Is Texting Bad for your Health?

Before you pick up your cell phone to send your next text, read this article. Texting may be harming your health in some surprising ways. We all know that texting while driving is not safe, and may cause unnecessary accidents as drivers are completely distracted by their phones, even those who say they can still react fast enough in an emergency. But there are other ways texting is negatively effecting your health, and some of them may surprise you. If you are curious, keep reading. There are things you can do to mitigate these problems.

 

Text Neck

Many people, when texting, bring their faces down toward the device in their hands. Leaning their heads forward, they round their shoulders. This is very poor posture and may result in text neck. If you have ever had a stiff, achy neck or upper back pain after an extended text conversation, then you know the condition. The human head weighs ten to twelve pounds. When you have good posture, your spine can carry that much weight. Leaning down to look at your phone puts sixty pounds of pressure on your spine and the base of your neck. This pressure can, if it goes on long enough, lead to pinched nerves in your spine. Pinched nerves cause numbness and tingling down your arms and in your hands. To avoid this problem, bring your phone to your eyes. Be aware of your posture and sit straight, with your shoulders back.

 

Cell Phone Slumber

Cell phones may be causing your sleep problems. Not only do they emit radiation which may cause insomnia in some people, but they also emit blue light. This color of light tells your brain it is time to wake up. If you text in the dark, use a blue light filter on your phone. This does not interfere with your ability to see the device but it does dim the light intensity. To avoid the sleeplessness, ban your phone from the bedroom. If you have no choice and need your phone beside your bed, cut out screen time an hour before sleeping. This will allow you to sleep much better overall.

 

Repetitive Strain Injuries

People who spend a lot of time texting each day and looking down at their phones are prone to sprains and strains of the joints in their upper body. These repetitive motion injuries are caused by texting excessively, sometimes for hours on end and by bad posture and can be quite painful. Try to limit the amount of time you text each day. If you have to make a lot of texts at a time, make sure to keep good posture. Look up often and take breaks to move around. Also, most phones tend to have dictation services which will allow you to dictate texts to your friends and family. That way, you can still keep in touch.

 

Texting can be very bad for your health in surprising ways. It can cause injuries, eye strain and car accidents. But with a little prudence these dangers can be avoided and you can still keep in touch with the people you care about.

How Much Sleep is Enough?

Do you have a friend who says they can function on four to six hours of sleep? If so, you might have wondered if this is true. Can people really get by on so little sleep? How much sleep do humans need to function optimally? The short answer is seven to nine hours a night. People who get less than seven hours of sleep a night for even one day report more mood problems and difficulty concentrating than those who get a solid seven to nine hours. However, the long answer is much more complex than that and varies depending on a number of factors including age, pregnancy, sleep deprivation and quality of sleep. Before you jump right into finding the number of hours of sleep you need, however, there are a few simple questions you need to ask yourself in order to make sure that you get the correct amount of sleep tailored to your needs.

 

Questions to ask Yourself

Before you set about finding the number of hours of sleep that you need in a night, start by asking yourself these questions. They will provide a baseline which will then give you somewhere to start from. How many hours does it take you in order to feel productive? Can you manage without caffeine on seven hours or does it take you nine before you feel truly awake? Do you have any health problems such as heart disease or being overweight? Do you have sleep difficulties such as insomnia? Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day or are you frequently sleepy while driving? These five simple questions will help you form a rough idea of how much sleep you actually need.

 

Age

Once you have a baseline for how much sleep you actually need, then you can see where your age fits in. If you are a younger adult, ages 18-64, experts recommend that you get somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night if you are healthy. However, if you are over sixty-four, the experts recommend 7-8 hours per night for healthy individuals.

 

Pregnancy

If you are a pregnant woman, you need more sleep. Your body is undergoing very important changes and your baby is growing. Neither of these things happen very well if your sleep is compromised. Be mindful when planning your time. It is very important to remember to get enough sleep to function efficiently and to be prepared that you will need more than usual.

