Posted in Health, New Year's, New Year's Eve, news

How to Cure and Avoid a Hangover

Happy New Year!  Now let’s get you all feeling better.

What is a hangover?

It’s a constellation of symptoms that occur post-partying…..and include headache, muscle ache, nausea, anxiety, moodiness, wanting to avoid light and loud sounds, eye redness, thirst and dizziness, though some hangovers may have many more symptoms.

They could be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Dehydration – alcohol isn’t the best choice to replace lost fluids during a night of dancing, plus it causes increase in urination
  • Low blood sugar – caused by lack of good nutrition over the last 12 hours and enhanced by drinking alcohol
  • Poor sleep – let me guess, you didn’t get a good nice, cuddly, deep sleep for 9 hours once you came home
  • Irritated stomach lining – alcohol tends to do that and ticks off the pancreas as well
  • Acetaldehyde – a chemical converted from alcohol that has been postulated to make you feel nauseous and achy, either during its breakdown in the liver or after its metabolism
    • acetald
  • Cytokine production and release – seen in inflammatory states and can make you achy

Other theories suggesting lactic acid build up, withdrawal from drinking the night before, and congeners that are compounds that vary in alcohol types (red wine vs vodka).

So how can you cure your hangover?

Water

Hydrate people, hydrate.  Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more and lose valuable fluid and salts. Water is the easiest, most tolerable, cheapest way to hydrate. Take it slow so you don’t vomit.  And not scotch and water.  Just water….

Eat something

An empty stomach is an irritable one.  While most sources say eat a “greasy breakfast”, I would recommend balanced breakfast with protein. Give the stomach acid something to chew on but make it easily digestible.  Remember the alcohol irritated your gut so you need to go easy on it. Baby steps, but healthy baby steps

Exercise

Take a short, brisk walk.  The adrenaline gets the blood pumping and can help with the headache.  The cool air outside will feel good when you inhale and some endorphins will release. This may help with your headache.

Drink some Sprite/Sports Drinks

Chinese researchers back in 2013 found Sprite to be the best hangover cure and even though we don’t have many other studies to back it up, the sweet and bubbly it provides makes your head and tummy feel better.

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Sport’s Drinks add the salts you lost from alcohol’s diuretic features. Though many of us don’t like the taste, those who do find it a nice way to hydrate.

What is “hair of the dog”?

Originally it was a treatment to ward off rabies.  One would, after being bit by a dog, put a piece of dog hair on the wound.  A treating fire-with-fire strategy. It later was used for hangovers.  Treating a hangover with a chaser of alcohol was supposed to elevate moods and lessen the withdrawal.  To date there is not enough scientific support to recommend hair of the dog.

For next time, how do you avoid the dreaded hangover?

Want to avoid a hangover?  Here’s how:

Firstly, try to avoid getting drunk.  Set your limits and stick to it.

Secondly, drink plenty of water throughout the night and once you get home.

Finally, don’t drink on an empty stomach to “speed up the buzz”. Your empty gut will absorb alcohol quicker so eat a good nutritious meal prior to partying.

Avoid popping antiinflammatories or Tylenol once you get home because your stomach and liver are already irritated from the alcohol and this may make matters worse.  But if any of the above “cures” don’t help, you may need to use these as a last resort.

Here’s to a great new year!!  Be well!!

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, New Year's, news

Easy and Practical New Year’s Resolutions

AVOID MAKING RASH, GENERAL, INSURMOUNTABLE AND UNATTAINABLE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS…SLOW AND EASY WINS THE RACE.

Nothing is more of a buzz kill, enjoying the biggest party of the year, than the discussion of New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s be honest….what are these resolutions anyway?  They’re a promise to do the right thing in exchange for no one nagging us while we abuse ourselves over the holidays.  So it’s no wonder most New Year’s resolutions fail.  If your heart’s not it and if the goals aren’t realistic, resolutions won’t be met.

 

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The most common (and commonly failed) New Year’s Resolutions are:

  1. To lose weight
  2. To stop smoking
  3. To drink less
  4. To make more money
  5. To spend more time with family
  6. To perform better at work
  7. To save more money
  8. To eat healthier
  9. To go to church/temple more often
  10. Get a boyfriend/girlfriend
  11. Spend less time on the internet/smart phone
  12. To watch less porn

Look how general and insurmountable some of these can be.  They’re too broad and if these were easy to do, you would already be accomplishing them.

 

So which New Year’s Resolutions can be practical and attainable?

Choose easy, finite, small discreet steps.  You’ll feel better since they are easier to accomplish.

