Early exposure to microbes may prevent childhood cancer

grass-3430359_1920It turns out that early exposure to common microbes (germs!) in newborns and babies helps to protect them against acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (aka A.L.L.), the most common form of childhood cancer, later on in life.

According to Professor Mel Greaves, a world-renowned leukaemia researcher at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, there are 3 stages to developing this form of cancer. Children are more likely to develop A.L.L if:

  • Firstly, they have a genetic mutation that happens in the womb (before the child is born)
  • dogsSecondly, they live in germ-free environments and have little interaction with other children particularly in their first year of life. This lack of exposure to microbes prevents the immune system from learning how to deal with threats.
  • Later on in childhood, A.L.L. may be triggered when they get an infection that causes the immune system to malfunction. “The research strongly suggests that acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has a clear biological cause and is triggered by a variety of infections in predisposed children whose immune systems have not been properly primed,” explains Professor Greaves. He and his team also discovered a higher prevalence of A.L.L. in countries with higher socio-economic development and affluence.

The following evidence helped the researchers reach their conclusion:

  • Studies show that children who had older siblings or went to nursery/ play groups, which expose them to bacteria, had lower rates of leukaemia.
  • baby-21167_1920Breastfeeding, which promotes good bacteria in the gut, protects against leukaemia (click here to read other benefits of breastfeeding).
  • There are lower rates of leukaemia in children born vaginally than by Caesarean section, which transfers fewer microbes.
  • An outbreak of swine flu in Milan led to seven children getting leukaemia.
  • Animals bred completely free of microbes developed leukaemia when exposed to an infection.

Professor Greaves emphasizes that the study is not about blaming parents for being too hygienic. Rather, “the most important implication is that most cases of childhood leukaemia are likely to be preventable.”

water-863053_1920He suggests that parents can “be less fussy about common or trivial infections and encourage social contact with other and older children”. For those who want the extra “microbe” boost, Dr. Ardyce Yik ND suggests consuming more probiotic foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kim chi and tempeh. Supplementing with probiotics may also be beneficial. For newborns and babies, breastfeeding is encouraged.

Click here to learn more on how to support your immune system.

 

SOURCE: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41568-018-0015-6; http://www.bbc.com/news/health-44199844

Posted in Babies/ Children, Cancer Prevention, General, Immunity, News Update, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tantrums? Refusal to listen? Anxiety? Help your child develop self-regulation.

pexels-photo-116151.jpegEven as adults, we sometimes struggle with managing our emotions and mood (just think of the last time you met someone who had road rage or was impatient- or the last time you irritably lost control…). And yet, as parents, we may find ourselves getting frustrated with our children when they fail to control themselves. Refusing to listen, becoming excessively anxious or moody, throwing temper tantrums- what lies at the heart of all this is self-regulation.

What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is the ability of a person to manage emotions, sensations, situations and distress- and to form appropriate responses that are socially acceptable and help to achieve positive goals such as learning, maintaining good relationships and well-being. Kids with good self-regulation skills are able to calm down (to return to a condition of stability or homeostasis), resist impulses, focus their attention and exert self-control. Simply stated, self-regulation is the ability to regulate emotions and control behaviour.

Why does self-regulation matter?

pexels-photo-322070.jpegStudies show that a child’s capacity to self-regulate largely determines how well they will perform at school and how they will be later in life. This important life skill is related to many positive outcomes, such as success in school and university, social economic status, health and relationship satisfaction. Kids (and adults) who can self-regulate are generally less anxious, less angry and less hostile toward others.

boy-1226964_1920A renowned study spanning over 4 decades, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, started tracking 1,037 children since their birth in 1972 in Dunedin, New Zealand. The study looked at self-regulation, particularly self-control, in childhood and found that children who scored low on such measures (e.g. becoming easily frustrated, lacking persistence in reaching goals or performing tasks, having difficulty waiting their turn in line, etc.) were roughly three times more likely to wind up as poor, addicted, single parents or to have multiple health problems as adults, compared with children who behaved less impulsively as early as age three. The study also revealed that children who had more self-control enjoyed more health and wealth in adulthood than others who had even a bit less self-control.

achieve-1822503_1920

“The early years are absolutely critical for how a person’s life turns out, and if you really want to make a difference to people’s lives, intervening early is key,” concludes Professor Richie Poulton, director of the study.

