Category Archives: Environmental

Straight, No Chaser: Fireworks Safety

For many, the Fourth of July is a time of celebration, happiness and creation of good family memories. In the emergency room it’s one of the two worst days to have to work (excluding any Friday the 13ths that occur during a full moon…). I’d bet it’s even worse for firefighters, as over 50,000 fires are caused each year as a result of using fireworks. The presence of fireworks, grills, alcohol, driving and other hazardous activities make for an eventful day filled with many different types of trauma and drama, including the following:

  • Burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Finger/hand lacerations and amputations
  • Motor vehicle collisions

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That said, this isn’t about us; it’s about you. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to provide you with some safety tips to prevent injuries and enjoy your holiday. Yes, some of these may sound simplistic, but failure to follow these tips are the reasons people end up in emergency rooms.

firework-safety-logo

  • Tip #1 is to leave the fireworks to the professionals. If you want to enjoy a fireworks celebration, attend a public display. Your biggest risk here will be getting stuck in traffic.
  • If you like fireworks, get the legal kind. You can always identify legal fireworks by their being labeled with the manufacturer’s name and address. Also don’t try to make your own fireworks. Doesn’t that just sound like a formula for disaster?
  • Speaking of disasters, if you are going to use fireworks, don’t drink alcohol until everything’s done. Think about it. Alcohol + fire + explosives by design aren’t meant to have a happy ending.
  • Store your animals. They will become spooked by the fireworks and can have their hearing damaged by the blasts or otherwise hurt themselves escaping.

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  • If you allow fireworks in the home, don’t allow use by kids – or do so at your own risk. Did you know that sparklers, which many parents allow as a “safer” alternative to firecrackers, can get as hot as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit?
  • Keep any fireworks outdoors, and keep a water supply nearby. These things cause fires.
  • Here’s a common mistake: do not light fireworks while holding. This is how your hands get burned or fingers get blown off.
  • Wear eye shields when using fireworks. Folks have lost vision and eyes playing with fireworks.
  • Do not keep fireworks in your pocket, as the friction can ignite them.
  • Never point fireworks at anything other than the sky or an open space. Buildings can catch on fire, and individuals will be injured.

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  • Do not light fireworks in glass or metal containers. They explode and end up stuck in people.
  • Only attempt to light one firework at a time.
  • Never attempt to relight a dud. If it ends up not being a dud, it can fire unpredictably. If you have a dud, soak it in water for twenty minutes before attempting to discard it.
  • In fact, soak all fireworks in water prior to trashing them.
  • Do not allow kids to pick up fireworks after an event. You and they don’t know if any are still active.
  • Finally, remember that fireworks are not legal everywhere. You’d rather check and be safe then be fined or arrested if your activity is discovered.

fireworksinjuries

To be complete, here are some tips in the unfortunate event that an injury occurs as a result of fireworks.

  • Go to the closest major medical center immediately. This is an example of “time is tissue.” Don’t dally at home, and I’d recommend not even stopping at the closest emergency room. In the example when your eye or limb is at risk, you’re going to want to be at a trauma and/or burn center.
  • If an eye injury occurs as a result of fireworks, don’t rub or otherwise touch it. You’re more likely to cause additional damage than do anything constructive. Along the same line, don’t spend the time attempting to flush your eyes. Grab a shield or anything that can be used to protect the eye, and get to the emergency room. If you have sustained this injury, your eye is at risk.
  • If a minor burn occurs as a result of fireworks, remove clothing, and avoid ice. If you have access to water while waiting for an ambulance, run cool (not cold) water over the burn.

fireworksforpros

Happy Fourth of July, and I hope you feel that way at day’s end.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Environmental, Trauma

Straight, No Chaser: Treating Your Seasonal Allergies / Hay Fever

hay fever solution

You’re miserable from seasonal allergies (aka hay fever, allergic rhinitis)? You’ve seemingly tried everything, and nothing seems to help? Did you read the introductory post on hay fever? Good. Now, let’s do a Straight, No Chaser look at your treatment options.

I want to start with a very simple point that’s more important that everything else that will follow.

People who have allergies will have allergic attacks.

