Posted in Christmas, Health, news

Christmas Season is also Heart Attack Season

Tis the season!! Unfortunately not for our hearts.  A study back in 2004 found a 5% increase in heart attacks during the Christmas season.  Then this month, a study published in the British Medical Journal found Christmas Eve to be especially risky for those who are prone to heart disease.  Let’s dissect why….

Baby its cold outside…..

The cold has long been associated with heart stress.  Cold weather causes blood vessel constriction and this adds extra work for the heart. Moreover, it causes less oxygen to reach vital organs, including the heart.

Snow shoveling has been infamous for inciting heart attacks for this same reason.  The heart demands extra blood due to the increase in activity and the cold restricts blood flow.

Let’s toast…….

Alcohol, especially in excessive amounts, can put stress on the heart by increasing blood pressure, worsening diabetes, and causing abnormal heart rhythms.    Moreover, it interferes with the metabolisms of medications, hence many of these may not work at their best.   Which brings us to…..

Is there a doctor in the house?

Medical providers take vacation too.  And if a patient forgets to refill his medication he may go without during the two weeks of holiday season.  Moreover many forget to pack every thing they need for a Holiday trip and without anticipating delays, one could be without crucial medication dosing.  The heart does not like this.

Stress…….

Holiday travel is never easy.  Delays, long lines, the cold, traffic and then…..family.  We may love our family but prefer seeing them in small doses.  All the family at once can be a little overwhelming for some.  As for coping with the in-laws…..well a guide is available for you all here.

Preventing Heart Disease

Firstly, we must know our risk factors. These include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Personal history of heart disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Males over 40
  • Females who are post menopausal
  • High stress

and even short stature has been cited as a potential risk factor.

As you can see, many of us can be at risk for heart disease.  Therefore secondly, we should be evaluated with an EKG, echocardiogram and any other exams our medical provider and/or cardiologist deem necessary.

Thirdly, reduce your risk by the following:

  • Maintain a normal blood pressure
  • Maintain normal blood sugar
  • Maintain normal cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Reduce stress
  • Maintain a balanced diet, rich in potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay active
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

 

So how to prevent to the “Christmas Coronary?”

Plan ahead by doing the following:

  •  If you are running low on your prescriptions contact your medical provider early on.
  •  Pack prescriptions in two different bottles, so you can take some medication on your carry on in case the flight gets delayed or a suitcase gets lost.
  • Avoid getting sick, by getting your flu shot, washing your hands, avoiding sick contacts.
  • For tips on how to avoid getting sick on a plane visit here.

 

Holiday time should be a happy time. Let’s make it a healthy one!!!

 

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

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Posted in Christmas, Health, news

Christmas Tree Syndrome? How Your Tree Can Make You Sick

Among the various health issues that plague us during the festive holiday season; flu, colds, heart disease, hypothermia, pneumonia….we add one more to the list….Christmas Tree Syndrome.

Christmas Tree Syndrome occurs when one feels ill when they are in close proximity to their Christmas Tree.   True the average Christmas tree is a spruce or fir, which rarely should be allergenic, but researchers have found they still carry allergens such as pollen, picked up by nearby plants, and may house mold.

Researchers from State University in New York analyzed the bark and needles of multiple Christmas trees and found multiple cases of mold with their allergy producing spores. And since they are trees from the wild, they provide residence to thousands of critters…aphids, mites, bark beetles and even spiders.

Now we have been living with Christmas trees each season and harmoniously and symbiotically have lived with their crittery inhabitants without being attacked, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t free from symptoms.

Christmas Tree Syndrome includes any of the following symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Chest Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Watery Eyes
  • Nasal Itching
  • Scratchy Throat
  • Difficulty Sleeping

sneeze2

Mold and pollen are notorious for being the biggest culprits in causing these types of respiratory symptoms, so the following has been suggested to reduce your risk of Christmas Tree Syndrome:

  • Hose down the tree and let it dry before bringing it back into the house
  • Utilize an air purifier in the same room as the tree
  • Avoid extended stays of the tree, i.e. put it up nearer to the holiday and take it down once Christmas ends
  • If currently suffering from allergies or asthma, or vulnerable to Christmas Tree Syndrome, delegate tree decorating to someone else in the family…maybe an in-law.
  • Consider having your gorgeous Christmas tree outside the house.

 

wachsXmas18

Dr. Daliah with her tree at the Magical Forest, Opportunity Village

Have a happy and healthy Christmas!!

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

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

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

 

Posted in Christmas, Health, news

Holiday Gifts under $20 and $50 that will blow their minds

Holiday shopping is very exciting but, unfortunately always underestimated.  Buying gifts for your family is a given, but what about relatives, friends, coworkers, bosses, teachers, neighbors, nurse, and the list goes on!  So buying for everyone can cost a fortune.

On top of that, you don’t want your gift to blend in with the rest.  Baskets, ornaments, and treats can, once graciously accepted, be thrown on the table with the rest of the goodies.  So how do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

When choosing a gift, it must be creative, useful and have longevity. Let’s start by categorizing our gift recipients.

Office workers/coworkers – under $50

If your company does not parcticipate in  a Secret Santa gift exchange, you’re on the hook for a lot of gifts.  Here’s some cool ideas:

  1.  Basket of $2-5 Gift Cards – Buy an inexpensive basket from a hobby store (or reuse last year’s), line it with tissue paper and decorative filler, place 10 gift cards (coffee house or donut shop would work pretty well at that price point), and throw some candy in the basket as well.
  2. Basket of Tools – Hammers, nuts and bolts from your nearby hardware store can be inexpensive and could make an awesome basket for those who could use an extra tool around the house.  And as long as they don’t lose it, it may last for years
  3. Basket of Scented Soaps – many bath and beauty shops sell these for $5 a piece, so make a basket with these and candy and let everyone grab one. Again, some longevity with this gift.
  4. Online Spanish (or language) course – many offices need bilingual staff and those who aren’t would love to learn.  Que bueno!

