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July Is UV Safety Month: Being Cautious in the Sun

By | Cancer, UV safety, Your Health | No Comments

Did you know the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes? Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause everything from premature aging of the skin to eye problems to cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, UV rays can even weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. People who live in areas with year-round, bright sunlight, like San Diego County, have a higher risk of skin cancer than people living elsewhere.

Now that summer is in full swing, it is more important than ever to take precautions against harmful UV rays.

UV Radiation: An Overview

Radiation is the emission of energy from any source. UV radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. It is sent out, or radiated, from the sun or man-made objects, such as tanning beds. Types of radiation vary from high frequency, like gamma rays and X-rays, to low frequency, like radio waves. The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength, and the more damage the rays can do. UV rays are medium-frequency rays.

High-frequency UV rays have enough energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule, therefore, damaging the DNA in cells, which can lead to cancer. Since UV rays do not have enough energy to penetrate deep into the body, the damage they do begins on the skin.

The three types of UV radiation are:

  1. UVA rays: UVA rays are the lowest-frequency UV rays and can cause indirect damage to cells’ DNA. UVA rays also do long-term damage to the skin, causing wrinkles and some skin cancers.
  2. UVB rays: UVB rays have a slightly higher frequency than UVA rays. They cause sunburns, can damage skin cells’ DNA, and are the most common cause of skin cancer.
  3. UVC rays: UVC are the highest frequency of the UV rays. They react with ozone high up in the atmosphere and do not reach humans, but they can also come from certain man-made sources, like welding torches, mercury lamps like those found in stadiums, and sanitizing wands.

UV Exposure from the Sun

The strength of UV rays from the sun is dependent on several factors, including:

  • Time of day: Strongest UV rays reach the ground between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Season of the year: UV rays are strongest in the spring and summer months in North America.
  • Distance to the equator: The closer to the equator, the greater the UV exposure.
  • Altitude: The higher the elevation, the greater the UV exposure.
  • Clouds: UV rays can still reach the ground on cloudy days, but clouds tend to block some UVB rays.
  • Reflection from surfaces: Water, sand, snow, and pavement can cause UV rays to reflect onto people, leading to an increase in exposure.
  • Air quality: Ozone, high in the upper atmosphere, can help filter some UV rays.

The strength of the rays on a given day, the amount of time spent in the sun, the complexion of a person’s skin, and whether that person is being protected from UV rays by clothing or sunscreen also factor into the amount of UV exposure one gets.

Skin Cancer

Most skin cancers result from exposure to sunlight, which emits UVA rays. The most common types of skin cancers are basal cell and squamous cell. They appear on parts of the body that are often exposed to the sun, and their occurrence is commonly related to lifetime sun exposure. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, can result from sun exposure as well, and man-made sources of UV rays can produce skin cancer, too.

Skin cancers include:

  • Basil cell carcinoma (BCC): About 80 percent of the 3 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually are basal cell carcinoma. People with fair skin are most at risk. BCCs are commonly found on the head, neck, face, and arms but can appear anywhere on the body. Early diagnosis and treatment are important because the cells can grow deep, damaging the nerves and bones.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): The second most common form of skin cancer, SCC appears as firm red bumps, scaly patches, or sores that seem to heal and then reopen. Light-skinned people are most at risk, but darker-skinned people are not immune. SCC can grow deep in the skin and spread to other areas of the body.
  • Melanoma: This is the most serious type of skin cancer, and it tends to spread. Melanoma can grow inside moles already on the skin or appear as dark spots that look different than typical dark spots. It is crucial to get melanomas diagnosed and treated because they can be deadly. People should be aware of the “ABCDEs” of melanoma. These warning signs include:
    • Asymmetry—one half is different from the other half
    • Border—an irregular-shaped border that looks ragged or notched
    • Color—varying colors from one area to the next, some brown, black, pink, red, white, or blue
    • Diameter—typically 6 millimeters, or the size of a pencil eraser, although often smaller when diagnosed
    • Evolving—looks different from other skin spots, and changes in size, shape, and color occur
  • Other less-common types of skin cancer include cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), merkel cell carcinoma, and sebaceous carcinoma.

Ways to Stay Protected from UV Rays

There are ways people can protect themselves from UV rays. For one, before heading outside, check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index to learn what the expected risk of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun is for any given day. Type in a ZIP code to get local results.

Other ways to stay protected include:

  • Clothing: Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants (darker colors are best) can provide protection; also look for clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor.
  • Hats: Wide-brimmed hats, with a brim of about two to three inches that shields the face, ears, and neck, are best.
  • Shade: Shade from trees, shelters, and umbrellas offer protection from direct sunlight and UV rays.
  • Sunglasses: Sunglasses protect eyes from UV rays, reducing the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths on the cornea. They also protect the delicate skin around the eyes. For the best protection, choose wraparound lenses and sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses that are labeled as “UV400” or “meets ANSI UV requirements” block nearly 100 percent of UV rays. Fortunately, most inexpensive glasses protect as well as pricey ones. People who spend time in the sand, snow, or water, may want polarized lenses, which cut down glare from other surfaces.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen can help filter UV rays but not totally block them. The American Cancer Society recommends sunscreen but warns against relying on it to prolong one’s exposure to the sun.

What Is SPF?

Sun protection factor (SPF) is used to measure a sunscreen’s ability to protect from the UVB rays that cause sunburn. SPF ratings that protect against both UVA and UVB rays range from a low of 15 to a high of 100. The higher the SPF, the more UVB protection a product affords, although the benefits become negligible when going over a 30 rating. Anything lower than a 15 should not be used.

An SPF of 30 provides the wearer with the equivalent of one minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes spent in the sun. So, for example, someone spending an hour in the sun using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will get the same exposure as if they were completely unprotected for two minutes. Unfortunately, most people get less protection because they do not apply sunscreen often enough or cover their entire exposed bodies.

The value of sunscreen depends on its SPF number:

  • SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 sunscreens filter out about 98 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 100 sunscreens filter out about 99 percent of UVB rays

Types of sunscreen:

  • Broad spectrum: Broad spectrum sunscreens have been shown to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Ingredients to look for are avobenzone, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide.
  • Water resistant: Sunscreens labeled “water resistant” can protect the skin even when it gets wet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers to state whether their product protects for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming, playing watersports, and sweating.

