Doctor Offers Self Defense Tips for Women

December 20, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

For obstetrician/gynecologist Sandeep Rao, MD, the main goal is to keep women and their babies healthy. But Dr. Rao’s calling goes beyond health to safety. Drawing upon the lessons of empowerment he learned in Tae Kwon Do, he offers advice for how women can keep themselves safe in public. (c) Heritage Broadcasting Group, used by permission from TV 9&10.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Airport scanners are safe but you have the right to say no!

February 16, 2011 by  
Filed under CANCER

While travelling last December – January from the northern to the southern hemisphere, I and my family must have gone through at least 10 different security check points. I don’t think we ever went through the so-called full body scanners but I guess it won’t be long till most airports will be equipped with these machines. So what do we know about these machines?

According to the American College of Radiology (ACR), there are 2 types of systems that are being used in US airports these days

Many people are concerned about the health effects of these systems. After all, these machines give off radiation! During the last few years, there have been concerns about the effects of medical radiation, especially its carcinogenic effects. Well, let’s see what the experts have to say.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE and opt for a pat down instead!

CBS interviewed Dr. Francis Marre, former director of radiation safety at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who declared that “there is no known risk” from being scanned.

This is because the radiation emitted by these machines are very, very small.

One scan from a typical “backscatter” security scanner might deliver 0.005 to 0.01 millirem – far, far below the 10,000 millirem that is considered the danger threshold.

But if you really do not feel comfortable about going through these scanners for whatever reason, there is something you can do about it. I know of people who have the right to be concerned about the effects of radiation on their health- pregnant women and very young children, for example. What you should know but not well-publicized:

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE and opt for a pat down instead!

Parents are the key to prevent teen driving crashes

January 25, 2011 by  

I have twin seven-year old boys and though I look forward to the day when they leave the nest, I also dread the coming of puberty and the potential problems that come with it. Alcohol, drugs and smoking are just a few of the possible pitfalls that await them. As parents, we do our best to steer our kids clear of these dangers. Yet, risky and dangerous behaviours among teens are as common as ever.

But the situation is not as hopeless as it may seem. Studies that shown that teenagers generally would listen to what their parents have to say. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling to all parents to talk to their adolescents about driving safety, with the firm belief that parents “play a key role in preventing teen crashes, injuries and deaths.”

Here some statistics from the CDC about teen crashes:

Here is a recommendation from Dr. Arlene Greenspan of the CDC:

Talk with your teen about the dangers of driving, and keep the conversation going over time. In addition, supervise your teen’s driving as often as possible.”

She suggests at least 30 to 50 hours of supervised practice driving over a minimum of six months and this should include different roads and road conditions and times of the day.

In addition, CDC recently launched the campaign “Parents Are the Key” with the following recommendations to help reduce the risk for teenage crashes:

I have one more tip to add: set a good example.

From the backseat, your kids are observing how you drive. By setting a good example and explaining to them the safety issues as they happen, I believe we can convey to our kids early on the principles of early driving. Here’s some of the conversation I have with my kids while driving:

“I can only drive 50 kph here. See that sign over there?”

“I have to drive slowly and carefully today. It’s foggy/snowy/raining and I can’t see as clearly.”

“See what that guy did? He turned without signaling. That’s very dangerous.”

And finally, do not drive while intoxicated! Show your kids the right and safe way.

Have a safe and healthy winter

January 4, 2011 by  

January is Cold Weather Safety Month in the US.

Down here in NZ where I am now with my family, it’s actually summer time though it’s been rainy and wet in the west coast of New Zealand, Still, it’s warm rain. On the other hand, an area in Australia the size of France and Germany combined is flooded over.

But we know that it’s freezing up north and many parts of Europe are actually snowed in. So yes, even though I am joining the rather mild temperatures here in Christchurch, I had to bring you this post on winter safety.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives us the following tip for this winter day:

Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other strenuous work in the cold. If you have to do heavy outdoor chores, dress warmly and work slowly.

In addition, the CDC also gives recommendations about avoiding frostbite and hypothermia, preparing for and managing during and after snowstorms and power outages, among others. Check out all these recommendations to help you have a safe and healthy winter!

