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As the weather heats up and families migrate outdoors, winter toys are traded in for sunscreen and sand pails. The summer months promise warm days and one of the most anticipated nights of the year: the Fourth of July. 

While fireworks are beautiful to watch, they are dangerous to play with. If not handled properly, fireworks can cause severe injuries to eyes and skin. Even just watching a friend light fireworks can put you at risk.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 9,000 fireworks-related injuries happen each year. Of these, nearly half are head-related injuries. Nearly 30 percent of these are injuries to the eyes, one-quarter of which result in permanent vision loss or blindness. Children under the age of 15 account for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. 

If you or a friend chooses to handle fireworks, The National Council on Firework Safety offers these tips:

  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • If fireworks aren't legal where you live, don’t use them.
  • Always have water handy (hose or bucket).
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter or combine them.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
  • Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
  • Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
  • Don’t ever use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community. 

To learn more about fireworks safety, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/FireworksSafety.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Do you like to exercise? Did your parents? A new study has shown that our motivation to exercise — or not — is partially driven by genes. In a study of rats at the University of Missouri, researchers bred rats that ran the most with each other and the rats that ran the least with their counterparts. Ten generations later, the “runner” rats tended to instinctively exercise 10 times as much as their “non-runner” relatives.

But you can’t use that as an excuse not to exercise. Humans may be referred to as “gym rats,” but our behavior also is influenced by innate tendencies and personal choice. Because exercise is essential to maintaining health, you only need to get as little as 30 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity activities a day to help improve overall sense of well-being.

Regular exercise or physical activity has many benefits. It can improve blood circulation, keep weight under control, improve blood cholesterol level, prevent and manage high blood pressure, prevent bone loss, boost energy levels, release tension, improve sleep, increase muscle strength and relieve stress. On the flip side, not exercising is associated with a number of health problems. Less active, less fit people tend to have greater risk of having high blood pressure, developing certain cancers, and being overweight or obese.

One of the most important steps in starting an exercise program is setting a goal. Fitness goals can help increase motivation, focus attention, and measure how well you are doing. If you still have problems getting motivated to exercise, visit the online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/GettingExercise for tips on how to formulate exercise objectives that will work for — and not against — you. 

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Sodas have been in the news a lot lately. The New York Supreme Court recently overturned a plan in New York City to prevent the sale of sugary drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces. A report published by the Institute of Medicine linked the rising consumption of sodas as being a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. And now, the latest bad news about sugary drinks comes from Imperial College London, which collected data on 350,000 people in eight European countries. Results from that study showed that individuals who drink one serving of sugary soda (12 fluid ounces) a day have a 22 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to those who have one serving or less per month.

So what’s a soda-lover to do to help lower their risk of diabetes? You can start by swapping that sugary drink for a cup of coffee. People who drink more coffee have a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes. If you don’t like coffee, try black tea instead. The results from a recent study suggest that this beverage also may help prevent diabetes.

Other potential ways to lower the chances of developing diabetes include packing your plate with healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. It’s also important to watch portion sizes, take your time eating, and not skip breakfast. And last but not least, be sure to fill each day with plenty of movement and try to exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

To learn more about diabetes, take the free, online What Do You Really Know About Diabetes? quiz available on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/DiabetesQuiz. For a free referral to an endocrinologist, call 800-887-2525.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Bread, lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, onions, slice of cheese, ground beef and ketchup. These usually are the only ingredients in your hamburger. But before you take your first bite, you might want to follow a few simple steps to make sure you don’t get a mouthful of E. coli, giardia lamblia, shigella or staphylococcus aureus.

Various bacteria, viruses and parasites, or their toxins, are the most common causes of food poisoning. Food can be contaminated anywhere along the production process, from growing or harvesting, to processing and shipping, to preparing and storing. Some common culprits for contamination include raw meat and poultry, seafood, eggs, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, melons, unpasteurized apple cider, prepared salads, cream filled pastries, hot dogs and luncheon meats.

Illness resulting from food poisoning usually lasts from one to 10 days. Signs of food poisoning will vary in severity and according to the source of the contamination, amount of exposure to the infectious organism, and the person’s age and overall health. Food poisoning generally causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Food poisoning can be prevented through proper handling and cooking of food to kill bacteria.