 

Sleep Deprivation and Quality of Sleep

If you have been sleeping poorly or missing out on sleep for a long time, it is quite likely you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprived people and those whose sleep are frequently interrupted need more sleep than normal. They may sleep up to eleven hours as opposed to the seven to nine that most adults need to function. However, as these people start getting better sleep, their need will lessen till it is back within normal levels.

 

It is very important to get the necessary amount of sleep. If you do, your efficiency and health will increase, and that is something that everyone wants.

Fever: When to Seek Help

Fevers are miserable. Just moving takes effort, you lie in bed either too hot or too cold, and you may feel dizzy and clammy but fevers also have a purpose. They are your body’s way of fighting infection. Fevers are a sign your body’s immune system is working as it should. However a fever can get out of control if untreated, and can even become high enough to require medical treatment to avoid damage to your brain and other vital organs. It can be difficult, however, to know when to seek medical help for a high fever. In this article, we will discuss the warning signs of an overly high fever as well as when it is appropriate to seek help, information which could save your life or the life of a loved one.

 

High Fevers

If you or a loved one has a fever that is 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3 degrees Celsius) or higher, then calling a doctor is necessary. A fever that high can begin to do damage to the brain and other organs. The human body was never designed to maintain that high of a temperature and if the temperature stays that elevated for too long, the cells will start to die. Going to an emergency room can allow doctors to monitor the body temperature and administer medications or employ other means to bring the temperature down and stabilize it so that you can recover.

 

Fever Lasting More Than Seven Days

A fever is part of a viral infection generally and will go away on its own. However, if you or a loved one has a fever lasting more than a week, it is time to seek medical help. Any fever is a strain on the vital organs. The longer the fever goes on, the worse the strain. An added concern is that the illness causing the fever may be more severe than previously thought and that prescription medication may be needed to treat it.

 

Worsening Symptoms

If you or a loved one has a fever above 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3 degrees Celsius) that is steadily climbing toward 104 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) then it is necessary to go to a hospital’s emergency department right away. A fever that high carries a large risk of damage, especially to the brain. Furthermore, a fever of 107 degrees Fahrenheit is likely to be fatal. Immediate measures are needed at this point to discover the cause of the fever and cool the person down before lasting damage is done.

 

Fevers are a natural part of most viral infections. They are the body’s attempt to fight off the virus causing the infection, which causes the core temperature to rise. However, a fever can also be deadly. It is imperative that you know when to seek help for a fever for the sake of both you and your loved ones. Knowing this information and remembering it could literally save a life. Share this information with everyone you know. The life you save could be your own.

5 Ways to Up Your Daily Water Intake

Health professionals agree. Drinking sixty-four ounces of water per day is vital for your health. This amount of water keeps all of the body’s systems running efficiently. However, getting the necessary amount of water is not always easy, especially for people who do not like the taste. If you are one of those people, or just find getting the necessary amount of water difficult, this article is for you. Read on as we discuss five ways to get that all-important water into your body.

 

Start Slowly

When first starting to increase the amount of water you drink, people generally try to start drinking eight glasses a day right away. This is not the best approach. For better results, it is much wiser to start with just one glass more per day than what you drink already. When you feel that you sufficiently have the habit of drinking one glass more a day down, then you can add another. You will be drinking the optimum amount of water before you know it.

 

Buy a Filtration System

Tap water does not generally taste good, due to the content of chlorine and other chemicals used in its purification. Water filtration systems remove these chemicals from the water, making it much more palatable.

Water filtration systems are very easy to find and can be purchased at most supermarkets. These days, there are even filtration bottles that can be bought which will filter water one serving at a time.

 

Stock Your Refrigerator

Cold water is tastier than room temperature or even tap water. Get some empty juice bottles or sports bottles and fill these with ice. Pour some tap water on the ice. Place the bottles in your refrigerator. The ice will melt slowly, cooling the water over it to create a cold, refreshing treat. As a bonus, cold water cools your body, making it burn more calories to regulate its temperature.

