Staying Alive! Hands-Only CPR & AEDs

When is the last time YOU were CPR certified? Most of my friends were first certified during scouting years, then for babysitting as a teenager, then again when they had babies of their own. I know my last few certifications I did online, without benefit of the famous Annie mannequin. Last week, however, I had a recertification training that included an automatic external defibrillator (AED), and now I’m ready to light a fire under everyone I know to head to an American Heart Association (AHA) training!
There are two main messages that I would like to share:
1. You don’t … Read more

Poison Ivy – Austinites Beware!

It’s nearly summer, and once again, POISON IVY is growing all over down at Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as our Town Lake). There are areas where this climbing plant is well over six feet high! If you are walking or jogging with only two-legged (or wheeled) companions, it’s fairly easy to avoid the plant simply by staying on the trail. However, if you have your favorite four-legged partner by your side, beware that poison ivy can be spread from your dog’s fur to you!

Poison ivy (and poison oak & sumac) all have urushiol- the poison sap- in their … Read more

Breaking Out in Hives?

Hives – the very thought of these itchy, raised, red splotches make me start to squirm and scratch. With our oak allergy season in full bloom here in Austin, we see the full spectrum of allergic complaints- from sneezing, sore throats, dry coughs and itchy eyes to skin reactions such as hives. The medical term for hives is “urticaria”. These lesions come and go, and often cause a burning sensation along with the itch.

In the previous blog entry about allergic eye problems, I mentioned that histamine (the substance that causes the redness and itch of allergic reactions) is stored … Read more

Seeing Red This Spring?

What should you do if your primary allergy symptom is not sneezing, runny nose, or sore throat, but burning, itching, watery, red eyes? Will over-the-counter products help with eye symptoms?
The short answer is yes- oral antihistamines (like Benadryl, Allegra, Claritin & Zyrtec) can help with allergic eye symptoms, but if you are really only having eye issues, you may get better relief from some prescription eye drops.

Many of my patients try to use over-the-counter eye drops that “get the red out”…only to discover that they need more and more of these drops to accomplish the same results. … Read more

Itchy Eyes, Runny Nose…Achoo!

No April Fool’s…here in Austin, Texas, we are fully into OAK ALLERGY season. Our cars have a dusting of yellow pollen, and the streets are strewn with oak droppings. Is it time for a trip to your family doctor or allergist? Maybe, but there are several remedies you can try on your own first.

What are signs and symptoms of allergies?

At the risk of sounding like an antihistamine commercial, it’s sneezing (often in fits of sneezes), itchy eyes, itchy throat, scratchy throat, drainage down the back of your throat (which creates early morning sore throats that often fade mid-morning), … Read more

Getting a Base Tan for Spring Break?

Here in Texas, we are alternating hot days of wearing shorts with chilly days or grabbing jackets, which means it’s nearly time for SPRING BREAK- hooray! Many students and their families head to the beach for spring break, and before the women don their bikinis, the quest for a “base tan” to avoid a sunburn begins. I have had many patients ask my advice on what is better- going to a tanning booth or braving the capricious weather outside. My answer? NEITHER.

The entire notion of a “base tan” has no scientific basis, nor support from dermatologists. In fact, … Read more

What Did You Give Up?

Lent came early this year – tough to have Valentine’s Day the second day of this season if you gave up chocolates! While certainly not everyone practices Lenten observances, I think most people are familiar with the general concept of offering some sort of self-discipline as part of a religious practice, so this is a good opportunity for me to share a thought about the mix of religion and medicine.

As a physician- especially as a Catholic one- I really appreciate Lent. Just as New Year’s resolutions for healthy changes are fading away, in comes Lent to save the … Read more

Till We Meet Again…A Special Note to my WLFP Patients

To my wonderful patients from West Lake Family Practice:

This note is a month overdue, not from neglect, but from the inadequacy of my words each time I sat down to write. I simply cannot express what a privilege it has been to care for you and your families. Many of you have been trusting your healthcare to me for almost two decades- first at my practice on 38th street and then in Westlake. I truly cherish our friendships and shared experiences- through occasionally bewildering medical challenges and with your “real life” experiences, both the joyous and the sorrowful. When … Read more

P90X – Bring It!

Okay, my post about the FB pledge to better health with P90X has generated lots of questions for me (and I suppose smiles for the makers of the DVD- and NO, I do not have any financial or other ties to them!) I will explain what it is and why I personally enjoyed it, but more importantly, I want to encourage you to find what will push YOU a bit out of your comfort zone.

P90X is a series of exercise DVDs. To be honest, I learned about it several years ago when I was in a hotel exercise room … Read more

Facebook Diet!

Happy February! How are those New Year’s Resolutions holding up for you? I hope at least a couple healthy choices are sticking with you…If not, I’ve got a social media suggestion that might just keep you on the straight and narrow. Meet the “Facebook Diet” concept!

Full credit for this idea comes from my high school friend, Anne White. In fairness, in her case, I should call it a FB Exercise Plan, but the concept is easily extended to other healthy choices such as pumping up your fruits and veggies, quitting smoking, or yes, exercise. Back to Anne. In … Read more