  • Wash hands after handling or preparing food.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw foods away from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook food to the appropriate internal temperature.
  • Promptly refrigerate or freeze leftover food that is perishable.
  • Defrost foods in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
  • Rinse produce thoroughly.
  • Throw away food that may be contaminated.
  • Keep utensils and food preparation areas clean.
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. 

To learn more about food poisoning, take the free, online Food Poisoning Quiz on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/FoodPoisoningQuiz.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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A healthy diet is essential to meet an athletic child’s energy needs. All children, regardless of athletic ability, should eat a balanced diet. However, those with a higher level of activity need the right combination and amount of food to perform at their best levels.

Game-day meal content and timing can directly impact a young athlete’s performance on the field. A full stomach requires energy to digest, so it is important to stop eating two hours before activity to save energy levels for the event. Although high-fiber foods are nutritious, they also may cause stomach upset and should not be eaten before activity. High-fat foods take longer to digest and should also be avoided up to three hours before a game or event. Instead, kids should eat an ample amount of carbohydrates, found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with a moderate amount of proteins, such as those found in meat, eggs and dairy.

Fluids are critical in preventing dehydration during activity and should be consistently consumed before, during and after exercise. Experts recommend athletes drink water or other fluids in 15 to 20-minute intervals as well as after the activity to replenish fluid levels lost through sweat. The body depletes its readily available energy supply after one hour of exercise, so sports drinks are a good option for kids who are active for 60 to 90 minutes.

For optimal performance, young athletes need a variety of vitamins, protein and carbohydrates. Athletic kids especially need calcium and iron in their diets to build strong bones and sustain energy. These nutrients can be found in dairy products, green leafy vegetables, meat, dried beans and fortified cereals. To learn more about nutrients for kids, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/KidsNutrients.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Stroke accounts for the fourth largest number of deaths in the United States annually and is a leading cause of disability. But there is good news; there are about 7 million stroke survivors alive today, and the death rate from stroke has actually declined over recent years.

Do you want some more good news? You can control some risk factors and potentially prevent a stroke.

Manage high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
High blood pressure can damage blood vessels, including the ones that provide vital blood flow to the brain. Diabetes, which affects how the body processes sugars and fats, should be controlled to reduce complications if you do have a stroke.

Stop smoking.
The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke can damage the cardiovascular system, causing narrowed blood vessels and blood clots.

Eat healthy foods.
Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily to help reduce the risk of stroke. Choose low-calorie, low-fat snacks and bake, boil or broil rather than frying. Avoid adding salt and opt for canola, safflower or olive oils when cooking. Select skinless chicken, lean red meat, turkey and fish.

Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight can cause your body to convert excess fat and cholesterol into plaque, potentially reducing blood flow to the brain and making your heart work harder. Losing just 10 pounds can help lower your cholesterol level and blood pressure.

Exercise regularly.
Moderate exercise of at least 30 minutes most days can not only lower your risk of stroke, but also help improve your heart health, lose weight, control diabetes and reduce stress.

To learn about your personal risk factors for stroke attend a free screening at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake on Saturday, June 15 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Call 877-647-1109 today to make your reservation.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Even though kidney stones are small, they can cause blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting and a lot of pain — sometimes worse than child labor pains. Fortunately, stones that are less than two centimeters, or about one inch, in diameter may be successfully treated using shock waves in a procedure called lithotripsy.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most commonly used treatment to eliminate kidney stones. It works by targeting shock waves outside the body through skin and tissue at kidney stones, causing them to eventually break and crumble into tiny pieces that can pass in urine. The decision to have ESWL is based on the size, shape and location of the stone, as well as general and kidney health. Some people who may not be candidates for the procedure include pregnant women, and those who are obese or have bleeding disorders, infections or severe skeletal abnormalities.

Lithotripsy usually is performed using light sedation or some form of anesthesia. The patient is positioned on the exam table on top of a soft, water-filled cushion. High-energy shock waves, which may cause a light tapping sensation, are then directed at the kidney stones to break them up. The procedure usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour followed by an hour or two in the recovery room. Most patients go home the same day as their procedure and can return to normal activities in two to three days. They may experience blood in the urine and abdominal pain for several days. 

