Your Health

Little known tips, ideas, and advice for a more healthy you.

January 2009. We are in the process of rebuilding this web site. Please bear with us and excuse any broken links.

Major  Health Topics

Water Prevents Headaches? (11/10)
Red Kool Aid (tm) Helps Rid Lice (4/11)

Danger -- Stir Coffee In Microwave  (2/01)
Nauseous? Vomit Now, Feel Better Quickly  (1/01)
Cold Shoulders, Bad Night's Sleep  (1/01)
Bathroom Cleanliness
Danger -- Breast Feeding Starves Baby  (2/99)
Preventing Colds
Snow cones, Popsicles (R), chewing ice very bad (8/98)
Flush Twice, It's a Long ...
Food Preparation and Preservation
Take Apart Kitchenware For Washing  (3/00)
Slow Down and Enjoy Life
Body Odor From Post Anal Drip
Nursing Homes
Upset Stomach

Go to articles on other subjects.

You can tell a lot about a person's health by observing what he takes two at a time -- stairs, or pills!

Heard on the Bernard Meltzer talk show, formerly syndicated nationwide on over 200 radio stations, now I believe Mr. Meltzer is only on a small New York City station.

Getting Rid of Lice

Wash the hair with red Kool Aid (tm) to stain the nits (louse eggs) red and make them easier to see. Yes, health aides do charge a lot of money to pick nits out of your hair, so ask around instead of pay the first person you can get.

(This hint found in a subforum in the Walt Disney World advice forum , either the Family or the Budget subforum.)

Suggested Headache Remedy (11/10)

Take more drinks of plain water throughout the day.

It doesn't work for everyone but it is worth a try.

Unfortunately once the headache starts, it will take a few hours for it to go away. If you regularly take Tylenol, Bufferin, etc in advance of a headache,. try drinking a larger glassful of water without the pill.

Breast Feeding Hazard -- Starvation (2/99)

ABC News' 20/20 ran an article on Feb. 26, 1999 about some mothers not having enough milk to breast feed their infants. Twins (, triplets, etc.) and cosmetic breast reduction surgery situations definitely need attention but it can happen to any mother.

Hints for the mother:

1.  Manually express the milk from the breasts every few days about four hours after a feeding. Save the milk in a bottle for later feeding to the baby. Several benefits are had:

1a.  The amount of milk can be determined.

1b.  The amount of time before the milk supply dwindles and the baby has to suck harder (tiring) can be determined.

1c.  When the breasts are emptied, they are (usually) stimulated to increase the milk supply.

1d.  At work when the baby cannot be at the mother's side for feeding, the breasts can be stimulated to produce more milk and the milk can be saved for use later.

2.  Supplement the breast feeding with bottle feeding. Follow your doctor's advice first but here are some ideas you can add:

2a.  On some feedings, at the time you expected the breast milk to dwindle (see 1b above) pull the baby off the breast and give him the bottle. This prevents the baby from getting too tired to suck the bottle. When (or if) the bottle is emptied, put the baby back on the breast.

2b.  On some feedings, start the baby off with a bottle. Saved breast milk, if any, may be mixed with the formula.

2c.  Manually express the remaining milk from the breast after the baby stops sucking, to keep up the milk production. (After weaning the baby onto solid food, leaving milk behind in the breasts is Nature's way of slowing and stopping milk production.)

Keep the Bathroom Clean  (Dec. '97)

Soap drippings, toothpaste splashings, and residues always get all over the washbasin and also the counter and walls around. All this needs to be wiped off and rinsed off promptly. If this accumulates, it won't rinse off easily and you will need to scrape it off with a Popsicle (R) stick or your fingernail (no hard or metal scrapers, no scouring pads please). If this accumulates, noxious germs can accumulate with it. If you scratch with your fingernail and pick up white dust, that is soap residue.

The same goes for the bathtub and bathtub walls. The recommended way to get rid of black stains in and around the bathtub is to use laundry bleach, one cup of it per gallon of warm water. You can also buy mildew remover spray from the grocery store. Both of these also drastically reduce germs and can be used in the toilet and washbasin as well.

Rubbing alcohol kills germs and also helps remove soap residues.

The bathroom door should be left open and the tiles allowed to dry between uses. This reduces black mildew between the tiles. Better still, rinse off the walls and then dry them with a towel.