Good sunscreen should last two to three years. Check the expiration date to be sure it is still effective. Shake the bottle to remix the ingredients if they have settled. Keep sunscreen in a cool, dark place when possible.

To maintain protection, reapply sunscreen every two hours—or more often if the wearer is in the water or sweating.

Other UV Safety Concerns

  • Children: Children tend to spend more time outdoors and can burn more easily than adults. Parents should be sure their children are wearing hats and protective clothing, staying in the shade, and applying sunscreen. Babies under six months old always should be protected by hats and never be out in the direct sunlight. Sunscreen is OK to use on a baby’s unprotected skin (look for sunscreen made for babies and children) if those areas cannot be covered by clothing or shade.
  • Tanning beds: Although some may believe the UV rays in tanning beds are harmless, the truth is that tanning beds give off UVA and UVB rays, contributing to skin damage and cancer, including melanoma, especially if first exposure is before age 30. Try sunless tanning lotions to provide a darker skin color.
  • UV lamps: UV lamps used in nail salons can also give off UVA rays, although at a much lower amount than tanning beds. Sunscreen applied to the hands can help prevent UVA-ray exposure when using a lamp.
  • Chemicals in sunscreen: Concerns have arisen in the past few years over the link between chemicals in sunscreen and cancer. In 2019, the FDA deemed two ingredients—aminobenzoic acid, or PABA, and trolamine salicylate—unsafe. Do not use products with these ingredients. Oxybenzone is another of the common ingredients in sunscreen that has raised concern. The FDA currently considers it safe, but some environmental groups and health organizations claim it is potentially harmful to the environment, especially coral reef habitats, as well as to some people who may be allergic to it. Laboratory tests have also shown it to interfere with a body’s hormones. Although no definitive evidence has come forth on oxybenzone, two ingredients the FDA does propose are safe and effective are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
  • Sun exposure and vitamin D: The sun can provide vitamin D, but scientists are unsure just how much sun exposure is safe to offer a benefit. Since the risks from sun exposure are great, taking vitamin D supplements is the safer way to acquire the vitamin.
  • Heatstroke and heat exhaustion: Too much sun exposure, especially when combined with activity, can cause the body to overheat. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke may result. Heat exhaustion requires first aid, including moving the person into the shade, removing heavy clothing, and administering cool water while monitoring. Heatstroke, when the core body temperature reaches 104°F, can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles in the body. It requires emergency treatment. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heat Related Illness page for these and other heat-related illness symptoms and treatment information.

As with all good things, moderation is best. Limit time in the sun and see a doctor if unusual growths or changes in the skin appear. Taking precautions, especially in sunny San Diego County, can still provide plenty of enjoyment in the sun.




Sources: American Academy of Dermatology Association, Types of Skin Cancer, https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/types/common; American Cancer Society, Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma Skin Cancer, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-and-symptoms.html; Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation,  https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/uv-radiation.html#:~:text=UV%20rays%2C%20either%20from%20the,can%20also%20cause%20eye%20problems; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Heat Related Illness,  https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/heatrelillness.html; CDC, UV Radiation, https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/uv-radiation-safety/index.html; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Skin Cancer: Sun Safety, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm; EPA, UV Index, https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/uv-index-1; Mayo Clinic, Heat Exhaustion, https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-heat-exhaustion/basics/art-20056651; Mayo Clinic, Heatstroke, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20353581; U.S. FDA, FDA Advances New Proposed Regulation to Make Sure That Sunscreens Are Safe and Effective, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-advances-new-proposed-regulation-make-sure-sunscreens-are-safe-and-effective.

Graphics: Parker Jewish Institute, https://parkerinstitute.org/for-your-better-health-july-2020/; CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/sunsafeselfie/index.htm

COVID-19 Update and Resources

By | Coronavirus, Your Health | No Comments


As businesses and recreation areas continue to reopen since the coronavirus shutdown in March, some people may believe the threat of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that produces the disease COVID-19 is behind us, but the fact is cases are spiking. What was true regarding taking precautions 3.5 months ago still stands today. In fact, there has been a surge of new cases in the nation and in San Diego County, making it more important than ever to be safe.

Nationwide, a single-day case record was set on July 1, with more than 48,400 new positive coronavirus tests recorded on that one day. In San Diego County, to date there have been more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19, including the 497 new positives reported on June 29, a single-day record. The previous record was set just the day before. There have been 365 deaths in San Diego County due to COVID-19 and a whopping 3,400 in Los Angeles County.

The United States still leads the world in reported infections (2.68 million) and death toll numbers (128,000). In California, about 244,000 cases have been tallied, with nearly 6,000 deaths.

Precautions: A Review

There are ways to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19. On July 1, the County updated its Order of the Health Officer and Emergency Regulations that can be found here. Reducing the risk of exposure and illness includes the following:

  • Staying home: The fact that restaurants, the zoo, and hair salons have reopened does not mean these places are infection free. It is still best to stay at home and limit out-of-residence exposure except for essential needs, to go to work, or to participate in outdoor activities as a household.
  • Wearing a mask: A face mask worn over the nose and mouth can cut down on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by creating a barrier to trap potentially infectious droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. Masks not only protect the wearer but others too, and they are required in San Diego County for anyone two years and up.
  • Social distancing: Keeping a distance of six feet or more between people not in the same household can reduce the chance of breathing in infected particles. The practice of physical distancing while wearing a mask provides even more protection.
  • Washing hands: Washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds at a time helps. Use hand sanitizer (with a 70 percent alcohol level) and hand wipes when soap and water are not available. Always wash hands before preparing and eating food and after coughing, sneezing, nose-blowing, touching animals or pets, and using the bathroom. Spraying disinfectant on door handles and knobs can help too, as can wiping down surfaces often.
  • Cleaning surfaces: Common surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected between uses. Take special care with handles, knobs, light switches, phones, keyboards, remote controls, and other items that multiple people touch. Wear disposable gloves when using a disinfectant and clean hands after gloves are removed.

Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

A wide range of symptoms associated with COVID-19 has been reported. Some people’s symptoms are very mild, while others are severe. People can even have the disease or pass it to others without knowing they have it, which is why staying at home or wearing a mask and social distancing when in public are essential precautions for everyone to take, whether they feel ill or not.

Contact your health-care provider if you experience the following common signs of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Call 911 and seek emergency medical attention if experiencing the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Inability to wake or to stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face


There are two types of tests available for COVID-19. A viral test will tell if you have a current infection, while an antibody test might tell if you had an infection in the past. Call your health-care provider if you think you need a test.

The County of San Diego offers free testing at various locations. call 211 or go online. You will be directed to testing locations that do not require a referral. Appointments are required, except at the Tubman-Chavez Community Center walk-in site. To make an appointment, go to the San Diego County Testing Sites website and search for appointments by location or by day of the week.

Certain CVS drug stores also offer testing without a referral. Appointments can be made up to three days in advance, but they fill up fast. See the CVSHealth COVID-19 Testing website for more information.

Who Should Get Tested?

The San Diego County website states that people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection have the highest priority for testing. Others who should be tested include:

  • Health-care workers, first responders, and other social service employees and people working in essential jobs
  • Seniors 65 and older
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People living in a residential or group setting, including shelters and long-term care facilities
  • People exposed to infected individuals where risk is high

Vaccine Developments

There is promising news on the vaccine front. Currently, 14 COVID-19 vaccines are in human trials.

The COVID-19 front-runner, Moderna, has finalized the design and dosage of its Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna is moving into late-stage trials with its mRNA-1273 drug and will be testing it on 30,000 subjects this month. The objective of the trial is to assess the drug’s ability to prevent someone from catching and transmitting the SARS-CoV-2 infection and therefore prevent hospitalization. Moderna has signed with Catalent, which will prepare to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine for the U.S. market beginning in the fall of 2020.

On July 1, the drug company Pfizer, in association with the biotech firm BioNTech, reported that its experimental vaccine, also based on messenger RNA technology, has spurred immune responses in healthy patients. Although the vaccine also caused fever and other side effects at high doses in trial candidates, it did generate antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that results in COVID-19, and some were neutralizing antibodies that can prevent the virus from functioning. The clinical data have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a journal, and testing will continue.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals on June 30 reported its vaccine, INO-4800, had shown positive results in a small trial. Inovio states that 94 percent of its Phase 1 trial participants demonstrated overall immune responses at week six after receiving two doses. Through week 8, the drug produced no adverse serious side effects. Inovio is to begin a Phase 2/3 efficacy study in the United States this summer.

Blood Type and COVID-19

An interesting correlation between blood type and COVID-19 recently has surfaced: Blood type may be a determinant in who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 virus and how severe the COVID-19 illness will become in patients. As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in June, researchers studied 1,600 COVID-19-positive patients with respiratory failure and determined that people with blood group O are at a lower risk of acquiring COVID-19 than non-O blood groups, and people in blood group A have a higher risk of acquiring the illness than non-A blood groups. The study participants were among seven hospitals in Italy and Spain, all having severe respiratory illness, and were compared to about 2,000 healthy individuals. Although limitations to the study mean it is premature to link blood type with COVID-10 outcomes, the data suggest a connection may exist.

More Information

On June 25, the CDC expanded its list of underlying medical conditions that increase a person’s risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those conditions include obesity, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and sickle cell disease. Also added were conditions that might put people at an increased risk, including asthma, smoking, cystic fibrosis, liver disease, pregnancy, an immunocompromised state, and type 1 diabetes. See the full list on the CDC site.

Taking precautions, such as limiting interactions with other people, until a vaccine is available is the best way to prevent COVID-19. If you feel sick and think you may have COVID-10, seek medical attention within 24 hours and isolate yourself from others in the household.



Sources: BioPharmaReporter.com, Moderna Secures Fill-Finish Capabilities for COVID-19 Vaccine, https://www.biopharma-reporter.com/Article/2020/06/29/Moderna-deal-with-Catalent-for-fill-finish; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Diseases 2019 (COVID-19): Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html; CDC, Symptoms, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html; Fierce Biotech, Moderna Finalizes Design of Phase 3 COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Ahead of July Start, https://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/moderna-finalizes-design-phase-3-covid-19-vaccine-trial-ahead-july-start; New York Times, Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage; San Diego County.gov, Coronavirus Disease 2010, Safer at Home, https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/health-order/; STAT, COVID-19 Vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech Shows Positive Results, https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/01/covid-19-vaccine-from-pfizer-and-biontech-shows-positive-results/; Texas Medical Center, Blood Type May Affect COVID-19 Outcomes, Study Shows, https://www.tmc.edu/news/2020/06/blood-type-may-affect-covid-19-outcomes-study-shows/


Graphics: CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus; Ohio.gov, https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home.


Staff Book Review: Brother & Sister: A Memoir by Diane Keaton

By | Alzheimer's disease, Book review, Mental Health, Uncategorized | No Comments

In the last chapter of actress Diane Keaton’s new memoir, Brother & Sister, Keaton laments, “I want to have another chance at being a better sister.” The sibling Keaton is alluding to is her brother, Randy Hall. Doted on by his idealizing mother, not living up to the expectations of his hard-driven father, and dealing with inexplicable inner demons, Hall lives a troubled life, which Keaton highlights in her short book.

At times detached from her family while working, Keaton draws from her own memories, her sister’s recollections and correspondences, and her mother’s letters, snapshots, and diaries to weave a tale of Hall’s struggles. From a child afraid of “ghosts lurking in the shadows” to a young man who turns to drawing, writing poetry, and making collages, followed by more destructive means of coping, Hall tries to make his way in a world that he never fully feels comfortable—or comfort—in. Now in his seventies and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Hall’s behavior still reflects a life, as Keaton puts it, “composed of hundreds of clues, often leading nowhere.”

Not just about Hall, Brother & Sister also explores the regrets and responsibilities a family bears when one member has a detachment from reality, as well as the different lives people born into the same family can lead.

Keaton’s memoir, which begins when the author is a happy firstborn child in the Hall family of Southern California, is now available to reserve from Herrick Library and pick up during curbside hours.

