Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors & More

lcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to a coma and death.

Alcohol poisoning can also occur when adults or children accidentally or intentionally drink household products that contain alcohol.

A person with alcohol poisoning needs immediate medical attention. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, call for emergency medical help right away.

Alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Passing out (unconsciousness) and can’t be awakened

When to see a doctor
It’s not necessary to have all the above signs or symptoms before you seek medical help. A person with alcohol poisoning who is unconscious or can’t be awakened is at risk of dying.

Alcohol poisoning is an emergency
If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning — even if you don’t see the classic signs and symptoms — seek immediate medical care. Here’s what to do:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Never assume the person will sleep off alcohol poisoning.
  • Be prepared to provide information. If you know, be sure to tell hospital or emergency personnel the kind and amount of alcohol the person drank, and when.
  • Don’t leave an unconscious person alone. Because alcohol poisoning affects the way the gag reflex works, someone with alcohol poisoning may choke on his or her own vomit and not be able to breathe. While waiting for help, don’t try to make the person vomit because he or she could choke.
  • Help a person who is vomiting. Try to keep him or her sitting up. If the person must lie down, make sure to turn his or her head to the side — this helps prevent choking. Try to keep the person awake to prevent loss of consciousness.

Don’t be afraid to get help
It can be difficult to decide if you think someone is drunk enough to warrant medical intervention, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. You may worry about the consequences for yourself or your friend or loved one, particularly if you’re underage. But the consequences of not getting the right help in time can be far more serious.

Alcohol in the form of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is found in alcoholic beverages, mouthwash, cooking extracts, some medications and certain household products. Ethyl alcohol poisoning generally results from drinking too many alcoholic beverages, especially in a short period of time.

Other forms of alcohol — including isopropyl alcohol (found in rubbing alcohol, lotions and some cleaning products) and methanol or ethylene glycol (a common ingredient in antifreeze, paints and solvents) — can cause other types of toxic poisoning that require emergency treatment.

Binge drinking
A major cause of alcohol poisoning is binge drinking — a pattern of heavy drinking when a male rapidly consumes five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours, or a female rapidly consumes at least four drinks within two hours. An alcohol binge can occur over hours or last up to several days.

You can consume a fatal dose before you pass out. Even when you’re unconscious or you’ve stopped drinking, alcohol continues to be released from your stomach and intestines into your bloodstream, and the level of alcohol in your body continues to rise.

How much is too much?
Unlike food, which can take hours to digest, alcohol is absorbed quickly by your body — long before most other nutrients. And it takes a lot more time for your body to get rid of the alcohol you’ve consumed. Most alcohol is processed (metabolized) by your liver.

The more you drink, especially in a short period of time, the greater your risk of alcohol poisoning.

One drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol)
  • 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine (about 12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)

Mixed drinks may contain more than one serving of alcohol and take even longer to metabolize.

Risk factors
A number of factors can increase your risk of alcohol poisoning, including:

  • Your size and weight
  • Your overall health
  • Whether you’ve eaten recently
  • Whether you’re combining alcohol with other drugs
  • The percentage of alcohol in your drinks
  • The rate and amount of alcohol consumption
  • Your tolerance level

Severe complications can result from alcohol poisoning, including:

  • Choking. Alcohol may cause vomiting. Because it depresses your gag reflex, this increases the risk of choking on vomit if you’ve passed out.
  • Stopping breathing. Accidentally inhaling vomit into your lungs can lead to a dangerous or fatal interruption of breathing (asphyxiation).
  • Severe dehydration. Vomiting can result in severe dehydration, leading to dangerously low blood pressure and fast heart rate.
  • Seizures. Your blood sugar level may drop low enough to cause seizures.
  • Hypothermia. Your body temperature may drop so low that it leads to cardiac arrest.
  • Irregular heartbeat. Alcohol poisoning can cause the heart to beat irregularly or even stop.
  • Brain damage. Heavy drinking may cause irreversible brain damage.
  • Death. Any of the issues above can lead to death.

To avoid alcohol poisoning:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. When you do drink, enjoy your drink slowly.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Having some food in your stomach may slow alcohol absorption somewhat, although it won’t prevent alcohol poisoning if, for example, you’re binge drinking.
  • Communicate with your teens. Talk to your teenagers about the dangers of alcohol, including binge drinking. Evidence suggests that children who are warned about alcohol by their parents and who report close relationships with their parents are less likely to start drinking.
  • Store products safely. If you have small children, store alcohol-containing products, including cosmetics, mouthwashes and medications, out of their reach. Use child-proof bathroom and kitchen cabinets to prevent access to household cleaners. Keep toxic items in your garage or storage area safely out of reach. Consider keeping alcoholic beverages under lock and key.
  • Get follow-up care. If you or your teen has been treated for alcohol poisoning, be sure to ask about follow-up care.
  • Meeting with a health professional, particularly an experienced chemical dependency professional, can help you prevent future binge drinking.


