Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness.
Sept. 15, 2014—Feeling frazzled at work might do more than sour your mood. A high-stress job might also make you prone to diabetes, said a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine.
It found that people under high pressure at work were 45 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes—the most common form of the disease—than those without taxing jobs.
Multiple risk factors, such as extra pounds, contribute to type 2 diabetes risk, but researchers found that work-related stress significantly raised diabetes risk regardless of factors like weight, age and family history. That finding makes this study a little unusual, and it might prompt you to make some changes in the way you handle stresses that come from work.
About the study
Researchers tracked 5,337 employed men and women ages 29 to 66, none of whom had diabetes at the study’s start.
The researchers quizzed the adults about stress at work. For the purposes of the study, they defined a high-stress job as one that required employees to handle huge demands while having little control over their tasks.
Researchers also factored in the adults’ body mass index (BMI), age, sex and family history of diabetes.
After an average of 12.7 years of follow up, 291 people developed type 2 diabetes, and work-related job stress emerged as a major risk factor for a diabetes diagnosis. Researchers say that bump in risk worked independently of other classic risk factors, including obesity and advancing age.
Past research has uncovered a link between workplace stress and heart disease. But this is the first study to reveal a strong association between high-pressure jobs and type 2 diabetes, according to a press release announcing the study’s results.
Read more about the study here.
|The take-home message|
|Some stress at work is inevitable—even dream jobs have it—and it can even be motivating. Still, since research now links high-stress jobs to diabetes as well as heart disease, it’s clearly in your best interest to keep workplace stress to a manageable level.
Make the most of breaks. Even 10 minutes of personal time can refresh you. Take a quick walk—exercise is a stress buster—or chat with a co-worker about something that has nothing to do with work.
Set reasonable standards. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Everybody falls short at times.
Learn how to relax. Stretching and relaxing your muscles can tame tension. So can breathing deeply for at least five minutes.
Establish boundaries. You might stop answering job-related email at home or answering work calls during dinner.
Perhaps most important, develop healthy responses to stress. Rather than overeating or reaching for a cigarette, for example, do your best to stick to smart habits. Take extra care to eat well, exercise regularly and get enough shut-eye.
Many types of stress can affect your health. Find out what they are here.
Nourish Yourself with Flavored Water
Kim McCorquodale RD
We all know that drinking more water is beneficial. Some of the many benefits include flushing out toxins, helping to keep your energy up, and reducing those feeling of “fake” hunger and food cravings. But, we also know that water can be pretty boring. Most of you have probably seen all those flavored waters at the grocery store, but you might also have noticed they are pretty high priced. So why not make flavored water yourself? No reason not to, and here’s some easy ideas to get you started.
Add water to a clean container and add any of the following. Try “muddling,” or slightly crushing, herb leaves to help release their flavor.
Or try some of these fun combos:
So, give some of these a try and get hydrated! For other great water recipes and ideas, check out the American Institute for Cancer Research web site.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)
What are enteroviruses?
Enteroviruses are very common viruses that can cause respiratory illness, fever and rash, and neurologic illnesses, such as aseptic meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain); there are more than 100 types of enteroviruses.
Approximately 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. Most people infected with enteroviruses have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but some infections can be serious. Infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become sick.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is causing outbreaks of respiratory infection in multiple US states this year. The outbreaks are resulting in significant numbers of children requiring emergency department visits and hospitalizations, primarily for difficulties with breathing and severe asthma. Children with asthma appear to be more susceptible to serious illness from EV-D68.
How does enterovirus spread?
Because EV-D68 has been uncommon in the past, the ways it spreads are not as well- understood as other enteroviruses. EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, and the virus can be found in respiratory secretions such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. The virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or a person touches contaminated surfaces.
What are the symptoms of EV-D68?
EV-D68 has been reported to cause mild to severe respiratory illness (runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) with and without fever. A minority of people may have more serious infections, particularly children with pre-existing asthma. Because EV-D68 has previously been uncommon in the US, we are still learning about the illness and risk factors for infection. As we learn more, information about EV-D68 infection will be updated. Most people with other enterovirus infections have mild illness that does not require medical care or evaluation.
