Thursday, August 1, 2013

Oh no! Bedbugs!?

My spouse and I got itchy bug bites on our legs which I thought were chigger bites. After all, it is summer and we had walked through damp grass. But when the spots spread and then spread again, my husband called the doctor.

It was the nurse who greeted us who said it first: "Bedbugs!"  Oh, no!

I never had a problem with bedbugs before but of course I had heard of them. And we had stayed in a hotel a few weeks before, which the doctor says fits the pattern. He prescribed a cream and said to launder all bedding the next day. We did, and also vacuumed the carpets and furniture and checked the mattress. It was already encased in a allergy-resistant cover which apparently protected it. I rolled a sticky lint-removal gadget back and forth over the cover and found no bugs. I guess they got on us at the hotel but did not have a chance to spread throughout our home.

The itchy bites are fading. Next time we go to a hotel I'll be more careful. I'll keep the luggage off the bed and carpet and check the bedding first thing.

By the way, the hotel was expensive because it faced the ocean. This did not mean it was immune to bedbugs, though, so be cautious when you travel.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Probiotic News

I read a very interesting article on probiotics that lower inflammation on the Low Histamine Chef site. I take Bifidobacterium infantis as Lifestart 2 by Natren. It seems to agree with me.

Many other probiotics have caused me problems, probably because they contain yeast.  My doctor believes that probiotics can help me, but he admits that they usually only stay in the intestine for a few days, not permanently.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Recognizing Verbal Abuse

I just read The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. I found it very informative, although it does have a gender bias due to the author's experience being limited to helping women more than men. She admits this and says that men can also be victims of verbal abuse but this particular book is aimed at women.

Ms. Evans has a website and there you can read many of the points made in the book.
Verbal abuse includes withholding, bullying, defaming, defining, trivializing, harassing, diverting, interrogating, accusing, blaming, blocking, countering, lying, berating, taunting, put downs, abuse disguised as a joke, discounting, threatening, name-calling, yelling and raging.
Early in a marriage, the abused person may be surprised by the change in her spouse, and may wonder what she did to make him angry. Ms. Evans points out that it is probably less about what she did than it is his need to control. Farther on in the book, she provides some ways to react to verbal abuse. Examples include responding to:
  • Ordering: Say "Do you hear yourself?" or "I don't follow orders."
  • Anger: Try "Stop! Take a deep breath and please talk nicely" or "You may not raise your voice to me!"
Although Patricia Evans is not a psychotherapist, she has years of experience in the field of interpersonal communications. If you think you are being verbally abused, this book can be helpful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pesticides and Chlorine May Cause Food Allergies

Why are food allergies becoming so common? The hygiene hypothesis has been around for a while, linking extra-clean households with allergies. A recent study offers a possible reason: Pesticides and chlorine may kill the naturally occurring "good" bacteria in humans’ digestive systems, causing food allergies.

Antibiotics were previously linked in the same way. We need certain bacteria in our guts in order to digest food properly. Killing of the bacteria that live inside us may be hazardous to our health.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Methylene Chloride in Enteric Coating

I take SAM-e (S-adenosyl methionine) on the advice of my doctor. It's said to help relieve arthritic-type pain and depression. I'm supposed to take 400 mg. before breakfast and 200 mg. later in the day. I look for brands that are free of yeast and sugar alcohols. 

Recently I ordered a new box of SAM-e online and when it came, I was surprised to see Isopropyl Alcohol and Methylene Chloride listed as ingredients. They were not listed on the online ingredient list when I purchased them.

Isopropyl alcohol and methylene chloride are toxic, so the amount used in the supplement is small. But methylene chloride is found in some furniture strippers and has caused fatalities. (See http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/methylene_chloride_addendum.pdf). So I called the manufacturer (Natrol). Their customer service rep explained that methylene chloride and isopropyl alcohol are part of the enteric coating. They have been in the product all along but were not required to be listed until recently! So I imagine that we will be seeing a lot of these ingredients revealed on labels now that regulations require it. Obviously the amount in a single tablet is small, but people who take a variety of coated medications and supplements might be consuming more than desirable. I was not able to find a site dealing with this issue but there must be one out there. Let me know in the comments if you know of a study on the safety of methylene chloride as an ingredient. 

NOTE: Although SAM-e is available without prescription in the USA, persons with bipolar conditions are advised to not take it. (See article.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September Update

I apologize for neglecting this blog. Like so many bloggers, I got busy with other things including spending too much time on Facebook. But let me give you an update on my health status, which is not bad compared to what a lot of people suffer.
  1. Heartburn/ Reflux. This is my most annoying health challenge and it continues in spite of various treatments. The prescription drugs did not work for me so my functional doctor suggested dietary changes. They've been hard to follow; the hardest being giving up coffee, even decaf. But I did it and I still have heartburn. One thing that helped for a long time was melatonin, 6 mg. nightly. However, this eventually stopped working. Other treatments that didn't work for me are enzymes (the ones I tried, anyway), probiotics, and lemon juice. 
  2. Overweight. I have struggled with my weight for years. The only diet that worked for me was Atkins but I got so constipated on it that I had to stop. Last year I went on a low-glycemic diet for other health reasons but I quickly gained five pounds and decided to stop. Weight is too hard to lose, so I just don't want to gain any.
  3. Back pain, leg pain and core strength. I'm working with a physical therapist to build core strength. My hope is that this will cut down on back pain, leg pain, and frequent weakness. I do a set of exercises every day and I believe it is helping.
  4. Food allergies and sensitivities. I have more than ever before, and so far there is no cure that works. I have to avoid a long list of foods, which is sometimes impossible when eating in restaurants because even the staff doesn't know what's in everything. Combine this with trying to avoid heartburn and eating is not fun anymore.
  5. Fatigue. It's not as bad as it was a year ago but it's still an issue. 
  6. Depression. Not too bad in the summer because I get plenty of sunshine, but I have to really fight it in the winter. Vitamin D, SAM-e, St. John's Wort, and bright lighting are my wintertime friends.
  7. Sore feet. I get these thick spots on my soles that one doctor calls seed corns. They are painful and have to be removed regularly.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Most Folks Don't Eat Enough Veggies

In a recent poll, 61% of respondents said they eat one or two servings of fruits and vegetables daily, 33% said they eat three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, while 6% said they they don't eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis!

So a majority of Americans are getting much less than the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Or maybe they don't know what a vegetable is!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

When the State Delays Abortion

State governments sometimes try to interfere with abortion by passing regulations that delay it. Examples are Virginia's proposed ultrasound requirement and various requirements for notifying third parties.

Whenever the government requires a procedure that delays abortion, it is risking an INCREASE in the chance of an embryo feeling pain. Many abortions are performed before the embryo is capable of feeling pain, which is at around 6 weeks after fertilization. Since a woman typically suspects pregnancy between 2 and 3 weeks after fertilization, she has a window of opportunity of only about 3 weeks before the nervous system starts working and the embryo's heart starts beating.

If the state delays abortions by requiring extra processes or tests, it increases the chance that the abortion will cause pain to the embryo or "stop a beating heart." Thus the politicians become party to what they supposedly want to prevent!

If people are serious about not hurting an embryo that is capable of feeling, they should encourage early abortions, not cause them to become later ones!

Of course, this is not what politicians are really concerned about. I realize some of them want to stop abortion altogether. If that's what they want, let them make it easier for women to raise children by guaranteeing that children will not go hungry or otherwise uncared for.