Archive for July, 2009

PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Listerine, hair spray kill mosquitoes


Q: I read your column on killing mosquitoes with isopropyl alcohol spray. I have a remedy that works better and is fireproof, unlike alcohol.

Try Listerine. It kills them dead. I also put it in a spray bottle and spray it around the picnic tables and chairs to keep mosquitoes and bugs away.

A: Thanks for the tip. Another reader also had success with Listerine as a repellent.

We heard about an even more unorthodox method of killing bugs:

“A better way to kill insects is ordinary hair spray. Most households already have it, and the spray is sticky. It makes the wings of flying insects unusable and seals the breathing orifices to suffocate the insects.

“It is water-soluble, so it can be easily wiped up with a damp cloth and leaves no stain on curtains or wallpaper. I’ve used it on wasps, ants, roaches, etc. I chase flying insects to a window and spray them on the glass pane, then clean up with a wet paper towel.”

Keep in mind that hair spray is flammable …

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HEALTHY EATING: Study says carbs OK, in balance


To be, or not to be — on a low-carb diet that is.

All the popular hoopla about pounds shed by skipping carbs has just been joined by new research that found just the opposite — that the lower the percentage of carbohydrates in your diet, the more likely you are to be overweight or obese. Holy rice crackers! Conversely, the folks who ate more carbohydrate-containing foods actually weighed less than their carb-avoiding neighbors.

So, what’s a bread-, potato- and pasta-loving dieter to do? Well, according to a study of 4,500 healthy people in the Canadian Community Health Survey, which was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the answer is go ahead and enjoy them, within the confines of total calorie needs. The researchers concluded that diets containing 47 percent to 64 percent of calories from carbs were associated with the lowest risk of obesity. But, it wasn’t all bread on the menu. People who ate more …

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More than annoying, snoring may signal health problem

Your mate’s snoring may be the reason you’re not getting enough sleep.

Snoring is not just annoying, though. It can signal a more serious problem like sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea are at greater risk for developing high blood pressure, heart attacks or stroke. It can also cause you to be less productive or fall asleep at the worst times – like when you’re driving or operating machinery.

Has snoring forced you and your mate into separate bedrooms?  Have you found a product that really works?

A reporter may contact you for an upcoming article, or you can email:

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DOCTOR IS IN: Common sense and science agree — an ounce of prevention works


Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy & Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Executive director of the Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions/Center for Entitlement Reform. Co-director of the Emory Center on Health Outcomes and Quality. Executive director of the national Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

As Congress and the Obama administration work to hammer out the details of health reform, consumers — and by that I mean everyone who has been, is now or will be a patient, or a taxpayer, or both — should pay close attention to prevention.

Both the House and Senate versions of the draft legislation include important investments in prevention, and President Barack Obama has stressed that prevention must be part of comprehensive health reform.

Prevention can be divided into three parts:

1. Things we do to avert disease, like vaccinations for children or obesity prevention programs.

2. …

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AGING & CARING: 5 must-do rules for preventing medication mistakes


If 1.5 million serious medication mistakes happen every year, and 100,000 people die from them, how do you make sure you and your loved ones aren’t among the casualties? Take these five steps to make sure medication mistakes don’t happen to you.

1. Be prepared.

Make a list of prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and any supplements such as vitamins, minerals, or herbs that you and your family members are taking. Keep a copy in your wallet, and update it regularly.

2. Have regular medication reviews.

At least once a year, have your general practitioner or primary doctor review your list of medications to make sure there are no dangerous combinations, incorrect dosages, or medications inappropriate for your age and circumstances. Remember, as time goes by, your body changes, and a medication that was perfectly fine five years ago may not be healthy — or even necessary — today.

Another possibility, suggests Anne Meneghetti, M.D., director of …

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HEALTHY EATING: Go fish, but don’t fry it


Trying to eat more fish because it’s a lighter choice? Well, just because you’ve set your sails for a seafood dinner doesn’t mean all the menu choices will keep you shipshape.