Understand that. Accept that. Now let’s deal with it.

allergy prevention

The goal in addressing seasonal allergies is prevention. The way your body works is simple. If you are exposed to a pollen or other substance the body interprets as a potential danger (an allergen), it will generate a defense to fight it. The suffering you sometimes feel is the byproduct of that fight. Furthermore, when you are subsequently exposed to the allergen, you will generate a stronger response, as your immune system is now primed for the fight.

All of this means that avoidance of these “triggers” is the key to your wellbeing. Everything else is compensation after the fact, which, in some cases, work counter to what the body may actually need at a certain point in time. Start by focusing on identifying your triggers and practicing avoidance.

  • During pollen season, stay indoors on especially hot, dry and windy days.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear a mask.

There are many treatment options. Besides avoidance, strategies involve treating symptoms and reducing the immune response.

Symptomatic Relief

  • For many, a nasal wash sufficiently eliminates mucus from the nose.
  • Antihistamines are a good place to start, and there are over the counter options. Be mindful of whether or not the one you’re selecting makes you drowsy. If so, act accordingly. (E.g., don’t operate heavy machinery while taking them.)
  • Nasal steroid sprays (corticosteroids) are the most effective treatment for allergic reaction, but may not be as effective if you’re not taking them continuously. Steroids are anti-inflammatory agents; that’s how they combat allergic rhinitis, which is an inflammation of the nose.
  • Many people reach for decongestants first because the nasal stuffiness is so annoying, but be advised: You should not take these for more than three days at a time. If the need persists, you should obtain medical attention.

hay fever

Reducing the Immune Response

  • A class of medicines called leukotriene inhibitors block the substances released by your immune system. These substances are problematic because they also produce symptoms.
  • If symptoms either get incapacitating or you can’t avoid your triggers, you may be a candidate for immunotherapy (aka allergy shots). This involves desensitization to the pollen by receiving incrementally stronger exposure until your body can adapt to the exposure.

The point of it all is you should focus on prevention by avoidance and work with your physician to address symptoms and your body’s response to them.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Environmental, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Do You Suffer from Hay Fever?

SeasonalAllergies_enHD

Hay (fever) there! If any of you don’t suffer from seasonal allergies (aka hay fever, allergic rhinitis), consider yourself lucky. As nuisances go, this has to rank high on the list. Allergies can make you incapacitated for days at a time and make you feel horrible. There are two questions I often get on this topic:

  • Why does it hit me so hard?
  • What can I do about it?

Today we deal with the why. We will dedicate a separate post to management of  seasonal allergies.

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The rhinitis in allergic rhinitis refers to the nose; the “itis” is a suffix designating an inflammation. Knowing this should make the symptoms and process easy to understand: we’re describing an inflammation of the nose due to allergies. We’re all aware of the offending particles: dust, pollens, certain animals, etc. The problem is the process of exposure causes the body to release chemicals in an effort to combat what is thought to be an imminent danger to the body.

Hay fever is a specific type of allergic scenario involving pollen as a culprit. The pollens of trees, weeds and grasses are carried by the wind to your nose. You don’t need a pollen count to tell you when the risk is high. Basically…

  • If you live where it’s hot, dry and windy, there are going to be a lot more pollens in the air.
  • If you live where it’s cool, damp and rainy, you won’t suffer as much, because the pollen isn’t in the air to the same extent; it’s being washed away.
  • If you have hay fever and allergies in your families (especially if both of your parents have them), you are likely to have hay fever and allergies. 

HayFever

If you inhale a pollen to which you’re allergic, symptoms will start rapidly. They typically include the following:

  • Itching primarily in the nose, mouth, eyes, throat and skin, although any area can be affected
  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulties with smelling

With ongoing exposure, you can develop additional symptoms.

  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy, congested nose and sinuses
  • Stuffy, congested sensation in your ears
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Puffiness and circles under the eyes

If your symptoms are severe or don’t respond to over-the-counter preparations, you may need to see a physician. Similarly if the discharge turns from clear to colored, you may need medical intervention. If your symptoms remain or worsen over time, you may wish to discuss allergy testing with your physician, as this will guide treatment options.