 

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  • Drink more water
  • Call your mother once a week – sorry, sorry, how about once a month…  better?
  • Lose 5 pounds in January.  Then try to lose 5 lbs in February…
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Take $20 a paycheck and put into savings
  • Make 7 pm – 8 pm playtime with the kids
  • Walk 10 minutes a day in January.  In February bring it up to 15 minutes, and so on
  • Plan the third Saturday of the month to be date night with your spouse
  • Go to church/temple more often – no short cuts here
  • Put out each cigarette after 1-2 puffs
  • Check your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc
  • Make an appointment for a physical
  • Plan a mid year vacation
  • Organize your desk at work
  • Walk the dog for an extra half hour on Sundays
  • Limit computer/phone time to 1 hour a day

 

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The list goes on.  But you see how making small, baby goals can build on themselves to the point where you will lose weight, eat healthier, save more money, preserve your relationship, perform better at work, etc.

Oh, I forgot one last important New Years Resolution….listen to more stimulating medical talk radio.  Tee-hee…..

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!!!

 

                                                                                                    

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

Posted in children, Health, news

“Aquaman” Treatment for Burns, A Hit With Kids

Image above from Reuters

Earlier this year we learned of burn specialists experimenting with fish skin to treat damaged skin that had sustained severe burns.  Now we learn that due to a shortage of pig and human skin tissue samples, Brazilian doctors are turning to the scaly looking bandages.

Kids, who idolize DC Comic’s Aquaman, appear to like the treatment.

 

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Tilapia skin, according to researchers, provide the collagen proteins needed to regenerate new tissue.

 

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When one is burned, the loss of tissue can expose one to infection and water loss.

 

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Burnt skin needs to be kept moist and covered, hence conventional treatment requires frequent dressing changes.

The fish skin is sterilized prior to use and then kept on for one week before being removed.  Fresh tilapia bandages may be refrigerated for up to two years.

 

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Preliminary studies are demonstrating Tilapia skin grafts allow quicker healing and less pain, and since they are relatively inexpensive, this treatment could revolutionize burn care.

 

 

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

 

Posted in Health, New Year's, New Year's Eve, news, weather

Preventing Hypothermia this Winter and New Year’s Eve

The holidays flew by us way too quickly and left the wind chill in its wake.
Unfortunately with all the hustle and bustle this time of year, we tend to forget how dangerous the weather can be.  It would make sense to stay indoors, and for the most part we do….except for New Years.  All rules go out the door with this party.  The most exciting night of the year can sometimes be the coldest night of the year.  And the party ends up outside.  And do we don a ski mask, goggles, gloves, galoshes, thermal underwear, winter coat and ear muffs?  No. That would make the most unsexy New Year’s outfit.

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Throw some alcohol into the mix and this can be a deadly combination. The CDC estimates that 1300 deaths occur each year due to hypothermia.  So what is hypothermia?

What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature and can occur in minutes.   Human body temperature averages around 98.6 degrees F.  But hypothermia starts setting in at 95 degrees F with shivering, increase respiratory and heart rate, and even confusion.  We forget that glucose stores get used up quickly so hypoglycemia can ensue as well, making matters worse, especially in someone who is intoxicated.  Frostbite can occur as blood flow decreases to the tips of the ears, fingers, nose and toes. As hypothermia progresses,  the shivering and muscle contractions strengthen, skin and lips become pale, and confusion worsens. This can lead to severe hypothermia, eventually causing heart failure and/or respiratory failure, leading to a coma and if not reversed, death.

Hypothermia can mimic looking drunk

Someone who is hypothermic may slur their speech, stammer around and appear uncoordinated.  This sounds identical to your drunk buddy on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, this can be deadly as many hypothermic partiers get written off as being drunk.

So if you suspect hypothermia, call for medical assistance.  Anyone you think is eliciting signs of hypothermia should be brought indoors, put in dry clothes, covered in warm blankets, and then wait for paramedics to arrive.  It’s important to try to warm the central parts of the body such as head, neck, chest, and groin,  but avoid direct electric blanket contact with the skin and active rubbing if the skin is showing signs of frostbite.

Why not use hot water to warm up a hypothermic individual?

Hot water will be too caustic and can cause burns. Remember, the body is shunting blood away from the ears, fingers, toes, hands and feet to warm the heart, brain and other vital organs.  The skin will be in a vulnerable state during hypothermia and frostbite and will burn the underperfused skin.

