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Summer Kick Off

Memorial Day is the official summer kick off  – grills are heating up and so is the sun. With that in mind, we wanted to remind you to take a few moments every day to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun. And for those days when you’re not on the beach, it’s important to protect yourself and your kids from sun damage, too.

Sunscreen should be worn every day to prevent sun damage. Even if you have damaged skin from summers past, you can prevent additional damage by wearing broad spectrum sunscreen. Broad spectrum means that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays with SPF values of 15 or higher. To get the most protection, apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure, and reapply at least every two hours.

But don’t get a false sense of protection just because the SPF has a higher number. UVA rays damage your skin without even turning your skin red (UVB rays cause sun burn) and may initiate skin cancer. Products no lower than SPF30 and no higher than SPF50 are recommended, but be sure they are labeled broad spectrum and have UVA-blocking ingredients such as:

  • zinc oxide
  • titanium dioxide
  • avobenzone
  • ecamsule
  • oxybenzone

Sunscreen is just one vital part of your sun protection routine. Clothing with SPF is also recommended. Many companies are now making swimwear and clothing that has built-in SPF. Everything from bathing suits and fitness attire to dresses, hats, and sunglasses, are all available with SPF 50. The best way to prevent sun damage is to stay out the the sun altogether, but that’s a challenge when you live at the beach! So, when you want to take walk, go for a run, or dip your toes in the sand, just be sure to wear proper sun protection.

May is Mental Health Month

imagesMental health has long been ignored by our society because it’s not easy to diagnose. Recent studies suggest about half of all mental illness arises by age 14. About 2 million teens experience clinical depression each year. The cost of this is suffering school work, substance abuse, increase risk of pregnancy, social isolation and suicide. More and more pediatricians are including depression screening as part of the annual physical — just like checking their height, weight and blood pressure. Ned Calonge, chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says, “The fact that we can identify these kids through screening, then effectively treat them in terms of improving their health status, is why we think this is a worthwhile recommendation for all kids.”

Last year, Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds was stabbed repeatedly by his son, Gus. Creigh survived, but his son shot and killed himself. The day prior to the attack, Gus had undergone a psychiatric evaluation and the magistrate judge issued an emergency custody order. But, Gus was sent home after being told no psychiatric beds were available. Officials at the local community service board initially said all area hospitals had been contacted, but none had space for the young man. Later, it was learned that nearby hospitals confirmed that they had not been called.

States have been reducing hospital beds because of insurance pressures as well as to provide more care outside of institutions. Robert Glover, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, said that “states have cut $5 billion in mental health services from 2009 to 2012. In the same period, the country eliminated at least 4,500 public psychiatric hospital beds – nearly 10% of the total supply.” Many people with mental illness get no care at all.

Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, stated, “The way we pay for mental health today is the most expensive way possible. We don’t provide support early, so we end up paying for lifelong support.”

More statistics:

  •  Nearly 40% of adults with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder received no treatment.*
  • Among adults with any mental illness, 60% were untreated.*
  • Suicide claims the lives of 38,000 Americans per year. That’s more than car accidents, prostate cancer and homicides. **
  • 90% of suicides are related to mental illness. ***

 

*2012 National Survey of Drug Use and Health.

**Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

***National Institute of Mental Health

Tips and Tricks to Falling Asleep and Staying Asleep

Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night? Is your mind racing worrying about the next day’s tasks and activities? Millions of Americans are working overtime just to keep up, while others have family issues they’re worried about that’s keeping them up at night. Here are some helpful tips to clear your mind and get you to fall asleep and stay asleep:

Plan ahead for the next day earlier in the day.
Don’t wait until bedtime to start thinking about what you need to do the next day – especially if you already know it’s going to be a busy one. This way, you can clear your mind well before bedtime so you can fall asleep a little easier.

If you are tossing and turning… get up and go to another room. Don’t be frustrated because you can’t fall asleep, this will only destroy your sleep environment.

Create a ritual – Perhaps a hot bath or a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea will help set your mind and body at ease? However, avoid eating, working or watching TV in bed.

If these tricks don’t work, you may have an underlying medical condition that’s the culprit.

  • chronic pain
  • acid reflux
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • sleep apnea
  • menopause

If you’re suffering from lack of sleep and , talk to your doctor about some of the issues you’re having. He may be able to help you with medications, or refer you to a sleep disorder clinic for a comprehensive sleep study.

FDA panel votes to keep Singulair as a prescription

Recently, a panel of expert advisors to the FDA voted against Singulair becoming an over-the-counter medication. The panel voted 11-to-4 against selling the popular allergy drug without a doctor’s approval.

The main reason for the no-vote was due to the concern over asthma patients using Singulair to treat their asthma as a rescue medication. Unlike inhaled bronchodilators that serve to provide immediate relief of asthma, Singulair would not provide the instant relief and could lead to significant delay in treatment and relief, thus causing further complications from asthma.singulair_art_200h_20090218161846

“A major concern would be for this medication’s inappropriate use in children as well as patients self-medicating their asthma,” said Dr. Harlan Weinberg, director of pulmonary medicine and pulmonary rehabilitation at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, NY. He also added that “medication interactions are always a concern and your use of Singulair with other prescription medications must be reviewed with your physician.”

The FDA does not always, nor does it have to, follow the advice of its expert panels, but it usually does. We’ll keep you posted on any changes to Singulair’s status.

 

To read more, visit http://consumer.healthday.com