Keeping that weight off

Americans don’t lack methods of dieting – South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Slim Fast, detoxing, juice cleanses – but not all are healthy. With public health organizations and the media constantly remarking on the obesity epidemic in the U.S., new studies on approaches to start and maintain weight loss couldn’t come at a better time.

A new study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance of three popular dieting approaches: low-carb diets, low-fat diets and low-glycemic diets.  Continue reading

FAQs: Influenza 2012-2013

Dr. A. Scott Lea

Dr. A. Scott Lea

Is it too late to get the flu vaccine?
No, it’s not too late and can be obtained from your health care provider, hospital or local pharmacy, in most cases.

How long does it take before the influenza shots are effective?
Influenza vaccine is effective 7 to 14 days after the administration. Those who regularly take the vaccine may react more quickly than individuals who are taking the vaccine for the first time.

Is there anything else I can do to avoid catching the flu during an outbreak?
Be meticulous about your personal hygiene and wash your hands. Set an example and cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough. During an outbreak, avoid large gatherings of people, if possible.

Will the flu shot really fight this year’s strain of the flu? Doesn’t it change every year?
The flu vaccine is formulated each year to cover the most likely strains of the virus that will occur in the United States. One can presume the vaccine administered is this year’s vaccine. The year and viral strains should be clearly visible on the vaccine label. We know that the flu strains in Texas are covered by the 2012-2013 vaccine. Continue reading

Some Home Remedies for Colds and Flu

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

So you have a cold or flu and feel miserable. It is that time of year. Your nose is runny, your throat is sore, you are coughing, sneezing, and are achy all over. Your appetite is poor and you are tired and irritable. What to do?

First off, don’t pick up the phone or go into your doctor to ask for an antibiotic. Not only do antibiotics not work for colds and flu, they have side effects and may increase the presence of drug resistant bacteria. Antiviral therapy for influenza (not the stomach “flu”) can shorten the course of the illness by a day or two if started in the first 48 hours of the illness. Get a flu shot to prevent getting it in the first place.

There is a surprising lack of evidence on over-the-counter cold remedies containing decongestants and antihistamines. These may provide some relief in older children and adults but side effects can limit their usefulness. Avoid if pregnant or in children under 5 as they are one of the 10 leading causes of death in this age group. Continue reading

7 simple steps for a healthy, happy 2013

By Lynn Maarouf

Statistics tell us the “average” American gains a lot of weight over the holidays. Many people who usually eat well are pressured by loving hosts to eat high-calorie foods they would never choose on an ordinary day.

Let’s look at a few simple steps to stay healthy and make it a lucky 2013:

1. Move it! The best time to exercise is before a holiday meal. It gets your metabolism revved-up to burn those calories off faster. Take a trip to the gym or spend an hour walking before you eat. A nice piece of cake will be at least 300 calories. It would take a minimum of 50 minutes of walking for most of us to burn that off.

2. Fill up with fiber and water. Eat a high-fiber cereal with at least 8 grams of fiber in the morning. This helps you feel less hungry and decreases the temptation to overeat. Aim for 20 grams of fiber a day and a big appetite won’t be a big problem. Break out those sandwich thins for five extra grams of fiber. And drink enough water to help that fiber swell and take up lots of room. Continue reading