Colds (Oct. '97)


1.     Don't blow your nose hard, don't clear your throat hard.

2.     Try sleeping with your head upright or facing down.


Don't try to clear every bit of mucus (phlegm) out of your nose and throat. When you do, you leave the membranes in your nose and throat bare and vulnerable to more cold germs. Thus colds seem to last longer. Even the same cold germs that you had a week ago can get back in and start another cold. By being very gentle about blowing your nose, enough mucus is left behind to cover and protect the membranes.

When you cough too hard, the membranes in your throat become bare and sensitive, and that makes your cough last for more days. Instead, try to hold back the cough so it comes out more gently. Don't clear your throat every time you feel the slightest amount of accumulated mucus, wait for it to come up easily by itself. I will express no opinion on spitting out the mucus in the nearest wastebasket rather than walk all the way to the rest room.

Do not hold your nose and mouth when holding back a sneeze or cough, otherwise you may get a nosebleed or may blow out your eardrums. Instead, hold your hand or a cloth or paper towel loosely over your nose and mouth.

Have you ever noticed that when you get up in the morning with a cold you feel all stuffed up but in the middle of the day you can breathe OK?

When you are sleeping lying face up, all the mucus from your nose accumulates there.

Some Things to Try

1. Sleep in a reclining chair. Wrap a towel loosely under your nose to catch drips.

2. (Difficult) Get a padded board the size of a mattress with an oval hole near one end on which you can rest your face but your head doesn't fall through. They make these boards for use in hospitals, although not for the purpose described here. Sleep face down so your nose drips through the hole onto a towel below. The board should be off the ground so air circulates underneath and you don't suffocate with your head in the hole.

More On Colds  (8/98)

Have you ever noticed that people assert their dominance by standing the distance of their choice from the person they are talking to?

Yes, I am sometimes aggressive in that regard too. My favorite distance is about three and a half feet (slightly more than "arm's reach"), and there are times when I jealously although quietly insist on maintaining it. The other person probably thinks he is dominating because he is usually moving forward while I am moving backwards, thus I have never yet been asked why.

Here is why:

I read somewhere that by remaining at least three feet away from a person with a cold, you drastically reduce your chances of catching it. The reason given was that the moisture droplets that spray from everybody's mouth as s/he talks dry up after three feet of travel.

Don't Chew Ice, Bad For Teeth

That includes Popsicles (R), snow cones, crushed ice in soft drinks, too.

Put in the mouth, ice makes the teeth brittle from the cold and chewing ice can easily chip and crack a tooth. Ice is a harsh abrasive and wears out tooth enamel. (Snow is good for cleaning car windshields and headlights, and the bottoms of shoes.) Finally, the sugar in Popsicles and snow cone flavoring causes tooth decay like candy and other sweets do.

Actually chewing anything hard will chip the teeth.

Children need to be taught to lick a Popsicle only, not bite it. If they are not old enough to have the discipline and willpower not to bite it, they should not get future helpings.

(Related to yours truly by R.Coelho, Jordan Marsh Co.)

Flush Twice, It's A Long Way to the ...   (Dec. '97)

You probably heard the above line when you were in junior high or high school. But here is where it makes sense.

In many cities and towns, new toilets may not use more than 1.3 gallons of water per flush. This actually leads to more clogs and drain stoppages because more water is needed to carry solid matter down the drain pipes. So the rule is this, flush the toilet before too much solid material accumulates. This is especially important if a lot of paper got dropped in.

Flush the toilet before sitting down on it. After a few hours, germs have multiplied in the water in the toilet bowl and may splash on you. After a flush, the water in the bowl is quite clean. Especially for a public toilet, after two flushings the water in the bowl is safe to sit over.

Stand up when you flush the toilet. During a flush, fine mist is thrown up and germs may get on your skin.

Do You Have Post Anal Drip?  (updated 4/98)

Reduce unpleasant body odors due to post anal drip. Go to the rest room and wipe your behind first thing in the morning and also after farting.

You would be surprised to find that sometimes you are dirty back there. Especially when you went to bed flatulent the previous night and farted a lot in your sleep.

For best results wipe it first with dry toilet paper. If you pick up any filth, then wipe again with wet toilet paper, then yet again with dry toilet paper.

