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Avoid These Summer Hazards!

It’s definitely a HOT summer here in South Florida! While you might only be thinking of enjoying grilled food, swimming in the pool, or playing fun summer sports like volleyball or baseball, it’s important to be aware of some common summer hazards during this sunny season. Here are the most common health effects during summer months, and what you can do to prevent them.

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Top Summer Superfoods

Due to the high levels of nutrients found in  superfoods, they are able to stand alone as one of the healthiest snacks a person could ever munch on – especially in this South Florida heat! Paired with something else, though, and these foods are virtually unstoppable. Of course, people enjoy seasonal foods that work well for the months they are eaten in. Summer, for example, is a time when people’s appetites are suppressed, thus altering what they will eat. Well, fear not: Summer has seasonal superfoods, too!

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Millions Take Their Chances With Osteoporosis

Article: Fearing Drugs’ Rare Side Effects, Millions Take Their Chances With Osteoporosis

Millions of Americans are missing out on a chance to avoid debilitating fractures from weakened bones, researchers say, because they are terrified of exceedingly rare side effects from drugs that can help them.

Reports of the drugs’ causing jawbones to rot and thighbones to snap in two have shaken many osteoporosis patients so much that they say they would rather take their chances with the disease. Use of the most commonly prescribed osteoporosis drugs fell by 50 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to a recent paper, and doctors say the trend is continuing.

Read the rest of this article on NyTimes.com.

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Why Vitamin D is Essential

For those of us living locally in South Florida, we’re pretty familiar with vitamin D! But did you know that even though we live in the sunshine state,  a lot of us are low in vitamin D? It’s not uncommon! Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, of which bodies should have sufficient amounts. It is a bit of a challenge to get enough vitamin D in a normal, everyday diet, so oftentimes people choose to supplement their intake with medical supplements that can be purchased over the counter. Vitamin D is found at a cellular level in the body. Vitamin D is found in some foods, as well as natural sunlight, and is needed for health and the maintenance of strong bones. It helps bones by increasing calcium absorption in the body, which is one of the main building blocks of bones. People who are deficient in vitamin D may have thin and brittle bones, which leads to osteomalacia. Vitamin D is used for many functions of the body, including muscle movement, nervous system communication, and immunity against disease. Vitamin D, with its strong ties to calcium, helps protect aging people from osteoporosis.

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Tips for a Safe South Florida Summer

It’s already beginning to feel like summer here in South Florida! With even hotter summer weather in Florida right around the corner, it is essential for you to protect your health with several habits that can prevent medical problems. Have a safe & healthy summer with these tips!

1. Drink Enough Water throughout the Day

Dehydration is a serious problem that can occur at anytime of the year but is more common in the summer because you perspire more. If you are accustomed to drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soft drinks or tea, then you will urinate more often, leading to additional loss of body fluids. While you do not need to give up your favorite flavored beverages during the summer, you should make sure to drink at least eight glasses of pure water each day. You can supplement your hydration by eating fruits that are high in water content.

2. Protect Your Skin with Sunscreen 

Florida has year-round sunny weather, but in the summer, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are more intense. If you are outside more often because there is no rain, then applying protective sunscreen products is essential to prevent skin damage. Sunburned skin is uncomfortable, and it can lead to medical problems immediately or in the future. Not only does skin damage from the sun lead to wrinkles, but also, it can lead to some forms of skin cancer.

3. Use Safety Precautions while Swimming

Swimming is a favorite activity in Florida in either a pool or the ocean, and to avoid injuries, you must use safety precautions. Make sure to have a written list of rules for anyone using a swimming pool at your home, and also, provide life jackets or floatable devices. Install a fence around a swimming pool at your home, and make sure that everyone knows that they should only swim at the ocean or in a pool when another person is nearby.

4. Use Protective Gear while Riding a Bicycle

If you enjoy riding a bicycle in the summer, then invest in protective gear, including a helmet that fits properly. It is also a good idea to wear specialized pads on your elbows and knees in case your bicycle tips over. To ensure drivers in vehicles can see you, place reflectors on various parts of your bicycle and wear a light-colored shirt, jacket or shorts. Learn how to maneuver a bicycle correctly on streets or sidewalks to avoid an accident that can lead to a serious injury.

