Insect Bites and Stings: How to Prevent Them and When to Worry

Mosquito sitting on the skin

You’re out enjoying a wonderful picnic supper with your family when — ouch! You’re been bitten by a bug. Suddenly you went from having dinner to becoming dinner. Most insect bites and stings are a mild annoyance, but some mosquitos, ticks, and spiders carry disease, which can lead to serious medical problems. What can you do to protect yourself and, if you’re bitten, when should you see your doctor? Read more  »

Recovery – It’s as Important as the Workout

Sporty woman drinking detox smoothie

Written by Sergio Rojas, certified strength and conditioning and corrective exercise specialist and certified nutrition expert

Sponsored by USANA Health Sciences

When it comes to exercise and consuming the right nutrients, I often find people are far more concerned with what to put into their bodies before a workout in order to get maximum results and far less concerned about what to put into their bodies after the workout. The truth is that your post-workout nutrition can be as important as, if not more important than, your pre-workout nutrition and could affect your long-term results.

Proper post-exercise nutrition helps with replenishing vital nutrients for your body and repairing stressed muscles, which can help you to recover more completely and aid better performance during your next workout. It’s the ultimate pre-exercise nutrition for your next workout.

Now that you understand the importance of post-exercise nutrition, the next part is finding out what to eat or drink after your workout for the best results. This will vary from person to person based on a variety of personal factors as well as the types of exercise you do. High-intensity interval training, long-distance running, and weight lifting all have different demands and create different nutritional needs.

Here are my tips for post-exercise nutrition. Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Small Changes for Big Weight Loss, Tracking Your Psoriasis Triggers, and 6 Signs Your Child Should Go to the ER

woman-eating-pepper

This week on Sharecare we’re helping you spot symptoms in your little one that may mean an ER trip, make smarter eating choices to cut calories and manage your psoriasis pains.

1. A sick child can be a scary thing — especially for new parents. Often you only need to make a quick call to your pediatrician, but when certain signs and symptoms strike, it may be time to head to the hospital. Learn what you should watch out for when you have a child feeling under the weather.

2. Controlling your psoriasis flare-ups and symptoms can be tough. One of the easiest ways to better manage your condition is by keeping tabs on what triggers them. Try these three smart tracking strategies and become better equipped to speak to your doctor about treatment.

3. Losing weight doesn’t have to mean eating foods that taste like cardboard. Check out these mealtime tricks — from ditching white bread to picking the right fruit — that can help you eat healthier and slim down.

4. Need some fitness inspiration? Discover what these Sharecare experts have to say about staying active during the summer and get the scoop on how you can shape up and feel great, too.

5. Being a caregiver to someone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult. Find out how you can better respond to your loved one’s RA pain with these four caregiving tips and tricks.

Dealing With Burns on July 4th Weekend

Firework displayJuly 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays. It embodies the spirit of family, reminds us of our roots as a country and provides a day filled with fun and good food. Unfortunately, the weekend is also often a big one for emergency rooms across the country that see a large number of burns from fireworks and grills. So in an effort to keep you and those you love out of the ER this weekend, I’ve gathered a few safety tips to help get through the holiday. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Sugary Drinks, Surgery Complications, and Diabetes

Sugary drinks linked to thousands of deaths every year. You probably know that sugary drinks aren’t good for you, but you probably didn’t realize they might lead to death. That’s the finding in a study out this week. “By contributing to obesity and, through that, to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks appears to claim the lives of about 25,000 American adults yearly and is linked worldwide to the deaths of 180,000 each year. To generate those estimates of sugary beverages’ health toll, researchers combed through national dietary surveys that captured patterns of beverage consumption in 51 countries from 1980 to 2010. The researchers then mined resource databases to discern the availability and consumption of sugar in 187 countries. They tallied consumption of drinks, homemade and mass-produced, that deliver 50 calories or more per 8-ounce serving, and did not count 100% fruit juices.” The research showed that the U.S. is second behind Mexico in terms of deaths caused by sugary drink consumption. (LA Times)

