Understanding The Anatomy Of A Lipoma

You’ve just been diagnosed with a lipoma. Your mind begins to spiral. How long have you got? What do you need to know? Who’s going to get Mom’s silverware? Relax. Lipomas are just one of those medical terms, like simple chronic halitosis; they only sound scary. In reality, lipomas are relatively harmless, and usually painless as well. However, at this stage in your life, the last thing you need is something unidentified growing on your body that can’t be gotten rid of with a flick of the hand or a damp tissue. So, what can you do about this unwanted guest? Let’s take a look at the wonderful anatomy of the lipoma.

Lipomas
Lipomas are lumps which slowly develop between the skin and the muscle layer underneath. Lipomas are easily identified because they move easily when pressure is exerted upon them. They tend to have a doughy feel, but normally are not tender and several may appear at a time. Although a lipoma may occur in individuals at any age, they mostly develop during the middle of a person’s life.

Symptoms
Lipomas are most often, but not limited to the neck, arm, back, and shoulder areas. They are located right under the skin, are soft and doughy to the touch, and are usually small. While lipomas are usually not painful, they may cause discomfort if they press on nerves or contain many blood vessels. Usually, the most troublesome symptom is the location of the lipoma or a significant increase in size which may make it noticeable to others.

Causes
Although the actual cause of a lipoma is not known, many experts believe genetics are responsible, since they tend to appear commonly in members of the same families. Occasionally, injuries to the body, such as a traumatic blow to the area have been shown to trigger growth as well.

resveralife Understanding The Anatomy Of Lipoma

Treatment
Lipomas typically do not require treatment, and there is no known treatment to stunt their growth or prevent them. However, surgical removal may be recommended if the lipoma becomes painful, inflamed or infected, if it drains smelly discharge, if it increases in size, if it interferes with movement, or becomes bothersome and difficult to look at. Lipoma removal is a relatively simple process done at a physician’s office with a local anesthetic. The surgeon will begin by making a small incision, followed by extraction of the tissue. Stitches are used to close the incision. Other choices for removal include:

Steroid Injections
Steroid injections usually will not completely eliminate the tumor but have been known to cause lipomas to shrink.

Liposuction
Liposuction employs a large syringe and needle to remove the lipoma, but it is difficult to remove the entire lump.

Herbal Remedies

Chickweed
Chickweed tincture can be obtained at herbal specialty stores. One teaspoon can be taken orally three times daily, or the chickweed can be obtained in ointment form, rubbed directly into the affected area once a day.

Bitters
Bitter herbs and foods increase the body’s ability to digest fat, which is what a lipoma essentially is. Bitter herbs include gentian, wormwood, goldenseal, and yarrow, while olives, unsweetened chocolate, citrus peel and dandelion greens are all examples of bitter foods.

Lemon Juice
Adding lemon juice to the water that you usually drink may be helpful in eliminating lipomas. Lemon Juice removes toxins from the body by stimulating the digestive system and cleansing the liver.

Cedar
Lipomas can be treated by applying a cedar ointment to the affected area three times per day. Mix five drops of cedar extract with two teaspoons of water and drink three times daily, then rub the ointment into your skin.

Did you treat your lipoma? Let us know how it went. And be sure to get all and any suspicious-looking lumps and growths examined by a professional.

Pills and medicine

What It Takes To Get A New Drug Approved

How many of us trust our federal government? According to Pew Research, only 19% of Americans today say they can trust our government to do what is right “just about always.” So, if we don’t know it we can trust our government, how do we know we can trust our government agencies? Take, for example, the FDA. While we’d like to think that the agency responsible for approving the drugs that we bring into our home and give to ourselves and our family holds itself to higher standards than the government for which it works, how can we be sure? Let’s take a look at the prescription drug approval process in the US to see just how trustworthy it is.

The Lowdown
According to a report published in the medical journal JAMA, 32% or FDA approved drugs already in use between 2001 and 2010 “were affected by a postmarket safety event,” meaning the safety of these drugs was questionable even though they had already been placed on the market. Events varied between announcements about recently discovered side effects to outright withdrawal of drugs due to reports of fatalities. In tandem with the release of this report comes the consideration by the Trump administration to streamline and shorten the approval process. According to internist Joseph Ross, one of the study’s authors, ” Our data show that there are some cautionary predictors of increased likelihood of the FDA taking a safety action in the postmarket setting. This information should be taken into account as the FDA considers conditions of approval and when further clinical trials should be required to better understand drug safety.”

