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Keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning


During winter, we work to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. But keeping fresh air out may cause deadly indoor air quality hazards.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a real threat that escalates in fall and carries through the winter as temperatures drop, and we become more dependent on heating systems. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas caused by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as natural gas, fuel oil and gasoline.

Look for the following signs of carbon monoxide:

  • Sooting at the appliance or vents
  • Sharp, bitter odor of gas
  • Wavering yellow gas flame

One of the best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is by installing a carbon monoxide detector.

Warning signs of CO poisoning include:

  • Disorientation or dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches or blurry vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Heart palpitations

Don’t ignore the symptoms. You could lose consciousness and even die. If you suspect someone has been overcome by carbon monoxide:

  • Remove the person and yourself from the area
  • Call 911 and provide whatever basic life support is necessary

Author: Heong Png, MD

Dr Png is the Medical Director for Emergency Services at Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston.

What you need to know about warts


There is a small scratch on the top layer of your skin, maybe from a simple paper cut, and a virus invades your skin through that tiny scratch. The virus causes rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of skin, creating what we know to be warts.

Common skin warts derive from the human papillomavirus (HPV), which often appears on hands, feet and other areas of your skin. Warts are rarely a cause for concern and most types are relatively harmless.

Contracting warts happens via skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has warts, for example shaking hands or typing on the same keyboard. Small nicks in the skin provide a pathway for the infection. Stronger immune systems are able to fight off the virus even after coming into contact with it, which is why children are more likely than adults to contract the skin infection. Prevention of warts can be done in the following ways:

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Keep your skin healthy and avoid having open cuts
  • Avoid biting your fingernails
  • Avoid direct contact with warts

Continue Reading »

Healthy Weight Kids = Happy and Healthy Kids

Healthy-WeightThe increasing number of children who are overweight or obese is a growing concern for parents and caretakers. While healthy eating and exercise has become a national topic of conversation, it’s important that the potential social and medical problems many of these children face be a part of that discussion as well.

More than “baby fat”
It’s a common assumption that heavier children might lose some of their roundness as they grow up, but many children do not outgrow their tendency to be overweight. Heavy kids generally grow up to be heavy adults and, more importantly, overweight children have many of the same health risks involved with extra weight that adults do, including:

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which puts them at risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Higher risk for diabetes, liver disease, gallstones and esophageal reflux
  • Pain and other joint problems
  • Decreased coordination/dexterity
  • Higher risk for social and psychological problems due to bullying

A pediatrician can help determine a healthy weight for your child and advise you how to help your child meet that goal weight. Other goals may include increased strength, decreased percentage of body fat, reduced anxiety, and improved aerobic fitness and physical activity level. A physical therapist may be able to help with some of these goals as well. Continue Reading »

Meal planning for diabetics: A meal-by-meal guide

Meal planning for your week can take some extra time initially, but knowing what ingredients you need for each meal can save time and stress during you daily routine, especially if you have special dietary needs. Below are enough ideas for each meal of the day to go through one week, and they’re all diabetes-friendly! Look these over, made a list of ingredients for your favorites, and head to the grocery store.


  1. Veggie omelet | Coat a skillet with cooking spray and cook one egg. Add a handful of spinach leaves and mushrooms, onions, garlic and herbs as you like them. Top with 2 tablespoons of reduced fat cheese and serve with one slice of whole-grain toast.
  1. Crunchy yogurt | Top 6 ounces of fat-free, unflavored yogurt with ¼ cup granola, 1 tablespoon ground flax seed, and 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  1. At-home egg McMuffin | Coat a skillet with cooking spray and scramble one egg with chopped tomato, onion or other veggies. Serve with a toasted whole-grain English muffin.
  1. Breakfast smoothie | Mix 6 ounces of fat-free, unflavored yogurt with 2 tablespoons dried mixed fruit, 2 tablespoons ground flax seed and 2 tablespoons of your favorite nuts.
  1. Bagel breakfast | Spread half of a whole-grain bagel with 1 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese or 1 tablespoon of 100-percent fruit spread.
  1. Simple cereal | Combine 1 cup of Cheerios cereal with 1 cup fat-free milk. Enjoy with a medium orange on the side.
  1. Oatmeal with nuts | Cook ½ cup of oatmeal and top with ¼ cup of your favorite nuts and ground cinnamon to taste.

Continue Reading »

The ABCs of healthy aging


Back in your school days you learned to use the alphabet as the building blocks for words, but do you know the building blocks of healthy aging? Your education isn’t complete until you’ve reviewed the ABCs of aging well—in both mind and body!

  • A: Fight anemia
    While not caused by aging per se, anemia is a common condition in older adults and is often the result of more than one issue, such as poor diet, medications or hormone imbalances. If you’re experiencing symptoms of anemia—fatigue, feeling cold, paleness, weakness—talk to your clinician.
  • B: Break routine
    Make small changes in your daily routine to increase brain stimulation. Something as simple as taking a different route on a daily walk or trying something new for breakfast can be enough spark to keep your mind fresh instead of foggy.
  • C: Cultivate your relationships
    Staying connected with people is an important aspect of mental health. Maintain communication with your family and friends, especially after a significant loss or life change.
  • D: Dine with others
    Plan meals with friends and family several times a week. Studies show that those who share meals with others eat less than those who eat alone, decreasing your risk of overeating, and keeping your weight in check.
  • E: Eat healthy foods
    Did you know that a high percentage of adults in the U.S. consume more than double the recommended intake of sodium? Too much sodium can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular disease, so skip the extra salt and focus on nutrient-dense food like fruits, vegetables and whole-grains.
  • F: Fight fatigue
    If you’re feeling tired during the day more often, having a glass of water and a high-antioxidant food, like prunes or blueberries, can revitalize the body and stimulate the mind. 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.