Check back to Straight, No Chaser for a discussion of treatment options.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Environmental, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: The Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Frostbite

hypotherm1

There’s a cold front coming. You can’t avoid the exposure. Some of you will end up cold as ice. Would you really know what to do if you caught frostbite? I thought not, and the bad news is some of your instinctive tendencies are exactly what you ought not to do in this situation. Here are some do’s and don’ts if you ever find yourself or a loved one in this particularly precarious position.

frostbitehands

The Do’s

A lot of this depends on the circumstances.

  • Give warm fluids if possible.
  • If the person is wet, remove wet clothing.
  • If s/he is wearing tight clothing, remove whatever’s constricting.
  • Move to as warm of a climate as feasible; if not possible, then shelter the person from the cold. Avoid movement of the frostbitten parts to the extent possible.
  • Gently separate affected fingers and toes, and if you can, wrap them loosely in sterile dressing.
  • If you have transportation, get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
  • If immediate care or transportation is not available, soak the affected areas in warm (preferably circulating and never hot) water. Alternatively, place warm coverings to affected areas for up to 30 minutes at a time. If skin is soft and feeling returns, you’ve done a good job.
    • Be mindful that burning pain and swelling will occur during rewarming.
  • Apply dry, loose and preferably sterile dressings to the frostbitten areas. Keep frostbitten fingers or toes separated with dressings.
  • Delay rewarming if you are not in an area safe from the risk of refreezing. Refreezing of thawed extremities is even more dangerous than the initial freeze.  

frostbitefeet

DO NOT

  • Rub or massage the frostbitten area.
  • Peel or pop any blisters that may be present.
  • Use dry heat, such as from a hair dryer, a radiation, heating pad, electric blanket or campfire. These heat source may be ok to keep the rest of you warm (particularly your core), but this type of direct heat can further damage frostbitten tissue.
  • Rewarm until you can be sure it can stay thawed.
  • Smoke or drink alcohol during recovery. These activities can interfere with blood circulation and cause additional problems.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Environmental

Straight, No Chaser: What You Can Do To Manage Frostbite and Serious Cold Exposure

Frostbite_enHD

I’ll admit that my orientation is different than yours. I’ll argue that your orientation should be closer to mine. What’s the difference, you may ask? I’ve actually seen the consequences of your unfortunate actions, and these consequences occur with a much greater frequency than you may imagine. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t just a catchy quote from Ben Franklin. It’s an “Oops, I should’ve had a V-8 moment” when you’re in front of me, my nurses and big invasive medical treatment options in an emergency room.

Cold exposure is a good example of this. We’ve previously discussed frostbite, but there must be more to the story than frostbite. Frostbite is not a necessary pit stop on the way to very bad things happening due to cold exposure. More importantly, for as bad as frostbite is, there are worse things that can happen to you from cold exposure. This is a relatively important conversation. You need more tools at your disposal than “Just bundle up.” We’ll explore these tools in two parts: basic care and emergency care.

The Basics – Prevention

  • Layers of loose clothing are better. Wear more than one pair of socks, at least until you’re back indoors.
  • Use a hat that actually covers your scalp. (Major heat loss occurs through the scalp.)
  • Use a hat that covers your ears and a scarf that covers your nose. (These areas are prone to frostbite.)
  • Wear mittens. They are better for protecting your fingers than gloves.
  • People greatly underestimate the effect of the combinations of being cold and wet or being exposed to cold and windy conditions. If you have water-resistant, wind-proof options, use them.
  • If you know you’re going to be exposed to the cold for a significant period of time, eat up and rest up beforehand. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes prior to and during such journeys.

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Treatment You Can Do If Exposed:

  • Know what symptoms could be a result of hypothermia. Check previous posts for a refresher.
  • Your first step is to call 911, especially if any mental status changes (e.g., confusion) are present. Time is of the essence.
  • Do you know CPR? Refer here for a very easy refresher (you’ll commit it to memory in 2 minutes) of when to use it and how to perform it.
  • Can you get inside? Cover yourself with warm blankets and drink warm (nonalcoholic) fluids if possible. Remove wet and tight clothing (and cover back up with dry ones if possible).
  • You’re stuck outside? You should be thinking about reducing exposure to the cold, the wind and any wetness as much as possible. Don’t forget to provide a layer between the backside and the ground. Prioritize covering the scalp.
  • Think about giving or receiving a hug as a means of warmth. If you have access to warm compresses or towels, preferentially apply to the armpits, groin, neck and chest.

