Arthritis pain: Do’s and don’ts.

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Will physical activity reduce or increase your arthritis pain? Get tips on exercise and other common concerns when coping with arthritis symptoms and arthritis pain.

By Mayo Clinic staff

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You get all kinds of advice about exercise, medication and stress reduction, but how do you know what will work best for you? Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you figure it out.

Basics

Whatever your condition, you’ll have an easier time staying ahead of your pain if you:

  • Talk to your doctor about all your symptoms, arthritis related or not. Sometimes seemingly unrelated problems are, in fact, connected.
  • Give your doctor complete information about all your medical conditions, not just arthritis.
  • Ask your doctor for a clear definition of the type of arthritis you have.
  • Find out whether any of your joints are already damaged.

Everyday routines

Do some gentle exercise in the evening; you’ll feel less stiff in the morning. When you’re technically doing nothing — watching TV or sitting at your desk, for instance — be sure to:

  • Adjust your position frequently.
  • Periodically tilt your neck from side to side, change the position of your hands, and bend and stretch your legs.
  • Pace yourself. Take breaks so that you don’t overuse a joint and cause more pain.
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Fever in children: 5 facts you must know

by NATASHA BURGERT, MD

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A recent issue of Pediatrics includes a new report detailing the need for doctors to improve patient teaching about fever and fever-reducing drugs.

Many parents fear their child getting a fever, or have “fever phobia.” I certainly can understand why. Kids can do crazy things when they get fevers. They don’t sleep well, eat poorly, and behave strangely. Some children can even have seizures due to a quick spike in body temperature. So it isn’t surprising that beginning as early as the pre-natal consultation, parents ask questions about what to do when their child gets a fever.

Concern about childhood fevers is long-standing in our history. Fever superstitions and ancient fever remedies are ribboned throughout all cultures. For example, Romans would trim the fingernails of those affected with fever. Using wax to attach the fingernail clippings to a neighbor’s front door was thought to transmit the fever to that household. Note: Do not have ancient Romans as neighbors. And, even today, I will occasionally see children whose elders have used a method called cupping to literally suck the fever out of them.

So, here are 5 fabulous facts about fever. Some of these statements may be exactly opposite what our mothers have said about fever. The goal of this post is not to discredit grandma, but to decrease fever phobia and treat fever correctly. And with the right information, maybe the next time our pink-cheeked kiddos come to us with warm foreheads, we might not be so eager to jump to our medicine cabinets.

Please note: The following facts are NOT true for infants under the age of 3 months. Please talk to your pediatrician about newborns with fever.

1. There is no “number” on a thermometer that requires a trip to the Emergency Department.Nope, not even 104F degrees. With very specific exceptions, kids do not have to maintain a “normal” temperature during times of illness. Fever is a normal, healthy way for the body to fight common infections. Bacteria and viruses that attack our bodies love normal body temperature, but cannot successfully replicate in hotter conditions. Fever, therefore, reflects a robust immune system’s defense against these pathogenic attackers. The bacteria and viruses are the enemy, not the fever they cause.

So remember: fever is a symptom of illness, not a disease. Seeing a high number on the thermometer means your child’s body is doing its job to fight an infection.

2. The severity of fever does not always correspond with the severity of illness. So, what does that mean? A fever is generally defined as over 100F degrees. However, with few exceptions, the degree “number” over 100F really doesn’t matter. In fact, a fever of 101F degrees does not make more difference to me than a fever of 103F degrees.

I have kids running and playing in my office with high fevers. I have other children who look sluggish and sad with a reasonably mild fever. Every kiddo reacts to a fever differently. So regardless of the actual numerical value, look for signs of serious illness in your child. Observe his level of discomfort, level of activity, and ability to maintain adequate hydration. If you are concerned, call your pediatrician to discuss the next steps.

3. Fevers do not have to be treated with medication. Fevers help the body fight infection. Treating a fever is only necessary when you think your child is uncomfortable. The goal of administering antipyretic (anti-fever) medications is not to get a high temperature back to “normal.” They are simply medications to make your child feel better.

Fevers can make kids feel pretty lousy. Children can have altered sleep, unusual behavior, and poor oral intake. If these symptoms are upsetting to your child, please give a fever reducing medication. Treating fever does provide comfort, and may decrease the risk of dehydration.