Ankylosing Spondylitis and Physical Therapy: Benefits, Exercises, and More

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause severe pain and limit your mobility. If you have AS, you might not feel like moving or exercising because you’re in pain. But not moving can actually do more harm than good.

Some type of exercise should be a part of your treatment plan. Physical therapy (PT) is one way you can stay active. It can help reduce stiffness in your joints and improve your posture and flexibility, which can decrease your pain.

Here are some of the benefits of PT, along with exercise tips that can ease your symptoms.

What is physical therapy?
PT safely guides you through exercises to manage your condition. The primary role of a physical therapist is to create an exercise plan that is specific to you. This plan will improve your strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance.

Physical therapists may also teach you how to maintain proper posture when participating in daily activities.

At a PT session, a physical therapist will likely teach you about different exercises you can do at home that can help you manage your AS. Sessions are typically one hour. Depending on insurance coverage, people may see physical therapists from once a week to once a month.

If you’d like to see a physical therapist, ask your doctor if they have a recommendation and check with your insurance provider about coverage.

Benefits for people with ankylosing spondylitis
During PT, you’ll learn about different exercises you can do on a daily basis to ease pain or stiffness caused by AS.

In one review, researchers looked at four different studies involving people with AS. They found that individual and supervised exercise resulted in more spinal movement than no exercise at all.

In addition, group exercises were more beneficial than individual ones, both for movement and well-being.

Seeing a physical therapist is a great first step to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself and cause more pain. A physical therapist can teach you low-impact exercises that don’t put extra strain on your joints or spine.

You can find resources on group exercise at Arthritis Foundation and Spondylitis Association of America (SAA). Also check out offerings at your local YMCA or gym, such as aquatics programs.

Types of physical therapy exercises
One study found that an effective exercise regimen for AS includes stretching, strengthening, cardiovascular exercise, spinal mobility exercise, and functional training to help you with daily activities.

During a PT session, your physical therapist might ask you to try the following types of exercises:

  • General stretching. Your physical therapist may have you bend sideways, forward, and backward to improve flexibility in your spine.
  • Cardiovascular exercises. Your physical therapist may have you try cycling, swimming, or another low-impact aerobic exercise to help you improve mobility.
  • Strength training. Yoga is one exercise that can increase your strength, along with the use of light hand weights. Tai chi is another option that increases strength and balance through slow movements based on martial arts.

Improving your posture is also key to managing your AS symptoms. Your physical therapist may suggest the following:

  • Prone lying. To do this, you’ll lie face down on a firm surface with a pillow or towel under your chest and forehead. Lie in this position for one or two minutes, working your way up to 20 minutes.
  • Standing against the wall. Stand against the wall with your heels four inches away and your butt and shoulders lightly touching the wall. Use a mirror to check your positioning. Hold this pose for five seconds. Repeat.

They may also recommend that you stand, walk, and sit tall while doing all exercises to maintain your posture.

Before you start PT, know that some slight pain or discomfort will likely occur when you begin exercising. But you shouldn’t push through severe pain. Make sure you let your physical therapist know if you’re experiencing extreme discomfort during your session.

Also, since many people with AS have more pain and stiffness in the morning, consider scheduling your PT sessions earlier in the day to loosen your muscles.

Some people will need more strengthening exercises, while others will need more stretching. A physical therapist will help you figure out your specific needs.

How to find a physical therapist
You can find a physical therapist in your area by searching the American Physical Therapy Association’s online database. Or you can ask your doctor for a recommendation. They may be able to recommend a physical therapist who specifically works with people living with conditions like AS.

You can also check with your insurance provider for a list of physical therapists in your area covered by your plan.

PT has many benefits for people living with AS. The targeted exercises can improve your strength, posture, and flexibility. Physical therapists can also help ensure you’re doing all the exercises correctly and safely.

Talk to your doctor to see if they recommend a physical therapist as part of your treatment plan, and consult your doctor before doing any exercise on your own.


Adult Still’s Disease Symptoms, Causes, Complications & More

Adult Still’s disease is a rare type of inflammatory arthritis that features fevers, rash and joint pain. Some people have just one episode of adult Still’s disease. In other people, the condition persists or recurs.

