Health & Fitness
Kidney Disease Myths Dispelled | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2015 18:39

111215senThink you have the facts about kidney disease? Here are five common misconceptions debunked.

• Myth 1. Kidney disease is rare.

Twenty-six million American adults have kidney disease and most don’t know it, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

The problem? Kidney disease can be fatal, killing more people each year than breast and prostate cancer combined, and common health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure are leading causes. Race, age and a family history all can increase one’s risk for developing chronic kidney disease.

There are typically no visible symptoms until kidney disease advances to a late stage or until kidneys fail. Talk to your doctor if you think you might be at risk and ask for a simple blood test screening at your next physical.

• Myth 2. Kidney failure can be cured.

If kidney disease progresses to kidney failure, the only treatment options to stay alive are dialysis for life or a kidney transplant.

• Myth 3. Dialysis requires traveling to a clinic for treatment three times a week.

Because only one out of five dialysis centers offer portable hemodialysis, most patients visit a clinic without knowing they can be treated at home, while traveling or even while sleeping.

Portable home hemodialysis (HHD) with the NxStage System One is associated with lifestyle benefits. Only two percent of patients are on HHD despite the fact that nine out of 10 doctors would choose home dialysis for themselves.

• Myth 4. Not many people are waiting for kidney transplants.

Twelve people die each day while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant and every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list, according to government statistics found on

Currently there are more than 100,000 recipients waiting for a kidney transplant yet only approximately 18,000 recipients receive a transplant annually

Myth 5. There haven’t been any major developments in dialysis technology in the last 10 years.

Groundbreaking portable at-home hemodialysis has been available for over 10 years giving patients a treatment option that can be tailored to fit both their clinical and lifestyle needs. Patients can also perform hemodialysis overnight while they are sleeping; this is known as home nocturnal hemodialysis.


Host a Healthy, Safe Holiday Party | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2015 18:32

111215h2It’s the holiday season. Which, for many people, means parties galore. 

For a healthy and safe holiday party, consider some helpful holiday advice from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Plan ahead. This includes choosing the menu, grocery shopping and equipping your kitchen with all the necessary supplies.

“Holiday parties are a great way to bring food, family and friends together,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Nancy Farrell. “Don’t forgot paper towels; plenty of soap for a quick and safe clean-up; a food thermometer to make sure all food is properly cooked; and shallow containers for storing leftovers,”

Remember, it is possible to have flavorful food without added fat and calories. Limit creamy dishes, fried foods and extra salt.

“Instead, serve a Greek yogurt dip for an appetizer, flavor the turkey with a fat-free broth instead of butter, and top vegetables like broccoli with lemon juice rather than a creamy cheese sauce,” Farrell says.

Also, offer plenty of choices for all holiday guests, including vegetarians, those with allergies, gluten intolerance, diabetes and other health restrictions.

“If necessary, make two separate dishes or place sauces with offending foods on the side to accommodate all guests,” Farrell says.

More concerning than simply going off your healthy diet, is that food safety rules may be forgotten when throwing a party. Food poisoning is a serious concern. “Forty-eight million people get sick with food poisoning per year,” Farrell says. “Follow proper food safety practices before, during and after the gathering to help keep guests safe.”

Start by washing hands, all produce and kitchen surfaces. When cooking, use a food thermometer to ensure all items are cooked to a safe temperature. Don’t leave any food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. If food is served buffet-style, set a timer as a reminder to replace the food every two hours. Refrigerate all leftovers immediately in shallow containers.

For more information on healthful eating, nutritious recipes and food safety, visit


Manage the Effects of Cancer Treatments | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 15:22

092415h1By Liz Agnello • Special to the Times

The effects of cancer treatment can linger for months or years. It’s common to wonder how your body should feel during this time and to worry about signs that cancer is coming back.

It’s not so much “getting back to normal” as it is finding out what’s normal for you now. Your new normal may include making changes in the way you eat, the things you do and your sources of support.

These tips from the National Cancer Institute can help with the most common challenges for cancer survivors.

Fatigue: This is among the most common complaints during the first year of recovery.

