Alison Johnson reports in Sun Sentinelthat persistent cold-like symptoms may be triggered by indoor mold. Here are tips for easing the misery:
Recognize the signs. Mold allergies can cause an itchy or runny nose, watery eyes, congestion, sneezing, wheezing and rashes. Doctors can test for the allergy.
Know where mold grows. Spores thrive in damp, dark environments, which make bathrooms and laundry rooms prime spots.
Lower humidity at home. Central air conditioning and dehumidifiers are effective; change filters regularly. If you have window A/C units, check them often for moisture condensation. Don't use humidifiers or vaporizers in the rooms of anyone with a mold allergy.
Focus on the bathroom. Install an exhaust fan or open windows after baths and showers to help get rid of moisture. Clean shower walls regularly with a mix of bleach and water, and remove carpets or rugs.
Check laundry room. Again, open a window and don't put a rug on the floor. Also, keep the washer lid open between loads to help dry it.
Take out the trash. Kitchen cans filled with food waste are hot spots for mold. Another important chore: vacuuming any carpets regularly.
Fix leaks. Repair leaky roofs and plumbing fixtures as soon as you realize the problem.
Move the furniture. Keeping large items such as dressers and headboards a few inches away from the wall -- rather than pressed up against it -- helps improve air circulation.
Check your food. Look for signs of mold before eating. Consider avoiding foods more likely to contain mold, including cheese, mushrooms, vinegar, sour cream and pickled meats.
Get rid of free-standing water. Dump water from pots, birdbaths and other spots where water pools near your home.
Vitamins Can Protect Your Eyes
to Richard A. Levinson,
M.D., Ophthalmologist and Laser
Vision Surgeon, there is evidence that nutritional supplements can help eye
patients who have already been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration.
A National Institutes
of Health study found that patients with the disease who
took a daily combination of beta-carotene (15 mg), vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin
E (400 IU), zinc (80 mg) and copper (2 mg) were 25% less likely to progress to
an advanced form of the disease.
says that studies also show that patients with mild-to-moderate eye dryness
usually improve after taking oral supplements of fish oil. He advises patients
to buy a product that contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic
acid (EPA) and follow the dosage instructions on the label.
Fish Oil is Good for Your Skin
On Health.com, Doris J. Day, MD, NYU Medical School Dermatologist and Professor, answers the question: Is it true that fish oil supplements are good for the skin?
Absolutely. Fish oil contains two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). You've probably heard that both can help prevent heart disease. But DHA also keeps your brain functioning properly. And EPA benefits the skin by regulating oil production to boost hydration and prevent acne, and by delaying the skin's aging process. A 2005 study in the Journal of Lipid Research discovered that EPA can block the release of the UV-induced enzymes that eat away at collagen, causing lines and sagging skin. Because EPA is both an anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant, it can protect against sun damage and help repair it.
But most of us don't get enough omega-3s in our diets--oily fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, anchovies, and tuna are the best sources--so taking a supplement is a good idea. Look for one containing 180 milligrams of EPA and 120 milligrams of DHA; and take one capsule with each meal, for a total of three per day.
Did You Know???
Chocolate can make you smarter.
In a recent study, Crystal Haskell, PhD., Associate Director of the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre of Northumbria University in England, reported that volunteers found mental arithmetic easier after they were given 500 milligrams of flavanols, compounds found in chocolate that increase 'blood flow to the brain. They also were less likely to feel tired or mentally drained while doing mental calculations. Dark chocolate has the most flavanols.
Allergies are linked to low levels of a B vitamin.
Elizabeth Matsui, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, reports in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology from her study that people who had low blood levels of the vitamin folate were 31% more likely to have allergies and 16% more likely to have asthma. Possible explanation: Folate may "silence" genes that are involved in allergic responses. More research is needed to determine whether taking folic acid--the synthetic form of folate--can help relieve allergy and asthma symptoms. Dietary sources of folate include leafy green vegetables, peas, bean
and fortified cereals.
A blood test may replace biopsy for cancer detection?
Dean W. Felsher, MD., PhD., Associate Professor of Medicine Oncology and Pathology at Stanford University, says that the test identifies tiny amounts of cancer-associated proteins. It has been tried only on blood cancers, but research on tumors has begun.