Posted in Health, news

Today’s Health Headlines

“Smart bandages” will soon tell us if wound is infected

This is so cool.  The bandage has capsules that release a fluorescent dye when bacteria “toxins” make contact and permeate the capsules.  This will help providers recognize wound infection must sooner. I remember the prototype came out last year, but it looks like they are undergoing preliminary trials soon.

Texas reports first local transmission case of Zika

Texas is now the second state to have local transmission of Zika (first is Florida). Its a women who is not pregnant and lives along the Gulf Coast.

HIV vaccine being tested in Africa

The vaccine’s predecessor, back in 2009, was only 31% effective in protecting against HIV infection. This one has been tweaked and researchers hope this will work better.


Thunderstorm asthma – the perfect storm for asthmatics

6 people died in Australia from asthma after a recent thunderstorm.  They believe pollen swelled and exploded causing many more particles to be inhaled by vulnerable individuals during the windy storm.


Study links aspartame with weight gain and diabetes

For some time now, studies have pointed to diet drinks causing weight gain and diabetes, this study looked at mice, whose gut enzyme, intestinal alkaline phosphatase, was blocked by the artificial sweetener aspartame, and when fed a high fat diet, the aspartame fed mice fared worse with blood sugar and weight.

Chronic gum disease linked to erectile dysfunction
Periodontitis has been linked to heart disease and stroke, so its logical that those suffering from gum disease would have issues with most major vessels, including those instrumental in regulating erections.

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

Posted in Health, news

Flossing Each Day May Keep the Viagra Away…


For years we’ve known that gum disease, periodontitis, has been linked to heart disease and stroke.  Chronic inflammation in the mouth can incite inflammation that affects the major arteries and conversely, poor blood circulation could lead to diseased gums.  We’ve also known that erectile dysfunction (ED) could be a sign of heart disease. If blood vessels in the heart and brain are impaired due to cholesterol, diabetes and/or high blood pressure, why wouldn’t the genital circulation be affected?  Thus poor blood flow anywhere can be a sign of diseased vessels.  Subsequently, it was just a matter of time when the link between gum disease and ED would be investigated.




Researchers at the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University in China, led by Dr. Zhigang Zhao, analyzed multiple studies with thousands of participants and concluded that erectile dysfunction was 2.28X more common in men (including those under 40 and over 59 years old) if they were treated for periodontitis.


Dr. Zhao stated, “Since chronic periodontitis had been linked with several chronic disorders, it is sensible to recommend daily inter-dental cleaning to reduce dental plaque and gingival inflammation.”  Additionally he stated, “Chronic periodontitis treatment can control or eliminate inflammation and may reduce the risk of ED.”


In March of 2013, a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine discussed the same link but how Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the ED.


To prevent gum disease, the American Academy of Periodontology recommends the following:

Brushing your teeth and tongue after meals


Flossing every day (I also like to add a water pick to flush out hard-to-reach food particles)



Swishing with mouthwash (though I recommend alcohol-free mouthwash)




Know your risk (age, smoking, diet and genetics) and discuss with your dentist

Get an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE) from a dental professional.


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

Posted in Health, news

Thunderstorm Asthma: sadly the “perfect storm” of asthma triggers

Six people have died and multiple people hospitalized after “Thunderstorm Asthma” struck people in Melbourne, Australia.


Last week a local storm hit the area and a massive asthma outbreak ensued. The storm, its believed, caused pollen particles to swell and rupture into much smaller particles, which were dispersed by wind.  The theory is that the immediate propulsion of much smaller (and more numerous) particles into one’s lungs was the recipe for asthma disaster.  Six people have already died and 5 more are in intensive care units, three of whom in “critical condition”. Multiple others have been hospitalized leaving the country in shock.


We first learned of “thunderstorm asthma” in the 1980’s when epidemics occurred in parts of Europe, Australia and Iran. Environmental conditions change and asthma allergens meet the unsuspecting lungs.


