Running in Cold Weather

Once you run in the cold weather as compared to the warmer climates, the body actually does give out excess heat. This is waste heat which, after the exertion on the body via running, is lost. In turn, you will find that the health benefits of running are immense, but only if you follow the correct guidelines while running/jogging in cold weather, then these benefits can be seen. So to make sure you avoid any wrongdoings to your body and get all the benefits of running daily, here are some tips you should be aware of.

Wearing the Appropriate Attire

Always dress in layers. Wear a thin synthetic t-shirt inside along with a nylon t-shirt. It helps keep the moisture out, and keeps your skin breathing freely. If the temperature is higher than usual, you can also add a polar fleece layer in between. Depending on the weather, you need to dress accordingly. Don’t try to overdress yourself though, as after running, you’re going to get warm anyway.

Eating the Right Food

Keep a check on what you eat. Since food is the essential element that helps you produce heat, following a particular diet is necessary. As you are exposed to cold, make sure you don’t skip out on eating. You must know that we feel more hungrier during winters, as compared to summers. So when you eat, you are actually giving your body a chance to generate more heat. This keeps your body warm while you’re working out; hence avoiding any health risks.

Breathing Normally While Running

When it’s cold outside, you always need to keep an eye on the wind intensity. The reason for that is because you need to be aware of your breathing while running. If you believe that inhale from the nose and exhaling from the mouth is the correct method, then I may have to disagree here. When you follow this technique, your facial muscles get tense, and this puts increased amount of stress to your body during the workout. What you need to do is open your mouth just a bit and breathe from both your nose and mouth. Till the cold air reaches your lungs, it will be helpful to maintain your current body temperature. Also, it’s a good habit to wear a balaclava while running. It will cover your mouth from the cold air, and keep you safe from bronchial constriction and/or asthma.

Checking for How Cold it Gets

Before going out in the open for a run, always check the temperature and wind chill. When the wind is too strong, even after wearing all the layers, it can go through it and reduce your body temperature. Plus, your body movement will elevate the presence of cold air around you. So the best advice here is, if the temperature drops below zero and wind chill is less than -20ºF, it is best to stay home or go to the gym and opt for a treadmill.

Consulting a Physician and Physical Trainer

Last, but certainly not the least, consult your doctor and physical trainer (if you have one). The reason for this is because extreme wind chills (well, cold wind in general) can have adverse effects on your body. It can initiate chest pain or even asthma attacks in some. This can also be a result of any health issues or medical conditions you may already have. Which is why, consulting with an expert is a must.

By following these tips and using proper running form, you can get all the benefits from this workout. While running, make sure you stay hydrated, drink fluids before, during, and after the workout. Also, it’s important not to stay in your wet clothes once you are back from the run. You need to be absolutely sure that you don’t further any ill effects to your own body. All the best and take care while running outdoors.

How to Cure a Persistent Cough

Coughing is a natural body response to expel respiratory secretions, pollutants, microbes and other foreign particles from the air passages. It gives off a distinctive sound due to forceful breathing out against a closed glottis. The automatic reflex occurs all of a sudden, i.e. voluntarily. However, it can also be induced involuntarily to clear away airways and breathe normally. In most cases, cough subsides with a week or two. But it may become persistent or chronic in some people.

Persistent Cough Causes

A persistent cough is diagnosed, if the discomfort condition lasts for more than eight weeks. Cough manifested as a sign of cold and flu hardly lasts for a few weeks. And the main reason for experiencing chronic cough is asthma, a respiratory condition triggered after exposure to allergens. Persistent coughing is manifested as an early symptom, and also for untreated asthmatic condition. Other probable causes of a chronic cough are infection in the respiratory tract, bronchitis, postnasal drip, rhinitis, acid reflux disease, smoking and medicinal side effects.

Tips on Curing a Persistent Cough

Whatever is the cause behind unrelenting cough, it is extremely annoying to deal with. Thus, chronic or persistent cough is a main reason for seeking medical attention. It is a warning sign for presence of a medical problem. However, there are some effectual ways to curb coughing in the natural way. One can try them before actually starting medication treatment. After all, natural methods are always better than decongestants and cough suppressants. Here’s how to cure a persistent cough at home.