Heart(y) News, October 22: drugs for and against the heart

October 23, 2010 by  

A new drug that is good for the heart…

FDA approves dabigatran for stroke prevention, embolism, in AF patients
Good news for the German pharma Boehringer Ingelheim. The US FDA has recently approved its antithrombin dabigatran, marketed as Pradaxa for the US market. Pradaxa is indicated for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with atrial fibrillation. The approval comes with a guide that details the risk of serious bleeding as side effect. Other side effects include gastrointestinal symptoms, dyspepsia, stomach pain, nausea, heartburn, and bloating.

Existing drugs that might be bad for the heart…

Abbott Laboratories agrees to withdraw its obesity drug Meridia
Abbott Laboratories is voluntarily withdrawing its obesity drug Meridia (sibutramine) from the U.S. market due to safety issues. This is following a request from the US FDA following a review of data from a clinical trial data that indicated an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

According to Dr. John Jenkins, director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER):

“Meridia’s continued availability is not justified when you compare the very modest weight loss that people achieve on this drug to their risk of heart attack or stroke. Physicians are advised to stop prescribing Meridia to their patients and patients should stop taking this medication. Patients should talk to their health care provider about alternative weight loss and weight loss maintenance programs.”

Invirase (saquinavir): Label Change – Risk of Abnormal Heart Rhythm
Safety warning on the antiviral drug Invirase (saquinavir): risk for arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms) due to changes in the electrical activity of the heart when used with Norvir (ritonavir), another antiviral medication. Both drugs are used to treat HIV infection. The warning has been added to the label of Invirase.

FDA: Include warnings on risk for class of prostate cancer drugs
Safety issues are also facing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, a class of drugs primarily used to treat men with prostate cancer. Warnings are added to the labels concerning potential risk of heart disease and diabetes for those taking these medications. GnRH agonists are marketed in the US under the following brand names: Eligard, Lupron, Synarel, Trelstar, Vantas, Viadur, and Zoladex but are also available in generic form.

Safety tips for Halloween

October 29, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Jack-o-lanternsBoo! Halloween is here. This Saturday actually. It can be fun but also dangerous especially for little kids. Health experts therefore give us some tips (from the American Academy of Pediatrics) on how to keep our little ones happy and healthy during this fun and spooky occasion. However, the tips can apply to adults as well.

On costumes:

  • Costumes should be visible – “bright and reflective”. All the better for motorists as well as supervising adults to see.
  • Avoid costumes/shoes that can cause tripping, entanglement, or asphyxiation.
  • Masks can obscure vision. Hats shouldn’t slide over the eyes. Face faints can cause allergic reactions (check out US FDA warning in face paints below).
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.  Hats and wigs should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • Costumes, wigs and accessories should be flame resistant.  Check the labels.
  • Accessories such as a sword, cane, or stick shouldn’t be sharp, too long, or cause the child to trip.

On decorations:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins according to the AAP. They can draw the faces on the jack-o-lanterns but adults should do the cutting.halloween
  • Use votive candles for candle-lit pumpkins.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.
  • Avoid decorations that may be a fire hazard. Garlands can cause entanglement and choking.

On home safety:

  • Remove from the porch and front yard anything that trick-or-treaters could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, garbage cans, and lawn decorations. Clearly mark or temporarily fence off ponds. Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves are slippery and should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets, especially dogs so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite trick-or-treaters.
  • Lock up if you aren’t home at Halloween.

On the trick-or-treat trail:

  • An adult should always supervise young children on their neighborhood rounds. There is no age limit but parents should know when their kids are ready to go alone or not.
  • Use flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Teach children how to call somebody, be it 9-1-1, the local emergency number or their parents in case they have an emergency or become lost.
  • If older kids are going alone, plan and review the route that you feel is safe and emphasize that they should stick to the route, just in case you need to find them. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to houses with a porch light on and stay on the porch. Tell the kids never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Trick-or-treaters should stay together in a group.
  • Carry a cell phone and important numbers for quick communication.
  • Walk on the sidewalks and go on well-lit streets only. Don’t take shorts or cut across yards or use dimly lit alleys. Cross only on crosswalks.
  • Watch out for motorists.

candiesOn treats and sweets:

  • A good healthy meal before trick-or-treating will discourage kids on gorging on their booty.
  • Think about treats that can be alternative to sweets: sugar-free candies, whole grain cookies, little toys.
  • Advice kids not to eat any sweets until you’ve checked them out. Throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Pay attention especially if your kids have allergies. Check out the labels for undesirable ingredients.
  • Try to ration the sweets over several days.