• Plan your day. Be active at the time of day when you feel most alert and energetic.

• Save your energy by changing how you do things. For example, sit on a stool while you cook or wash dishes.

•Take short naps or rest breaks between activities.

Memory and concentration changes: One in four people with cancer reports memory and attention problems after chemotherapy, sometimes called “chemobrain.”

• Jot it down. You can write down each task, how long it will take you, and where you need to go in a notebook or pocket calendar.

• Plan your whole day. Keep it simple, and be realistic about how much you can do in a day.

• Set up reminders. Put small signs around the house to remind you of things to do, such as taking out the trash or locking the door.

• Group long numbers into chunks. For example, the phone number 812-5846 can be repeated as “eight-twelve, fifty-eight, forty-six.”

Menopause symptoms: Even though your doctor may have discussed early menopause with you, give yourself permission to mourn the loss of your fertility.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Through exercise and diet, try to maintain a healthy weight. Exercise most days of the week, doing both weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening activities.

• Eat wisely. A balanced diet will provide most of the nutrients and calories your body needs to stay healthy.

• If you are having hot flashes, try to write down when they happen and what may cause them. This may help you find out what to avoid.

Bone, joint, muscle aches: Your doctor can help find the source of your pain and get relief.

• Use numbers. Talk about how strong the pain feels on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you could have.

• Describe what pain feels like. Is it sharp, dull, throbbing, steady?

• Point out the exact places it hurts, either on your body or on a drawing. Note whether the pain stays in one place or whether it moves outward from the spot.

Changes in appearance from breast surgery: Your body changes may trouble you. Anger and grief are natural.

• Mourn your losses. They are real, and you have a right to grieve.

• Try to focus on the ways that coping with cancer has made you stronger, wiser, and more realistic.

• If you choose to wear a breast form (prosthesis), make sure it fits you well. Your health insurance plan may pay for it.

Symposium on Oct. 14

For more resources on breast cancer care and treatment, attend Eden Medical Center’s free event in Castro Valley, “Thriving in Survivorship Cancer Symposium” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the Castro Valley Care Center (next to Eden) in the 2nd Floor Conference Center, 20101 Lake Chabot Road in Castro Valley.

With a panel of cancer experts, this workshop will focus on the importance of creating a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise to help reduce the risk of recurrence and enhance well-being. The psychosocial impact of cancer and the distress it can create, even after treatment, will be discussed along with strategies on how to manage distress.

To register for this free event, call The Cancer Support Community at 925-933-0107.

Liz Agnello is with Sutter Health.

CAPTION: Fatigue is the most common complaint of cancer patients during the first year of their recovery.

CDC Promises a Better Flu Vaccine This Year | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 15:20

This year’s flu vaccine will be much more effective against the influenza viruses prevalent in the country according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year’s flu shot didn’t work as well as doctors had hoped, because the virus strain that caused most of the illnesses — H3N2 — emerged too late to be included in vaccinations in the U.S.

So last season’s flu shots were only 23 percent effective compared to 50 to 60 percent effectiveness in other years. As a result, the CDC reported that the rate of flu-related hospitalizations for those over age 65 was the highest since record-keeping began 10 years ago.

Every year, 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications, according to the CDC.

“Vaccination is the single most important step people can take to protect themselves from influenza,” CDC director Tom Freiden said at a news conference last week. “Flu can be serious and it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Vaccination is easier and more convenient than ever, so get yourself and your family protected.”

The CDC offers these good health habits to reduce the spread of the flu:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

• If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.

• Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Most medical experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.

• Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are easily spread when a person touches a surface or object that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.


How Medicare Covers Diabetes, Screenings | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 10 September 2015 14:41

091015h1By David Sayen • Special to the Times

Diabetes is a serious disease. It can lead to kidney problems, glaucoma and other eye disorders, foot ulcers, amputation of feet or legs, stroke, diabetic coma, and even death.

If your doctor thinks you’re at risk for diabetes, Medicare covers screening tests for it. And, if you develop the disease, Medicare covers a wide variety of medications, home testing equipment, supplies, and self-management training to help you cope with it.