How can we help our child build self-regulation?

  1. pexels-photo-266011.jpegWhen infants are born, the development of self-regulation occurs within the context of the infant-caregiver relationship. Babies are completely dependent upon their parents or primary caregivers to identify and respond to their needs. As time passes, responding to babies’ needs in a responsive and consistent manner helps them to learn that the feelings of distress they have are not permanent. Not only will they learn that these feelings will pass but they also begin to develop within themselves the capacity to take care of their feelings and impulses, and to feel secure in knowing that their needs will be met.
  2. pexels-photo-296301.jpegWhen children are young, they learn how to self-regulate through play and games, so ensure plenty of free play time for them. Outdoor free play with peers (without adult interaction) is a great way to develop self-regulation. Hide-and-seek, a game of tag or ball games allow children to interact socially and to use their own coping mechanisms to problem-solve.
  3. Play games that require children to wait for directions before they act (e.g. Simon Says, What Time is it Mr. Wolf, etc.) or games that require taking turns (e.g board games).
  4. For older children, drama, art, team sports and music can help to build self-regulation. Encourage them to join a drama or art class, pick up a sport they enjoy, learn an instrument or join the junior orchestra.
  5. pexels-photo-573293.jpegIn order to remain in control in difficult situations, children need to have calming experiences. Practise deep breathing and ways to relax with your child, like spending time outdoors to appreciate nature or just talking things out. In Dr. Yik’s child’s kindergarten class, the children learned to calm themselves down when they were angry or upset by tracing their fingers of one hand with the other hand and doing “belly breathing”. See what works for your child and practise it together.
  6. woman-1807533_1920Parents, caregivers and teachers should model good self-regulation and self-control. Use a calm tone in stressful situations. Exert self-control when things get disruptive or when you are upset.
Remember, we are human. It’s absolutely natural to experience emotions and impulses, but how we manage them will ultimately determine how well we fare in life.
Is your child stressed or anxious? Click here to read more about stress and anxiety in today’s children. Click here to find out how Dr. Yik can help you and child attain optimal health.

 

SOURCES:

https://self-reg.ca/

Can People who lack Self-Regulation Skills still have Satisfying and Well-functioning Relationships?

https://dunedinstudy.otago.ac.nz/

https://abilitypath.org/2014/06/11/self-regulation-through-relationships/

Posted in Babies/ Children, Emotional/ Psychological Health, General, Men's Health, News Update, Stress Management, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mediterranean diet may increase fertility and IVF success

pexels-photo-299352.jpegIt turns out that eating a Mediterranean diet is not only good for your heart and brain, but it may also boost fertility and IVF success. A recent study from Human Reproduction concluded that women who consumed a Mediterranean diet had significantly higher success rates of IVF compared to other women.

The researchers, led by Associate Professor Nikos Yiannakouris of Harokopio University of Athens, analyzed the dietary patterns of 244 women between ages 22 and 41 years, who were asked to complete food questionnaires based on their diet from the previous 6 months.

salmon-fish-grilled-fish-grill-730914.jpeg“The important message from our study is that women attempting fertility should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, because greater adherence to this healthy dietary pattern may help increase the chances of successful pregnancy and delivering a live baby,” concluded Professor Yiannakouris, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University of Athens. He also added that a healthy Mediterranean diet can improve semen quality in men.

pexels-photo-793785.jpegSo, what is the Mediterranean diet? And how can we follow it to improve health and fertility?

  1. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish.
  2. Eat fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Eat lean meats, poultry, eggs and dairy in moderation.
  3. For women wanting to boost fertility and egg quality, Dr. Yik recommends they eat at least 5 portions of vegetables a day, 2 of which should be dark green in colour.
  4. Snack on nuts! Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, etc.- Grab a handful for a boost in fiber, protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants. Click here to read more about the benefits of nuts.
  5. Try replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil.
  6. Instead of using salt to flavour foods, try using herbs and spices.

