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No one wants to get sidelined with a ligament injury. Ankle sprains and injuries to the knee, particularly ACL injuries (anterior cruciate ligament) are common in young athletes. Is there anything you can do to prevent yourself from missing valuable playing time? Absolutely!

Learn how to move with good alignment so you protect your knees. Develop body awareness, strength, and balance to support your knees and ankles. Always jump, land, stop, and move with your knees directly over your feet. Do NOT let your knees collapse inward. Develop strength in your hips and thighs. Warm up and stretch before games and practice. Perform a variety of drills until the movement patterns are second nature and you don’t have to think about it. Say to yourself:

  • Chest high and over knees
  • Bend from the hips and knees
  • Knees over toes
  • Toes straight forward
  • Land like a feather

Successful injury prevention programs may differ in specific exercises and drills but they share a common focus: improving flexibility, strength (particularly of the core, hips, and legs), balance, agility, and your ability to jump and land safely.

Don’t let a packed schedule of practices, games, and schoolwork leave you so tired that your technique gets sloppy. Rest is essential for gains to occur. Adequate sleep, rest days, and alternating hard workouts with easier workouts are all important strategies in reducing your risk of injury and making you a strong, powerful athlete.

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Doctors routinely prescribe the medications required to get you back to a healthy state, but are you aware of the proper dosage for those meds?

When you get a report back from the lab that is confusing, are you comfortable with asking your doctor about the results?

When you read the Nutrition Facts Label when grocery shopping, do you really know what all the information means?

Being able to answer “YES” to those questions means that you have a high health literacy, according to the good folks at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Jodi Duckhorn serves as the Director of Risk Communications for the FDA, and it is her job to ensure that the average person is able to understand all the messages sent out by the FDA. This ensures that more people will be health literate, and therefore able to make better health decisions.

Health Literacy Explained

When asked to explain what health literacy is, Duckhorn responded that it is the ability to understand the basics of health issues and medical services so that making an informed health decision is that much easier.

Unfortunately, it is estimate that only about 12% of the adult population in the U.S. an be described as having high health literacy, as per the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. The remaining 88% of the population may not have the essential knowledge required to make informed decisions about their health.

The federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, believes that health literacy begins with a basic knowledge of subjects such as heart health and nutrition. Your doctor will pass on all the information you need to make good health decisions, but too many people fail to ask questions when they do not fully understand what they are being told.

Duckworth is of the belief that it is those lack of questions that can lead to confusion and poor health choices. For example, a patient being told that their test results are “negative” may think that negative means a bad result as opposed to a good one. If they fail to seek further information, they may leave the doctor’s office believing that they are in poor health when they are actually fine.

The Negative Consequences of Low Health Literacy

The most obvious negative consequence of having reduced health literacy means that you feel ill-equipped to ask pertinent questions and make important healthcare decisions. It also makes it close to impossible to interpret even the most basic lab results, or to understand things such as dosages and information on nutrition labels.

Being unaware of the healthcare options available to you also means an increased risk of hospitalization. Prevention is one of the best ways to stay healthy, but if you are unaware of the services that are out there, prevention often goes out the window, leading to higher health costs.

The FDA and the Promotion of Health Literacy

The FDA takes health literacy extremely seriously, which is why they go out of their way to communicate complex health topics in a manner that the layman can understand. They use a variety of different techniques to get accurate information out to the patient, as well as to the healthcare providers who look after them.

 

Get Vaccinated

November 6, 2017

Forgot to get your vaccine back in the fall and think it’s too late to get one?

Well according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can still get your flu vaccine while the virus is still going around. So even though the flu season begins most of the time at the start of October, it peaks during the first two months of the year and can go on as far as May

The FDA ensures the vaccines produced every year are safe and actually work, and this work begins long before the next flu season begins because it often occurs while the current flu season is going on. Thus, the task of assuring vaccines are safe and effective is a year-round endeavor.

Why do we need new vaccines every year?

Dr. Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccine Research and Review for the FDA states that there are sound reasons for why the flu vaccine has to be new each year.

Gruber tells us that because the virus mutates each year, a vaccine has to be created that closely resembles the new strain going around because the previous year’s vaccine loses effectiveness as time passes by.

Identifying likely virus strains

During the month of February—the peak of the current flu season—the World Health Organization, FDA and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) gather worldwide data to determine the next flu season’s makeup. Their findings will determine which strains are used to produce the next US vaccine.

Studying the virus strains allows the makers of the vaccines to create a matching vaccine that provides better protection.

The FDA also examine the companies making the vaccines regularly to assist in making sure these companies vaccines are effective. Reagents are prepared by the FDA and distributed to these companies to standardize the vaccines and ensure they have the right dosage strength. Each year, the manufacturing facility has to undergo an approval process to verify each lot of vaccines is appropriate for use.

The people impacted the most by the flu

According to the studies conducted yearly by the CDC, children and the elderly are the two populations that are impacted the most by the flu even though other populations may be greatly affected as well (for instance young and middle-aged adults).

Dandruff Prevention

November 1, 2017

Dandruff

Dandruff is a common, non-contagious skin condition that affects the scalp (the skin that covers the top and back of the head) and causes flakes of skin to appear. Non-contagious means that you cannot catch dandruff from someone who has the condition. Dandruff can vary in severity- it can be mild, moderate or severe.

Mild dandruff can affect anyone, although it tends to affect men more than women. Dandruff often occurs after puberty and is most common in people in their early twenties. Puberty is the period of life when the body reaches sexual maturity and causes physical, psychological and behavioral changes. In adults, dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis may return at any time.

There is not much you can do for dandruff prevention. However, using an antidandruff or antifungal shampoo once a week (or as prescribed on the bottle) after the scalp is clear may help to prevent dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp.

Dandruff Prevention

Try the following steps for dandruff prevention:

  • Try not to scratch your scalp when using shampoo. Gently massage your scalp without scratching as this will not damage your scalp or your hair.
  • Brush your hair daily and wash it at least three times a week. After washing your hair, rinse it thoroughly to get all the shampoo out. Using a shampoo that contains tea tree oil daily may help reduce dandruff. It contains an antifungal and antiseptic and can be bought in health shops.
  • Avoid using chemicals on your scalp, such as those used in hair colouring products. The chemicals reduce the number of bacteria on the scalp that are needed to fight against yeasts.
  • Using hair products, such as hair gels and hair sprays, can build up oils and can irritate the scalp in some people. You may want to stop using a product for a while to see if your dandruff improves, or change products completely.
  • Spending time outdoors can help reduce dandruff. However, ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can damage your skin, as well as increasing your risk of developing skin cancer. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun by using a sun screen with the appropriate skin protection factor (SPF) for your skin type.
  • Managing stress can reduce your risk of getting dandruff. Stress can have an adverse effect on your overall health and can increase your risk of becoming ill. Stress can also trigger dandruff or make existing dandruff worse. If you feel stressed or under pressure, your GP can recommend a variety of different ways to help treat your stress.