What Is the Gut Microbiome — And Why Does It Require Protection?

The gut is a buzz word in modern health and wellness circles, with many insisting that the microbes found in our gut influence nearly every aspect of our health. This topic has prompted significant confusion, but preliminary research indicates that the gut microbiome has an important role to play. Below, we separate fact from fiction with a detailed explanation of the gut microbiome — and why it’s worth protecting. What Is the Gut Microbiome? Sometimes referred to as the gut flora, the gut microbiome or microbiota consists of the many microorganisms that reside in our digestive tracts. These microbes can…

Read More

Surprising Back to School Dangers — And What to Do About Them

Back to school season should be a time of excitement, but many parents suffer significant stress as their kids move on to another year in the classroom. Much of this stress is warranted, as today’s schools pose multiple dangers — a few of which are outlined below: School Shootings While school shootings are not as common as media reports may have us believe, fear is rampant among today’s students and parents. Preparation can help ease this anxiety. Prior to sending your kid back to school, learn as much as you can about the facility’s violence prevention and emergency response policies….

Read More

Keeping Track of Your Medications When You Have More Than One Illness Or Condition

Today’s Americans take more medications, vitamins, and supplements than past generations. A Consumer Reports survey reveals that the average American who uses prescription drugs takes four each day. If taken at the wrong time or under the wrong circumstances, however, these medications can prove dangerous. Thankfully, a variety of new apps and devices ease the hassle of managing multiple prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs. Top options are highlighted below: Make the Most of Your Mobile Device Set alarms on your phone to remind you when to take various medications throughout the day. Better yet, download a medication management app. These offer…

Read More

The Largest E-Cigarette Company Is Under Fire for its Contributions to a Teen Health Crisis

Recently, 14 teenagers were hospitalized due to breathing problems linked with e-cigarettes. This comes at a time when JUUL, the largest e-cigarette manufacturer, is under scrutiny for its role in the teen vaping health crisis. In recent years, e-cigarette use has exploded among teens and adolescents prompting concern about a potential public health crisis. Some members of Congress want to hold JUUL accountable for what they allege is unethical business practices that target young people and minors. Here is a broad overview of vaping, JUUL, and recent trends around teens and e-cigarette use. Widespread Teenage E-Cigarette Use Over 20% of…

Read More

Preventing Tick-Borne Bacterial Infections Like Lyme Disease

Tick-borne pathogens infect thousands of people each year, causing diseases that range in severity from a mild inconvenience to a serious, life-threatening condition. The most common tick borne pathogen is Lyme disease, which affects an estimated 300,000 people per year. Disease-carrying ticks are found across the US, but Lyme disease is most prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest. Ticks can turn a pleasant walk in nature to a serious threat to one’s health–knowing how to avoid tick bites and spot ticks is essential for anyone who spends even a small amount of time in nature. Ticks and Disease in Nature…

Read More

The Amazing Power of the Coronary Heart Artery Calcium Test

As the leading cause of death for both men and women, heart disease looms large in the United States. What many people don’t realize, however, is that this condition is often entirely preventable. An early understanding of risk factors is critical — hence the importance of coronary calcium tests. How Coronary Calcium Tests Work Coronary calcium tests harness the power of computed tomography (CT) scanners. These machines take several pictures of thin sections of the heart, ultimately combining to form a view capable of revealing specks of calcium situated in the arteries. Known as calcifications, these specks form one of…

Read More

Children At Significant Risk of Contracting Contagious Diseases at Petting Zoos

When parents show their children animals, the first thought on a parent’s mind is usually safety. Since barnyard animals are usually harmless and are loved by young children, petting zoos are popular destinations for family outings in some areas. But, parents should consider the threat posed by animal-borne pathogens at petting zoos and other similar activities. Regular Outbreaks The danger posed by exposure to pathogens found in petting zoos was highlighted recently with the death of a two-year-old, who died after he and three other children contracted E. coli at a petting zoo near San Diego. Outbreaks like these occur…

Read More

Look Out For Parasite “Crypto” in Drinking and Swimming Water This Summer

Cryptosporidium, or “crypto,” is a water-borne parasite that causes a disease called cryptosporidiosis. Crypto is the leading cause of diarrhea caused by contact with water. Summer is the worst season for crypto, as the hot temperatures create ideal conditions for the virus to thrive. Over the past decade, the number of reported crypto cases has been rising as outbreaks become more frequent. Here are some tips for how to avoid catching this water-borne pathogen. Crypto Facts Listed below are some statistics from the CDC about the scope of the crypto problem: The number of outbreaks increased approximately 13% on average…

Read More

Heat Advisory Warning for DC This Weekend – What to Know

This weekend, temperatures in DC will soar to over 100 degrees, with some areas forecast to be over 110 degrees. The extreme heat has prompted the city to enact its heat emergency plan to mediate the effects of the weather. The DC City Government advises people to be cautious of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. The high temperatures combined with the summer humidity create conditions that are dangerous for those who are outside too long and don’t stay properly hydrated. In order to beat the heat, the city is offering several options for those in need of relief: Cooling centers…

Read More

Vaping: Safer than Cigarettes, but Still Not Safe for Teens

In the past few decades, smoking rates have decreased drastically, especially among young people. Unfortunately, new ways of nicotine consumption are replacing traditional tobacco use among teens and young people. Vaping Over Cigarettes: Not Great, Not Terrible Either While cigarettes burns tobacco, a ‘vape’ instead heats concentrated nicotine juice which is then turned to steam and inhaled by the user. E-cigarettes and vapes have been around for more than a decade, but the NIH says their use has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to popular vape brands like Juul. Most vape and e-cigarette companies present themselves as healthier alternatives to…

Read More