Q. How long is a child contagious after breaking out with chickenpox? When is it safe for them to be around others?
A. Chickenpox is contagious until all the sores have crusted over. That is usually about four or five days from the first appearance of the rash. The child should stay home and away from other children during that time. It is also a good idea to keep the sick child away from any adults, especially pregnant women, who have never had chickenpox.
Considered highly contagious, chickenpox spreads very easily through close contact. Anyone who has not had it before can get it by direct contact with the bumps, called vesicles. You can also get it just from being near an infected person who coughs or sneezes, spreading the germs into the air in invisible droplets. The total infectious period can be as much as a week -- two days before and five days after the rash begins. For families with two or more children who have never had chickenpox, there can be a protracted cycle of illness. That is because there is an incubation period of 10 to 21 days between the time that you catch the virus and the time that you get sick. So just as one child is recovering, the siblings may be just starting to get ill. There is a vaccine, but the chickenpox vaccine is not 100 percent effective. Sometimes children who have been immunized against it will come down with chickenpox during a local epidemic. But when they do, it is usually a very mild case.
Q. What are the risks of smoking with asthma?
A. With asthma, there is no complete picture yet, but the evidence is slowly accumulating that smoking may increase the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
Q. What methods can be used to remove earwax from a child who has tubes in his ears?
A. Ultimately, it is possible that something may need to be done to remove wax that has hardened or built up. However, the wax itself poses less of a potential problem than using a wax-removal product in a child with tubes or a history of ear infections. Do not do anything on your own. Contact the childís ear doctor or pediatrician.
Q. Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis?
A. There is no definitive answer to that question. Conventional wisdom has it that knuckle cracking will not cause arthritis, but there is precious little scientific evidence to support either side of the argument.
Q. How long do most people live with congestive heart failure?
A. The statistics show that only 20 to 30 percent of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients live longer than 10 to 12 years after diagnosis. But many of those who die are much older and possibly much sicker when they are diagnosed.
Q. What causes leg cramps and how can you prevent them?
A. Many of the possible causes of leg cramps, but we donít fully understand the workings of this problem. While they can indicate a serious underlying condition, leg cramps are usually benign. It may not feel benign though. The pain, whether it lasts a few seconds or a couple of minutes, can be excruciating.
Leg cramps are fairly common, especially with aging. For many sufferers, leg cramps occur at night, while theyíre asleep. Sometimes the cramps occur during or after exercise, even with gentle, everyday activities, such as walking.
One kind of leg cramps is intermittent claudication. These cramps usually occur in the calves. Typically, the cramping happens during or right after exercise and is relieved by rest. It is caused by poor circulation to the legs and may be a sign of blockage in an artery caused by arteriosclerosis. Diabetes and liver disease may also contribute to leg cramps. If your leg cramps have persisted and seem to occur with exercise, see your doctor.
Q. Can you outgrow epilepsy as you get older?
A. The short answer is "yes." Some children do become seizure-free as they get older, and they are often able to stop taking medication. The news is also good for those who donít actually stop having seizures or must remain on medication. About 80 to 85 percent of people with epilepsy will be able to control the seizures with medication or other forms of treatment. Epilepsy is a condition in which the brainís electrical impulses somehow misfire, causing seizures. There are several types of epilepsy and different kinds of seizures. The nature of each seizure is dependent upon what part of the brain is affected by the abnormal electrical activity. Some seizures may be just barely perceptible, while others involve a loss of awareness, convulsions or uncontrollable physical behaviours.
In about 25 to 30 percent of epilepsy cases, doctors can identify a cause, such as head injury or brain tumor. Most of the time, though, the cause is unknown. Seizures may occur at any age, but most people with epilepsy have their first seizures before age 14. Increasingly, seizure disorders are appearing among people older than 65.
Q. Explain myelodysplasia? Is this
leukaemia? Will it become leukaemia?
A. Also known as myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, myelodysplasia names a group of disorders that usually affect people older than 60. The characteristic symptom of MDS is a low blood count. The various subtypes may involve inadequate amounts of red or white blood cells, platelets or a combination thereof. The problem originates in the bone marrow, where blood is produced.
Many people with MDS have no symptoms, particularly when the disease is in its early stages. When there are symptoms, they tend to be related to the precise nature of the disorder. For example, someone with a low red blood cell count due to MDS may have symptoms of anaemia, such as fatigue or dizziness.
Leukaemia, too, is a group of diseases -- cancers of the blood cells. Is leukaemia the same thing as MDS? No, but I can see why people might be confused about the connection. MDS may eventually become acute leukaemia. Certain forms of MDS are sometimes called smouldering leukaemia or preleukemia. Meanwhile, one kind of chronic leukaemia is categorized as a form of MDS.