 

online-course

 

Relatives – under $20

Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews….how do you not go broke?

  1.  For the Chef – Grab a cookbook, some spices, and a tool and put it in a decorative bag or basket.
  2. For the Gardner – Grab some packets of seeds, small bag of soil and put in in a pot filled with decorative filler
  3. For the Auto Enthusiast – Grab some turtle wax, cloth, air freshener – you know the drill
  4. For the Coffee Drinker – Grab two mugs, a rich coffee bag, and add sweets to the basket
  5. For the Tea Drinker – Find as many flavors as you can and throw some honey in the basket…or a decorative mug

tea

6.  Gift cards – movies, restaurants, can’t go wrong with these

7.  Books – not an easy pick since you need to do some detective work ensuring they hadn’t read your choice yet, but great price point

8.  Bottle of wine, goblets, candles, these can be flexible and creative

9.  Pedicure gift card

10. For the pet lover – a how to book, toys, treats for their pet.

11.  For the one who loves to laugh – funny desk calendar, book of jokes, fart machine

12. Cuddly blanket – make sure its not an obnoxious color, or better yet…why not?

 

and the list goes on……

 

Acquaintances/buddies

There are many people in our lives who we want to recognize during the holidays (Postal Worker, Sanitation team, Security Guard, etc) so here are some ideas that can accompany a warm Holiday message:

  1. Stocking of goodies (sunscreen, treats, phone case)
  2. Scarf or sport’s team hat
  3. Cool car accessory
  4. Box of treats, warm even better
  5. Gift card, etc.

 

The holidays are a time of giving, and the joy it brings to both the recipient and you is priceless. Fortunately, creative and worthwhile gifts don’t have to be too costly.

Good luck shopping this year and have a wonderful holiday season!

 

dw sketch.jpg

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

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Christmas, Health, news, pets, thanksgiving

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

The holidays are here!! Good food, no school, no work, and most of all….. family!!

For many this is the happiest time of the year!

For some…..the most dreaded…

This is your very rare and valuable time off, and you have to spend all of it with people who don’t like you and you’re not particularly fond of. Four to 7 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

 

huddle

 

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 Thanksgiving 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

 

hotel

 

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

 

prescott

 

Thank Heavens the Cowboys are playing this Thanksgiving.  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

 

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

 

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”

 

toilet

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

 

cold

 

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 will 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

cat-1

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, it’s 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 Christmas, food, Health, news, pets, thanksgiving

What Your Pets CANNOT Eat This Holiday Season

ABOVE: SHAKEY-BOO TAKING ADVANTAGE OF DISTRACTED HOSTS

The holidays are 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 and Christmas?

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

 

Dogs

UZ.jpg

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)
  • Ham
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bread (with no raisins)
  • Popcorn
  • Corn
  • Honey

Avoid the following in dogs:

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

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Raw Dough
  • Avocado
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Ice cream
  • Almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Nutmeg
  • Mushrooms
  • Caffeine
  • Coconut
  • Energy drinks
  • Fatty/fried foods and even the fat trimmings
  • Artificial Sweeteners such as Xylitol

And watch their portions. They will eat and eat and eat and won’t keep a tally on what grandma, nephew and the neighbors threw at him.

 

Cats

snappy.jpg

Fluffy or Snappy (above) can eat – but again only in moderation:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Grains
  • Vegetables (though many stick their nose up at it)
  • Eggs
  • Butter

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

  • Alcohol
  • Raw fish and eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Coffee, tea and energy drinks

 

Fish

fish

Yes, some will bring Nemo to Holiday dinner.

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

Parakeet

parakeet

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

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

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

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

 

Posted in food, Health

Christmas: What Your Pets Can or Cannot Eat

Above: Shakey-Boo taking advantage of distracted hosts

Christmas 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 Christmas?

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

Dogs

UZ.jpg

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)
  • Ham
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bread (with no raisins)
  • Popcorn
  • Corn
  • Honey
  • Coconut

Avoid the following in dogs:

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

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raw Dough
  • Avocado
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Ice cream
  • Almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Nutmeg
  • Mushrooms
  • Energy drinks
  • Fatty/fried foods and even the fat trimmings
  • Artificial Sweeteners such as Xylitol

And watch their portions. They will eat and eat and eat and won’t keep a tally on what grandma, nephew and the neighbors threw at him.

Cats

snappy.jpg

Fluffy or Snappy (above) can eat – but again only in moderation:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Grains
  • Vegetables (though many stick their nose up at it)
  • Eggs
  • Butter

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

  • Alcohol
  • Raw fish and eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Coffee, tea and energy drinks

 

Fish

fish

Yes, some will bring Nemo to Christmas dinner.

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

Parakeet

parakeet

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

 

Wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!!!

 

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

Posted in Christmas, food, Health, news

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

 

The holidays are here!! Good food, no school, no work, and most of all….. family!!

For many this is the happiest time of the year!

For some…..the most dreaded…

This is your very rare and valuable time off, and you have to spend all of it with people who don’t like you and you’re not particularly fond of. Four to 7 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

huddle

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 Thanksgiving 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

hotel

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

prescott

Thank Heavens the Cowboys are playing this Thanksgiving.  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

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

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”

toilet

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

cold

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 will 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

cat-1

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, it’s 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