A Common Cold Can Be Contagious for Longer Than You Think

The colder months are commonly associated with decreasing temperatures and increasing cases of the common cold. Typically, symptoms of the common cold come on gradually and may start with a sore throat or irritated sinuses.

According to Healthline, when you have a cold, you’re contagious approximately one to two days before symptoms start and can continue to be contagious for up to seven days after you’ve become sick.

Unfortunately, many people can’t stay home for that long of a time to fully recover. Consider the following suggestions to help avoid becoming ill or passing on cold to a co-worker, friend or family member:
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces.
  • Always cough and sneeze into your elbow - not your hands - to prevent spreading germs.
For colds, most individuals become contagious about a day before cold symptoms develop and remain contagious for about five to seven days. Some children may pass the flu viruses for longer than seven days (occasionally for two weeks).

Myth Busted: Sweating More Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Burned More Calories

Many people wrongly believe that how much you sweat indicates how effective your workout was. 

How much you sweat during a workout is due to a variety of factors such as weight, gender, age, genetics, temperature, and even fitness level. For example, men tend to sweat more than women, younger people tend to sweat more than older people and fit people tend to sweat more than those who are less fit.

While it might not result in more calories burned, the almost 1 liter of sweat our bodies produce per day can have other surprising benefits. Here are 5 of them:
  1. Boosts Endorphins Prolonged sweating is expected to occur at the gym during an intense workout or even brisk walking in the sun. Exercising increases the level of the “feel-good” endorphin hormones that are naturally released during physical activity. A recent study found group workouts actually increase endorphin levels and cause less pain for those who work out together than those who train alone.
  2. Detoxifies Body One of the most efficient ways to detox your body — without the juicing — is to sweat. Sweating can flush the body of substances of alcohol, cholesterol, and salt. The body releases toxins by using sweat as the conduit. Sweat purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes. Induced sweating appears to be a potential method for the elimination of many toxic elements from the human body. 
  3. Lowers Kidney Stone Risk Sweating can be an effective way to sweat out the salt and retain calcium in your bones. This limits the accumulation of salt and calcium in the kidneys and urine, which is where the stones come from. It is no coincidence people who sweat tend to drink more water and fluids, which is another prevention method for kidney stones. Mild to moderate activity changes the way the body handles nutrients and fluids that affect stone formation. Sweating helps flush out the system more efficiently because it demands more hydration from the body. 
  4. Prevents Colds And Other Illnesses Perspiring can actually help fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous pathogens. Sweat contains antimicrobial peptides effective against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. These peptides are positively charged and attract negatively charged bacterial, enter the membranes of bacteria, and break them down.
  5. Zaps Zits Your pores open up when you sweat and that releases the buildup inside them. Sweat purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes. These skin benefits only apply to mild or moderate sweating. Excessive sweating, formally known as hyperhidrosis, can actually predispose individuals to skin infections such as warts and tinea. 
So remember, don’t use sweat as an indicator of how intense your workout was. Instead, track your heart rate, level of muscle soreness and amount of progress seen to evaluate whether or not your workouts are effective. Sweating does have its pros and cons when it comes to your health.

Intermittent Fasting: What it is and Why People Are Doing it

Intermittent fasting is one of the latest health trends that has been gaining traction quickly.

What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for various eating diet plans that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting over a defined period.

How do you do intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting can look very different from person to person, but the two most popular approaches are:
  1. 5:2 approach: In this approach, you restrict your calorie consumption to 25 percent of your daily needs twice a week, and eat normally the remaining five days of the week.
  2. Eight-hour approach: In this approach, you fast for 16 hours a day, eating only during an eight-hour time period. 
Is intermittent fasting good for you?
Intermittent fasting may help with weight management but isn't a guarantee. Intermittent fasting will likely lead to some weight loss in the short-term because people generally eat fewer calories on this plan, whether or not they are following a form of IF that specifically calls for limited-calorie days.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can have powerful benefits on your body and mind, and for weight control. Other studies state that it can also protect against Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

As with any diet plan, it’s important to talk with your doctor before you start.

10 Reasons Why Regular Exercise Can Improve Your Life

If you want to improve your quality of life, moving more is one of the simplest ways to do so.  I'm not talking about power weight-lifting sessions or marathon running, but rather a concerted effort to boost the number of minutes you spend moving each day.

Take a look at these 10 reasons regular exercise can make you happier, healthier, and pretty much improve your life.