Dr. Yik helps women balance hormones and boost fertility. Click here to read more about her Natural Fertility Enhancement program.

SOURCE: https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/esoh-mdm012618.php

 

Posted in Babies/ Children, Cancer Prevention, Fertility, Heart Health, Hormonal (Endocrine) Imbalances, News Update, Nutrition, Pregnancy, Women's Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Protect your health and strengthen your immune system, naturally

doctor2Between May and July 2017, more than 300 severe flu cases were reported by Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection, compared with 50 in the same period last year. Experts say mutations in the influenza virus were to blame, meaning that that those who were vaccinated were not getting the protection they hoped for. Besides getting the vaccine, what else can we do to protect our health?

Your immune system protects you from infectious bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that cause disease and even death. “The strength of your immune system is what determines who gets sick and who doesn’t,” explains Woodson Merrell, MD, director of integrative medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. We know that adequate sleep, regular exercise, limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking are essential to good health, but what more can we do to improve our immune system?

To get started, consider the following:

vegetables-752153_1920 (1)1) Are you deficient in micronutrients? Micronutrient deficiencies are associated with an impaired immune response and higher incidence of infection. Deficiencies can stem from reduced food intake (due to eating disorders, dieting, etc.), excessive consumption of junk/ processed food, an imbalanced diet or impaired/ weak digestion. Zinc, selenium, iron, vitamins A, C, D, E, B6 and folic acid in particular help the immune system work properly.  To ensure you are getting adequate micronutrients, eat whole foods with adequate protein, good fats and a variety of vegetables and fruits. Include immune-boosting foods such as garlic, onions, ginger, dark green vegetables, shiitake/ maitake/ reishi mushrooms and berries in your diet. If you suspect you are deficient in certain nutrients, talk to your doctor and get tested.

2) How important is vitamin D? Researchers in Japan have found that besides getting the annual flu shot, vitamin D is also a potent flu-fighter. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing vitamin D3 supplements (1200 IU/day) with placebo in school-aged children, researchers found that the children receiving the sunshine vitamin had a 42% reduction in getting influenza A compared to those not receiving it. adult-1807500_1920The study also found that the group not getting the vitamin D had six times more asthma attacks. “Vitamin D helps your body produce a protein called cathelicidin that fights bacteria and viruses,” says Carlos Camargo, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Other studies show that people with adequate levels of vitamin D are less likely to get the flu, and when they do, they tend to recover faster compared to those who are deficient. In Dr. Yik’s practice, she finds that many adults and children in Hong Kong are deficient in vitamin D, regardless of how much sunshine they get. Before you start taking vitamin D supplements though, get your level checked so you can supplement at the correct dosage. Too much vitamin D puts you at a higher risk for kidney stones.

3) Choose the right type of probiotic. Most people know that probiotic supplementation can help maintain a strong immune system, but what you may not know is that different strains of probiotics treat different conditions, so it’s important to find the right type. A supplement with various probiotic strains including a high(er) amount of Lactobacillus rhamnosus is beneficial for boosting immunity.

4) Certain essential oils such as clove and eucalyptus have immune-enhancing properties. Some choose to diffuse it while others use direct or indirect inhalation. For topical use, always read the labels carefully and seek a certified aromatherapist if unsure.

allergies2

5) Recurrent infections- colds/ flu, ear infections, herpes/ cold sores, warts, etc.- may be pointing to a stressed system. Mental stress, deep sadness or anger will raise a hormone in our body called cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels will slow down the rate at which immune cells multiply. This leaves us deficient in infection-fighting cells, making us more vulnerable to attack by foreign invaders. Loneliness can also make you more prone to illness. “Lonely people often have high stress levels, which can have a negative effect on the immune system,” says Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University. While deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage and other stress-management techniques help to lower cortisol levels temporarily, nutraceuticals and adaptogens may be necessary to restore healthy cortisol levels and rebuild your system. Click here to learn more about unmanaged stress.

groupAlways remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and avoid touching your face/ nose/ mouth. If you are sick, seek medical attention. Dr. Ardyce Yik ND helps adults and children rebuild immunity, naturally. Click here to learn how she can help you achieve and maintain optimal health.

