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Doctors' 20 Best Health Tips: Expert Medical Advice for Patients

Ever wondered what doctors really want you to know? Here, they give their best tips on all kinds of topics. This is what they wish patients knew but, with rushed visits, they don't have time to tell them. So sit back and relax. Let's chat a bit, shall we? (You can share your tips in the comments section.)

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DOCTORS' TIPS FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH

tips-healthy-child-happyWhat to do for a child with nausea:
"I would recommend giving [children] flat ginger ale.
It tastes good, so it appeals to them. The ginger has been shown to be very effective in reducing or eliminating nausea. Ginger tea or ginger in warm water will work, too."
—Narinder Duggal, M.D., internist and clinical pharmacy specialist, Liberty Bay Internal Medicine, Poulsbo, Wash.

What to do if a tooth is knocked out:
"
If a baby tooth is knocked out,
it is typically not a medical emergency and parents should monitor their child’s pain and behavior. However, if an adult tooth is knocked out, damaged or causes pain to the jaw or gum line, parents should immediately seek emergency care for their child. Pediatric patients have very little time to have a tooth replaced before they lose the tooth permanently. Within half an hour after injury, the child should be seen. In order to keep the tooth alive, parents should place it back into the child’s mouth, in the original socket, or in between the cheek and jaw line."

—David Goo, M.D., pediatric emergency physician, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

How to get eye drops or ointment into children's eyes:
"
Warm the medicine bottle or tube in your hand, bra or pocket for a few minutes. Have your child lie flat on his back and close his eyes. Drop one or two drops—or squirt a ribbon of the ointment—onto his lashes. Let your child open his eyes but keep him on his back for several seconds before letting him get up. Remind him not to rub his eyes—or distract both of his hands—and you’re done!"

Jennifer Shu, M.D., F.A.A.P., pediatrician; co-author,
Food Fights


DOCTORS' EXERCISE TIPS

tips-man-exercise-beach-dogTips on preventing yard-work injuries:
Yard work can be considered another great form of exercise.
But, with any physical activity, it’s important to warm up and stretch your muscles. Just as you are susceptible to back injuries when lifting weights, you also can be prone to back sprains when weeding your garden, mowing your lawn or raking leaves.”

—Stephen Ritter, M.D., spine surgeon, Methodist Sports Medicine / The Orthopedic Specialists, Indiana

Tips for walking motivation:
“If you like to walk like I do,
don’t wait for the perfect day. Consider every day, whether drizzling or snowing, as a chance to get outdoors and exercise. … You will find that you have the paths to yourself. Walking is the perfect exercise: It burns off calories, builds muscle and when you walk with a friend is an easy way to catch up.”

—Nancy L. Snyderman, M.D., F.A.C.S., NBC News chief medical editor, BeWell.com community health expert

Should an injured back leave you bedridden?
If you injure your back, don’t be tempted to lie around in bed
for the first few days. Studies show that if you keep yourself up and about after a back injury, you’ll recover more quickly.”

Susan Biali, B.SC., M.D., family doctor, wellness expert, life coach who consults by phone


DOCTORS' SKIN CARE TIPS

tips-skin-care-lotionHow to get smooth skin:
“If you can’t spend the money or shy away from cosmetic procedures, there are some great microdermabrasion products on the market. One in particular that I know has great results is made by Neutrogena.”
Gary Burton, M.D., plastic surgeon, Baltimore, Md.

Best lotion for winter:
“During the winter months it’s best to use moisturizer from a jar
versus a pump bottle. Products that are poured from a bottle have higher water content and are less moisturizing than those you scoop from a jar.”

—Brooke Jackson, M.D., medical director, Skin Wellness Center of Chicago

 

DOCTORS' WINTER HEALTH TIPS

tips-healthy-soup-winter

Natural treatment for cold symptoms:
Try a “steam treatment. Put a towel over your head over a basin of hot water. Add a couple drops of lavender oil. Inhale the vapors.”
J.L. Richardson, M.D.,
author, Patient Handbook to Medical Care: Your Personal Health Guide

Tips for snow-shoveling safety:
Don’t “drink alcohol, smoke or take caffeine
immediately before or after shoveling. These substances constrict blood vessels, adding additional strain to the heart.”

—from the Department of Emergency Medicine, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Mich.

Does alcohol really make you warm?
Alcohol
“contributes to the risk of cold-weather injuries
by causing the blood vessels in the skin to dilate. This creates a temporary feeling of warmth but causes large amounts of heat loss.”

