Health in a Minute: Summer 2020

For Her

 

Save Your Sight with the Right Pair of Shades

 

Sunglasses are more than just a cute accessory. They can also provide much-needed protection for your eyes, but in order to maximize the benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind the next time you go shopping for shades.

Look for labels. Perhaps the most important factor when buying sunglasses is whether it offers 100% UV protection, which will often be denoted with a tag or sticker.

Bigger is better. Those oversized fashionista shades are trendy and functional. Larger glasses mean more coverage and less light seeping in from around the rims.

Color doesn’t matter. If you prefer to don rose-colored glasses, that doesn’t mean you aren’t being protected. Similarly, just because a pair of sunglasses has dark lenses doesn’t guarantee that they are providing superior protection.

Pick polarized. While polarized glasses don’t offer more protection from the sun, they do reduce glares that can come from surfaces such as pavement or water – making everyday activities, from driving to water sports, more safe.

Cut costs. You don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get quality shades. As long as your sunglasses have 100% UV protection, they are just as effective as pricier options.

 

woman sitting and touching her toes on a yoga mat

Go with the Flow

Finding Your Favorite Yoga Style

 

If you have ever been searching for a yoga class and were met with an array of unfamiliar terms, you’re not alone. With a variety of styles, it can seem daunting to pick out the perfect class – but fear not! Following is a guide on what to expect from some of yoga’s most popular practices.

Vinyasa yoga aims to link breath to movement. These classes are generally fluid and movement-intensive, and with no set list of postures, every class is likely to be a little different.

Ashtanga yoga is similar to Vinyasa yoga in that breath and movement are intertwined. What sets this practice apart is that it always performs the same poses in the same order.

Bikram yoga follows a set sequence of moves like Ashtanga yoga but is performed in a room heated to 105°. With humidity typically around 40%, this style is intended to replicate the climate of India.

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any yoga using physical postures. A Hatha yoga class is likely to incorporate a gentle sequence of some of the most popular poses.

Kundalini yoga brings in an added spiritual element. These classes will still incorporate movement and breathing techniques but also focus on meditation and the use of mantras.

For Him

 

Sweaty man with hyperhidrosis

Sweating Bullets

Could You Have Hyperhidrosis?

 

Everybody sweats – it’s an essential bodily function. But if you find that you are sweating excessively, despite the surrounding temperature or your activity or stress level, you may have hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis comes in two forms and can affect your entire body or a more localized area.

Primary hyperhidrosis is when you experience heavy sweating that is not related to another medical condition. This occurs when the nerves responsible for triggering your sweat glands become overactive and call for more perspiration, even when it’s not needed. Experts believe that primary hyperhidrosis may be hereditary.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is often attributed to an underlying medical cause and can manifest in individuals who have an overactive thyroid, anxiety disorder, HIV or AIDS, or a handful of other conditions.

When it comes to excessive sweating, there is generally no cause for concern. Both over-the-counter and prescription antiperspirants can provide some relief. Some individuals with hyperhidrosis have also found success in anticholinergic prescriptions (which stop activation of sweat glands), Botox injections (which block the nerve signals responsible for sweating), and iontophoresis procedures (which deliver electrical currents to block sweat glands temporarily).

While aggravating, sweating more than usual is not harmful. However, you should visit your doctor if an increase in sweating happens suddenly or if it begins disrupting your daily routine.

 

Spirulina tablets

 

What Is Spirulina?

 

Sometimes touted as the best superfood on the market, spirulina is an organism found in both fresh and salt water. This blue-green algae is available in powder and tablet form and boasts a high protein and vitamin profile.

One tablespoon of spirulina contains only 20 calories, 1.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of protein, along with a slew of other vitamins. Some experts even believe that gram for gram, spirulina is the single most nutritious food on the planet.

In addition to its wealth of protein and vitamins, spirulina has antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties. This has led the supplement to be used for everything from reducing allergy symptoms and the risk of heart disease to boosting metabolism and lowering blood pressure.

While research on spirulina’s effectiveness on various medical conditions is still in its infancy, that doesn’t take away from its impressive nutritional content.

For those looking to introduce spirulina into their diet, a standard daily dose is 1-3 grams. Try adding the powder to smoothies and juices or sprinkle it over salads or soups.

 

 

For Moms

 

Illustration of bees flying away from a honeycomb

 

Soothing Stings

 

As warmer weather ushers in backyard barbecues and picnics in the park, your children are at a greater risk of being stung by insects. If your child gets stung by a bee or wasp and experiences an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. For everyone else, these first aid steps should be all you need to bring your little one some relief.

  • Remove any stingers you can, but don’t try to extract a stinger from below the skin’s surface. Bees will often leave stingers behind, while wasps do not.
  • Wash the area that has been stung with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress to the site for 20 minutes every hour as needed, and don’t forget to wrap ice packs with a cloth to keep from freezing the skin.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl and Claritin can help with itching and swelling.
  • An acetaminophen such as Tylenol or ibuprofen such as Motrin can deliver some pain relief.
  • Placing hydrocortisone cream on the stung area can also relieve redness, itching, and swelling.