Asthma is a respiratory condition in which inflammation causes the airways to narrow, restricting air flow and causing wheezing, shortness of breath and cough.  This bronchoconstriction can be deadly if the patient doesn’t receive enough oxygen. Bronchodilators, such as albuterol are used to dilate the airways and steroids are commonly given to decrease the inflammation.

If someone has baseline asthma, a storm forecast should warrant preparatory measures, including ensuring one has plenty of inhalers, and seeing their provider to determine if they are vulnerable to “tipping over”.  Many feel a false sense of security with rain as they believe it will wash away the dust.  As Melbourne witnessed, a thunderstorm can be just as deadly.


A variety of factors can cause asthma attacks including:




Cold air

Dust mites


Pet dander




Acid reflux/heartburn


Air fresheners, perfume, scents

Traffic and pollution

and more.


As we see, asthma is not solely caused by a Spring time flower particle. A variety of issues can trigger an attack.  If its sudden, unexpected, stressful and carries a concentrated variety of particles, this combination can be deadly.  Hence “thunderstorm asthma” can be a lung’s perfect storm…….


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


Posted in Health, news, Sports

Using the NFL Injury Report to predict this week’s winners

Here we go! Picks in bold.















We pray that no one gets hurt and those who do recover quickly.  Here’s to a safe season of one of the best sports ever!!  FOOTBALL!!

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

Posted in Health, news, Sports

Football medical trend: smelling salts

Many ask what the players are seen sniffing during the football games and why?  The answer:  ammonium carbonate, or smelling salts.  We’ve seen Ezekiel Elliot frequently sniff it before and during the game and others, such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning (above) have used this remedy for a variety of reasons.  So here are your questions answered.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos

What are smelling salts?

Smelling salts release ammonia when diluted and inhaled. They’ve been used for centuries to help those regain consciousness quickly.  The ammonia irritates the lining of the nose, stimulating the trigeminal nerve and triggering the sympathetic nervous system whereby heart rate increases and lung function improves so the level of alertness rises exponentially.

Are smelling salts legal?

Yes, but have been at times banned in boxing.  Ammonium carbonate has been controversial in boxing, not because of its “enhancing” effects, but rather its “masking effects”.  If one is delirious or dizzy after a blow to the head, he should sit out the rest of the match as opposed to sniffing the salts and “waking up” when at risk for serious head injury.

How are they used?

When the salts are diluted they can be inhaled, and most products come in solution form.  They work immediately and many athletes use them before the game and after certain plays if they need a “pick me up”.

How dangerous are smelling salts?

Since the amount of ammonia used is such a minute amount, we’ve rarely seen serious side effects with smelling salts.  Nasal irritation is one of them as the close contact can upset the delicate nasal mucosa.  So players are recommended to hold it at a distance from their nose and not directly next to it.  The solution should not touch the skin and if it does make contact with eyes, it could cause burning and blindness.  Frequent use could possibly induce a tolerance to the salt requiring even more frequent use.  Heavy inhalation can cause lung damage, but again the doses usually used are small.  If someone starts to become flushed in the face, we’re concerned they may have an underlying blood pressure or heart issue.

Are there risks to frequent use of smelling salts?

No, but then again it hasn’t been studied to the degree it needs to.  The other concern when I see a player frequently use smelling salts is the “why?”.  The pre-game “pep up” is understandable but not entirely necessary if one’s adrenaline is already rushing. But after a play when one receives a blow to the head, as in football, it helps wake them up when the player should possibly be pulled out and evaluated under concussion protocol.  Smelling salts, as stated previously, could mask a serious injury.  And if someone has a bleed in the brain, it can accelerate the flow.

Ezekiel Elliot is one of my favorite players (GO COWBOYS!!!). But his frequent blows to the head concerns me, especially when we see him so frequently use smelling salts.  The use of smelling salts has now become a ritual in sports, especially football, but with the recent attention placed on head injuries, I predict players in the future may not be allowed to self-treat, not because of its toxicity but because of its ability to mask a serious issue.