This inflammation can destroy affected joints, particularly the wrists. Treatment involves medications, such as prednisone, that help control inflammation.

Most people with adult Still’s disease have a combination of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fever. You might have a daily fever of at least 102 F (38.9 C) for a week or longer. The fever usually peaks in the late afternoon or early evening. You might have two fever spikes daily, with your temperature returning to normal in between.
  • Rash. A salmon-pink rash might come and go with the fever. The rash usually appears on your trunk, arms or legs.
    Sore throat. This is one of the first symptoms of adult Still’s disease. The lymph nodes in your neck might be swollen and tender.
  • Achy and swollen joints. Your joints — especially your knees and wrists — might be stiff, painful and inflamed. Ankles, elbows, hands and shoulders might also ache. The joint discomfort usually lasts at least two weeks.
  • Muscle pain. Muscular pain usually ebbs and flows with the fever, but the pain can be severe enough to disrupt your daily activities.
  • The signs and symptoms of this disorder can mimic those of other conditions, including lupus and a type of cancer called lymphoma.

When to see a doctor
If you have a high fever, rash and achy joints, see your doctor. Also, if you have adult Still’s disease and develop a cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain or any other unusual symptoms, call your doctor.

It’s not certain what causes adult Still’s disease. Some researchers suspect the condition might be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection.

Risk factors
Age is the main risk factor for adult Still’s disease, with incidence peaking twice: once from 15 to 25 years and again from 36 to 46 years. Males and females are equally at risk.

Most complications from adult Still’s disease arise from chronic inflammation of organs and joints.

  • Joint destruction. Chronic inflammation can damage your joints. The most commonly involved joints are your knees and wrists. Your neck, foot, finger and hip joints also may be affected, but much less frequently.
  • Inflammation of your heart. Adult Still’s disease can lead to an inflammation of the saclike covering of your heart (pericarditis) or of the muscular portion of your heart (myocarditis).
  • Excess fluid around your lungs. Inflammation may cause fluid to build up around your lungs, which can make it hard to breathe deeply.
  • Macrophage activation syndrome. This rare, but potentially fatal complication of adult Still’s disease, can cause low blood cell counts, very high triglyceride levels and abnormal liver function.


7 Best Practices for CD Injection Treatments

Living with Crohn’s disease sometimes means having injections for everything from nutrition therapy to medications. If you have this condition, you may become well-acquainted with alcohol swabs and sterile sharps.

Some people are comfortable self-injecting after they receive training from their healthcare provider. Others would rather have the help of a medical practitioner through a clinic or home visits. Regardless of your preference, there are things you can do to improve your injection treatment experience.

1. Have your supplies ready
Preparation is important. If you are self-injecting, have everything you need on hand before you begin. This includes:

  • pre-filled medication syringe
  • alcohol swab to clean injection site
  • sharps disposal container
  • cotton ball to apply pressure to the injection site after
  • removing the syringe
  • Band-Aid (optional)

If your medication has been refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes so it’s not cold when you inject it.

2. Check everything
Check the expiration date and dose on your medication. Examine the syringe to ensure it’s not broken. Look at the condition of the medication, and watch for unusual coloration, sediment, or cloudiness.

3. Choose the right injection site
Your medication injection is subcutaneous. That means it’s not going directly into your bloodstream. Instead, you inject the medication into the fatty layer between your skin and muscle where it will slowly be absorbed.

The best place for subcutaneous injections are the tops of your thighs, your abdomen, and the outer portion of your upper arms. If you choose your abdomen, avoid the 2-inch radius around your belly button.

Avoid areas of skin that have been damaged, such as those exhibiting:

  • tenderness
  • scarring
  • redness
  • bruising
  • hard lumps
  • stretch marks

4. Rotate your injection locations
When you choose a site, make sure it’s different from the previous site you injected. It doesn’t have to be on a different body part, but it should be at least 1 inch away from where you last injected. If you don’t rotate, you’re more likely to bruise and develop scar tissue.

5. Practice pain reduction
Try applying ice to the injection site before injecting to reduce the pain and stinging. Ice can also reduce post-treatment bruising by shrinking capillaries that you could puncture with the needle.

Let the alcohol-swabbed area dry before inserting the needle into the skin.

Choose a syringe rather than an auto-injector pen. A syringe plunger can be pressed slowly, which reduces the pain associated with injection.

Anxiety can make pain worse, so try a calming ritual before you inject. If you self-inject at home, this ritual could involve taking a warm bath and listening to soothing music. If you go to a clinic, try breathing exercises that target anxiety.