 

Spice Up Your Water

Plain water can be boring but it does not have to be. Spice up that plain water by adding fruit to it. Lemon is a classic fruit to add to water, but it is not the only choice. Cucumbers and strawberries are also good choices. Pick a fruit you like and experiment until you find a combination that makes your taste buds happy while allowing your body to flourish. If fruit is not your thing, there are also varieties of no-calorie flavor packets that can be added to make water much tastier.

 

Eat Water-Enriched Foods

If drinking water still is not something you want to do, why not eat your water? Tomatoes and watermelon are both delicious and healthy. They are also over ninety per cent water. Getting water from these tasty sources can really cut down on the amount you have to drink.

 

Drinking enough water on a daily basis can be a real hassle but it does not have to be. If you take the tips prevented in this article, you may actually learn to like drinking water. Failing that, you can at least make it taste more palatable. Before long, you will be getting all the water you need and perhaps enjoying the taste as well.

Music As Therapy: The Healing Power Of Music

For ages, people have turned to music to get excited, calm down, share experiences, and more. Over time, scientific research has shown that this natural affinity for tunes is much more than a feeling—music can have powerful healing qualities.

Music therapy applies those scientific findings to enhance music’s power and help people heal to improve their physical, emotional, mental, social or even spiritual well-being.

Many different groups have been shown to benefit from music therapy, including:

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Music therapy has been shown to improve social behaviors, boost focus, reduce anxiety, and even enhance body awareness and coordination for people with ASD, as detailed in a study in Journal of Music Therapy.

Oncology patients
Music therapy can enhance the quality of life of oncology patients in many ways, including by reducing pain and anxiety, boosting mood, and improving heart rate and blood pressure. Cancer.org cites a review of studies reflecting these impacts, and music therapists are part of many cancer management teams.

Soldiers with PTSD
Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) gained an opportunity to better express and control their feelings and build a sense of connectedness through improvisation on hand drums, as cited in this Huffington Post article.

Special needs children
Most children engage with music quickly, so it can serve as a strong motivator to encourage kids with special needs to make requests, develop motor skills, and complete challenging activities. This post from Friendship Circle shares how.

Alzheimer’s patients
For dementia patients, an aptitude and appreciation for music is one of the abilities that stays with them the longest. Music can be used to improve patients’ mood, manage stress-induced agitation, encourage positive social engagement, and prompt cognitive functioning, according to Alzheimers.net.

Individuals with depression
For people suffering from depression, music can provide a catharsis and much-needed way to connect with others through joint improvisation. Creating music also enables people to positively experience their physical being. These are critical elements of depression recovery, as explained in this BJPsych article.

For pain management
Music provides sensory stimulation that causes patients with chronic pain to relax, reduces stress, boosts their mood, and reduces the patient’s perceived pain level. As explained by Everyday Health, patient learns to relax automatically while listening to music with practice.

Combining the Art and Science of Music

These are only some of the ways music therapy is improving lives. When the art and science behind music combine, they create a powerful therapy technique that can stimulate and heal us, both body and soul. With thousands of certified musical therapists in America today, many different kinds of patients experience the healing powers of music each year.

Eating Right For Asthma

If you have asthma, you probably have an inhaler which you use for daily relief of your symptoms or for emergency asthma attacks. You probably also avoid smoke or other substances that can trigger the coughing, wheezing misery of an asthma attack. You probably are also careful when you exercise. What you might not have known is that there is another thing you can do to help manage your condition. Though there is not an “asthma diet” and no specific foods are known to cause bronchial dilation on their own, a healthy diet is good for everyone including people with asthma. If you are curious how a healthy diet can benefit an asthmatic then please read on.

 

A Healthy Diet Reduces Obesity

Obesity is bad for everyone. Extra fat clogs your arteries and makes every cell in your body work harder to do its job. Those who are obese generally have lung problems, tire easily and become short of breath. If you are asthmatic, obesity can worsen the condition. Extra fat around the lungs causes them to not expand fully. This then cuts off the already compromised oxygen supply reaching your other organs and can make asthma attacks worse.

