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Health Q&A

Posted September 19, 2012 in Advice Column, Grimes

Q: What is hay fever, and how is it treated?

A: Hay fever is caused by pollen, a common allergen. Allergens are chemicals that cause your body to respond with an allergic reaction. When you are exposed to something you are allergic to, your body releases chemicals. One type of chemical that is released is histamine. The release of histamine causes swelling, itching, sneezing, watering eyes and nose — all the symptoms of hay fever.

If your symptoms interfere with your life, consider seeing your family doctor. Your doctor will probably do a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms. Keeping a record of your symptoms over a period of time can help your doctor determine what triggers your allergies.

Antihistamines help reduce the sneezing, runny nose and itchiness of allergies. They’re more useful if you use them before you’re exposed to allergens. Some antihistamines come in pill form and some are nasal sprays.

Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, help temporarily relieve the stuffy nose of allergies. They are best used only for a short time.

Nasal steroid sprays reduce the reaction of the nasal tissues to inhaled allergens.

Information provided by Grimes Family Physicians, 101 S.E. Destination Drive, 986-4524.
 
 

Q: Who should get influenza vaccine?

A: It is recommended that all people aged 6 months and older receive the flu vaccination for the 2012 – 2013 influenza season. It is important to remember that you must receive either the flu shot or nasal mist every year in order to be protected.

This year there is also a third way to be vaccinated. The FDA has approved an intra-dermal injection to administer the vaccine. This extremely short needle delivers the vaccine just under the upper layer of the skin, so there is little to no pain associated with the injection. This option is available to people aged 18 to 64 years for the 2012 – 13 season.

Some tips to remember going into the influenza season include: avoid close contact with people who are sick with influenza, stay home and away from others when you are sick, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue when you sneeze or sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands frequently and get your yearly influenza vaccination.

Influenza vaccines are now available, so make sure to visit you physician or Hy-Vee Drugstore to get yours today.

Answer provided by Hy-Vee Drugstore, 1541 S.E. Third St., Suite 100, 986-4527.
 
 

Q: What can I do to reduce the risk of tooth decay?

A:There are several ways to reduce the risk of tooth decay. First, you should limit the consumption of sugary foods and drinks. If you choose to consume sugary foods or drinks, try to do so with a meal. Your saliva production increases during meals and helps to neutralize acid production. Saliva also helps to rinse food particles from the mouth.

Another way to reduce the risk of decay is to limit snacking in between meals. If you do decide to have a snack during the day try to choose a nutritious food and try chewing sugarless gum afterwards. Chewing sugarless gum will increase your saliva production which will help wash away the food particles and decay-producing acid. Drinking more water throughout the day can help prevent tooth decay because of the fluoride content. If you drink bottled water, look at the label to check for fluoride content.

Finally, brushing twice a day and flossing daily can decrease the risk of tooth decay. It’s also very important to visit your dental care provider twice a year for an examination and prophylaxis. Plus, it always fun to visit the dentist.

 
Information provided by Grove & Platt Dental Associates, PLC, 1541 S. Third St., Suite 300, 986-4001 and American Dental Association.
 
 

Q: Do you recommend a static or dynamic stretching routine?

A: First, we should define both static and dynamic stretching. Static stretching is defined as applying tension to a muscle to theoretically add length to it. An example would be bending over and touching your toes while holding the stretch for a set period of time. Dynamic stretching is defined as a type of sports fitness routine where momentum and active muscular involvement are used to stretch and the end position is not held like walking lunges.

While your parents and their parents before them may have been instructed to always sit and stretch before activity, recent research has shown that dynamic stretching is actually a more effective way to warm up prior to activity. Static stretching will indeed increase muscle length over time, but it can also augment joint stability, increasing your chances of injury during activity. There have also been research statistics stating that static stretching can result in as much as a 9 percent decrease in explosiveness and make the muscle weaker in the hour following the bout of stretching. Dynamic stretching has been shown to increase your flexibility more effectively prior to activity without the concerns for loss of explosiveness, muscle weakness or augmenting joint stability.  Performed correctly, dynamic stretching has been shown to drastically reduce injury rates due to muscle strain/tear.

Please call the Grimes Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers Clinic at 515-986-5190 to schedule a complimentary injury screen to learn what specific stretches are appropriate for you and your lifestyle.

Information provided by Jerod Torey, Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers, 1451 Gateway Circle, Suite 500, 986-5190.





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