The CDC’s Vaccine Quiz Tells You Which Vaccines to Get as an Adult

Autism or death from pneumococcal meningitis. It’s a simple choice, really 😉

By your early 20s, there’s a good chance you are due for some boosters, said Dr. Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. You may also “need to play catch-up” if you’ve missed any vaccines or failed to complete a series, she said.

Everyone needs a tetanus and diphtheria booster every 10 years; the shots are often combined. So if you were 12 the last time you had a tetanus shot, you’re due for one at 22.

Adults ages 19 to 64 should also get a pertussis, or whooping cough, booster. Pregnant women should be vaccinated against pertussis toward the end of each pregnancy in order to protect their newborns from this disease, which can be devastating for a baby.

Source: Ask Well: Booster Shots for Grown-Ups

Here’s the direct link to the CDC online vaccination quiz.  And just because some people get bad reactions, doesn’t mean we all should avoid them.

Doctors are always impressed by my exact knowledge of my last tetanus shot – March, 2015.  I broke ribs, will never forget that.  The pain that came from sneezing, coughing or even laughing…

Why You Wheeze When You Exercise in the Cold

It’s a bummer of a start to an exercise program: You finally get up the courage to do some high-intensity intervals, or to run in the cold for the first time, and ten minutes later you can barely breathe. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.

Source: Why You Wheeze When You Exercise in the Cold

One annoying thing about the cheap masks that I have noticed: the slight opening towards the top that they leave for the nose also serves as the spot where the warm air tends to escape when you exhale towards the eyes, which will fog up your sunglasses if you’re wearing any.

Yogurt Isn’t Always the Best Source of Probiotic Bacteria

As a parent with a background in science, I usually feel comfortable in the drugstore medicine aisle. I’ll stand there for 15 minutes comparing ingredients and prices, getting in every other parent’s way, and I’ll walk out feeling confident that what I have bought is a good value and will make my wee one feel at least a little bit better. Not so when I found myself faced with a daunting aisle of probiotics—live microorganisms that can confer health benefits—at my local health food store recently. I wanted to find some good bacteria to repopulate the gut of my toddler daughter, who was finishing up what seemed like her 80th dose of antibiotics in three months. I couldn’t even understand the labels, let alone fathom what I should buy. Did I want Lactobacillus GG? Bifidobacterium lactis? Lactobacillus acidophilus? What the hell were Lactobacillus anyway, and why does one small tub of them cost $28?

Source: Should Your Kids Take Probiotics?

Some aren’t aware that probiotics don’t take up residence, even in the best-case scenario. When you stop taking them, you stop getting whatever benefits they provided.

Cancer Myths About Antioxidant Supplements Need to Die

The essence of a healthy diet is a bit of a mystery. Everyone knows that a diet full of plant foods—fruits, vegetables, and nuts—is good for you, as it can lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other ailments. But scientists, being scientists, want to know the exact reason, and they have long eyed antioxidants. These chemicals, found in high amounts in some plants, quench harmful molecules that can run amok in cells, fatally damaging DNA and the cellular machinery.

As the hypothesis that antioxidants offer health benefits took root in the minds of consumers, however, it shriveled in labs. Mounds of studies, conducted over decades, have found no conclusive link between antioxidants and lower disease risks. And, this month, two studies add to evidence that antioxidants may actually increase the spread and severity of some cancers.

Source: Cancer myths about antioxidant supplements need to die

What I’m missing in this story is whether free radicals can actually promote the growth of cancer cells as healthy cells are damaged. Yes, I get that the downside is that antioxidants can protect growing cancer cells, but what about before cancer cells develop? In other words, can the antioxidant protection against free radicals help prevent the formation of cancer cells in the first place? Or is there no link?

I’d like to point out another medical truism: if men were mice, we’d have cured cancer a long time ago.

Air Pollutants Get Into the Body via the Skin

While lungs remain the main way by which air pollutants get into the body, and, if in sufficient quantities, cause ill-health effects, a new study shows that certain pollutants (‘semi-volatiles’ like phthalates) can be drawn in by the skin. This effect is known as ‘dermal uptake’ and the levels absorbed can be equivalent to those drawn in through breathing via the lungs.

Source: Air Pollutants Get Into the Body via the Skin

For the curious, here’s the peer reviewed source.  Time to break out the plastic bubble …just make sure it’s BPA free 😉

The study confirms we can (and do) get air pollution via osmosis.  There’s been news in the past about inhaling exhaust changes the expression of our DNA.  Those face masks some people wear?  It’s really only a courtesy as an attempt to minimize spreading what they already have.  Between the grade of mask and fit (no beards!), most consumer grade stuff isn’t worth wearing with respect to limiting your exposure.

