Monday, December 5, 2011

Safeway Shop Along Giveaway Winner and Additional Q&A

We had some questions at the event that the Safeway folks recently answered for us and I thought I'd share the helpful information with my readers:

Q: Regarding the benefits of low-grade fevers, what is the threshold? At what temperature should you take action and call the pediatrician or go to the ER?
A: According to Mayo Clinic,a fever is usually a sign that something out of the ordinary is going on in your body. For an adult, a fever may be uncomfortable, but fever usually isn't dangerous unless it reaches 103 F (39.4 C) or higher. For very young children and infants, a slightly elevated temperature may indicate a serious infection. But the degree of fever doesn't necessarily indicate the seriousness of the underlying condition. A minor illness may cause a high fever, and a more serious illness may cause a low fever. Usually a fever goes away within a few days. A number of over-the-counter medications lower a fever, but sometimes it's better left untreated. Fever seems to play a key role in helping your body fight off a number of infections.

Anun explained fever is greater cause for concern in infants and in children than in adults. Call your baby's doctor if your baby has a fever of 101 F (38.3 C)or higher.

Q:How long can a virus live outside the body? For example, if I have the flu and sneeze into my hands, if I don’t wash them, how long can the virus live?
A: According to James M. Steckelberg, M.D., Mayo Clinic Internist, it varies, depending partly on where the germ-laden droplets fall. Experiments with specific cold and flu germs have shown potential survival times ranging from a few minutes to 48 hours or more. How long such germs remain capable of infecting you in day-to-day life is harder to say.

Researchers have repeatedly found that cold and flu germs generally remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces. On any surface, though, flu viruses seem to live longer than cold viruses do. Other factors, such as the amount of virus deposited on a surface and the temperature and humidity of the environment, also have effects on how long cold and flu germs stay active outside the body.

The best way to avoid becoming infected with a cold or flu is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Also, try to notice and stop yourself when you're about to rub your eyes or bite your nails. And — most important — get a seasonal flu vaccine every year and the H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine when it's available. Some people will always be careless about spreading their germs, but you don't have to catch them.

Q:Is there a link between chamomile tea and liver health (positive or negative)?Can you have a liver-involved allergic reaction to chamomile?
A: The only valid relationship between chamomile tea (or chamomile in other forms) and the liver is that chamomile might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Combining chamomile with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of these medications. Chamomile is sometimes mixed with other herbs and taken for liver disease, but according to the NIH, there's insufficient evidence to rate its effectiveness for liver disease or any disease or condition, for that matter. Most often, people use chamomile for sleeplessness, anxiety and GI conditions like upset stomach, gas and diarrhea. It can also be used topically for skin conditions and mouth ulcers related to cancer treatment.

Studies have not shown a liver-involved allergic reaction to chamomile. Allergic reactions associated with chamomile are typically limited to people with ragweed-type allergies, since chamomile is in the same plant family. Those reactions are more related to skin reactions, shortness of breath, throat swelling, etc. - nothing liver related.

Research of this question as well as other information can be found on the websites for the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Library of Medicine and (which reviews and tests effectiveness of supplements).

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