Posted in Father's Day, Health, news

Father’s Day- Do’s and Don’ts

This Sunday is Father’s Day and millions of Americans celebrate it the wrong way.  Why? Because no one asks Dad what he wants, and Dad is too nice to say.

Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday of every June.  Although first celebrated in 1910 when Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her veteran father like mothers are on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day became an official holiday in 1972 by  President Richard Nixon.

Although Father’s Day is supposed to honor Dads, retailers and even families seem to miss the mark.  Here’s some Do’s and Don’ts for this Father’s Day.

Rethink the BBQ celebration

Whenever a BBQ gets planned, someone needs to prepare the backyard, clean the grill, bring out the furniture, work the grill, serve the food, clean up the grill, clean up the backyard……and guess who that is…Dad.  And its hot, super hot outside. Not the most fun way to celebrate one’s day.  Go out to eat instead. Retailers like it and no one has to do the lifting.

The extended family is coming

Many households this Sunday will see Dad and the in-laws in the same room at the same time. For some this could be a pleasant occasion.  For others, uncomfortable and stressful.  Wives feel conflicted as they want to celebrate with their Father, but make the day spectacular for hubby.  If an issue, I recommend splitting up the day where Grandpa has a Father’s Day brunch and Dad celebrates a Father’s Day dinner.  Or designate a different day to celebrate each.

Buying Dad the wrong gift

Avoid the following gifts for Dad:

Grill tools or BBQ Apron– remember the BBQ is a lot of work, don’t remind him of it

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Cologne –  most men don’t like “parfuming” up….. they wear it for others but it’s not for them

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Lawn Mowers – unless its a ride-on, lawn mowers remind Dad of lawn work.

 

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Dress/ Suit Shirts – button-up neck-constricting linens are not one’s most cherished gift. Unless they save him a trip to the department store, buy him something more comfortable.

 

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Funny Underwear – underwear should never be a gift, its underwear….

 

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Personal Hygiene/Shaving Products – this equates to getting a disposable razor for Mother’s Day.

 

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Instead, opt for the following…

Let Dad Have a Real Day Off – Take the kids out and give Dad a day to himself.  Sure the kids could give Dad his gifts during brunch or dinner but allow Dad to spend the day how he wants to:  in his underwear, taking a much needed nap, going for a drive, fishing, etc.  Too bad there’s no skiing in June.

Ask Dad what He Wants – this doesn’t seem to get done all year round.  Why not start on Father’s Day?  Maybe he wants a Google Home or the next video game installment. Which brings us to….

Gift Cards Make the Best Gift – he can buy what he wants, and not feel awkward asking for it.

A Big Hug and Kiss Hits the Mark – despite any level of macho-ness, Daddies love this.  Make him feel special.

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MY DADDY, 1996

Happy Father’s Day!!!  Enjoy!

                                                                                                       

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

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Posted in Health, news

Is Drinking Urine Healthy?

A group in Colorado claims urine has multiple medicinal properties and drinks it regularly.

Urine Therapy Group meets and group members will either use urine topically for ailments or drink it.

For centuries, the application, or imbibing, of one’s urine has been touted for its health benefits. In fact, diabetes used to be diagnosed when one’s physician would taste their urine to determine its sweetness.

A previous case study published in the Journal Of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology had made headlines, reporting it found urine therapy to be potentially beneficial.  They report a 16-year-old boy, under the direction of his mother, applied urine to his face to help treat his acne. It apparently worked so he began to store some urine for future use, but did so in a way such that the urine became warm and contaminated and then subsequently inflamed the skin.

They report:

IN DERMATOLOGY, SYNTHETIC UREA IS AN ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN NUMEROUS COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS. UREA, OR CARBAMIDE, IS UTILIZED TO INCREASE WATER-BINDING CAPACITY OF THE STRATUM CORNEUM. IN HIGHER CONCENTRATIONS, IT IS ALSO BELIEVED TO BE KERATOLYTIC AND IS USED FOR CONDITIONS SUCH AS PSORIASIS, ICHTHYOSIS, AND DERMATOPHYTOSIS. IN A STUDY UTILIZING 21 HUMAN VOLUNTEERS, UREA IMPROVED BARRIER FUNCTION AND ENHANCED ANTIMICROBIAL PEPTIDE (AMP; LL-37 AND Β-DEFENSIN-2) EXPRESSION. FURTHERMORE, THE STUDY SHOWED THAT TOPICAL UREA APPLICATION NORMALIZED BOTH BARRIER FUNCTION AND AMP EXPRESSION IN A MURINE MODEL OF ATOPIC DERMATITIS.

