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What you need to know about e-cigarettes

e-cigs

In the 50 years since the surgeon general announced that cigarette smoking was found to have a direct link to lung cancer, it has been uncovered that tobacco use leads to many other serious health issues. To this date, tobacco use remains the #1 leading cause of preventable death and disease in this country.

In recent years a new alternative to traditional tobacco products has appeared on the scene: electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. If you’re wondering about the pros and cons of electronic cigarettes, your health care provider is an excellent resource for information. If you’re considering using electronic cigarettes, there are a number of things to consider: Continue Reading »

Tiny gardens: tips for planting container herbs

tipsplanting

Simon and Garfunkel sang a great song about parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, but these herbs are also fabulous to grow and use in your meals. While many individuals do not have green space to grow a full-fledged garden, with a little time, effort and love many can be successful at growing container herbs.

Growing herbs such as basil, chives or cilantro in pots allows you to have them close at hand, perhaps right on the kitchen counter or on a window sill, patio or porch. Not only will these herbs provide you with ingredients for your foods, but they will also add greenery to your living space.

Below are a few tips to get you started on growing your container herbs.

  1. Light. Sun is crucial for growth. Most herbs originate from sunny regions and thus will need exposure to sun for at least eight hours a day. If growing the herbs inside, identify your south-facing window and place your containers to receive the most of the sun through that window. If planting outdoors, place in a sunny spot, protected from the wind.
  2. Seeds or plants? Despite the late arrival of spring, you might be better off starting your herb garden from plants. That means you may have to purchase small herb plants that are ready to go outside or be transplanted into a container for growing indoors. Starting from seeds is less expensive, and you can start seeds right in the pot you will be growing them in. However, these should be started two months in advance of spring, in full sun.
  3. Drainage. The container you will be growing your herbs in must have a nice size hole on the bottom so excess water can drain out. The last thing you need is water-drenched herb roots that will end up rotting. Continue Reading »

Doctor, when can I drive?

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Your provider realizes that driving a car is a necessity of everyday life for many people. So when something happens—whether it’s a flat tire or a fractured leg—drivers want it fixed quickly so they can get back on the road again.

With this in mind, patients must realize that all injuries and procedures can alter one’s ability to drive. Braking and accelerating require coordinated activity at the hip, knee and ankle. Steering and shifting require use of the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Sitting upright and watching the road requires good spine function. As we see it, driving requires total body coordination.

Based on the available studies, patients who sustain major lower extremity fractures should delay driving the longest, but nearly every orthopedic procedure will have some impact on a patient’s ability to drive safely. The decision to resume driving should be individualized, as everyone’s body heals at different rates. Patients and their doctors need to talk early on about what impact the procedure may have on driving skills and, after the surgery, how the recovery is proceeding. For elective procedures, driving discussions should take place when the decision to schedule surgery is made.

Most studies have considered emergency braking to be the critical test that allows a patient to return to driving without posing a risk to others, but several other factors must be considered: Continue Reading »

What you need to know about a stroke

stroke

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with approximately 795,000 people suffering stroke each year. However, did you know that studies have shown that up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot or broken blood vessel interrupts blood flow to the brain, causing brain cells to die. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, happens when blood flow to the brain stops briefly and then resolves. While this generally does not cause permanent damage, a TIA can be a warning sign that a full stroke is coming. Other signs and symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause. Continue Reading »

Jog, hop or skip for health, but don’t skip breakfast

breakfast

I often hear people say that mornings always feel rushed. Even on weekends it seems like there are a million things to get done. For many, one way to save time is to skip breakfast. However, that is not a very wise choice. Even though there might be kids to drop off at school, work to get to on time and other deadlines in the morning, breakfast is important: it helps with attention span, weight control and helps replenish your body with nutrients.

While it is preferable to have a sit-down breakfast, sometimes that’s simply not an option that fits into our schedules. Many people have shared with me their strategies and food items that ensure breakfast is part of their morning routine, no matter how hurried they feel. Below are a few recommendations.

1. Set the breakfast table the night before. Give kids simple but healthy options to choose from and put non-perishable items (breakfast cereals, fruit cups, whole fruit, etc.) out on the table.

2. Pack a breakfast bag and put it in the fridge. Grab it as you walk out the door. Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.