 

Avoid Allergens

Foods that you are allergic to can be really bad news for your asthma. Allergic reactions can often include swelling of the bronchial tubes in the same way that asthma does. They also can lead to coughing, which can actually start an asthma attack. That is why it is imperative that you avoid foods and other substances which you are allergic to. Your body will thank you.

 

Get Your Vitamins

The rates of asthma in the United States have been steadily rising over the last thirty years, and researchers are attempting to get to the bottom of this puzzling mystery. Studies are inconclusive so far but recent findings show that people who eat a diet high in vitamins E, C and Beta Carotene along with flavonoids, Omega III fatty acids and other components have less likelihood of developing asthma whereas those who eat processed foods and very few fruits and vegetables have a higher chance. If eating a healthy diet could prevent asthma in some people, then it stands to reason that it might also help lessen the condition in those already suffering. Beyond that, eating a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals helps build new cells, restoring the ones asthma damages.

 

Eating a well-balanced diet is very important, especially for asthma sufferers. Doing so lessens the likelihood of obesity which prevents the lungs from expanding fully or properly. This type of diet also promotes cell growth and healing, which means the body repairs the damage to the lungs asthma causes much faster. As an asthma sufferer, it is also necessary to avoid allergens as allergens can trigger an asthma attack. Asthma can be a debilitating disease, but it doesn’t have to be. With good management and a healthy diet, you can be breathing easier in no time.

Ways to Relax

Let’s face it, life is busy. Sometimes it catches up with us, leaving us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When this happens, you need a way to fight back.

Fortunately, even just a few minutes can be enough to help you recharge. Here are 26 ways to relax.

  1. Breathe
    Take 5 deep breathes, give it your full attention, notice the pause but in and out.
  2. Write
    Journaling about your feelings can help relieve them.
  3. Be grateful
    Write a list of what you’re grateful for—nothing is too small.
  4. Make a plan
    Knowing what you need to do today (and what you don’t) can help relieve the stress.
  5. Play
    Adults can sometimes forget how to play, but anything that is purposeless and pleasurable and help us unwind.
  1. Use visualization
    Whether you’re really standing at the ocean or just imagining it, your brain responds the same way.
  1. Talk to someone
    One of your best tools for coping with stress are social connections.
  2. Go green
    Immersing yourself in nature can help you unwind. Go for a walk along the river or find a good bench under a tree.
  3. Sleep on it
    It may feel counterintuitive, but take 20 minutes and catch some zzz’s. It can refresh your mind, while the brief time frame keeps you from getting groggy.
  4. Change the tunes
    Listening to upbeat or calming music can quickly shirt your mood.
  5. Meditate
    Even a few minutes can ease anxiety, especially when practiced daily.
  6. Be present
    Stop your thoughts and take a minute to be present in your body to be aware of it.
  7. Warm up
    Place a warm compress over your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes, lean back, and close your eyes to relax those tense muscles in your face, neck, and back.
  8. Laugh out loud
    Reduce your levels of stress hormone cortisol and increase feel-good endorphins with a good laugh.
  9. Stare at the ceiling
    Tilting your head up lowers blood pressure and slows your breath. Count down slowly from 60 while doing this to help still your mind.
  10. Set your worries aside
    Write down all of the things that are causing you stress, then put them aside to deal with tomorrow.
  11. Sip green tea
    Green tea has L-Theanine in it, which helps relieve anger.
  12. Go dark
    With some dark chocolate. A single square (1.4 oz) can regulate your cortisol levels.
  13. Chew gum
    The repetitive and thoughtless nature of chewing gum can reduce anxiety within just a few minutes.
  14. Count down
    This simple action demands enough attention to stifle the sources of your stress.
  15. DIY a hand massage
    Hands carry a lot of tension, so stop wringing your hands and massage them instead.
  16. Grab a golf ball
    But forget the irons. Instead, roll it against the bottom of your feet to release tension.
  17. Squeeze it out
    On a stress ball. They didn’t become a common desk tchotchke by accident.
  18. Get some sun
    Take a quick walk outside and soak up some rays to lift your spirits.
  19. Practice yoga
    The smooth deliberate motion of yoga is great for calming and re-centering.
  1. Cuddle with a pet
    A good snuggle with a furry friend is a proven way to de-stress.

