How long should you wait after hitting your head to see a doctor? Are there symptoms to watch out for?
When it comes to head injuries, we do not recommend waiting for any duration before being seen by a physician. If a head injury is suspected, that individual should be evaluated by a medical professional. Concussions are one of the most common head injuries. Common signs and symptoms include short term memory loss, headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and vomiting. It is important to be evaluated by a medical professional after a head injury in order to ensure that the injury is not more severe than it appears.
I have been on an airplane where they say they can’t serve peanuts because someone has an allergy. What about if I had a candy bar with peanut butter in it. Would that affect the person? Or do they have to consume it to be affected? Why are peanut allergies so sensitive?
Allergies to foods are very common. Allergy to peanuts is perhaps one of the most common food allergies. People with allergies to peanuts are not all alike. Some have mild reactions of itching while others have life threatening reactions. A life threatening action is called anaphylaxis. In anaphylaxis, an individuals throat may become swollen leading them to have difficulty breathing. These individuals need to carry a drug called epinephrine with them to treat their symptoms when they accidentally ingest or come into contact with peanuts.
In order to keep people safe and to reduce complications associated with allergic reactions in airplanes, airlines can decide to not serve peanuts. Individuals who consume a candy bar with peanuts as long as they don't have an allergy to peanuts are safe. It's possible for them to have peanut oil on their hands after eating the candy bar and if they touch a surface that is common (such as a door handle) another person who does have peanut allergy may react to the oil. The severity of the reaction is dependent upon the person’s sensitivity to peanut oil. The reaction to peanut oil happens in the skin when the oil comes into contact with cells that recognize the oil and secrete chemicals that lead to a reaction. Some reactions are stronger than others based on how many cells and how sensitive those cells are to the peanut oil.
I’ve been having some stiffness in the back of my head – or neck – what non-medication remedies are there to loosen those muscles?
Neck stiffness is very common and can be caused by multiple things. One of the most common things that cause muscle stiffness is a neck muscle injury.
Muscle strain occurs when the muscle is stretched too quickly or strongly causing muscle fibers to tear. There are tiny motion sensors in muscles that detect stretch and injury and when they are over stretched or muscle fibers are injured they send messages to the brain in the form of pain. At the same time, blood flow increases to the muscle fibers to promote healing. This increased blood flow causes swelling and stretching of the muscle fibers that also leads to pain.
The best non-medication remedy within the first 24 hours of injury is ice every 1 to 2 hours for 15 minutes at a time. Ice temporarily reduces the blood flow to the affected muscle leading to a decrease in swelling. After the first 24 hours, it is up to the individuals preference for continuing using ice or trying a hot pad. It is important to never let ice or head be in direct contact with the skin. Always use a barrier between the ice or heat and skin to prevent skin injury.
Why do people refuse to take the flu shot in the fall? Is there a reason to avoid them?
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One of the most commonly held beliefs about the flu shot is that it will give you the flu. Fortunately, the flu vaccine will not cause you to get the flu. Most individuals who get the flu after getting the vaccine have already been infected with the flu virus.
There is likely to be some mild flu-like symptoms associated with the flu vaccine, but that is only from your body’s immune system reacting to the vaccine and building up a defense against the virus. There are a few reasons to avoid the flu vaccine: If you've ever had an allergic reaction to the vaccine that required medicine or if you have an allergy to eggs, you should not get the vaccine. Otherwise, the vaccine is safe.
My allergies are worse in the fall than in the spring. Why is that?
Allergies are worse in the fall because plants are actively releasing pollen. Flowering plants, called angiosperms, pollinate well into the fall season. Plants that have successfully matured are attempting to create seeds that are necessary for the next season’s growth. It is the pollen that causes people to sneeze and have runny noses.
What health problems can mold in your house cause?
Mold is a term for tons of different types of fungi. Fungi are very common in the outdoor world. They play a very important role in breaking down dead plants and organisms.
Fungi are dependent upon wet environments. When they detect a dry environment, they create tiny spores that hibernate until water comings along. Sometimes mold can grow in a home where there is a wet environment.
When it grows, it can cause symptoms in humans including asthma, runny nose, and several lung diseases. It is important to keep the humidity of your home below 65 percent in order to prevent the growth of mold. This can be easily done with a dehumidifier.
Dr. Eli Wayman, an Omaha native who attended high school in Glenwood, Iowa, completed his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Nebraska. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army.