Screening tests are used to detect diabetes early. Some of the conditions that may qualify you as being at risk for diabetes include:

• High blood pressure;

• Dyslipidermia (a history of abnormal cholesterol and triglycleride levels);

• Obesity (with certain conditions);

• Impaired glucose (blood sugar) tolerance;

• High fasting glucose (blood sugar).

Medicare will pay for two diabetes screening tests in a 12-month period. After the initial screening, your doctor will determine when to do the second test.

You and your doctor can discuss diabetes and any other health concerns you have during a “Welcome to Medicare” visit. Medicare covers this one-time review of your health, including counseling on any screenings, shots, or other care you may need. (You must have this visit within the first 12 months you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B.)

In addition, Medicare covers an annual wellness visit with your doctor, during which you can develop or update a personalized prevention plan, based on your current health and risk factors.

If you do develop diabetes, Medicare pays for self-management training to help you learn how to successfully manage the disease. Your doctor must prescribe this training for Medicare to cover it.

The training covers a variety of topics, including the risks of poor blood sugar control; nutrition and how to manage your diet; options to improve blood sugar control; exercise and why it’s important to your health; and how to take your medications properly.

Also, Medicare covers medical nutrition therapy services, to help you learn what foods to eat and how to follow an individualized diabetic meal plan.

Generally, Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers services and supplies needed by people who have or are at risk for diabetes. Medicare Part D (the prescription drug program) helps pay for supplies for injecting or inhaling insulin.

Here are some of the items covered under Part B:

• Home blood sugar monitors and related supplies, such as test strips, lancet devices and lancets;

• Foot exams and treatment (needed by people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy and loss of protective sensation);

• Glaucoma tests;

• External insulin pumps and insulin the devices use:

• Therapeutic shoes or inserts;

• Screening tests, “Welcome to Medicare” visits, and annual wellness checkups.

Items covered under Part D include:

• Drugs for maintaining blood sugar;

• Insulin that isn’t administered with a pump.

Medicare doesn’t cover everything, of course. Among the diabetes supplies and services not covered are:

• Eye exams for glasses (called refraction);

• Orthopedic shoes (for those with impaired feet but intact);

• Cosmetic surgery.

You can do many things to control your diabetes. Talk with your doctor about what, how much, and when you eat.

Take your medications as directed, and discuss any problems you encounter with your physician. Be active for a total of 30 minutes most days. Keep tabs on your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. If you smoke, quit. Medicare also covers counseling on how to stop smoking, if your doctor orders it.

For more on Medicare’s coverage of diabetes, read brochure titled “Medicare’s Coverage of Diabetes Supplies & Services,” at

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for California. You can get answers to your Medicare questions 24/7 by calling 1-800-633-4227.

CAPTION: If you develop diabetes, Medicare covers a wide variety of medications, home testing equipment, supplies, and self-management training to help you cope with it.

Follow These Tips to Ensure Fun in the Sun | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 27 August 2015 14:09

By Ron Rabena • Special to the Times

The summer season and warm weather triggers an urge to be outdoors, but fun in the sun can be dangerous when the heat and humidity rise.

In addition to sunburn, heat-related illnesses including heat stroke or sunstroke can send unsuspecting victims to the hospital.

The human body keeps itself cool by allowing heat to escape through the skin and by evaporating the resulting perspiration. If the body cannot cool itself enough, the person could suffer from heat-related illness.

Heat stroke can progress from milder heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and fainting. Illnesses caused by overheating can become serious, and even deadly, if not treated. Exposure to heat kills approximately 400 Americans annually.

Everyone is susceptible to heat-related illnesses, with even young healthy athletes succumbing to it. However, those most at risk include senior citizens, especially those living alone in non-air-conditioned environments; infants and children and people with medical conditions, especially those with heart disease and high blood pressure.

The classic warning symptom of a heat stroke is a body temperature that is above 104 degrees, but other symptoms include fainting, dizziness and light-headedness, rapid pulse, painful muscle cramps and spasms, headache, lack of sweating despite the heat, nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, dry, hot and red skin and behavioral changes including disorientation.