Less than a third of MDS cases will develop into leukaemia. The disorders have no cure. Bone marrow transplants, which are sometimes used to treat younger people with MDS, are the closest thing to a "curative" treatment that exists.
Q. Can exercise lower a person's risk of diabetes?
A. Absolutely! In a recent study of 41,000 women, it was found that moderate exercise (walking, biking, etc.), done four times per week, cuts the risk of diabetes in half as we get older. This is a very exciting finding! It was also found that 8% of diabetes found in inactive adults may have been prevented with moderate exercise. Although there are genetic factors involved in acquiring adult-onset diabetes, the biggest culprits in the development of the disease are inactivity and excess body fat. This research shows yet another debilitating disease that can potentially be avoided through moderate exercise.
Q. After my baby is born, can I do my cardiovascular training with my baby and "jogger stroller." ?
A. Absolutely! As soon as your physician gives you the okay to begin exercising you can start out slowly with your jogger stroller. Make sure that your baby is ready for "jogging" and that your stroller is safe and designed for jogging. Start slowly and remember that it will take while to get back to your "pre-baby" level of activity. Once you are at your full activity level you can treat your baby jogs like any other cardio workout. You want to do at least three cardio sessions a week with your heart rate in its target range for at least thirty sustained minutes.
Q. What does the "talk test" refer to when doing your cardiovascular training?
A. The "talk test" is an approximate general gauge of your effort when doing your cardiovascular workout. The theory is that if you cannot carry on a conversation while doing your cardio workout then you are training too hard and need to back down your intensity somewhat. This test is not used as a gauge for high intensity training such as anaerobic or speed training when you certainly will not be able to talk. The talk test is a good gauge to determine if you are above your target heart range (THR) while training but it is not effective in determining if you are below your THR. Obviously you can carry on a conversation if you are not working hard enough. Monitoring your heart rate is the best way to determine if you are training in your target range. Use the talk test if you have no other method and are worried that you may be trying to train too intensely during your cardio workout.
Q. What is the latest research saying about how much exercise per day is needed to keep off weight that a person has lost?
A. Previous research had indicated that exercising 30 minutes per day would allow people who lost body fat to maintain their weight loss. One recent study of 2800 people found that one-hour per day of exercise was necessary to maintain weight loss.
Q. I am hearing about treadmills that go backwards. What are the benefits and/or purpose of walking backwards on a treadmill?
A. There are indeed treadmills that can allow you to face the front of the treadmill and walk forwards or backwards. Previously, one had to face backwards to walk backwards on a treadmill. This is not very safe and does not allow you to look at the treadmill's data computers or any T.V.'s or such that may be in front of the treadmills in a commercial gym. It also does not allow for the proper use of the incline feature when walking backwards.
Walking backwards on a treadmill concentrates on your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of upper leg). If you are comfortable walking backwards on a treadmill, this is a great opportunity to concentrate on your glutes and hamstrings as well as give your usual treadmill workout some variety.
Q. I want to lose weight, specifically body fat. Shouldn't I just do aerobic or cardiovascular workouts and skip the weight training?
A. It is important for your fitness program to include cardiovascular training, resistance training, and flexibility training. This is still true when loss of body fat is your primary goal. Resistance training not only tones your muscles but also helps you burn more calories even when at rest (speeds up your metabolism). Research has shown that people who include resistance training along with cardiovascular training not only lose more body fat than those who only do cardio training but are also more likely to keep the excess weight off. Incorporate resistance training into your fitness program by training each of your major muscle groups 2 - 3 times per week. Just one exercise per muscle group will give you the basic fitness you need to strengthen and tone your entire body.
Q. Which are the detoxifying foods?
A. Foods that are dietary anti-oxidants are the detoxifying foods. Richest in these anti-oxidants are red, yellow and green vegetables, uncooked nuts and seeds (like almonds and sunflower seeds), and fish.
Q. What are the benefits of consumption of
A. Benefits of consumption of soyabeans are as following: -
Soy beans have weak oestrogen-like activity. If women are deficient in oestrogen (early menopause, for example), consuming soy products can replace the missing oestrogen and relieve hot flashes.
If a person is exposed to an excess of oestrogen, the flavonoids in soy act as oestrogen blockers and lower the effects of
The low frequency of breast cancer in east Asia, where soy is a major source of protein, has been attributed to the mild
oestrogen-blocking effect of soy flavonoids.