On face paints:

Check out what the US FDA has to say about face paints and theatrical make up:

And don’t forget to have fun!


Photo credits: stock.xchng

World Health Day: Making hospitals safe in emergencies

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

world-health-dayLast April 7 was World Health Day, a special day around the world when global health is placed in the limelight. World Health Day is sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partner organizations

This year’s theme is “Save lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies.” According the WHO

World Health Day 2009 focuses on the resilience and safety of health facilities and the health workers who treat those affected by emergencies. Events around the world will highlight successes, advocate for safe facility design and construction, and build momentum for widespread emergency preparedness.

The year 2008 had one of the highest mortality rates due to natural disasters. According to WHO, 321 natural catastrophes in 2008 killed 235,816 people the world over. The cyclone is Burma alone accounted for about 59% of mortalities while the earthquake in the Chinese province of Sichuan alone accounted for about 37%. This is four times higher than the average of the previous 7 years. The economic impact of the catastrophes was also high – around US$181 billion.

In the light of last year’s high mortality and the recent world events – natural disasters in Australia (bush fires), Indonesia (floods) and Italy (earthquake), casualties due to violent conflicts in India, Israel, and Afghanistan, there is a great need to re-examine how hospitals and other health facilities are prepared for emergencies. Only about 11% of the world population exposed to natural disasters are in developed countries. Yet, 53% of deaths occur in these areas because of the inability of health care facilities to respond to the situation. In addition, many facilities in disaster areas also suffer from structural and infrasctructural damage that can render them non-functional.

As examples:

The 2003 Algerian earthquake rendered 50% of health facilities in the affected region non-functional due to damage. In Pakistan’s most-affected areas during the 2005 earthquake, 49% of health facilities were completely destroyed, from sophisticated hospitals to rural clinics and drug dispensaries. The December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami affected national and local health systems that provided health services for millions of people. In Indonesia’s northern Aceh province 61% of health facilities were damaged.

This is the reason why WHO and its partners have devoted this year’s World Health Day to strengthening health facilities and making hospitals safe and ready to respond to disasters. Here are some WHO recommendations to governments of countries all over the world to achieve this goal:

The promises and threats of e-cigarettes

March 18, 2009 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Can cigarettes ever be healthy? The manufacturers and distributors of e-cigarettes claim that this latest import from China called “e-cig” is the healthiest alternative to real cigarettes that you can ever have. It is said to have the following advantages (Source: The official site of electronic cigarette smoking):

  • E-cig has no fire, no tar, no carbon monoxide, no ash, no stub. The CEO of Smoking Everywhere tells CNN that e-cig does not contain any of the substances that cause cancer.
  • It lets you enjoy those tactile taste sensations without the risks associated with smoking and tobacco.
  • You can smoke e-cig without polluting the environment or passing on second hand smoke, thus circumventing the anti-smoking bans in bars and restaurants.
  • It can help you to quit nicotine without giving up the smoking habits.” It supposedly works just like a nicotine patch does but with the satisfaction of the oral fixation.
  • E-cig even comes in different colors and different flavours.

Many people however are wary and sceptical about the product for the following reasons:

  • E-cig hasn’t been tested on humans and no safety data, short-term as well as long-term are available. The claims of manufacturers of e-cig being safe and healthy are actually not supported by scientific evidence.
  • E-cigs come in no less than 30 different flavours ranging from strawberry to chocolate to peppermint. The candy-like falors can be confusing for children especially those that do not resemble cigarettes and can prove lethal when ingested. It can also send the wrong message to adolescents, luring them to try “healthy smoking.”
  • It puts to test current smoking legislations in place, from anti-smoking bans to minimum age limit or purchase and possession of cigarettes.
  • Its claims of helping people to quit smoking are suspect. In fact, it can actually worsen the nicotine habit.