  • First of all, avoid the habit of smoking (if applicable). The smoke acts as a trigger for constant cough. One may find it very difficult to stop smoking. But with a strong determination and self motivation, smoking abstinence is possible.
  • A dry indoor environment, lack of water or dehydration all contribute to chronic coughing. So, try the solutions for these triggers to treat a persistent cough. Consider installing a room humidifier and drink lots of water everyday.
  • One can get relief from chronic cough by taking steam inhalation therapy at regular intervals. To get prompt results, consider infusing thyme or eucalyptus oil in the hot water. Position face above the bowl containing hot water, cover head with a towel and take deep breaths.
  • Cough being one of the frequently occurring medical condition, the purported remedial measures are many. Of these, drinking thyme tea and basil tea are some acceptable cures for coughing. One can add honey to these herbal teas for increased effectiveness and taste.
  • An effectual way to cure a persistent dry cough is using eucalyptus oil. It possesses decongestant, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Rub pure eucalyptus oil in the chest and throat area before sleep to manage cough symptoms.
  • Talking more about a persistent cough, a mixture of honey and lime is used since a long time. Combine equal amounts of honey and lime, and consume it with water. Drinking this concoction 2 – 3 times daily will cure a stubborn cough.
  • Sipping ginger tea for curing cough is not known to most of us. One can also brew garlic tea for getting the same effect by boiling 2 cloves garlic in 300 ml water. To the strained liquid, stir in 1 tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice. Drink it twice daily to alleviate constant cough.
  • An age-old remedy for curing a cough is chewing mulethi herb and ingesting its juice. Two parts of honey mixed with one part of fresh onion juice also works wonders in alleviating cough.
  • Make a homemade cough syrup by combining ground pepper, honey and ginger juice. Take this syrup 3 – 4 times a day, until cough subsides. Another way for dealing with chronic cough is having onion juice, prepared from baked onion and honey.
  • For patients having asthma or bronchitis, treating a cough is all about minimizing the allergens. So, avoid getting exposed to environmental irritants (smoke, chemical fumes, dust, etc.) and follow self-care tips to manage cough and its accompanying symptoms.
  • In case, the causal factor for constant cough is heartburn or acid reflux, eliminating foods that exacerbate these conditions is of prime importance. Along with medications, consider elevating the head while sleeping and do not eat foods before lying down, to cure a chronic cough.
  • Boosting the immune system and keeping it strong are unavoidable for curing a persistent cough. So, don’t skip meals and plan the meal menu properly with lots of healthy foods in them. At the same time, reduce processed foods and indulge in physical activities to strengthen the body’s defense mechanism.

Follow these remedies, and most likely it will disappear gradually. However, seek medical attention, if cough is experienced for more than two months, or if the cough symptoms worsen with time. The doctor will perform diagnostic tests to rule out suspected medical problems. If a bacterial infection disease like whooping cough is confirmed, the doctor will prescribe a complete course of antibiotics to clear the causal pathogens. Likewise, according to the underlying causes appropriate therapeutic intervention for persistent cough is necessary.

Asthma Attack in Children

Asthma is a serious chronic respiratory disorder affecting both children and adults. It is known to be more common in children, and affects millions of children in the United States alone. A number of factors contribute to children being more prone to developing this disorder, most commonly at the age of 5 and some even at a younger age. Asthma in children can be quite a discomfort, and it is essential that parents know how to prevent the same in children. Following are the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of this disorder.

The causes are common for both children, as well as adults. These attacks are a result of change in weather conditions, respiratory infections, emotional disturbance, family history, and exposure to allergens like smoke, pollution, dust, and pollen. Children are more prone to developing the chronic form of this condition due to their underdeveloped respiratory system and small airways.

The most common symptoms include severe wheezing when breathing in or breathing out, troubled or rapid breathing, chest tightness, and coughing. These symptoms tend to worsen during the night and breathing may get increasingly difficult. This condition often goes undiagnosed in childhood, as the symptoms are considered to be associated with other respiratory disorders. Medical assistance may be required if the breathing condition of the child does not improve, and signs like the lips and nails turning blue, are noticed. In children below the age of 5, the most common symptom is an upper respiratory infection like common cold. Childhood asthma cannot be cured and the symptoms may continue into adulthood; however, the symptoms can be kept under control with proper treatment.

Treatment can be administered in a number of ways. The most common treatment option is the use of inhalers that help broaden the airways, thereby enabling easy breathing. In case of a severe attack, the child should be put on a nebulizer until he or she finds it easy to breathe. Corticosteroids may also be helpful in relieving symptoms during an attack. Drugs like theophylline, aminophylline, Beta 2 agonists, and anticholinergics are safe, and can be administered to affected children.

Tips for Prevention
If you are aware of the fact that your child is asthmatic, the following preventive measures will help to minimize the chances of an attack.

  • Determine what triggers an attack in your child and take adequate steps to prevent the child from being exposed to these triggers.
  • Take immediate action and administer medication as soon as you notice any of the symptoms.
  • Treat respiratory infection and minor colds and cough immediately so that an attack can be prevented.
  • Educate the child about the allergens and irritants that can trigger an attack in him or her.
  • Keep your home, especially the child’s bedroom and play area clean and dust-free by vacuuming it on a daily basis.
  • Monitor the child’s lung function by using a peak flow meter. You can also determine if the child is at a risk of an attack with the help of the readings of this device.

An asthma attack can also prove fatal, if it is not treated on time or can have long-term consequences on the health of the child. Try to prevent these attacks as much as possible with the help of medication and regular monitoring.