Your take home message is death from hypothermia can be avoided with the knowledge and application of basic fundamental considerations. Even better, you can usually choose to avoid exposure to bitterly cold conditions. I hope you find this information useful and never need to use it.

This is part of a series on medical conditions resulting from cold exposure.

  • Click here for a discussion of frostbite.
  • Click here for a discussion of the symptoms of and risks for hypothermia
  • Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

    Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

    Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

    Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Environmental

Straight, No Chaser: Hypothermia (Low Body Temperature)

Hypothermia gif

This is part of a series on cold-related medical disorders.

Hypothermia is low body temperature. It’s not the “Oh, it’s cold outside” type of cold, but it is the “Oh, your life is in danger!” variety. Medically, hypothermia is a core body temperature below 95 °F (35 °C), and it can be produced by either an absolute cold exposure or sufficient heat loss beyond the body’s ability to generate a response.hypothermia

What you want to know about hypothermia is the conditions and risks that set you up for it. Anyone can get hypothermia if you’re exposed to bad enough conditions, including the following:

  • Being outside without sufficient clothing in cold conditions
  • Being outside with wet clothing in cold and windy conditions
  • Excessive exertion or insufficient food or fluids while in cold and/or windy conditions
  • Excessive cold water exposure (e.g. immersion while ice fishing or boating)

hypothermia baby

Persons most likely to get hypothermic include the very old or young and those who are chronically ill or malnourished. Persons of normal health can get hypothermia if excessively fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Typical symptoms of hypothermia include weakness, drowsiness, confusion and lack of coordination. Skin becomes cold, pale and frostbitten. Shivering becomes obvious and uncontrollable. Eventually, the heart and breathing rates will slow, and mental ability will progressively fade. Ultimately, the body can go into shock, and the heart and brain can cease functioning. Prolonged exposure will result in death if untreated.

For now I will leave you with the following considerations.

  • If you find someone in the cold who is not responding, don’t assume s/he’s dead.
  • Placing someone in direct heat, such as is given via a heating pad or lamp, or in hot water is not the approach and should not be done.
  • Do not give alcohol to someone exposed to extreme cold.

In the next post in this series we will discuss treatment and prevention strategies for extreme cold exposure.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Environmental

Straight, No Chaser: The Danger of Shoveling Snow and Other Winter Chores

shovelheart-attack

You have probably heard it said, but you’d be surprised to know how often people hurt themselves shoveling snow. Of course, this time of year, people are doing many more strenuous activities than just shoveling snow. There’s walking (through mounds of snow), skiing, cross-county skiing, snow boarding, football in the cold, pushing cars that are stuck, scraping ice off the car and many other activities.

Is this really such a big deal? The important consideration is that you exert a lot of energy doing these activities. If your heart, back or overall health isn’t prepared to handle them, you can suffer debilitating consequences. Would you believe that every year over 11,000 people visit emergency rooms for back injuries related to shoveling snow?

Let’s address this in a way that is easy to understand. Shoveling snow can be even more vigorous than a full aerobic workout. It involves utilization and straining many muscles not often used by many people. It can lead to several ailments, ranging from strains and sprains to a herniated disk or a heart attack. Thus, if you’re going to do it smartly, certain rules should apply.

snow shoveling

Understand your risks. These winter activities I mentioned pose higher risks in the following groups, including an advanced rate of having a heart attack.