6. Prioritize safety
Ensure your injection site is swabbed with alcohol before injecting. If a medical practitioner injects you, they should wear gloves. If you’re self-injecting, wash your hands first.

Also, make sure the needle is placed directly into the sharps disposal container immediately after you remove it from your skin. Any attempt to replace the cap can put the user at risk for a needle poke.

7. Monitor side effects
Medication often has side effects. Some are of no concern, and others should be checked by a doctor. Side effects may include:

  • itching
  • redness
  • swelling
  • discomfort
  • bruising
  • fever
  • headache
  • chills
  • hives

Ask your doctor when you should be concerned. Also, monitor your injection site and how you feel in case you experience any differences.

Infection is another side effect of Crohn’s treatment because your condition involves reducing immune system activity. So make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. Also, tell your doctor right away if you show any symptoms of infection.

The takeaway
Injections are a big part of treatment for Crohn’s disease. Many people with Crohn’s choose to self-inject once they’ve been trained by their healthcare provider. You can too, or you can choose to have your injections administered by a nurse or doctor. Regardless of your decision, knowing what to expect can help you feel less anxious about needles. And once you’ve had some experience, getting injections gets easier.


Drugs to Treat Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It causes parts of the GI tract to become inflamed. It can affect any part of the GI tract, but it’s usually found in the colon. Ulcers, openings called fistulas, or cracks can develop in the intestines of a person who has Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s is a chronic disease. While there’s no cure, medications can help manage the symptoms, bring about remission, and prevent relapse.

If you have mild or moderate Crohn’s, your doctor will likely prescribe aminosalicylates. These drugs can reduce inflammation and ease symptoms. Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) and mesalamine (Asacol) are the most commonly prescribed medications.

These medications can be taken as a suppository, by mouth, or as a combination of both. How you take the drug depends on where the disease affects your body.

According to 2018 guidelines from the American College of Gastroenterology, oral mesalamine should no longer be used to treat active Crohn’s disease. This is because there isn’t enough evidence that it’s effective when administered by mouth.

If you’re taking oral mesalamine for Crohn’s disease, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.

The possible side effects of aminosalicylates include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • headache

If you take these medications, your doctor may monitor your kidney function. They may also order blood tests to make sure your white blood cell level isn’t too low. Let your doctor know if you’re allergic to sulfa drugs before taking any aminosalicylate drug.

Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation. Doctors prescribe corticosteroids for short-term relief of symptoms. Budesonide (Entocort EC, Uceris) is usually used for mild and moderate cases of Crohn’s disease.

If you have a more serious case of Crohn’s, or if budesonide doesn’t work for you, your doctor may prescribe prednisone or methylprednisolone.

The side effects of corticosteroids can include:

  • glaucoma or increased pressure in your eyes
  • swelling
  • high blood pressure
  • weight gain

Serious side effects, such as loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or liver issues, can occur if you take corticosteroids for more than three months. Because of this, your doctor may keep you on corticosteroids for only a certain period of time.

After that, your doctor may prescribe methotrexate. It can help you stay in remission. It also helps reduce the withdrawal symptoms from prednisone.

Your doctor may also prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements. These can help prevent bone loss if you’re taking a corticosteroid for a long time.

Immunomodulator medications
Researchers believe Crohn’s disease is caused by a problem with the immune system. Cells that normally protect your body attack the GI tract. Because of this, medications that suppress or regulate your immune system can help treat Crohn’s.

Doctors may prescribe these types of medications if aminosalicylates and corticosteroids don’t work or if you develop fistulas. These medications can help your disease stay in remission. They may also heal fistulas.

Some common immunosuppressive medications include:

  • azathioprine (Imuran)
  • mercaptopurine (Purinethol)
  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex)

The side effects of these medications can include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Because these drugs suppress the immune system, they may affect how well your body can fight infections. Some rare side effects are pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), liver problems, and myelosuppression. Myelosuppression is a decrease in the amount of bone marrow you make.

Biologics are a type of drug used for people with moderate to severe Crohn’s or active Crohn’s. Your doctor may prescribe biologics if you have moderate or severe symptoms or if your other drugs aren’t working.

They may also prescribe them if you have fistulas in your GI tract. Biologics can also help ease you off of steroid medications.

These medications are given by injection on a regular basis. They work to reduce inflammation in specific areas, such as the lining of your intestines. They don’t suppress your whole immune system.

