ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Maximize Your Run
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
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 Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
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'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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