  1. Happy Thoughts - Engaging in exercise stimulates brain chemicals that can leave you feeling less stressed and in a better mood.  It can also boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem, particularly if it leads you to feel better about your appearance. 
  2. Sweet Dreams - Fall asleep faster, spend more time in deep sleep and awaken less during the night. Does that sound like a pipe dream?  Regular aerobic exercise boosts all three of these bedtime bonuses.  That deep sleep is the time when your body repairs muscles and tissues, improve your immunes system and stimulates growth and development -- all essential for a happier tomorrow.
  3. Take A Load Off - Although exercise is only part of a successful weight loss formula (with a healthy diet being the other), it's a vital one.  In fact, 89% of members of the National Weight Control Registry (made up of people who have lost weight and kept it off for a minimum of one year) report their success came from a combination of diet and exercise. 
  4. Chill Out - Exercise curtails your body's stress hormones and escalates the production of endorphins.  These just happen to be responsible for feelings of relaxation and optimism that follow a good fitness session.
  5. Mental Giant - If you want to stay sharp well into your golden years, exercise is key.  It stimulates regions of the brain that focus on memory function and helps stave off cognitive decline, as well as Alzheimer's disease. 
  6. Social Butterfly - Who needs a happy hour? Any activity can become a social gathering if you plan it right.  Catch up with a pal on a weekend walk, take a dance class or join a softball team -- there are many ways to meet new friends (or reconnect with old ones) that encourage movement instead of margaritas. 
  7. Going Strong - Regular exercise doesn't just make it easier to lift weights.  The increase muscle power you gain from strength training maintains or improves your ability to carry heavy groceries, hoist a child on your hip, open stuck jars, or lug bags of mulch around in the garden.
  8. Picture of Health - Heart disease, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels are, among other diseases, all too prevalent in this country. Consistent movement abates the risk of these killers, as well as lessens your chances of suffering a stroke or developing type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis and certain types of cancer.
  9. Limber Up - When you incorporate flexibility training into your routine, you improve your body's range of motion. This means that everyday movement, such as reaching for objects and bending to tie your shoes, will be easier.  Improve flexibility also encourages better posture and provides relief from tense muscles.
  10. Live Long and Prosper - Simply put, regular physical activity helps you live longer.  A study published in 2012 found that people who regularly engaged in leisure-time physical activity -- no matter what their weight or level of activity intensity -- added as much as 4.5 years to their lives.

What Your Dental Hygienist Knows Just By Looking Into Your Mouth

On the front line of oral hygiene, your hygienist is more important to your health than you might think. If you’re a regular at your dentist’s office, you may spend more time with your hygienist than your dentist. It’s also possible, if you visit the dentist as often as recommended, that you see your hygienist more than you see your doctor.

A hygienist is more than the person who makes your teeth feel clean and smooth when you leave the dentist’s office. In fact, your hygienist is looking for a whole lot more than tartar. Along with your dentist, your hygienist is looking for signs of oral diseases – and maybe the first person to discover symptoms of other health-related problems, such as heart disease or diabetes.

“The mouth is the gateway to good health,” says Heather Williams, a hygienist at Prairie Dental in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “Your gums, teeth, and mouth have much to say about your health, overall. Sometimes, the first sign of disease can show up in the mouth.”

Disease like diabetes, certain types of oral cancer, and even some vitamin deficiencies can be first identified in a dentist’s office at a regular examination. In addition to diseases, your hygienist may have insights into bad habits, like smoking, chewing tobacco, and foods and drinks you should be avoiding.

“Lack of good oral care can have a negative impact on your overall health,” says Williams. “There is more to it than meets the eye.”


  1. If you floss regularly. "Yes, I can tell if you haven't been flossing regularly or effectively," says Williams. "If you floss daily, and do it correctly, the gums are generally light pink and firm, not red or swollen. Unhealthy gums that aren't used to being flossed are often swollen and bleed easily."
  2. The source of bad breath. "Sometimes, patients simply need better oral hygiene," says Williams. "In some cases, however, bad breath can mean something else." Breath that smells "fruity" could be an indicator of diabetic ketoacidosis, according to Williams. A mouth that smells fishy or similar ammonia may indicate kidney problems. Foul-smelling breath could indicate other issues, such as acid reflux or sinus issues."Whatever the case, we will suggest you see your health care provider if we suspect something is wrong," says Williams.
  3. If you have symptoms of heart disease. Poor oral health combined with other risk factors may contribute to heart disease. Gum disease can let bacteria enter your bloodstream and locate elsewhere in the body. In other words, if you have plaque in your mouth, it could mean you have plaque in your arteries.
  4. If you have symptoms of diabetes. "Dental hygiene is critically important for people with diabetes," says Williams. Poor sugar control can increase your risk of gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, oral infections and more. People with diabetes are more likely to get infections -- including gum infections -- and have a harder time fighting them off.
  5. What you have been eating (or drinking). "Decay in between the teeth is often due to something in the diet," says Williams. "Sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major contributor to tooth decay among teens and adults. Fruit snacks, raisins, natural dried fruits, and fruit juices are often associated with tooth decay in children."
  6. Signs of oral cancer. "Here, we are looking for any changes in the hard and soft tissues," says Williams. "We are looking for symptoms such as unexplained bleeding, chronic sores or speckled patches, thickenings, swelling, bumps or lumps."


“Flossing is as important as brushing,” says Williams. “It removes the plaque and food particles in places the toothbrush can’t reach. Just make sure you’re taking the time to do it correctly. You don’t want to overdo it or underdo it.”

According to Williams, the most common mistake is not flossing under the gum tissue. “Gently ease the floss until it is under the gum tissue. The floss should hug the tooth or look like the letter 'c' wrapped around your tooth.

(source: Blue, Winter 2016)