CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM

You hear it all the time: “Before beginning any exercise program, see your doctor.”

It’s good advice, especially if you’ve been sedentary and are now determined to get back into shape. It is important to consult a physician about your current state of health so you can be aware of possible limitations or problems that could arise while you’re working out.

….FULL ARTICLE

BREASTFEEDING GIVES BABIES THE BEST START

Breastfeeding is the best way to give your child a healthy start in life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says human milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants. It is more convenient than bottle feeding because the milk is always available at the right temperature, and there are no supplies to sterilize or formulas to mix. Breast milk substitutes such as formula are harder to digest, especially for premature infants since they have an immature gut.

….FULL ARTICLE

SUMMER CAMP SEND-OFF

With summer vacation looming, parents and kids are getting ready for camp. Many camps require attendees to have a pre-participation physical to make sure the child is ready to participate in all the camp activities, including swimming and hiking. Be sure to schedule any physicals with your doctor’s office in advance to fill out any forms. The camp needs to know about any medical conditions your child may have and/or medications he may be taking. You may also need to provide immunization records.

….FULL ARTICLE

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Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are often a winter inevitability. They are caused by the oral form of the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). The virus is highly contagious. According to one source, about 67 percent of the world’s population younger than 50 years old has HSV-1. Most people contract it in early childhood; it is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. Once you are infected with it, the virus never leaves your body. Fortunately for most people, the virus remains inactive throughout their lives.


However, when the virus does wake up, cold sores may appear as red bumps or blisters on the gums and the outside of the mouth, lips and nose. You may also develop a fever or a sore throat or have swollen lymph nodes. The factors that trigger cold sores include stress, cold weather and fatigue. They usually last seven to 10 days. They are very contagious during this time period. The virus can spread from the mouth to the genitals, eyes and other parts of the body. Your doctor may examine the cold sore or take a culture from it or take a blood sample to test for antibodies.


There is no cure for cold sores. Most of the time they disappear on their own. You can ease the pain by taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen or vitamin C, applying ice and using over-the-counter numbing medicines. These medicines may reduce the duration of cold sores.

Your doctor may prescribe an anti-viral oral medication to facilitate healing. It is also a good idea to avoid spicy and acidic foods such as citrus fruits while the cold sores are active.


To prevent cold sores, be sure to:


•  wash your hands after you touch a cold sore;

•  replace your toothbrush;

•  avoid kissing someone who has a cold sore and don’t kiss anyone else when you have one;

•  use sunscreen; and

•  replace your lipstick or lip balm.


Don’t share toothbrushes, razors, water bottles, drinking glasses and silverware with someone who has a cold sore. Your best bet for avoiding cold sores is to stay healthy. A fever can trigger a cold sore outbreak, so you need to make sure you combat illness and strengthen your immunity by getting enough sleep

DEALING WITH COLD SORES

and exercise, eating healthily and staying hydrated. Hydration protects your lips from the dry air that comes with being inside during the winter. It may be a good idea to get a humidifier for your home. In addition, use products that will guard your lips against chapping caused by the wind and sunlight (even in the wintertime, the sun’s rays can cause damage). Soothe a sore mouth with a rinse that contains baking soda. Dress in layers to protect your body when it’s cold, including wearing hats and scarves.


If you do develop a cold sore, keep it clean by washing it gently with soap and water. It can become more serious if it leads to a bacterial infection, especially in people who have weakened or impaired immune systems.

DR. WESLEY W. JOHNSON

Dr. Wesley W. Johnson completed his family practice residency at the University of Kentucky in November 2004, joining Family Practice Associates of Lexington in December 2004. Dr. Johnson’s particular interests include chronic disease management, pediatrics and aviation medicine.

more articles by dr Johnson