Blog Posts by Health.com

  • 3 secrets to getting better care at the ER

    CorbisCorbisBy Stacey Colino

    Keep a cheat sheet in your wallet
    Make a list of the medications and supplements you take, your immunization history, and your allergies. If you're unconscious, paper is easier for the ER staff to find than a smartphone app, says Darria Gillespie, MD, a resident physician in the department of emergency medicine at Yale University.

    Know when to call in reinforcements
    If you think something is seriously wrong and no one is paying attention to you, Dr. Gillespie says, "Call your own doctor and explain the situation. If she also thinks it's serious, she can call in and speak directly with the nurses or ER doctors to get you attention more quickly."

    Give good facts
    Be ready to describe when your symptoms started, where they're located, what they feel like, what makes them feel better or worse, and whether you've had them before. "Probably 70% of making a diagnosis is in getting an accurate history-its importance cannot be overstated," Dr. Carius says.


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  • Your guide to a safer summer weekend

    By Allison Avery

    It's right around the corner-the season of cookouts, road trips, and lazy poolside afternoons with family and friends. However you celebrate summer, our smart tips will keep the action safe and healthy.

    Start by grilling smart
    Grilling mistakes cause thousands of fires every year. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you position any grill at least three feet away from house siding or railings and never place it in an enclosed area or under eaves or tree branches. If you smell gas, turn the tank off quickly and call the fire department. When grilling with charcoal, never add lighter fluid after lighting coals-the flames can leap high.

    Health.com: 15 healthy grilled chicken recipes

    Dodge the burn and the bugs
    Turned off by greasy sunscreen and smelly sprays? Look for clothing with UPF 50+ (like SPF for fabrics), or outfitted with a repellent that wards off bugs. (P.S.: We still recommend sunscreen for your face).

    Health.com: The new rules of sun

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  • 5 Indian spices that are good for your health

    By Monica Bhide

    If you've ever shied away from cooking Indian food because of mile-long ingredient lists, I can relate. I've made countless curries, and have whittled that list to just five key spices-cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground turmeric, mustard seeds, and ground red chili.

    Health.com: A beginner's guide to herbs and spices

    Each of these essential spices has its own personality:

    • Cumin brings a toasty-warm flavor and is believed to aid digestion
    • Coriander is citrusy and adds texture to sauces
    • Turmeric has a slight bitterness and characteristic yellow color
    • Mustard seeds add a pungent flavor and a crunch to match
    • Red chili provides heat

    Health.com: Surprising health benefits of pepper

    Together, these spices create the flavor harmony and texture contrast that define traditional Indian curries. Best of all, some of them have been linked to health benefits. Researchers have suggested that turmeric could play a role in slowing down the progression of Read More »from 5 Indian spices that are good for your health
  • A top doc reveals common fertility misconceptions

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Joshua U. Klein, MD

    As an infertility specialist, the first, and sometimes hardest, thing I have to accomplish is to assess a couple's understanding of how the whole getting pregnant thing-naturally or otherwise-works. Despite widespread sex education and increased public awareness of the issue of infertility, many people still don't really get it; a study from New Zealand, for instance, showed that 74% of women presenting to a fertility clinic had inadequate fertility awareness.

    An extreme example: I once had a couple come in for an infertility consultation, and only after probing some of the most esoteric-and as it turns out, irrelevant-minutiae of the biology of reproduction did I find out that the husband wasn't able to ejaculate during vaginal intercourse. (Yes, this is generally considered a prerequisite to conception.)

    Health.com: Trying to get pregnant? 10 proven sperm killers

    So if you're in the baby-making market, here are some of the more common mistakes I see people

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  • "Cuddle hormone" linked to postpartum depression risk

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Amanda Gardner

    Women who have lower levels of the brain chemical oxytocin toward the end of their pregnancy may be more prone to develop postpartum depression than expecting moms with higher levels, a new study suggests.

    Known as the "love hormone" or "cuddle hormone," oxytocin is released during human-to-human contact (such as breast-feeding) and is critical to mother-baby bonding. Previous studies have shown that women whose oxytocin levels rise during pregnancy are more attached to their babies, but this is the first study to suggest a link with postpartum depression, which affects roughly 1 in 5 women.

    Researchers in Switzerland measured the amount of oxytocin in blood samples taken from pregnant women during their third trimester, and found that women with lower levels were more likely to report symptoms of depression within two weeks of giving birth.

    Health.com: 10 celebrities who battled postpartum depression

    The study was small, and more research will be needed to

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  • Is your salad making you fat?