(To reserve, go to the online catalog, send an email to info@herricklibrary.org, or call 619-825-5010.)

June Is Pride Month: LGBTQ+ Health

By | LGBTQ+ Health, Men's Health, Uncategorized, Women's Health | No Comments


Pride Month is a national celebration that brings awareness to the impact gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and plus (including pansexual, asexual, and omnisexual) individuals have on our society. Beginning with Pride Week, the last week of June, San Diego Pride Month spills into July, with parades, 5K runs, and other events and celebrations, all virtual this year.

The History of Pride Month

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pride Month traditions. The first pride march was held on June 28, 1970, in New York City, one year after the Stonewall Uprising. That day in 1969, a time when homosexuality was still considered a criminal offense, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a predominantly gay bar in Manhattan. It was not uncommon for police to raid bars frequented by gays and lesbians at the time, but this incursion got out of hand when police became violent and a revolt ensued. People within the Greenwich Village neighborhood soon organized, demonstrating for days against centuries of abuse in hopes of establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexuality without fear of arrest. The following year pride marches sprang up around the world, and now pride parades and events are an annual tradition.

Although progress has been made in advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people, including the right to marry, inequities in health care still exist for people within the LGBTQ+ community.

Health Disparity Facts

Research reveals that LGBTQ+ individuals face health inequities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and civil and human rights violations. For instance, the LGBTQ+ community exhibits higher rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.

According to U.S. government statistics, as compared to non-LGBTQ+ people:

  • LGBTQ+ youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to think about and attempt suicide
  • LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience homelessness
  • Lesbians and bisexual women are less likely to seek preventive services for cancer, including mammograms
  • Lesbians and bisexual women are at greater risk for obesity, increased alcohol use, and smoking, all of which can lead to cancer
  • Lesbians and bisexual women are at higher risk for BV (bacterial vaginosis)
  • Bisexual women are at greater risk of experiencing rape, physical violence, and stalking
  • Gay men, especially those of color, are at higher risk of contracting HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which leads to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
  • Gay men are at higher risk of acquiring STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)
  • Gay men have higher rates of HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • LGBTQ+ adults are less likely to seek medical care and prescription medication when ill
  • LGBTQ+ adults are more likely to receive health care services in emergency rooms or delay care
  • LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and use drugs
  • Transgender people have a higher rate of HIV and AIDS, victimization, mental health issues, suicide, and a lack of health insurance

Improving LGBTQ+ Health Outcomes

There are ways the medical community can help improve health outcomes for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. They include:

  • Identifying LGBTQ+ disparities in health by collecting SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) data`
  • Ensuring confidentiality for those seeking health care
  • Providing medical students with proper training to understand cultural disparities
  • Advocating for anti-bullying policies in schools and workplaces
  • Providing social services support to reduce youth suicide and homelessness
  • Supporting increased funding to investigate LGBTQ+ health disparities

How the Population as a Whole Can Help

Anyone concerned with human rights can speak out and vote for representatives who will act on the behalf of vulnerable populations, such as those in the LGBTQ+ community. Being aware of current events is the basis for making informed decisions. As an example, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 and prohibiting health-care discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, creed, age, or national origin, has faced recent challenges. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the current administration has proposed a final rule change that removes protections against discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity, which could greatly impact transgender people. On June 22, 2020, the GLMA (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association) joined a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal challenging the rule change, which is set to go into effect in August 2020. For more information, visit the GLMA website.

People also can show support for the LGBTQ+ community by joining in pride events and lending financial support by becoming a Pride Ambassador.

What Can LGBTQ+ People Do to Improve Health Outcomes?

On an individual level, LGBTQ+ people should seek medical care for the same health issues that affect the general population. Additional screening should include the following tests:

  • HIV (at least once annually)
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Pap tests for lesbians and bisexual women
  • Mammograms for lesbians and bisexual women

Vaccinations are available for hepatitis A and B (there is no vaccine for Hep C) and HPV. PrEP and PEP regimens also are available for HIV-negative individuals. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prescription prevention method for people who are HIV-negative but at high risk of HIV exposure through sexual contact or injection drug use. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) refers to antiretroviral drugs for HIV-negative people who have a single high-risk exposure. PEP drugs can prevent HIV if taken within 72 hours of possible exposure and continued for four weeks.

Health-Care Information

Because LGBTQ+ individuals are apt to delay health-care needs, finding a health-care provider they are comfortable with is important. Locally, the LGBTQ Services page of Family Health Centers of San Diego, a private, nonprofit community health center, provides a list of resources for LGBTQ+ people seeking medical help. Call (619) 515-2300 to schedule an appointment with a provider. Telemedicine appointments are available as well as an urgent care facility. Everything from mental health services to STD screening and treatment to transgender health services is offered. Family Health Centers also provides benefits enrollment help.

A list of LGBTQ health clinics by state is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website by clicking here. Included are hotlines and referral services.

Community-wide resources, including coronavirus information and lists of LGBTQ-friendly providers, can be located through links on the San Diego LGBT Community Center website.

For information on virtual events for Pride 2020 in San Diego, including a virtual Pride 5K Run/Walk in July, visit San Diego LGBT Pride.




Sources: APA Public Interest Government Relations Office, LGBT Health Disparities, https://www.apa.org/advocacy/health-disparities/lgbt-health.pdf; CDC, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/clinicians/prevention/prep-and-pep.html; CDC, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health,  https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/health-services.htm; Health Affairs, “HHS Strips Gender Identity, Sex Stereotyping, Language Access Protections from ACA Anti-Discrimination Rule,” https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200613.671888/full/; GLMA, http://www.glma.org/;  Library of Congress, LGBT Pride Month, https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about /; Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health,” https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Lesbian and Bisexual Health, https://www.womenshealth.gov/files/documents/fact-sheet-lesbian-bisexual-health.pdf

Graphics: https://publications.america.gov/publication/pride-2020-the-universal-declaration-of-human-rights/; https://www.lbcc.edu/post/lgbtq-students; https://sdpride.org/

Curbside Pickup Starts June 30th!

