CanDrugstore's March 2011 Better Health News                           (Click here if you cannot read this page)
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Spring is almost here, but are you prepared for the allergy season? Remember to avoid your exposure to pollen as much as possible, keep your house and clothes clean to minimize dust particles, and to take seasonal allergy medication if necessary.

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Global Warming Extends the Allergy Season?

Allergy Stuffy Nose

It's going to be a tough allergy season! Studies suggest that it is likely for allergy seasons to prolong up to a month depending on where you live. It seems the north will experience a longer growing season for ragweed than the south. Ragweed is the plant that is commonly responsible for pollen allergies. For every ten people, one person suffers from symptoms of ragweed pollen allergy. Typical symptoms include, sneezing, irritation in throat, congestion and, itchy watery eyes. Ragweed pollen grains can travel up to 400 miles, and each plant can produce around one billion grains, so getting away from the pollen may be tricky.

Exposure to ragweed normally leads to symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever and can have a very negative impact on one’s ability to function. Collectively, people who suffer from hay fever will miss approximately 3.8 million days of school and work! That’s over ten thousand years of school and work! With this in mind, a few safety precautions are probably in order:

  • Keep your windows closed during the ragweed season and try to use air conditioning to cool off instead of a breeze from outside.
  • Keep car windows closed while travelling.
  • Avoid being outdoors during peak pollen times, normally between 10am and 4pm.
  • Don’t hang sheets outside or anywhere there is a chance for pollen to collect on them.
  • Try to minimize exposure to any other known allergens.
  • Grab a quick shower after being out in the pollen infested world; pollen can collect on your skin and hair.

While allergies may seem like nothing more than a nuisance, there is a point where an allergist or immunologist should be sought out. Hay Fever can bring out many impeding symptoms such as sleep disorders, fatigue, and even learning problems. People with allergic rhinitis often have asthma. These people should see an allergist to get their symptoms under control.

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Your Taste Buds and Food

Broccoli Healthy Eating

In the category of taste buds, people are divided into three groups; super-taster, medium tasters, and non-tasters. Approximately 25% of people are known to be a 'super-taster', 50% are medium tasters, and 25% are non-tasters.

What is a super-taster? A super-taster is someone who experiences food richer and more flavorful than other people because they have a much denser distribution of taste buds than medium and non-tasters.

Although super-tasters enjoy the taste in their food more, they are at more risk of getting cancer, particularly colon cancer. Because super-tasters love eating food that is rich in flavor and full of taste they tend to avoid bitter foods such as vegetables. Super-tasters add more salt to their foods so that they don't taste so bitter. The excess consumption of salt can lead to a higher heart attack risk. Additionally, male super-tasters on the  are more likely to be drawn to foods with a higher concentration of sodium and fat. This intake of high fatty foods increases the risk of obesity.

This doesn't have to be the way though; you can change your eating habits! You can do this by programming yourself to love vegetables. The reason you find eating healthy so hard is because your palette is so used to the taste of junk food and it will take some time for your palette to adjust to these new tastes. It will adjust! Here are some ways to help you make the transition into healthy eating:

1) Breaking The Addiction

As mentioned before, your palette is not used to the healthy food that will be infiltrating your taste buds. It will take time for your palette to get used to the taste of the healthy food while getting rid of the taste of the junk food. The first 3-4 days will be the hardest; make sure you have plenty of water to drink, have a healthier substitution, and have someone to talk to. Have some willpower. If you don't have your mind made up about this the minute you see junk food you will cave in.

2) Eat Healthy Foods That You Like

If you are trying to break away from bad eating habits make sure you have healthy substitutions available. If you don't have good food available you might end up going back to your regular eating habits. Choose healthy foods that you enjoy, that way if you are hungry you will have a healthy selection of foods to fill your stomach whenever you like.

3) Avoid Trigger Points

You will probably figure out your weaknesses when you break away from your unhealthy eating habits. For example, you might tend to buy food from the vending machines at school or work. For this, try not to carry change or bills in your wallet. You can't really purchase anything from the vending machines if you don't have any money! When you do figure out your weak points, make a plan so that you avoid those tempting situations. Remember to always keep a healthy snack available on hand whenever you need it.

4) Experiment - Try New Foods!

When breaking away from your eating habits, be adventurous and try new things. Look through magazines, cookbooks, or cooking shows that show different ways to prepare vegetables. Experiment these new ways and find out which one you prefer best. Use these cooking methods in your meals as a way to add more flavor to eating your favorite vegetables!

No matter if you're a super-taster, a medium taster, or a non-taster, it's never too late to go healthy. Remember that going from those salty snacks, and fried appetizers won't be easy but with time and willpower you could be leaving a healthy lifestyle.

The Right Way to Treat a Child’s Fever

Thermometer Fever Treatment

All parents have a right to worry when their child’s temperature starts to rise. A high fever in children could change their eating habits and the way they behave. What if that fever was a good thing? A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that a child’s fever is the body’s way of fighting away infections or illnesses. In response to the body’s rise in temperature, germs begin to feel “uncomfortable” which effectively fights infections.

When it comes to the fever, a parent’s main goal should be monitoring their children. Parents should watch their children for signs of serious illnesses such as changes in behavior, alertness, skin color, and eating habits. Also, a child’s overall state of health is a huge factor in how they react to the fever. A normal body temperature is 98.6° Fahrenheit (37° Celsius). A child, whose temperature is 102°F (38°C) or lower, typically does not require a fever reducer unless the child feels very uncomfortable in the state they are in. An exception is for infants that are 3 months or younger and experience body temperature’s of 100.4°F (38°C) in which your infant should be taken to a doctor right away or be given Advil or Tylenol infant drops to help reduce symptoms.

One major problem regarding fever treatment is the inaccurate dosing of fever medications. There is no difference of effectiveness or safety in fever reducers thus all fever medications provide similar benefits and pose the same risks. Parents who do not understand proper dosing will increase their child’s risk of overdose. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen for fever (Advil) is safe to give to children who are between the ages of 6 months and 12 years old if used correctly. The maximum acetaminophen dosage is commonly exceeded when given to children causing a high rate of overdose according to emergency room reports. 80% of overdose cases are caused by unsupervised ingestion. Typically, a fever will go away without medication but alternating between acetaminophen and ibuprofen during a child’s fever may be more effective at lowering temperatures than just administering one of the alone. If your child is staying active, alert, hydrated, and maintains a normal appetite, he or she will be more likely to recover sooner.

If your child is ill with a fever, encourage them to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and when administering medication, use proper dosing of medication based on weight, age, and health. Do not wake a child up to give medication; sleep has a huge effect on a child especially when they are sick. Cough and cold medications containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen should not be given to children who are already being treated with other medications. A parent may accidentally give a child simultaneous doses of a cough and cold medicine that contains the same fever reducing ingredients as acetaminophen or ibuprofen and overdosing can occur. To prevent overdose, keep medications out of reach of children. It is crucial when giving a fever reducer to a child that an accurate dose is measured to get your child back to his or her previous healthy state.