FDA WARNING: If you’re 40 or older, eating too much black licorice can send you to the hospital

As it turns out, you really can overdose on candy—or, more precisely, black licorice.

Days before the biggest candy eating holiday of the year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages moderation if you enjoy snacking on the old fashioned favorite.

So, if you’re getting your stash ready for Halloween, here’s some advice from FDA:

Read the rest of this entry »

Stop a Heart Attack Before it Happens

Walter Groesel (free image.com)

Walter Groesel (free image.com)


Chest pain…shortness of breath…feeling faint…and/or discomfort in the arm—or even the neck, jaw or back. If you are overcome by such symptoms and perhaps even have an intense and sudden “sense of doom,” you’re likely to suspect a heart attack and rush to a hospital.

But wouldn’t it be better to get a heads-up beforehand that a heart attack is on the way?

Read the rest of this entry »

Taking Antibiotics for Traveler’s Diarrhea – Don’t

stomach acheWhen you have a serious infection, you want your antibiotic to work fast and thoroughly and to kill the bacteria before they possibly kill you. But if the bacteria causing infection have learned to outsmart the antibiotic, then you’re in real trouble. Overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics are key factors in training bacteria to trump treatment.

So if you thought you could avoid a really uncomfortable case of diarrhea by popping an antibiotic—as many travelers do to avoid traveler’s diarrhea—would you?

I hope not. And I’ll tell you why.

Read the rest of this entry »

What the Weather Does to Your Heart

snicer (sxc.hu)

snicer (sxc.hu)

The arctic blast that brought tundra like temperatures to much of the country this winter has left behind more than frozen pipes and frost-nipped noses. During a typical winter, there are up to 36% more circulatory-related deaths than during warmer months.

Read the rest of this entry »

Flu-Fighting Facts That May Surprise You

Cieleke (sxc.hu)

Cieleke (sxc.hu)

The flu is an illness that you hear so much about year after year that it’s easy to assume you know all there is to know about it. That’s a mistake. Widely held assumptions about the flu often are wrong—and dangerous. By learning the facts, you can help yourself and loved ones from being among the estimated 36,000 Americans who will die this year due to pneumonia and other flu-related complications. Common misconceptions… Read the rest of this entry »

New Four-Strain Flu Vaccine

zeathiel (sxc.hu)

zeathiel (sxc.hu)

Is It Right for You?

Have you heard? There’s a new type of flu vaccine that guards against four strains of flu rather than just the usual three strains.

We have some questions about this new quadrivalent flu vaccine, of course. For instance: Is it safe? How well does it work? (A fair question, considering that last year’s vaccine was only 56% effective.) How can you tell whether it’s right for you? And will you be able to find it if you want it? (Another fair question, given last year’s shortages.)

We’ve got these answers and more… Read the rest of this entry »

Relieve Genital Pain

Ana Labate (sxc.hu)

Ana Labate (sxc.hu)

Remedies That Relieve Genital Pain in Women

Ladies, have you ever worn too-tight jeans that rubbed your crotch raw…developed an itchy all-over rash that really did go everywhere…or had a sore or an infection (or even a cut from shaving the bikini area) that made your private parts painful or tender?

When discomfort occurs “down there”—especially when there is an open sore or when pain is accompanied by other symptoms that could indicate an infection, such as a fever or vaginal discharge—of course you need to contact your doctor so he or she can diagnosis the complaint and prescribe treatment. To relieve simple chafing or other minor injuries or irritations, though, there often are steps you can take at home that bring relief, said Joel M. Evans, MD, gynecologist and director of the Center for Women’s Health in Stamford, Connecticut. In some cases, the remedies suggested below also can alleviate discomfort while you wait for your doctor-prescribed treatment to take effect.

Complaint: A cut or sore in the genital area… Read the rest of this entry »

What You Don’t Say to Your Doctor CAN Kill You

Kurhan (sxc.hu)

Kurhan (sxc.hu)

The Misdiagnosis Epidemic – How to Answer the Doctor’s Questions

At a major hospital’s emergency department, a 60-year-old patient named May recently told a doctor that she had passed out in the gym locker room after feeling queasy and short of breath during a workout. May answered “yes” to all the doctor’s questions. Yes, she had a headache…an upset stomach…shortness of breath—and chest pain.

When the doctor heard chest pain, he linked it in his mind with the patient’s fainting (a possible sign of a heart condition) and proceeded to give her the standard evaluation for heart disease. The tests turned up nothing, but overnight the patient developed a 102°F fever and her “upset stomach” became extremely painful.