If you or anyone around you has any of these symptoms, 911 should be called immediately. As you wait for emergency services, put damp, cool cloths or towels on the affected person and have them lie down until medical assistance arrives.

Being alert to the symptoms of heat stroke is vital to ensuring your own health and safety as well as your friends and family. Take these preventative steps to prevent heatstroke this summer:

• Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Whenever possible, reserve outdoor activities for the cooler morning and evening hours.

• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Wearing too much clothing or tight clothing won’t allow your body to cool down efficiently.

• Stay well-hydrated and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Staying hydrated helps you maintain a normal body temperature and drinking excessive caffeinated or alcoholic drinks can dehydrate, rather than hydrate, you.

• Eat smaller meals more frequently. Eating small, protein-rich meals throughout the day keeps your energy level stabilized.

• Never leave children, adults or pets in a closed, parked vehicle. In the sun, closed car temperatures can rise from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes.

For more information on heat-related illness prevention and treatment, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, The American Red Cross, and the Mayo Clinic.

Ron Rabena is President of the National Security Operations of Allied Barton Security Services.

Avoid Brain Pain | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 27 August 2015 14:07

082715hPain in your brain can be a real headache. To avoid getting hit with a doozy, consider these easy tips.

Drink water. Dehydration causes headaches, and most Americans are not drinking enough water. Drink your eight 8-ounce cups of water every day to drastically lower your risk of getting a headache.

Cut back on the coffee. Coffee is one of the largest headache triggers, but most people like to begin their days by drinking at least one cup. Instead, try some peppermint or ginger tea — both of which you can also drink to cure a headache if it sneaks past your defenses.

Relax. Stress is on the rise, according to the American Psychological Association. So it’s no wonder we get headaches so often. Put aside time every day to do something you enjoy. Some low-stress, rewarding options are taking a yoga class, volunteering at a charity or playing with a pet.

Headaches aren’t pleasant, but these prevention techniques will make your days better — not only by improving your health but by increasing your happiness.


Food Safety: When in Doubt, Throw It Out | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 27 August 2015 14:05

Food poisoning causes an estimated 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually in the U.S., according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

With these four food safety practices you can lower your risk substantially.

1. Wash: Harmful bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen and be easily spread around without precautions.

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water. Scrub the backs of your hands, between fingers and under your nails. Proper hand washing may eliminate nearly half of all cases of food poisoning.

Use hot, soapy water to wash surfaces and utensils after each use, including appliances, countertops and cutting boards. Don’t forget dishcloths and towels. Wash them frequently on the hot cycle of your washing machine. Disinfect sponges in a chlorine bleach solution and replace worn sponges frequently.

2. Separate: Cross-contamination occurs when juices or bacteria from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Keep these items separate from other foods at all times. Place them in plastic bags to prevent juices from leaking, and on the refrigerator’s bottom shelf, so their juices don’t drip on other foods.

Keep raw meats, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods by using different cutting boards, plates and utensils that come in contact with them.

3. Cook: A food thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure food has been cooked to a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Temperatures vary from food to food.

4. Refrigerate: Cooling foods promptly and properly slows the growth of harmful bacteria and helps prevent food poisoning.

Tasting just a tiny bit of contaminated food can cause serious illness, so toss all expired foods. If you’re unsure, remember: When in doubt, throw it out.

— StatePoint

Prevent Fall-Related Injuries | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 07:54

081315h1By Chris Graham • Special to the Times

We try to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from accidental injury. However, many of us are unaware of the risks and costs of a fall, especially for older adults.

At least once a year, one out of three people age 65 and older falls. Consequently, fall-related injuries are one of the most serious health threats facing older adults, who are five times more likely to be hospitalized after a fall than any other accident. With injuries on the rise, what can you do to prevent a fall?

Who’s at risk and why?

As we age, the possibility of a fall-related injury increases due to declining muscle strength, hearing, vision and coordination.

Your chance of falling is higher if you have had a stroke or if you have a disease that affects your balance and coordination, such as multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis or Parkinson’s disease.