The most common biologic drugs include:

  • infliximab (Remicade)
  • adalimumab (Humira)
  • certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
  • natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • vedolizumab (Entyvio)
  • ustekinumab (Stelara)

You may have redness, swelling, or irritation where you receive the injection. You may also experience:

  • headaches
  • fever
  • chills
  • low blood pressure

In rare cases, some people have gotten severe infections or tuberculosis (TB) after receiving this treatment. Before you take these medications, your healthcare provider will test you for TB.

Other medications
Doctors may prescribe additional medications to help with other symptoms of Crohn’s. Antibiotics can prevent abscesses and overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines. Your doctor may also prescribe an antidiarrheal drug if you have severe diarrhea.

Some people with Crohn’s are at risk of developing blood clots or other blood conditions such as anemia. In the case of blood clots, your doctor may prescribe heparin. This is a blood thinner that prevents clots.

If you show signs of anemia, your doctor may prescribe iron supplements or vitamin B-12 shots.

As with any drug treatment plan, you should work closely with your doctor and follow their medication instructions. Together, you and your doctor will find the right treatment for you.


Bursitis Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors & More

Bursitis (bur-SY-tis) is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs — called bursae (bur-SEE) — that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed.

The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. But you can also have bursitis by your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.

Treatment typically involves resting the affected joint and protecting it from further trauma. In most cases, bursitis pain goes away within a few weeks with proper treatment, but recurrent flare-ups of bursitis are common.

If you have bursitis, the affected joint might:

  • Feel achy or stiff
  • Hurt more when you move it or press on it
  • Look swollen and red

When to see a doctor
Consult your doctor if you have:

  • Disabling joint pain
  • Sudden inability to move a joint
  • Excessive swelling, redness, bruising or a rash in the affected area
  • Sharp or shooting pain, especially when you exercise or exert
  • yourself
  • A fever

The most common causes of bursitis are repetitive motions or positions that put pressure on the bursae around a joint. Examples include:

  • Throwing a baseball or lifting something over your head repeatedly
  • Leaning on your elbows for long periods
  • Extensive kneeling for tasks such as laying carpet or scrubbing floors

Other causes include injury or trauma to the affected area, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and infection.

Risk factors
Anyone can develop bursitis, but certain factors can increase your risk:

  • Age. Bursitis becomes more common with aging.
    Occupations or hobbies. If your work or hobby requires repetitive motion or pressure on particular bursae, your risk of developing bursitis increases. Examples include carpet laying, tile setting, gardening, painting and playing a musical instrument.
  • Other medical conditions. Certain systemic diseases and conditions — such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and diabetes — increase your risk of developing bursitis. Being overweight can increase your risk of developing hip and knee bursitis.

While not all types of bursitis can be prevented, you can reduce your risk and the severity of flare-ups by changing the way you do certain tasks. Examples include:

  • Using kneeling pads. Use some type of padding to reduce the pressure on your knees if your job or hobby requires a lot of kneeling.
  • Lifting properly. Bend your knees when you lift. Failing to do so puts extra stress on the bursae in your hips.
  • Wheeling heavy loads. Carrying heavy loads puts stress on the bursae in your shoulders. Use a dolly or a wheeled cart instead.
  • Taking frequent breaks. Alternate repetitive tasks with rest or other activities.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight places more stress on your joints.
  • Exercising. Strengthening your muscles can help protect your affected joint.
  • Warming up and stretching before strenuous activities to protect your joints from injury.


Doing These 5 Things Every Day Will Make You Feel Happier

How do you know when you’re happy? Tough question to answer, right? What does happiness mean to you? An even tougher question to answer!

You might be surprised to know that it’s not that easy to define happiness. It means different things to different people. Before we talk about ways to boost your happiness, we need to agree on a definition.

I’d like to suggest a definition of happiness found in The How of Happiness by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky. According to Dr. Lyubomirsky, happiness is, “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

So, happiness isn’t just a thing, but it’s comprised of several things – joy, contentment, positive well-being plus a sense that your life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. Keeping this in mind, here are 5 things you can do every day to help boost your happiness:

1. Do an Act of Kindness

Do something kind for someone and watch your happiness skyrocket. Remember the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive?” Surprise the person behind you and pay for their coffee. Hold the door for someone and wish them a good day. Make eye contact with someone and say hello with a smile. These things may sound insignificant, but give it a try and watch what happens.

2. Practice Gratitude

Create a list of 3 things that make you feel grateful. These things don’t have to be big, expensive, or life-changing; they can be simple things like a sunny day or a rainy day, playing with your dog, or completing a big project. There are no set rules – anything counts as long as your gratitude grows.

3. Play

Don’t be so serious. Take a few minutes and have a little fun. Rake a pile of leaves and jump in, toss a ball with your kids, or go to the park and swing in the breeze. Step outside of your comfort zone, and play a little or a lot.