5. Use Insect Repellents to Avoid Bite and Stings

When you are outside more often in the summer, there is a greater chance of receiving a sting or bite from an insect – especially those pesky mosquitos! Several types of insects can transmit diseases that lead to itchy or painful bumps, and some species of spiders are venomous. Protect your health by applying insect repellents to your skin to avoid contamination from mosquitoes, ticks or wasps.

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9 Tips for Exercising Outdoors

Living in South Florida, it’s always nice to take advantage of the sunshine and beautiful scenery. There’s nothing better than a cool breeze during an intense workout, like a run on the beach by the ocean. But are you exercising responsibly under the hot sun? Here are just a few tips for working up a sweat in the blazing heat.

1. Wear Sunscreen

It isn’t just for an afternoon at the beach. If you plan on spending any substantial length of time outdoors, put on sunscreen before you do. Make sure you choose a brand that provides UVA and UVB protection. Even if it’s cloudy outside, lather it on!

2. Choose Your Socks Carefully

Most exercise requires your feet, so if your sweaty socks are giving you infections, irritations or injuries, you might wind up sidelined while your feet heal. To avoid this fate, buy socks in light, breathable fabrics.

3. Eat Complex Carbs

Complex carbs work on a slow-release system. If you eat them the night before you work out in the sun, you’ll start converting them into energy the next day while you’re actually outdoors. It’s never okay to skip a meal, especially when you’ll be burning calories!

4. Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins C and E will help protect you from the effects of the sun. They can also take some of the sting out of your sunburn if you weren’t quite quick enough to grab them from your medicine cabinet. It’s good to stock up on aloe vera or an aloe vera gel just in case you get a little burn. Aloe is very soothing!

5. Watch Your Colors

You might already know that black clothing absorbs sunlight, but were you aware that any colored fabric can be a beacon for the sun? To avoid the worst of its heat, wear white. And keep it loose and light – or opt for clothing items that have SPF in the fabric!

6. Protect Your Scalp

Skin cancer can develop anywhere, including the small exposed sections of your scalp. For the best protection, wear a hat outdoors; if your sport or exercise routine won’t allow it, consider wearing your hair another way.

7. Take a Day Off

Heat stress can build up over time. If you exercised in blazing weather yesterday, you’re more at risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion than someone who didn’t. Remember to take breaks and allow your body to fully recover from the heat.

8. Mind Your Allergies

Stuffy noses and watery eyes aren’t conducive to a good workout. If you have a problem with pollen, start taking antihistamines before you hit the park. Give them time to work through your system before you expose yourself to allergens.

9. Stay Hydrated

We can’t stress this one enough! Last but certainly not least, always have a supply of fresh water when you exercise outdoors. Not only will it keep you from overheating in the sun, but it will also keep you performing at your strongest, fastest and most limber. Drink water before, during AND after your workout!

These are just a few tips for exercising outdoors. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to exercise on the green grass or sandy beach under a cloudless sky, but make sure you take precautions so you won’t regret your decision tomorrow!

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The Dirty Dozen

One thing that most of us have in common is the desire to live a long & healthy life. Part of reaching that goal includes getting adequate amounts of rest, exercise, fresh air and eating a healthy diet. Our diet is a large part of who we are and really contributes to our current state of health. So what should a healthy diet include? Food from the seven food groups of course, but especially fruits and veggies.

Have you heard the term “Dirty Dozen” buzzing around lately online and in the news? Many people will argue the point that organic produce is costly and when compared to non organic produce, it is all the same. But this is far from the truth. There is actually a list of fruits and veggies known as the Dirty Dozen that we must all look out for. Why? When it comes to non organic produce, there are many pesticides used in the farming process, to kill insects and protect the produce. Although these pesticides are successful at doing that, these from the dirty dozen are the fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated. Some of the pesticide residue still remains even after washing and peeling in some cases.

The fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list include: Peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, celery, strawberries, cherries, spinach, imported grapes, lettuce, potatoes and pears.

What does this mean in terms of health? While eating fruits and veggies do help us remain healthy, eating those from the dirty dozen may actually contribute to a few medical problems. Pesticide residue is ingested when we eat this produce and has been shown to cause certain types of cancer, disrupt reproductive function and affect the endocrine system. In addition to these medical issues, heavy toxicity from these pesticides have also been shown to cause birth defects and neurological problems in unborn children.