How does an e-cig work?

Basically an e-cig consists of 3 parts: an atomization chamber, a nicotine cartridge (the mouthpiece), and a lithium battery. When it is turned on, the tip of e-cig glows, the liquid nicotine is vaporized with propylene glycol and the vapour is released at the other end into the smoker’s mouth.

What do the health authorities have to say?

In September last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) ordered that unproven therapy claims of e-cigs should be stopped. “The electronic cigarette is not a proven nicotine replacement therapy.” Some countries have declared e-cigs as illegal.

Currently, the US FDA is “hazy” about e-cigs, according to CNN. The regulatory body is not sure how to classify e-cig – as a device or as a drug. “The FDA is trying to halt importation of e-cigs, but isn’t seizing products already being sold in the United States“, says CNN.


How safe is our tap water?

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

Have you ever wondered how safe is your tap water?

Researchers at the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas screened tap water from 19 US water utilities for 51 different compounds between 2006 and 2007. Their comprehensive survey revealed that a large number of pharmacological agents can be found in tap water and some of these are hormonally active. The 11 most frequently detected compounds, albeit at very low concentrations (source: New Scientist) are:

The use of pharmacological agents has increased in recent years and most of these compounds are excreted by the body through the urine and end up in our waste water. However, current techniques in waste water treatment seem to be not effective in taking out all the pharmacological agents from the water.

Researchers at the University of Montreal have recently detected the following drugs in the St. Lawrence River:

  • bezafibrate, an anti-cholesterol drug
  • enalapril, an anti-hypertensive drug
  • methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug
  • cyclophosphamide, also a chemotherapy drug

The waste water treatment plant in Montreal was able to take out the chemotherapeutic agents but not the cardiovascular drugs.

Increased contamination or improved detection?

The Nevada researchers are quick to point out that the concentrations of the 11 pharmaceuticals were very low, “millions of times lower than in a medical dose, and…that they pose no public health threat.” The concentrations were way below the set federal limits, at least for those with set limits. However, as in most pollution studies, it always ends up with the question whether the presence of these chemicals are due to increased contamination or improved detection. Or both.

Effect on the environment

The Canadian researchers are concerned about the effect of the compounds they detected on the flora and fauna of the St. Lawrence River. Hormonally active compounds can cause endocrine disruptions and have been observed to induce gender anomalies in fish and other aquatic organisms.

Effect on our health

Finally, we also have to ask as to what the long-terms effects of these pharmaceuticals are in our health. Are these compounds carcinogenic? Mutagenic? No data is available so far. Is it worthwhile to take all these chemicals out of the tap water?

According to Nevada researcher Shane Snyder

“the costs of “extreme purification” – far beyond what is needed for safety alone – are huge in terms of increased energy usage and carbon footprint. Ultra-pure water might not even be safe.”

According to a spokesperson from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

neither this nor other recent water assessments give cause for health concern. “But several point to the potential for risk – especially for the fetus and those with severely compromised health.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Fall Prevention

August 13, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

One of the major concerns of dealing with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease is safety, and as the disease progresses, falls become a serious health hazard. I ran across this article the other day and was reminded of the importance of slip, trip and fall prevention. I’m sharing it in its entirety.

Safeguarding Seniors Against Falls at Home
By []Jeffrey L. Taylor

Have you ever had a fall at home? Are you afraid an older loved one may break a hip with a fall? Thousands of people experience this unpleasant reality daily and find themselves robbed of their independence. Injuries caused by falls at home are often painful and leave those affected with a fear of falling again, thus limiting their recovery. The good news is that the majority of falls at home are preventable. The following are some tips you can follow to make your home or the home of a loved one safer.

1) Have grab bars installed on the walls beside the toilet and inside the tub/shower. These days, it is not necessary to get the type of bars that have to be installed permanently with screws – there are those available that have large suction cups at both ends that adhere very well to the wall, and they are removable
You may also want to have floor-to-ceiling vertical rods (safety poles) available to provide extra support where it’s needed. These poles are easy to remove or relocate if necessary.
2) Use rubber mats with suctions cups on the underside both on the floor inside the tub or shower, and for when you step out of the water. Traction in these slippery areas is essential.
3) A combination safety seat/transfer bench used inside the tub or shower provides stability and comfort during bathing, and enables you to get in and out safely.
4) A hand-held showerhead on a flexible hose makes it easier to bathe, as well as to control the spray and keep the water inside the tub or shower.
5) A raised seat on the toilet or a special toilet seat with armrests enables the user to gain better leverage for standing and sitting, and provide aid in maintaining balance.

