Is red meat good or bad for your health? Red meat contains numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy, balanced diet. In recent years, however, its reputation has been severely blemished, with studies suggesting that red meat intake can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. But is it really that bad for us? For many households, it is considered a food staple, with some of us consuming beef, lamb, and pork in different variations on a daily basis. Then what is the harm? When it comes to your intake, cancer has been the most published health implication. In October 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report concluding that it is "probably carcinogenic to humans," meaning that there is some evidence that it can increase the risk of cancer. Additionally, the WHO concluded that processed meats - defined as "meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation" - is "carcinogenic to humans," meaning that there is sufficient evidence that processed meat intake increases cancer risk. We’ve also read studies on red meat and heart disease, kidney disease, gout and other diseases. But despite the evidence, red meat in moderation or every once and awhile is not a problem. You will always want to have a balanced diet that includes unlimited amounts of vegetables, but adding in red meat here and there is not a problem. Everything in moderation!
Bee Stings. What to do if you or a family member has been stung by a bee. Bee stings can be very serious and even deadly for those that are allergic. But how do you know if you’re allergic? Allergy skin tests and allergy blood tests are often used together to diagnose insect allergies. Your doctor may also want to test you for allergies to yellow jackets, hornets and wasps — which can cause allergic reactions similar to those of bee stings. If you've had a reaction to bee stings that suggests you might be allergic to bee venom, your doctor may suggest one or both of the following tests:
- Skin test. During skin testing, a small amount of allergen extract (in this case, bee venom) is injected into the skin of your arm or upper back. This test is safe and won't cause any serious reactions. If you're allergic to bee stings, you'll develop a raised bump on your skin at the test site.
- Allergy blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system's response to bee venom by measuring the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to possible allergens.
- Remove the stinger as soon as you can, as it takes only seconds for all of the venom to enter your body. Get the stinger out any way you can, such as with your fingernails or a tweezer.
- Wash the sting area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. You might try ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Children's Motrin, others) to help ease discomfort.
- If the sting is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease redness, itching or swelling.
- If itching or swelling is bothersome, take an oral antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton).
- Avoid scratching the sting area. This will worsen itching and swelling and increase your risk of infection.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Did you know August is the month for getting up to date on your immunizations? Especially if you have school-aged children or kids heading off to college, you’ll want to make sure everyone has the proper and required immunizations before they go back to school. Vaccinations (or shots) help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines aren’t just for kids – adults need to get vaccinated to stay protected from serious illnesses like the flu, measles, and pneumonia. National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to promote vaccines and remind family, friends, and coworkers to stay up to date on their shots. National Immunization Awareness Month How can National Immunization Awareness Month make a difference? Let’s raise awareness about vaccines and share strategies to increase immunization rates in our community. Here are just a few ideas:
- Talk to friends and family members about how vaccines aren’t just for kids. Shots can protect people of all ages from serious diseases
- Encourage people in your community to get the flu vaccine every year
- Invite a doctor or nurse to speak to parents about why it’s important for all kids to get vaccinated
End of Summer Blues Got You Down? Tips to brighten your mood. Feeling a little down with the idea of fall approaching. End of summer blues is a common affliction. Transitions are hard and the end of summer can be particularly difficult for a number of reasons. Symbolically, the end of summer signifies the end of a season of fun for many people. No more carefree summer days, no more Summer Friday hours, and no more summer barbecues or gatherings. And the thought of snow! Days are undeniably getting cooler and shorter and for those sensitive to light, this can contribute to the end of summer blues. Changing your mindset is easy with a few of the following tips.
- Look forward to all things fall. Wearing cozy sweaters, apple picking and apple cider, reading by the fire, enjoying going for long walks in the park with cooler temperatures, and pumpkin patches - just a few things to get excited about for fall.
- Reframe your thoughts on summer. The idea of thinking differently (psychologically known as Cognitive Reframing often a treatment for depression or anxiety) is to think differently and "reframe" negative or untrue thoughts into more positive ones. In other words, think about what you enjoy about the fall, instead of fixating on what you don't like about the end of summer.
- Plan a trip. Having something to look forward to and the anticipation of an upcoming event can change your entire mindset about your summer coming to a close. Several studies have shown, just thinking about a trip you plan to go on boosts happiness.
- Embrace every opportunity. Figure out what you don't like about the fall and plan ahead. Rather than falling back into old habits, create new ones that reduce stress. For example, if you dread going back to the gym instead of exercising outdoors now that the summer is over, create a new routine of exercising in the park.
- Take the best of summer into fall: Give yourself permission to take your summer mindset into September and beyond. Continue to have fun, to eat fresh produce from the farmer's market, to spend time outdoors, to go for walks after dinner and long bike rides on weekends.
School is starting - Your back-to-school checklist. Make sure you and your children are ready for back to school. Get bedtimes back on track. Summer allows you to spend more time outside and with more light during the day, it’s an easy thing to do. Before school starts, get back into the bedtime routine with the following tips:
- Power off the devices an hour before bedtime. Powering off gives brains (children and adults) time to unplug from the stimulation and the light from phones and computers. Reading a book can help relax and fall asleep.
- Consider darkening shades. The clock says it’s bedtime, but it’s still light out. That can interfere with a child’s sleep. Darkening shades can block out distracting light and help your child drift off more easily.
- Ease off caffeine. Your child or teen should stop drinking anything with caffeine, including sodas and energy drinks, after noon. That way, by bedtime, the stimulant will be out of their system.