Ten Smart Tips For Healthy Travel
|(NAPSI)—Whether for business or pleasure, many Americans will be traveling internationally this year—and your fun and efficiency will go further if you make sure the basics of health and safety are not neglected.
How to Travel Well
To help, Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, Chair of St. George’s University’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, shares his top 10 tips on staying healthy when traveling:
1. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on vaccines and health alerts at your destination and visit your doctor, preferably four to six weeks before your trip, to get vaccines and any medicine you may need.
2. Strengthen your immune system before you travel by exercising and taking vitamins.
3. Get seven to nine hours of sleep the night before you fly.
4. Pack healthy snacks for the plane (nuts, veggies and fruits) but make sure to consume them in flight so as not to bring them into another country.
5. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, water, water.
6. Skip alcohol and caffeine.
7. Keep your hands and personal items out of the seat back pocket to avoid germs. Imagine how many people have read that magazine.
8. Wash your hands frequently and carry a travel-size antibacterial sanitizer.
9. Use sunscreen and insect repellent.
10. Once you return home, see a doctor immediately if you are not feeling well or if you notice any abnormal changes in your body. Be sure to let the office know you’ve recently been out of the country. Many times, an illness will take a few days to appear.
Keep these ideas in mind and the next time you travel you’ll be better able to peek at the sights in the peak of health.
Learn more at www.sgu.edu/future-students.
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Heatstroke vs. Stroke
(NAPSI)—When the mercury soars, it’s wise to learn the signs of heatstroke and how they differ from those of stroke.
Heatstroke can happen when you’re exercising outside on a very hot day or simply by getting overheated. Certain heart medications including beta-blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics, which deplete the body of sodium, can exaggerate the body’s response to heat.
Symptoms of heatstroke include body temperature of 104° F or greater; lack of perspiration; hot, dry, flushed skin; nausea; vomiting; rapid, shallow breathing; headache; confusion; unconsciousness; muscle cramps or weakness; and strong, rapid pulse.
“Heatstroke is life threatening. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool him or her down and call 9-1-1,” advised Rani Whitfield, M.D.
Stroke warning signs should also prompt a 9-1-1 call immediately. The American Stroke Association says remember F.A.S.T. for stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1. Additional signs can include sudden trouble seeing, dizziness, confusion, severe headache, or weakness on one side of the body.
To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit strokeassociation.org.
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To Boost Your Health, Consider Your Glycemic Response
(NAPSI)—While most people consider their weight, their blood pressure or their running time when they think about their health, one important parameter is often overlooked: their glycemic response. The glycemic response is used as a way to classify foods based on their potential to in_crease blood glucose (blood sugar), as the glycemic response is the measure of the impact of a particular food on blood sugar. Foods with faster rates of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to increase more quickly than those with lower glycemic response, when glucose is released slowly into blood.
Scientists say how quickly you absorb carbohydrates after a meal, as shown by the glycemic response, has significant effects on insulin levels and overall health. Eating a lot of high-glycemic foods may increase your risk for obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
The World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (WHO/FAO) recommend that people in the United States and in other industrialized countries base their diets on low-glycemic foods to reduce the risk of many diseases.
Foods with a lower glycemic response, such as polyols (also called sugar alcohols), can also be helpful to reduce one’s insulin response, thereby reducing one’s risk for diabetes. As the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences puts it: “More slowly absorbed starchy foods which are less processed, or have been processed in traditional ways, may have health advantages over those which are rapidly digested and absorbed...At a time when populations are increasingly obese, inactive and prone to insulin resistance, dietary interventions that reduce insulin demand may have advantages.”
To help people lower the glycemic response of what they eat, there are low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages that are made with polyols, or sugar alcohols, a group of low-digestible carbohydrates that taste sweet but have special advantages.
All polyols have a low glycemic response and can be used to completely or partially replace sugar and high-glycemic starches in a wide range of foods including dairy products, baked goods, chewing gum, candy, ice cream and fruit spreads. In addition, they function well in fillings and frostings, canned fruits, beverages and yogurt.