Taking multiple medications simultaneously or drugs that affect balance, such as sleeping pills and blood pressure prescriptions, can also increase your chances. Other risk factors include a history of falls, a fear of falling, a lack of exercise and the presence of household hazards, including clutter, poor lighting and slippery floors.

Fall-related injuries

At least 20 to 30 percent of falls in older adults lead to serious injuries, such as hip fractures and head injuries.

At Eden Medical Center, falls recently surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the most common cause of injury in trauma patients. In 2010, one-third of all patients at Eden’s Trauma Center were treated for fall-related injuries, and this doesn’t include patients who were treated in the Emergency Department after falling.


Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent falls. Have your vision and hearing checked regularly by your doctor. Review your medications with a pharmacist and always consult with your physician before taking over-the-counter medicine.

Exercise consistently to improve your strength, balance and flexibility, but talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. The credentialed staff at Eden Medical Center’s EdenFit program can help design and supervise a customized exercise plan for you.

To reduce mishaps in your home, consider installing sturdy handrails and nightlights, fastening area rugs to the floor, moving electrical cords and furniture out of walking paths and putting a bell on your pet’s collar.

In your shower or tub, installing a chair or bench as well as grab bars and nonskid mats can help prevent accidents. While 85 percent of falls occur in the home, the outdoors pose dangers too, so consider using walking sticks, or a cane or walker for extra stability as well as rubber-soled shoes for traction.

Falls happen too frequently and are often preventable. Safeguard your independence by learning how to reduce your risks at home and in your daily activities.

Chris Graham is the trauma prevention coordinator for the Trauma Service Leadership at Eden Medical Center and member of the Senior Injury Prevention Partnership (S.I.P.P.).

Fall Prevention Day

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Eden Medical Center will host Fall Prevention Day at the San Leandro Senior Community Center. Visit or call 510-727-3176 to register or for more information. To learn more about the EdenFit program, call 510-317-8334.

Viral Hepatitis Screening May Save Your Life | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 07:50

By Chana A. Rabiner, Ph.D • Special to the Times

For the millions of Americans at risk for a potentially fatal medical condition called viral hepatitis, the good news is that a simple step of medical screening can lead to lifesaving treatment.

A Collection of Diseases

By definition, hepatitis means “liver inflammation,” and viral hepatitis is a general name for five unrelated viruses infecting the liver. These viruses can either be acute or chronic, with the most common being hepatitis A, B and C.

When the condition is chronic and left untreated, it can lead to scarring or damage to the liver or, in some cases, liver cancer. Viral hepatitis is not only the leading cause of liver cancer but it is also the prime reason a person may need a liver transplant.

Nearly 4.5 million people are infected with viral hepatitis in the U.S., with just over 3 million infected with hepatitis C. In addition, just over 1 million are infected with hepatitis B.

Unfortunately, most people with the condition don’t know that they are infected; people can be infected for decades without ever having symptoms or feeling sick.

While viral hepatitis can be acquired in a number of different ways, and can impact or infect anyone, the most common way to be infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) is through contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

Those Most at Risk

Research shows that hepatitis C disproportionately impacts two groups of people: those who were born between 1945 and 1965 and those who use drugs through injection (IDU).

People who were born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than other age groups. This is why the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a one-time testing for hepatitis C for people born during that period.

In addition, 40 to 70 percent of injection-drug users are chronically infected with HCV and up to 11 percent chronically infected with HBV. And those who inject drugs currently account for 60 to 70 percent of new hepatitis infections in the country.

One reason for this is that hepatitis C infects at a much greater rate than the other diseases that are transmitted through injection drug use, such as HIV. This happens because the virus can live longer outside the body than those other diseases can. In fact, it can live for days on the paraphernalia used to inject drugs, including syringes, cotton and cookers.

Several other behavioral health disorders lead to increased risk for getting hepatitis. For instance, approximately 20 percent and 23 percent of people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) are infected with HCV and HBV, respectively, while between 14 percent and 36 percent of those who misuse/abuse alcohol are infected with HCV. Addressing these behavioral health disorders can also help stop the spread of viral hepatitis.