 

SOURCE:

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2103878/how-worried-should-you-be-about-hong-kongs-unusual, https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/177984, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2646211/, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/immunity, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3755751/

Posted in Babies/ Children, Digestive Disorders, Emotional/ Psychological Health, General, Immunity, Men's Health, News Update, Nutrition, Stress Management, Women's Health | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Stress and Anxiety in (Hong Kong) Children

child-813024_1920According to a 2015 study, 27.8% of Hong Kong’s primary school children have anxiety symptoms so severe that professional help is warranted. 5-year-olds complaining of tummy aches without apparent cause, 8-year-olds having trouble falling asleep or suddenly refusing to go school, 10-year-olds facing bullying and hostility (in person and for older kids, on social media)- Dr. Yik sees her share of anxious children and teenagers in this high-strung city. She has, sadly, even had to counsel and treat high achievers who suddenly break down mentally and physically, as well as parents of teens who committed suicide while studying abroad.

Everyone, including children, will experience anxiety at onportrait-1822841_1920e point or another. When it is temporary (like not being able to sleep one night after watching a scary movie, or getting nervous right before a test), it’s usually harmless. But anxiety becomes a problem when it’s not managed properly or when it continuously affects their sleep and/ or daily activities (e.g. school, social or extracurricular activities, appetite, etc.).

WHY ARE SO MANY CHILDREN SUFFERING FROM ANXIETY?

  1. Some experts blame the education system, which promotes competition and pressure to succeed from a young age (click here to read more about overly stressed children). child blackboard2Kids nowadays often feel pressured to “win”,  be “number one” or outdo and outsmart their peers- all the time. Without proper stress management techniques and a healthy sense of self-worth, this tremendous weight on their shoulders can easily lead to anxiety and later on, depression.
  2. Could it be the parents? Some blame “helicopter” parenting, where parents take an overprotective or excessive approach to their children’s education and wellbeing. Children of such parents may feel smothered or helpless, unable to solve their own problems or carry out daily tasks without fear of their parents stepping in and controlling the situation. These kids also miss the opportunity to develop the necessary life skills to navigate through life’s trials. business seriousOther experts point out that extravagant and excessive praise from parents can also lead to anxiety in children. Imagine getting trophies for mere participation and constantly being touted as being “super” or “amazing”. Then, imagine stepping into the real world and realizing that people don’t receive trophies or praise for mere participation or mediocre performance. This eventual realization impacts a child’s confidence and self-esteem, which very often leads to anxiety. See below for the difference between praising a child’s innate quality and praising his/ her efforts.
  3. pokemon-1553995_1920Social media dictates what’s acceptable and what’s not for many older children and teenagers. “How many ‘likes’ will I get?” “Is the way I wear this acceptable?” “Why did she make that comment?” This generation is obsessed with peer acceptance. What happens when they don’t get it? Or worse, what happens when they face bullying or rejection from so-called friends?
  4. IMG_7828 (1)Are children getting enough of what nature can offer? Studies show that people who spend time in the great outdoors (or even look at pictures of nature) experience less mental stress and reduced levels of anxiety. If you live in Hong Kong, look out your window right now. What do you see?

HOW CAN WE, AS PARENTS, HELP?

