It’s the season when you take a timeout from school and your absence is actually excused. But if you’re traveling for spring break, you’ve got to stay safe.

The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking new steps to ensure that young women have access to timely wellness information. OWH has launched a new web page with information about health issues to help you stay safe on vacation and beyond. The page is the latest in its ongoing College Women’s Campaign, a collaboration with more than 160 schools across the country to disseminate OWH health publications at college health centers and other campus locations.

“We know college women face a lot of pressures, and we want to make sure they take time to care for their health while they’re in school and on break,” explains Marsha Henderson, FDA’s assistant commissioner for women’s health.

The campaign spans a variety of topics, and here are five themes for spring break. So follow these tips, and enjoy your trip.

Be Safe in the Sun

You may be tempted to “pre-tan” and then tan some more once you arrive. But don’t. Any increase in skin pigment (called “melanin”) is a sign of damage. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause wrinkles and dark spots among other problems—and tanning puts you at higher risk for skin cancer. But the beach can still be a high point of your trip.

  • Protective clothing. Wear a hat and protective clothing, and stay in the shade.
  • Sunscreens. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, and choose an SPF of 15 or higher. You need at least one ounce of sunscreen lotion (the size of a golf ball) to cover your body. Reapply at least every 2 hours, or every 40 to 80 minutes when swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the product label. And limit the time your skin is exposed to the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Tanning beds. The lamps in the beds emit ultraviolet radiation that can be more intense and harmful than the sun. FDA recommends carefully reading the instructions and warnings before using these beds, and tanning pills and accelerators are not approved by the agency.
  • Spray tans and bronzers. Know that spray-on tanning or bronzing products are not UV protective.

Use Medications Wisely

Prepare for your trip by asking your health care professional any questions, including those about side effects and interactions, before you go. Then follow his or her directions. Don’t skip doses, don’t share medication, and don’t take more than the suggested dose. Also check expiration dates in advance and keep your medicine with you when traveling. (If you’re flying, you don’t want to land in Cancun and have your prescriptions land in Cleveland.) Finally, keep a detailed list of what you’re taking. Ideally your travels will be smooth. But if you need to seek medical care this list will be helpful.

Be Careful With Contact Lenses

They’re convenient but can expose you to serious conditions such as eye infections and corneal ulcers—something you don’t want to deal with on vacation. To avoid problems, first make sure your contacts are prescribed by an eye care professional. Skip colored or decorative lenses sold in beauty supply stores and at the boardwalk, since they can damage your eyes. Second, wash your hands before touching lenses, and use sterile solution. Never expose your lenses to saliva or non-sterile water, including that from the tap, bottle or ocean. Non-sterile water can put you at risk for an eye infection. So remove your contacts before swimming or getting in the hot tub and follow your eye care professional’s other care and removal instructions. If your vision changes, your eyes get red, you have lots of tears, or your eyes hurt or feel itchy, take out your lenses and seek medical attention.

Think Twice About Getting Tattoos or Henna

Whether you’re considering a non-permanent (e.g., henna) or a permanent addition (including makeup), think before you ink. Tattoos can cause allergic reactions and put you at risk for infections like HIV or hepatitis from unclean tools, practices or products. FDA has not approved any inks for injecting into your skin and does not regulate tattoo parlors. FDA also hasn’t approved henna or hair dye for skin use, and some people have reported serious problems after using henna, including allergic reactions such as rashes and scarring.

Stay Hydrated and Remember Tips for Healthy Eating

Time flies when you’re having fun, but take a few moments to sip H2O throughout the day. “When you’re traveling, it’s easy to become dehydrated because sometimes you don’t have access to water,” explains Shirley R. Blakely, Ph.D., R.D., a senior nutrition advisor with FDA. So when you spend a late afternoon at the beach (remember sun safety!) bring water and drink even before you feel thirsty, she advises. Also beware of ice or tap water in places where water isn’t safe to drink. If you don’t have access to safe water, Blakely recommends drinking an internationally known brand of a sugar- and caffeine-free carbonated beverage. Finally, Blakely says, “When traveling, you may find yourself overindulging.” For healthy eating, Blakely recommends following the dietary guidelines by making half your plate fruits and vegetables, and half your grains whole, to get enough fiber and other essential nutrients. “And if you’re faced with a smorgasbord, build your plate with fruits, vegetables and whole grains first, then add the protein source.”

