Monday, February 25, 2008

Heimlich Maneuver

As what I have witnessed recently while eating in a restaurant, a man sitting from a nearby table is holding his neck that seems to be catching his breath was being rescued by another man that made this first-aid procedure to him, thereby saving his life. It was only later I learned this life-saving action as Heimlich Maneuver.  By the way, what is it? 

Heimlich Maneuver most often referred to by the technical term "abdominal thrusts" was known to be invented by an American physician, Henry Jay Heimlich. It is a first aid process for removing a foreign object lodged in the airway which is preventing a person from breathing. 

This procedure was first to be described and published by his associate, Edward A Patrick, MD, PhD, in an article "Pop Goes the Cafe Coronary," printed in June 1974, “Emergency Medicine” journal. 

This abdominal thrust  is an emergency procedure that may be carried-out by a rescuer who will stand behind a victim and by using his or her hands will directly apply pressure on the lowest part of the thoracic diaphragm thereby, compressing the lungs and exerting pressure so that any object that get stuck, jammed or clogged in the trachea will be expelled-out through artificial coughing. 

Even though this is done correctly, a precaution must be taken into consideration, because of the forceful manner of the technique. This could physically injure the patient on whom it was performed.  There is a high probability that the rescuer may bruise the abdomen and can result severe injuries, such as the fracture of the ribs and the xiphoid process as well. 

Assuming a victim has the knowledge of this technique, self-treatment can be made. He or she may perform this procedure with his or her own self. This can be done by using secured objects like the back of a chair or a railing on which the victim himself could exert self-body pressure on the bottom of his thoracic diaphragm instead of the normal rescuer’s hands. 

This Heimlich Maneuver can be performed to any choking victim but there are necessary modification especially when the person is very obese, pregnant, a child or an infant. In order to determine that a person’s airway is blocked; certain indications are to be observed which includes: 

      Ø  The person desperately grabs at his or her throat.  

Ø  The person either cannot speak or cry out.  

Ø  The person's face turns blue from lack of oxygen.  

Ø  The person has a weak cough,  and labored breathing produces a high-pitched noise.  

Ø  The person does all of the above, then becomes unconscious. 

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Health Myths Even Doctors Believe

It's one thing if your mother tells you that shaved hair will grow back faster, darker and coarser. It's quite another when your doctor agrees with her. Why? It's just wrong! This is one of seven medical myths myths identified by the British Medical Journal that will no doubt stun you. We'll bet you think at least one of these is true!

 You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
This advice, often found in the popular press, probably originated from advice given in 1945 stating that a suitable allowance of water per day for adults is 2.5 liters (which is 10.14 cups). The statement also added that most of this quantity is found in food -- but that part seems to have been forgotten. Thus, it's interpreted as eight glasses of water a day. Remember, drinking too much water can actually be harmful, resulting in water intoxication, hyponatremia and even death.

 We use only 10 percent of our brains.
Erroneously credited to Albert Einstein, this myth is cited by everyone from physicians to comedians. But they're wrong! MRI and PET scans show that there are no dormant, inactive areas of the brain. Detailed probing of the brain has never revealed the non-functioning 90 percent.

 Fingernails and hair grow after death.
Johnny Carson even perpetuated this myth when he joked, "For three days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off." Forensic anthropologist William Maples told the British Medical Journal, "It is a powerful, disturbing image, but it is pure moonshine. No such thing occurs." However, there is a biological basis for the myth. After death, the skins around the hair or nailscan retract, giving the impression that the nails or hair have grown when in fact the contrasting soft tissues just shrink.

 Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.
Clinical trials conducted as long as 80 years ago show that shaving has no effect on hair growth. More recent research proves that shaving doesn't affect the thickness or rate of hair growth. Because shaved hair lacks the fine taper seen on the ends of unshaven hair, it can appear to be coarser. In addition, new hair hasn't been lightened by the sun, so it seems to be darker than existing hair.

 Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.
Moms have long maintained that children who try to postpone bedtime by reading under the covers with a flashlight will need glasses. That's not true. Poor lighting can make it seem as if your eyes can't focus and it makes them feel dryer, but in fact such light won't permanently harm your eyesight or damage the function or structure of the eyes. Any discomfort or strain is only temporary.

Eating turkey makes you drowsy.
Scientific studies do show that tryptophan, which is an amino acid present in turkey, is involved in sleep and mood control and can cause drowsiness. However, turkey doesn't contain enough tryptophan to knock you out. Bet you didn't know this: Turkey, chicken and ground beef contain nearly equivalent amounts of tryptophan, while pork and cheese have more than turkey! If you're sleepy after eating turkey, chances are you ate a lot more than just the meat. Any large meal can make you sleepy -- with or without turkey.

 Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.
Hospitals may be plastered with warning signs against using cell phones, but not a single death can be attributed to such use. However, less serious incidents causing false alarms on monitors, malfunctions in infusion pumps, and incorrect readings on cardiac monitors, have occasionally been reported, reports the British Medical Journal.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Plannning and gettting gifts on Valentine’s Day?

How do you make this day so special?

Valentine's Day, Feb. 14 is a celebration involving "loved ones," has been around for hundreds of years. Chase's Calendar of Events  traces St. Valentine's Day to AD 269, in honor of two murdered Christian martyrs in Rome named Valentine. It has become one of the most widely observed unofficial holidays worldwide, marked by exchanges of gifts of love to family and friends.

Couples are exchanging 36 million boxes of chocolates and 189 million roses on Valentine’s Day, as surveys have shown. But chocolates and roses may not always be the right gift to give when you are in a new relationship. “Valentine’s Day means different things to different people, doing too much or too little when the other person does not feel the same way about February 14th could spell trouble for a new relationship,” says Antoinette Coleman, a licensed clinical social worker in McLean, VA and founder of, a relationship counseling website.

It is not realistic to expect a big, romantic celebration at this stage when you have just met. “If you’ve had a date or two, it’s OK for one of you to say, ‘Hey, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and even though we’ve only gone out a few times, I thought it would be fun to do something together, like catch a movie.’ If the other person wants to do that, that’s great,” says Coleman. However, if the other person hems and haws, you should back off and schedule a date for a different day. It could be something as simple as this person has already made plans, or maybe the other person isn’t ready to be with someone on Valentine’s Day, since the day comes with a lot of expectations.

What if you two do get together that day—should you bring a present? “It’s fine to give something small,” she says. For example, if you know your date collects things with pigs on them, giving her a pig refrigerator magnet says, “I pay attention to what you like.” Similarly, if a guy has mentioned that he loves reading Stephen King novels, picking up the latest one for him is thoughtful, not a huge profession of undying love. Just remember: Don’t give a gift with the expectation of receiving one in return. Be prepared for the fact that the other person may not have thought to get you something, and make sure you can handle that before offering up your gift.

When you have been dating for a few months  with someone and you know, “I’ve met The One.” Other times, things are going well, but you couldn’t say for sure that you would expect to spend the rest of your life with this person. Nonetheless, if you’ve been going out for a few months, it is reasonable to expect that you’re going to make plans to do something for Valentine’s Day. Coleman suggests broaching the topic lightly. “You could say something like, ‘Valentine’s Day is in two weeks… do you want to pretend it doesn’t exist or do you want to do something?’” she says.

How the person reacts to the idea of spending Valentine’s Day together is a good litmus test for a budding relationship. It may be an important occasion for your sweetie… or perceived as a bogus, commercial holiday, just another day on the calendar. If your opinions differ, try to compromise out of respect for each other. “If your date says, ‘For me, Valentine’s Day has always been kind of hokey, but if it matters to you, let’s do something together,’ then that’s great,” advises Coleman. However, if he or she refuses to acknowledge a preference to spend the day together or refuses to budge from the typical wine-and-roses plan to celebrate the day, then this couple has more to worry about than what to do on February 14th. Adds Coleman, “It’s all about how you negotiate this stuff where you don’t see eye to eye.”

No matter how giddy your sweetie makes you feel, give something meaningful but not inappropriately extravagant. So giving the sports buff tickets for the two of you to attend a Big 10 basketball game would be wonderful; renting out a skybox at a stadium and catering it would be completely over the top. Also, giving a gift that the two of you can enjoy together — tickets to an event, a night away together — can guarantee more shared good times ahead.

A funny thing happens on the way to Valentine’s Day once you have been dating for a long time—people tend to take the emphasis off of it and treat it just like any other day. Coleman says that it’s important not to take a relationship for granted at this point and not making an effort to do something special is a mistake. Take the opportunity to celebrate together. It doesn’t have to be a classic candlelit dinner. Maybe it’s going shopping together at your local wine shop and cheese store and putting together a little picnic while watching a DVD of a good movie you two missed. Anything that can make the night about enjoying each other’s company will be a valuable gesture.

Probably the biggest minefield when you’ve been dating each other for awhile is whether or not to get engaged on Valentine’s Day, a popular time for popping the question. The expert advice is, doesn’t give into the pressure unless you’re really feeling it. “If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not proposing is appropriate, pick another day to ask that question,” says Coleman.

If you’re not at that stage yet, a gift that shows how well you know each other’s lives can be wonderful. It may not be the most romantic thing, but some silk long underwear for a honey who’s always cold or a beer-of-the-month club for a someone who’s always interested in a new microbrew can be a terrific way to reflect how in touch you are with each other.

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