Reset your schedule, reset your health

Changes in daily schedules can have a big effect on health. For example, an inconsistent sleep schedule can lead to insomnia and changes in metabolism and hunger. Schedule changes may also affect whether someone exercises or takes medication. It’s important to commit to a routine set of hours for sleeping and waking, eating, exercising, and working. Ideas for sticking to a schedule include tying medication doses to daily activities, such as teeth brushing, and keeping a food journal to track meal times. (Locked) More »

What are the long-lasting effects of COVID-19?

Fewer people who get COVID-19 are dying, but not all of the survivors are recovering fully. Some people are left with evidence of injury to the heart and kidneys. It is too soon to know whether the damage is permanent and whether it will affect their level of function. And some people, called "COVID long-haulers," experience debilitating symptoms for many months after beating COVID-19. Symptoms include fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, inability to exercise, headache, and trouble sleeping for many months after beating COVID-19. (Locked) More »

Should you crank up your early allergy strategies this year?

Even if one is isolating because of the pandemic and mostly staying indoors, it will still be helpful to take allergy medications early in order to ward off spring symptoms. Doctors recommend using two drugs about three or four weeks before symptoms typically occur. One is a steroid nasal spray to fight inflammation, such as fluticasone propionate (Flonase). The other is an antihistamine to counteract histamine, a body chemical involved in allergic reactions, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra). Once allergy season is under way, it may help to add nasal saline rinses and antihistamine eye drops to the regimen. (Locked) More »

Why am I itchy all over?

Generalized itching has many potential triggers, such as older age, dry environments, medication side effects, nerve damage, or allergens. Itch relief involves treating underlying causes, moisturizing the skin, and using a humidifier. If there is no identifiable cause of generalized itching, it may help to take gabapentin (Neurontin), use topical anesthetic patches or creams containing lidocaine, or take antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. UV light treatments and over-the-counter anti-itch creams may also provide relief. (Locked) More »

3 supplements that may harm your heart

Some supplements pose risks to heart health. For example, red yeast rice supplements can amplify the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications. And garlic supplements can increase the levels and effects of some medications for heart health, such as blood thinners (causing bleeding), cholesterol-lowering drugs (causing muscle damage), and blood pressure drugs (causing dangerous drops in blood pressure). It’s important to talk to a doctor before trying any new supplement, and to ask if a supplement will interfere with a medication regimen. More »

What to look for in an online exercise video for older adults

A good workout video for older adults will be tailored to their health needs. It should have a warm-up, workout, cool-down, some stretching, an inspiring tone, tips to maintain the proper form, and the ability to make modifications. Types of workouts for older adults include low-impact cardio, tai chi, yoga, seated yoga, marching in place, resistance band exercises, and body weight workouts. Online exercise classes from Harvard Health Publishing are designed specifically for older adults. (Locked) More »