As an aside, if you are coming to the pediatrician’s office because your child has a fever and her or she is uncomfortable, please give your child a fever reducing medication prior to coming to the office. You do not have to wait until the doctor “sees them with a fever.” A comfortable child is much easier to examine. And a good exam will often determine the cause of the fever, allowing for accurate treatment.

4. Half of you are dosing fever medications incorrectly. As many as one-half of parents do not administer the correct dose of fever reducing medication to their child. This includes both under-dosing and over-dosing. Medications should be dosed according to your child’s weight, not age. Always use the measuring device that comes with the medication. If you lose the dosing device, use only a standard measuring instrument (syringe, medicine cup) as a replacement. Household spoons and measuring spoons are not always accurate.

I often hear parents deliberately under-dosing their child. They say, “I didn’t really want to give him medication, so I just gave him a half-dose.”

A “half-dose” will do nothing. Don’t bother.

If you feel that your child needs medication, give the correct dose. If you have questions about your child’s dosage or the proper measuring device to use, call your pediatrician.

5. Fever does not cause brain damage. In a person with a normal functioning brain, and the ability to cool oneself, fever is normal response to infection. Every normal brain has a internal “thermostat” that will prevent a person’s temperature from getting high enough to cause brain damage. It is only when hyperthermia, or heat stroke, occurs when damage to the brain and other organs will occur. Hyperthermia happens in the rare instances when an individual’s brain cannot regulate temperature well (as in a rare case of brain injury) or when an individual is not able to cool oneself (as in a closed car on a summer day.) Fever due to illness in a normal child will not cause organ damage.

Natasha Burgert is a pediatrician who blogs at KC Kids Doc.

The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight-loss program for life

The Mayo Clinic Diet is a different approach to weight loss. It’s a lifestyle that can help you maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.

By Mayo Clinic staff

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If you’re overweight, you’ve probably tried many diet and weight-loss plans, yet the weight keeps coming back. You might have even tried what you thought was a Mayo Clinic diet — but it was probably bogus.

If the diets you’ve tried haven’t worked, don’t be surprised or call it quits. Most people who diet find that weight loss is a never-ending roller coaster ride. You may lose some weight at first, but then the weight loss stops or you regain the weight.

The problem may be that you just haven’t found the right approach yet. The Mayo Clinic Diet — the real one, that is — can help. The Mayo Clinic Diet isn’t like most diets. The Mayo Clinic Diet is a lifestyle approach that can improve your health and help you maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.

The Mayo Clinic Diet: A new approach to healthy weight

The Mayo Clinic Diet is a program that helps you make simple, healthy, pleasurable changes in your lifestyle that result in a weight you can maintain for the rest of your life. Why the emphasis on lifestyle? It turns out that a healthy lifestyle is also a great way to lose weight and keep it off. You get better health and better weight. Not a bad deal.

Perhaps best of all, this program is enjoyable. Eating is one of the great joys in life. What you eat on this diet has to taste good, or you won’t do it. The Mayo Clinic Diet emphasizes foods that not only are healthy but also taste great.

The Mayo Clinic Diet: How does it work?

The Mayo Clinic Diet involves changing habits. With the Mayo Clinic Diet, you work to reshape your lifestyle by breaking unhealthy old habits that sabotage your weight and adopting healthy new habits that will lead you down a path toward better health.

The Mayo Clinic Diet has two phases:

  • Lose It! This two-week phase is designed to help you begin seeing results right away, with weight loss of 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.5 kilograms, or kg). Unlike fad diets that promise rapid weight loss, the Mayo Clinic Diet approach is safe and healthy while building momentum and enthusiasm. It’s based on changing habits for a lifetime so that the weight you lose doesn’t come back, as it probably has in the past on fad diets.
  • Live It! This second phase builds on Lose It! and is designed to help you continue to lose weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kg) a week until you reach your weight goal. This phase also helps you maintain your weight goal permanently by continuing and tweaking lifelong healthy habits.

Within each phase, the diet helps you uncover your inner motivation — what really matters to you — that will help keep you on track in your effort to lose weight.

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