To keep filth from getting all over your hands during a bath or shower, wipe your behind before getting in the tub.

I didn't know what it was but I noticed that sometimes when someone naked walked by me in the college dormitory, I would get a whiff of bad odor. Only this past year or so (1997 on) I realized that it was probably due to post anal drip.

When you keep your backside clean, underwear can be worn more times between washings.

Slow Down and Enjoy Life

"Take time to stop and smell the roses."  Eat more slowly. Take smaller bites and enjoy each one. This also cuts down on bitten tongues and stomach aches. Everytime you go somewhere, stop every now and then and look around. Imagine a frame around a group of objects or a part of the scenery so as to make a pretty picture.

When on an extended trip, stop for the night before it gets too late. It helps to have nationwide directories of favorite hotels/motels handy so you don't spend half the night looking for  restaurants and lodging that suit your tastes.

Have you heard someone say that the last ten percent of a job takes as long as the first 90 percent? Maybe you should not bother to rake the last few leaves, not bother to clean that last bit of grease from the oven. If the letter you just printed has a small mistake, write in a correction with a pen instead of turning the computer back on, waiting for it to boot up, and printing a new copy. Instead move on to something else. You'll be surprised at how many more things on your list you got around to doing. Remember, you can either strive for excellence, or you can do a whole lot of good. Also, if it is worth doing, then it is worth doing imperfectly.

The human body was not built for speed. Witness all the skinned knees, barked knuckles, stubbed toes, bitten tongues, jammed fingers, and of course, the times you hit the funny bone in your elbow.

Nursing Homes (Oct. 97)

Some folks say the best way to die is of old age. My grandmother died of old age (as far as I know) in a nursing home.

Communicating with the Senile

My grandmother was very weak and also could not talk. Senility, they say. When we visited, we managed to get her to raise one finger for "yes" and two fingers for "no", all the while carefully planning our speech to consist of yes-no questions. The nursing home should come up with an icon board, with pictures and occasional words, that a person could point to. We already have international symbols for food (plate and fork), rest room (standing man and lady), etc. that you see along the highway or in the airport. So if my grandmother was feeling tired, she could point to the bed symbol.

Meal Time

They did not do this at the nursing home but I wish they would. At meal time they should line up all the people who cannot move their arms and need to be fed by an attendant. An attendant should feed one person a mouthful, then go on to the next person and feed him a mouthful, then go on to the next person and so on. By the time the attendant came back to the first person, he is ready for the next mouthfull. My grandmother needed several minutes between mouthfulls.

Instead the attendant stayed with one person for his entire meal. Then the attendant moved on to another person. By this time the food was cold. It also took many more labor hours to get everyone fed.

I noticed that when they served ice cream, the dish was covered with Saran wrap and placed in the serving cart with all the hot food. So naturally it was melted or nearly so when it was served at the end of the meal. But I have to mention a caveat when it comes to ice cream. It is possible that eating a dish of ice cream was the last thing my grandmother did. You probably know the headache you get when you eat ice cream too fast and it freezes the top of your mouth. My aunt was talking about the time she visited my grandmother and brought some ice cream. "This is expensive ice cream," she was saying to my grandmother as she fed spoonful after spoonful, probably quite rapidly resulting in thermal shock or temperature imbalance. That was very shortly before, or maybe the very day my grandmother died.

I am predicting that about 10 years from now, a big market for "digital jukeboxes" will be the nursing home industry. At that time, there will be larger nursing home populations, of folks who grew up with rock and roll music. Conventional jukeboxes, using compact disks or 45 RPM records, probably won't be that common.

Old Wives' Tale  (Oct. '97)

     Go out in the rain, catch a cold.


Doctors agree that if you put your finger in your eye to relieve an itch, you increase the chance of catching a cold. Cold germs on your fingers get into your eye are washed down into your nose by the normal flow of tears. Once in your nose and throat, the germs give you a cold.

When you go out in the rain without a hat, impurities, possibly containing cold germs, are washed out of your hair down your face and may get into your eyes. In the same way, these germs then get into your nose and give you a cold.

Moral of the story: Wash your hair often with your eyes closed to reduce catching colds.