Q. Which are the infection-fighting foods ?
A. Natural plant chemicals called saponins, which have immune-stimulating and antibiotic effects. Saponins are the latest in a long list of plant chemicals that are not considered nutrients, the way that vitamins are, because no deficiency state has been identified, but which promote health. In plants, saponins seem to function as natural antibiotics, protecting the plant against microbial parasites. In humans, they may thwart cancer and ward off infection. Saponins are most highly concentrated in soybeans, chickpeas, bean sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes and oats. They have a creamy texture and a sweet taste that separates them from other plant components. Some biotechnology companies are presently attempting to harvest saponins and use them as drugs.
Carrots, carob, blueberries and raspberries contain complex sugars (oligosaccharides) which interfere with the binding of pathogenic bacteria to the intestinal lining. These have been used in Europe for centuries for the treatment or prevention of
Before they were used as seasoning, culinary herbs and spices were probably used for food preservation. Many varieties have natural antimicrobial activity and can retard spoilage. They are also used to mask the flavour of spoiled food, so I suggest using them at home, where you know the food they flavour is fresh to begin with.
The world's most extensively studied spice is garlic. Its medicinal use predates recorded history. Garlic is mentioned in the earliest Vedic medical documents, written in India over five thousand years ago. During an epidemic of plague in Marseilles, in 1721, four condemned criminals were enlisted to bury the dead. None of them contracted plague. It seems that they sustained themselves by drinking a cocktail of crushed garlic in cheap wine, which came to be called vinaigre des quatre voleurs (vinegar of the four thieves). In 1858, Louis Pasteur demonstrated garlic's antibiotic activity. The herb was used by Albert Schweitzer for the treatment of amoebic dysentery at his clinic in Africa. Antimicrobial activity of garlic has been repeatedly demonstrated against many species of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. In addition, garlic lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and may protect against cancer. The dose of garlic needed to obtain significant benefit is at least ten grams (about three small cloves) per day. Garlic also has a great
immune-enchancing effect, stimulating activity of natural killer cells in healthy people and in people with AIDS. AIDS patients taking five to ten grams of aged garlic (equivalent to two to three small cloves) per day developed normal natural killer cell activity after twelve weeks which was associated with clinical improvement.
Onion, garlic's closest edible relative, has also been widely used for medicinal purposes. Although it lacks the potency of garlic, it can be consumed it much larger quantity, so that its antimicrobial benefits may be equal to those of garlic if consumed regularly.
Turmeric, a major ingredient in curry powder, is a natural antibiotic that relieves intestinal gas by lowering the numbers of gas forming bacteria, has antifungal activity and has been traditionally used for relieving inflammation. The effective dose is about one gram per day.
Ginger, which contains over four hundred chemically active ingredients, has long been used for the treatment of digestive complaints. It protects the intestinal lining against ulceration and has a wide range of actions against intestinal parasites. Cinnamon, which I recommend for sweetening the taste of ginger tea, has anti-fungal activity.
Sage and rosemary contain the essential oil, eucalyptus, which kills Candida
albicans, bacteria, and worms. Oregano contains over thirty biologically active ingredients of which twelve have antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-parasitic or anti-fungal effects. As mentioned earlier, thyme has anti-parasitic activity.
Meals seasoned with these pungent, aromatic herbs, consumed regularly, help protect against intestinal infection. However, heating at 200 degrees (Fahrenheit) for twenty minutes destroys the antibacterial activity of most of these spices. They should be added to food at the end of cooking, just before being eaten
Q. Do I have to avoid my favorite foods to lose body fat?
A. No. You do not need to avoid your favorite foods to lose body fat. What you do need to do is make wise, nutritionally sound choices, control your portions, and participate in a consistent, well-planned exercise program. If your favorite foods are not nutritionally sound (high in fat or empty calories) you should only eat them on occasions and in small quantities, not as a part of your daily nutritional intake.
Q. I have been trying to read labels on my food and I recently noticed that one of my "fat-free" foods as just as many calories as the same food that is not fat-free. What is going on here?
A. Fat-free does not mean calorie-free. Many people mistakenly believe that if a food is labeled "fat-free," "reduced fat," etc. that it is okay to eat as much of it as you want. This is why many people who eat "fat-free" foods actually gain weight. Many foods labeled "fat-free" add sugar or other sweeteners to make up for the flavor that is lost along with the missing fat. It is important to read labels and understand that a "fat-free" food does have calories and excess calories (the calories you don't burn) are converted to stored fat on your body. Be label conscious and it will be much easier to eat sensibly and not get caught up in the "fat-free unlimited consumption" myth.
Q. Donít we need to include some dietary cholesterol in our diets since it is needed by our bodies?
A. Your body does need blood cholesterol but your liver produces enough blood cholesterol to fulfill your body's needs. You do not need to consume any additional dietary cholesterol in your diet. To keep your blood cholesterol within healthy limits keep your fat intake low and avoid saturated (from animal sources) fat. Make sure your diet consists of plenty of fiber and fruits and vegetables. Strive for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Q. Why does eating too few calories make it more difficult for someone to lose weight?
