion tips, wellness tips and more.

HEALTH TIPS: Protecting babies from the flu

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconProtecting babies from the flu
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepProtecting Against Influenza (Flu): Advice for Caregivers of Children Less Than 6 Months Old (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Had your flu vaccination yet? It’s far from too late. Flu season has months left, so there’s still plenty of time to catch the infection if you leave yourself unprotected.

And people who leave themselves at risk might create risks for others. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anne Schuchat:

“Children under 6 months can get very sick from influenza, but they’re too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect them is to make sure everyone in the family and all of the caregivers are vaccinated against influenza.’’

Most children 6 months and older, as well as most adults, can and should get vaccinated. Vaccination can also provide secondhand protection to people who have egg allergies and can’t get vaccinated, as well as protecting infants.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: January, 04 2008

If you aren’t able to get enough iron from your diet, you may want to consider an iron supplement. Feosol iron supplements help prevent and treat iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia – thereby promoting increased energy. Iron supplements can also help reverse concentration and memory problems caused by iron deficiency.

HEALTH TIPS: Where’ s the sunshine vitamin?

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconWhere’s the sunshine vitamin?
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepVitamins (National Library of Medicine)

When the sun sets early, the nights get long, and the temperatures keep kids inside, it’s harder to get the sunshine on the skin that spurs the body to create vitamin D. And a researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has seen how that affects kids.

Babette Zemel checked data on healthy children in the Northeast. Her study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

“In the winter, when there’s less sunlight exposure, your vitamin D levels drop. And we found that 68 percent of children had low vitamin D levels in the winter.’’

Sunlight is an easy way to raise vitamin D levels, but Zemel says it’s hard to get enough sunlight on a Northern winter day. Fortified milk is a good way to get vitamin D.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: January, 03 2008

HEALTH TIPS: Drinking less

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconDrinking less
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepAlcohol (National Library of Medicine)

Framingham, Massachusetts, isn’t drinking like it used to. A study that’s been tracking the health of people in the city reports a decline over 50 years. That’s important because the Framingham study is a benchmark for examinations into U.S. health habits in general.

“Average amount of alcohol consumption decreased across succeeding generations, with more moderate and less heavy consumption.’’

Paradoxically, even though the amount of drinking has gone down in general, the proportion of people who have alcohol abuse problems has not changed.

Zhang says people with alcohol problems should get help, but alcohol use in moderation can help people’s heart health.

The study in the American Journal of Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: October, 03 2008

HEALTH TIPS: Seeking a formula for safety

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconSeeking a formula for safety
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepFood Safety for Moms-To-Be (Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition)

Babies can get a variety of illnesses – including some severe ones – from infant formula that is contaminated or prepared wrong. But a new study indicates parents need more help to understand these risks.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and other agencies looked into this. Their study is in the journal Pediatrics.

“Almost 40 percent misunderstood infant formula types to be equivalent; so they understood powdered formula and liquid formula to be equivalent, although powdered formula is actually not a sterile product but liquid formula is.’’

The study says some formula-handling practices have improved, but more needs to be done.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: October, 06 2008

HEALTH TIPS: Stalling on kids’ smoking

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconStalling on kids’ smoking
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepHealthy Youth! (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Sometimes, a nosedive is a good thing. From 1997 to 2007, the proportion of high school students who smoked fell by half. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bases that on its surveys of high school-age teens.

But the CDC’s latest data indicate we can’t pat ourselves on the back yet, because that good downtrend seems to have flattened out – or stalled.

“The American Legacy Foundation media campaign has only about half the level of funding. And a number of major states that have the most dramatic prevention campaigns have completely gone off the air.’’

Pechacek notes that tobacco companies haven’t stopped promoting cigarettes. He says parents and others need to be sure teens realize smoking is dangerous.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: October, 08 2008

HEALTH TIPS: Incoming measles

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconIncoming measles
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepVaccinations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Measles is generally mild, but it can cause serious complications and death.

Due to a successful measles vaccination program, measles no longer occurs naturally in the United States. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 131 cases from January through July this year, compared with an average of 63 cases a year since 2000.

CDC’s Amy Parker notes that other nations have not eliminated measles. So the virus can be carried back by foreign visitors and U.S. residents who became infected while traveling in countries where the disease is widespread.

Once the virus is here, it can spread, especially to unvaccinated people.

“Vaccinating your child offers the best protection, and vaccination is what we recommend.’’

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: October, 07 2008

HEALTH TIPS: Popcorn, nuts

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconPopcorn, nuts
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepDiverticulosis and Diverticulitis (National Library of Medicine)

For people who’ve had diverticulosis – development of tiny pockets in the intestine – foods like popcorn and nuts have been off the menu. Medical thinking was that small hard things can get lodged in those pockets, creating irritations that cause infection or bleeding.

But Dr. Lisa Strate and colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined data on that, from a large long-running study of the health of men.

They found no association between the foods and infection or bleeding.

“For a large proportion of people out there who know they have diverticulosis and have been told that they should avoid these foods, there probably isn’t any reason to do that.’’

The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association was supported by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the National Institutes of Health.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: October, 09 2008

HEALTH TIPS: Good gums, good health

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconGood gums, good health
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepPeriodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research)

Gum disease is far from uncommon in much of Appalachia, and a researcher at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry has some numbers to indicate how bad it is.

Richard Crout’s check of 445 families in West Virginia and Pennsylvania found 80 percent of adults had severe forms of gum disease.

Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, and West Virginia leads the nation in people who have lost all their teeth. But infected gums also are linked to other problems, such as heart disease.

“Now is the time to visit your dentist regularly, brush at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day.’’

Crout’s study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health, was presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: October, 10 2008

HEALTH TIPS: The doctor, the family, and the choice

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconThe doctor, the family, and the choice
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepPatient/Provider Interaction (Health Resources and Services Administration) Exit Disclaimer

When a family member is unable to make decisions about medical care, it’s up to the family, but the doctor’s opinion typically carries great weight.

Dr. Alexia Torke of the Indiana University School of Medicine looked at doctors’ approaches to the advice they give. Some guided family members toward the doctor’s own preferences; some weighed family desires more.

“If a family member does run into difficulties negotiating these things with physicians, there are other members of the hospital team that can be helpful, too. So a family member can turn to a social worker, nurse, or even a patient advocate.’’

The study in the Journal of Clinical Ethics was supported by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The study in the Journal of Clinical Ethics was supported by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

HEALTH TIPS: Diabetes and a healthy pregnancy

Health Tip – Audio Version speaker iconDiabetes and a healthy pregnancy
Health Tip – Healthy Next StepFor Women with Diabetes: Your Guide to Pregnancy (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

A woman who has diabetes can have a safe and healthy pregnancy, but doctors consider this a high-risk pregnancy, so it takes more care.

To help women manage that care, the National Institutes of Health issued a booklet, “For Women with Diabetes: Your Guide to Pregnancy.’’ The booklet gives women information on how to eat during pregnancy, how to be physically active, and information on medical tests, including tests to help women control their blood glucose – their blood sugar.

“It’s a lot of work to take care of yourself. It’s a team approach. But it is absolutely worth it, because both the health of the mother and the health of the baby can really be improved by good control.’’

Health Tip courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last revised: October, 14 2008