4. Choose Positivity

A smile will brighten your day. The benefits of a positive attitude include lower rates of depression and anxiety, living longer, better heart health, and lower levels of distress. You may be thinking, “I’m not a positive person, so how do I make this work?” Just fake it until you develop the habit of a positive attitude. Take a stance against your negativity. For every negative thought or negative behavior, counter it with a positive thought or a positive behavior.

5. Practice Self-Care

Do you always put others’ needs and wants before your own? Putting yourself first doesn’t make you a selfish person. Don’t fall into that line of thinking because that’s a trap. Taking good care of yourself.

I encourage you to embrace these 5 steps. Set a 30- day goal and document your practices along the way. Happiness is within your reach. You deserve it.


How to Help Someone During a Panic Attack

Watching someone having a panic or anxiety attack can be very scary. They suddenly shut down – stopped in their tracks by a tightness in their chest or feeling that they can’t catch their breath, or perhaps by a deep sense of fear and dread.

An attack can sometimes look like a life-threatening emergency, so watching it unfold can be terrifying – especially if you don’t know how to respond.

If you’ve ever encountered a situation like this, you’re not alone – panic or anxiety attacks are quite common. A little more than 22% of Americans will suffer a panic attack at least once in their life, according to a national survey conducted in 2006.

Before we tackle things you can do when this happens, let’s take a moment and consider the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack. Many people use these two terms interchangeably, but they are somewhat different.

A panic attack suddenly comes out of nowhere; there is no stimulus (event, object) that sets it into motion. However, an anxiety attack is provoked by something – a fear of snakes, heights, spiders, etc. Physical symptoms between panic and anxiety attacks are quite similar so don’t get lost in the weeds trying to understand the difference.

Below is a list of symptoms to help you better understand what a panic attack looks like:

  • Racing heart
  • Ringing ears
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and fingers
  • Feeling sweaty or chilled
  • Feeling weak
  • Feeling nauseated
  • Feeling out of control
  • Chest constriction and pain
  • Difficulty catching your breath
  • Feeling a sense of impending doom or death

Now that you have an idea what a panic attack looks and feels like, let’s focus on what you can do when one strikes.

It’s important to realize that panic attacks typically last about 20 minutes. Symptoms usually peak (hit their worst) within 10 minutes, and then they begin to decline over the next 10 minutes (What a relief to know that these feelings and thoughts don’t last forever).

Panic attacks can be extremely frightening, emotionally painful, and for many, physically painful. Rest assured, these feelings are only temporary and tend to subside within 20 minutes.

If you’re present when a panic attack happens, here are a few things you can do to help ease your loved one’s level of distress:

  • Remain quiet – avoid the temptation to engage the person by giving them advice like “You’re not having a heart attack!
  • Why do you feel this way? This is all in your head – just relax!”
  • Grab a cold towel and hold it against their forehead or allow them to do so
  • Hold the person’s hand or put your hand on their shoulder to signal your calm presence
  • Reassure them you will quietly sit with them until the panic attack passes
  • Offer them a glass of water
  • Stay calm in the face of chaos
  • Remain present for at least 20-minutes until the symptoms subside

When a panic attack happens, it’s often quite difficult to remain calm because there is an extreme sense of urgency, discomfort, and fear for both you and your loved one. An easy way to remember the suggestions noted above is to keep this quick and easy acronym in mind:

Calm, Assurance, Presence, and Silence


If your friend’s panic attacks become more frequent, persistent, or debilitating, you may want to suggest they seek professional help from a mental health specialist or their family healthcare provider.


Acute Liver Failure Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors & Prevention

Acute liver failure is loss of liver function that occurs rapidly — in days or weeks — usually in a person who has no pre-existing liver disease. Acute liver failure is less common than chronic liver failure, which develops more slowly.

Acute liver failure, also known as fulminant hepatic failure, can cause serious complications, including excessive bleeding and increasing pressure in the brain. It’s a medical emergency that requires hospitalization.

Depending on the cause, acute liver failure can sometimes be reversed with treatment. In many situations, though, a liver transplant may be the only cure.

Signs and symptoms of acute liver failure may include:

  • Yellowing of your skin and eyeballs (jaundice)
  • Pain in your upper right abdomen
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A general sense of feeling unwell (malaise)
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Sleepiness

When to see a doctor
Acute liver failure can develop quickly in an otherwise healthy person, and it is life-threatening. If you or someone you know suddenly develops a yellowing of the eyes or skin; tenderness in the upper abdomen; or any unusual changes in mental state, personality or behavior, seek medical attention right away.