Nausea: When To Seek Medical Advice

Nausea is very common symptom that is associated with a wide range of health conditions, referring to the physical discomfort that gives a person the feeling that they may be about to vomit.

Often the cause of vomiting or nausea can be determined fairly easily by looking back at a person’s recent actions (such as a particularly stressful day, or that gas station sushi s/he ate for lunch). But there are times when nausea and vomiting are very serious.

Knowing how to recognize when it’s time to see doctor can be the difference between a quick recovery and a life-threatening situation.

What’s serious enough to warrant a doctor or ER visit depends on age and condition. Here is a breakdown of what warning signs to look for by group:

Children
When a child is nauseous, the most common causes are overeating, motion sickness, blocked intestines, milk allergy, viral infections, food poisoning, or illness with a high fever. Another common cause is dehydration, particularly for those too young to communicate the symptoms.

If a child is nauseous and vomiting, look for these signs that s/he needs to seek emergency treatment:

  • Vomiting lasts longer than 24 hours, or longer than 12 hours for infants under 2
  • S/he shows symptoms of dehydration (dry lips, drymouth, sunken eyes, rapid breathing or rapid pulse)
  • S/he hasn’t urinated for longer than six hours
  • S/he is confused or lethargic
  • S/he has a fever of 102°F or higher for children 6 or older (100°F for infants)
  • Any infant with both vomiting and diarrhea
  • Any time an infant has projectile vomiting
  • If a child has vomited continuously for more than two hours
  • S/he hasn’t been able to keep liquids down for eight hours

Adults
When an adult feels nauseous, it’s usually easy to determine the cause—motion sickness, food poisoning, a virus, or emotional stress are common triggers.

Most of these causes are not serious, and pass within a matter of hours. But there are times when it is important to seek emergency treatment. On occasion, extensive vomiting can serious damage the esophagus.

An adult should seek medical treatment if:

  • S/he suffers from nausea for more than seven days
  • S/he shows signs of dehydration
  • She suspects she could be pregnant
  • If there is a known injury such as a head injury or infection
  • If vomiting continues for more than 24 hours
  • Blood is in the vomit (red or something appearing like coffee grounds)
  • If the person experiences a stiff neck or headache
  • S/he is lethargic, confused or lacking alertness
  • S/he has abdominal pain
  • S/he is unable to eat or drink for 12 hours

Pregnant women
Nausea is common during pregnancy, especially early on. However, frequent vomiting can lead to hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition in which a fluid and mineral imbalance develops. This is a serious medical condition that can endanger the fetus.

If this nausea is affecting a woman’s everyday life, it’s worth discussing with a doctor, but if an expecting mother experiences any of these, she should seek medical attention right away:

  • She vomits several times a day
  • She is unable to eat or drink without vomiting
  • She is losing weight

Cancer patients
For cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, nausea is very common. Patients should be aware of associated risks including dehydration and choking, and always call your cancer team in the following situations:

  • The patient may have inhaled some of the vomit
  • S/he vomits more than three times an hour, for longer than three hours
  • Blood, red, or a coffee grounds-like substance appears in the vomit
  • S/he can’t eat for more than two days, or can’t consume more than 4 cups of liquid or ice chips for more than one day
  • The patient cannot take his/her medications
  • S/he shows signs of dehydration
  • S/he loses two pounds or more within 48 hours or less

Know the Signs and Risks

Most of the time, nausea is not a serious health threat, and it generally passes within a matter of hours. But nausea is a symptom for a wide range of conditions, from anxiety to a concussion.

While some of the most serious causes of nausea are rarer, there are some situations in which a nauseous and vomiting individual requires immediate medical care. Know the signs to keep you and your loved ones safe, and when in doubt, seek assistance.

Is Facebook Good For Your Health?