  • Individuals leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Individuals having had a prior heart attack
  • Individuals with known heart disease
  • Individuals with high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Smokers

Here are some quick tips to lower your risk while shoveling:

  • Discuss your risk level with your doctor.
  • Wait until the snow has stopped falling.
  • Stretch and walk for a few minutes before starting. This will loosen and warm up your muscles.
  • Avoid eating, having sex, exercising or other strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes before shoveling, as your blood (and needed oxygen) will be diverted away from your heart. This is the basis of many heart attacks.
  • Avoid coffee or smoking for at least one hour before or one hour after shoveling or during breaks. These stimulants increase your heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the level of work your heart does and your heart attack risk.
  • Drink water before and after shoveling.
  • Dress warmly; cover your head, mouth and neck. Hypothermia and frostbite are serious issues.
  • Wear shoes that will prevent you from slipping and falling. Strains, sprains, and broken bones are one faulty step away in many instances.
  • Your equipment matters. Use a shovel with a bent handle. This angling will relieve the pressure on your back. Use a smaller shovel. It may take longer, but the lowered risk is worth it.
  • Push snow; try not to lift. If you have to lift, use your knees to take some pressure off your back.
  • Take your time and take breaks. If your body doesn’t feel right, stop.

Most importantly, KNOW WHEN TO STOP.

Do you know the warning signs of a heart attack? Be quick to seek medical attention if you feel out of sorts.

If you live in certain climates, winter chores are unavoidable. Arm yourself and your loved ones with these precautions. Your Sterling Medical Advice expert consultants are certainly available to answer any questions you have on this topic or when the need arises.

shovelingsmk

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Cardiology/Heart, Environmental

Straight, No Chaser: Prevention and Treatment of Lead Poisoning

leadaware

What you need to know about protecting yourself from lead poisoning and its effects is reducible to awareness, baseline testing, prevention and treatment.

We covered what you needed for awareness in the previous Straight, No Chaser.

However your goal really should be prevention via avoidance, as much as is possible. However, to prevent, you must have a level of awareness. Think about these things:

  • Do you have a child in your house between ages 6 months and 3 years old? If so, be reminded that children wander around putting things in their mouths.
  • Do you live in an old house or have old plumbing?
  • Do you live near a busy road or near bridges?

lead poisoning gettheleadout21

If you are in a high-risk situation, your ideal level of awareness should include preventive considerations such as getting your home tested and your blood lead level checked. If anyone in the home has been found to have high lead levels, the entire household should be checked.

Whatever your level of exposure, you want to engage in preventive strategies to prevent further exposure that could lead to disease. Here are a few quick tips to do so:

  • Avoid dust in your home, because you just never know!
  • Wash everyone’s hands prior to eating.
  • Throw away old painted toys, unless you’re sure lead based paint was not used.
  • Use filters for your water, switch to bottled water for drinking and cooking, and/or let any tap water run for approximately one minute prior to drinking or cooking with it.
  • Avoid storing wines in lead crystal decanters for long periods of time.

lead003

Treatment:

If you have been found to have any significant levels of lead in your blood, you have a role in your treatment. If your levels and symptoms are significant enough to be hospitalized, that will occur and you’ll receive medicine that facilitates the removal of lead from the body, called chelating agents. However, in the absence of that, your job likely will be to maintain a healthy diet that includes calcium, iron and Vitamin C, all of which help decrease lead absorption within the body.

lead-poisoning1

Prognosis:

As mentioned, you want to avoid lead poisoning. Each year in the United States, 310,000 kids aged 1-5 years old are found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. In these children, even mild lead poisoning can have a permanent impact on attention and IQ. Remember, the developing brain is more susceptible to the toxic effects of lead. Those with higher lead levels have a greater risk of long-lasting health problems and must be closely followed because of the potential damage to the brain, nervous system, muscles and other systems. Adults who have had mildly high lead levels often recover without problems, but in general, a complete recovery from chronic lead poisoning may take months to years.

If you suspect you may have lead paint in your house, get advice on safe removal from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at 800-RID-LEAD, or the National Information Center at 800-LEAD-FYI. Another excellent source of information is the National Lead Information Center at (800) 424-5323.

If you suspect you or someone in your family is suffering from the effects of lead, call 911 immediately and/or call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a local poison control center for further instructions while you await the paramedics to arrive.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Detoxification, Environmental, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Reviewing (the Claims Made within) the Netflix Documentary “What The Health”

Per your request, I’ve looked at the movie “What the Health,” which apparently is all the rage and significantly promoting conversion to a vegan diet. Now I really have little interest in reviewing movies, but in this instance, I am very interested in reviewing a few of the claims that were presented in it. In general, I found it an even more interesting exercise in filmmaking than a commentary about health, but the attempts are interesting enough to warrant a serious commentary in this space. Simply put, regarding the movie, it was all too obvious that it was agenda-based, and the movie is a horribly constructed attempt to draw linear relationships between considerations that are much more complex than presented. The movie’s bias and subsequent problems were clearly revealed within the first few moments of it…

You lost me at “I’m a recovering hypochondriac.”

