Happy Nurses Week 2016!

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This week, as we celebrate Nurses Week 2016 around the world, it’s a good time to reflect on the vital, yet often hidden, role that nurses play in our world. Most people are familiar with the work nurses do in hospitals and medical offices but may not know about the many other ways and places that nurses are contributing to the health and well-being of the planet.

Watch: Dr. Oz’s Nurses Reveal What It’s Like to Work With Him

Here are some examples of the major contributions that nurses make.  Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Put Insomnia to Bed, Weird Spots for Skin Cancer, and More

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Don’t miss the latest health news on Sharecare.com:

1. If you suffer from insomnia, the frustration of watching the hours tick by in the middle of the night is almost as bad as your exhaustion the next day. Check out these eight med-free ways to finally get start getting some ZZZs.

2. Have you been checking the usual spots for skin cancer – like your face, arms and legs? Whether you are or aren’t (and we recommend you do!) be sure to add these easy-to-miss spots to your list.

3. After a long day with the kids or at the office, there may be nothing you want more than to relax with a glass of wine. But many people over pour that drink. Darria Long Gillespie, MD, shares her take on the recommended amount of wine to drink for the most health benefits – and how much may be too much.

4. Several well-known triggers, like pollen and mold, can aggravate asthma – but did you know that stress could have an impact, too? Discover how, plus tips to help you stress less.

5. You’ve most likely heard about Elizabethkingia — rare disease that’s infected dozens and claimed over 20 lives in the Midwest. Here’s what you need to know about this mysterious illness that has many health officials baffled.

Put a Face on Mental Illness

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While we’ve made big strides as a society in being accepting of people with all sorts of illnesses, mental illness is often an under-discussed, hidden disease. It’s often the family secret kept about an aunt or uncle who just doesn’t get talked about or the unexplained day off of work you hide from friends and coworkers. I’ve made a big effort recently to try and make mental health a centerpiece of the show to try and bring it out of the shadows and make it acceptable to talk about openly.

Watch: Why Americans Need to Talk About Mental Health

This May is Mental Health Month and this year’s goal is to help people share their story of mental illness with those around them. To give you a little motivation, I want to spend some time making the argument for why disclosing mental illness to others is so incredibly important, both for you and for those you share your story with. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: The State That Raised the Smoking Age to 21, the Link Between Exercise and Pollution, and the FDA’s New Law on E-Cigarettes

 

California’s smoking age is now the same as the federal drinking age. This week, California’s governor Jerry Brown signed a proposed bill that raised the age limit to buy tobacco. “Supporters of the law aim to deter adolescents from the harmful, sometimes fatal effects of nicotine addiction. The Institute of Medicine reports 90 percent of daily smokers began using tobacco before turning 19. In April, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to raise the legal smoking age to 21 and more than 100 local jurisdictions around the country have made the change, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.” The bill will go into effect on June 9, 2016. (NBC)

Air pollution is not an excuse to skip your daily exercise. Researchers claim that the polluted air you may breathe in while exercising outside is not enough of a concern to deter from the benefits of exercise. “The researchers used computer simulations to compare data on different kinds of physical activity and different levels of air pollution in locations around the world. It found that for an average air pollution concentration in an urban area, the tipping point – when the risks begin to outweigh the benefits – comes after a huge seven hours of cycling or 16 hours of walking a day.” Researchers emphasized that efforts to reduce pollution should not stop. (BBC)

The FDA announced new e-cigarette rules. Today, the administration declared that e-cigarettes could not be sold to individuals under the age of 18. “The requirements…are likely to only intensify the debate over whether the devices are a dangerous gateway to traditional tar-laden, chemical-filled cigarettes or a helpful smoking-cessation tool…[anti-smoking advocates] say that e-cigarettes could be harmful, that the long-term health risks are unknown and that companies are marketing their products to younger and younger teens. They say the companies are using the same tactics and themes that the traditional cigarette makers used years ago. The number of middle and high school students using electronic cigarettes tripled between 2013 and 2014, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The new regulations will begin in 90 days, and all e-cigarette retailers must ask customers to provide government-issued photo IDs for age verification. (Washington Post)

Balancing Your Skin From the Inside and Out

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This post was written by Maggie Pierce, a Licensed Aesthetician, and is sponsored by USANA Health Sciences.

As the temperatures begin to warm up outside, it’s easy to throw on your favorite sundress or shorts and head outdoors to soak in the sun. But before you do, remember to take care of your skin from the inside and the outside, to support it in maintaining that healthy summer glow! Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Why You Shouldn’t Use Sleeping Pills for Your Insomnia, 3 Gut-Friendly Beverages, and The Technique That May Help Your Asthma

Ditch the sleeping pills and try therapy instead to eliminate sleeping problems. The American College of Physicians issued new guidelines for insomnia, stating that medication should be avoided at all costs and that alternative methods should be pursued as solutions. “‘We looked at 10 years of very strong research studies that looked at the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy and other interventions in terms of improving sleep for patients who have chronic insomnia,’… sleeping pills don’t work that well and carry risks. One study found that drugs including Ambien and Restoril may double someone’s risk of a car crash.” Other suggestions to help quiet the mind and sleep soundly include turning off electronics. (NBC)

Wine, coffee, and tea may be beneficial for the bacteria in your gut. A new study has shown that certain types of foods and drinks impact the body’s microbes. “Scientists found that consuming fruits, vegetables and yogurt positively influenced microbial diversity in the gut. So did drinking tea, wine, coffee and buttermilk. On the flip side, sugary sodas and savory snacks were associated with lower levels of diversity. So was having irritable bowel syndrome and smoking during pregnancy.” While the cause is unknown, researchers were hopeful that more studies could help doctors begin to analyze bacteria in the body in a whole new way. (LA Times)

Practicing yoga may help relieve your asthma. After analyzing 15 studies, researchers hypothesized that yoga poses and breathing exercises could improve asthma symptoms. “One third of these studies included only yoga breathing exercises, and the rest included breathing, postures, and meditation. The yoga practice lasted anywhere from two weeks to four and a half years, though it was less than six months in most studies. Overall, yoga slightly improved symptoms and quality of life and reduced the need for medications.” More research needs to be done as the studies were small and the results were inconsistent. (Reuters)

New Research on “Biggest Loser” Contestants Reveals Why Sustained Weight Loss Is So Hard

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On The Biggest Loser, contestants went through a weight-loss journey, often losing upwards of a hundred pounds, through exercise and diet regimens. The difference in appearance is dramatic — but does it last? Researchers followed up with contestants to measure what happens after a large weight loss. What they found may not surprise anyone who has struggled to keep the weight off; according to the New York Times, the results “showed just how hard the body fights back against weight loss.” Read more  »

May Is Melanoma Awareness Month

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and May 2nd is designated by the American Academy of Dermatology as Melanoma Monday. On this day, dermatologists focus on raising awareness of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

WATCH: Dr. Oz Shares Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer

Although skin cancer can affect anyone at any time, people older than 50 are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population. According to a survey taken by the American Academy of Dermatology in 2016, many Americans, and men in particular, need a refresher course on safe skin information. Only 56 percent of men and 76 percent know that there is no such thing as a healthy tan and only 54 percent of men knew that getting a “base” tan is not at all healthy as compared to 70 percent of women. We need to encourage people — men especially — to use good sun sense and protect their skin by seeking shade when possible, wearing sun protective clothing, and generously applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when outside. Plus, men need a reminder not to forget a hat and sunglasses to protect the scalp, face, and eyes. Read more  »