A. Eating a diet with too few calories does make it harder to lose body fat. A diet with too few calories makes your body think that it is in a state of starvation. Your body slows down its metabolism to protect itself while in the "starvation mode" that you have subjected it to. Diets that have too few calories cannot be maintained for a very long time. More often than not, people who lose weight on an extremely low calorie diet gain back all that was lost and then some. Since poor eating habits are not changed during a crash diet, the previous body fat returns along with the poor eating habits. Make sure that your diet follows the guidelines of the U.S.D.A.'s Food Guide Pyramid. Good nutritional habits, portion control, and a consistent, sound exercise program will allow you to lose body fat and keep it off for a lifetime
Q. I know I should drink at least eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of water each day. I keep hearing drink more water, but can you give me some hard facts as to why this is good for me?
A. Here are some "cold, hard facts" from the American Institute For Cancer Research about why increasing your water intake is important.
Water helps your body get moving by helping to relieve dry mouth and by refreshing the rest of your body.
Water prevents a major role in preventing constipation. It encourages bowel movement and softens the stools.
Water moves food's nutrients through our bodies and ensures that nutrients are available when we need them.
Instructions for many medicines are to take with water. Water helps to hurry medicine to where it is needed.
Plenty of water keeps your skin in good shape from the inside.
Our kidney system depends on water to help it work properly.
Athletes and coaches have long recognized that even mild dehydration can produce cramps and encourage poor performance.
More water is the first and foremost treatment when kidney stones occur. Drinking sufficient amounts of water can help prevent them.
Dehydration can be avoided by monitoring your water intake. Both mental and physical performance may be impaired with even mild dehydration.
Water helps in regulating temperature and in balancing electrolytes.
Q. Is it true that drinking soft drinks, especially colas, can thin and weaken your bones?
A. The jury is still out on this one. Some researchers believe that two common soft drink ingredients, phosphorus and caffeine, make it difficult for the body to retain calcium, a key mineral used for building bones. Some research suggests this is true, but one recent study of 1000 postmenopausal women showed no correlation between moderate consumption of soft drinks and bone-density level (used to test the thinning of bones). This weakening of the bones is called osteoporosis and it is a major concern for postmenopausal women.
While all of this is being debated, it is important to understand that soft drinks supply only empty calories and perhaps take the place of more healthful beverages that supply calcium such as skim milk and fortified juices. This consumption of soft drinks may even get in the way of consuming 8 - 10 glasses of water each day. Making soft drinks only an occasional treat, rather than a daily beverage, will go a long way in improving your health.
Q. Are there dietary changes that can be made to lower one's risk of prostate cancer?
A. Reduction of your fat intake lowers your risk for prostate cancer. Reduction of your fat intake lowers your risk for many cancers and also lowers your risk for heart disease, which is the number one killer in the United States. In addition to making this important dietary change, make sure that you see your physician regularly. Early detection is an important step in beating prostate and many other cancers.
Q. Food Guide Pyramid recommends 3 - 5 servings from the vegetable group and 2 - 4 servings from the fruit group, why do I keep hearing "strive for five" when referring to how many fruits and vegetables I should eat each day?
A. Food Pyramid Guide does recommend 3 - 5 servings from the vegetable group and 2 -4 servings from the fruit group. Unfortunately, most people, especially in the United States, do not eat even close to the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Many people feel overwhelmed when they see the serving recommendations. They think that there is no way they could eat that many fruits and vegetables every day. The "strive for five" that you hear about is a valiant effort by health care professionals to get people to eat just the minimum recommended amount of fruits and vegetables without feeling overwhelmed or that the serving goals are impossible to meet. Hopefully this campaign is effective in getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables in their diets. This is a good step towards better nutrition and health.
Q. What is the Food Guide Pyramid that I keep hearing about? Is this like the "4, 4, 3, and 2" of the Four Basic Foods Groups that I learned about ?
A. Food Guide Pyramid has replaced the Four Basic Food Groups that you learned about as a child. The Food Guide Pyramid not only reflects changes in healthy eating requirements, but also addresses the fats, oils, and sugars that should be used sparingly. The bottom of the Food Guide Pyramid starts with 6 Ė 11 servings of cereals, breads, and grains and gradually works up to the foods we should rarely use like fats and sugars. The middle of the pyramid includes 3 - 5 servings from the vegetable group, 2 - 4 servings from the fruit group, 2 - 3 servings from the milk group, and 2 - 3 servings from the meat group.