If you have a complication from surgery, head to the same hospital. When something doesn’t seem quite right after surgery, it can be hard to figure out what to do. A new study published this week has found that you’ll probably be better off going back to the hospital that did the surgery. “The team analyzed Medicare claims data from 2001 to 2011 on patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after major surgeries, including coronary artery bypass surgery, removal of the colon or pancreas, and hip or knee replacement. Between six and 22 percent, depending on the surgery, went back to the hospital within a month. More than half the time, patients were readmitted or transferred to the hospital where they had the surgery. Those who returned to the original hospital where the surgery was done were 26 percent less likely to die within three months of surgery than those admitted to a different hospital.” The researchers point out that this is likely because the original surgeon knows the patient and their medical background when they arrive, allowing them to act quickly to try and fix what might be wrong. Often, ambulances called in these cases will take a person in trouble to the closest hospital, which may not be the right hospital. According to the authors, “patients should try to stay in the immediate vicinity of their surgical hospital for at least a week in case something goes wrong.” (Fox)

If you’re on the road to diabetes, you probably have no idea. Type 2 diabetes has been on the rise for many years, but according to a new study part of the trouble in preventing it is that many don’t even know they’re at risk. “To gauge awareness of a diabetes risk among people with pre-diabetes, researchers gathered a large group of people and weeded out those who said they already had diabetes. Then, they reviewed A1c test results for everyone else to see whether their average blood sugar had been elevated over the last few weeks, an early sign of diabetes. Out of 2,694 adults with high blood sugar, only 288 or one in eight were aware of their status. People who were aware of their condition were about 30 percent more likely to exercise and get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. They were also about 80 percent more likely to attempt weight loss and to have shed pounds in the past year. Lacking awareness, people with the elevated blood sugar levels often fail to make lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise or eating less sugary food that might prevent them from ultimately becoming diabetic.” The team says people who think they might be at risk should talk to their doctor about whether they need to be tested and should ask for an explanation on what the results mean and whether they need to make changes in their lifestyle. (Reuters)

“Healthy” Fitness Foods May Inspire More Eating, Less Exercise

woman grocery store nutrition label buying jamWhat was the last healthy snack you had? Can you remember what made you think it was healthy? Food producers put large amounts of time, creativity, and money into designing their food packaging to make you buy it, even if that packaging might be a little misleading, and health foods are no exception. New research recently released has revealed that the marketing around the health snacks you eat may be leading you unknowingly into weight gaining behaviors. Read more  »

Germs You Don’t Need to Worry About

mother washing her children hands

For the record, a few of the things my toddler put in her mouth this week include the dog’s soccer ball; her foot (how does she even DO that); and a cracker that fell on the kitchen floor (hey, the floor was cleaned that week…)

All in the name of a strong immune system, I say. Germs are everywhere, and at last check, wrapping a bubble around your child isn’t feasible. The fact is, children depend on exposure to some germs for immune system development. On the other hand, there are bugs like the flu, MRSA and C. difficile, which you do want to avoid. So, when can you five-second rule it and when does your child need a full-scale hose-down (or at least a thorough washing of hands)? Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Fourth of July Safety Tips, Migraine Maintenance Quiz, and a Quick Tip to Sleep Easier Tonight

older woman sleeping

This week on Sharecare we’re preparing you for a safer holiday, helping you improve your eye health and testing your knowledge on mind-blowing migraines.

1. Don’t let minor mishaps – think mosquito bites and sparkler burns – ruin your Independence Day celebrations. Instead, check out these five ways to have an awesome – and safe – Fourth of July.

2. Did you know that about one in three women in the U.S. will have a hysterectomy before age 60? If you’re considering getting a hysterectomy, get the facts on whether you really need it – and what to expect during and after the procedure.

3. Head-splitting migraines are more than just painful – they’re almost unbearable. Take our quiz to see what you know about migraines and find out the best ways to ease the throbbing aches.

4. Trouble sleeping? Try this to get some shut-eye tonight: Go for a walk! Watch this video to learn why it helps and discover other cardio activities that are good for deeper sleep.

5. It’s not always easy to tell how healthy your eyes are. Take our assessment to receive personalized recommendations to protect your vision and reduce your risk of common eye problems.

Stressed Out? Don’t Fall Into These 8 Common Traps of Negative Thinking

Woman Outdoors Looking Away

When you’re dealing with stress, it’s easy to think in distorted ways, and this often leads to the pitfalls of negative thinking. We’ve all engaged in this before, but the good news is that just noticing that you’re doing it is often enough to get you to stop.

I’ve listed eight of the most common negative thinking patterns below and you’ll probably recognize a few familiar ones that you use. So be on the lookout and notice if you start to engage in any of these – and then throw them out with the trash! Read more  »