By | Library News | No Comments

Curbside Pickup

Herrick Library’s collection will be available to you through curbside pickup starting June 30. We’re happy to let you know that you can begin to check out books, DVDs, and magazines starting on that day. With curbside pickup, you will choose your library items online, make an appointment to pick them up, and have them brought to your car by library staff. (The physical library remains closed for everyone’s safety.)

VW van

How does it work?

STEP 1: Locate an item in the library catalog you’d like to reserve.  Then,  place a hold on the item from the catalog (click “Hold” and input your library card barcode) OR call or email library staff, and we will reserve an item for you. New books & DVDs can be found on the Library’s Facebook page.

STEP 2: Make an appointment to pick up the item during Curbside Pickup Hours.

STEP 3: Arrive within your appointment window and park in the designated Curbside Pickup Area. Call library staff to say you’ve arrived and let us know if you would like the items placed in your car’s trunk or in the backseat through an open window.

STEP 4: Staff will deliver the items to you (wearing gloves and a face mask). Please stay in your car in the designated area.

Tuesday 9:00-1:00
Wednesday 2:00-7:00
Thursday 9:00-1:00

  • Items on reserve have been quarantined for 72 hours.
  • Our outdoor Book Drop is open 24/7 for you to return items.
  • Regular lending policies apply: 3 books, 3 medical DVDs, 3 Hollywood DVDs or documentaries.

Phone: 619-825-5010
Email: info@herricklibrary.org

Staff DVD Review – Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins

By | Featured Titles, Movie review | No Comments

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins is a rollicking documentary that follows the life of one of America’s first female investigative news reporters and columnists. Raised in Texas and getting her journalism degree in an era when women were first joining the workforce in great numbers, Ivins wanted no part in the traditional female newspaper role as a society, food, or fashion writer. Brilliant and witty, she took on the issues of the day, reporting on the 1960s civil rights movement, Vietnam anti-war protests, and political corruption.

Ivins’s work still resonates today, especially her focus on civil unrest, corruption in the Minneapolis Police Department when she was a young reporter there, and political incompetency, noting, “Polarizing people is a good way to win an election and a good way to wreck a country.” As a rare Texas liberal, she had numerous run-ins with the corrupt and racist political establishment.

At six feet tall, redheaded, and wearing size 12 cowboy boots, the California-born Ivins was an imposing figure who did not back down. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize three times, and her column ran in more than 400 newspapers. Raise Hell also covers Ivins’s personal battles with alcoholism and her end-of-life struggle with breast cancer in 2007.

Ivins’s life and work can be summed up in her quote, “The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.”

Place a hold on this DVD to loan from the Herrick Library.

Reviewed by Sue Petrofsky, Library Assistant.

June 19 Is Juneteenth: Racial Awareness Videos to Reserve

By | Race and Health | No Comments

To honor Juneteenth, the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in 1865, and to highlight the role race plays in health care and health outcomes in the United States, the Herrick Community Health Care Library has compiled a list of videos and books that offer racial awareness and understanding and are available to reserve for checkout .


  • The Blind Side: This is the true story of how an impoverished and homeless African American teenager gains success through the love of a caring family and a newfound passion for football.
  • The Express: The Ernie Davis Story: The Express is the inspirational true story of Syracuse University football player Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy.
  • Fences: This film, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, tells the story of a former talented baseball player who, bitter about how racism has held him back, takes out his frustrations on the ones he loves.
  • Finding Forrester: A gifted African American teen breaks racial stereotypes by gaining acceptance to a prestigious private school and finding himself through writing.
  • 42: 42 is a film about the racial integration of American professional baseball by standout Jackie Robinson.
  • Get on Up: The life of singer James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty and racism to worldwide stardom is explored.
  • Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story: This is a TV film adaptation of the life story of Ben Carson, who rose from life in inner-city Detroit to run for president and become the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Green Book: The 2018 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, this film focuses on the unlikely friendship between Tony Lip, a former Italian American bouncer, and world-renowned African American pianist Dr. Don Shirley as the two travel through the Deep South during the Jim Crow era.
  • Harriet: Harriet is the 2019 biographical film about abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery.
  • The Help: In 1960s Mississippi, a young woman from Southern society dares to start her writing career by focusing on the lives of the African American women who spend their days caring for the homes and children of whites.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Based on the 2010 book of the same name, this film, starring Oprah Winfrey, is a TV adaptation about Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells would go on to save millions of lives and raise questions of ethics in science.
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco: This 2019 film centers on the efforts of a young black man trying to reclaim his childhood home, whose monetary value has increased exorbitantly in gentrified San Francisco.
  • Lee Daniels’ The Butler: This movie tells the story of African American White House butler Cecil Gaines, who served eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan.
  • Loving: Loving is a true story of an interracial couple whose arrest for marrying one another led to a landmark Supreme Court case against miscegenation.
  • Men of Honor: Based on the life of Carl Brashear, Men of Honor is the story of an ambitious sharecropper who becomes the first African American U.S. Navy Diver.
  • Miss Evers’ Boys: Starring Alfre Woodard, this film exposes the U.S. government’s decades-long Tuskegee syphilis experiment that was conducted on black subjects who were allowed to die, despite a cure being available.
  • Moonlight: This 2016 Academy Award winner is a depiction of a young African American man’s grappling with his identity and sexuality into adulthood.
  • Places in the Heart: This 1984 Depression-era drama starring Sally Field and Danny Glover tells the tale of a widowed mother who must try to save her farm with the help of an African American drifter and a blind boarder.
  • Precious: An obese, illiterate African American teen, the victim of mental and sexual abuse and a brutal inner-city upbringing, must overcome her struggles for a basic education and a new chance at life.
  • Something the Lord Made: A made-for-TV biographical film about the relationship between cardiac-surgery pioneers Vivien Thomas, who is black, and the white Alfred Blalock.
  • 12 Years a Slave: This 2013 drama is based on the life of Solomon Northrup, who was born free in New York state but kidnapped and forced into slavery before escaping back to freedom.
  • Waves: This 2019 film is an epic emotional journey of a suburban African American family in the aftermath of a violent tragedy.