Use the same judgment as usual about when to see (or take a child to see) a health care provider:
Anyone who has difficulty breathing or who appears seriously ill should be evaluated promptly by a healthcare provider. Persons with asthma should be sure their asthma symptoms are under control, and see a health care provider if they develop respiratory symptoms and their asthma worsens. Adults and children with non-severe enterovirus infections do not need to see a health care provider and do not need to be tested.
How is EV-D68 diagnosed and treated?
Many hospitals can test for enteroviruses in hospitalized patients, but they are probably not able to identify EV-D68. Public Health can assist with EV-D68 testing in hospitalized patients after consultation with health care providers. Patients who are not seriously ill do not need to be tested.
There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections. Some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy. Because children with asthma may be at increased risk for more serious EV-D68 infections, it is a good idea to be sure asthma symptoms are under control.
How can enterovirus infection be prevented?
There is no vaccine for enterovirus infections. To decrease the risk for enterovirus infections:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds (alcohol hand gel is not as good as hand washing for enteroviruses)
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid contact with ill people
• Do not go to day care, school or work while ill
• Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
• Children and adults with asthma should be sure to have their asthma symptoms under control and see a health care provider if they develop a respiratory infection and their asthma worsens
Sept. 11, 2014—Few people enjoy waking up, particularly if an alarm clock or a rude shake to the shoulder is the prompt that puts an end to sleep. But some people respond to awakening with behavior that seems downright strange. They might wake up confused—trying to answer the phone instead of hitting the alarm clock, for example—or they might even become aggressive.
These episodes are sometimes called sleep drunkenness, a type of sleep disorder known as confusional arousals that happen in the morning, and a new study suggests the issue may affect as many as 1 in 7 people. Fortunately, there are ways to diagnose and treat the condition.
Researchers interviewed 19,136 people ages 18 and older for this study. Participants were asked about their sleep habits, mental health and medication usage. They were also asked if they experienced any symptoms of sleep drunkenness.
The study found that more than 15 percent of participants had experienced a sleep drunkenness episode in the last year. Of those, more than half reported having more than one episode a week.
In addition, 84 percent of participants who experienced sleep drunkenness also had a related condition, such as another sleep disorder or a mental health disorder, or were taking psychotropic drugs, like antidepressants.
Researchers found an increased risk of sleep drunkenness in people with:
They also discovered that the disorder was associated with both short nights of sleep (6 hours or less) or long nights of sleep (9 hours or more).
Learn more about the study in the journal Neurology here.
|The take-home message|
|An episode of sleep drunkenness can sound a little silly, but according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, this disorder can cause a plethora of problems, including poor performance at school and work, conflicts at home and dangerous driving. It’s clear that this isn’t an issue people can ignore.
But diagnosing the problem can be tricky, because people with sleep drunkenness often don’t remember the episodes. Here’s a self-test that can help:
If you answered yes to each of these questions, a visit with your doctor may be in order.
Your doctor may recommend a sleep specialist. This professional may ask you to keep a sleep diary, and you might also be asked to stay overnight for a sleep study called a polysomnogram, which will chart your brain waves, heartbeat and breathing while you sleep. There’s a video component, too, so doctors can watch for unusual motions you might make as you sleep.
If your doctor finds that you do have sleep drunkenness episodes, treatment might involve addressing other sleep or mental health disorders. Medications might also play a role.
Sleep studies can help diagnose other sleep disorders as well. Click here to find out more about how sleep studies work and what the results of the tests might mean.
Do you know a child who is grieving the loss of a parent or other close loved one? Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is offering a hands-on workshop to help guide children ages 4-17 and their parents or guardians through the grief associated with death.
Laurie Oswalt and Julie Cicero appeared on KIT 1280 on Sept. 9, 2014, to discuss the workshop.