However, in the spirit of “a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut,” there are some principles that are very important to consider and try to understand.

  • We all would do well to follow a plant-based diet. However, following a plant-based diet is not the same as becoming a vegan or vegetarian. It should involve an understanding that the most fundamental way to health is through generous portions of fruits, vegetables and water, not through any meats and fluids that have been chemically manipulated in the way these things occur today.
  • The next time you’re looking for a “fad” or preferably healthy eating, think more about fiber and less about protein. Remember: most any actual diet will work if you stick with it.
  • Being comfortable about your appearance at a certain weight should not translate to your deceiving yourself into being oblivious about the health consequences of being overweight or obese.

To its credit, this movie illustrates many problems with the conversations that surround healthcare:

  • Physicians and others in academic medicine often are unable to clearly communicate with the patients and the lay population.
  • The lay population often completely misinterprets medical information and lacks the ability to critically analyze the body of medical research.
  • There is an extremely uncomfortable involvement of the pharmaceutical and food industries with the entities tasked with protecting our health interests.

Perhaps the greatest faux pas of the movie is the way it “mocks” moderation. Again, this clearly demonstrates an all-too-common problem medical professionals have in appreciating the role health has in people’s lives. I have long described health as a currency, not an absolute. Each of us chooses to “spend” our health on the items that are of value in our lives. Thus we occasional engage in habits that would be deemed “unhealthy” by an absolutist (e.g. eating desert, having an occasional drink or cigar). However, these types of actions are needed by many to maintain “quality of life,” regardless of the health consequences. The medical community would do well to respect the feelings of the general population along those lines and work with patients to customize care to promote both health and quality of life.

Another major mistake is the overstatement on the condition of our population’s general health. Although it is very accurate to suggest targeted efforts are needed in eradicating the health consequences for specific individuals and communities affected by the business practices of the food and pharmaceutical industries, and obesity and heart disease are ravaging the health of individuals, it demonstrates a lack of honesty to not also report that the life expectancy of the general population has dramatically improved over the last few generations and continues to improve. What this means for you as an individual is you do in fact have an opportunity to improve your individual condition and life expectancy by adhering to a plant-based diet that is high in fiber, but to present our collective circumstances as gloom and doom unless we all immediately eschew all meats is a bridge too far and ignores public health data.

There are two final points that bear discussion, and I will do so in tandem and in summary. One scene that was meant to be especially damning in the movie was centered on the refusal of the Chief Medical Officer of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to discuss the role of diet and diabetes, as if diabetes can be eliminated in two weeks by adhering to a plant-based diet (please don’t be that gullible). The point the filmmaker couldn’t seem to understand was actually rather clear: there is infinitely more data proving the treatment of disease (relative to diabetes and heart disease) than there is definitive data proving the specifics of a diet that will specifically and universally prevent diabetes and heart disease. The filmmaker’s effort to push a narrative of collusion between the food industries and groups like the ADA and the American Heart Association was quite transparent. To whatever extend that narrative may be true, the effectiveness of the point was minimized by the tactics of the filmmaker.

In fact, the key to life, health and the pursuit of happiness is recognizing in many examples, it is about moderation. With the exception of specific, immediate life-threatening toxins, most of the items in your diet aren’t all bad. For example, a certain amount of fat is needed within the body as a conduit to help absorb required vitamins. Similarly, carbohydrates are needed for energy.

If you’re looking for a takeaway from the movie or how to apply all that was thrown at you in the movie, keep it simple.

  • Appreciate that everything you place in your mouth either helps or hurts you. Make better food choices and make efforts to migrate toward a higher intake of plants and foods that increase fiber.
  • Drink water!
  • Don’t rely on medicines for your health. If your interest in your health begins at the point in which you’ve developed a disease, you’re too late.
  • If you focus on your health, yes you will begin to eliminate toxins and introduce incremental improvements regarding whatever is ailing you, but please don’t believe your lifelong ailments will magically disappear. The more important point is to get a plan, get focused, get started, and keep at it. You will see the difference.