Studies however have not consistently found evidence that our notorious waste product can help fight ailments such as infections, cancer, rashes and allergies that so many claim.

 

What is urine?

Urine is a yellowish liquid, created by the kidneys, as a result of filtering toxins and unneeded substances from the blood.  From the kidneys, it travels through a ureter, into the bladder for storage, and then upon urination, travels through a urethra to the outside world…..to get AWAY from the body.

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Why is urine yellow?

Urochrome is responsible for the yellow color of urine. It’s a byproduct from the degradation of heme when red blood cells are broken down.

Why do vitamins make urine brighter?

If one takes a multivitamin or B-Complex they may notice their urine turn neon yellow as the body is trying to eliminate the excess riboflavin (Vitamin B2).

What is urine composed of?

Urine is approximately 95% water with the remaining 5% consisting of:

  • urea
  • ammonia
  • salts such as sodium, chloride, and calcium
  • minerals
  • protein
  • creatinine
  • variety of cells
  • toxins

What causes urine to smell?

Healthy urine should hardly have an odor as its 95% water. However, dehydrated individuals may exhibit more of an ammonia smell.  Infections, food and medications can also alter the odor of urine.

Is urine a good source of vitamins?

No.  Vitamins leached out into the urine are the excess the body does not need and may  additionally be the byproducts of their original useful form.

Does drinking urine cure acne?

No, not by drinking.  Acne is caused by a multitude of factors ranging from hormones to bacteria infections, such as Propionibacterium acnes.  However, if one claims their consumption of it clears their complexion, the only thing I can fathom is hydration with water has proven beneficial for the skin….water.  This is not an approved traditional medicine treatment for acne.

Topical applications, however, have been suggested to help as some believe the urine has antibacterial properties against the P. acne bacteria….but I’d rather reach for the Clearasil.

Is it safe to drink your own urine?

This is debatable because in theory, urine is sterile and mostly composed of water.  But  realize this is in situations where one is healthy and hydrated.  If in a survival situation, chances are the urine is highly concentrated with salts and waste products, so drinking it could severely strain the kidneys and not give the hydration benefit desired.

 

Does urine cure anything?

Actually, in practice I’ve noticed that those who’ve peed in the shower, soaking their feet in the urine as it exits the drain, seemed to have the smoothest of feet.  Studies have shown, the urea in urine, applied topically, can help dry skin, feet and callouses.

Urotherapy, or the application of urine for medicinal purposes, is believed by some who practice alternative medicine, to cure cancer as it reintroduces antigens, that exited the body once, in hopes of stimulating the immune system.  In traditional medicine, however, this is not an approved cancer treatment.

 

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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news

“White Coat Hypertension” Should Not be Ignored

Years ago I explained how a spike in blood pressure at the sight of a doctor’s “white coat” could be sign of poorly controlled blood pressure, putting one at risk of stroke, retinopathy, heart disease and kidney damage, but the medical consensus, at the time, felt it was “benign.”  My argument was if a white coat makes one’s blood pressure spike, so could a G-string, bank hold up, or call from a mother-in-law, suggesting one’s blood pressure may be spiking throughout the day. Catching this spike during a routine doctor’s visit could be lifesaving. Now a study agrees that “White Coat Hypertension (‘WCH)” can put one at higher risk of heart disease and should NOT be ignored.

Researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine found untreated WCH put one at increased risk for cardiovascular death.

They write:

 …untreated WCH was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events (hazard ratio [HR], 1.36 [95% CI, 1.03 to 2.00]), all-cause mortality (HR, 1.33 [CI, 1.07 to 1.67]), and cardiovascular mortality (HR, 2.09 [CI, 1.23 to 4.48]); the risk of WCH was attenuated in studies that included stroke in the definition of cardiovascular events (HR, 1.26 [CI, 1.00 to 1.54]). No significant association was found between treated WCE and cardiovascular events (HR, 1.12 [CI, 0.91 to 1.39]), all-cause mortality (HR, 1.11 [CI, 0.89 to 1.46]), or cardiovascular mortality (HR, 1.04 [CI, 0.65 to 1.66]). The findings persisted across several sensitivity analyses.

