ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
CANCER
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Football Can Shrink Players
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
What you need to know about swine flu.
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Add your Article

'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) --- Seniors who head south each winter to escape the cold often feel better just thinking about the warmer climes.

But there are adjustments to be made to make sure these "snowbirds" stay healthy.

Spending more time outdoors, as well as more time socializing, boosts mood and well being for 65-plus senior travelers, said Barbara Resnick, a board member of the American Geriatric Society and a professor of nursing at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore.

A winter spent in warmer locales "certainly can reduce the risk of depression," she said.

Besides boosting mood, a season in the south may also improve overall physical health, Resnick added, since warmer weather tends to improve conditions such as asthma. And of course wintering in Arizona or Florida also cuts seniors' risk of slipping on icy sidewalks -- a major cause of hip fracture and other injuries.

But with the benefits of a move south come some potential risks, Resnick said. Among them:

* Too much sun exposure. "Skin becomes more sensitive with normal aging," Resnick noted. Some seniors may already have had skin cancers, so they should be especially cautious about their sun exposure.
* Dehydration from spending more time than usual outdoors in higher temperatures.
* Heat stroke. This potentially fatal condition occurs when body temperature rises quickly and the body can't cool itself down.
* A ''vacation" mindset that may lead to seniors engaging in risky behavior such as unsafe sex or excess drinking.

For each potential hazard, however, Resnick offers an easy preventive measure. Wearing sunblock, hats or visors and, if it's not too hot outside, long sleeves and long pants will help.

Some medications, including antibiotics, can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, Resnick said, so it bears asking the doctor before you head south if any of your medications boost your risk of sunburn.

To ward off dehydration, "drink 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of liquid each day," Resnick said. It's OK to count other beverages besides plain water. Acceptable alternatives to water include fruit juices, lemonade or sports drinks, but avoid caffeinated drinks. Being aware of the symptoms of dehydration (dry mouth, lowered output of urine, sluggish behavior) can help, too.

The symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, headache, increased body temperature and dry skin. Heat stroke is potentially fatal and seniors should seek medical help immediately if the condition is suspected.

As for drinking alcohol and engaging in risky sexual behaviors, moderation and safe-sex practices are key to staying safe and healthy, Resnick said.

More information

There's more on avoiding falls and fractures at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

And If You Stay in the Snowy North

Seniors who skip the trek to Florida, Arizona or other snowbird destinations, deciding to tough it out in cold climates, can keep themselves safe and comfortable by following a few simple steps, said Dr. Sharon Brangman, a member of the American Geriatrics Society and professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, N.Y.

* Stay indoors if it's brutally cold. That's especially good advice if it's windy and cold, which can make you feel colder.
* Assemble a winter wardrobe. That includes clothes you can layer, such as a sweater that goes over a long-sleeved T-shirt, a hat, gloves or mittens, boots that are flat with nonskid soles, a warm coat and a scarf. "Stay dry and go inside and change if clothes get wet," she said. "Also go inside if you start shivering."
* Know your body's response to cold may have changed. As metabolism decreases, older adults produce less body heat. So when you go outside in the cold, you can lose body heat quickly. If you have diabetes, there can be circulation changes in the hands and feet, making it more difficult to tolerate cold temperatures.



SOURCES: Sharon Brangman, M.D., member, American Geriatrics Society, and division chief, geriatrics, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, N.Y.; Barbara Resnick, Ph.D, board member, American Geriatrics Society, professor of nursing, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore

Last Updated: Jan. 07, 2009

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