Researcher working in lab

Revelations of the JAMA Investigation

  • Of the 222 FDA approved drugs 71 led to a safety event with three resulting in outright withdrawals. Sixty-one of these drugs qualified for “black-box warnings,” or warning labels posted on the packaging of the drug framed in black rule “designed to call attention to serious of life-threatening risks.”
  • Psychiatric treatment drugs and biologics that were given accelerated approval and drugs that got approval around the time of a regulatory deadline were most likely to require warnings after hitting the market.
  • These events highlight “the need for continuous monitoring of the safety of novel therapeutics throughout their life cycle.”

Especially affected by these findings are older Americans, as many of the drugs spotlighted in the study have potential risks that won’t come to light for years. For example, revolutionary treatments of ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and Crohn’s disease are among those currently being researched for the long-term impact on the population because accelerated approval drugs are considered more urgently needed, research about these drugs often takes a backseat and may not qualify for approval in time to meet the needs of more mature patients.

Implications
President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act last December to speed up the approval process for certain drugs, a process President Donald Trump referred to as “slow and burdensome,” claiming it was hindering medical advances from reaching needy patients. According to Ross, “Speeding up approval even further will not be without consequence. There will be more uncertainty at the time of approval, endless that is known about a new therapy’s safety as well as its anticipated benefits.

Are you shocked by these findings? Not surprised? Let us know what you think and what you think should be done. We want to hear from you.

Tequila

Tequila May Improve Bone Health

There is drinking, and then there is drinking tequila. For the partying crowd, tequila is “the hard stuff,” the stuff you go to when you don’t just want to drink, you want bragging rights. You want a lasting story that you and your friends will talk about for years after. For the gentler crowd, tequila is “the good stuff.” A drink that is meant to be savoured and appreciated rather than abused. However, while tequila drinkers may have their separate reasons for drinking the stuff, it is probably a pretty safe bet that neither group is thinking of their bone health.

Tequlila and Bone Health
Perhaps learning that tequila comes from a plant will make you more likely to accept the possibility that it actually might be good for you. A study done by the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico has found the there are actually substances within the tequila plant that can improve the absorption of magnesium and calcium in the body. The results were obtained through a study of mice with induced osteoporosis, a bone-weakening condition. When given agave fructans, which are the non-digestible carbohydrates from the blue tequila plant, the mice displayed a 50 percent increase in a protein, which indicates new bone growth, and a noted increase in the size of the existing bone. According to research leader Dr. Mercedes Lopez, “The consumption of fructans contained in the agave, in collaboration with adequate intestinal microbiota, promotes the formation of new bone, even with the presence of osteoporosis.”

Less Likely to Cause Hangovers
Well, maybe tequila has not quite made it to superfood status, but some pretty healthy people are drinking it. One California-based Ashtanga yoga instructor says, “I’d been a strict vodka drinker for years because I wanted to cut calories. Now I feel like I’m taking a vacation, a year abroad with tequila. My understanding is that blanco or silver tequilas are the way to go – they’re cleanest and don’t give you a hangover.” Blanco tequilas are the purest type, made of 100 percent agave. Says Jason Eisner, beverage director at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood says, “Jose Cuervo-what most Americans think of as tequila is 42% corn syrup which gives you a terrible hangover.” Herbalist Emily Han explains, “Blanco tequila contains a lower level of congeners than dark spirits and red wine. Congeners are substances like acetone and tannins that are produced during fermentation and studies show they may worsen hangovers.”

Friends toasting

Other Health Benefits
Need some help digesting? Experts say that a shot before a meal can stimulate the appetite and one after a large dinner can help digestion. According to chef Sue Torres, ” The sugars are simple, so they break down easily in your body.” Adds Roger Bailey, head bartender at Filini in Chicago, “Tequila has a component that can, in moderation, aid in lowering cholesterol.” Studies have shown that tequila may be able to break down dietary fats which can lower the levels oaf bad cholesterol. Bailey adds, “Tequila will alleviate mild strain, tension, and headaches, although, he adds, “I don’t suggest slamming tequila to get rid of a migraine.”