This time, doctors gave May a full physical exam and blood tests. Results pointed to a gallbladder infection that could have been treated with antibiotics but had become so severe that she now needed an emergency operation. How was the real cause of May’s distress missed?

This is a classic example of what can happen when a doctor doesn’t keep an open mind about a patient’s health problems—and the patient doesn’t do a very good job of describing the ailment. This type of scenario occurs every day in hospitals and doctors’ offices across the U.S.

WHAT GOES WRONG Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Sleep with Bedbugs – UPDATE

Bedbugs Spreading to Theaters, Offices, Schools

Source:  Robin Erb, Detroit Free-Press March 4, 2013

They’ve shown up in library books and hitched rides aboard school textbooks and book bags, and health officials continue to field calls from frantic rescue workers and home health care aides as well as school officials, landlords and emergency crews.

Bedbugs — they just won’t go away. Read the rest of this entry »

Can Energy Saving Light Bulbs Give you Skin Cancer?

vancanjay (sxc.hu)

vancanjay (sxc.hu)

Like it or not, the days of the energy-sucking, traditional incandescent light bulb are pretty much coming to a close. Most of the standard sizes will be off the market by 2014 and replaced with energy-efficient bulbs.

While energy-efficient light-emitting diode(LED) bulbs are available, they are still quite expensive. So most of the new bulbs will be compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).

You’ve probably already tried CFLs in your home. Some people like them…some are indifferent…some dislike the “artificial” quality of the light they emit. That’s just a matter of taste.

But here’s a concern that’s much less subjective. According to a new study, CFLs can damage human skin and may cause premature aging…impaired wound healing…and possibly even skin cancer! Read the rest of this entry »

Yo-Yo Dieting May Kill You

julosstock (sxc.hu)

julosstock (sxc.hu)

There’s no serious harm in gaining a few pounds, as long as you lose them in the future, right?

That is the mind-set of many people who struggle with their weight.

And the cycle can be endless—weight goes up, weight goes down and then it goes up yet again…

Is it healthy?

Back in 2011, I reported on research suggesting that fluctuating weight loss and weight gain—commonly known as “yo-yo dieting”—had certain health advantages.

Now the topic merits rethinking—because new evidence reveals that this type of dieting may worsen certain risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Here are the latest findings… Read the rest of this entry »

Caffeine and Energy Drinks–Is it too Much?

Caffeine Labeling: Can You Trust It?

This past November, you probably saw that the FDA warned of the possible involvement of three brands of energy drinks—5-Hour Energy, Monster Energy and Rockstar Energy—in 13 deaths over the past four years. We’re not talking about uncomfortable side effects here—we’re talking about deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) is Back

This image depicts a young boy who presented t...

young boy suffering from pertussis. (Photo: Wikipedia)

You might have thought that whooping cough (aka “pertussis”) went the way of polio and was virtually eliminated, at least in the US, by the vaccinations that nearly everyone receives between the ages of two months and six years.

But whooping cough is back—with a vengeance. It is sickening both children and adults, and this year will likely see the highest number of victims in any year since 1959.

This is scary news, because whooping cough isn’t just any old cough. It’s a serious disease that can cause severe complications, including brain damage, permanent seizures and even death. These side effects can happen to people of any age, though babies under age one are at greatest risk.

Here’s why there’s been a spike—and how you can protect yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

Millions of Americans Have Hepatitis C and Do Not Know It!

lusi (sxc.hu)

Why YOU Need a Test Now

Shocking fact: One of every 30 baby boomers has been infected with a virus—most of them unknowingly—that greatly increases the risk for liver cancer, liver cirrhosis and liver transplants.

Latest development: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that every boomer get tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which often causes no symptoms until the liver is severely damaged. Certain other people of any age, including those who received a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before blood-screening tests were widely available, also should be tested for the stealthy virus.

Because testing and treatment frequently can cure the HCV infection, these new guidelines are projected to prevent more than 120,000 unnecessarydeaths in the US.

A GENERATION AT RISK Read the rest of this entry »

Where are my Flip-Flops? – Updates

tooleya (sxc.hu)

Flip-Flop Alert!

I love my flip-flops and have always worn them often during the summer. I have never gotten hurt—until this year when the front of one shoe got caught on a stair, and I went tumbling down.

The beauty of flip-flops is that they’re airy and so easy to slip on and off. The problem is, flip-flops are naturally…well, Read the rest of this entry »

A Dangerous Game Kids Play

Several years ago, when I first heard about “the choking game” that both young children and teens were playing, it was terrifying. It didn’t involve drugs, alcohol or any other hard-to-get illegal substances—all a kid needed was a pair of hands. Yet this “game” could lead to serious consequences, such as seizure and death.