Travelers’ Health

October 1, 2014

The roots of the Interstate Travel Program at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can be traced back to long before the agency existed—to the presidency of John Adams.

Originally part of the Public Health Service, the program focused in the early days on the health of those traveling on Merchant Marine ships and was seen as instrumental in increasing the security of our young nation.

As the U.S. role in the world grew, so did the need for greater attention to the safety of travelers using both government-subsidized and privately owned transportation systems.

“During World War I and II there was nothing worse than sending 3,000 troops on a vessel and 400 of them show up well and the other 2,600 are sick,” says Matt Albright, a consumer safety officer at FDA.

Throughout the 1800s the program expanded as trains traveling across the U.S. were struck by yellow fever and small pox outbreaks. In the early 1900s, buses joined the ranks of interstate transportation and the program went airborne in the 1920s.

For the past 45 years the program has been under the purview of FDA, which has been working diligently to keep travelers healthy.

Conception to Implementation

ITP is responsible for inspecting the food, water and waste-disposal systems in all commercial transport vehicles that travel from one state to another. However, its involvement begins long before the food and water are loaded aboard.

When the train, bus, ship or jet is being planned, ITP is involved from the beginning of the engineering process, including giving feedback on blueprints and designs.

With 20 years in the field conducting inspections and 10 more at FDA headquarters in College Park, Md., ITP manager Bruce Kummer knows that disease and infection can indeed be in the details.

“You don’t want your sewage discharge in front of the intake for water,” says Kummer, describing a basic design flaw. The team inspects for details that include making sure the fitting sizes are different for waste and water, so a worker couldn’t accidentally hook up the waste hose to the potable water intake. Safeguards like this—when implemented during construction – decrease the likelihood of errors that could endanger passengers’ health.

Another important aspect of the construction review process is limiting entrance and harborage areas for pests like rats, mice or cockroaches.

“You can’t fix deficiencies and structural integrity of a conveyance once it is in operation if it was built poorly,” says Albright. “You have to build it properly first.”

Inspections Continue For Years

To ensure that the passenger conveyance is engineered and built in compliance with standards established by FDA, the ITP team inspects the prototype and addresses issues before mass production begins.

Kummer notes that FDA can withhold a Certificate of Sanitary Construction from a shipyard or other transport builder if there are major sanitary construction defects.

Throughout the transport vehicle’s construction and in the years that follow, FDA does spot checks and inspections as necessary. Larger companies, like Boeing, take advantage of a self-certification program in which FDA is provided with detailed reports on compliance with Agency regulations. FDA can – and has – entered facilities to perform audits to ensure that companies are complying with the construction guidelines.

Generally, FDA issues Warning Letters when deficiencies are discovered to give the company a short time to fix the problems while still operating its vehicle. If companies do not correct the problems, further regulatory steps may be taken and the transport vehicle can be taken out of service.

“Provisional” letters may be sent to operators of caterers, commissaries, watering points, and servicing areas if significant sanitary deficiencies are observed, giving the operators a limited amount of time to correct these items or risk losing their status as an FDA-approved facility. Transport companies are required under FDA regulations to use only approved facilities, which places more pressure on the servicing companies to clean up the deficiencies so they do not risk losing their approved status.

“I feel a lot of pride for my involvement in this work, in keeping travelers safe whether they’re traveling by land, sea or air,” Kummer says.

Women’s Health FAQ

August 21, 2013

As Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Marsha B. Henderson directs the Office of Women’s Health. She has led women’s health research and educational programs at FDA for over 14 years.

Q: How does FDA work to protect and promote the health of women?

A: We provide women with the information they need to make decisions about the drugs and other medical products they use for themselves and their families. We support scientific and educational projects that promote a better understanding of health conditions that affect women. We also support research that looks for potential differences in how men and women respond to medicines.

Q: Can you provide an example of how men and women differ in response to medicines?

A: Medicines can sometimes cause people to have an irregular heart beat. This affects part of the heart’s electrical cycle called the QT interval, and blood doesn’t pump in and out of the heart at the right pace. This could lead to heart attacks or sudden death. We discovered that certain medicines cause this problem more often in women than in men.