    By Colleen Rush

    "I'm having a salad." It's amazing how these four simple words can make you feel so virtuous. But whether you choose a vinaigrette that's loaded with oil or add an overly generous sprinkling of honey-toasted nuts, it's easy to pile on extra fat and calories without realizing it, says Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical assistant professor at Boston University and author of Nutrition and You.

    In fact, a restaurant salad with dressing can have as many as 1,000 calories. With Blake's help, we've remade a few popular salads, which also happen to be favorites of three Health editors. Find out how to lighten up your greens too.

    Health.com: 8 salads that satisfy

    Colleen Sullivan, beauty and fashion editor, loves Cobb salad: mixed salad greens, chicken, tomatoes, avocado, bacon, blue-cheese crumbles, and blue-cheese dressing.

    Colleen likes the contrasts in a classic Cobb-creamy, crunchy, tangy, and smoky-all in one meal. But it comes at a cost: The salad is superhigh in fat,

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  • The most depressing states in the U.S.

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesOn its own, where you live isn't enough to make you depressed. Personal circumstances and genes also play an important role in mental health, so an area that feels like a downer to one person may be home sweet home to another.

    That said, mental distress is unusually and persistently common in some states, whether due to economic troubles, lack of access to health care, or other factors.

    Health.com: 5 questions to ask your doctor about depression

    Using data from federal health agencies, Health.com has identified the 10 states with the highest rates of depression, psychological distress, and other indicators of poor mental health. Here they are, in alphabetical order.

    Arkansas
    Like the many other rural southern states on this list, Arkansas consistently ranks among the worst in the nation on several measures of mental health, especially among young adults.

    Young Arkansans have a dedicated advocate in their corner, however. The state's first lady, Ginger Beebe, has taken up mental

    Read More »from The most depressing states in the U.S.
  • Is it a mole...or skin cancer?

    IstockphotoIstockphotoBy Jennifer Goldstein

    To find out whether it is a mole or cancer, check your skin every few months, because most skin cancers start as irregular spots, says Ariel Ostad, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at New York University.

    Normal mole
    What it is:
    A mole is a harmless spot that develops in childhood or later in life and can be found anywhere.
    Looks Like:
    Typically smaller than a pencil eraser, moles are round and symmetrical with smooth borders and an even color. According to Dr. Ostad, "They usually don't evolve or change shape."

    Health.com: The new rules of sun safety

    Actinic keratosis
    What it is:
    Actinic keratosis is a common precancerous growth often found on your scalp, face, hands, or forearms. "They should be removed because 5 to 10 percent of them become cancerous," Dr. Ostad explains.
    Looks Like:
    You'll see a rough, flesh-toned pink or red patch that may be itchy or scaly.

    Health.com: Sunproof your skin from A to Z

    Basal cell carcinoma
    What it is:
    Caused by sun

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  • Which massage is best for you?

    Massage isn't just a me-time indulgence. Studies show it reduces stress, boosts immunity, and relieves pain from everyday wear and tear. And in tough times, just 30 minutes on the table (or even 10 minutes in a chair) can go a long way toward working out your kinks.

    Health.com: How to get the best massage

    But which massage is best? Here's how to decide.

    Swedish
    If you just ask for a massage, it's probably what you're getting. Expect long, gentle, soothing strokes-and general relaxation. Its hallmark is improved circulation. The therapist will use her hands and fingertips and not push too hard (unless you like a lot of pressure).

    Health.com: Which stress-busting gadgets really work?

    Deep Tissue (Sports Massage)
    It's more intense than Swedish-and it's not just for athletes. The therapist targets the muscles and ten-dons just under the skin and the deeper ones by using more pressure from her fingertips. Stretches may be included.

    Health.com: 7 tricks for instant calm

    Trigger Point

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  • 10 ways to make any hotel room healthier

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Tracey Minkin

    Wherever you're staying, these easy moves will make your visit better for you, according to Athletic Minded Traveler co-founder Jim Kaese.

    Go smoke-free
    Ask for a nonsmoking floor when making your reservation.

    Not an option? Request a nonsmoking room.

    Don't drink
    Just say no to the minibar key when checking in. You'll save cash-and calories.

    Health.com: 5 ways to cut liquid calories

    Toss the bed cover
    Bedspreads are notorious havens for dust mites (and worse). Stash it in the corner of the room.

    Disinfect
    Wipe down the TV remote and telephone with an antibacterial wipe before first use.

    Don't reuse
    Avoid the reusable glasses, even if they have a paper cover on top (plastic sealed cups are preferable).

    Bring your own snacks
    Keeping fruit (banana, apple), bottled water, and nuts or trail mix in your room helps ensure that you don't overdo it when eating out.

    Health.com: Pick your perfect snack

    Make white noise
    Invest in a portable "soft-noise maker" if you're a

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