 

little girl sucking her thumb while she sleeps

 

How to Help Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb

 

Considered normal during the early stages of life, thumb sucking is a habit that becomes worrisome to many parents the longer it persists. Children suck their thumbs for a variety of reasons, and knowing exactly why your child is doing it may help you kick the habit to the curb.

Pay attention to when your child puts their fingers in their mouth. If the trigger seems to be stress-related, try providing comfort in other ways. Give your child a hug or let them hold a blanket or stuffed animal.

There’s a chance your child might not even realize they are sucking their thumb. If this is the case, try to gently identify the behavior and remind them to stop.

Positive reinforcement can also work wonders. Praise your child or provide rewards to change the behavior, and consider setting attainable goals that your child can follow such as not sucking their thumb for an hour before bed.

Thumb sucking is generally harmless, and most children grow out of the habit on their own. However, as permanent teeth start to come in, thumb sucking can play a role in the development of your child’s teeth and palate. At this stage, it may be helpful to have your child’s dentist talk with them about the importance of not sucking their thumb.

 

 

 

For the Whole Family

 

Family in bed watching a movie and eating popcorn

 

Improve Your ZZZs with These Snacks

 

Having a hard time falling asleep? A few simple tweaks to your diet may help you get some quality shut-eye.

Start by trading refined and processed foods for their whole-grain counterparts. Foods such as popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers make for a great bedtime snack. Nuts, specifically almonds and walnuts, contain melatonin, which helps you sleep. Foods that are high in lean protein, like cottage cheese, boast the amino acid tryptophan, which can boost serotonin levels and promote good sleep.

For those looking for more of a sweet treat, there are several fruits that also contain melatonin. These include tart cherries, bananas, pineapple, oranges, and kiwis. In addition, fruits such as berries, prunes, raisins, and plums are rich in antioxidants and may help counteract the oxidative stress (imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body) caused by some sleep disorders.

If you are not looking for a snack, a relaxing cup of caffeine-free tea may be just what you need; chamomile, ginger, and peppermint are soothing options. Just like hot tea, a warm glass of milk can help to relax your body before bed, and it may contain enough tryptophan and melatonin for improved sleep.

 

sunscreen bottles

Staying Safe in the Sun

Decoding Sunscreen Labels

 

Summer brings with it plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun. You may be wondering how to best protect yourself and your family, and the obvious answer is to wear sunscreen. But when it comes time to buy a new bottle, what labels do you need to be on the lookout for?

Broad-Spectrum

Perhaps the most important label to look for is broad-spectrum. These sunscreens protect against both UVA rays (the ones that cause wrinkles and signs of aging) and UVB rays (the ones responsible for sunburns).

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

SPF is a measure of how long a person can stay in the sun before UVB rays start to burn the skin. An SPF 30 will theoretically allow you to stay in the sun 30 times longer without getting burned. Since these numbers are determined in a lab, however, experts suggest reapplying every two hours regardless of SPF.

Water-resistant

These sunscreens stay effective on wet skin for at least 40 minutes. It is important to note that entirely waterproof or sweatproof sunscreens don’t exist, and the FDA prohibits those terms.

 

 

For New Moms

 

illustration of mother pushing baby in stroller

 

Stroller Shopping Made Simple

 

When it comes to purchasing your first stroller, the options can be overwhelming. From all-purpose, lightweight, and jogging strollers to full-on travel systems, there is a product for every lifestyle. Even after you find a stroller that fits your needs, there’s an array of features and accessories that can make or break a day out with your child.

From sun canopies to stroller baskets, ask yourself these questions the next time you’re in the market for a stroller in order to find the perfect fit.

  • Who will be using the stroller?
  • Where will you be using the stroller most?
  • What kind of weather will you be using it in?
  • What kind of storage space do you have for a stroller (in the house and car)?
  • How much weight can you handle?
  • Do you want one that you can fold up with one hand?

 

splash of milk on yellow background

 

Could Your Baby Be Lactose Intolerant?

 

If you are one of the 30 to 50 million American adults who live with lactose intolerance, you know firsthand how uncomfortable it can be. While not nearly as common, babies can also become lactose intolerant. What they can’t do is tell you what is bothering them.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance in infants include diarrhea, stomach cramping, bloating, and gas, and since they are not able to express their discomfort, it can be hard to tell when your baby is having stomach issues.

Signs of pain might include clenching their fists, arching their back, kicking or lifting their legs, or crying while passing gas. In addition, your baby’s stomach may look slightly larger than normal and feel hard to the touch.

If you suspect lactose intolerance in your child, consult with your pediatrician. Some babies have congenital lactase deficiency, meaning they were born without any lactase enzymes to begin with. This is a lifelong condition that will require a modified diet.

Developmental lactase deficiency, on the other hand, often happens in premature babies and is a temporary intolerance. Babies can also become temporarily lactose intolerant after a viral illness such as gastroenteritis.

How you proceed with breastfeeding and formula feeding will depend on the type of lactose intolerance your little one has.

 

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