Health Hints


nions to the rescue again! Here are some unusual and surprising ways to use an onion:

Soothe a burn  - Rub an onion on top of a burn to temporarily relieve the pain. Bonus: Onions also have antibacterial properties to keep the wound from becoming infected.

Soothe a sore throat - 
Whip up a batch of onion tea to soothe a sore throat. To make, boil a cup of water with the peels of half an onion. 

Soothe insect bites and bee stings. Have a super itchy bug bite or painful bee sting that won't quit? Try rubbing raw onion onto it -- it'll calm the area down.

Remove splinters - Place a piece of tape or adhesive bandage over a small piece of raw onion and lay on top of a splinter. Keep the onion there for about an hour. The splinter will be drawn up to the surface, loosened, and much easier to pull out.  

The immunity-boosting herb, Andrographis, has proven to prevent colds as well. Sold in health food stores under the name Kold Kare, it has shown to reduce fever and enhance the body’s immune system so that it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. The usual dose for cold or allergy symptoms is two or three tables twice a day, taken with a meal. 

About 15 million Americans have severe tinnitus, the sensation of a ringing, roaring or humming in the inner ear.

Using small doses of melatonin (3mg every night for one month), tinnitus symptoms decreased nearly 30%. 

To make sure you get an accurate blood pressure the next time you visit your doctor, sit quietly for five minutes in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back supported rather then on the examination table. Studies have shown that older patients who did this had systolic readings 14 points lower then those who sat on the examination table.

Eye floaters as usually nothing to worry about. They are annoying black shapes that appear and seem to move when you adjust your gaze do not affect your vision and there is no treatment. Floaters are often permanent and some eventually disappear on their own. If many floaters appear or if flashes accompany them, consult a physician immediately. This could be a sign that the vitreous gel that maintains the eyeball’s shape has collapsed and that retinal detachment or other eye damage could occur.   

Some medications have a coating that, if broken, could irritate your stomach or esophagus or possibly cause ulcers. Others simply will not work if they are broken and chewed because the stomach acid would destroy the medicine. Another reason is because many medicines are time-released. Time-release capsules (or tablets) are specially designed to release medicine over a twelve or twenty-four hour time period. If you crush the capsule, it would not work as a time-release pill and it would be dangerous if that medicine were to be released into the stomach all a one time.

A glass of red wine a day is good for you. The polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea, red wine and olives may also help protect you against breast cancer. The antioxidants also help protect you from environmental carcinogens such as passive tobacco smoke.

Exercised-induced headaches, even migraines are caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the head, neck, and shoulders. To avoid, take two Advil Migraine or one Aleve one hour before exercising. Be sure to warm up and cool down gradually.

Sunscreens that have a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating can protect you against sunburn caused by harmful UVB radiation. SPF 15 will provide 15 times more protection then without. An SPF 30 sunscreen will protect you 30 times better. The more powerful UVA rays have not been fully studied so it is recommended that you use additional protection such as parsol 1789, titanium, or zinc oxide all year round. It is still best to avoid exposure to the sun entirely.

educing your fat intake to only 28 grams per day will result in fewer, shorter, and less severe migraine headaches.

Hand washing has a dramatic effect on one’s susceptibility to illness. Studies have shown that people who wash their hands more then 7 times per day were four times less likely to get ill then those who washed less often.

Drink coffee or tea at least 90 minutes before exercising. Caffeine stimulates the release of free fatty acids, which the body uses for energy during exercise. This will lead to fat loss. About 200mgs of caffeine is recommended (the amount in one mug of coffee or three cups of black tea).

Peroxide does not heal wounds. The bubbling action you see when applying hydrogen peroxide to an open wound can mean that it is damaging blood vessels and tissue. It is better to thoroughly clean the wound by irrigating it with clean water. Take a small sandwich plastic bag and pierce the bottom with a pin. Squeeze the bag to create a stream to clean the injured area. Apply an anti-bacterial ointment to prevent scabbing that can slow down the healing process. If a wound will not stop bleeding, take a wet teabag and apply to the wound with firm pressure.

Vegetarians need more iron the non-vegetarians. Iron in plants is absorbed only half as well as iron from meat. If you eat little or no meat, be sure to include iron-rich foods in your diet such as tofu, cooked spinach, pinto beans, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals. Drink decaffeinated beverages only between meals as caffeine can hamper iron absorption. Get some Vitamin C at every meal either through foods or supplements. This vitamin aids in the absorption of iron.

Take an antihistamine at east one hour before going outdoors if you happen to have a strong reaction to mosquito bites. Antihistamines will help block allergy symptoms. Use a non-sedating type like Allegra, Claritin, Clarinex, or Zyrtec.

Give antihistamine medication to children who need it only at night. OTC (over-the-counter) allergy medications can be given at anytime but allergy symptoms often peak at night or early morning so doses given at night are the most effective. Most of these medications make kids sleepy at night so a dose at night will help them to sleep better despite allergy symptoms. Avoid medications that contain pseudoephedrine, a stimulant that can override the sedating effect of the antihistamine and can lead to sleep problems.

The average office desk surface has 400 times as many bacteria present as the average toilet seat! Office phones, fax machines, computer keyboards also have huge numbers of germs. Be sure to clean all surface areas and office equipment with soapy water or use alcohol swabs regularly.

Prescription heartburn medications should be taken regularly.   Up to 60% of people taking lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantpprazole (Protonix), or rabeprazole (Aciphex) report symptoms three or four more times a week, usually because they have not taken medicine regularly.   One tip to avoid heartburn attacks is to eat smaller meals, wait at least two hours after a meal before lying down, and avoid heartburn triggers such as alcohol, chocolate, coffee, and smoking.

Always call 911 if you think you are having a heart attack. The shorter the delay in getting proper attention, the better chances you have of surviving. Ask your doctor to explain the symptoms of cardiac trouble so you can easily recognize a problem quickly. Discuss aspirin therapy if you are at risk. Ask if you should take one at the onset of symptoms or if you should wait 15 minutes to see if they pass. Heart attack symptoms can be mistaken for angina, which usually passes quickly. Aspirin-sensitive patients should discuss alternatives.

Learn to do stretching exercises when you wake up. It boosts circulation and digestion and eases back pain. When you stretch, ease your body into position until you feel the stretch and hold it for about 25 seconds. Breathe deeply to help your body move oxygen-rich blood to those sore muscles. Don't bounce or force yourself into an uncomfortable position.

Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show that eating a proper breakfast is one of the most positive things you can do if you are trying to lose weight. Breakfast skippers tend to gain weight. 

Brush up on hygiene.  Lots of people don’t brush for long enough, don’t floss and don’t see a dentist regularly. Hold your toothbrush in the same way that would hold a pencil, and brush for at least two minutes.  This includes brushing the teeth, the junction of the teeth and gums, the tongue and the roof of the mouth. And you don't need a fancy, angled toothbrush – just a sturdy, soft-bristled one that you replace each month.

American researchers coined the term ‘neurobics’ for tasks which activate the brain's own biochemical pathways and to bring new pathways online that can help to strengthen or preserve brain circuits.  Brush your teeth with your ‘other’ hand, take a new route to work, or choose your clothes based on sense of touch rather than sight. People with mental agility tend to have lower rates of Alzheimer's disease and age-related mental decline.

Swimming is the most asthma-friendly sport of all, but cycling, canoeing, fishing, sailing and walking are also good, according to the experts. 

Men age 40 and older should be screened for prostate cancer, which is the most common and second deadliest cancer among men, but can be easily treated if detected early.