So, what do you think? Headed for Margaritaville? Let us know your thoughts on the new “health beverage’

Woman eating pills

Antibiotics May Be Linked To Miscarriage

According to the March of Dimes, up to 10% of expecting moms will get a urinary tract infection or UTI, during their pregnancies. Of these, about 25%, if left untreated, can develop into kidney infection, which can life-threatening for both mother and child. However, the good news is that as long as a UTI is caught early enough, it can be easily treated with antibiotics, right? Well, yes and no. While antibiotics can be a safe and effective treatment for UTIs, there are some new revealing studies that pregnant women will want to know about before taking them.

Antibiotics and Miscarriage
A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found some eye opening links between antibiotics and miscarriage in pregnant women. The prevalence of UTIs in pregnant women and their likelihood to be treated with antibiotics make this an issue of concern. A study done by researchers at the Universite de Montreal collected data from 182,369 pregnant women in Quebec between the years of 1998 and 2009, 8,702 of which ended in miscarriage before the 20th week of pregnancy. Of these, 16 percent occurred after the women took antibiotics.

Antibiotics to Avoid
Although all of this may be enough to scare you off antibiotics during pregnancy entirely, you should know that there are some medications which are higher risk than others. The most dangerous drug classes are tetracyclines, which is used as a treatment for acne, and quinolones, which can be used on a variety of infections, and was a common culprit in causing miscarriage, increasing its likelihood by three times. Clarithromycin, prescribed for pneumonia and bronchitis multiplies the risk by two. Azithromycin, used for infections of the respiratory system and some STIs, increased the of miscarriage risk by 60%, while metronidazole, used to treat bacterial vaginosis, increased the chances by 70%. Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole upped the risk by 25%.

Expert Advice
While it may seem as if there are no safe alternatives, Sherry Ross ob-gyn at Providence Saint John’s Health Center has some insight on the subject: If you notice symptoms of UTI, you definitely want to inform your doctor; if left untreated they can lead to preterm birth, kidney infection, and preeclampsia. Your doctor should recommend going with safer antibiotics, such as nitrofurantion, cephalosporin, penicillin, and erythromycin. All of these are safe antibiotics with a broad range of uses. Ross says, “Most important is to make sure you discuss the pros and cons of UTI options with your obstetrician and ways to avoid recurrent infections during the rest of the pregnancy, If you are trying to conceive and are unsure of your pregnancy status, you would want to make sure you are taking the antibiotics not associated with an increase in miscarriage risk.”

Have you experience UTI during pregnancy? How did you handle it? What’s your expert advice? Let us know!

Woman holding energy drink

Energy Drinks May Zap Your Zing

Energy. Everyone wants more of it. In fact, if someone could put energy in a bottle and sell it, they would probably make a million dollars. Oh, wait, someone’s already tried it? Whenever you get a million dollar idea, you can be pretty sure that someone has already thought of it, and if that someone has access to the means of production, he or she has probably attempted to make it a reality – probably a lot of people. The only problem is, not all of these people are too concerned with what these products really do to the people who buy them. It’s no secret that energy drinks are big money, but are they really all they’re cracked up to be? Let’s take a closer look at the truth behind the can.

The Stats
Feel as if you’ve been hearing more lately about energy drink related visits to the emergency room? You’re not imagining things. Between 2007 and 2011, these visits doubled from an estimated 10,000 to 21,000 visits. According to a USC study of randomly sampled ER patients, a third of those who reported having consumed an energy drink suffered symptoms including everything from chest pain, to heart palpitations, to seizures. In addition, the FDA has received at least 15 reports of deaths related to the energy boosting beverages. Although there is no definitive proof linking the drinks with negative health reactions, Michael Jacobsen, PhD, says, “No one really knows how dangerous they are. They certainly raise a caution flag about drinking too much (caffeine) too quickly.” This “too quickly” may be related to the form of the drink itself. Says Jacobson, “Some contain large amounts of caffeine. And they’re consumed differently than coffee. Energy drinks are gulped, rather than sipped.”

Coffee beans

Caffeine Content
It may not surprise you to know that the active ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. What may surprise you, on the other hand, is the amount. While some brands stop at 50 milligrams, others pack in a whopping 215 mg. To break it down, an eight-ounce cup of Joe contains about 100 milligrams and most experts advise topping out at 400mg a day max. As if that wasn’t worrying enough, energy drink manufacturers are not required to list the amount of caffeine in their products unless it’s in the form of pure caffeine. That means, if the caffeine in the drink is added in the form of tea, coffee, or natural substances, such as guarana, the amount may not be on the can, and if it is, it may not be accurate.