The workshop will provide an opportunity for children to express their feelings and thoughts through creative activities and meet others who have experienced a similar loss. While children are participating in activities to assist their recovery, parents and guardians will be involved in their own grief recovery program geared for adults.
Key points about grieving children:
How a child or teen grieves varies depending on a number of factors:
This workshop is intended to help children and teens work through these feelings and safely share them in a safe environment. Activities include writing, drawing, team-building and art.
This workshop will be held:
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Children’s Village, 3801 Kern Road, Yakima
Lunch will be provided for every family, and parents are encouraged to enjoy lunch with the children before the activities begin. This workshop is provided at no charge to participants.
For more information or to register, contact Denise Mitzel at 577-5062 or DeniseMitzel@yvmh.org.
Registrations will be accepted until Sept. 26, 2014.
For more information, visit memfound.org
Sept. 9, 2014—Beanbag chairs can seem ideal for small children—they don’t have rough edges or sharp corners that turn into hazards when little ones fall. However, these chairs can be dangerous when they’re made improperly.
Case in point: More than 2 million beanbag chairs produced by Ace Bayou Corporation are being recalled after two children suffocated from lack of air and inhaling the foam beads inside.
The problem with the chairs
According to voluntary standards, nonrefillable beanbag chairs like these should be made with permanently closed zippers. But these chairs have workable zippers, so kids can access the tiny foam beads inside.
Two children—a 13-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl—crawled into opened bags. They both suffocated inside and died.
How to recognize the chairs
The beanbag chairs under recall are either round or L-shaped. The round chairs are 30, 32 and 40 inches in diameter. The L-shaped chairs are 18 inches wide, 30 inches deep and 30 inches high.
They were sold in a variety of colors prior to July 2013 and cost between $30 and $100.
The tag on the cover seam reads ACE BAYOU CORP. The bags were made in China.
Some of the merchants who sold the chairs include:
What you should do
Check any beanbag chairs in your house to see if this recall applies. If so:
|The take-home message|
|This recall only applies only to a specific manufacturer. But any beanbag chair with zippers that open up to reveal the stuffing inside could be dangerous for little ones. If you have any chairs that work like this, they shouldn’t be used around children.|
Sept. 9, 2014—Zero means zip, zilch, nada. Except, it seems, when it comes to trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. Even packaged foods whose nutrition labels say they contain 0 grams of trans fats per serving can have small amounts of the artery-clogging lipid—in fact, in a new report, almost 1 in 10 products studied contained partially hydrogenated oils.
About the study
Researchers examined the nutrition labels and ingredient information for 4,340 packaged foods (like crackers, cookies, frozen pizza and salad dressing) in 2012. Researchers looked at the amount of trans fats listed on the label—and they also looked at the ingredients. If they found partially hydrogenated oils, it indicated that a product had some amount of trans fats.
At the moment, that disparity follows the guidelines of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which allow manufacturers to use the number zero in the trans fats column if their product contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving.
Of the 391 products with ingredient lists that featured partially hydrogenated oils, 330 of those listed 0 grams of trans fats per serving on the nutrition label. About half of the food categories studied had at least one product with partially hydrogenated oils, but the problem was most prevalent among cookies and what researchers called “seasoned processed potatoes” products.
The results suggest that many Americans—even those who read nutrition labels—may be eating more trans fats than they realize. That’s problematic, researchers said, because studies show that even small amounts of trans fats can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Read the full article in Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy here.
|The take-home message|
|Even if a food’s nutrition label reads 0 grams trans fats per serving, that doesn’t guarantee that the item is truly free of trans fats. That’s dangerous, because trans fats raise LDL (bad)cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol, which can increase your risk for developing heart disease.
Trans fats are so unhealthy, in fact, that FDA has preliminarily concluded that they can no longer be generally recognized as safe. Which could mean that, eventually, the inclusion of partially hydrogenated oils in a product will be regulated by FDA, and artificial forms of trans fats might be banned from foods altogether.
