Year-Round Health Tips
Get into these habits to improve your health all year.
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While there is no scientific proof, many people complain of arthritis and joint pain during colder months. It is said that symptoms can be exacerbated by winter weather as well as barometric pressure changes. In cold temperatures your body conserves heat by allowing more blood to travel to core organs like the heart and lungs. When this happens, your peripheral blood vessels constrict, sending less blood to your limbs, leaving the joints colder and prone to discomfort.
However, a drop in temperature isn’t the only cause of joint pain; lack of movement is as well! Regular exercise is vital for anyone suffering from joint pain and arthritis. If you aren’t active, you’re putting double pressure on your joints. Regular exercise can help minimize joint pain, improve joint flexibility and strength and slow the process of deterioration. This winter, try low-impact exercises such as walking and biking.
• Pain after working out? Compression undergarments may help alleviate your post-exercise aches.
Stop Right There!Find out three habits to halt in 2013.
Hot or Cold?
Washing your hands is essential to staying healthy, but could the way you wash be doing more harm than good? Tiffany asks The Docs if water temperature really makes a difference when washing your hands, cleaning dishes and cooking.
When washing your hands, the temperature doesn’t necessarily matter as long as you’re using soap and washing for at least 20 seconds; however, the temperature does matter when it comes to drinking and cooking. The EPA suggests that hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead, so be sure to cook, drink and make baby formula with cold water only.
you haven’t used your faucets for six hours or longer, flush them for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking. The more time water has been sitting in pipes, the more lead it may contain.
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains that lead leaks into water through corrosion of plumbing – the wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between the water and your pipes. Even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to eight percent lead.
The short-term effects of lead exposure include interference with red blood cell chemistry, delays in normal physical and mental development in babies and young children as well as a slight increase in blood pressure of adults. If someone is exposed to lead over a lifetime, it can lead to stroke, kidney disease and cancer.
E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork suggests having your water tested for lead, as we cannot detect lead that's been disolved in water has no scent or taste. Take extra caution if your home has lead pipes.
Stay Home or Stick it out?
A recent survey found that nearly 80 percent of office workers go to work when they’re feeling sick – even when they know they’re contagious. Above-the-neck symptoms such as a runny nose and a cough likely mean a cold or allergies and chances are you’re safe to go into the office; however, if you experience the following symptoms, stay home!
1. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea: If you’re running to the bathroom every hour with these symptoms, you can easily spread germs to those around you. Be sure to stay home and keep hydrated until the discomfort subsides.
2. Decreased appetite: When you’re battling a bug, your immune system responds and can cause hormonal changes that affect appetite. Going through a full workday can add stress to the body and slow your recovery process. Plus, you’ll have zero energy on an empty stomach.
3. Chills and aches: These symptoms usually accompany a fever, so if you’re feeling aches and chills, get back into bed. But, don’t cover yourself with a blanket as bundling up can actually increase a fever.