  • The ABCs of Diversity: Helping Kids (and Oursleves!) Embrace Our Differences, by Carolyn B. Helsel and Y. Joy Harris-Smith: This 2020 title helps parents to teach their children about diversity while raising kids who respect differences and honor similarities.
  • Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, by Damon Tweedy, M.D.: This book is by a black doctor who reflects on how race influences the field of medicine, both for black doctors and patients.
  • Cross-Cultural Medicine, by JudyAnn Bigby: To give health-care workers a better understanding of diversity among patients, this book explores the general health problems and risks, along with spiritual and religious issues, among members of different racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. 
  • The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath, by Julia Finley Mosca: This picture book in rhyme tells the inspirational story of an African American eye doctor who grew up during the civil rights movement.
  • Every Day I Fight, by Stuart Scott, with Larry Platt: This is a memoir of former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott and his determined fight against appendiceal cancer.
  • Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law, by Haben Girma: This memoir is an account of the struggles and triumphs of an African American woman who was the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law School.
  • I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond, by Michael Oher: This is the autobiography of  Michael Oher, the football star and subject of the hit movie The Blind Side, who rose above poverty and homelessness.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot: This is the story of an African American woman, Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells have been the basis for a vast amount of research as well as inquiries into the ethics of science and medicine.
  • Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care, by Dayna Bowen Matthew: This book highlights the long-standing disparity in health care between white Americans and people of racial and ethnic minorities.
  • My Love Story, by Tina Turner: This is an inspiring memoir from singer Tina Turner, who overcame many obstacles in her life and career.
  • Teach Your Dragon About Diversity, by Steve Herman: This picture book teaches kids the benefits of respecting and embracing diversity in others.


Source: Taylor, Jamila, “Racism, Inequality, and Healthcare for African Americans,”  https://tcf.org/content/report/racism-inequality-health-care-african-americans/?agreed=1

June 19 Is World Sickle Cell Day

By | Sickle Cell Disease | No Comments

This Friday marks the 10th anniversary of World Sickle Cell Day. The day is marked by community events and activities to gain awareness of sickle cell disease, a painful blood disorder.

What Is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that include sickle cell anemia. Because healthy red blood cells are round and flexible, they can travel through small blood vessels easily, carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. But blood cells in someone with SCD become stiff and sticky and are shaped like the letter “C,” or resembling a sickle, and cause episodes of severe pain. Sickle cells die early, which means people with SCD have a constant shortage of red blood cells, and when sickle cells travel throughout the blood stream, the C-shaped cells get stuck and impede blood flow.

Who Gets Sickle Cell Disease?

SCD affects millions of people worldwide, including about 100,000 Americans. It can affect anyone but is most common in people whose ancestors originated in sub-Saharan Africa; South America, the Caribbean, and Central America; Saudi Arabia; India; and the Mediterranean countries of Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Sickle cell disease occurs in one out of every 500 Black or African American births, and one in 13 Black or African American babies is born with the sickle cell trait. Both parents must have the trait to pass down the disease. More than 6,000 Californians have SCD, 43 percent of whom are younger than age 18.

People with SCD are at risk of complications from other diseases, including stroke, acute chest syndrome, blindness, and bone damage. Organ damage, particularly of the liver, kidney, lungs, heart, and spleen, can also result in people with SCD.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important since children with SCD have an increased risk for infection and other health problems. SCD is commonly diagnosed by a pin-prick blood test given at birth during a routine newborn screening. It can also be diagnosed before birth in babies whose parents carry the trait. Since there is no cure for sickle cell disease other than through bone marrow transplantation, treatment options focus on prevention and easing complications.

Signs of SCD include:

  • Chronic anemia—lack of red blood cells, or Hb, in the body
  • Unpredictable pain—blocked blood cells can cause pain and swelling in the area, referred to as a crisis
  • Fatigue—constant tiredness, feeling weak, or lacking energy caused by anemia
  • Jaundice—yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

Types of Sickle Cell Disease

People with sickle cell trait (SCT; HbAS) have inherited one sickle cell gene (“S”) and one normal gene (“A”). People with sickle cell trait typically do not experience any signs of the disease, but they can pass the trait on to their children. If both parents have SCT, there is a 50 percent chance that any of their children will have SCT and a 25 percent chance that any of their children will have sickle cell disease.

The most common types of SCD are:

  • HbSS: This form occurs in people who inherit a sickle cell gene (“S”) from each parent. This combination makes up sickle cell anemia, which is the most severe form of the disease.
  • HbSC: This form occurs in people who inherit one sickle cell gene (“S”) from one parent and one abnormal hemoglibin (“C”), a protein that helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, from the other. This is a milder form of SCD.
  • HbS beta thalassemia: In this form, people inherit one sickle cell gene (“S”) from one parent and one beta thalassemia, a different form of anemia, from the other parent. There are two types of HbS beta thalassemia. People with Hbs beta O-thalassemia have a severe form of SCD, while those with HbS beta +-thalassemia have a milder form.
  • HbSD, HbSE, and HbSO: These are rarer types of SCD. In each of these, people inherit one sickle cell gene (“S”) and one abnormal type of hemoglobin (“D,” “E,” or “O”). Severity differs with each type.

Cure for SCD

The only cure for sickle cell disease is bone marrow transplantation (BMT), in which healthy stem cells from a donor replace abnormal stem cells of a person with SCD. Bone marrow is the soft, fatty tissue in the center of bones where blood cells are made. Unfortunately, bone marrow transplantation is a high-risk procedure that can pose serious side effects, including death. A close match, which is necessary for a transplant to work, is difficult to find, but the best donors tend to be healthy siblings of someone with SCD. BMT is reserved for children with severe SCD who have not experienced much, if any, organ damage from the disease.

Hydroxyurea is the only effective drug known to prevent the formation of sickle cells. Hydroxyurea is an antimetabolite used to treat certain types of cancer by slowing or stopping the growth of abnormal cells in the body. It can cut the rate of painful sickle cell episodes in half. It is, however, a risky drug to use because it can cause a severe decrease in blood cells in bone marrow.

Parents whose likelihood of passing on sickle cell disease are encouraged to be tested, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends all newborns be screened for SCD. For more information on sickle cell disease testing, read this article from San Diego Network of Care and contact your doctor.