But in the meantime, it’s up to consumers to avoid trans fats by reading packaging information carefully. In addition to scanning the nutrition facts label, read the ingredient list. If you spot the words partially hydrogenated, it’s safe to assume that the food contains at least some trans fats.
The good news? The report found that every food category contained items that were free of partially hydrogenated oils. Which means that with a careful eye, everyone can find healthier versions of the foods they love.
Get the ins and outs of reading food labels here.
Sept. 8, 2014—As fall college classes begin, students are settling into apartments and dorms. They’re finalizing course schedules, buying books and computers—and stocking up on that staple of college life: instant noodles.
But while ramen and similar instant offerings may be a hit with busy, budget-minded undergrads, research from South Korea could raise new concerns for noodle lovers. The study suggests that women who eat instant noodles often could up their risk of metabolic syndrome: a cluster of health problems (including excess belly fat and high cholesterol) that may contribute to heart disease, diabetes or stroke.
About the study
The research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, is based on 10,711 adults who were questioned about their eating habits and health behaviors. Researchers also measured each participant’s waist size, blood pressure, and cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels—components related to metabolic syndrome.
Researchers classified the people into two main groups depending on their overall eating habits: One group mostly ate a traditional diet rich in grains, legumes, fish, mushrooms, fruit, veggies and potatoes. The other group favored meals packed with meat, soda, fried food, pizza and other fast foods, including instant noodles.
Researchers found that people who followed a traditional diet tended to have slimmer waists and better blood pressure readings. Those who ate the most meat and fast foods were more likely to have bigger bellies and more artery-clogging LDL cholesterol—although their HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and triglyceride levels were actually healthier.
When the researchers looked at instant noodle consumption specifically, they found that women who ate them two or more times per week were more likely to have metabolic syndrome regardless of their overall diet. That this finding was more prevalent in women might be due, in part, to biological differences and varied eating habits between the sexes, study authors noted. Also, the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is found in the plastic foam packaging of some noodles and might potentially interact with the hormone estrogen to boost belly fat, they suggested.
Read the study abstract here.
|The take-home message|
|The study doesn’t prove that eating instant noodles causes health problems. But noodle packets tend to contain a lot of calories, blood-sugar-spiking refined carbohydrates, saturated fat and sodium, according to the authors, and there are better choices.
In any case, everyone can aim to eat a balanced variety of healthful foods—even college students on a budget. And, parents, you might help your young scholar eat right by offering these ideas from experts:
Want to prepare healthy meals without breaking the bank? Click here.
Sept. 7, 2014—Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, and a report from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that teenagers aren’t doing all they can to keep their skin cells protected.
In fact, the report suggests that fewer teenagers are using sunscreen when they’re outside and that far too many teens are using indoor tanning beds to bronze their skin.
About the study
Data for this study came from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), in which a representative sample of U.S. high school students in grades 9 through 12 answers questions about their health-risk behaviors.
For this study, researchers evaluated students’ answers to questions about using sunscreen and indoor tanning devices like tanning beds and sunlamps. The findings:
The researchers ended the report by concluding that teens make choices that raise their risk for skin cancer and that they do so at a time when their skin cells are especially vulnerable to damage.
For more details about the study, click here.
|The take-home message|
|Whether ultraviolet (UV) rays travel 93 million miles or only a few inches, overexposure to them raises the risk for skin cancer—including life-threatening melanoma. As the study’s authors note, preventing this overexposure is especially important during childhood and adolescence.While this report suggests that teens are getting the message about tanning beds, those who continue to use the devices could be doing extensive damage. Research shows that using indoor tanning devices before age 25 increases nonmelanoma skin cancer risk by 40 to 102 percent. Another study found that with each additional tanning session per year, melanoma risk increases by 1.8 percent. So parents: When your teens ask to tan, say no.
In addition, it’s important to stress the importance of sunscreen to teens. Teach your children to follow these dermatologists’ tips:
Babies also need protection from the sun’s rays. Click here for tips on protecting their sensitive skin.