My office provided the initial research grant that allowed scientists at FDA and Georgetown University to study this problem. Additional studies were conducted, and several drugs were removed from the market. FDA now requires that new products be studied to ensure that they do not affect the QT interval—a potentially life-saving requirement.

Q: Your office also works to ensure that women are included in clinical trials. Why is that important?

A: It’s now very clear that medicines and diseases often affect our bodies differently. Women’s body structure can also affect how well devices like hip implants and heart stents work for us. Having women included in clinical trials provides FDA with information that can be used to make better decisions about product safety for both men and women.

Q: Why have there been fewer women than men included in clinical trials?

A: In the 1960s, there were public health tragedies in other countries where babies were born with birth defects because their mothers took a medicine called thalidomide during pregnancy. Thanks to Dr. Frances Kelsey, a FDA scientist, we did not approve the drug for sale in the U.S. at that time. So, the problem did not affect as many women in this country. Nonetheless, the horror of thalidomide influenced FDA to set rules in 1977 that basically excluded women from participating in clinical trials. The ban was lifted in 1993. The Office of Women’s Health led this effort and worked with FDA’s review centers to change the regulations. The inclusion of women is much better today. Because some challenges remain, we continue to support projects on women in clinical research.

Q: What else are you working on?

A: The Office of Women’s Health has an outreach program called “Take Time to Care” that connects women with easy-to-read materials and videos on everything from diabetes to hair dyes.

Q: How do you get the information to women?

A: Women can watch the videos and get free copies of our materials online at http://www.fda.gov/womens. We also work with a national network of partners who help disseminate our information. Our partners have ranged from health clinics and colleges to chain drug stores and the syndicated advice column “Dear Abby.”

Q: Dear Abby?

A: Yes. For several years, the “Dear Abby” column has announced our information kits during National Women’s Health Week in May to its 110 million readers. Partners like “Dear Abby” and Parade magazine have helped us reach out to women who wouldn’t necessarily think to look to FDA for free health information.

Q. Earlier you also mentioned research and training.

A: We fund grants for scientists at FDA and our sister agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to conduct research in areas like breast cancer imaging, device safety and hormones. These projects have produced more than 200 published articles that help health professionals better understand and treat women’s health problems. We also sponsor workshops for health professionals and we’ve partnered with NIH to develop free online courses which train researchers to look for sex differences.

Q: What is the greatest hope for improving women’s health?

A: Most of the chronic conditions like heart disease can be avoided, or certainly delayed, by healthy behavior—eating right, getting screenings and using medicines wisely. My hope is that women can use FDA resources to help them make healthy life choices.

Q: You seem happy in your work. Why?

A: I work with dedicated, enthusiastic scientists and advocates for women’s health. I enjoy mentoring the graduate students who come through our office. And I love the challenge of entrepreneurial government—building public-private partnerships.

Plastic surgery is often necessary for women who lost much fat and who want to improve their appearance. Major fat loss often results in the drastic change of the bust size, which is seen in the clothing, making women feel uncomfortable.

When women are young, their bust consist mainly of the glandular (firm) issues, which are replaced by looser fatty tissues with the age. This is a normal process, and it is also typical in case of losing much fat. It concerns not only women, but men as well.

Maintaining Bust Shape

Fast fat reduction is without doubt one of the key reasons for lowered skin firmness, and the bust tissue is particularly susceptible to those changes. Bust shape surgery is a method that helps to strip the extra, loose bust skin. Due to this procedure, the shape of the nipple and of the bust tissue becomes more youthful and “uplifted”. Moreover, bust look and feel more supple just like before the fat loss.

The operation is performed with consideration for a client’s desires and purposes. It determines the individual character of the operation: the skin amount which is necessary to remove and the type of removal are decided individually. In most cases the patients need some skin removal around the nipples and the maintaining bust shape.

Occasionally, it is even possible to remove skin only in one area, which is preferable because it results in fewer scars. Though it is hardly the case of people with a really big fat loss as their skin laxity needs more work to be done. Most people have no discomfort during this operation, and can get back to work in week or so, and may carry on with their normal routines 3 weeks later.