Alcohol increases the risk of hypothermia

We’re outside in the cold, not bundling up, dancing, sweating, becoming dehydrated. Add alcohol to the mix, and its deadly.  Here’s the scoop on alcohol toxicity.

Preventing hypothermia

When it comes to hypothermia, the best thing you can do is prevention.   It’s the biggest party of the year so prepare yourself by doing the following:

  • Wear multiple layers of clothing
  • Bring an extra pair of dry socks
  • Avoid getting wet (i.e. falling off a boat, getting splashed with champagne)
  • Change your clothes if you worked up a sweat dancing
  • Check with your medical provider if some of your medical conditions (i.e. hypothyroid) or medications (i.e. narcotics, and sedatives)  put you at risk for hypothermia
  • Avoid alcohol intoxication
  • Keep an eye on your more vulnerable buddies who include children, older individuals, and those with intellectual disabilities.

 

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A Happy New Year should also be a Healthy New Year.  So be warm, dry, safe and have fun!!

 

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

Posted in Health, New Year's, New Year's Eve, news

How to Avoid Alcohol Poisoning

The most exciting evening of the year is coming and we start celebrating hours, even days before.  Champagne, beer, vodka, rum…you won’t find a venue without it.  Unfortunately the pace at which alcohol is consumed can be just as deadly as the quantity.  What you read below may be difficult to swallow, but it’s necessary to know to stay healthy.

What is acute alcohol intoxication?

Simply put, it’s alcohol poisoning.  Alcohol consumed in high quantities and at too fast a pace will disrupt metabolic processes in the body.  A healthy human body will break down alcohol at a rate of 1 oz per hour.  So if the average shot glass contains 0.6 – 1.5 oz of alcohol and if one takes in 4 shots in one sitting, math dictates that the body will not be able to keep up.

Whatever the liver does not metabolize will continue to circulate in the body.  As a defense mechanism, your gut may try to throw it up, which is why vomiting is a red flag of acute alcohol intoxication.

Alcohol is additionally a sedative so respiratory rate can drop to the point of causing the drinker to become unconscious.  Slow respiration coupled with high alcohol blood content will cause drinkers to have impaired brain function (loss of memory, acting confused) and dilation of blood vessels.  This can hypoperfuse certain organs as your body tries to preserve blood flow to the heart and brain, thus giving the drinker a pale, clammy look.

Chronic alcohol intoxication could cause scarring of the liver called cirrhosis.

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How much alcohol is safe to drink?

The CDC website defines quantities of alcohol as the following:

A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

  Women metabolize alcohol differently from men, so they are encouraged to drink less.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a man should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day and for women, no more than 1.

Binge Drinking” is defined as 4 or more drinks (woman) or 5 or more drinks (man) in a 2 hour period.

 

According to their website they state:

Moderate alcohol consumption:
According to the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
Binge Drinking:
  • NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as 5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month.
Heavy Alcohol Use:
SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month.

 

What if I’m taking medication? Can I still drink?

There is no official list of what medications can be swigged with alcohol.  Some sources will incorrectly say “Tylenol” however one’s liver may not agree as both acetaminophen (its key ingredient) and alcohol may cause liver disease.  We suggest speaking with your medical provider first before drinking.

The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides a list of medications that could produce serious side effects when mixed with alcohol (even during the same night).  For example NSAIDS, (non steroidal antiinflammatories, such as ibuprofen), could increase risk of GI Bleed.

How much alcohol is toxic to the body?

Any amount of alcohol may be toxic to the body depending on one’s baseline health and how his/her body metabolizes alcohol.  One drink has even been linked to cancer such as those of the throat and/or GI tract.  So we don’t have an official “safe level” of alcohol to consistently promote.  How we determine ranges of toxicity depends on one’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) which can be measured.

The following tables come from the University of Notre Dame, Student Well-Being McDonald Center…….

BAC-Specific Effects

BAC Level Generalized Dose Specific Effects
0.020-0.039% No loss of coordination, slight euphoria, and loss of shyness. Relaxation, but depressant effects are not apparent.
0.040-0.059% Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, and sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of judgment and memory, lowering of caution.
0.06-0.099% Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Reduced judgment and self-control. Impaired reasoning and memory.
0.100-0.129% Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, peripheral vision, reaction time, and hearing will be impaired.
0.130-0.159% Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reducing and beginning dysphoria (a state of feeling unwell)
0.160-0.199% Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a sloppy drunk.
0.200-0.249% Needs assistance in walking; total mental confusion. Dysphoria with nausea and vomiting; possible blackout.
0.250-0.399% Alcohol poisoning. Loss of consciousness.
0.40% + Onset of coma, possible death due to respiratory arrest.

