50 Health Dos and Don’ts

Picture of Health

The Doctors' and Prevention magazine's Picture of Health contest has ended. Meet the winner!

Editor-in-chief of Prevention, Liz Vaccariello, joins The Doctors to share 50 essential health dos and don'ts everyone needs to know!

Allergy Triggers
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Two-thirds of people blame their allergies on spring triggers such as ragweed, pollen and hay fever, but their allergic reactions may be caused by irritants that appear year-round. Allergens such as pet dander, mold, dust mites and nuts are common triggers that can exacerbate many people's reactions.

Once an allergen comes into contact with the body, it sets off a chain of events: The immune system goes into overdrive, producing an abundance of histamine, a substance that attaches to receptors in blood vessels, causing them to expand. The enlarged vessels create the redness, swelling, itching and increased secretions that cause discomfort and irritation for many.

"You have to do a little detective work," plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says. "Pay attention to your symptoms, when and where [they occur]. So many people are wasting more money on over-the-counter drugs for less relief. They need to find out their triggers."

Asthma Attacks

Asthma affects 20 million Americans, 9 million of whom are kids. See what happens during an asthma attack, and learn how to prepare for one.

Once allergy triggers are identified, try to avoid the allergen. If you can't avoid it, taking antihistamine medication can significantly reduce symptoms.

Allergy medications should be taken at specific times to be most effective. For example, hay fever symptoms are often at their worst in the morning, so it's best to take medicine at night. This will allow the medicine to circulate in the bloodstream and be potent when you need it most, when you wake up. Avoid using decongestants, because they do not treat the allergies.

If you suffer from allergies, see an allergist or immunologist. He or she can determine what you are allergic to and the most effective treatments.

Fight Flatulence

Simple tips to help keep gas at bay.


Bad Breath

Easy home remedies for halting halitosis.


Gas-Preventing Drinks
Try these three drinks to put a stop to gas:
• Add ½ teaspoon of ginger to warm water and drink.
Add a cinnamon stick to boiling water. Remove the stick after two minutes and let the water cool down to a manageable temperature before drinking.
Add 2 teaspoons of brandy to warm water and drink.

Fussy Babies
Trying to soothe a fussy or colicky baby can be difficult and frustrating for parents. If your baby is irritable, do not over-stimulate him or her. "Oftentimes, when the baby's starting to get cranky, parents might not realize that the baby's tired, and will try [using] a swing, or a mobile or sometimes those DVDs, thinking it's going to calm the baby," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "But sometimes, that can just be over-stimulating and make the baby just over-the-top fussy."

If your little one is fussy, Dr. Jim recommends moving to a calming environment with less distractions. He demonstrates different ways to hold and soothe a crying baby.

Parenting Dos and Don'ts

Avoid the most common parenting mistakes.

Brooke Burke's kitchen tips for moms

Hair Help
Avocados are rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, and help reduce cholesterol, improve vision and suppress your appetite. Containing more than 25 essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, avocados aren't just healthy for your insides, but nourish your hair as well.

Go inside the Prevention Skin and Hair lab and see how avocados and lemons can give you luscious locks!

Avocado Hair Mask
Wet hair with warm water
Combine an avocado, egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl and mix
Apply to hair and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes
Shampoo and condition as usual
To treat dandruff, apply 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to your scalp and rinse with warm water. You can also use shampoo containing 5 percent tea tree oil.

Dr. Ordon shares tips to keep your skin healthy!

High Blood Pressure

More Health Dos and Don'ts

Liz shares the best ways to cook and store your favorite foods.

• E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork's top tips.

Spin the food color wheel and see what foods should be on your plate and why!

One out of every three Americans has high blood pressure. A diet containing bananas and edamame beans can help lower your blood pressure. Bananas help the body get rid of excess sodium, and this helps lower blood pressure, and the glutamic acid in edamame beans does the same. The beans can also prevent heart disease. If you are allergic to soy, however, avoid edamame.

"You do have to be careful with edamame," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "It does act as like phytoestrogen or estrogen, so if you have [a condition] where you're not supposed to take estrogen, talk to your doctor."

Sex for Heart Health
Having sex regularly can add years to your life. Engaging in the act two to three times per week can cut your risk of heart disease and stroke in half, and may also lower your blood pressure, boost your immunity and help you sleep better! "So do do it!" Dr. Ordon advises.