Know the truth about Ebola


This week’s confirmation of the nation’s first human case of Ebola in Dallas, TX, has caused widespread concern. But Ed Dominguez, MD, infectious disease specialist on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, says while the Ebola virus is dangerous, it is not easily transmissible. “Ebola is spread only by contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola. You can’t get Ebola through the air, food, or water,” Dr. Dominguez says. “It is very unlikely that any American will contract Ebola virus unless they go to an area where there is an Ebola virus outbreak or come in contact with someone who is already sick.” Dr. Dominguez says unlike the flu and other highly-contagious diseases, Ebola isn’t spread … [Continue reading...]

Keeping kids healthy at school


When it comes to harboring and nurturing germs, your child’s classroom is likely a perfect petri dish. Young children in large groups create prime breeding grounds for the organisms that cause illness. And young children are often the most susceptible since their immune systems haven’t yet fully developed. So how do you safeguard your child against germs so readily available at their school? “Frequent hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs,” says Mary Welp, MD, an independently practicing family medicine physician on the medical staff of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. “Remind your child to wash his or her hands before eating, after using the toilet, after blowing their nose, or … [Continue reading...]

Tips for getting back in the swing for back to school


Like the blink of an eye, another summer has come and gone. It’s time to get back into the routine, as students and teachers prepare to return to the classroom in a matter of days. As you get ready to go back to school this fall, here are eight tips to ensure teachers and little scholars alike are ready to hit the books. Sleep well. Start getting into the back-to-school sleep pattern as soon as possible. Kids and adults should have a reasonable bedtime each night so they wake up feeling rested and ready for the school day. Make breakfast healthy. Eating a healthy breakfast is like jumpstarting your brain in the morning. Prepare your kids a satisfying and protein-rich breakfast so they have the energy they need to make it until the … [Continue reading...]

Eat well, be well on vacation: Tips for making safe, nutritious choices on the road


Taking it easy is one of the best parts about a vacation. But while the rest and scenery may do you some good, the same can’t always be said of the food—especially when you’re driving to your destination. Think empty-calorie, gas station munchies. And that could spell trouble when you’re watching your waistline or trying to eat a healthy diet. Also, the risk of food poisoning—a would-be vacation spoiler—rises in summertime. So you’ll also want to keep foods safe while you travel. Five to remember Before you hit the road, take these tips in tow: 1. Pack some healthy snacks. Nutritious, portable foods include whole-grain crackers; fresh fruit (washed ahead of time); peanut butter sandwiches; precut veggies; wasabi peas; dried … [Continue reading...]

Measles: Cases on the rise


Measles is making a comeback—even though there’s a vaccine that can help prevent it. Doctors thought they’d mostly wiped out measles in this country in 2000. But there have been outbreaks here since then. Here’s why: Most people who get measles aren’t vaccinated. Measles is still common in other countries. When unvaccinated people from the U.S. travel to other countries, they can get measles. And when they return, they can spread the disease. Know the symptoms Measles starts with a fever, a cough, a runny nose and red eyes. Next, a rash of red spots breaks out all over the body. Kids with measles may also get an ear infection. Or they may have diarrhea. Measles is highly contagious, and it can be serious. It can … [Continue reading...]

5 Tips for a Safe July 4th Cookout


The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to get together with family and friends for an outdoor cookout. But before firing up the barbecue, make sure you’re aware of these hazards that can quickly turn your “R & R” into a trip to the ER: Fire – Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors, away from the house, deck railings, and overhanging branches. Never leave your grill unattended and keep children and pets away from the cooking area. Always have a fire extinguisher handy. For charcoal grills, use only charcoal lighter fluid; never substitute with any other type of combustible liquid. Also, don’t apply lighter fluid to hot coals and keep the lighter fluid bottle cap sealed tightly when not in use. Food safety … [Continue reading...]

Six summer and swimming safety tips


Summer is a fun time for families and children, but it also comes with certain risks. Whether you’re spending your summer on the beach, in the pool or at the lake, there are precautions to take to ensure the safety of your family. Protect yourself from the sun. The primary cause of skin cancer is unprotected exposure to the sun, meaning that in most cases, skin cancer is entirely preventable. Wear long-sleeved clothing, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to prevent direct sun exposure. When your skin can’t be kept undercover, use sunscreen. Here are a few tips for how to maximize the benefits of sunscreen: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing an SPF of 30 or higher every day, not just when you are spending time … [Continue reading...]

7 Summer Myths

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  Despite being dispensed with good intentions, many summertime safety tips we all grew up hearing aren’t really true. Even though some may be so deeply ingrained in our psyche that we still follow them today, here are the truths to seven of summer’s most enduring myths.     Myth 1 – You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day UV rays cause sunburns. And clouds — no matter how thick or overcast — can’t stop UV rays from reaching your unprotected skin. So if you skip the sunscreen on a cloudy day, don’t be surprised if you wind up with a nasty sunburn. The fact is you need to wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy.   Myth 2 – Having a ‘base tan’ prevents a sunburn Contrary … [Continue reading...]

Success with Stress


“We don’t have to look for stress, it looks for us,” says Jill Waggoner, MD,family medicine physician on the medical staff at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. “But we don’t need to fear stress; we just need to learn to control it.” Dr. Waggoner says stress is the response of the human organism to any change or demand. Stress can be positive and it can be negative, your body registers it physically, emotionally, and behaviorally. Signs of stress Physical signs may include: High blood pressure Heart disease Ulcers Strokes Rashes Headaches Dizziness Diarrhea Constipation Vomiting Emotional signs might be: Anxiety Depression Anger Irritability Forgetfulness Difficulty … [Continue reading...]

Drink up: Stay hydrated during exercise


What’s the must-have piece of gear for every exerciser? A water bottle. Your body needs plenty of fluid to get the most out of a workout. Water helps to cool you down—from the inside out. It also transports nutrients, eliminates waste, and maintains blood pressure and circulation. If you don’t take in enough liquid, you may notice that your muscles get tired or feel cramped. Or you might lose energy and become a bit uncoordinated. Worse yet, you could end up with a dangerous case of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.   How much is enough? Each body has slightly different needs. But in general, you want to drink these amounts: • Two hours before exercise: 17 to 20 ounces of fluid. Eight ounces is equal to one cup. • … [Continue reading...]