Is Facebook good for your health? It’s a big question, and as social media continues to become more and more prevalent, an important one.

According to a 2013 study by Facebook and IDC, smartphone users check Facebook as much as 14 times a day. Any time an action becomes habitual and compulsive like this, it starts to take on traits of addiction, affecting our daily lives.

So how is all this posting and profiling affecting us?

A lot of research has been dedicated to exploring this question—and the results are conflicting. Depending on the study or article you pick up you could find two disparate answers to this question: yes and no.

Hazards of posting

A number of studies have shown that the amount of time we invest in Facebook and other social media can take a toll on our psyches and detract from our overall happiness.

A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics used the term “Facebook depression” to refer to a condition found to occur in tweens and teens who spent too much time online. The condition was correlated with increased substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, and aggressive or self-destructive behaviors in the study subjects.

However, correlation is not causation, so Facebook’s role in triggering the condition has yet to be proven. Furthermore, the article cited a second study that indicated youths with quality friendships weren’t subject to “Facebook depression,” indicating that the quality of a teen’s social connections are a significant factor.

Another study by Israeli researchers found that the more time adolescent girls spent on online, the more likely they were to develop an eating disorder.

Other studies focused on adults have come to similar conclusions.

For example, Facebook has been found to factor into the divorce rate, and posts are even used by lawyers as evidence during divorce proceedings.

Studies have found that Facebook can trigger marital dissatisfaction in multiple ways, from reigniting relationships from long in the past, to serving as a forum to air dirty laundry. The strain these behaviors place on a relationship can lead to divorce.

Spouses who check in on their partner’s page may invite jealousy if they see something they don’t like, and that can lead to conflict. In “Facebook and your Marriage,” it’s recommend spouses discuss what’s fair game for posting and what’s not.

But Facebook’s impact on our quality of life stretched beyond the status of our marriages. It can also influence our overall life satisfaction.

A study from University of Michigan and Leuven University checked in with people five times a day asking about their mood and social interactions, both online and off. The results aren’t good for social media—the more times a person had checked Facebook since their last questionnaire, the worse their mood was on the next one.

Perhaps that’s because, as a joint survey from Germany’s Humboldt-Universität and TU Darmstadt showed, the most common feeling associated with Facebook browsing is envy.

As we browse more and more of what look like perfect lives flow through our feeds, it can cause us to develop a skewed perspective of our own lives. This leads to anxiety, discontent, and in some cases depression or eating disorders.

In short, Facebook can exacerbate our insecurities, push them further, and isolate us in our time of need.

But there’s a silver lining

Despite these negative findings, it may not be time to swear off social media quite yet. The detrimental effects of Facebook are real, but they’re not necessarily the full story.

A study from Cornell University showed that when a person updates their Facebook profile, they get a boost of self-esteem associated with being proactive about the image they project to the world.

Contrary to findings that social media isolates individuals with depression, another study from Michigan State University indicated that people with low self-esteem and happiness levels felt more connected to friends and their community when they logged onto Facebook more frequently. Another study from Lancaster University showed that high use of Facebook helps cement friendships among 21- to 29-year-olds.

Another study by Pew Research Center showed that people who use Facebook frequently score higher on test measuring companionship and emotional support.

So what’s the real answer?

Which studies are giving us the real story? It may simply come down to how we choose to use Facebook, rather than inherent qualities of the network itself.

The Humboldt-Universität and TU Darmstadt  study showed that how a person engages on Facebook may be at least as important as how frequently they use it. In the study, those who used Facebook primarily to browse were more likely to experience negative effects than those who used it to communicate.

To protect your well-being while using Facebook and other social media, try to use it mindfully by managing your emotions and actions when you log in. focus on connecting with friends and loved ones, and avoid behaviors that lead to negative emotions like stalking old flames, comparing your life to the appearance of others’, and inundating yourself with media images flaunting impossible beauty standards.

In short, remember why you log in to Facebook in the first place. Pay attention to how it makes you feel, and don’t be afraid to take a break or change how you use it.