Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tsunamis?! But we live in SA!

This week, Dr. Rat­ner tells us about prepar­ing for the unex­pected. What’s in your emer­gency kit?
Dr. Ratner
Dr. Rat­ner
Most of us here in San Anto­nio do not know that this week is Tsunami Pre­pared­ness week. Just because San Anto­nio is only a lit­tle more likely than Salt Lake City to suf­fer the direct effects of a tsunami there are lots of lessons we can learn from this week.
  1. Really bad things hap­pen, even if they’re not very likely to hap­pen. So, do you need life vests? Prob­a­bly not, but you should think of some basic items and pro­ce­dures for any unplanned cat­a­stro­phe. Events that hap­pen far away can have rip­ple effects. Are you pre­pared if your plant closes down because you can’t get parts or your cus­tomers are unavailable?
  2. We may not be at risk for a tsunami, but what about a flash flood?
  3. How hard would it be to store 5 gal­lons of water and a few days of canned or dehy­drated foods, or some mac­a­roni and cheese for each mem­ber of your house­hold? You could fit a few days’ worth under each person’s bed.
  4. Can you put together a small plas­tic type tool­box with a few screw­drivers, a pair of pli­ers, some duct tape, a util­ity knife, some zip ties, a hack­saw and a flashlight?
  5. Take a few min­utes and dis­cuss with your fam­ily and your extended fam­ily where and when you will meet in the event of fire, black­outs or other disasters.
  6. Once a month buy a few extra AAAAA,C, D and 9 volt bat­ter­ies, and switch out your used bat­ter­ies with your cur­rent stock. This will prove very use­ful if there’s a power outage.
This is not an all-encompassing list, but it is easy, inex­pen­sive and really use­ful when the expected happens.
It’s not some­thing we want to think about every day, but if we’re pre­pared it can turn a dis­as­trous sit­u­a­tion into some­thing that’s just dif­fi­cult. The Amer­i­can Red Cross has some great resources and advice for all kinds of sit­u­a­tions here. And a tool to help you esti­mate how much you’ll need of every­thing here based on your house­hold. Always remem­ber we’re here to help at IUC, but we hope you have a happy and safe weekend!
Peacekeeping - MINUSTAH
The unex­pected strikes…unexpectedly.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ALERT! Day 2013--Learning more to stop Diabetes

Today is the American Diabetes Association's ALERT! Day. 
Today through April 9, 2013, there's a free online test you can take to help you figure out your risk factors, and for every test that's taken there will be $5 donated to help fight diabetes by a large food company. My risk factor comes up as 4--who can beat me?
Diabetes effects a staggering 14% of San Antonians, which is double the national average (!), causing numerous health problems and putting its victims at risk of amputation, blindness and even death. And the most tragic thing about type II diabetes is that it's almost completely preventable. We all know that we need to eat right, exercise, etc....consult with your doctor to help address any of your risk factors and see how you can help prevent Pre-Diabetes and Type II Diabetes.

To quote from our local ADA office: "The American Diabetes Association's San Antonio office is so committed to finding a cure, educating the public about how to Stop Diabetes and providing support for those living with the disease are central to our mission. We are here to help.
To receive local information or learn more about events occurring in and around San Antonio sign up for our free newsletter! Contact Jose Macias, Online Communication Manager, at to sign up!"
There are also a lot of local opportunities to volunteer and help fight Diabetes!
There's even a free Expo coming to San Antonio in May. They're advertising nutrition info, cooking demonstrations and health screenings. What would you like to see at the expo?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Do your ears continue to grow as you age?

Prince Charles may worry about this very question.
There are definitely some changes in the face that occur with aging.  First some facial muscle tone is lost, causing that saggy look.  Then you get the dreaded double chin.  The nose can also lengthen a bit, and the skin on the face becomes thin, dry, and wrinkled.  Then there are longer, thicker eyebrows and gray hair.  We haven’t even mentioned droopy eyes, receding gums, missing, teeth, and last but not least - bigger ears.  Yes, your ears do continue to grow as you age, but only slightly.  This is probably due to cartilage growth.
What a list of wonderful things to look forward to as we enter our golden years.
Excerpt from Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg, M.D.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Seven tips to beat spring allergies