Foods to Avoid for Diabetics

foods-diabetics-should-avoid-copyAs a diabetic, you are supposed to follow certain norms with respect to lifestyle and dietary habits. It’s very important for a person with diabetes to know what food to eat and what to avoid. As the consumption of sugar or fat rich food is best avoided due to the complications associated with them, a diabetic has a considerably lengthy list of foods that he should avoid.

Foods to Avoid If You Have Diabetes

A diabetic should not just avoid sugar, but should also keep a check on other foods – carbohydrate rich foods in particular. Food high in cholesterol is also considered harmful for people suffering from diabetes, and therefore is best avoided. Recent studies have revealed that even some fruits and vegetables are harmful for diabetics. Similarly, fast food and beverages are a strict no. The list of foods is pretty lengthy, but then it is possible to categorize them into different groups based on their content.

Sugar Rich Foods
Sugar rich foods, like white sugar, ice creams, donuts, pastries, chocolates, cookies, artificial sweeteners, etc., can be extremely harmful for people suffering from diabetes. The list of high carbohydrate foods is mainly dominated by foods rich in fructose and glucose, such as table sugar and fruit juice concentrates. As these foods result in increase in the blood sugar levels, it is perfectly logical that they should be avoided by a diabetic. If completely avoiding sugar is not possible, the said dish can be modified a bit to ensure that its sugar content is minimal – but even that should be done only after consulting the doctor.

High Cholesterol Foods
Studies reveal that diabetes lowers the amount of good cholesterol and raises the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. This makes the person, who is already suffering from diabetes, vulnerable to various heart diseases as the bad cholesterol is likely to result in plaque buildup on the artery walls. In such circumstances, high cholesterol foods, such as egg yolk, high-fat dairy products, poultry, red meat, shrimp, cheese, butter, etc., can do more harm than good, and hence are best avoided.

Fruit Juices
Research at the Tulane School of Public Health, Louisiana, revealed that drinking a single glass of fruit juice daily increases the risk of diabetes considerably. It is better to eat a whole fruit than drink fruit juice, as it provides the body with fiber necessary for healthy body. Moreover, fruit juices are high in carbohydrates, and therefore are best avoided. Once in a while, the person may take fruit juice but that should be in moderation and has to be a part of a well-planned diet.

Fruits and Vegetables
Within fruits, diabetics are advised to avoid certain fruits which are high in glucose and sucrose content or eat them in moderation. While fruits are overall considered healthy, not all fruits are healthy for a person with diabetes. Eating fruits such as mangoes, strawberries and dates can result in a spike in the blood sugar levels, which can be harmful for the individual. Vegetables rich in starch content, like potatoes and squash, should also be kept at bay. While sugar laden fruits can be replaced by high fiber fruits like apples, pear and raspberries, starchy vegetables can be supplemented by vegetables like beet root, carrots, beans, etc.

Alcoholic Beverages
Due to its tendency to increase blood sugar levels, alcohol in high quantity can pose some serious problems to an individual suffering from diabetes. Consuming alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to hypoglycemia. More importantly, as liver stores the glucose released within the body, any damage to the liver due to excessive alcohol intake, may make it difficult for the person to control glucose levels in the body. Even if you take alcohol in moderation, it should be only done if diabetes in under control.

Fried Foods
Fried food, especially that which is fried with hydrogenated oils, tends to raise bad cholesterol in the body. These foods are also laden with unhealthy trans fats. If at all you plan to have some fried food, once in a while, you should use canola or olive oil for frying the food, as these oils are comparatively less harmful for the body. Instead healthy cooking options like baked, boiled or steamed food is ideal for a person with diabetes.

Other food items which should be avoided by a diabetic include, sodium rich foods like soy sauce, refined flour products such as pastas and pizzas, salad dressings like mustard and mayonnaise, etc. As we mentioned earlier, fast food is totally unacceptable for a person suffering from any type of diabetes. At least other foods can be taken in moderation after consulting a doctor, but fast food is absolutely no-no.

How to Avoid Diabetic Foods?
Though harmful, these food items can be very tempting at times, which may make it difficult for you to avoid them. In such situation, knowing the ill-effects of these foods can help you to stay away from them. You should keep a check on the sugar content of the food or drinks you consume. Some foods are labeled sugar free, but they may be high in calorie content; in which case it is in your interest to avoid them. You need not get disheartened by looking at this lengthy list of diabetic foods to avoid, as the list of foods for diabetics to eat is also quite lengthy (and much more healthy).

Last, but the most important thing you need to keep in your mind, is to follow the doctors advice religiously. Never exceed the amount of food that is recommended by your doctor. It is better to follow a healthy lifestyle right from the beginning instead of waiting for some health issue to surface, and then try your best to alter your way of life accordingly. As the age-old adage says – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.