—from the Department of Emergency Medicine, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Mich.

Emergency plan for the holidays:
“Check in with your doctor before Thanksgiving and religious holidays.
Find out which doctors are on call and which ones will be on vacation and what days the office will be closed. Know ahead of time, so if you do have a family emergency, you will not waste valuable time knowing who to call first.“

—Nancy L. Snyderman, M.D., F.A.C.S., NBC News chief medical editor, BeWell.com community health expert

Time zones and medicines:
“If you are traveling to a different time zone, remember to consult your doctor about adjusting your medication schedule accordingly.”
—Paul Reyes, R.PH., Medco pharmacist; co-host,
Ask the Pharmacist radio program


DOCTORS' TIPS FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH

tips-senior-woman-healthWhat to do for hot flashes at night:
“Use sleepwear that wicks away sweat. You’ll feel more comfortable and there are some lovely styles, which come in newer materials designed to draw moisture away from the skin. Also, try a cooling pillow that helps cool down your entire body in minutes.”
Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., ob-gyn, author,
A Woman’s Guide to Perimenopause and Menopause

Women's heart health tip:
“Nausea, shoulder pain and exhaustion can be the only signs a female experiences during [a heart] attack. Heart disease tends to come later in women than in men—on average, 10 years after menopause.
—Karla Kurrelmeyer, M.D., cardiologist and women’s heart specialist, Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, Houston

Tips for if you stand a lot:
“Women should avoid regularly wearing high-heeled shoes, which can change the alignment of your entire body, negatively affecting back support and posture. When standing for long periods of time, placing a rubber mat on the floor can improve your comfort.
—Jonathan Smerek, M.D., at Methodist Sports Medicine / The Orthopedic Specialists, Indiana


MORE TIPS FROM DOCTORS

Tip for when you're caring for someone with a terminal disease:
"Try to allow yourself to seek your own support. Usually, the health-care team focuses on the patient, not the caregiver. Emotional and physical endurance is important for the loved ones of a seriously ill patient. Organize rotating visiting schedules in the hospital with other loved ones. Allow yourself to go home to eat, shower and sleep. Even share the stress of your responsibilities with a friend or loved one."
—Joseph Weiner M.D., Ph.D., chief of consultation psychiatry, North Shore University Hospital/Manhasset, New York

 

TIPS FROM OTHER HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONALS

What to do for a child's irritated eyes:
"When children's eyes and eye area become irritated from overexposure to chlorine, sunburns or bug bites, as soon as possible, apply a cold-compress and cool the eye area until it feels as cool as a popsicle, which constricts the blood around the eyes, easing irritation in the area."
—Leanne Liddicoat, O.D., optometrist; spokeswoman, VSP Vision Care, an eye-care benefit provider

Cheaper treatment for whiter teeth:
"Almost every patient I have seen wants whiter teeth, and some opt for in-office whitening and other use store-bought kits. A secret weapon that I tell them all about is the mouthwash with whitening properties by Listerine. It helps maintain the whitening treatment and also whitens teeth that haven't been treated."
—Dana Gelman-Keiles, D.M.D., board-certified dentist, Northern Westchester Dental Center, New York

Fun activities for grandparents and grandchildren:
“Give the lifetime gift of nature to your grandchildren! Take them for walks, teach them gardening, talk with them under a tree, teach them how to respect and care for nature and to have fun in it. Nature nurtures, decreases stress, reduces depression and increases skills and joy just by being in it. It is a gift that lasts a lifetime and they can teach their children. Your grandchildren will love these times and you are creating wonderful memories for them.”
—Donna LaMar, Ph.D., Psy.D., clinical psychologist, The Farm: Where Living Things Grow Inc., using nature in therapy, Fremont, Mich.

Multitasking exercise tip:
"As you are blow-drying your hair or brushing you teeth, stand on one foot at a time. Try to balance on this foot while you perform you morning routine; don't forget to switch sides when you get tired. Balance work will tone you core, abs and back, and it will also strengthen your ankles And who couldn't use a little extra fun to those tedious morning routines?"
—Jennifer Ricupero, AFAA-CPT, fitness and recreation manager, Green Mountain at Fox Run women's health retreat, Ludlow, Vt.

 

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Last updated and/or approved: May 2010. These tips originally appeared in various issues of the former print magazine. Bios are current as of the dates of the original issues. This article is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.

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To better health
written by charlotte chiropractor , August 17, 2011

Less stress, exercise, proper nutrition, and movement, movement, movement, will result in a long healthy life
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