Beware the deep-fat- fried, drowned-in-butter and smothered-in-cream sauce seafood dishes. Fat fact: If you want the fried shrimp or fried fish, each adds 240 calories and 24 grams of fat to a 6-ounce portion. Steamed or grilled shrimp are great low-fat choices enjoyed with cocktail sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime.

Choose broiled, grilled, steamed or baked fish and ask that your fish be brushed lightly with olive oil. Choose the rice pilaf and steamed veggies as side dishes. Robert Holly, executive chef at the Atlanta Fish Market, says, “Most of our guests, to be honest, order fried seafood.”

But he’s also seen a rise in the number of diners who want grilled fish.
“We’ve seen a real trend, kind of a reverse trend, away from the fancy sauces and complicated …

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PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Can almonds prevent heartburn?


Q: I have been suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease for a number of years now. I took Zantac for it. But two weeks ago, I went to a dinner party. When we were all finished with eating, even coffee, the hostess passed around a dish of raw almonds. I asked her what these were for, and she said, “To prevent heartburn.” Almonds after every meal seem to be working for me. I haven’t taken Zantac for the past two weeks, and I haven’t even needed much antacid. Do you know why this works? Has anyone else tried it? In the meantime, I will continue eating almonds after every meal.

A: This remedy is new to us, but it sounds safe. Another reader says that a bit of apple after a meal can prevent heartburn: “I have had this problem for years and recently stopped taking omeprazole so I could try to deal with this ailment in a better way. I noticed one day that food that usually gave me heartburn hadn’t and realized I had eaten an apple that day.”

Joe …

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ASK DR. H: Eating apples may boost alertness

Q: I’ve heard from several people that eating an apple can help keep you awake as well as a cup of coffee. Is that really true? — S.R., Huntsville, Ala.

A: There’s no doubt that the caffeine in coffee, tea or an energy drink has a stimulating effect on the brain to increase alertness — that is, until the “crash” occurs. Although apples don’t contain caffeine, they do contain the natural sugar fructose. If it’s based on fructose alone, an orange should provide an even better pick-me-up.

Other than the anecdotal reports of apples increasing alertness, I’ve not seen any head-to-head studies comparing apples and coffee. Besides the effect that an apple’s natural sugar can have on raising one’s blood sugar, there are several theoretical ways that an apple may keep one awake and alert as well as a cup of coffee: The act of crunching into an apple and chewing it helps to stimulate alertness; eating around the core of an apple requires a certain amount of …

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THINNER YOU: 5 shortcuts to sculpt your body fast


I have a friend who can either build or fix just about anything—the guy is handy! I’m constantly amazed to see how he can take care of most any restoration or carpentry problem. Something that seems impossible is like putty in his hands, and he usually reminds me, as I am making a sloppy mess of things, to work smarter, not harder—a mantra that applies as much to our workout routines as it does to working around the house.

We know that there are no shortcuts to getting fit and staying fit. Working out takes perseverance, consistency and well, work! But every once in a while, you should stop and ask yourself, “Am I working out smarter and not just harder?” After all, we don’t want to waste one drop of hard-earned sweat in our pursuit of fitness. We want to get the most out of every workout, run, bike ride, or trip to the gym.

Here are five ways to exercise smarter to get the results you want without spending more time in your …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Childhood obesity bigger than a weight issue


Medical Director, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Child Wellness and Medical Director, Georgia Children’s Health Alliance.

Childhood obesity is a problem throughout America, but it’s an epidemic in Georgia, where approximately 37 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese.

If those numbers aren’t staggering enough, a recent report by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation listed Georgia as the third-highest population of overweight and obese youths in the U.S.

Obese children are prone to suffer from a host of chronic medical conditions, including asthma, gallbladder disease, pneumonia and Type 2 diabetes. They also have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, typically found only in adults. Furthermore, overweight or obese children also have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

Poor health outcomes impact children and their …

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