As with any procedure, talk with your doctor to find out if ESWL is right for you. To learn more about this non-invasive treatment option for kidney stones, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/Lithotripsy.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Ah, spring. The weather’s getting warmer and the flowers and trees are blooming. You want to spend more time outside enjoying the great weather — and then it hits. Your sinuses clog up, your eyes are running and you are sneezing your head off.

Welcome to seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. For some people, spring brings the worst of the symptoms. Others can react more in summer and fall, when grasses and weeds are pollinating. Some people react to allergens like spores, dust mites, cockroaches and pet dander that cause symptoms throughout the year.

So what can you do? If your symptoms become severe, talk to your doctor. There are several prescription medications designed to treat these types of allergies. Over-the-counter allergy medications also are available to treat allergy symptoms. Other at-home treatment options may include using a sinus rinse or wash to gently clear mucus and allergens from nasal and sinus passages. Other ways to help avoid airborne allergens include:

  • Keeping doors and windows closed and using an air conditioner at home and in the car.
  • Not hanging laundry, especially bedding, outside.
  • Limiting outdoor activity early in the morning when pollen counts are higher.
  • Staying inside when it’s windy outside.
  • Replacing air conditioner filters monthly and using a high-efficiency particulate air filter.
  • Wearing a dust mask when outside, especially for activities like gardening.
  • If possible, avoid mowing the lawn or raking leaves, as these activities send more pollen into the air.
  • Using special cases to enclose pillows, mattresses and box springs to limit exposure to dust mites.

To learn more about allergies — and how to avoid seasonal triggers — visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/SeasonalAllergies.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214 324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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There are many different kinds of warning signs posted along streets, roads and highways. No passing zone, railroad crossing, merging traffic, divided highway, school zone, animal crossing, construction ahead, narrow bridge — the list goes on.

Similar to these recognizable yellow and black traffic signs are warning signs for heart attacks. Becoming familiar with these signs could save your life, just like paying attention to warning signs when you are driving.

The key to surviving a heart attack is knowing the warning signs so you can get emergency medical treatment. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately for an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Do not try to drive yourself.

Some of the early warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and then comes back. This pain may be severe and feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness that is not relieved by changing positions or resting.
  • Pain that extends to other areas of the body, such as the shoulder, arm, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, as well as lightheadedness, sweating, fatigue, fainting, nausea or vomiting. 

It is important to remember that not all people who have heart attacks experience the same symptoms or to the same degree. The warning signs of a heart attack for women may be slightly different than those for men. While both commonly experience chest pain or discomfort, women may be more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

For tips about how to respond to a heart attack, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/HeartAttackResponse.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Women of all ages can be seen pushing baby strollers around these days, including a growing number of women in their 30s and 40s. That is because birth rates for older women have been increasing since 1990, jumping 47 percent for women ages 35 to 39 and 80 percent for women ages 40 to 44. While most older mothers have healthy pregnancies, there are some things you should know if you are planning to become pregnant after age 35.

  • Fertility starts to decline as you enter your 30s. This is because women are born with a limited number of eggs and quality of the eggs usually begins to decline after this age.
  • After the age of 35, women have an increased risk of fertility problems, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, Cesarean section, chromosomal abnormalities, miscarriage, placenta previa, premature delivery and stillbirth. Many of these complications can be managed thanks to advances in medical care and good prenatal care.
  • In addition to a preconception appointment, keep all prenatal appointments after getting pregnant to monitor your health and prevent and control any problems that may develop.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Remember to avoid alcohol, don’t smoke, and limit caffeine to no more than 300 milligrams per day. Ask your doctor before taking any medications or supplements.
  • Gain the right amount of weight to not only support your baby’s health, but also make it easier to lose the pounds after delivery. Stay physically active unless your doctor advises otherwise.
  • Have certain prenatal tests as recommended by your doctor, such as chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis or quad marker screen. 

To read more about risks associated with advancing maternal age, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/HighRiskPregnancy.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214 324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com