Consider stocking up on snake plants and peace lily’s, because they remove 14 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in significant amounts.  FYI though: they’re toxic to cats.  HEPA filters won’t help with VOCs.  If you keep your windows shut to maximize the effectiveness of a HEPA filter, you may have higher VOC levels inside.  Activated carbon filters may help, but they’re of limited value. Most “consumer grade” AC filters foul with dust very quickly. you’d need an industrial AC filter (one that periodically heats itself to recharge the AC) for it to be really effective.  Of course a lot depends on your home environment. Do you have a lot of new plastics around? Did you paint recently? Are there people using a lot of cosmetics, hairspray, deodorant, shampoo, etc? I wish there were an inexpensive tester for common VOCs. So far I have not been able to find one.

Study: Kids Exposed to Toxic Chemicals on Artificial Turf

A new study shows that ground rubber found in sports fields and playgrounds often contains cancer-causing chemicals.

The so-called “crumb-rubber” — recycled tires that are crushed to bits — is used as padding in synthetic turf fields and in some playgrounds all over Northeast Ohio.

Source: Investigator | New study shows kids exposed to toxic chemicals on artificial turf

It’s not just an “anything causes cancer” argument as others are trying to make it out to be. Out of 124 cancer patients who were primarily soccer players, 84 were goalies (meaning they had a lot more contact with the rubber than other players).

Ground up tire rubber is from old tires:

  • Tire rubber contains cobalt as part of the vulcanization process.
  • Tires drive thousands of miles on asphalt roads, can come in constant contact with anti freeze, oil, pesticides, anything found on roads or parking lots.

Athletic fields is one thing – playgrounds are more of a concern to me because of the likelihood of children ingesting this stuff.  A family friend brought to my attention that Calgary (Alberta, Canada) had a similar issue almost a decade ago about lead in the grass of a residential area that was previously commercial zoned.  It wasn’t safe for kids to play in that grass…

India’s Air Pollution Is So Bad It’s Causing Lung Damage in Kids

We gradually learned that Delhi’s true menace came from its air, water, food and flies. These perils sicken, disable and kill millions in India annually, making for one of the worst public health disasters in the world. Delhi, we discovered, is quietly suffering from a dire pediatric respiratory crisis, with a recent study showing that nearly half of the city’s 4.4 million schoolchildren have irreversible lung damage from the poisonous air.

Source: Holding Your Breath in India

The horrors of Charles Dickens didn’t go away, they just moved to other countries.  Inhaling exhaust will change the expression of your DNA

Psychedelic Drug Could Have Promising Future In Treatment Of Asthma

…DOI treatment prevented the majority of the asthma-like symptoms wrought by ovalbumin exposure. DOI-treated asthmatic mice could breathe normally, and did not show the expected increase in mucus production and inflammation that one would expect in this model of asthma.

Furthermore, the researchers could ameliorate this type of asthma with a dosage of DOI that was 100 times lower than the dosage required to elicit behavioral symptoms – raising the possibility that low doses of DOI might be able to treat human asthma without causing a psychedelic experience.

Source: Psychedelic Drug Could Have Promising Future In Treatment Of Asthma

There could be a lot more benefit.  Serotonin is believed to be involved in migraines. The theory has not been proven to date, but potentially this could treat migraines as well.

That said, it’d be only a matter of time before people stockpile DOI in hopes of getting the psychedelic experience.

Study: BPS, BPA Alternative, Just as Bad

In a groundbreaking study, researchers have shown why a chemical once thought to be a safe alternative to bisphenol-A, which was abandoned by manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups after a public outcry, might itself be more harmful than BPA.

…BPA is an industrial chemical found in many polycarbonate plastics as well as epoxy resins, which are used to coat the inside of food cans. Over the past few years, dozens of studies have linked BPA, which mimics estrogen, with prostate cancer, infertility, asthma, heart disease and a number of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Source: BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, is tied to hyperactivity, study says

Plastics are made from petroleum and a vast array of crazy modifying chemicals. We add chemicals to them to make them weatherproof, to color them, to prevent the color from bleeding, to prevent the plastic from hardening, to allow them to resist high temperature, to be soft, etc. Pretty much all of these chemicals are some form of noxious, often featuring a solvent, a chemical group that’s hardly ever friendly. The original petroleum product isn’t much better. At what point will we stop being surprised that petroleum products are unhealthy?

Look around your desk and ask which products will stop existing when we run out of oil. I’ll give you a hint, it’s anything with plastic in it.