They recommend, therefore, “out of office” blood pressure monitoring if WCH is suspected, as do I.

Last year a study found that WCH affects at least 30% of Americans, could signify significant disease.

“White Coat Hypertension” is believed to be a temporary spike in which blood pressure will rise either systolically (the pumping pressure) or diastolically (the filling pressure) or both.  Damage to brain tissue, heart, eyes, kidneys and other organs can occur during these spikes.

Study author, Dr. Raymond Townsend, director of the hypertension program at Penn Medicine, states, “We encourage our patients to do blood pressure readings at home. That is a good way to not only monitor blood pressure where you actually “live”, but it also provides a lot of insight for patients to understand how life’s little indiscretions, like take-out Chinese with extra soy sauce, can truly affect your blood pressure the next day,” reported in a piece by NBC News.

24 hour monitoring can be done at home or at work where one monitors their blood pressure throughout the day and night, allowing the medical provider to identify spikes that may be missed during a 15 minute office visit.

New Blood Pressure Guidelines Introduced Last Fall

High blood pressure has now been redefined as being greater than 130/80 mmHg, down from 140/90 mmHg.  This will mean close to 103 million more Americans will fall under the “hypertensive” category.

Multiple agencies, including the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, redefined the guidelines, in practice for the last 14 years, to lower the threshold for high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80.

Under the old guidelines, 1/3 of US Americans were considered to have high blood pressure.  Now 42% of Americans will be “hypertensive”.

In lowering the guidelines, task force members hope to reduce complications associated with high blood pressure and start treatment earlier in those who have not been treated.

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What do the blood pressure numbers mean?

The top number, or systolic pressure, is the pressure the heart exudes during a beat or pumping of the blood.

Diastolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries between beats while the heart is “filling”.

Both numbers are equally important as elevation of either can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

What can long term high blood pressure do?

Chronic high blood pressure can be dangerous.  It may cause:

  • Heart attacks
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Dementia
  • Eye damage – vision loss
  • Erectile dysfunction…to name a few.

How do we treat high blood pressure?

The stages of blood pressure are defined in the chart above.  At the elevated or early stages of high blood pressure the following lifestyle changes will be recommended:

  • Weight loss
  • Low salt diet
  • Low fat diet
  • Good sleep habits
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

As a family physician I would also screen for diabetes, high cholesterol, low thyroid, kidney disease and sleep apnea.

If blood pressure cannot be controlled and continues to rise, medications may be prescribed to decrease blood volume, or lower the heart rate, or relax the blood vessels.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news, weather

Heat Illness and Heat Stroke Explained

The National Weather Service has issued “excessive heat warnings” for many parts of the Southwest United States.  It’s the first of the season for many states, so don’t be unprepared.

What is an “excessive heat warning?”

This occurs “within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions”. This means that the heat index (air temperature and humidity) will be greater than 105 degrees for more than three hours a day for at least two days in a row and the night-time temperatures will not drop below 75 degrees. Although many of us may live in areas where this occurs each year, the onset can be one of the most dangerous times.  Symptoms such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke must be identified.

What are Heat Cramps?

At first when one feels symptoms, it may come in the form of heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful spasms that occur in the muscles of the arms and legs and even abdomen. We believe that when one loses fluids and salts from excessive sweating, cramps ensue. Its important in these cases to get the person out of the heat, hydrate them with sips of fluid and electrolytes and massage the body parts affected.

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What is Heat Exhaustion?

If one does not leave the heat and come indoors, the next risky event that can occur is heat exhaustion. This worsens as the victim sweats profusely becoming more and more dehydrated. They could also have cramps but nausea may ensue, they may look pale and clammy and their heart rate will increase to try to compensate for the lost fluid. These individuals may become dizzy, weak and even faint. Immediately bring the person indoors, lie them down, elevate the feet, give sips of fluid, cool down the body applying cool and wet cloths to the underarms and body, and contact medical authorities if symptoms continue or worsen.