Acute liver failure occurs when liver cells are damaged significantly and are no longer able to function. Potential causes include:

  • Acetaminophen overdose. Taking too much acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States. Acute liver failure can occur after one very large dose of acetaminophen, or after higher than recommended doses every day for several days.
  • If you or someone you know has taken an overdose of acetaminophen, seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Don’t wait for the signs of liver failure.
  • Prescription medications. Some prescription medications, including antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and anticonvulsants, can cause acute liver failure.
  • Herbal supplements. Herbal drugs and supplements, including kava, ephedra, skullcap and pennyroyal, have been linked to acute liver failure.
  • Hepatitis and other viruses. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis E can cause acute liver failure. Other viruses that can cause acute liver failure include Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus.
  • Toxins. Toxins that can cause acute liver failure include the poisonous wild mushroom Amanita phalloides, which is sometimes mistaken for one that is safe to eat. Carbon tetrachloride is another toxin that can cause acute liver failure. It is an industrial chemical found in refrigerants and solvents for waxes, varnishes and other materials.
  • Autoimmune disease. Liver failure can be caused by autoimmune hepatitis — a disease in which your immune system attacks liver cells, causing inflammation and injury.
  • Diseases of the veins in the liver. Vascular diseases, such as Budd-Chiari syndrome, can cause blockages in the veins of the liver and lead to acute liver failure.
  • Metabolic disease. Rare metabolic diseases, such as Wilson’s disease and acute fatty liver of pregnancy, infrequently cause acute liver failure.
  • Cancer. Cancer that either begins in or spreads to your liver can cause your liver to fail.
  • Shock. Overwhelming infection (sepsis) and shock can severely impair blood flow to the liver, causing liver failure.

Many cases of acute liver failure have no apparent cause.

Acute liver failure often causes complications, including:

  • Excessive fluid in the brain (cerebral edema). Too much fluid causes pressure to build up in your brain.
  • Bleeding and bleeding disorders. A failing liver cannot make enough clotting factors, which help blood to clot. Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract is common with this condition. It may be difficult to control.
  • Infections. People with acute liver failure are more likely to develop infections, particularly in the blood and in the respiratory and urinary tracts.
  • Kidney failure. Kidney failure often occurs after following liver failure, especially if you had an acetaminophen overdose, which damages both your liver and your kidneys.

Reduce your risk of acute liver failure by taking care of your liver.

  • Follow instructions on medications. If you take acetaminophen or other medications, check the package insert for the recommended dosage, and don’t take more than that. If you already have liver disease, ask your doctor if it is safe to take any amount of acetaminophen.
  • Tell your doctor about all your medicines. Even over-the-counter and herbal medicines can interfere with prescription drugs you’re taking.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65 and no more than two drinks a day for younger men.
  • Avoid risky behavior. Get help if you use illicit intravenous drugs. Don’t share needles. Use condoms during sex. If you get tattoos or body piercings, make sure the shop you choose is clean and safe. Don’t smoke.
  • Get vaccinated. If you have chronic liver disease, a history of any type of hepatitis infection or an increased risk of hepatitis, talk to your doctor about getting the hepatitis B vaccine. A vaccine also is available for hepatitis A.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s blood and body fluids. Accidental needle sticks or improper cleanup of blood or body fluids can spread hepatitis viruses. Sharing razor blades or toothbrushes also can spread infection.
  • Don’t eat wild mushrooms. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a poisonous mushroom and one that is safe to eat.
  • Take care with aerosol sprays. When you use an aerosol cleaner, make sure the room is ventilated, or wear a mask.
  • Take similar protective measures when spraying insecticides, fungicides, paint and other toxic chemicals. Follow product instructions carefully.
  • Watch what gets on your skin. When using insecticides and other toxic chemicals, cover your skin with gloves, long sleeves, a hat and a mask.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can cause a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which may include fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis.


Constipation Cures for Crohn’s Disease

Diarrhea is usually at the top of the list for Crohn’s disease symptoms, but constipation isn’t a rare occurrence for people with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal system, leading to a variety of symptoms.

One of the functions of your large intestine is to reabsorb water from digested foods. If your large intestine absorbs too much water, stool can become hard and difficult to move. Constipation can be defined as passing stool fewer than three times per week, or needing to strain in order to pass stool.