  1. hand-1549135_1920Support your children by being there physically for them and by offering them professional help if needed. Listen to them without judging, tell them how much they are loved and supported and remind them that you will walk with them together through this stage of life. When children and teenagers know they are accepted, supported and loved no matter what, they are more likely to recover quicker with appropriate treatment.
  2. Self-regulation is just as important as academics! In practice, Dr. Yik finds that while Hong Kong children tend to excel in academics, they often have trouble regulating their emotions and behaviour, resisting impulses, and exerting self-control (on their own, without parental help or supervision). Self-regulation is a crucial life skill for children to develop. Kids who can self-regulate are generally less anxious, less angry and less hostile toward others. happy girlsWhen children are young, they learn how to self-regulate through play and games, so ensure plenty of free play time for them. If your child is older, a counsellor or therapist may be able to help him/ her navigate through their emotions and behaviour, teaching them how to respond appropriately to different emotions and take control of their actions.
  3. Eddie Brummelman of Utrecht University in the Netherlands found in a 2013 study that praising children for their personal qualities may backfire, making them more ashamed when they fail. “Adults may feel that praising children for their inherent qualities helps combat low self-esteem, but it might convey to children that they are valued as a person only when they succeed,” Brummelman said. “When children subsequently fail, they may infer they are unworthy.” Along these lines, sometimes failure is a necessary step for children to learn how to get back up and to build resilience. Children who are praised for their efforts are more likely to try again when faced with failure.
  4. Reassure your children that their self-worth and identity are not rooted in their academic performance or other achievements. Don’t push your children to chase YOUR unfulfilled dreams or to follow in your footsteps.
  5. Always be available to your child and keep all lines of communication open. Older kids are more likely to share their struggles (e.g. bullying, stresses) when they know that their parents genuinely care and are willing to listen without judging.
  6. doctor1Seek a health care practitioner who looks at the whole picture. Pharmaceutical drugs can help reduce anxiety but it may not work for every child or teenager. There are numerous treatment protocols and techniques that can benefit your child and help address the symptoms and root causes of anxiety (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals, etc.). Find a doctor who listens and cares for your child’s wellbeing, and is willing to tailor the treatment plan to suit your child’s needs.

Dr. Ardyce Yik ND helps countless children and teenagers reach optimal health using natural medicine and nutrition. She is in charge of the “Boost Your Child’s Health” program at OT&P clinic in Repulse Bay.

 

 

SOURCES:

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/1876884/tested-limit-quarter-hong-kong-primary-pupils-so

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/02/children-self-esteem.aspx

http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/mood-disorders/nature-cognitive-anxiety-depression-mood/article/448018/

 

Posted in Babies/ Children, Emotional/ Psychological Health, General, News Update, Stress Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Recurrent yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis (BV)? Address the cause.

woman7Women with recurrent vaginal infections know how frustrating it is to get yet another infection. Not only are the symptoms uncomfortable and annoying but it’s often embarrassing to bring it up with your doctor or gynecologist- again. In this article, Dr. Ardyce Yik ND discusses her experience in helping women of all ages get rid of two prevalent vaginal infections- Candida (yeast) infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Vaginal Yeast Infections 101

Also known as candidiasis, vaginal yeast infections are caused by the fungus Candida albicans, a naturally occurring micro-organism in the vagina. Lactobacillus bacteria keeps its growth in check but an imbalance in your system can lead to an overgrowth of yeast. The following can cause yeast overgrowth or an infection: antibiotics, hormonal changes around the menstrual cycle, poor diet or a diet full of sugar or refined carbohydrates, stress, a weak immune system, oral contraceptives (birth control pill), pregnancy, etc.

pills2The most common symptoms include intense itching, burning, clumpy discharge (resembles cottage cheese) and pain during urination or sex. When patients with recurrent yeast infections seek help, Dr. Yik considers the following:

  1. If you are sexually active, you and your partner may be passing the yeast infection back and forth. Men typically don’t exhibit signs or symptoms. Both you and your partner will need to get treated. It is important to abstain from sexual intercourse during the treatment process.
  2. Dietary changes: Avoid sugar, refined or processed foods, vinegar, chocolate and alcohol.
  3. If yeast infections occur before or around menstruation, herbal medicine and nutraceuticals are given to balance hormones and support immune function during this period.worried-girl-413690_1920.jpg
  4. If stress or a depressed immune system are contributing factors, treatment is aimed at rebuilding immunity (click here to read how to rebuild your immunity naturally) and adopting more effective stress-coping strategies. Usually, a combination of nutritional therapy, vitamins, nutraceuticals and herbal medicine will help.
  5. Vaginal suppositories containing natural compounds and probiotics (good bacteria including Lactobacillus) may be prescribed to help eliminate yeast overgrowth and replenish the good bacteria needed for optimal microflora balance. These are different from conventional anti-fungal suppositories, which just get rid of the Candida during the time of usage.
  6. Dr. Yik will assess your health to determine whether or not you may have yeast overgrowth in other parts of the body. If there are other yeast-related symptoms, Dr. Yik may need to do further testing to rule out systemic Candida, which would require more comprehensive treatment.