How Do Energy Drinks Deliver?
Ok, so we know they might be dangerous to our health, but do energy drinks even do what they’re supposed to? While it may be true that caffeine can help to improve the clarity of thought and exercise endurance, as little as 1.5 mg per pound of body weight (2 cups for a person weighing in at 150) will do the trick and more does not make it better. Furthermore, according to a 2012 Nutrition Reviews report the energy drinks’ natural ingredients, like amino acids, vitamins, and botanicals do little to increase energy.

The Bottom Line
The overall verdict on energy drinks? Overall, when consumed in moderation, they are fairly safe. However, a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2013 Scientific Sessions found that downing these babies can raise systolic blood pressure by 3.5 points on average and can lead to irregular heartbeats which can be potentially fatal, especially if you have an underlying heart condition. So bottom line? Proceed with caution.

What do you think about energy drinks? Friend or foe? We want to get your take.

Unusual Things That May Help You Lose Weight

We’ve all seen the ads: “Lose Weight Without Dieting,” “Exercise-Free Ways to Melt the Fat,” etc. Most of us just file these away under the ‘too good to be true’ category, along with the “Make Money By Sealing Envelopes” ads. However, every once in a while, something comes along that defies expectations. Something that is too good and true, like coffee and dark chocolate being healthy for you.

Ready to add to the list? Here are a few things that you might want to include.

Hot Baths For Weight Loss

The Study
There’ve been some interesting things happening lately at Loughborough University. According to research done by Dr Steven Faulkner, hot baths can have health benefits similar to exercise and can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

In a study involving 14 people, Dr Faulkner and his team investigated the effects of “passive heating” on blood sugar levels and number of calories burned. Participants soaked in an hour-long 40-degree bath before heading out for an hour of cycling. Each of the two tests was designed to raise core body temperature by one degree so that they amount of calories burned during each session could be measured.

Woman in the bath

The Results
Although more calories were burned during the cycling, results showed that the hot bath consumed as many calories as would be consumed during a thirty-minute walk. “The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10% lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised, “said Faulkner.

The doctor also explained that exercise prevents inflammation which can boost the immune system and fight disease. “This suggests that repeated passive heating may contribute to reducing chronic inflammation, which is often present with long-term diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.”

Turn Down The Heat
Another one for the “too good to be true” file? How about turning down the heat to lose weight. According to a recent trial published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, when we’re exposed to cooler temperature, our white fat converts to a darker color and we begin to burn calories. A British study from 2012 suggests that lowering the temp as little as two to four degree may be enough to activate fat loss.

Woman

Acupuncture
Acupuncture may also be a way to losing weight without exercising. A study published in Acupuncture in Medicine suggests that by targeting five points on the ear linked to digestion and hunger, acupuncturists can help overweight people to begin losing weight. Licensed acupuncturist Daniel Hsu, suggests the stress reduction of acupuncture may be responsible for the reduction of stress-related eating.

What do you think? Still a sceptic? A willing volunteer? Let us know. And tell us some other things belong on the “Good and True” list.

Medical consultation

Prostate Cancer Does Not Discriminate

Getting screened for prostate cancer is not glamorous, it’s not enviable, and it’s certainly not something young men dream about. However, it is necessary to get one in order to prevent serious health risks. Here is some information on what you need to know about the PSA test.

What is the PSA Test?
PSA , or prostrate specific antigen, is a protein that is produced by the cells in the prostrate gland. The level of PSA in the blood is often elevated in men with prostrate cancer. Men who report prostate symptoms are subject to PSA testing to determine what is causing their problem. The test is done in combination with a digital rectal exam (DRE).

Who Should Get a PSA Test?
Traditionally, doctors have recommended yearly PSA screening beginning at the age of 50. Some recommended that men at a higher risk, including African American men and those with prostate cancer in their family history, begin the screening at 40 or 45. However, due to recent revelations about the potential benefits and harms associated with the screening, some organizations have begun to argue that a man who is considering testing should be informed in detail about the possible outcomes. The test is covered by Medicare and most private insurers.

What Are the Possible Harms or Limitations of a PSA Screening?
Early prostate cancer protection may not reduce the risk of dying from the disease. PSA screenings may detect small tumors that grow too slowly to become life threatening. Detecting these tumors is called an “over diagnosis” and treating them is called “over treatment.” Over treatment can expose meant to harmful side effects of the treatment, including urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and problems with bowel function.

