Recent Blog Articles

Staying Healthy Archive


When You Visit Your Doctor - Vaginitis


Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • How long have you had this vaginal discomfort?
  • Does it itch or burn?
  • Do you have vaginal discharge? Does it have a bad odor? What is the consistency?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Is sexual intercourse painful?
  • Do you have pain or burning with urination?
  • Are you urinating more frequently?
  • Do you have urinary incontinence?
  • Are you post-menopausal?
  • Do you have vaginal dryness?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Have you recently taken antibiotics or corticosteroids?
  • Is your immune system suppressed in any way?
  • Do you take birth-control pills?
  • Do you wear tight pants or synthetic fabrics (nylon)? (These are all predisposing factors for yeast infections).
  • Have you or your partner ever had a sexually transmitted disease?
  • Do you have fevers, chills, abdominal pain, joint pain, or a rash?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Abdominal examination
  • Pelvic examination

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Sample of the vaginal discharge to examine under a microscope (wet smear)
  • Cultures of the vaginal discharge

When You Visit Your Doctor - Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Where is the pain in your back?
  • Does it radiate to your legs?
  • Is it worse when you walk?
  • Does the pain from walking occur suddenly or gradually?
  • Is it relieved by standing?
  • Is it relieved by sitting or lying down?
  • What bothers you more, the pain in your back or the pain in your legs?
  • Does the pain worsen when you cough or sneeze?
  • Do you have numbness or decreased sensation in your legs?
  • Have you had problems with your balance?
  • Have you had any changes or difficulty in your ability to urinate?
  • How long have you had the pain?
  • Is it getting worse?
  • How much does it limit your usual activities?
  • How is your quality of life affected by the pain?
  • Have you ever had spinal surgery?
  • Have you ever injured your back?
  • Have you ever had hip surgery?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Do you have poor circulation, such as peripheral artery disease?
  • Do you have foot ulcers?
  • Have you ever had vascular surgery?
  • Do you have any sort of neuropathy (nerve damage)?
  • What are you doing to treat the pain?
  • Have you seen a physical therapist?
  • Are you interested in an injection of a cortisone-like medication into your back? Do you know anything about this procedure?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Spine
  • Hip
  • Pulses in the feet, behind the knee and in the groin
  • Neurologic exam

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • X-rays of the spine
  • CT scans of the spine
  • MRI scans of the spine

When You Visit Your Doctor - Thrombocytopenia


Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • What medications do you take (including over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies)?
  • Have you been ill recently?
  • What other medical problems do you have?
  • Could you be pregnant?
  • Have you ever been tested for HIV?
  • Have you had fever?
  • Have you had rashes?
  • Have you had diarrhea?
  • Have you had abdominal pain?
  • Have you had headache?
  • Have you had neurologic symptoms?
  • Have you been lightheaded?
  • Have you been short of breath with minimal exertion?
  • Have you had chest pain or pressure?
  • Have you had a cough?
  • Do you have any bruises or nosebleeds?
  • Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth?
  • If you are a woman, have you had unusually heavy menstrual periods?
  • How long have you had symptoms?
  • Does anyone else in your family have low platelets?
  • How many alcoholic beverages do you drink in an average week?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Eyes
  • Mouth
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Abdomen
  • Skin

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Blood tests, which might include complete blood count with microscopic evaluation, kidney function tests, liver function tests, antinuclear antibody, an HIV test
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Air travel health tips

With summer's approach come plans for travel, including flying long distances. But the prospect of a long flight often raises health concerns. Especially in passengers who are older or have certain conditions, air travel and the related stress can have an impact on health. Here are a few trouble areas and some precautions you can take.

Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). Not all experts agree on an association between DVT (blood clots in the legs) and air travel. Symptoms may not occur for several days, so it's difficult to establish a cause-and-effect relationship. If there is one, it's likely due to prolonged inactivity. Limited airline space can discourage moving about. Dry cabin air may also increase the risk of DVT.

Emergencies and First Aid - Childbirth


  • Towels, plastic sheet, and newspapers
  • Soft blanket for the baby
  • Gloves (ideally disposable surgical gloves), if available
  • Thick string, clean shoelace, or sterile tape to tie off umbilical cord
  • Plastic bag for placenta


  • Note the time of birth.
  • Congratulate the mother!


After delivery, hold the baby with his or her head slightly lower than the feet to drain fluid from the nose and throat. Do not hold the baby upside down or slap him or her. Gently dry off the baby and wrap him or her in a dry towel or blanket. The baby should start breathing and his or her color should improve as oxygen is breathed in. If the baby does not start breathing, place the baby on his or her back and gently rub the chest or tap the bottoms of the feet. If the baby still does not begin breathing, start mouth-to-mouth-and-nose resuscitation.



The umbilical cord will pulsate during the birth and afterward, indicating that the baby is still receiving blood from the mother. Do not cut the cord until it stops pulsating. After it has stopped pulsating, tie off the cord tightly with heavy string, a clean shoelace, or sterile tape about 4 inches from the baby; tie it again 2 to 4 inches from the first string. Cut between the two ties. Wrap the baby in a soft blanket and place him or her on the mother’s stomach.


Emergencies and First Aid - Birth of the Placenta

Birth of the Placenta

The placenta, which has provided the fetus with nourishment, is attached to the umbilical cord and is delivered about 20 minutes after the baby. Do not pull on the cord; delivery of the placenta occurs on its own. You can help by gently massaging the woman’s lower abdomen. The uterus will feel like a hard round mass.

Massaging the abdomen helps the uterus contract, which also helps stop bleeding. After the placenta is delivered, place it in a plastic bag to take with the woman and baby to the hospital. It is normal for more bleeding to occur after delivery of the placenta. Continue gently massaging the woman’s lower abdomen.

Emergencies and First Aid - Butterfly Bandage

Butterfly Bandage


Standard bandages come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The butterfly bandage shown here is used to hold together the edges of a cut.

Emergencies and First Aid - Direct Pressure to Stop Bleeding

Direct Pressure to Stop Bleeding

A wound that is deep, bleeding heavily, or has blood spurting from it (caused by bleeding from an artery), may not clot and may not stop bleeding.

Immediate care
Call out for someone to get help, or call 911 yourself. Elevate the wound and apply direct pressure.

Emergencies and First Aid - How to Stop a Nosebleed

How to Stop a Nosebleed

  1. •Firmly pinch the entire soft part of the nose just above the nostrils.
  2. •Sit and lean forward (this will ensure that blood and other secretions do not go down your throat).
  3. •Breathe through your mouth.
  4. Hold this position for 5 minutes. If bleeding continues, hold the position for an additional 10 minutes. If bleeding does not stop, go to the emergency department.

Emergencies and First Aid - Heimlich Maneuver on an Adult

Heimlich Maneuver on an Adult

If the person is sitting or standing, stand behind him or her. Form a fist with one hand and place your fist, thumb side in, just below the person'’s rib cage in the front. Grab your fist with your other hand. Keeping your arms off the person’'s rib cage, give four quick inward and upward thrusts. You may have to repeat this several times until the obstructing object is coughed out.If the person is lying down or unconscious, straddle him or her and place the heel of your hand just above the waistline. Place your other hand on top of this hand. Keeping your elbows straight, give four quick upward thrusts. You may have to repeat this procedure several times until the obstructing object is coughed out.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.