That’s why I was disheartened to see a recent headline announcing that more kids have been playing it in recent years than I even imagined.

ANOTHER WAY TO GET HIGH Read the rest of this entry »

Health Myths

Cieleke (sxc.hu)

“Don’t cross your eyes—they’ll get stuck that way.” That’s what my mother used to tell me. Of course, though my mother was right about many things, she was wrong about that.

Many of the things that we hear about our bodies just aren’t true. The result is that we may be worrying about stuff that we don’t need to worry about or doing things that we think will help our health but won’t.

Here, six common health myths and the truth behind them…

MYTH: Airplane air makes you sick. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Have Mystery Allergies?

ba1969 (scu.hu)

You never used to have allergies, but now you do—at least you think you do. You’ve got the symptoms—the sneezing, stuffiness and runny nose. But adults who suddenly are sensitive to things that didn’t bother them before, such as fragrances, smoke, detergents, lotions or even aspirin, might have nonallergic rhinitis, a condition that mimics allergies but isn’t quite the same.

The difference is important because many of the medications that are used to treat allergies don’t work for nonallergic rhinitis even when the symptoms virtually are identical. Read the rest of this entry »

Herbal Cold Remedies



Rosemary clears congestion. Place one-half cup of crushed leaves in the toe of hosiery, and put it in a tub of warm water. Soak the stocking in the tub for 20 minutes.

Sage relieves a sore throat. Make a tea by steeping two teaspoons of crushed leaves in eight ounces of hot water for 20 minutes. Strain, and add one teaspoon of sea salt. Gargle with the liquid for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Repeat as necessary. 

Thyme unplugs sinuses. Pour three cups of boiling water over two tablespoons of crushed thyme leaves in a bowl. Cover your head with a towel, and lean over the bowl. (Don’t let the steam burn you.) Close your eyes, and breathe in deeply for eight to 10 minutes.

Source:  Stephanie Tourles, licensed holistic esthetician, Orland, Maine, and author of Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self .

Never Get Sick Again

lusi (sxc.hu)

Why is it that some people hardly ever get sick? I wanted to learn their secrets. Some of these secrets, I discovered, are a bit unusual, but they have a basis in scientific fact… Read the rest of this entry »

Healthy Spices

ulfhinze (sxc.hu)

In some cases, spices can be just as helpful as medication for people with certain conditions — and safer. Here are some common medical conditions that you can help prevent — or improve — with the use of spices…

OREGANO FOR Read the rest of this entry »

Skin Health is Affected by Ethnicity

spekulator (sxc.hu)

Modern medicine has long been a white man’s world — and I’m talking about patients, not doctors. Only relatively recently have medical researchers begun to study in detail how people of different ethnicities are affected differently by injuries and diseases — including, ironically, skin conditions. And it’s about time, because did you know that your particular skin color can play a major role in which skin conditions you develop, where and how they’re discovered, and the consequences they bring?

According to Nelson Lee Novick, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a dermatologist in private practice in New York City, most dermatologists lump patients into one of three broad skin categories — white, Asian and people of color (a broad category that includes African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Indians, Hawaiians and others). There just isn’t enough research yet to make many distinctions that are more precise than that, he told me. But he’s optimistic about the future. “I can foresee a time when we’ll be able to address the differences between, say, Ethiopian skin, Kenyan skin and Nigerian skin,” Dr. Novick said.
If you’re a non-Caucasian, you’ll be happy to know that you have a lower overall risk of getting both serious and nonserious skin conditions, compared with whites, but make sure that you’re aware of the following trends that may affect you — whether you’re Asian or a person of color.

Medicare Options

Medicare’s many options can be quite confusing. What each is…

Medicare Part A helps cover the cost Read the rest of this entry »

Accurate Identification of Melanoma

Melanoma is the most feared of all skin cancers, and with good reason — it’s so deadly that Americans die from it at the rate of one per hour! Adding to the frustration is the fact that melanoma is a cancer that can almost always be seen with the naked eye and that virtually all patients can survive it when it is detected and removed before it metastasizes. It’s excellent news, therefore, that a new medical device called MelaFind can help dermatologists accurately identify the vast majority of melanomas, assessing not only what’s visible on the skin but also what’s beneath the surface — and it just got approved by the FDA in November.


At present, dermatologists must rely on their own experience with detecting melanoma to decide whether or not to biopsy a suspicious mole or growth. Generally, they are inclined to order a biopsy when they see one or more of these characteristics… Read the rest of this entry »