October 2009

Keep Lung Cancer at Bay

The number one cause of cancer death for both men and women worldwide, lung cancer affects both non-smokers and smokers alike. Once diagnosed, victims usually have a poor prognosis—survival rates are only 16% at five years. And even that isn’t fun; with combined treatments of radiation, surgery and chemo, lung cancer simply isn’t a pretty or positive experience from any angle.

Over 170,000 Americans develop lung cancer annually. Of these, about 10% are in non-smokers. However, many of those cases—at least 3,000 of them— were caused by “passive smoking,” or through the effects of secondhand smoke. People who live with smokers have a 24% risk increase of getting lung cancer.

All of this simply points out the obvious—don’t smoke or be around smoke if you don’t want lung cancer! Cigarette smoking has been medically determined to be the biggest risk factor of getting lung cancer.

Sugar and Kids

I believe that sugar is the equivalent of crack for kids. Last Thanksgiving, my extended family and I were about ready to eat our traditional pumpkin pie for dessert after the meal. Someone brought out a can of whipped cream and my cousin proceeded to give 4 or 5 whippits directly into the mouth of her 2-year-old son, then acted surprised when he went into a frenzy yelling screaming around the living room.

Using Exercise as a Way to Target the Evils of PMS

PMS is quite possibly the  worst thing about being a woman on a month to month basis. My breasts swell, get sore and drop halfway to my belly, which also grows to ginormous proportions. Because I am tall, I typically gain no less than 5 fricking pounds of water bloat, feel like a blimp and as everyone who crosses my path during Aunt Flo’s little visit can attest to, I have a much tougher time with my moods.

Gag Me with a Spoon

I’m going to try to make this as non-gross as I can.

I have a severe gag reflex. Anyone else out there knows that this is super hard to control; sometimes you can’t even control it. It can make swallowing pills a battle, being checked for strep throat torture. A lot of people with a bad gag reflex are triggered by gagging noises, vomiting on television, the smell of puke, that sort of thing.

My main trigger—though smell will sometimes do it, too—is visual. When I see vomit, I automatically feel like vomiting. Remember when Lard A** got revenge at the annual Blueberry Festival in Stand by Me? Yeah. I’m like those people.

How to Drink More Water

Most of us know that we should drink plenty of water—if not the 8 glasses assigned a day by many people, at least enough to keep us hydrated and healthy. Water is pretty much free; a good filtration system can eliminate the cost of bottled water. And yet we continue to spend billions of dollars on soda, bottled teas and energy drinks, and a variety of other thirst-quenchers that come in a can.

Why? My guess is for taste. Sure, I’ll imbibe on soda or an iced coffee just to help keep me awake—drinking Mountain Dew and sweet tea both by the case made me sick when I tried to stay up all of the time when I had my daughter, was working full time, and attending college. But I must admit that it got the job done. These days, when I limit myself to one or two sodas in times of “cram emergency,” I definitely don’t stay up as late. (Then again, I’ve gotten older, too…)

National Roller Skating Month

Looking for a fun way to stay in shape, burn calories and not go to the gym? Roller skating might be for you. Yes, roller skating—and roller blading—still exist! They are alive and well at a rink near you, playing everything from the latest pop chart topper to your guiltiest pleasure—which could very well be the same thing—as you zoom around in blissful circles.

Many Americans simply love to skate—and why shouldn’t they? It’s a popular choice for birthday parties, hanging out on Friday night, and meeting potential love interests. (Remember how Charlize Theron skated with Christina Ricci in Monster? Admit it, you sang along; who doesn’t sing along to Journey? You probably even cried.) Almost half of Americans even say that they own roller skates or roller blades.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By now we’ve all jumped aboard the Boobie wagon—or at least we’ve made some progress… or thought about it. Breast exams in the shower, annual visits, fruits and veggies, exercise… check, we’ve got it under control. Or at least, we know what we need to do so, right?

But an article about breast cancer risk and kids really grabbed my attention today. It said that preventing breast cancer begins in childhood—and not just while little Jane is in diapers, but when she’s in the womb.

Now I’m way behind! How can I look myself in the mirror knowing that I didn’t think of my daughter’s breast cancer risk while she was an embryo in my uterus? How can I live with myself?

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable diseases that kids can get. That said, 250,000 kids have high levels of lead in their blood annually. Every October, National Lead Poisoning Prevention week is held to help raise awareness about lead poisoning.

Lead is simply one of those things that you really wish wasn’t around. Sure, it’s got its uses, but giving your kids learning disabilities or seizures really aren’t things we’re interested, thanks. Though kiddos with lead poisoning often have no symptoms, they can also develop stomachaches, irritability, behavioral problems, fatigue, headaches, nausea and even die from lead exposure.

During this week, it’s stressed that all kids younger than six be tested for lead. Ages one and two are particularly at risk. Many health clinics offer free lead screening during this week, so there’s no excuse to not get it done.

How to Naturally Fight Off Allergies

Allergies are never any fun, particularly during “peak” seasons. They can ruin a good hayride, make you feel sick—or even as if you’re drowning in your sleep—and generally make life miserable for days, weeks or longer. While a doctor visit is warranted for anyone with allergies, and many medications can provide relief, there are plenty of natural ways to combat your allergies that you might want to try as well.

The next time your allergies plague you (which, for many of us, is now), try some of the following tips and techniques.

Drink hot tea. Is hot tea not the best remedy for nearly everything on the planet? Hot teas help ease many allergy symptoms, as well as provide a soothing effect. Lighter teas usually have better health properties. Coffee and other hot drinks may help as well.