As we begin a new year, I’d like to share with you a selection of highlights from some of my columns this past year:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics are useful for bacterial infections only, and not for viral infections, such as the common cold, bronchitis and sore throats.
Strokes: If you are having any symptoms that you think might be caused by a stroke, do not hesitate — seek help immediately from the nearest emergency room.
Insomnia: Remedies for sleep problems include lifestyle and behavioral therapies, alternative medicine and prescription medication.
Sleep apnea: This condition needs to be treated, as it leads to a greater risk of heart attacks.
Depression: This is a true medical illness treated with therapy or medication, sometimes in combination.
Asthma: Although it can be deadly, asthma is easily treated with proper medication and close follow-up with a doctor.
Sun exposure: Take the harmful effects of the sun seriously and use sunscreen liberally and frequently. Cover up as much as possible when in the sun.
Cholesterol: To help prevent heart attacks and strokes, keep cholesterol at a normal level.
Coffee: On the whole, coffee is much more beneficial than harmful to your health.
Backpacks for students: Lighten them up. Heavy packs cause neck and back problems for kids.
Influenza vaccine: Flu shots are useful to prevent influenza and can be given from fall to spring. It’s still not too late.
Head injuries: Concussions should be taken very seriously, as they can be deadly and can lead to long-term brain disability.
Calling in sick: Staying home when ill not only helps you recover quicker, but also prevents spreading the illness to your co-workers or fellow students.
Stress: Dealing with stress can help prevent poor health.
The full columns and all others I have written can be found on my blog at http://valleydoctor.wordpress.com.
Have a very healthy and happy new year.
- Terry Hollenbeck, M.D., is an urgent-care physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz in Scotts Valley. Readers can view his previous columns on his website, http://valleydoctor.wordpress.com, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information in this column is not intended to replace advice from your own health care professional. For any medical concern, consult your own doctor.