Screening Can Save Lives

Numerous resources exist to help you assess your risk for hepatitis. The first step is to find a place to get tested. The next step is to learn more about hepatitis and how to prevent infection. Doing so can be lifesaving, as there are effective treatments for hepatitis that can mitigate the effects of the disease. There are new treatments for hepatitis C that can, in some cases, even cure it.

Another resource is a publication called “Take Action Against Hepatitis C: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction.” This booklet presents basic information about hepatitis C for people with mental illness or substance use disorders.

Knowing your status can help to save your life. To learn more, visit

Dr. Rabiner is a Senior Public Health Advisor for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

— North American Precis Synd., Inc.

Take Quick Action on Ticks | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 08:41

072315h1If you think ticks are a concern only in the deep woods, it’s time to think again. Partially due to migrating deer populations, ticks are now abundant in suburban and city backyards — and they’re spreading disease.

An estimated 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme and other diseases each year, according to estimates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Tick-borne illness is the fastest-growing infectious disease concern in the U.S.,” says Dan Wolff, wildlife conservation specialist. “To protect both the people and the pets you love, it’s important to take preventive steps and know what to do if a tick bite occurs.”

Tuck pant cuffs

For hikes or romps in the woods, tuck pant legs into your socks to prevent ticks from reaching your skin. Remember that ticks do not fly or jump from trees; they are on the ground and crawl upward.

Make clothing tick-repellent

During high tick season, which occurs from May to November in the U.S., it’s best to treat your clothes with tick repellant. Look for clothing-only sprays with permethrin to kill ticks on contact.

Check daily

Because it’s best to remove ticks before they attach, it’s important to check for them daily. Keep in mind that ticks like constricted places, so be sure to check all over and focus specifically on locations like the underarms, under the knees and around waistbands.

Be proactive for pets

Protect your furry family members by asking your vet about proper vaccination and treatment for pets. For example, there are immunizations and topical treatments for dogs.

“If you find a tick has attached to you, a family member or your pet, remember that prompt and proper removal is the key to reducing the risk of being infected with Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses,” says Wolff.

Quick action can make a big difference. For the majority of tick-borne diseases, you have 24 hours to find and remove an attached tick before it transmits an infection.

If you find an attached tick, you can easily remove it with a specially designed dual-sided stainless steel tick tweezers.

After removing the tick from a person or pet, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. If fever or rash develop within several weeks of removing the tick, visit a doctor.

“Avoid folk remedies for removing a tick,” stresses Wolff. “For example, smothering the tick in petroleum jelly won’t likely work and it wastes time. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible to prevent disease and discomfort.”


Preventing and Treating Urinary Tract Infections | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 08:39

By Jonathan Lynne, M.D. • Special to the Times

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections doctors treat: More than half of women living in the United States will get a UTI.

Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms — usually bacteria — that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. They are more common in women because women have a shorter urethra than men do. That means bacteria travel a shorter distance to a woman’s bladder.

Several types of antibiotics treat UTIs and, because of overuse, some have lost effectiveness in parts of the United States.

In those regions, doctors see increased antibiotic resistance in fighting off these infections. The good news is that our general population in the East Bay doesn’t show a lot of antibiotic resistance in treating UTIs.

A urine culture reveals the type of bacteria causing the infection, which helps determine the best treatment and antibiotics to use. Once treated, most patients feel relief of symptoms — painful urination, burning sensation, sense of urgency to urinate — in three to seven days.

Older adults who have a blockage in the urinary tract — caused by kidney stones or an enlarged prostate — are at higher risk of developing UTIs.

Women completing menopause also are at risk for UTI if they had anatomical changes after child birth. People with diabetes and those who are pregnant need to be especially vigilant, since UTI complications can lead to serious health consequences, including premature delivery.

Take these steps to reduce your risk of developing a UTI:

• Drink plenty of fluids.

• Don’t hold it! Urinating frequently helps flush out the bladder.

• Consult your primary care provider, urologist or gynecologist if you have suffered two or more UTIs in a six month period.




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