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

Posted in Health, news

The Holidays and the In-laws: Your Step by Step Guide

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP

Christmas is here!! Good food, no school, no work, and most of all….. family!!

For many this is one of the best holidays ever!!

For some…..the most dreaded all year.

This is your very rare and valuable time off, and you have to spend all of it with people that don’t like you and you’re not particularly fond of. Four, seven, or fourteen days of staying with family, (especially if they don’t let you stay a hotel and insist you stay with them), can be more than many can bear.

So here are some steps you can take to make the holidays easier.

1. Huddle up


Usually your spouse wants to avoid controversy just as much as you do.  Before the encounter, huddle up and create a strategy for:

a.  How to deal with insults

b.  How to take a break – take the car to go grab some last minute Christmas necessities

c.  Where you get to sit at the table

d.  Potential arguments regarding the children and their upbringing

2.  Try to get a hotel room


This gives you the much needed reprieve at the end of the day.  However, if the family insists you stay with them and 4 nights at Hotel Hell are just too much to bear, plan a “sneak away” for an evening with your wife and tell the Grandparents they will host the kid’s slumber party.  Remember to thank them for the huge favor they are doing allowing you and the wife a much needed night away “from the kids” …wink…wink…..

3.  Football


Thank Heavens there is football on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Usually there is someone else in the family just as sane as you are when it comes to football, so you can immediately partner with him to get the television on and the game playing.  Although this may only give you a 15 minute “out” of the family festivities, its 15 minutes of pure euphoria.

4.  Remember you have sciatica


The most difficult part of Thanksgiving/Christmas is sitting at a table for hours and usually trapped, physically, because the chairs are pushed together so tight that you can’t push out the chair. If you ever, ever, ever had an issue with your back, knee, leg, muscle, or even pinky toe, use this as an excuse to heave the table forward so you can get up and stretch your legs.  Slowly limp over to the living room where hopefully you left the football game on……

5.  Get called to work


No in-law can or wants to take on your boss.  So during the 7 day stent, politely excuse yourself if you need to go onto a computer, make a phone call, or drive 60 miles away for “work”.  Make sure your spouse is on board with this one……

6.  Have “diarrhea”


You get to leave the room and no one wants to be near you.  You just gained escaping 3-5 times/hour since you need to “run” to the bathroom.

7.  Inform the family you feel a cold coming on


Don’t jinx yourself but this gets you out of hugs, and sloppy lipstick kisses…..



Ok this gives you a well coordinated exit plan but what happens if they are on to you?  How do you deal with the remaining, 3 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes?

1.  Don’t take it personally

When the insults and digs come, don’t feel like these personal attacks need to stick.  You have enough people in your life telling you your shortcomings.  The in-laws are either being redundant or telling you something that doesn’t hold true.

2.  You’re not alone

Millions of adults are in the exact same position as you at the same moment in time.  You’re not alone.  Just sneak a peek on facebook and you’ll scroll through hundreds of “Ugh!!!!”s………..

3.  Make a game of it

Bet your wife or coworker that you will get the most insults over the holiday than they and write down or note every time it happens. The more it occurs, you win.  Compare notes or use it as a “get out jail free card” with your spouse.

4.  Have a happy place

Negotiate with your spouse prior to the holiday a “free day” or “free weekend” that you will earn upon completion of a 7 day holiday with the in-laws.  Plan and fantasize about this reward throughout your tour of duty to make the path easier

5.  Bring the pets


Since you are usually outnumbered during these family events, why not have non humans come to your aid.  Dogs need to be walked, cats need to be chased, so this gives you an out and gives you a much needed buddy during the hard times.