Spring has sprung! And with it comes allergies galore. How do you know it’s allergies and not a cold? The most noticeable difference is that, while a cold will commonly last less than two weeks, allergies will drag on as long as you’re exposed to whatever it is you’re allergic to.
Here are some tips and tricks to make your allergy season a little more bearable. And if you’re still not feeling well, you can always come see us at IUC.
  1. To avoid allergens, simply keep your windows closed while you’re inside.
  2. Take a shower when you come in from the great outdoors to wash off any potential pollen that’s made you its home.
  3. Wash your clothes and bedding as often as possible. Allergens tend to stick to fabrics, and you can easily track them inside.
  4. Drive with the windows up to avoid pollen-laden air.
  5. If your pet spends time outside, keep it out of your bedroom to avoid any pollen it may bring in on its fur.
  6. Pollen is at its peak in the morning, between 5AM and 10AM, so avoid the outdoors during those hours.
  7. Treat any potential symptoms before you go outside. Speak with your doctor to determine which over-the-counter or even prescription medications could help you.
Do you have any tips of your own to share? We’d love to hear from you!

Photo credits: OakleyOriginals / / CC BY; James Gathany / / Public Domain Mark 1.0

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dr. Gutierrez weighs in on National Youth Violence Prevention Week

Today, our own Dr. Gutierrez takes a look at National Youth Violence Prevention Week.
Dr. Gutierrez
Dr. Gutierrez
 As spring break ends and most students reluctantly return to class, the very serious subject of youth violence will be one of the topics at the forefront.  
March 18-22 marks National Youth Violence Prevention Week.  This nationwide campaign is designed to raise awareness and educate students, teachers, counselors, parents and the general public on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence.  
Violence affects all people regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or religion, but violence disproportionately affects young people.  The young person can be a victim, offender, or witness to the violent act.  According to the CDC, youth violence is the second leading cause of death for young people age 15-24.  
Each day of the Youth Violence Prevention Week focuses on different activities in regards to violence prevention: 
Day1:  Promote Respect and Tolerance
Day2:  Manage Your Anger, Don’t Let it Manage You!
Day 3:  Resolve Conflicts Peacefully
Day 4:  Support Safety
Day 5:  Unite in Action
Much of the focus is to remind us that while anger is a normal human feeling, violence is not a normal human reaction.  The activities of this education initiative help to demonstrate the positive role young people can have in making their school and community safer.  
The ultimate goal is to stop youth violence before it starts.  
Take some time this week to find out more about Youth Violence, and what you can do to help prevent it. There's even some chapters of Students Against Violence Everywhere in San Antonio.  And some great suggestions of activities to do this week to promote awareness can be found here. What will you be doing this week to help spread awareness of Youth Violence Prevention?

Friday, March 15, 2013

What's up with the ear hair?

Aging can be cruel. You lose the hair where you want it, and gain it in all those other unsightly places.  Bushy eyebrows, excessive nasal hair, and hairy ears certainly don’t make you anxious to get older, do they?
Sometimes the excessive growth of hair on the ears is genetic and is linked to the Y chromosome, the sex chromosome found only in males, which explains why don’t see many hairy-eared females, except in The Lord of the Rings movies.
And what would this excess hair growth be without a competition?  The Guinness Book of World Records record for the longest ear hair was broken again in 2002.  A seventy year old from Tamil Nadu state in India, Anthony Victor, broke the record with his ear hair measuring 11.5 centimeters.
Excerpt from Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg, M.D.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Your amaaaaaaaaazing kidneys!

Ask not what your kidneys can do for you, but what you can do for your kidneys? It’s World Kidney Day and that means it’s time to learn a little more about what your kidneys do and why they’re so important!
We heart Kidneys!
We heart Kidneys!
I’m sure we all know that your kidneys produce urine, but what else do they do?
Those are all important things! Imagine if you had Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and had to have dialysis several times a week to filter your blood. That doesn’t sound like much fun.
If you detect it early, though, kidney disease is treatable. If you’re at risk, your doctor can order a simple test to determine if you need treatment.
How can you reduce your risk of developing kidney disease? Just live an active, healthy lifestyle, and get your kidney function checked if you're at risk.
The World Kidney Day site is a great site to find out more about your amazing kidneys!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Brain Awareness Week (or how to avoid Zombification from a concussion)

This week, be aware of your brain. Your delicious, delicious brain. Not only are they great for feeding your zombies, the gooey center in all of our skulls are extremely important! Here's our own Dr. Ratner weighing in on why concussion baseline screenings are so important:

It is amazing that we are generally so unaware of the organ that does the most for us. Here at Impact we value your brain! Well, most of your brain, anyway. One of the best things you can do as a teenager who is involved with sports is to get a baseline concussion screening. We do not charge for this test. It involves playing a computer game for about 25 minutes. There are no needles, no radiation, or tubes to be stuffed into your nose.  If you ever sustain a head injury or concussion, we repeat the test post-injury and the results help us to determine when it is safe to return to normal activity.
We know so much more about this subject than we did ten years ago. I compare it to seat belts. There was a time when seat belts were not used, but at some point we learned that without a doubt they save lives. It was not easy to convince some people, but now the majority of Americans believe it and wear seat belts. It won’t be long before the same type of paradigm shift occurs when it comes to concussion awareness and management.
So come on by either location, any day between 8AM-8PM for your baseline concussion screening BEFORE you get hurt. That way if you should have a head injury, we can make sure you're back to normal before  you run off into another potential head-bashing opportunity.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Is there really a medication that acts like a truth serum?