It stands to reason that I should point out that Straight, No Chaser is no in any way supported or influenced by corporate sponsorship.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Cardiology/Heart, Detoxification, Diet and Nutrition, Endocrine/Metabolic, Environmental, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention, Hematology & Oncology/Blood Disorders/Cancer, Public Health

Straight, No Chaser: Fireworks Safety

For many, the Fourth of July is a time of celebration, happiness and creation of good family memories. In the emergency room it’s one of the two worst days to have to work (excluding any Friday the 13ths that occur during a full moon…). I’d bet it’s even worse for firefighters, as over 50,000 fires are caused each year as a result of using fireworks. The presence of fireworks, grills, alcohol, driving and other hazardous activities make for an eventful day filled with many different types of trauma and drama, including the following:

  • Burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Finger/hand lacerations and amputations
  • Motor vehicle collisions

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That said, this isn’t about us; it’s about you. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to provide you with some safety tips to prevent injuries and enjoy your holiday. Yes, some of these may sound simplistic, but failure to follow these tips are the reasons people end up in emergency rooms.

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  • Tip #1 is to leave the fireworks to the professionals. If you want to enjoy a fireworks celebration, attend a public display. Your biggest risk here will be getting stuck in traffic.
  • If you like fireworks, get the legal kind. You can always identify legal fireworks by their being labeled with the manufacturer’s name and address. Also don’t try to make your own fireworks. Doesn’t that just sound like a formula for disaster?
  • Speaking of disasters, if you are going to use fireworks, don’t drink alcohol until everything’s done. Think about it. Alcohol + fire + explosives by design aren’t meant to have a happy ending.
  • Store your animals. They will become spooked by the fireworks and can have their hearing damaged by the blasts or otherwise hurt themselves escaping.

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  • If you allow fireworks in the home, don’t allow use by kids – or do so at your own risk. Did you know that sparklers, which many parents allow as a “safer” alternative to firecrackers, can get as hot as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit?
  • Keep any fireworks outdoors, and keep a water supply nearby. These things cause fires.
  • Here’s a common mistake: do not light fireworks while holding. This is how your hands get burned or fingers get blown off.
  • Wear eye shields when using fireworks. Folks have lost vision and eyes playing with fireworks.
  • Do not keep fireworks in your pocket, as the friction can ignite them.
  • Never point fireworks at anything other than the sky or an open space. Buildings can catch on fire, and individuals will be injured.

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  • Do not light fireworks in glass or metal containers. They explode and end up stuck in people.
  • Only attempt to light one firework at a time.
  • Never attempt to relight a dud. If it ends up not being a dud, it can fire unpredictably. If you have a dud, soak it in water for twenty minutes before attempting to discard it.
  • In fact, soak all fireworks in water prior to trashing them.
  • Do not allow kids to pick up fireworks after an event. You and they don’t know if any are still active.
  • Finally, remember that fireworks are not legal everywhere. You’re rather check and be safe then be fined or arrested if your activity is discovered.

fireworksinjuries

To be complete, here are some tips in the unfortunate event that an injury occurs as a result of fireworks.

  • Go to the closest major medical center immediately. This is an example of “time is tissue.” Don’t dally at home, and I’d recommend not even stopping at the closest emergency room. In the example when your eye or limb is at risk, you’re going to want to be at a trauma and/or burn center.
  • If an eye injury occurs as a result of fireworks, don’t rub or otherwise touch it. You’re more likely to cause additional damage than do anything constructive. Along the same line, don’t spend the time attempting to flush your eyes. Grab a shield or anything that can be used to protect the eye, and get to the emergency room. If you have sustained this injury, your eye is at risk.
  • If a minor burn occurs as a result of fireworks, remove clothing, and avoid ice. If you have access to water while waiting for an ambulance, run cool (not cold) water over the burn.

fireworksforpros

Happy Fourth of July, and I hope you feel that way at day’s end.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Environmental, Trauma