House Calls

FALL 2016

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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24 { fall 2016 } h o u s e c a l l s HEADACHES, FEVER, AND PAIN Turn to acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or aspirin (BC Powder, Bayer). Before choosing a brand, know the pros and cons of each active ingredient. A painkiller including acetaminophen blocks the perception of pain but does little to treat inflammation and should be avoided by people who suffer from liver problems or drink alcohol in excess. The others, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), relieve both pain and inflammation but may irritate the stomach. Aspirin is associated with Reye's syndrome among children, a serious swelling of the brain and liver, but may also help prevent the formation of blood clots among adults. "A daily dose of aspirin can be useful for those with cardiovascular risk factors; however, in terms of being a standard pain killer, it's the least desirable," says Hammond. You should also invest in a good thermometer, as a high fever often signals the need for medical attention (102°F and above for babies up to 6 months; 103°F and above for all other ages). If you're prone to muscle soreness after working in the yard or exercising, add a heating pad or muscle rub such as Bengay or Myoflex to your arsenal (though never use them together, as heat can cause those rubs to burn the skin). COUGH AND COLD For a stuffy, runny nose, turn to oral or spray decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine), which shrink the swollen nasal blood vessels that cause congestion. If symptoms worsen or don't improve after three to four days, however, see a doctor. As for coughs? "We tend to think of cough syrup as cough syrup," says Hammond, "but there are different types." For wet, productive coughs, try guaifenesin (Mucinex, Robitussin), an expectorant that thins mucus and lubricates the lungs. For the dry, hacking cough that usually comes later in a cold cycle, try dextromethorphan (Delsym, Zicam), a suppressant that blocks the body's cough reflex. A mentholated chest rub like Vicks VapoRub is another OTC favorite for soothing coughs and congestion. Handling Holiday Hangovers: When it comes to curing hangovers, there are no magic pills, says Hammond. He recommends treating the individual symptoms: an NSAID like ibuprofen for headache (avoid acetaminophen, which is metabolized by your already overworked liver), an antiemetic like Dramamine for nausea, and plenty of hydrating fluids. The best medicine? Prevention. Avoid drinking too much in the first place. Banning the Bubbles: The medical industry has moved away from the longtime practice of cleaning cuts with hydrogen peroxide, as research shows that the chemical compound's oxidizing function can damage skin tissue and slow healing. "Honestly, soap and clean water are just as useful at cleaning a wound," says Hammond. TAKE INVENTORY Dr. Detar suggests having at least one over- the-counter medication on hand to treat each of the most commonly self-treated conditions (outlined below). Take note of which drugs you already own, making sure they're up-to-date, and which you'll need to invest in.

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