Maintaining Bust Size

In most cases both the bust skin and tissue have been affected by the fat loss. In reality, the bust tissue that is usually soft and healthy becomes loose. Bust size enlargement solves this problem and restores the lost area by the placement of a bust size implant.

There are a lot of choices for this procedure. The surgery is carried out through some small incisions. They are located around the areola, along the bust fold and sometimes in the underarm. The location of an implant depends on how much fat a patient has lost. For those who have lost a lot of fat it is placed under the muscle of a bust, and for those who have lost not so much the implant is placed under the tissue. A bust size augmentation is an outpatient procedure. It can be done with either local or central anesthesia. Surgeons usually perform this operation during one or two hours. To lessen postoperative pain oral medicines are usually prescribed. As we have already mentioned, patients can start working in a week or so, as a rule.

Bust Size Implants

Moral police and medical professionals often frown upon bust size implants because these people know about some real risks in breast health associated with the implants. There are a lot of discussions about implants with a silicone gel inside, that’s why most surgeons use implants charged with a saline solution.

To find the best solution for the problems, which you have after fat losing, visit the fat and diet forums where such problems are discussed. There you will find different opinions, advice and recommendations on natural improvement of your bust size and attractiveness.

For instance, most women there can suggest bust enlargement hormones or bust enhancing cream which you can use to get the “abundant”, solid, catchy bust you had prior to your fat loss plan – with no dangerous complications of bust implant surgeries.

Breasts Sagging

March 25, 2013

It is a fact that breast sagging, also referred as ptosis, is a condition experienced by all women sooner or later in their life (except those having small breasts). For many of us, it occurs quite early, even without pregnancy. Besides, there are numerous teens experiencing drooping breasts.

Being massaged into the skin of breasts, active ingredients of sagging breast creams absorb through skin layers (epidermis), entering capillaries and further, the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the receptors in the breasts become stimulated by the active ingredient of the cream, generally phytoestrogens. The estrogen receptors trigger the lifting of the breasts through normal growth hormones.

All-natural breast enhancement pills bring brilliant results and are totally safe. They work quick and are completely safe for health. All-natural breast enhancement pills have no dangerous additives or preservatives. Shoppers can see visible result in 7 days and all-natural breast enhancement provides a real enjoyment to the woman. The breast is perkier and firmer, the size of bust is larger, they are smooth without wrinkles, no stretch marks are seen. The key to such a miracle is in P. mirifica that is the main component of all-natural breast enhancement pills. It is coming from Thailand where it is known under the name “Elixir of Youth”. For centuries this plant was applied to keep milk ducts strong and enlarge breasts. The process of extraction demands much talent and time, as this plant, aside from being rare, blossoms only two times a year. Scientific experiments demonstrate that phyto-estrogen causes huge changing in breast form and skin in just several days. The herb was even mentioned in the news and it was claimed that a lady can have bigger breast in five weeks or less. By choosing breast enhancement pills you will look the way you always dreamed about. One of the most important effects will be your improved self-confidence.

A great number of women turn to plastic breast surgery to make their bust larger. During the breast surgery some amount of silicone gel or other product is usually inserted inside the breasts. There is a significant risk of anesthesia and what is more important, pain will last for a long time of recovery. Women are forced to use chemical medications to relieve the pains and to deal with aching. Consequently the operation with all the outcomes turns out to be an expensive deal and a highly dangerous event. There is a number of other non-natural, equally dangerous and inconvenient means to enlarge breasts, such as hormones and injections, pills, creams and gels. You are recommended to keep away from them.

Once your resolution is for an all-natural breast enhancement, carry out a small investigation on the subject. Unlike implant surgery, all-natural breast enhancement does not produce so quick results. Yet, you will not have any ache or scars. You will not need any recovery time either. You should be completely sure in the formula the supplements contain. Always bear in mind that herbs may trigger hypersensitive reactions. If it is your case, you are recommended to consider some other method. And always consult your health practitioner or an advisor at the pharmacy in case you take any other medications. The next step is to learn about the company which produces the product. Every respected supplier must give you informative precautions and the full list of components. One bonus effect from breast pills comes from Vitamin E they contain. This vitamin helps in moisturizing and stops ageing processes with its antioxidant effects. With larger breasts you will like yourself more, you will feel and look younger. Many women start wearing close fit clothes.