Archive for October, 2014

The Dangers Of Raw Milk

As a doctor, I am interesting in preventing disease as well as treating it. So I try to encourage my patients that having a healthy lifestyle is key is lessening their frequency of having allergies and asthma.

What concerns me is that in the public’s quest to eat healthy, some may have gone overboard. Many people who promote organic food–because it has less additives and pesticides, which is a good thing– are now promoting a food that has potential dangers in its so-call pure state: that is raw milk.

Under the mistaken belief that raw milk is better for your health, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement that “substantial data suggest that pasteurized milk confers equivalent health benefits compared with raw milk, without the additional risk of bacterial infections.”

Pasteurization is the term in which heating milk to a high enough temperature for a long time period to kill disease-causing bacteria has been used safely for over 100 years. And states the New York State Department of health that “pasteurization is the only way to ensure that milk products do not contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia, Brucella, Coxiella and Listeria.”

In an interesting article by the FDA, it stated that CDC reported between 1993 and 2006 more than 1500 people in the US became ill due to drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk. Also the CDC stated that “unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause food borne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations. It is especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, children, older adults and pregnant women.”

Symptoms of people becoming ill from raw milk include: vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, fever headaches and body aches. More serious reactions such as blood-stream inflections, kidney failure and inflammation of the nervous system can occur. Consult a physician in you or your children exhibit these systems.

When shopping for milk or milk products, make sure to check the package to see it its states pasteurized.

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The Flu And Your Child

Cooler temperatures have moved into the area and with them, the threat of the flu. I tell my patients that they should take certain measures to watch for symptoms of the flu, especially in their children.

The flu season starts in the fall but peaks in February and can continue into May, so it is important that people get a flu vaccine starting now.

Flu symptoms are more severe than a childhood cold. And may include:

*A high fever up to 104 degrees F
*Extreme tiredness
*Body and headaches
*Dry cough, sore throat
*Vomiting and stomach distress

An important advisory from The New York State Department of Health warns that “children aged 6 months through 8 years old age who have never received a seasonal flu vaccine need to get two doses of vaccine spaced at least 4 weeks apart. And healthy children over the age of two who don’t have a history of wheezing or asthma may have the option of getting the nasal spray influenza vaccine.”

Also, the State Department of Health recommends that “pregnant women and caregivers of children younger than 6 months or children with certain health conditions should be vaccinated.”

If your child gets the flu, remember that the flu is a virus and using antibiotics to treat it are useless since they treat bacterial infections. Antiviral medications can be used for high-risk cases, but there a number of home remedies that can be used to treat it:

*Plenty of rest
*Plenty of liquids
*Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lower fever, but avoid giving aspirin to children or teenagers since this could lead to Reye’s syndrome, a rare disorder that might cause severe liver or brain damage.

The FDA recommends that over-counter-medicines should not be given to children younger than 4, and as with all over-the-counter medicines for children, in general, it is advisable to consult your doctor.

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Non-Allergic Asthma. Causes And Treatment

A big part of my practice is seeing patients with asthma. They often ask me, “Dr. Lubitz, what triggers my asthma and how can I control it?”

I tell them first that I have to determine whether they have allergic asthma or non-allergic (intrinsic asthma). The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) states both types of asthma exhibit the same symptoms: coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or rapid breating and chest tightness. However where allergic asthma is triggered by allergies such as food, pollen and other allergens, non-allergic asthma does not involve an immune-system response (like intrinsic asthma) but is triggered by other factors.

The Asthma Center Education and Research Fund states that symptoms that provoke non-allergic asthma include “weather changes, cold air, exercise, indoor pollutants (household cleaners and chemicals cigarette smoke, perfumes), outdoor pollutants (ozone, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide) and strong odors (perfumes, scented sprays, fresh pain, moth balls).”

Also, I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that stated that New York’s Columbia University Medical Center commissioned a study on asthma that found “an association between asthma rates and phtalates, chemicals used in many plastic products that have raised concerns.” Though more research needs to be done.

There are a variety of drugs that treat non-allergic asthma. Corticosteriods, such as prednisone, administered with an inhaler, works well for allergic asthma because it “dampens the body’s immune response to an allergen, but is less effective on nonallergic asthma. Instead, these patients might be given another type of drug called a beta-agonist, such as albuterol and levalbuterol, which works by relaxing lung muscles.”

If you exhibit any symptoms of asthma, it is important to see a medical professional immediately.

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