The main factors that can contribute to constipation include:

  • eating a diet low in fiber
  • not drinking enough fluids
  • not eating enough
  • having a sedentary lifestyle
  • ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
  • taking certain medications, including anti-diarrheals,
  • painkillers, and antidepressants

Many people with Crohn’s avoid high-fiber foods, like raw fruits and vegetables, because these irritate their stomachs. Crohn’s disease sufferers also are typically taking several medications and may not be drinking enough water to compensate for bouts of diarrhea. For these reasons, occasional constipation isn’t uncommon for those with Crohn’s disease.

A severe complication of Crohn’s disease is called stricture, which involves narrowing of a section of your intestine from scarring. This can lead to blockage or obstruction of your intestine. Constipation can be a sign of an intestinal obstruction.

You should seek medical attention immediately if you develop unmanageable nausea and vomiting, persistent abdominal bloating, or prolonged constipation.

Dietary changes
The simplest remedy for constipation is to eat foods high in fiber. But you shouldn’t increase your fiber intake too quickly, as that could lead to gas or stomach upset. Gradually add the following to your diet and see how it goes:

  • beans
  • shredded wheat
  • bran muffins
  • whole wheat breads
  • cooked vegetables, such as squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, and peas
  • fruit, such as raspberries and prunes

Try to avoid processed snack foods, dairy, meat, and fast food. These foods have little to no fiber. Also, don’t eat any foods that you know make your Crohn’s disease symptoms worse.

For example, cooked vegetables may be easier on your stomach than raw vegetables. Don’t increase your fiber intake if you have a stricture.

Increase your intake of water and other liquids, like clear soups and vegetable juices. Aim for at least 1.5 liters per day or more. You should also limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, as these tend to have a dehydrating effect.

Several types of laxatives are available for helping with constipation. Laxatives work in many different ways. Some are harsher than others. Laxatives may interfere with your body’s absorption of certain medications and nutrients, so it’s important that you speak to your doctor before trying a laxative.

Bulk forming agents
Bulk forming agents work by absorbing fluid in your intestines and bulking up your stool. A bulky stool triggers your bowel to contract and push out the stool.

Always drink a lot of water along with a bulk forming agent, or it could lead to a blockage in your bowel. Don’t take a bulk forming agent if you think you have a bowel obstruction. In general, these types of laxatives are the gentlest and safest on your body. However, you shouldn’t take a bulk forming laxative if you have a stricture.

Examples include:

  • Citrucel
  • FiberCon
  • Metamucil
  • Benefiber

Osmotic agents help retain the fluid in your stool. It’s important that you read the directions carefully. Taking too much of an osmotic agent can lead to cramping, diarrhea, dehydration, and a mineral imbalance. Osmotic agents include the following:

  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Miralax
  • Sorbitol

Stool softeners
A stool softener helps add water to stool to soften it and make it easier to pass. These types of laxatives may take a couple days to start working. An example of a stool softener is docusate (Colace, Surfak).

Bowel stimulants
A bowel stimulant works by making your intestines contract. Only take a stimulant if your constipation is severe and other treatments haven’t worked. These are the harshest types of laxatives and only take a few hours to start working.

Some examples of bowel stimulants include:

  • Senokot
  • bisacodyl (Dulcolax)
  • Exercise

Lack of exercise causes your bowel movements to slow down. But if you have Crohn’s disease, you may not feel well enough to exercise. Try to find ways to incorporate more movement into your life. Walk instead of using your car, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or try taking regular breaks from your desk to get up and move around.

If you are able to, do some light exercise, like walking, biking, swimming, or yoga.

Adjusting your medications
Some types of medications can cause constipation. If you have diarrhea with your Crohn’s disease, your doctor may have recommended that you take an anti-diarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium A-D).

Because loperamide acts by slowing down your bowel activity to stop diarrhea, it can occasionally work too well and lead to constipation. If you experience constipation while taking loperamide, stop taking it for a few days and see if your constipation improves.

When to see a doctor
As someone with Crohn’s disease, you should always be having open conversations with your doctor about your symptoms. This is so your doctor can monitor your treatment plan and make changes when necessary. Crohn’s disease is a life-long condition and requires ongoing treatment.

If constipation comes on suddenly, it could be a sign of a serious problem. You could have a blockage in your intestine or severe inflammation that narrows your intestine. See your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of a bowel obstruction. You may require surgery to remove the diseased portion of your bowel.

Symptoms of a blockage include:

  • severe abdominal cramping
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • a high fever
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • inability to pass gas

The bottom line
While diarrhea is more common in Crohn’s disease, constipation can occur as a result of your diet, water intake, lack of exercise, or medications.

If you haven’t had a bowel movement for a few days, first try changing your diet to include more fiber and increase your fluid intake. Talk to your doctor before taking a laxative for constipation.