Bacterial Vaginosis 101

One of the first symptoms women with bacterial vaginosis (BV) may experience is vaginal discharge with a fishy smell. This condition is usually caused by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria and a change of vaginal pH. Sometimes, an infection may cause an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria while at other times, women under significant stress may experience a change of pH in the vagina. Both may lead to BV. Though the strong fishy vaginal odour is a classic symptom of BV, some women who have this condition don’t notice any symptoms.

silhouette-602840_1920

When patients with BV seek help, Dr. Yik considers the following:

  1. Probiotic vaginal suppositories which replenish the vagina with good, healthy bacteria are recommended.
  2. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to recurrent BV infections. Vitamin D is an important nutrient which “helps your body produce a protein called cathelicidin that fights bacteria and viruses,” says Carlos Camargo, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Supplementation with vitamin D may prevent BV recurrence.
  3. Folate deficiency is also linked to recurrent BV infections. A diet full of dark leafy green vegetables, broccoli, chickpeas and lentils (all of which are rich in folate) is recommended. Furthermore, a study from the Journal of Nutrition concluded that increased intake of folate, vitamin A, and calcium may decrease the risk of severe BV. To fight recurrent BV infections, it is crucial to adopt a healthful and wholesome diet packed with nutrients.
  4. In extreme cases, BV infections may travel up the Fallopian tubes or uterus and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If left untreated, PID can lead to scarred tissue in the pelvic organs and infertility.

When vaginal infections become recurrent, it is important to find a doctor who addresses the root causes and helps the body restore healthy vaginal microbiota.

 

SOURCES: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22190843, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17709453, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27324341, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26451088

 

Posted in Fertility, General, Heart Health, Hormonal (Endocrine) Imbalances, Immunity, News Update, Nutrition, Sexual Health, Stress Management, Women's Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dry drowning or delayed drowning: know the signs

IMG_3733Though extremely rare, a 4-year-old boy died of drowning days after he went swimming in the USA last month. The suspected cause of death was reported to be “dry drowning” at the time. “Dry drowning” and “secondary drowning” aren’t actual medical terms, but they are used to describe the complications which result from submersion of water. Although the media has used these two terms interchangeably, they actually describe two different phenomena.
What is dry drowning? 
Dry drowning is a term used to describe victims who die from being submerged in water but have no water in their lungs. The water never reaches the lungs. There are two theories as to what causes dry drowning. The first theory is laryngospasm, where the sudden rush of water into the throat causes the larynx to snap shut and the airways to close. This leads to asphyxiation. The second theory is that suddenly entering extremely cold water may cause the heart to stop.
What’s the difference between dry drowning and delayed drowning?
In dry drowning, the lungs are absent of water, but in secondary drowning (also known as delayed drowning), water is aspirated (inhaled) and gets into the lungs, which causes irritation of the lungs’ lining and fluid build-up in the lungs. Victims of secondary drowning breathe in water and may seem like they have successfully expelled it through coughing but in reality, water is still in the lungs, filling up the oxygen-rich pores and reducing the ability to oxygenate the blood that passes through the lungs. As the blood oxygen level decreases over time, victims may feel tired, disoriented or exhibit behavioural changes. They may also experience fits of coughing, trouble breathing, vomiting and chest pain. Symptoms worsen over time and they may die if no medical attention is given. It is crucial to monitor children (and adults) after near-drowning experiences and to seek immediate medical attention (ER) if symptoms persist or worsen.
What are the symptoms/ what should parents look out for?
In dry drowning cases, since your larynx is shut, no water or air can get into your lungs, so asphyxiation happens pretty much right away. In secondary or delayed drowning, the following symptoms may present and usually persist or worsen over time: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, vomiting, tiredness/ sleepiness, disorientation/ confusion, behavioural changes, foaming in the mouth
What should I do if my child does exhibit symptoms? 
If your child experienced a near-drowning experience or was submerged in water, then later exhibits the symptoms above, seek medical attention at the ER right away. Health experts treat these cases as a medical emergency.
IMG_0101How can I prevent drowning and practice water safety? Tips for water safety:
  1. Undistracted supervision is key! Always watch children in the pool, bathtub or body of water.
  2. Close your nose and mouth when diving or jumping into water (to prevent the sudden gush of water that can cause the larynx to spasm and shut).
  3. Children and adults of all ages should wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device when on boats/ kayaking/ paddle-boating, etc. Don’t overestimate your child’s ability to swim to safety.
  4. Avoid alcohol before and during swimming and water activities. Don’t drink alcohol while supervising children.
  5. Teach your children to swim or enrol them in swimming lessons to lower the risk of drowning.