This can reduce the overall glycemic load of the diet and thus reduce the risk of a variety of “lifestyle”-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes.
For further facts on polyols, go to http://polyol.org.
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Glutathione: The Body’s Most Protective Antioxidant And Best Kept Secret
by Danielle Citrolo, Pharm.D, R.Ph.
(NAPSI)—Ask anyone to name an antioxidant and even those with lowest awareness on the subject could mention one or two—perhaps, vitamin C, vitamin E or beta-carotene? Yet, one of the body’s most important protective antioxidants—glutathione (pronounced gloo-tah-thigh-ohne)—is never mentioned, even though it is naturally found in nearly all the cells, tissues and organs in the body. Glutathione is critical in protecting our cells from damaging effects of oxidative stress and toxins, both contributing factors to many fatal diseases. In fact, glutathione’s function in our bodies is so impactful that scientists refer to it as the “master antioxidant.” So, why is no one talking about this powerful nutrient, or encouraging the public to take vitamins with glutathione as an ingredient?
Science has provided several reasons why glutathione has yet to take hold in our everyday vernacular. First, the body is supposed to produce glutathione in sufficient quantities on its own. Second, there are small amounts of this nutrient in fresh (average of 6.2 mg/100 g) or frozen (average of 8.3 mg/100 g) vegetables-like avocadoes, asparagus, squash, potatoes and okra; fresh fruits—such as oranges, grapefruit, melon, strawberries and peaches; and smaller amounts in meats--(average of 5.4 mg/100 g) like pork chops, veal cutlet and beef steak; so the assumption has been that people can eat to replenish their body stores. And third, it has long been thought that supplementing glutathione orally through vitamin-type intake was ineffective at increasing body stores.
But, new science and circumstances have challenged these long-held beliefs about glutathione. First, we now know that even the healthiest individuals face increased environmental factors and toxins that can combat the positive effects of the body’s natural antioxidants. Things like prescription and over-the-counter medication intake, health conditions, lifestyle, weight gain, increasing age and even time of day can all sap a body’s glutathione stores. Second, it is critical to eat an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to assist your body in replenishing and maintaining adequate levels of glutathione. A healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables can be challenging by itself, not to mention that increased prevalence of pesticides, and genetically modified foods, can actually decrease glutathione levels when ingested, versus providing the natural increase that is intended. Finally, a milestone study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition by Dr. John P. Richie, Jr., proves that oral supplementation of glutathione is possible and effective.
Dr. Richie, professor of Public Health Sciences and Pharmacology at Penn State University School of Medicine, gathered the first-ever, long-term, human clinical trial data measuring the efficacy of glutathione supplementation. Combating long-held contrary beliefs, Dr. Richie’s research results showed that glutathione supplementation did indeed increase body stores and may be an effective intervention strategy to both enhance body stores and boost immune function. Richie’s trial studied 54 healthy adults, ranging from 28-72 years of age. Giving each participant glutathione supplements of 250 mg/day or 1000 mg/day, he measured the supplements’ effect on glutathione levels in the blood (measured by plasma, red, and white blood cell content) and exfoliated cells from inside the cheek.
Results of the study showed glutathione levels in the blood increased after one, three and six months, at both doses. After six months, Richie’s subjects saw a 30 to 35 percent increase of glutathione in the blood, and a remarkable increase of 260 percent in glutathione within cheek cells in the 1000 mg/day group. Richie also saw a reduction in oxidative stress in both glutathione dose groups after six months.
Even those in the best of health may be in short supply of glutathione—and thereby missing a critical piece of the body’s natural mechanism for warding off disease. The time has come to bring glutathione into our everyday health conversations. Considering the challenging levels available through the diet alone, it is more important than ever to encourage the public to make this master antioxidant part of their daily health regimens.
Richie, J. et al. Randomized controlled trial of oral glutathione supplementation on body stores of glutathione. Eur J Nutr. 2014 May 5.
For more information, please visit setriaglutathione.com.
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Digital Devices And Children’s Eye Health
(NAPSI)—Spending too much time in front of a computer screen can present a number of challenges for young people, including eye strain and blurred vision. Fortunately, experts say taking a few simple steps can help to protect eye health.