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Males

Weight 1 drink 2 drinks 3 drinks 4 drinks 5 drinks 6 drinks 7 drinks 8 drinks 9 drinks 10 drinks
100 lbs .043 .087 .130 .174 .217 .261 .304 .348 .391 .435
125 lbs .034 .069 .103 .139 .173 .209 .242 .278 .312 .346
150 lbs .029 .058 .087 .116 .145 .174 .203 .232 .261 .290
175 lbs .025 .050 .075 .100 .125 .150 .175 .200 .225 .250
200 lbs .022 .043 .065 .087 .108 .130 .152 .174 .195 .217
225 lbs .019 .039 .058 .078 .097 .117 .136 .156 .175 .195
250 lbs .017 .035 .052 .070 .087 .105 .122 .139 .156 .173

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Females

Weight 1 drink 2 drinks 3 drinks 4 drinks 5 drinks 6 drinks 7 drinks 8 drinks 9 drinks 10 drinks
100 lbs .050 .101 .152 .203 .253 .304 .355 .406 .456 .507
125 lbs .040 .080 .120 .162 .202 .244 .282 .324 .364 .404
150 lbs .034 .068 .101 .135 .169 .203 .237 .271 .304 .338
175 lbs .029 .058 .087 .117 .146 .175 .204 .233 .262 .292
200 lbs .026 .050 .076 .101 .126 .152 .177 .203 .227 .253
225 lbs .022 .045 .068 .091 .113 .136 .159 .182 .204 .227
250 lbs .020 .041 .061 .082 .101 .122 .142 .162 .182 .202

Time Factor Table

Time is the only factor to lower one’s Blood Alcohol Content. Coffee, cold showers, etc… are all myths.

Hours since first drink 1 2 3 4 5 6
Subtract from blood alcohol level .015 .030 .045 .060 .075 .090

 

A Happy New Year should also be a Healthy New Year.  So be warm, dry, safe and have fun!!

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

Posted in Health, news, Politics

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Surgery for Cancer

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had surgery to remove two cancerous nodules in her lungs.

These were found a few weeks ago when she was undergoing treatment for a fall in which she sustained broken ribs on her left side.

The pulmonary lobectomy surgery occurred Friday morning at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

We’re told margins were clear and the cancer does not appear to have spread to other parts of the body.

The 85-year-old Justice has previously battled colon and pancreatic cancer.

Broken ribs can occur from trauma such as a fall, or as a result of pathological fractures such as those from cancer.

This is a developing story.

Posted in antibiotics, Health, medications, news

Popular Antibiotic Linked to Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections: FDA

The FDA has warned that a class of antibiotics commonly used to treat respiratory and urinary tract infections may increase one’s risk of artery tearing, ballooning or rupture.

This week the FDA reported that fluoroquinolones, such as those sold under the name Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Levaquin (levofloxacin), could be associated with an increase risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection.

 

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In an aortic dissection the blood travels into the tear of a wall of the vessel.  In an aneurysm, the vessel bulges like someone stepping on a water hose.

 

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The FDA’s announcement reads as follows:

[12-20-2018] A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review found that fluoroquinolone antibiotics can increase the occurrence of rare but serious events of ruptures or tears in the main artery of the body, called the aorta.  These tears, called aortic dissections, or ruptures of an aortic aneurysm can lead to dangerous bleeding or even death.  They can occur with fluoroquinolones for systemic use given by mouth or through an injection.
Fluoroquinolones should not be used in patients at increased risk unless there are no other treatment options available.  People at increased risk include those with a history of blockages or aneurysms (abnormal bulges) of the aorta or other blood vessels, high blood pressure, certain genetic disorders that involve blood vessel changes, and the elderly.  We are requiring that a new warning about this risk be added to the prescribing information and patient Medication Guide for all fluoroquinolones.

Medical providers are being advised to not prescribe fluoroquinolones in the elderly and those patients with:

  • High blood pressure
  • History of aneurysm
  • Peripheral atherosclerotic vascular diseases
  • Genetic disorders such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

Aortic dissections and aneurysms that rupture could cause severe bleeding and loss of circulation to vitals parts of the body, leading to death.

Many with an aneurysm are unaware until it bursts.  A dissection or ruptured aortic aneurysm may be accompanied by sudden onset of severe pain in the chest, back or abdomen.  Moreover one can have weakness, shortness of breath, paralysis and loss of consciousness.

This is a developing story.

 

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