Prevent your child from choking
For small children, even the most seemingly harmless objects can pose a choking threat.
The U.S. National Safety Council offers these suggestions to reduce your youngsters' risk of choking:
- Never allow a baby or young child to play with a toy that has a cord or string attached.
- Don't feed your baby foods that could get stuck in the throat, such as bites of hot dogs, hard candy, uncooked vegetables, nuts, raisins, fruits or vegetables with pits, popcorn or grapes.
- Never allow your child to eat while lying down.
- Keep anything that can fit in your child's mouth out of reach, including coins, batteries, jewelry, nails or thumbtacks.
Diabetics and drinking
If you have diabetes and get insulin shots or take other diabetes medication, you may end up with low blood sugar if you drink alcohol, the American Diabetes Association says.
If your doctor says it's okay for you to have a drink now and then, the association offers these guidelines to help you use alcohol safely:
- Just as with non-diabetics, only moderate drinking -- one drink a day for women, two for men -- is recommended.
- Since alcohol can contribute to low blood sugar, always drink with a meal or on a full stomach.
- If you are watching your weight, know that alcohol is high in calories, and can quickly cause unwanted weight gain.
- Look for drinks to mix with alcohol that are low in sugar or sugar-free, such as a diet soda, tonic, sparkling water or club soda.
- Don't drink alcohol if you have nerve damage or high blood pressure.
When to take Antibiotics
Antibiotics can help you recover from a bacterial infection, but they offer no medical benefit against viruses.
Prescribing an antibiotic for an viral illness, in fact, isn't a good idea. Overuse of these medicines can make the bacteria in your body resistant to the drugs. The medicines then lose their effectiveness, making a bacterial illness harder to treat.
The American Academy of Family Physicians lists these illnesses that are often treated with an antibiotic, and a few that don't need the medication:
- Colds and flu are caused by viruses, and won't respond to antibiotics.
- Cough and bronchitis are usually caused by viruses. However, people with chronic lung problems or those who have a cough that lasts a long time may need antibiotics.
- While a regular sore throat is caused by a virus, strep throat is a bacterial infection that requires antibiotic treatment.
- Ear and sinus infections should be evaluated by a doctor, since many are caused by bacteria, while others are viral.