* Dr. Ardyce Yik ND was previously interviewed by Sassy Mama HK on this topic.

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Travelling soon? Beware of bed bugs!

sleeping-1311784_1920With bed bugs becoming resistant to common insecticides used against them, it’s no wonder we have seen a resurgence of bed bug infestations in the last 5 to 10 years.

Bed bugs, known scientifically as Cimex lectularius (Cimicidae), are oval-shaped wingless insects that feed on blood from people or animals. No more than 0.5 centimeres long, these tiny critters range in colour- from white to dark brown/ black and they turn brownish red after feeding. Bed bugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses. They often latch onto luggage, purses and other items during travel so besides hotels and dorm rooms, they can also be found on cruise ships, buses, trains and even at movie theaters. Bed bugs are found worldwide, but most commonly in developing countries. Once rare in North America, they may be on the rise due to increases in international travel.

The Top 10 Bed Bug Cities List (in the U.S., by Orkin):

  1. Baltimore, Maryland
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. New York, New York
  5. Columbus, Ohio
  6. Los Angeles, California
  7. Detroit, Michigan
  8. Cincinnati, Ohio
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California

 

hotelroom-2205447_1920.jpgWHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID BED BUGS?

  1. Check your hotel beds upon checking into the hotel. Pull back the sheets, check the seam and corners of the mattress near the pillows and the headboard. Look for brown or black spots (the bugs) or yellowish skins that bed bugs shed.
  2. Don’t place open suitcases against a wall. Try to keep them closed and set them on a hard surface (not the hotel bed).
  3. Don’t leave your clothes lying around the hotel room. Remember, bed bugs can latch onto clothing and other items.

Following these tips will ensure that you have a good night’s rest. As the old saying goes, “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Happy travels!

 

To see what bed bugs look like and learn more about these critters, click here.

SOURCES:

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20170410/New-study-shows-early-signs-of-resistance-among-bed-bugs-to-two-commonly-used-insecticides.aspx

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/01/03/your-city-crawling-bed-bugs/96117116/

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Which is more important for weight loss- diet or exercise?

appetite-1239056_1920.jpgA healthful diet and regular exercise regime are essential when it comes to weight loss but which one is more important in achieving the results you want? If you want to drop the weight, it turns out that reducing calorie intake from your diet is more effective than exercise. “People expect exercise to be a great way to help them lose weight, but the effects on weight are only small,” says Dr. Dick Thijssen, a professor in cardiovascular physiology and exercise at Liverpool John Moores University. According to him, if you exercised for 3 or 4 months without changing your diet, you’d only lose about 1 kg. Findings from research studies agree with Dr. Thijssen. Apparently, exercise alone has a negligible impact on weight loss, so if you are relying on exercise alone to lose weight, you will most likely be disappointed.

