When the summer sun cranks up its power and you’re active outdoors, hydrate regularly: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, don’t take salt tablets unless your doc says to, and take breaks to cool down every 30 minutes. Meanwhile, watch out for these heat-related complications:
• Heat syncope triggers a woozy, dizzy feeling; people taking beta blockers, a type of antihypertensive medication, are at increased risk. Get into a cool area and rest with your legs up; drink cool liquids; call a doc if the world feels out of focus.
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• Heat cramps can come from working or playing in the heat. If your skin gets cool and damp, and muscles tighten up, get into a cool area. Drink water or a sports drink with electrolytes; put cold packs on wrists or neck.
• Heat edema makes ankles and feet swell. Get into a cool area. Elevate legs, drink cool fluids. If the swelling doesn’t ease, call the doctor.
• Heat exhaustion is a warning: You’re headed toward heat stroke! You may be dizzy, weak and nauseated; have a rapid heartbeat; and be sweaty and chilly at the same time. Get into a cool area. Drink cool liquids and get emergency medical care if you don’t feel better very soon.
• Heat stroke causes a rapid heartbeat, plummeting blood pressure and problems breathing: Call 911 pronto! This is life-threatening. Get horizontal in a cool environment until help arrives.
Coping with urinary tract problems
More than 8.3 million North Americans a year go to the doctor for urinary tract infections, most of them women (although men get UTIs too). And tens of millions of men and women have urgea and stress incontinence.
UTIs are triggered by bacteria (and sometimes fungi and viruses). The old thinking: Bugs enter the urethra (the tube urine goes through) and colonize the bladder and kidney. Now it’s true, those things can trigger UTIs, but bacteria (good and bad) live in your bladder all the time. We don’t really know what’s going on in there, so the real remedy is prevention.
Postmenopausal women may use estrogen cream to restore thinning tissue around the urethra, and decrease stress incontinence and infections. Also, never hold your pee (urinate five to eight times daily); drink cranberry juice; take 500 milligram tablets of vitamin C and probiotics like acidophilus to acidify urine and promote good bacteria; and drink plenty of water.
As for urge and stress incontinence, strengthen pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises. Retrain your bladder muscles how and when to contract properly, and ask your doctor about medications to ease muscle contractions.
The cook’s guide to good oils
When Emeril infuses olive oil with garlic, he’s making that heart-friendly oil (loaded with omega-9s and monounsaturated fats) more than just a vehicle for sauteing your favorite veggies; he’s making healthy food exciting. And while we never want you to overdo even good-for-you oils (a single tablespoon has 110 calories), you can use them for optimum health and food satisfaction.
There are two kinds of oils: those that are good for cooking (they have what’s called a high smoke point), and those that you should only warm gently or use for marinades and salad dressings.
Hot stuff: Avocado, peanut, soybean and refined canola, safflower and corn oils can stand up to high temperatures for stir-fries and in the oven. That’s good, because oils that overheat at high temperatures emit potentially toxic fumes and break down into chemicals you don’t want to eat or breathe, at least not very often. You can cook with pure and light olive oils; they have a higher smoke point than their cousin, extra virgin — use them for oven-roasting or sauteing veggies.
Cool customers: For gently warmed dishes, marinades or salads, olive, toasted sesame, all unrefined oils, walnut and hazelnut oils are wonderful choices. They impart distinct flavors of their own and can be combined with lemon or lime juice or balsamic vinegar. You also can infuse oil with herbs and spices such as basil, mint, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, ginger and red pepper. Try canola here too. Sprinkle the infusion on veggies, over grilled fish or brown rice. Bam!
Arch enemies: The lowdown on high heels
Calluses, corns, ingrown toenails and hammertoes all result from cramming feet into steeply arched, unpadded shoes that force the foot forward. This also can irritate nerves on the ball of the foot, triggering neuromas. But, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, despite the discomfort (or downright agony), many women continue to wear painful shoes. Unfortunately, once the feet go, so does physical activity, and guess what’s right behind (or about to be on your behind)? Weight gain. So take the proper steps now:
• If you wear heels over 2 inches high, save them for posing (at that office party), not walking around. And travel with flats.
• In love with toe-pinchers? Buy them a half or full size larger than usual; add heel liners to take pressure off the toes.
• Look for shoes with open toes so your little guys can stretch and breathe.
• And if you have tingling or pain in the balls of your feet, your arches ache or you have lower-back pain, go to a foot doc for an assessment and a shoe store for a pair of well-padded, good fitting walking shoes.