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How are you faring during this cold and flu season? The answer depends, at least in part, on how your body’s immune system is protecting you from the many viral and bacterial illnesses that gets passed around every winter.
I’ve always been kind of cocky about my children’s immune systems. They may not be on the honor roll, but those kids are healthy. Sure, Punch may take to the bed every once in a while, but it’s really more of a personal day. Cranky and Whiny, on the other hand, you could throw them in a cage with an ebola-riddled gibbon monkey and they’d come out in the pink. Well, apparently the universe decided I was getting a bit too arrogant when it came to my uber-spawn. There’s a saying...oh what is it? That’s right--payback's a b*tch.
Parents have plenty to worry about when their kids go to school or away at camp, and illness is a major concern. Colds, flu, ear infections and strep throat are among the many potential illnesses shared by youngsters in close proximity. However, these infections are rarely life-threatening. Meningitis, on the other hand, is a potentially dangerous communicable disease that can spread through classrooms or dormitories.
Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, wheezing—it’s cold and flu season in St. Louis. It’s called the ‘common cold’ because it is, indeed, perhaps the most common illness experienced by both adults and children each year.
When seasonal sniffles and coughs arrive, it’s tempting to call the doctor and ask for a prescription of good, old-fashioned antibiotics to make it all better. But antibiotics are the wrong treatment for colds, flu, bronchitis, most ear infections and other common viral ailments. In fact, taking antibiotics for anything other than a bacterial infection can cause serious harm.
Flu season started early in St. Louis this year. By the end of October, several cases of influenza had been reported. Concerned public health officials advised everyone older than 6 months to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Yet there are plenty of people who reject the flu vaccine.
As a child, you probably got an annual check-up like clockwork. And you probably made sure your own children saw the pediatrician at least once a year for a basic physical. Yet for many adults, the yearly physical exam ritual eventually evaporates. However, doctors note that regular check-ups are an important part of good preventive care at every age.
Proceeds from the Ladue News Show House will go to four St. Louis nonprofits: Angels’ Arms, Animal Protective Association of Missouri, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Dozens of volunteers from the nonprofits, as well as the National Charity League’s St. Louis Chapter, have donated their time to help prep the home and will serve as docents during the tour. “They will really help bring to life the vision of the designer for each room,” says volunteer chair Lisa Malone.
OK, so Cranky is a 14-year-old girl. Wow. When did that happen? And tonight, she is going to a big—BIG—boy/girl party. I guess it’s going to be fine, but I’m just a tad nervous. For years, I have been in the perfect bubble: no diapers, no car seats, but also no driving and no drinking. Suddenly, I find myself thrust into the next phase of life: life with teenagers.
Summertime means enjoying the great outdoors: camping, picnics, boating and relaxing in a hammock under your favorite shade tree. Life is good. Then, there’s the itching, stinging, swelling and scratching. Bug bites are bad.
RESEARCHERS TO STUDY TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR HIGH-RISK LUNG CANCER PATIENTS
The first domino fell last week: Punch collapsed into the backseat after school, pale as a ghost and had a cough that would have put Camille to shame. So I picked up some chicken noodle soup from Ladue Market and raced home. I don’t mind a sick child. They’re docile and usually too tired to argue. It’s also probably the only time after the age of 10 that they will let you cuddle them. So I honestly don’t mind a sick child—repeat child—singular.
Gaslight, with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, is a 1944 thriller that tells the story of husband who tries to make his wife believe she is insane as he tries to retrieve some jewels stowed away in their attic. “The only way he could get the jewels was to make her think she was crazy. As a result, she started to have a real breakdown, and that’s what some people do in real life,” says Susan Hais of Hais, Hais, Goldberger & Coyne. “Usually, it’s people who are suffering from a condition called narcissism—characterized chiefly by a person being focused entirely on his or herself and is motivated by the desire to look good at the expense of others.” She says in a marriage, the situation can play out in a number of ways. “For example, the husband gets irritated with the wife due to something called a narcissistic insult. This could be something perceived as mildly critical against him, but he takes on an attitude of incredible revenge and never gives it up.”
Over the river and through the woods...It’s time for holiday travel. Whether you will be hitting the road or your loved ones will be winging their way to you, getting there shouldn’t dampen your holiday spirit due to illness or injury. We asked area experts to share some of their top tips for staying healthy during this busy travel season.
I don’t do this often, but I have a hot stock tip: Buy Johnson & Johnson. Because if anything is going to make people run out and buy Purell in bulk, it’s this movie. There are movies that you love while you’re watching them but you forget about later (see Point Blank). There are movies you struggle to get through but rave about later. This is a movie you will love while you’re watching and will rave about later. It’s intelligent, brilliantly acted and horrifying.
In an ideal world, everyone would get all of the nutrition they need through a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and many people need vitamin supplements to fill in gaps in their nutritional needs. LN talked with the experts about what vitamins women need at different points in their lives. But remember to always talk with a doctor or dietician before taking a vitamin supplement, as all of our experts stressed that overdoses of some of these items can lead to problems that range from kidney stones to liver damage, and they might not be right for everyone.
We are often intrigued by the latest medical studies that promise new treatments and medications. Yet many people still benefit from one of the oldest known types of health care: acupuncture.
Passport? Check. Boarding pass? Check. Photo ID? Check. Vaccinations? Oops!
Most viruses attack and then go away. Not so, the varicella (herpes) viruses, one of which is varicella zoster, the bug that causes chickenpox. Before 1995, when the varicella vaccine came out, chickenpox was a way of life, and almost everyone got it. Most of us suffered through it and got on with our lives. But the sneaky varicella burrows into nerve cells and becomes dormant. Years later, usually after age 60, some change in the body can allow it to re-emerge, this time in the form of shingles.
We’ve heard a lot about antioxidants and their beneficial effects on the body, but evidence on the potency of vitamin D is fast catching up. Dr. Theresa Knight, an OB-Gyn at Women’s Health Specialists of St. Louis, says D is technically not a vitamin because vitamins, by definition, are something we need to take in from our environment, and the body makes its own vitamin D. But she says doctors are seeing a lot more vitamin D deficiency in the general population. “One study in Boston showed that during the winter, 36 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 had deficiencies. In the summer that number was only 8 percent. So lack of sun exposure is a culprit,” Knight says. She adds that bowel disorders such as celiac and Crohn’s disease, as well as gastric bypasses for weight loss, all cause malabsorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins. Liver and kidney disease also affect vitamin D levels.
Last week the Global Language Monitor came out with its list of the ‘top’ words of 2009. I’m not sure if they mean most used, most interesting, most frequently seen online—for a linguistics site the word ‘top’ is ironically vague! For all I know, the entire site could be a precocious eighth-grader clicking away in his parents’ rec room.
We may call this ‘cold and flu season,’ but throwing kids’ ear infections into the mix would make the description even more accurate.
There is some sort of flu going around, potentially a very serious epidemic. And I, for one, have been taking it seriously. I got Cranky, Whiny and Punch flu shots. I loaded up on vitamin C and hand sanitizer. I avoided the mall—not because of the flu though, I just don’t like the mall. And I no longer roll my eyes at the paranoid people on the subway with the facemasks. It’s the swine flu, for goodness sake. It’s H1N1. In 1918 more than 50 million people died! I braced for the worst.
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