Sources: Breaking the SSickle Cell Cycle, https://www.btsscycle.org/; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/facts.html and https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/data.html#:~:text=SCD%20affects%20approximately%20100%2C000%20Americans,sickle%20cell%20trait%20(SCT); MedlinePlus, Hydroxyurea, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682004.html; San Diego County, Sickle Cell Disease, https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/health_services_advisory_board/documents/HSAB_041615_Sickle_Cell_Disease-Adult_Care_2014.pdf; San Diego Network of Care, Sickle Cell Test, https://sandiego.networkofcare.org/mh/library/article.aspx?hwid=hw43792; Sickle Cell Society, World Sickle Cell Day, https://www.sicklecellsociety.org/wscd/.

June Is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month: Migraines

By | Men's Health, Migraine, Women's Health | No Comments


Migraine is the third most common disease worldwide. Migraine affects 38 million Americans, 85 percent of whom are women. Migraine pain can occur from a couple days each month to daily and can greatly interfere with day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, at least half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed, and the majority never seek treatment for their pain.

The purpose of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (#MHAM) is to bring attention to this neurobiological disorder, to encourage headache and migraine sufferers to seek treatment, and to apprise sufferers of the new treatments that are available.

Migraine Symptoms

Migraines are characterized by a throbbing pain in the head. They may first appear in childhood and tend to run in families, but they can be environmentally caused as well. The pain associated with migraine typically affects one side of the head, although one-third of sufferers experience pain all over the head. Pain can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, and aura (flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the face or extremities, and vision changes). Attacks last between four and 72 hours.

Most migraine sufferers resort to self-treatment in the form of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, only seeing a physician when symptoms become more severe. A neurologist should be consulted if symptoms change, are disabling, or do not respond to OTC medications.

What Is Migraine?

Migraine is a neurological disorder involving nerve pathways and brain chemicals. Whereas older theories regarding migraine suggested pain was due to fluctuations in blood flow to the brain, new theories point to chemical compounds and hormones as the causes of pain. It is now believed that migraine pain occurs when waves of activity in certain groups of excitable brain cells trigger chemicals and hormones, like serotonin and estrogen, to narrow blood vessels throughout the body. Shifts in serotonin levels can affect both men and women, while estrogen, as a female hormone, only affects women.

Estrogen levels vary over a woman’s lifetime and even over the month in fertile women, which may explain why more women than men suffer from migraines. In fact, severe headaches that occur during premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in some women are attributed to drops in estrogen levels and actually are migraines. As well, “sinus headaches,” whose common symptoms include extreme facial pain and pressure without nasal discharge, are now considered a form of migraine.

Migraine Patterns and Triggers

People who suffer from migraine often notice signs that an attack is coming on. These triggers can include:

  • Stress
  • Biological and environmental conditions (hormonal shifts or exposure to certain smells)
  • Fatigue and a change in sleep patterns
  • Glaring or flickering lights
  • Weather changes
  • Certain foods or drinks
  • Dehydration

There are four stages of a migraine, although not everyone experiences all of them. They are:

  • Prodrome—From a few hours to a day or two prior to migraine, people may experience constipation, mood changes, food cravings, depression, problems concentrating, a stiff neck, increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and frequent yawning.
  • Aura—From an hour before to during migraines, people may have visual disturbances and temporary vision loss, and experience numbness and tingling in the face or arm and leg or on one side of the body.
  • Attack—Between the typical four to 72 hours most migraines last, people may experience a throbbing or drilling pain in the head, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, depression, anxiety, and a sensitivity to light, sound, and smell.
  • Postdrome—After a migraine, people may feel drained of energy, depressed, confused, and fatigued.

Diagnosing Migraine

Since there is no actual test to diagnose migraine, keeping a headache diary can help pinpoint triggers. A headache diary simply is a log of when headaches occur and the environmental factors accompanying them. It should be brought to a doctor’s appointment to help the physician discern a patient’s migraine patterns.

At an appointment, the doctor will ask for the following information:

  • What the headaches are like, how often they occur, how severe the pain is, and what symptoms accompany them
  • How the headaches are interfering with everyday activities
  • Whether there is a family history of headaches and/or migraines

The doctor may suggest a CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, but these tests can only rule out other reasons for pain and not diagnose migraine.

Relieving Migraine Pain

Fast action can help prevent migraine from increasing in intensity. At the first sign of migraine, retreating to a dark, quiet room, trying a hot or cold compress over the head or neck, and drinking a caffeinated beverage may ease symptoms.

If these simple remedies do not work, seek pain relievers. There is a variety of drugs that treat migraines. Individuals should consult with their doctor as to what is safe and most effective for their type of migraine and their health profile.

Migraine medications include:

  • NSAID pain relievers: Typically containing ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, these pain relievers are for milder headaches but can help migraine pain if taken immediately.
  • Triptans: Drugs such as sumatriptan (Imitrex) and rizatriptan (Maxalt) are prescription medications that block pain pathways in the brain. They typically come in pill form but may be administered by nasal spray or injection. They may not be safe for people who are at risk for stroke or heart attack.
  • Dihydroergotamines (Migranal): This type of drug comes in nasal spray and injectable forms and is most effective when taken shortly after a migraine starts in people whose pain lasts longer than 24 hours. Dihydroergotamines are not recommended for people with heart disease, hypertension, or kidney and liver disease.
  • Lasmiditan (Reyvow): This drug can help with pain as well as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Lasmiditan can cause sleepiness and dizziness.
  • Galcanezumab (Emgality), erenumab (Aimovig), and fremanezumab (Ajovy): These drugs target calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a molecule that is produced in nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. They work by blocking certain proteins from attaching to the sensory nerve endings that cause pain. They are administered by subcutaneous injection by way of a prefilled pen or syringe. Skin irritation at the injection site may result, and syringes need to be refrigerated.
  • Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy): This new drug is a CGRP receptor antagonist that comes in pill form and, therefore, can be taken anywhere. Side effects are slight and include nausea and sleepiness.
  • Opioid medications: Some opioid medications with codeine can help with pain for patients who cannot tolerate other drugs. These drugs are highly addictive and are a last resort.
  • Anti-nausea drugs: These medications can help people who experience aura that is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. These do not take away pain but are used in conjunction with pain relievers.
  • Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and beta blockers: Antidepressants, which regulate serotonin levels; anticonvulsants, drugs that prevent seizures; and beta blockers, drugs typically used to manage blood pressure, are other medications sometimes used to prevent migraines from occurring.


