Entire stores are filled with multivitamins and supplements that pledge to help with everything from depression to athlete’s foot. With so many options out there, it can be difficult for patients to know what is beneficial or even where to start.
“Today more than ever it’s important for patients to work with their physician or nutritionist when considering supplements. Some are beneficial, but others can be dangerous, especially when it comes to interacting with other supplements or medications,” said Aaron Michelfelder, MD, an integrative medicine and family medicine physician at Loyola University Health System. “In general there is no benefit from taking a supplement just for the sake of supplementing. So talk to your doctor about what would be beneficial for you.”
Fun Food Facts
*Chop suey was created in America by a Chinese cook who worked in a California mining camp in the 1800s. He made a stir fry of a variety of vegetables, called it tsa sui, which in Mandarin Chinese means “various things.” Americans, however, heard it as chop suey.
*French fries are not from France. They were first made in Belgium in 1876. The term “french” refers to the way of cutting the potatoes before cooking.
One always hears about how important it is to drink enough water while exercising, but in rare cases people have actually died from overhydration, according to sports medicine physician Dr. James Winger of Loyola University Medical Center.
Overhydration by athletes is called exercise-associated hyponatremia. It occurs when athletes drink even when they are not thirsty. Drinking too much during exercise can overwhelm the body’s ability to remove water. The sodium content of blood is diluted to abnormally low levels. Cells absorb excess water, which can cause dangerous swelling in the brain.
As the school year starts in full swing many parents wonder if their child should receive the HPV vaccine, which is recommended for girls ages 11-26 and boys 11-21. There are a lot of questions and controversy around this vaccine, but many pediatricians say it comes down to protecting people from a leading cause of death.
When a sunburn strikes, you know that something in your sun protection plan went wrong. While you can plan to better manage the sun’s strong rays next time with a good sunblock, taking rapid action to soothe your skin will help send the sting away in no time, according to Dr. Rebecca Tung, director of Dermatology division at Loyola University Health System.
As the days of summer dwindle, children’s anxiety levels often increase. In addition to getting school supplies, registration completed and vaccinations up to date, it’s important for parents to talk to their kids and understand how they feel about heading back to school.
Female triathletes have more than blisters to worry about. A study conducted at Loyola University Health System finds they are also at risk for abnormal bone density, pelvic-floor disorders, decreased energy and menstrual irregularities.
The study, recently presented at this year’s American Urogynecologic Society meeting, found that 1 in 3 female triathletes suffered from a pelvic-floor disorder such as urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence and pelvic-organ prolapse. Also, 1 in 4 had one component of the female athlete triad, a condition characterized by decreased energy, menstrual irregularities and abnormal bone density from excessive exercise and inadequate nutrition.
Backpacks. Crayons. Glue sticks. EpiPen? For more and more school-age children the Epipen® is becoming a necessity for completing the back-to-school supply list. In fact, allergic conditions are one of the most common medical conditions affecting children in the U.S.
“Accidental exposure to allergens at school is a major concern for kids with severe allergies since any exposure could be fatal,” said Joyce Rabbat, MD, pediatric allergist at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Parents are starting to see the back-to-school commercials on TV and thinking of the things they have to do to get their children ready for the first day of school. To avoid the rush at the doctor’s office, they should schedule appointments now for their children’s school or sports physicals. And they should also know that the state of Illinois has made some changes to students’ vaccination requirements.
Is grilling healthy?
It can be! Grilling is a lighter way to cook meats and vegetables, while still adding quite a bit of flavor. Based on research findings, eating moderate amounts of grilled meats such as fish, lean meats and poultry is fairly healthy, so long as you don’t char it.
Research has shown that grilling meats for a long time at high heat may trigger the formation of carcinogens, heterocyclic amine (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). PAHs come from the smoke, while HCAs come from blackened bits of charred meat.
Summer means more bugs, including pesky mosquitoes and ticks. Our specialists have tips about which insects are harmful, what diseases they carry and how to safely avoid them.
“Mosquitoes and ticks are the two pests you primarily want to avoid because they can carry infectious diseases,” said Jennifer Layden, MD, PhD, infectious disease specialist at Loyola University Health System. “Ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus.”
To avoid these pests, you may buy insect repellent. But what levels of protection do they offer?
With Independence Day nearly here, emergency departments and trauma centers nationwide are beginning to treat patients injured by fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hand and finger damage are the most common fireworks injuries and account for 32 percent of all reported injuries.
That can have huge financial, social and emotional implications. It can also change how you communicate for life.
Summer means cooking out and gathering with friends and family around the fire pit or campfire. It also means a seasonal increase in trips to the emergency department and burn unit for burn injuries.
“The old adage of ‘When you play with fire, you get burned’ is true; you must always be very serious and attentive when fire is involved,” said Richard L. Gamelli, MD, director of the Burn & Shock Trauma Research Institute, director of the Burn Center and senior vice president and provost of the Health Sciences Division at Loyola University Chicago. ”Injuries due to fire happen easily and fast, especially when children are involved or alcohol has been abused.”
The burger patty that slides off the plate, the ice cream treat that plops on the picnic table, the hot dog that rolls off the grill – conventional wisdom has it that you have five seconds to pick it up before it is contaminated.
But is that fact or folklore?
Summer block party season is here and that means inflatable bounce houses will be springing up in neighborhoods across the country. As kids jump into this fun summer activity it’s important to ensure they are safe.
“Bounce houses are a great way to get kids active and are considered a relatively manageable risk since the severity of injuries is usually less than that of a trampoline. Still, injuries and fractures are fairly common from bounce house play and parents need to supervise the children,” said Teresa Cappello, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Should I be taking a multivitamin?
Research indicates it is best to receive vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants from their natural food sources. For the majority of people, if you are eating a well-balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean meats, then you are likely meeting your nutrient needs. Those people with specific conditions or restrictive diets, such as for osteoporosis or a known vitamin-deficiency, may benefit from supplementation. It is best to discuss these concerns with your health-care provider to determine if you have any specific needs. Bottom line? Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.
- From your registered Loyola dietitians
Trips and falls can happen at all stages of life, but as we start to age they can become more numerous. Aging can magnify the impact of risk factors associated with falls and also brings up new and often less obvious factors that affect balance and stability. The causes of balance issues could come from a number of different sources, many that don’t have a seemingly direct connection to balance or falls.
“Maintaining good balance becomes even more important as our joints and bones begin to weaken, making the impact of a trip or fall even more devastating,” said Jason Rice, MD, primary care internist at Loyola University Health System.