If you simply cannot afford organic, you may avoid the dirty dozen altogether and buy certain fruits and veggies that are non-organic, but safe from pesticides. These fruits and veggies have very little to none in terms of pesticide residue, or their outer skins are so tough, this prevents any pesticides from touching their edible parts. These include: eggplant, avocado, asparagus, mango, pineapples, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, sweet potatoes, watermelon, cauliflower and cantaloupe. In the end, making even moderate changes to our diet can make a world of difference in overall health and longevity. We are truly what we eat!

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How to Beat Spring Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common medical problems that people experience, especially here in South Florida! In fact, it is estimated that 30 to 60 million people in America suffer from springtime allergies. Mold, pollen and dust mites are some of the most common springtime allergens. There are many things you can do to fight allergies and improve your overall health. Below is a list of ways to beat spring time allergies:

Limit your time outside:

Allergies are often triggered when one breathes pollen from the air into their lungs. That is why one of the best things you can do to beat spring allergies is to limit your time outside. Keep in mind that pollen counts are typically highest during the early morning hours so maybe wait until the afternoon to venture out.

Allergy medication:

There are a variety of medications that can be used to manage allergy symptoms. Talk to your medical professional about the medications that are right for you to use. Antihistamines are examples of medications that can be used to reduce allergy symptoms. They work by blocking the body’s responses to allergens. They can work very quickly. In fact, some antihistamines can work in less than an hour.

Allergy shots are often recommended by health care professionals. Every shot contains a small amount of the allergen. Exposure to the allergen helps your body build up a resistance to it. Most people need to get an allergy shot every month. Allergy shots typically have to be used for three to five years.

Take a hot shower:

Taking a hot shower can help reduce allergy symptoms. The steam will help clear out your sinuses. It is best to take a hot shower after you have been outside.

Eat a healthy diet:

A healthy diet can help you fight allergy symptoms – it’s great for your overall health! In fact, studies have shown that people who fill their diets with fruits and vegetables are less likely to experience allergy symptoms. Researchers do not know the exact link between diet and allergies. However, they do know that a healthy diet helps boost your immune system.

Increase your fluid intake:

Fluids can help thin out your mucus. That is why increasing your fluid intake can be beneficial. Not only should you drink water, but you should also consider drinking hot fluids, such as broths and teas. Amp up your fluid intake and your body will thank you!

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Staying Healthy During Spring Break

Spring break is a fun and memorable time for most people. Whether you are jet-setting to a foreign tropical island or having your own “staycation” here in South Florida, it’s important for you to take care of your health while on Spring Break. Taking care of your health will ensure that you get the most out of your vacation from work and/or school. Below is a list of tips for staying healthy during your break:

Stay hydrated:
You should keep a water bottle with you at all times. Being out in the sun all day can really increase your risk of getting dehydrated. Additionally, if you are drinking alcohol, then you are at an even greater risk for getting dehydrated even faster. Experts recommend drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. This is equivalent to a half a gallon of water. Keep in mind that it is possible for you to be dehydrated without even feeling thirsty.

Stay active:
Spring break is a great time to get and stay active. Try to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise in per week – that’s just 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Swimming, volleyball, dancing and walking are some of the ways that you can get exercise in your day while enjoying the beautiful springtime weather outdoors!

Wear sunscreen & a hat:
If you will be out in the sun, then it is important to put on sunscreen and a hat! We discussed how to prevent skin cancer in our previous blog post and it’s so important while on Spring Break! You should apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outside and reapply sunscreen every two hours or if you go swimming.

Pack healthy snacks:
Any hotel is going to have a minibar full of indulgent temptations. Resist temptation by packing your own snacks! Nuts and unsweetened dried fruit are portable and nutritious snacks that will help you stay on track during your vacation. Of course we all need to indulge every once in awhile, but seven days in a row will definitely make an impact!

Dry off:
When possible, try to always wear dry clothing. It’s not great for our health to sit around in wet bathing suits. If you’re done with the pool or beach for the day, change into a dry outfit rather than sit around in your wet bathing suit to prevent a possible cold.

We hope you all enjoy your Spring Break!

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