Health Updates with Karin & Kae - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/19/03

Health Updates with Karin & Kae

About 20% of people who fly get colds. That is a high number. Some blame poor ventilation, but experts say that isn't so. It's being too close to too many people that does it. And you probably touch many things that are contaminated with cold viruses. Frequent flyers should become frequent hand washers to avoid coming down with the common cold.

If you are pregnant, watch your tuna intake. Albacore tuna contains a lot of mercury, with some cans even exceeding the maximum for young women. If you like tuna, switch to "light" tuna packed in water, not oil. It comes from a smaller fish and contains less mercury. It unfortunately contains less of the omega-3 fatty acids, but the choice is generally healthier.

Most women have seen the ads for pills and creams to 'enhance' your breast size, but they don't work. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that they are effective and will substitute for surgery. Even if they did work, they might be dangerous. The active ingredient is plant estrogen. If they do stimulate breast tissue, they could also stimulate the growth of cells and increase your risk of cancer. Don't waste your money or risk your health.

When you go into the hospital, the informed consent documents you sign are supposed to protect you so that you understand the treatment you are to receive. That isn't the case, says a group of researchers in Minnesota. The forms are too hard to read. When they tested the forms with a readability test, they found that only 37% of people could understand what the forms were all about. If you have to sign an informed consent form, ask the caregiver to explain it to you. Don't be shy. After all, it is your health that is at stake.

There's no need to worry about the West Nile virus if you need a blood transfusion, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Blood banks are now screening blood donations more carefully, in order to catch any blood from contaminated donors. This screening process is also a tool to keep a watch on where the infection is spreading across the country.

If you are sending one of your kids off to college this year, be sure their vaccinations are all up to date. Have they had a tetanus shot in the last ten years? Also ask about the meningococcal vaccine. Meningitis is a disease that can spread rapidly among young adults in situations such as the armed services and at college and it can quickly turn deadly. Some colleges are suggesting requiring this shot now, but Texas Tech does not require it.

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