Don’t let it keep you down.
For most folks, peanut butter is a delicious food that goes well with anything. For others, however, eating a little bit of peanut butter or a single peanut is a matter of life and death. A nut allergy is just one of many food allergies prevalent today. Chances are, you or someone you know is allergic to or intolerant of a specific type of food.
Over the last 15 years, food allergies have drastically increased. Scientists don’t know the exact reason for this, but they have their suspicions. What exactly is a food allergy, what’s the difference between an allergy and intolerance, and how can it be treated?
Putting You at Risk
The most common foods that cause allergic reactions in adults include peanuts, nuts, shellfish, eggs, and milk. For children, the most common offenders are peanuts, milk, soy, and eggs. But any food can cause an allergic reaction.
Fortunately, kids with food allergies have a chance to outgrow their allergies. On the downside, adults that develop food allergies are stuck with their allergies forever. The type of food you’re allergic to is usually one you eat a lot of, so food allergies differ around the world. As an example, rice is a common allergy in Japan, while codfish allergy is often seen in Scandinavia.
Why the increase in food allergies? Experts propose a few possibilities: the way food is now processed, the lack of bacteria in an overly clean environment, or a folate imbalance. Whatever the source, they’re always dangerous and frustrating.
A True Allergy?
Many people think they have an allergy when they’re just suffering a food intolerance. Allergies and intolerances often have similar symptoms, but a true allergy is an immune system response to a particular protein found in food.
When your body is exposed to the protein, it doesn’t recognize it as friendly and begins to fight it, resulting in an allergic response (hives, eczema, itching, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, anaphylaxis, etc.) within an hour. Depending on the severity of your body’s reaction, an allergy can be minor or life threatening.
Food intolerance, on the other hand, occurs when the body isn’t able to properly digest a certain food. For example, those who are intolerant to milk lack the enzymes necessary to digest the lactose found in milk. Other items that cause intolerances include food dyes, monosodium glutamate, or sulfites.
Symptoms of a food intolerance include gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea that occur within a few hours time of exposure. Frustrating and embarrassing as it may be, a food intolerance is not life threatening.
Through a variety of tests, your doctor can determine whether or not you have a true allergy or an intolerance.
Course of Treatment
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction to a particular food is to avoid the food. This means carefully reading ingredient labels. Some food proteins have a variety of names, and allergens are often found in foods you wouldn’t suspect, so if you’re allergic, do your homework and know what to look for!
While many food packages now list common food allergens included in the food, don’t depend on these lists. Read the entire ingredients list. Additionally, pay attention to things you put on your skin, as some food proteins can be found in unexpected places like makeup!
Individuals who are severely allergic or have an anaphylactic reaction must constantly be prepared for accidental exposure. If this is you, always wear a medical necklace or bracelet that alerts others of your condition and carry an adrenaline syringe in case of an emergency.
There’s no medication to prevent an allergic reaction, but medications are available to relieve minor allergy symptoms if you’re accidentally exposed. Allergy shots for food haven’t been shown effective, but new treatments are being developed, including oral immunotherapy (eating tiny portions of the food over time to develop intolerance) and allergy vaccines.
It’s estimated that someone heads to the emergency department every three minutes in response to a food allergy.
The dangers of dehydration.
More than half of the adult human body is made of water. So it goes without saying that water is an essential part of life and health. When your body loses more fluid than it takes in, you’re in danger of dehydration.
Without a balance of fluids, your body parts can’t perform their normal functions. Minor dehydration can be easily remedied by drinking additional fluids, but severe dehydration is a dangerous condition that requires emergency medical attention.
All day long, your body loses fluid through sweat, vapor in your breath, urine, and stool. And all day long, you replenish lost fluid by drinking and eating. There are times, however, when fluid is lost at a faster rate than you can replenish. These include bouts of diarrhea or vomiting, sweating during hot weather or strenuous exercise, or during a fever. Anyone at any age can get dehydrated, but kids, the elderly, and those chronically ill are at increased risk.
What are the warning signs of dehydration and how can you keep yourself and your family adequately hydrated when at risk?
- Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj
Mild to Moderate
You’re out cycling on a hot, humid day. The first clue that you could be getting low on fluids is thirst. Your mouth feels parched and sticky and you feel thirsty. Additional signs of dehydration include sluggishness, headache, and dizziness. As time goes by, you may notice you haven’t used the bathroom in a while. When you do, your urine is not a healthy, pale yellow color.
These are all signs of mild to moderate dehydration. If you’re a healthy adult, you’re still in the safe zone, but you should take these signs seriously. Hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water or sports drinks to replenish lost fluids. Call your doctor if these symptoms are noticed in a child or older adult.
Severe Danger Zone
When you’ve gone too long without adequate fluids or you just can’t keep fluids down, your body can reach the point of severe dehydration. If this happens, it’s time to get emergency help. Perhaps you have been sick with vomiting or have had a high fever for several days. Regardless of the cause, watch for these warning signs: extreme thirst; dry mouth, eyes, nose, and skin; no sweat or tears when crying; little to no urine output and if there is, it’s dark yellow; skin loses elasticity; blood pressure may be low; breathing may be fast; heart palpitations; fever; a sunken soft spot on a baby’s head; confusion or loss of consciousness.
If you notice any of the above signs of severe dehydration, get to your local emergency department as quickly as possible.
Drink, Drink, Drink
The best way to fend off dehydration is to drink it away. If you’ll be out in the heat, in high altitudes, or doing strenuous exercise, drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your activity to replace the fluid you lose through sweating. You should also avoid drinking much alcohol, as it increases your loss of fluid and decreases your ability to detect signs of dehydration.
In the event you’re sick or suffering a fever, remember that your body will be losing more fluids than usual. Therefore, begin sipping on water, sports drinks, or Pedialyte at the first sign of sickness. Start with tiny amounts of fluid, and as time passes, if the fluid stays down, slowly increase the amount of fluid. Another alternative is to suck on popsicles or ice chips. However, be careful to avoid sodas, milk, coffee, alcohol, or fruit juices, as these may actually worsen the problem. Finally, keep cool and take action if the signs of dehydration don’t pass or grow worse over time.
What gets you off the couch and into your workouts?
Why do you work? To get paid. Why do you eat? Because you’re hungry. Why do you clean house? You can’t stand the mess any longer.
Everything you do in life is motivated by something. When it comes to exercise, there must be something to motivate you as well. Even the promises of a healthy heart and weight loss aren’t enough to get many people motivated to work out.
What could motivate you to pursue an active, healthy lifestyle? It may be time to find your motivation and put it to work.
A personal goal can be a powerful motivator. Great goals to work towards might be losing a certain number of pounds, lowering your blood pressure to a healthy range, being able to bench press a determined weight, or running a 5K.
Set a realistic, attainable goal. Write it down where you can see it on a regular basis as a reminder. Tell your family and friends so they can help keep you on track.
It’s a proven fact that keeping track of your weight will help you lose it. The best way to do this is through a food diary or an exercise log. Each day, keep track of the variables to affect your weight gain. These include how long and how hard you exercise, how far you run, how much weight you lifted, and what you ate. Once a week weigh yourself to track your weight loss. Though it may be stagnant for a bit, keeping an eye on it will keep your weight from moving in the wrong direction.
Smart phone apps are another great way to record your workouts. Download an app that tracks your exercise and eating habits and keeping track will be possible no matter where you are.
Create a Contest
The TV show “The Biggest Loser” is a prime example of how competition can lead to a commitment to exercise. While a contest you create won’t promise large monetary rewards or fame, it may be fun, rewarding, and inspiring.
Find 5 to 10 friends or coworkers who want to work toward a similar goal. It could be losing the highest body weight percentage, walking the most steps each day, or logging the most time spent exercising. Set rules and then check in with each other on a weekly basis. Losers each week have to pay a certain fee. At the end of the set time, the winner gets the money.
Find a Partner
Accountability when it comes to exercise ranks high on the list of motivators. It’s a lot harder to hit the snooze button when you know your friend is waiting for you at the gym. Another great option is to work with a personal trainer who will offer advice, support, and accountability.