Doctor and patient

Tests may give false positives or false negatives. A false positive test can occur if a man’s PSA level is high.but no cancer is present. This is the case with most men; only about 25% of men who have an elevated PSA level test positive for cancer.

What Should You Do If Your Screening test shows a high PSA level?
Usually doctors recommend that a man showing an elevated PSA level have another screening to confirm the results. If the level is still high, the doctor will probably suggest that the man continue with DREs and PSA tests at regular intervals.
If the levels continue to go up, or if a lump is detected, doctors will order additional tests. If cancer is suspected, a doctor will recommend that the patient have a prostate biopsy to determine the nature of the problem.

Research
The largest of research studies done on prostate and cancer screening was conducted by the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Unit. Evidence showed that most men who were treated for prostate cancer would not have been detected without the screening.

If you’ve had or are thinking of having a prostate exam done, let us know how you weigh in. And keep in mind, prostate cancer does not discriminate, even against international spies.

Too Much TV Can Increase Your Child's Risk Of Diabetes

Is your television the elephant in the room? That huge flatscreen that claims the attention of everyone in the room, sucking the attention away from books, exercise, and school work. Even turned off, it tempts us as the ideal solution to awkward silences, forced conversation, and strenuous activity. The kids want it, it’s easier than coming up with alternatives, and, let’s face it, you kind of want to see it yourself. So why not just give in and put it on? Because there is a laundry list of research proving that too much television is bad for your kids, and now there’s a new addition. Recent studies link television viewing with childhood diabetes.

The Facts
In a study done by British researchers, 4,500 children between the ages of nine and ten were asked about the amount of time they spent playing computer games and watching television. Of that number, 37% reported screen time of 60 minutes or less, while 18% claimed a daily habit of three or more hours.

An examination of the children to determine insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, amount of body fat and levels of physical activities followed. Results revealed that the children who admitted to three or more hours of screen time per day had a high level of insulin resistance, lower levels of the appetite controlling leptin, and a higher BMI, all of which are known risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Group of children watching TV

However, before you push the off button on the remote control, keep in mind there are qualifying factors. According to Claire Nightingale, PhD, “Screen time could be capturing something about your behaviors-how much sedentary time you have and how much you break those up, (or) what your dietary habits (are), potentially, In other words, the tv watching may not be the problem, but rather the symptom of a larger problem.

Healthy Media Use
While there are no strict guidelines on how much tv viewing is dangerous, there are a few ways of keeping your child’s screen time down:

  • Plan to have media free family time together, like family dinners.
  • Designate media free locations in the home.
  • Find out how much time your child is spending on media and place limits on hours and types of media.
  • Engage in family activities like reading, sports, and talking.
  • Model behavior by turning off tv and smartphone during media free time.
  • Share media rules with grandparents or caregivers to make sure the rules remain consistent.
  • Get together with other parents in your community to advocate for healthier habits.

What are you doing to make sure that your kids’ viewing times are down to a minimum? Let us know what steps you’re taking as a parent to keep your kids healthy.

Woman running

A Runner's Reference For Sun Protection

You’re serious about your running routine.You’re at it every day. And you want to see some serious results. You want to look in the mirror and see those biceps bulging. You want to see those glutes flexing and those quads defined. What don’t you want to see? Sun damage.

Running is a great way to stay in shape, but if the terrain is your domain, you have to deal with the elements, and the sun is a large element. All those miles in the sun increases the risk of malignant melanoma and associated abnormalities. If you’re skipping the sun screen, here are some things your dermatologist may want to tell you.

Don’t Skimp on Protection
According to Amy Mc Clung, MD, sweating in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer. Even if you are starting in the dark hours of the morning or in cloudy weather, there is no reason to throw caution to the wind. The darkest days can always give way to sun, and you can also burn on an overcast day. McClung recommends a generous application of sunscreen, a hat, and a pair of sunglasses, regardless of how the weather looks when you set out.

Apply Sunscreen with a Heavy Hand
Before you start patting yourself on the back for applying the sunscreen, make sure you have plenty on. Brooke Jackson, MD, and once dermatologist for the Chicago Marathon, says that if you are using a cream or lotion formula, aim to apply enough of the stuff to fill a shot glass. That translates to about an ounce and a half, which means you should go through an eight ounce bottle in about two days.

