Think Before You Blow
A new study finds that blowing your nose when you have a cold can cause more harm than good. Blowing creates pressure in the nasal cavity and pushes infected mucous into the sinuses, so if you have to blow, blow gently, and blow one nostril at a time.
Or … try a Neti pot, like Dr. Jim!
Anatomy of a First-Aid Kit
A well-stocked first-aid kit is a household necessity. Be prepared for emergencies: whether the kit is in your car, cubicle, or kitchen, make sure it’s easily accessible and adequately stocked.
Some kits are designed for specific activities such as hiking, camping or boating. A variety of first-aid kits -- from individual to family size -- are available for sale at the American Red Cross store. Whether you buy a kit or assemble one yourself, make sure it has all the items you may need.
• Include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest.
• Check the kit regularly.
• Make sure any flashlight batteries work. • Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.
Dr. John Jain from Santa Monica Fertility Specialists gives identical triplets Erica, Jaclyn and Nicole fertility advice as they prepare to start their families.
Fertilizing the Egg
A woman’s egg is only viable for 24 hours, whereas sperm can live up to three days. To maximize your chances of fertilization, engage in intercourse every day, starting three days before ovulation. A woman’s orgasm causes the uterus to contract and draw the sperm upward, so guys: get to work!
Identical twins develop from a single fertilized egg, or ovum. The egg splits into two genetically identical embryos that have identical genomes, are the same gender, and are called monozygotic*. Identical twins occur randomly but are more likely when the mother is older.
Non-identical, or fraternal, twins develop from two ova, or eggs, that are fertilized at the same time by two sperm. They have different genomes, can be male, female, or one of each, and are called di-zygotic*. Fraternal twins tend to run in families, as opposed to occurring randomly, and are as genetically similar to one another as they would be to any other sibling.
*Zygote: Once an egg is fertilized, it becomes a zygote. After two weeks of rapid cell division, the zygote becomes an embryo.
Repeated twinning produces triplets, quadruplets, and so forth; these multiples may be identical, fraternal, or a combination. Identical triplets occur when a single fertilized egg splits in two and then one of the resulting two eggs splits again. Non-identical triplets occur when the mother produces, or ovulates, three separate eggs that are each fertilized.
Odds of Multiples
Most twins and triplets are non-identical, or fraternal, and come about because the mother ovulates more than one egg in a cycle. For this reason, multiples are usually determined by the mother’s side of the family. A father who is a twin or triplet probably passes down the gene for multiple ovulations to his female offspring.
The odds of conceiving twins without the use of fertility drugs: 1 in 100
The odds of conceiving identical triplets without the use of fertility drugs: 1 in 1,500
If a couple has a history of twins or triplets in their biological families, the odds of them conceiving twins or triplets are increased two to five times.
How to Improve Your Fertility
Dr. Jain says that women who stop taking their birth control pills and have sex when they’re ovulating can expect to be pregnant within three to six months. He recommends women get pregnant before age 35, which is when their eggs start to change and the risk of genetic problems increases.
Two factors contribute greatly to fertility: stress and health.
Stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine will counter sex hormones, so it’s important to take care of yourself and minimize your daily stress as much as possible. This advice is not just for women! The same stressors, poor habits, and lifestyle choices contribute to the health and motility of sperm as well.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential for reproductive health. “Reproduction is such a basic function,” Dr. Jain explains, “it’s best to just be healthy and natural in mind and body. Optimize your diets with good healthy foods and fluids.”
Tips for Staying Healthy
We’ve all pledged, promised and bullied ourselves to eat better and exercise more, but so many times even the best intentions fall short. Family physician Dr. Mike Moreno incorporates healthy habits into his work and home life:
• I try walking for 30 minutes every day at lunch with co-workers.
• I have a yoga mat in my office and stretch at lunch.
• I don’t use a desk chair but sit at my desk on a Swiss ball. This helps build core muscles, balance and posture.
• Instead of going to the gym, I prefer to use TheraBands at home. They are great for isometric exercises, and this saves me all the time it would take driving to and from the gym.
• I drink at least one 8 oz. glass of water every one to two hours. I think water is water, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a fancy brand or from the tap.
• In between patients, I will do push-ups in my office. This is like hitting the release button whenever I am feeling stressed, and I do as many as I can. One time I did 65 push-ups in one sitting. Sometimes I’ll have done 300 push-ups in one day!
Ryan, a young man whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago, has moved in with his mother to be her primary caretaker. CVS Pharmacist Jeff McClusky advises Ryan to buy and fill all of his mother’s prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications from the same pharmacy.
Jeff explains that having one pharmacist will ensure that the patient is not at risk for harmful drug interactions and duplicate therapies. “They can review the entire gamut and come up with what the right decisions are for managing those meds,” the pharmacist says.