If nothing else, cyberspace can help keep you on track. Update your progress on Facebook or another social media site and friends (or even friendly strangers) can encourage you toward your goal.
Make It An Investment
You don’t want to exercise out of guilt, but spending money on a gym membership, stylish workout clothes, and a personal trainer are great motivators to work out. When you know you’re spending hard earned money on your new habit, you can’t help but get to the gym.
So spend a little extra on workout clothes, shoes, and accessories you feel comfortable and attractive in. Buy enough outfits to last a week in case you get behind on laundry, and don’t let lack of clothes be an excuse.
If these ideas don’t motivate you to get active, it’s time to think of something that will. Maybe standing in front of a mirror naked will do the trick!
Knowing what type of headache you have is the first step in treating it properly.
With more than 100 types of headache categories out there, can you ever know what type you have? Yes, you can. And fortunately for you, most types of headache are rare. In fact, chances are, if you’ve got a headache, it’s one of the five most common types of headaches.
Treatment for finding relief often depends on what type of headache you’re suffering from, so correct diagnosis is important.
To help determine what variety of headache you’re prone to, you may want to keep a diary of your headache symptoms. Write down the time of day and date you get headaches, recent foods you ate before the headache, emotions you experience when the headache comes on, type of pain, and length of pain. Then use this to figure out what type of headache you experienced and how to treat it.
Here’s a brief description of the most common types of headaches and the best treatment for each.
By far the most common type of headache among adults and teens, tension headaches result in a dull and achy pain that ranges from mild to moderate.
You’ll feel pain on both sides of your head and may feel like something is squeezing your head. Tension headaches are often brought on by stress, hunger, irregular sleep patterns, neck strain (staring at computer screen all day), poor posture, alcohol use, or depression. You may experience these headaches only occasionally or they may be chronic, and they can last anywhere from half an hour to a week.
Most tension headaches are successfully treated with over-the-counter pain medications. Relaxation therapies such as meditation or regular exercise to reduce stress may also be beneficial.
A painful variety of headache, migraines affect women more than men and brings on pain that is throbbing and often intense. Pain may only be on one side of the head and may worsen with activity. Migraines may also cause sensitivity to sound, odor, or light and cause visual disturbances, nausea, and vomiting.
When suffering a migraine, all you’ll want to do is lie in a quiet, dark room. Migraines can last anywhere from several hours to three days. The cause is unknown but triggers include hormones (when it’s that time of the month), dehydration, alcohol, hunger, odors, chocolate, cheese, or vitamin deficiencies.
If you suffer migraines, do your best to avoid triggers. Use over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs, get plenty of rest, place cold or hot compresses on your head, and drink small amounts of caffeine for relief.
Worst of all headaches is a cluster headache. These headaches are fairly rare, affect more men than women, and smokers are more susceptible to them. Pain is an intense burning or piercing that either throbs in your head or is a constant. It is usually felt around one eye and can last 15 minutes to several hours. Many people feel a sense of restless agitation while the pain lasts. You may have a cluster headache several times a day for several weeks or months. Then they go away for a few months only to come back again.
Since pain comes on suddenly and may go away quickly, over-the-counter meds often don’t help. Injections, nasal sprays, or inhalation medications may provide fast relief.
When your sinuses, the area around your eyes, nose, and cheeks, are inflamed or swollen due to infection, a sinus headache ensues. You’ll feel a deep, constant pain in your forehead and cheekbones that may worsen with movement. A sinus headache often occurs along with additional symptoms including a runny nose, stuffy feeling in the ears, facial swelling, and a fever.
Treat the infection appropriately, and your sinus headache will go away.
Taking pain medication to relieve a headache more than two or three days a week can lead to rebound headaches. This happens when the frequent use of medication causes the brain to overreact, triggering a headache. Or the brain may go into state of withdrawal when medication wears off, resulting in a dull, throbbing headache that last all day.
Stop a rebound headache by weaning yourself off of pain medication slowly. Then limit the number of days you use pain medication to less than 10 days each month.
Half Way There.
It is estimated by the World Health Organization that approximately 47 percent of adults across the world have experienced at least one headache within the last year.