1) When you are in bed, make sure you can reach a light switch, either for a bedside lamp, or a ceiling light.
2) Install remote-controlled switches with other lamps in the room (available from a radio/electronics store).
3) Always have a flashlight handy.
4) Keep a mobility aid (cane, walker) nearby and reachable, near the bed.
5) If you need to get up frequently at night, it may be practical to keep a bedside commode in your room.

1) If your kitchen has concrete, ceramic tile or other hard surface flooring, place carpeting over it to lessen the severity of injury should a fall occur.
2) Use footwear with good traction on the soles. Avoid going barefoot, or in stockinged feet.
3) Wipe up spills on the floor immediately.
4) Keep all items that are used every day within easy reach.
5) If something does drop or fall to the floor, use extra caution to pick it up. You can easily lose your balance when bending over to pick up something. It’s a good idea to utilize “reacher” devices in every room.

General TIPS:
1) Install brighter lighting everywhere, particularly over stairs, in the kitchen and in the bathroom. Make sure there are light switches at both ends of the stairs and hallways. Use nightlights in hallways and in your bedroom and bathroom.
2) Get handrails installed on both sides of your staircase, extending the full length of the stairs.
3) Remove loose rugs that can trip you up; keep lighting wires, computer and other technology wires safely near walls.
4) Get rid of piles of “stuff” that you think you may want to read in the future, but never get around to: old newspapers, magazines, old pieces of junk mail. These are fire hazards, and trip-up hazards when left on the floor.
5) Move unnecessary furniture and other obstacles out of your way, so that there are clear, wide pathways in the house.

The best way for older citizens and those who care for them to remain accident-free is to take preventative precautions. CarenetLA provides non medical in-home care to those needing help at home. It is our hope that the information and services we provide will help our seniors stay independent and healthy for as long as possible. Our commitment to educating the public about caring for seniors has made CarenetLA a leader among care giving companies.

Article Source:

Organizing Your Kitchen-Safety First!

June 16, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

So, are you getting control of your clutter? How’s the organization coming along? Here’s what we’ve covered so far.

Why Get Organized?

General Organization 101

Caregiver Organization Books and Papers

Conquering the Clutter in Your Closets

Organizing Your Bedroom

Today, we turn our attention to the kitchen. A neat and well organized kitchen can save lots of time. Toss in some deliberate meal planning and you will gain at least an hour, if not more per week.

However, from a caregiving perspective, you want to first and foremost, make sure that the kitchen is a safe place. It is for this reason that I’ll dedicate today’s post to safety concerns.

If there is any question with regards to proper utilization of knives, scissors or small appliances like blender, mini-choppers, food processors, etc. then they should be put out of reach.

Give serious attention to the “junk drawer.” It’s an accident waiting to happen. Screwdrivers, scissors, knives and matches can cause major problems. Even seemingly innocuous items like pencils, erasers, pens and safety pins can be problematic.

Consider childproof latches on cabinets where cleaning supplies and medications are kept.

Kitchen rugs are cute, but can be a real hazard. Be sure they are non-slip. Also watch to see if your loved one’s depth of perception is off. Depending on the color or texture, your loved one may feel as if he or she has to step up or down to properly negotiate the carpet. This could result in injury due to slip or fall. At some point throw rugs may need to be thrown away.

The stove, oven, dishwasher and garbage disposal are also potentially dangerous. The stove and oven are self-explanatory. Burns can occur and damage can occur via the dishwasher if not properly used. A confused person can easily get his or her hand or something else caught in the garbage disposal.

You will have to adjust your own safety measures depending up on your loved one and where he or she is in the disease process.

Just think, “safety first” AND to be willing to err on the side of caution as you battle the monster, Alzheimer’s disease.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.