Cold Shoulders Give A Bad Night's Sleep  (1/01)

How many times have you plopped down on top of the bedspread and drowsed off for the night? How many times have you climbed only halfway under the covers. Then in the middle of the night you wake up and your exposed shoulders feel cold even when you put your hands over them. You pull the blanket up around your chin and finally fall asleep again.

It doesn't matter except a lot of us have only six, five, or even four hours to sleep. When you wake up in the middle of the night you waste precious hours trying to fall asleep again.

Instead, pull the covers up over your shoulders when you first go to bed. Even on a warm summer night your shoulders will get cold, so at least cover yourself with a sheet.

We have also found that putting your hands behind your neck or in your hair makes your arms feel uncomfortably stretched after a few minutes. It is better to leave your arms down by your hips or across your chest.

Some sleep experts suggest wearing a stretch cap or bandanna around your forehead, and also wearing a pair of socks.

Upset Stomach


1.  In case of tummy ache, fast. No food or drink at all until four hours after the pain is completely gone. (If you think it is all over and you get another twinge of pain, you must wait another four hours before eating.)

2.  Most upset stomachs are cases of food poisoning.

3.  Eat slower and chew food more thoroughly to reduce cases of upset stomach. Chew around and then pick out and discard the stringy parts of string beans, pea pods, celery, and red meat.

The Major Kinds of Upset Stomach

1. Gas (flatulence). You feel bloated and want to go to the toilet often to squirt out gas.

2. Diarrhea. You want to go to the toilet often.

3. Just Pain. You feel a dull unpleasant ache for a few minutes, then it goes away for a few minutes, then it comes back, and so on.

4. Other. Includes severe pain, nausea, vomiting, appendicitis.

For Parents with Grade School Children

If you grade school child complains of upset stomach before going to school, take away his lunch or lunch money. Call the school and try to have the snack time teacher prevent him from accepting snacks from friends.

If your child complains of upset stomach in the afternoon, he will have to skip dinner in order to satisfy the four hour wait. Reassure him that he won't starve to death. It is OK for the child to sit at the dinner table but then it is up to you, the parent, to be disciplined and make sure he does not sneak a bite of food.

Admittedly it is going to be hard if your child has an upset stomach on his birthday and his friends are coming over. You will have to decide whether to let him eat cake with everybody and put up with a longer lasting tummy ache that night. If he is going to somebody else's birthday party, call the host parent to see if he will tell all the guests to withhold all food from your child (and perhaps practice the same fasting procedures for his own children when they are sick.)

If your child uses a computer and the Internet a lot, show him this article.

For Parents with an Infant

If the baby is comforted shortly after you pick him/her up and starts crying again shortly after you put him/her back down, you should suspect upset stomach. Next time you pick him/her up, hug him/her continuously for about 45 minutes. If s/he still cries for awhile every few minutes with quiet spaces between, skip feedings until four hours after the last crying period stops.

Mothers who do breast feeding should manually milk their breasts at least once every six hours to prevent their bodies from slowing down milk production. This is typically needed during the work day or under fast conditions as described above.

Reasoning Behind All This

The digestive tract is a continuous path starting with the mouth, then the esophagus, then the stomach, then the small intestine, etc. An upset stomach of type 3 happens when there is a sore spot somewhere along that path, usually in the intestine. Food is accumulated in the stomach, and then it moves on in dribs and drabs. You get the intermittent pain when a drib or a drab passes over the sore spot. After the stomach has emptied out and everything has moved on past, the sore spot finally stops hurting and has a chance to heal, thus the need for the four hour wait. If you eat when you have an upset stomach, there is a new large batch of food that has to come down the path over the sore spot and that makes the pain last longer. It is like rubbing salt into a wound.

What Causes the Sore Spot?

1. Germs, i.e. food poisoning. If you swallow food before it is chewed well, large pieces possibly with germs in the middle, end up in the stomach where the stomach acid doesn't get to the middles of the pieces to kill the germs. Then, exiting the stomach into the intestine, the pieces finally disintegrate, letting the live germs out to do their dirty deed.

2. Acid

2a. If you swallow food before it is chewed well, large pieces may catch in the "valve" between the stomach and intestine causing the dribs and drabs passing on to be too large or too frequent. Or the large pieces themselves are excessively large acid soaked objects. The intestine, which normally neutralizes the acid, can't do so fast enough and the acid burns a sore spot into the intestine.

