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Tips To Beat The Heat

Dehydrated, cramped, limping? on a bike. Road nationals 2010.

People who exercise outdoors face a new threat.

It’s unrelenting.



Perhaps, even more dangerous than distracted or mean motorists.

It’s the heat. Gosh, is it hot. If only I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “Doctor M, you aren’t riding in this heat; are you?”

Well…Other than the fortunate souls smart (or lucky) enough to live in cooler climates, most of us are facing an extreme wave of hotness. As a Kentuckian, I live in the epicenter of this summer’s cauldron. Louisville sits in a wind-protected valley alongside the heat sink that is the Ohio River. Think hot and steamy.

The excessive heat smacked me hard last evening. Normally, my highly-veined skin and northern European heritage serves me well in the heat. But last night, while riding in sight of our city’s skyline, it started: My mouth grew dry and my breathing labored. And why was that helmet feeling so tight? Next came the sensation of tingles—not the pleasant kind of tingles, like when your teenager hugs you. And then came the deal-breaker: chills. I stopped, swallowed my pride and called for a ride home. (Here’s an always for you all: When it’s ninety degrees out and you feel cold–stop exercising, immediately.)

After last night’s brush with heat exhaustion, I thought it reasonable to ramble on about the dangers of exercising in the heat. And of course, I will offer some nuggets of wisdom for beating the heat. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Five Tips To Protect The Most Sensitive Skin

Baby skin is sun-sensitive.

Everyone wishes they had baby skin. It feels so soft and smooth; it’s perfectly adapted to induce us adults to want to clean their diaper, no matter how many times they dirty them. Like their big eyes and cute noses, baby skin is part of the whole package of being adorable. But like their eyes, their skin, however beautiful, is immature. Baby skin is thinner, has less natural moisturizers and has fewer pigment cells, making it more vulnerable to the environment than adult skin.

This is important especially in summer. How often do you see babies running around on the beach with just a diaper on? Although they seem indestructable, they are more vulnerable than the adult holding the pail and shovel.

Studies have shown that up to 83% of babies get sunburned their first year of life. This is our fault, not theirs. Sunburns at an early age can increase the risk for melanoma skin cancer on the trunk later in life. Sun exposure is also a poor way to get vitamin D for infants because most will get far more damaging sun than they need to make vitamin D — we adults tend to over cook them.

Here are five tips to keep your baby safe this summer: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

How You Can Avoid Heat Rash During The Hot Summer Months

I just flew back from Atlanta for the 4th of July weekend, and, boy, are my sweat glands killing me.

Atlanta has a way of making your sweat glands work overtime, and overworked sweat glands can lead to dreaded heat rash. Heat rash is a common, annoying problem in summertime that develops when sweat glands are blocked, thereby preventing sweat from escaping and irritating your skin.

Hot skin trapped under clothing is often affected, leading to red itchy or prickly bumps (hence it’s other name, prickly heat). Humid heat is worse than dry heat, and anything that blocks the sweat ducts such as lying on your back at night, wearing tight fitting clothing or even applying thick sunscreen is a sure way to bring the rash out.

Prickly heat is commonly seen in babies who aren’t able to tell us when they’re hot and sweaty from being overly bundled up. Hospital patients who are unable to move in bed are also commonly afflicted. Of course, healthy adults can get it too, especially Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

Weight Loss Tips For ABC News

The weather is heating up, and soon most of us will be back in shorts and t-shirts…  and worrying about looking good in our dreaded bathing suits. I had the opportunity to offer some evidence-based weight loss and fitness tips to ABC News in Washington, DC. You can view the clip or read my summary below:

Read more »

Summer Comic Relief -Or- You Can’t Take Me Anywhere…

Well, it’s a summer Saturday on the blog – which means that the Better Health editorial standards are a little more lax. And this week I’m willing to share some highly embarrassing personal details for your amusement.

Over the course of my lifetime, my exposure to baseball has been somewhat limited. In fact, the only games I ever went to were at the demand of an old grad school roommate who had a crush on José Conseco. We lived in Dallas at the time and she forced me to accompany her to the games so that at the end she could stand by the exit gate and catch a glimpse of him as he left the ballpark.

As a long-suffering and supportive friend I endured countless games in the Texas summer heat – sitting in the nosebleeds at Ranger stadium, with no more than a folding seat, napkins to wipe my brow, and a long line to a dirty bathroom. Apparently Nolan Ryan was an amazing pitcher – but it was hard to tell from such a distance.

So that was pretty much the sum total of my experience with baseball, and the reason why I hadn’t been all that interested in taking friends up on more recent invitations to go to a ball game. But yesterday my world changed.

My dear friends Heather and Doug (aka Mr. Heather) convinced me to join them at Nationals stadium yesterday… and I was astonished by the creature comforts of the place. Open air sports bars, restaurants, game tents, air conditioned box seats… food buffets. My goodness. This was not at all what I remembered about baseball – and we got to sit just above home plate.

Now, the only problem was that I really never learned the more complicated rules of the game – like why can the guy on third run home after the outfielder just caught the batter’s ball and he’s out? I know I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t get it, but that’s ok.

The real problem came when I was en route to the game and experienced some brand confusion. I noticed everyone wearing these red hats (on the right below) and I knew that our team was called “The Nats” so… I just didn’t make the association between the W and our team. And quite frankly, the font looks an awful lot like Walgreens doesn’t it?

walgreensYeah, so I did accidentally let slip my confusion about all the “Walgreens hats.” I thought maybe they were a big team sponsor or something.

My friends were at first confused, then horrified, then laughing uncontrollably. I kept protesting that it was an honest mistake (given the branding similarities), and they said, “Oh yeah, like TOTALLY” and did their best blonde Valley Girl impressions.

The other problem was that although I knew the hand movements made when the umpire wanted to indicate that a player was “safe” on base, I didn’t recall that the opposite resulted in a movement very similar to what I do when I’m really psyched about a victory of some sort and say “Yes!” You know, you make a fist with bent arm and bring it quickly down to mid abdomen from shoulder height.

So, in all truth, there was a moment of confusion in my mind when I saw the umpire making the “Yes!” movement – it seemed kind of partisan to me, and I wondered why he didn’t just make the “safe” sign. And then the runner walked away all dejected. I should have kept my mouth shut and let me brain process, but I let it slip to Heather – why does that umpire guy go “Yes!” all the time?

We had a good laugh… some amazing nachos… and our team won 7-6 so it was a really exciting game all the way through. I told Heather the stadium was so nice I’d be happy going there just to hang out – game or not.

Kudos to the Washington Nationals marketing team – even with our team being in last place, the experience was outstanding – causing even a hardened baseball skeptic to rethink her position on game attendance. Now if you could just do something about the Walgreens logo… ;-)

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