Holidays 2015 are coming. Follow these Q&A with our advisor below to update your knowledge for health care.
Q1: Are there ways. not to gain weight over the holidays?
A: Around Thanksgiving many people start wondering about how to control weight gain. It’s traditionally believed that most people gain about 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, but research has shown the figure to be closer to 1 pound. The problem is, even 1 pound at a time can add up over the years. Here are a few hints to keep in mind:
- Don’t starve yourself before a party or a big meal; you’ll just be more likely to overeat.
- Go for your favorite foods, but try to eat smaller portions.
- When you can, opt for lower-fat/lower-calorie items, such as spiced cider instead of eggnog.
- Balance occasions when you have a big meal with ones where you cut back.
- Keep exercising!
Q2: Is it true that antibiotics will soon no longer be effective for many people?
A: Harvard University researchers reported recently that by the middle of 2004, nearly two-thirds of common strains of infection-causing bacteria may be resistant to both penicillin and erythromycin, two common antibiotics. “Resistant” means that a drug is not effective in treating the illness or medical condition. This issue has been a concern for a long time.
One way health care professionals are addressing the problem is to urge patients not to pressure their physicians to prescribe antibiotics. Likewise, public health agencies have strongly encouraged doctors to only prescribe antibiotics when absolutely necessary. The message seems to be getting across.
Last summer, the journal Pediatrics reported that antibiotic use by U.S. children fell by almost 25 percent from 1996 to 2000. More antibiotics are prescribed for children than for adults, the journal said.
Q3: Is antibacterial soap better for you than plain soap?
A: Short answer: no. A survey reported this year by the Tufts University School of Medicine found that there was little difference in the levels of bacteria in homes that used antibacterial cleaning products and those that didn’t. Significant amounts of bacteria were found in both categories of households. They found the highest numbers of bacteria on kitchen sponges and in sink and bathtub drains.
Some experts warn that antibacterial products can cause long-term problems. These products may kill weaker strains of bacteria, while stronger, more resistant ones can flourish. You don’t need to throw away your antibacterial soap; use it up and then try something different.
And use common sense around your house: Wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and eating, and after using the bathroom. Wash cutting boards, utensils, and countertops after food preparation and cooking. Change dish towels and sponges often.
Q4: What are “baby boomers”? I hear the term a lot and I’m not sure what that means.
A: After the end of World War II in 1945, the United States and other countries experienced a “baby boom.” Couples were reunited after having been separated during the war. Young men and women who had served in the war came home, got married, and started families. That led to a large number of babies being born–a baby boom–that lasted from 1946 to approximately 1955. (Some social scientists extend that period to the early 1960s.)
Now those “boomers” are, of course, growing older. It is estimated that within the next 30 years, the number of persons ages 65 to 84 will increase by 80 percent. One area where this will have a huge effect is health care. Because of modern medical advances, people are living longer. Caring for the medical needs of a large population of older people will be extremely expensive–and will require more health care professionals and workers and facilities to house the elderly.