That’s useful news for parents who may be underestimating the time their children are spending on digital devices, according to a pair of surveys by the American Optometric Association (AOA).
The first survey found that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 say they use an electronic device for at least three hours each day. However, a separate AOA survey revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time.
This may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs associated with vision problems due to technology use. For example, digital eye strain, a temporary condition caused by prolonged technology use, can cause children to experience burning, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue and blurred vision.
To protect their vision, children should practice the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes, and view something 20 feet away.
The following recommendations can also help prevent or reduce digital eye strain:
• Position computer screens four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held slightly below eye level.
• Prevent glare on the screen by turning your desk or computer away from windows or other light sources.
• Match the room lighting to the computer screen by substituting a lower-watt overhead light or using a dimmer switch.
• Adjust font sizes to make text bigger and easier to read.
• Blink frequently to minimize the chances of developing dry eye.
Many optometrists are also concerned about high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted from everyday electronic devices. Research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.
Regular Exams Are Key
The AOA recommends that every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after 6 months of age and before age 3 and every year thereafter. The Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act now provides children through age 18 with yearly comprehensive eye exams.
To find an optometrist, or for additional information on children’s vision and the importance of back-to-school eye exams, visit www.aoa.org.
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Safety Tip: Learn Infant CPR And First Aid
(NAPSI)—More than 9.2 million children are treated in the ER for nonfatal injuries every year, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—but your kids don’t have to be among them. You’ll be better able to protect your youngsters if you and their other caregivers learn a few skills that could save a child’s life.
What You Can Do
Fortunately, these are easier to acquire than many parents realize. That’s because the American Heart Association has created a new online course designed to meet the training needs of child care providers while also being a comprehensive resource for parents, grandparents, teachers, babysitters or anyone responsible for the safety of children.
What You Can Learn
Combining online and hands-on components, this one-stop-shop course teaches child care providers and parents critical first aid skills, ranging from how to create a safe environment, to preventing injuries in the first place, to lifesaving CPR.
The course covers illnesses and injuries, bleeding and bandaging, allergic reactions and how to use an epinephrine pen, asthma, drowning, bites and stings, burns, choking, CPR, using an Automated External Defibrillator and how to help.
What One Father Found
“It is so easy to take a CPR course. And it is so important to do, so that in a moment of panic, you can still function,” said Eli Thomas, who was able to save his 2-year-old from nearly drowning, thanks to American Heart Association CPR training he took at a company-organized retreat.
The course is called Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR AED, and it helps caregivers know how to respond to and manage illnesses and injuries in a child or infant in those first few vital minutes until professional help arrives.
For further advice about how to keep your little ones safe, go to www.heart.org/safekids.
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The New Terms Every Mom-to-Be Needs To Know
(NAPSI)—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and leading medical groups have important news for parents-to-be. A pregnancy is not “full term” until 39 weeks. Research shows that babies do best when they are born at 39 or 40 weeks.
By definition, a baby born between 37 weeks and 42 weeks is considered “term.” However, because of the health risks to babies born before 39 weeks, NIH supports new definitions for delivery between 37 and 42 weeks.
• Early term: Babies born at 37 weeks and 38 weeks
• Full term: Babies born in weeks 39 and 40
• Late term: Babies born in week 41
• Post term: Babies born at 42 weeks and later
Why This Matters
The last few weeks of pregnancy make a difference for the baby’s health. Babies born before 39 weeks are more likely to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and have problems with breathing, feeding, and controlling their temperature. They may also be at higher risk for learning problems and difficulties with vision and hearing.
What This Means For You
Waiting to deliver until at least 39 weeks, in a healthy pregnancy, gives your baby the time he or she needs to grow. During weeks 37 and 38, the brain forms connections that will be important for coordination, movement, and learning. There is also important lung, liver and brain development in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Where To Learn More
Discuss the new full-term pregnancy definition with your health care provider. You can also learn more from the experts at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/KnowYourTerms and watch a video at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/wait39weeks.
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