Action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger often find themselves faced with an interrogator who uses a truth serum to get the hero to reveal his secrets.  In the movies, our heroes are able to resist these potions and hid the truth.  Hiding the truth seems to also prepare action heroes for a successful career in politics.
They seem pure fiction, but truth serums do exist.  Barbiturates such as sodium amytal and sodium pentothal were first used as truth serums in the early twentieth century.  These drugs inhibit control of the central nervous system and were used by physicians to help patient recover forgotten memories or repressed feelings.  They are also used for patients with suspected conversion disorder, a condition in which psychological problems produce physical symptoms.
An “amytal interview” is performed by administering a small amount of this drug intravenously.  The drug produces a state of drowsiness, slurred speech, and relaxation.  This condition makes patients more susceptible to suggestion, allowing the potential to uncover repressed feelings or memories.
Today, these interviews are seldom performed.  The “truth serum” will not necessarily make you tell the truth.  Patients may lose inhibition but will not lose all self-control.  Therefore, they are still able to control their behavior and lie.  Studies have shown that during these “amytal interviews”, patients often demonstrate a distorted sense of time, who memory disturbances, and have difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy, so the line between fact and fiction becomes even more blurred.
Excerpt from Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg, M.D.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Breakfast: The Yummiest part of School!

The yummiest part of school!
March 4-8 is National School Breakfast week. Here are a few words of wisdom from our own Dr. Gutierrez about the importance of breakfast for children:
We have all heard it said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  With that in mind, the week of March 4 recognizes National School Breakfast Week.
National School Breakfast Week raises awareness about the availability of the School Breakfast Program (SBP), as well as highlights the benefits, especially academic, of eating a healthy breakfast.
My grandfather grew up very poor in South Texas, near Refugio.  He tells stories of how he did not have food in the house for days.  He and his brothers would survive on the oranges they picked off the trees in the neighborhood.  He admits he was not a good student and recalls how he had lots of difficulty concentrating.  He remembers feeling extremely fatigued as well as having terrible diarrhea due to eating nothing but fruit for days in a row.  He could have really benefited from a nutritious, well balanced meal provided at school.
The School Breakfast Program started under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.  This program offers breakfast to children free or at a reduced price.  Currently, about 7 million children eat breakfast at school daily with approximately 85% of participants receiving their breakfast free or at a reduced cost.
According to “Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis” children who ate breakfast scored 17.5% higher on standardized math tests and attended 1.5 more days of school.  Now that’s powerful food for thought.
Visit the National School Breakfast website to learn more. There's all kinds of cool merchandise for sale to help support the program, and even a writing contest for kids!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Zzzzz…It’s National Sleep Awareness Week

Did you know that sleep (which is so lux­u­ri­ous and won­der­ful any­way) greatly impacts your health? Not get­ting enough sleep can cause or con­tribute to obe­sity, dia­betes and depres­sion, all of which are wide­spread through­out the US. And being sleep-deprived can also cause traf­fic acci­dents and even impaired per­for­mance at school and work. There’s even a “Maggie’s Law” (named after a young woman killed by some­one dri­ving while sleep-deprived) in New Jer­sey mak­ing dri­ving while drowsy ille­gal. In fact, once you’ve been awake for 17+ hours, you’re con­sid­ered just about as impaired as some­one dri­ving while intoxicated. 
Try this quick list of tips to help you sleep well:
  • Estab­lish a reg­u­lar bed and wake time
  • Avoid nico­tine alto­gether and avoid caf­feine close to bedtime
  • Avoid alco­hol
  • Exer­cise reg­u­larly (but com­plete the work­out at least 3 hours before bedtime)
  • Estab­lish a con­sis­tent relax­ing “wind-down” bed­time routine
  • Cre­ate a sleep-conducive envi­ron­ment that is dark, quiet and comfortable
  • Dis­cuss the appro­pri­ate way to take any sleep aid with a health­care professional
Check out the National Sleep Foundation’s site for more info (like the above list) and to find out if you’re “Sleep­ing Smart”