2b. Some people have more acidic stomachs or always send the food along in larger dribs and drabs. Use of antacids such as Tums (R) or Rolaids (R) should help.

Most red meat including prime rib has stringiness here and there. By biting off very small pieces of meat, you can detect the stringy parts, chew around them, and manually discard them while enjoying all of the red part of the meat. If you kept on chewing, you may have noticed that these stringy parts don't melt in your mouth like the softer parts.

Vomit Now, Feel Better Quickly  (Jan. '01)

You got off that upside down roller coaster, Trabant*, or Round Up+ and half an hour later you still feel very sick. Maybe you feel very nauseous for no reason at all at school or at work.

Here's a suggestion. Go to the rest room and throw up. Although we can't guarantee it, chances are you will feel better right away. Why spend uncomfortable hours fighting to hold it down and getting greener and greener in the face?

Also why take a chance you will upchuck all over at a very embarrassing time? Like in a business meeting.

Children who vomit promptly in school may be able to go back to class within an hour rather than be sent home.

(After vomiting, rinse out your mouth with plain water to prevent tooth decay from the stomach acid. Don't eat anything for four hours just in case there was food poisoning.)


Once in awhile your body decides to put a moratorium on the food exiting the stomach into the intestine. This may be the result of a minor intestinal infection , "stomach flu", or food poisoning, sometimes without pain. This may also happen after taking a dizzy amusement ride. Still another reason is not chewinig stringy food such as undercooked spinach enough. You pass by a food stand with a tempting aroma# and your mouth waters. You swallow a few times. Your stomach also "waters" adding still more and more acidic material to the mixture inside. Now your body decides that the mixture is much too stale and refuses to let it pass on. So there is no place for it to go but up. You're going to vomit sooner or later anyway, so why not get it over with?

If you ate a lot not too long ago but vomited just a little, drink a glass of water, wait five minutes and vomit again. For now we don't suggest vomiting a third time as that may cause chemical imbalance due to loss of too much stomach acid.

CBS TV "Survivor" episode 2/1/01 -- One of the tribesladies vomits after eating some of the "gross" food samples. Don't do it at home, don't eat grubs or worms without chewing thoroughly, otherwise they may still be alive and nip you inside the stomach. This could have been the cause of the vomiting which in the episode led to loss of points for failure to keep the food down. Worse, a stomach hemorrhage could result from the bite, causing severe loss of blood.

Caution: If you vomit blood or what looks like brown mud or coffee grounds, stop and get to a hospital.


*A very dizzy amusement ride that looks somewhat like a giant roulette wheel and may or may not be painted red and black with giant white numbers. Rumor has it that people get carsick very often in automobiles with the same name.

+(From Amusement Business Magazine, mid 1970's:) "A carnival ride operator was arrested and charged with assault for keeping the Round Up going for twenty minutes. 'I'm going to make you all puke.', he was quoted as saying." Both ride names are trademarks of Chance Mfg. Co.

#The Italian sausages at the carnival always tempt me. However when I buy them they are quite mundane because I don't like onions and peppers and ask the cook to leave them off The result is a sandwich with nothing other than the sausage and the roll.

Bulemia (voluntary forced vomiting) (Oct. '97)

This is a no-no. Don't do it if you are not feeling sick.

Excessive forced vomiting exhausts the body's supply of chemicals needed to make digestive fluids, and indigestion will therefore result.

Vomiting can cause rapid tooth decay because the material is acidic.

If you do vomit for any reason, rinse out your mouth thoroughly as soon as possible. This is important for children, too, especially at night.

Stir Coffee Before Removing From Oven  (2/01)

Otherwise it could explode in your face!

(A warning note about this was posted in an office at work.)

If you are using a microwave oven (or any oven) to heat water, coffee, or tea, stir it before removing it from the oven. It is possible for the liquid to rise well above boiling temperature without bubbling. Then it explodes into a cloud of steam when it is sloshed a bit.

Stirring it while it is still in the oven, preferably with a wood stick, gets bubbles of steam to form before it is too close to your face.

If there are grounds in the coffee or leaves in the tea, sudden explosion is not a problem. We can't recommend putting in boiling chips (small pieces of porcelain) normally used for boiling liquids in chemistry class without similar splashing. The chips are too easily swallowed accidentally.

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