Alternative Remedies

Some patients seek other forms of relief, including the following:

  • Acupuncture—piercing specific areas of the body to slow pain transmission
  • Botox injections—U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved for people with 15 or more headaches a month, Botox is a form of botulinum toxin that has been purified and injected into nerve endings to block the release of pain-causing chemicals
  • Magnesium—a mineral that helps reduce stress and migraine frequency
  • Butterbur and feverfew—plant extracts
  • Essential oils—lavender, peppermint oil, rosemary, chamomile, and eucalyptus may aid in relaxation

Sleeping well by establishing regular sleep and wake patterns, unwinding at the end of the day, staying away from food and drink that can trigger migraines (such as cheese, chocolate, and alcohol), getting regular exercise, and managing stress can all help keep migraines at bay.

As with any pain, seek medical attention when headaches can no longer be controlled.



Sources: American Migraine Foundation, https://headaches.org/2020/05/19/national-migraine-and-headache-awareness-month-2020/, https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/botox-for-migraine/, https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/understanding-migraineacupuncture-and-migraine-finding-a-combination-that-sticks/, https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/sinus-headaches/; https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/understanding-migraine-catpreventive-treatmentsmythbusters-migraine-remedies/, https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/timeline-migraine-attack/; Johns Hopkins Medicine, How a Migraine Happens, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/headache/how-a-migraine-happens; Migraine Research Foundation, https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/what-is-migraine/; The Migraine Trust, https://www.migrainetrust.org/living-with-migraine/seeking-medical-advice/diagnosis/; National Headache Foundation, Menstrual Migraine, https://headaches.org/2007/10/25/menstrual-migraine/; Personalized Cause, National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, https://www.personalizedcause.com/health-awareness-cause-calendar/migraine-awareness-month

Graphics: www.americanmigrainefoundation.org; www.headaches.org

Men’s Health Month Quiz

By | Men's Health, Uncategorized | No Comments

Life expectancy for men is less than that for women, but, fortunately, lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, avoiding injury, and seeing a physician regularly, can improve men’s longevity and well-being.

In honor of Men’s Health Month, take the accompanying quiz to test how much you know about men’s health overall. Some of the answers may surprise you.

1) Cancer is the leading cause of death in men.

2) The most common type of cancer for males worldwide is:
a) Skin
b) Lung
c) Prostate
d) Colon

3) Men can lower their risk of getting cancer by:
a) Not smoking
b) Limiting alcohol intake
c) Wearing sunscreen and hats
d) All of the above

4) Men need about one hour of physical activity weekly to stay in good health.

5) Testosterone levels always diminish as men age.

6) Men gain belly fat faster than women.

7) Men do not suffer from eating disorders.

8) Heart attack risk increases at what age in men?
a) 65
b) 55
c) 45
d) 35

9) The fourth-leading cause of death, after heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injuries, for black males in America is:
a) Stroke
b) Diabetes
c) Kidney disease
d) Homicide

10) Men cannot get breast cancer.

11) Men and women die from suicide at the same rate.

12) At what age should men get their first cholesterol screening?
a) 35
b) 45
c) 55
d) 65

13) Which of the following are typical behaviors of men who are experiencing depression?
a) They will become angry, irritable, or aggressive.
b) They will talk to a friend and seek counseling.
c) They will turn to drugs and alcohol.
d) Both A and C.

14) Most men with the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV) have no symptoms.

15) According to the CDC, which of the following is not a way to lose weight?
a) Avoid buffet-style meals
b) Do not bring home food from restaurants
c) Sleep less
d) Cook your own food

Answers: 1) False. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American males. Regular blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, controlling diabetes, avoiding smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight are ways to improve the risk. 2) b. Lung cancer is most common worldwide, killing more men than the next three common cancers (prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic) combined. 3) d. Not smoking, drinking in moderation, and wearing sun protection all help reduce cancer in men. 4) False. Men and women need at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity each week, to include both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises. 5) False. Many older men have testosterone levels equal to those of younger men, while others have much lower levels. Lower testosterone levels do not mean a man is in poor health. 6) True. Testosterone leads to midsection weight gain in males. 7) False. Men and boys also suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. In fact, one in three people with eating disorders is male. 8) c. Heart attack risk in men begins at age 45, nearly 10 years earlier than in women. 9) d. Homicide. 5 percent of black men in the United States die from homicide, which is the leading cause of death in black men between the ages of 15 and 44. 10) False. Not only can men get breast cancer, but they have a higher mortality rate than women with breast cancer. 11) False, men die from suicide at a higher rate than women: over 3.5 times more often. 12) a. 35 is the age when men should have their cholesterol checked for the first time. 13) d. Men are less likely than women to recognize their depression, talk to someone about it, and seek help, but they may lash out at others and turn to drugs and alcohol. 14) True. Males who are infected with HPV rarely have symptoms and the infection usually goes away on its own, but if HPV does not go away, it can cause genital warts and cancer even years after contracting it. Fortunately, a vaccine is available. 15) c. Too little sleep increases hunger and appetite, and it triggers stress hormones that encourage a body to hang on to fat.




Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, https://www.eatright.org/health/diseases-and-conditions/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-also-affect-boys-and-men; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/; CDC: Cancer in Men, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/cancerandmen/; CDC: Diabetes, Healthy Weight, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/healthy-weight.html; CDC: Health Equity, https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/lcod/men/2017/nonhispanic-black/index.htm; CDC: Human Papillomavirus, https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm; Mayo Clinic, Heart Attack, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20373106; National Cancer Institute: Cancer Statistics, https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics, https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2019/male-breast-cancer-higher-mortality; National Institute of Mental Health, Men and Depression, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/index.shtml

Graphic: http://www.menshealthmonth.org/mens-health-month-toolkit.html 














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