Why isn’t exercise as effective as diet when it comes to weight loss?
lose-weight-1968908_1920The key to weight loss is achieving a negative energy balance, meaning you take in fewer calories than you burn. Decreasing our calories through diet is so much more effective than exercise because it takes a lot of physical activity or working out to create a calorie deficit. For example, you need to burn 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. If you relied on exercise alone, you would essentially need to run over 10 km or cycle 2 hours each day to burn 500 calories and lose one pound a week (without increasing your caloric intake, i.e. without eating more to compensate for that killer work-out!). On the other hand, 500 calories in food is approximately equivalent to a plain bagel with 2 tbsp of cream cheese, a Belgian waffle with butter and maple syrup, 2 glazed donuts or a Starbucks Grande (16 oz) S’mores Frappuccino blended coffee with 2% milk. As you can see, it’s much easier to cut calories from your diet than to burn the same amount of calories through working out.
So, does that mean I don’t need to exercise?
run-1342619_1920No, exercise is essential to our well-being! Not only does exercise reduce our stress and decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes and dementia but it’s also linked to a happier mood and longer life expectancy.
Although cutting calories from your diet will yield faster results for weight loss, keep in mind that when you start eating less, your metabolism starts to slow down and your body will resist weight loss. Exercise can counteract this. Dr. Yik usually recommends a mix of cardiovascular and strength-training exercises- 30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise 4 to 5 times per week plus 2 to 3 strength-training sessions per week. In terms of diet, you want to be cutting 500 calories a day in order to lose one pound per week (500 calories X 7 days = 3500 calories, which is equivalent to 1 pound of fat). I always recommend a healthful, whole-foods diet comprised of lean protein, colourful vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
If decreasing calories through diet and exercise doesn’t work, then underlying causes of weight gain should be investigated and addressed. Click here to read up on 5 common hidden causes of weight gain.
SOURCE: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(15)01577-8, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28514618, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/what-500-calories-really-looks-like-different-foods.html, http://www.starbucks.com
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Hidden sugars in your (child’s) food

sugar-2263618_1920The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published new guidelines yesterday in the journal Pediatrics, stating that children under the age of one should not be given fruit juice, unless advised by their doctor. The AAP cites increasing obesity rates and risk for dental caries in children for the updated guidelines. Besides sugary juices, where else is sugar hidden in our foods?

  1. Yogurt. While a serving of plain Greek yogurt typically contains 4 grams of sugar, yogurt with added sugar (commonly found in kids’ varieties) can have up to 10 grams per serving. yogurt-1786329_1920.jpgWhat to eat instead: Buy plain Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt) and add fresh fruit for taste. Fresh fruit contains the pulp, fiber and nutrients of the whole fruit. And since the sugar in fruits is paired with fiber and water, it is released more slowly into your body, providing a steady stream of energy.  Click here to read more about the benefits of fruits and veggies.
  2. food-2202344_1920Commercial granola/ breakfast bars. These bars may look healthy, but sometimes they contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar! What to eat instead: Make your own granola bars or energy balls with whole rolled oats, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, chia seeds, toasted coconut flakes, etc. Or try munching on a handful of antioxidant-rich almonds or walnuts.
  3. Commercial breakfast cereals. On average, children’s cereals have more than 40% more sugars than adult cereals, and twice the sugar of oatmeal, according to the 2014 report from the Environmental Working Group, which also produces the “Dirty Dozen” report on pesticides in fruits and vegetables. Even healthier cereals which contain whole-grains may have added sugars in them. Remember to read the labels. muesli-617710_1920What to eat instead: Muesli (unsweetened, all natural) is a good alternative. Consisting of raw rolled oats and other grains, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, it typically contains less sugar than leading commercial cereals.
  4. Salad dressings.  Green salads are healthy but be wary of sugar-laden dressings such as fruity vinaigrettes, sweet French dressing, Japanese sesame dressing, etc. What to eat instead: Make your own dressing with minced garlic, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

We all know that too much sugar is detrimental to our health. But some products that appear healthy are actually high in sugar to make them more tasty, so it is important to read the labels. Be aware of the following alternative names to sugar or alternative sugar ingredients:

  • Glucose
  • Dextrose or crystal dextrose
  • Dextrin or maltodextrin
  • Corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or zea mays syrup (Dr. Ardyce Yik has actually seen “zea mays syrup” as one of the ingredients in a supplement which one of her patients was taking. The manufacturer was likely trying to hide the fact that corn syrup/ sugar was added to the supplement!)
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
  • Evaporated cane juice or fruit juice
  • Caramel
  • Rice syrup

childappleAt the end of the day, eating natural, unprocessed, whole foods is the best way to avoid hidden sugars.

If you are experiencing problems with blood sugar regulation, dealing with PCOS or diabetes, or would like help on establishing a healthful diet regimen, talk to a licensed naturopathic doctor.

SOURCE: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/05/18/peds.2017-0967

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