Posts for: August, 2014
Antibiotics Don't Work for Cold Symptoms
But Many Doctors Still Prescribe Them
By To Your Health Editorial Staff
According to a recent study published in the British medical journal Lancet, about a third of patients who go to their doctor for upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) are diagnosed with acute rhinosinusitis, and 80 percent of those patients receive antibiotics, even though doctors don't have clear criteria for distinguishing between viral and bacterial infections.
Why is this an important distinction? It's important because while bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, viral infections cannot. If you take antibiotics for a viral infection, they won't help and actually might harm you. The Centers for Disease Control emphasizes this very point on its Web site:
"Are you aware that colds, flu, most sore throats, and bronchitis are caused by viruses? Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses? It's true. Plus, taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment."
The Lancet study involved 2,547 adults with clinical signs and symptoms of rhinosinusitis (nasal discharge, discomfort in the cheeks and/or face, cough, cold). The researchers determined that guidelines suggesting antibiotics be administered after seven days of symptoms were not supported by the evidence. They concluded that in general, adults diagnosed with acute rhinosinusitis should notreceive antibiotics regardless of their symptoms due to the risks for adverse side effects and increased antimicrobial resistance.
No one enjoys being sick, but antibiotics aren't the answer, particularly for common URIs and cold symptoms. While cold symptoms aren't pleasant to endure, mom's homemade remedies of chicken soup, vitamins and fluids will be more effective and a lot less risky.
Secrets to Weight Loss
By To Your Health Editorial Staff
Although there's no real mystery to weight loss (burn more calories than you consume), that doesn't mean it's a simple endeavor, which accounts for the millions of people who struggle to achieve their ideal healthy weight.
But struggle no more, because the secrets to weight loss are out of the bottle and yours to follow on your path to lasting health and wellness.
1. Win With Goals: With the World Cup just ended, the importance of goals can't be understated. After all, the teams that scored at least one goal in a match usually won. Goals are absolutely crucial to weight loss, too; you can't achieve a goal if you don't set one. What's more, without goals, it's too easy to get sidetracked by a "bad week" or a less-than-desirable weight-in, and give up. After all, the only goal you've set is to "lose weight." Set tangible, meaningful goals you can achieve each week, month, etc., in terms of the amount of weight you want to lose – and exactly how you'll do it. Put it all on a wall calendar and/or your smartphone, so motivation is at your fingertips.
2. Hit the Track: Running burns calories, but "hitting the track" means tracking your progress – particularly when it comes to your daily food intake. There's a reason why weight-loss programs that recommend tracking your meals are effective; research suggests people who complete food diaries tend to lose more weight than people who don't, pure and simple. When you're tracking what you eat, you're also holding yourself accountable and starting to understand how different foods impact your weight, energy level, etc. Understanding the power (good and bad) of food makes it easier to fill up on more of the healthy stuff and minimize the unhealthy options. And having to record it in a food diary makes it harder to "cheat," because no one wants to write "5 pieces of pizza, 32-ounce Coke, two slices of pecan pie" in their diary.
3. Plan Your Own Party: This doesn't necessarily mean "cheating" with a brownie sundae or a double cheeseburger once a month; it's more about recognizing the effort you've made and motivating yourself to continue doing it. Every month, celebrate your journey with something special – a trip to the local spa, a new outfit (in the size you couldn't fit into a few months before), or a night out with your spouse or friends. Thank yourself for all the hard work you make every day to become a fitter, healthier, lighter – better – you.
4. Just Do It: Nike may have trademarked the phrase, but it's universally applicable to many aspects of life, not the least of which is weight loss. Getting to (and then maintaining) your ideal weight is a lifetime effort, which means every day, every week, every month and every year, life will rear its ugly head and try to sidetrack you. The people who meet their weight-loss goals; the people who make it to the gym in the pouring rain; the people who make smart shopping and food preparation decisions – they have the same frustrations, time constraints, stresses and hectic lives you do. The difference: they "just do it." They make time to exercise, they focus on eating right and they trust that their hard work will pay off. Do the same and you'll reach your weight-loss goal before you know it – and find yourself eager to set and achieve new goals in life you never dreamed possible.