Look, its not easy, but remember why you’re there.  For YOUR family.  Your spouse and kids need to spend the holidays with you so grin and bear it.  And remember you may be luckier than the average guy.  He could be spending the WHOLE WEEK!  Ahhh, you DO have something to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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


Posted in Health, news

Today’s Health Headlines


Eating ice cream for breakfast makes us “smarter”
I’ll take anything I can get. This study found ice cream first thing in the morning improved mental alertness, and it wasn’t just because it was cold.  Maybe its the brain freeze…..

Blood thinners, diabetic medications and antibiotics top list of meds sending Americans to the ER

1 in 250 appear to have an adverse related drug event and opioids are on the rise as well.

Promising Alzheimer’s drug fails to work
Solanezumab was exciting because it “soaked up” amyloid before it could deposit in the brain.  Didn’t appear to prevent cognitive decline.

Posted in Health, news, Sports

Today’s Health Headlines


Running shoes with more “cushion” may cause  more injuries

Researchers would rather have us put our weight on the ball of the foot rather than heel to lower our “impact loading rate”.

Dementia rates have dropped 24%

On behalf of all of us medical providers, your welcome.

Macho men may suffer from more health woes

According to this study “men who strongly conformed to masculine norms were not only more likely to have poor mental health but also also less likely to seek mental health treatment.”

Asthma exacerbated in school children by mice

Mice allergens appeared to be the most inflammatory for school children over dog/cat/dust mite allergens found in classrooms. So measures parents take at home are not enough if kids are being exposed to allergens at school.


What is safe for our pets to eat this Thanksgiving?

We need to be careful as our dogs and cats go around the table begging for table treats.  Here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts for your pets.

Driver fatigue and sleep apnea blamed for NJ Hoboken fatal crash

Many train, car and truck accidents have been attributed to the above.  Commercial DOT physicals have become stricter if a driver wants to get certified.

Zika downgraded from “World Health Emergency”

The WHO no longer deems the Zika epidemic a world health emergency. However cases are rising in Florida and in other countries, such as Brazil, they are not ready to downgrade just yet.

E-cigs may poorly affect gums and teeth as much as cigarettes.
If this holds true than the inflammation may also affect the heart as tobacco products do

HDL (good cholesterol) may not be so “good” afterall
This one study found HDL to actually increase inflammation.  I don’t buy it….
CDC reveals top five causes of death (many preventable)
2/3 of deaths in America are caused by heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory illness (COPD, pneumonia, asthma) or accidents

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

Posted in Health, news

Thanksgiving: Foods your pets can and cannot eat

Thanksgiving is coming and so are the in-laws.  So to avoid being outnumbered at the dinner table, we invite our pets.  But can pets eat table scrapings and leftovers from Thanksgiving?


Let’s look at what they can and cannot eat.



According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can eat the following (in moderate amounts):

Turkey, Chicken, Beef (remove all bones so they don’t get swallowed and perforate the gut)






Peanut Butter

Bread (with no raisins)





Avoid the following in dogs:

May be toxic; cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; kidney damage; pancreatitis due to high fat content, or intestinal obstruction








Ice cream


Macadamia nuts




Energy drinks

Fatty/fried foods


In addition to my dog Apollo, I have 4 cats.  So they’re coming to Thanksgiving as well.



Fluffy can eat – but again only in moderation:




Vegetables (though many stick their nose up at it)




Avoid similar foods as with dogs due to toxicity and also (according to Vetsnow)


Artificial Sweeteners

Raw fish and eggs

Coffee, tea and energy drinks



Yes, some will bring Nemo to Thanksgiving Dinner.

It appears fish can eat many types of meat and vegetables and even cooked rice but be careful of toxins and cooking oils.



I don’t have any of these and if I did, I doubt I’d share my turkey with it.  But according to, many fruits, vegetables, breads and nuts (chopped up without shell) can be eaten by birdie.


Wishing everyone a healthy and wonderful Thanksgiving!!!


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