Woman applying sunscreen

Don’t Get A Base Tan
If you’re thinking gradual exposure will protect you from sun burn or damage, Jackson would like you to think again. She warns that tans and burns are not buffers, but rather the body’s built in way of telling you you’ve had enough sun. “As a dermatologist,” she says, “when I see tanned skin, I see damaged skin. It doesn’t at all look healthy to me.”

Don’t Run Shirtless
Or in a very small top, sports bra, or similarly sized contraction. While it is tempting to disrobe in the heat, doing so will increase the surface area of skin exposed to the sun. Look for the “UPF” label on clothes, which indicates that the item has sun protection built in. Even if there is no label, Jackson says that even regular tanks and shorts can provide an SPF of about 8.

Don’t Omit Your Head and Lips
Scalps with thinning hair are very vulnerable to sun damage and are known to be the first area on which cancerous growths first appear. As Jackson points out, the spot can be particularly dangerous, because remaining hairs can conceal the appearance of cancers, making them easy to overlook.

Apply sunscreen to the top of your head, and, if you have a full head of hair, remember that your part is also a target for sun damage, and should be protected appropriately. A hat will provide even better protection than lotion, and can also help to shade your forehead and spare you from the possibility of getting irritating sunscreen in your eyes.

Don’t forget about your lips, which are also subject to burn. Give them a coating of sunscreen or use a lip balm with SPF and wear your shades to protect your eyes from cataracts and cancer.

So take special care if you are running and let us know what you do to keep your skin from burning. We wish you good luck and great skin.

Woman checking pills

A List Of Items To Toss From Your Medicine Cabinet ASAP

Humorist and author Erma Bombeck once famously wrote, “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be.” Operating on this logic, one could make a case for neglecting to clean out the medicine cabinet. After all, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find your antibiotics overrun with germs, right? Although there may be some attractive qualities to this theory, there may be some detriments to leaving your medicine cabinet unexamined for too long. The AMA recommends that you clean out your medicine cabinet once a year, and with spring cleaning upon us, this may be an ideal time. Here are some guidelines on doing just that.

What to Discard
Sara Bingel, PharmD, clinical pharmacist at Mount Sinai Hospital says, “In general, I would say many oral medications are safe to take a year or two beyond their marked expiration date.”

Items to save after expiration include pain relievers, allergy medications, like Benadryl, aspirins, stomach medications, like Tums, headache pills, and cold and flu pills.

Items to toss include itroglycerine for chest pain, life saving medications, antibiotics, liquid/suspension medications, and children’s meds.

Life-saving Drugs
When it comes to lifesaving drugs, it is crucial to heed expiration dates. The FDA requires medication manufacturers to find out how long it takes for drugs to reach a potency of 95%; after that, it is expired. That means that, when it comes to life saving meds, it’s all about getting the right amount into your body. Says Michael J. Negrete, PharmD., “I might be willing to roll the dice with cough syrup. It’s no big deal if the potency is down and it doesn’t help my cough. But imagine, with an Epi-pen, which keeps people from going into anaphylactic shock, not working.”

Woman at medicine cabinet

Store Meds Well
Expiration dates operate on the assumption that the unopened package is being kept in a cool, dry, dark place. While an untampered with package of Benedryl stored in a dark drawer in dry conditions is likely to be effective for years after its expiration date, one stored in a humid bathroom may be a very different story.

Take Visual Cues
When it comes to determining what to throw out of your medicine cabinet, there are some things you can judge for yourself. You don’t want to take a pill that crumbles in your hand and ineffective aspirin tends to smell like vinegar. Negrete advises that you, “Be suspicious of anything that looks out of the ordinary.”

Hold On To Solids, Lose the Liquids
Liquids, gels, and suspensions (in which the active ingredients is suspended in a liquid) tend to lose their potency more easily than pills and are also at risk of bacteria contamination, Bingel says, “Think rancid milk.”

Toss Children’s Meds
Paul Langevin, MD., director of cardiac anesthesiology at Waterbury Hospital comments, “Because children are smaller and their metabolic systems aren’t fully developed, I wouldn’t hang on to kids’ meds past the expiration date. Plus, a lot of medications for children are prepared in suspensions so the kids will take them and those flavored liquids can decompose and acquire bacterial growth.”

Are you cleaning out your medicine cabinet once a year? When the last time you went through your meds was.

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