 

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IMAGE FROM MEDSTAR

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke will occur if a vulnerable person does not get out of the heat in time. It is a medical emergency and can be fatal. If an individual has heat stroke 9-1-1 must be called immediately. Bring the victim indoors away from sunlight, lie them down, remove unnecessary clothing, cool their body with cold compresses and watch for signs of rapidly progressive heat stroke in which they have difficulty breathing, seize or lose consciousness. If they are unconscious you cannot give them fluids. Only if they are alert, awake and able to swallow will you be able to give fluids. Do not give medications to reduce the fever such as aspirin or acetaminophen since their body may not be able to metabolize them properly and this could make matters worse.

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Who is vulnerable to heat related illness?

Young children and elderly individuals may have issues adjusting to the outside environment and may be more prone to dehydration. Those with medical conditions such as heart, lung, thyroid disease can be at risk as well. If you’ve ever suffered from heat stroke you can be vulnerable again. And many medications could make you susceptible such as diuretics, vasodilators and beta-blockers for blood pressure and antidepressants.

The biggest risk comes when we are unprepared. Having an unusual cool week prior to a heat warning could preclude many from taking proper precautions. Staying indoors, checking air conditioning and fan devices to make sure they work properly, wearing cooler clothing is just the beginning. Stocking up and planning to hydrate frequently is paramount because when death occurs to excessive heat, dehydration is the main culprit.

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Bring your pets indoors, and watch your kids, friends and family members frequently. If they are beginning to succumb to the heat, they may be quiet and not be able to voice it.

 

 

Avoid drinking alcohol in the heat. It can dehydrate you more and worsen the situation.

Avoid excessive exercise when outdoors and make sure to make use of shady areas.

The summer and early fall offer exciting and fun ways to enjoy nature. Don’t let the heat get to you. Remember….if you can’t take the heat, get out of the…..well heat…….

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio.

Posted in Challenges, Health, news

Vacuum/Trash Bag Challenge: The Latest of the Deadly Challenges

Image above from You Tube

The latest potentially deadly challenge sweeping social media is the “Vacuum” or “Trash Bag” Challenge.

In this feat, one climbs in to a garbage bag, while a friend or parent sucks air out of the plastic bag until the inmate topples over.

Bringing people to the point of falling (or if putting the bag over their face) of asphyxiation can cause plethora of health issues including fractures, respiratory failure, stroke and death.

And even if parents appear to be supervising or performing the challenge and the child comes out unscathed, dangers lurk as the child could try to reproduce the challenge with their friends, this time putting the bag over one’s head.

This Spring another stupid challenge sweept social media called the “Shell On” challenge in which teens Snapchat videos of themselves eating through fruit skin, cardboard boxes and plastic bags containing their food.

Although this appears to not be as dangerous as the Tide Pod or Boiling Water Challenge, it can cause choking and asphyxiation.

 

 

In the video above the teen takes bites out of fruit with their peel and a cereal box.

What other dangerous challenges are out there?

Last year we learned of the “Boiling Water Challenge” in which kids drink boiling water from a straw or have it poured all over their body. Then they topped it off with a more dangerous challenge, the “Fire Challenge.”

The Fire Challenge is executed by pouring rubbing alcohol on one’s body and then setting oneself on fire.  A video records the victim running into a tub or shower to wash it off, and this trend has gone viral.

Unfortunately it’s one of the most dangerous.  A 12 year-old girl from Detroit who participated in this challenge is undergoing multiple surgeries to repair burns afflicting close to 50% of her body.

Multiple cases of the “Fire Challenge” have been reported over the years, including a 12 year-old boy from Georgia.

One would think children, especially teens, innately know that fire is dangerous but maybe the younger generation has been so protected that they haven’t experienced the basic concepts of danger and inadvertently underestimate its force.

 

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Challenges that involve dangerous stunts have been around for some time.  The Choking Challenge induced children to suffocate themselves for the high of feeling asphyxiated.  The Tide Pod Challenge tempted kids to put colorful cleaning packets in their mouths, hoping they wouldn’t burst.

 

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The Cinnamon Challenge sparked thousands to inhale the common kitchen spice and cough till they puked.  Then the Condom Challenge offered two options where one dropped a condom filled with water on a friends face, or snorted one through the nose.

 

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We adults can’t for the life of us figure out what the reward is in performing these challenges, but presume its fame and awe among friends and social media followers.  But these challenges prove dangerous and in some cases deadly.  Unfortunately the YouTube Clips never show the after effects of these pranks…maybe they should.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news, vaccinations

Parents May Not Get Their Kids Vaccinated Due to Risk of Losing Their Job

This week the CDC reported their findings of thousands of children being enrolled in school without any waiver for vaccine exemption.

As states aim to limit parental choice to limit vaccination based on religious objections, the country is fighting multiple outbreaks, including Measles, Mumps and Hepatitis A, which are potentially preventable with vaccination.

When the CDC looked at data submitted by 27 states, the majority of unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in 10 states lacked waivers.

Which brings to question, are other reasons at play when a child is not vaccinated rather than religious or medical objections?

When a family adheres to the vaccination regimen, office visits are need at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, sometimes 15 months of age, and 4 years old –  6 years old, in addition to any other follow ups deemed necessary by the medical provider.

 

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Most medical offices that provide vaccines are only open during the weekday, hence a parent who cannot take off work to bring their child in the doctor may have difficulty adhering to the vaccination schedule.

And then when asked why their child wasn’t vaccinated, it may be less embarrassing to cite “religious reasons” rather than fear of losing income or one’s job when taking off for the doctor’s visit.

I suggest weekend or night “vaccination clinics” at schools to make parents aware of alternative times to vaccinate and increase access to those who may not be able to leave their job during the weekday.

 

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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Holidays, memorial day, news

Memorial Day Weekend Safety Tips

Memorial Day is this weekend and the country honors those who have sacrificed for our freedom.  Many of us will travel and enjoy the outdoors.  However, according to a study by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, Memorial Day Weekend is the most dangerous holiday for road and highway accidents.  Additionally, water injuries, including drownings may rise this weekend.  Grill injuries can occur, and throughout the US we are seeing record high temperatures.  We need to stay safe out in the sun, by the grill, in the water and on the roads.

 

Sun Safety

 

Record heat and extended time outdoors can increase the risk of heat illness.  Hydrate, stay in the shade and protect your skin from damaging UV rays.

Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater should be applied 15-30 minutes prior to going outside and reapplied every two hours or more often if swimming.

Avoid excessive alcohol as it could accelerate dehydration and put one at greater risk of injuries and heat exhaustion.

For more on heat exhaustion and heat stroke read here.

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Grill Safety

 

In 2012, a man caught on fire after spraying sunscreen prior to heading over to the grill. He sustained multiple second degree burns.

Sunscreen may be flammable, so make sure it is dry prior to grilling or use a lotion instead of spray on.

Keep the grill outdoors but away from low roofing, branches, and trees. Watch the little kids and keep them and the pets away from the barbecue.

Assign someone to watch the grill if you need to step a way during grilling.

 

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Do not add lighter fluid to already ignited coals.

If someone does catch on fire, remember to have them stop, drop and roll on the ground until the flames expire.  Call 9-1-1 and remove any jewelry or tight clothes around the area..

If a minor burn injury does occur, run it under cool (not cold) water for 10-20 minutes. Avoid applying ice to the burn as it can damage the skin.  Also remove nearby jewelry.

Bandage and see a medical provider if concerned with your injury.

 

Water Safety

 

Avoid drinking alcohol when swimming or engaging in water sports.

Make sure you are in arm’s reach of your kids in the water.

Use life vests while boating and make sure the kids are wearing appropriate sized vests.

Never swim alone. Always have a buddy.

 

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Road Safety

 

Know your route to avoid you checking your GPS app while you drive.

Allow extra travel time and don’t rush.  Expect travel delays coming home as well.

Consider leaving a day or two early or a day or two late to avoid congested traffic.

Drive the speed limit and avoid tailgating, leaving at least 2 seconds between you and the car ahead of you.

Make sure you have plenty of water, supplies and a first aid kit in the car in case you get stuck on the highway.

 

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Have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

                                                                                                    

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio.