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Health Pulse Beyond SPF: tips to prevent skin cancer There’s a lot that you can do to ward off skin cancer − wearing sunscreen is just the beginning. Consider these simple strategies: ▶ ▶ Sun -proof your car: Did you know that drivers are more likely to get skin cancer on their left sides? To avoid this outcome, keep a hat and sunscreen handy in the glove compartment, and consider lining your vehicle’s glass with a special film that blocks UV light. ▶▶ Slip on the shades: Protect your eyes and the skin around them with sunglasses that guard against UVA and UVB rays. Even cheap sunglasses usually offer this protection. ▶▶ Put a lid on it: Combine fashion and protection in a hat with a tight weave and broad brim. ▶▶ Choose healing foods: UV light damages antioxidants – chem- icals that keep your cells healthy. Fight back with foods rich in antioxidants, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, carrots, squash, tuna, salmon and Brazil nuts. ▶▶ Have a cuppa: Studies suggest that coffee may protect against skin cancer (decaf doesn’t count, sorry). So, have that steaming mug of coffee – without the guilt. Source: WebMD When nature calls too often Can we get off the road and find a bathroom? Didn’t sleep well last night – nature called three times. If you recognize yourself in these statements, you may have a problem with frequent urination. “Frequent” means that you need to pee more often than eight times a day or wake up to pee more than once per night. Once you and your doctor have ruled out such causes as diabetes, infections, prostate problems, use of diuretics and drinking too much (yes, it’s possible), overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) becomes a prime suspect. OBA is by no means rare: about 10 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women have it. If you’re one of them, involuntary contractions in your bladder make you want to go right away – even if your bladder isn’t full. To treat OBA, start by avoiding foods that seem to irritate your bladder or cause you to pee more. Keep drinking fluids as the need arises, but avoid drinking just before bedtime. If that doesn’t do the trick, a technique called bladder retraining – gradually increasing the intervals between bathroom trips over about three months – can “teach” your bladder to hold urine longer. A number of medications help counteract frequent urination, one of them for the nighttime runs. If all else fails, you have several surgical options to choose from, including implantation of small nerve stimulators to control the pelvic floor. Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Health Oops, wrong dose Medication errors injure thousands of people every year. If you take two different drugs that boost serotonin, for example, you risk a dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome. Combining your prescription pain- killer with an over-the-counter dose could damage your liver. Drug safety takes on special importance when you get older, as the changes of aging and concurrent use of multiple drugs (common in older people) increase the risk of side-effects. To make sure that you take each new drug safely, ask your doctor: ▶▶ What is the brand and generic name of the medication? ▶▶ What is the medication supposed to do, and how long until I see results? ▶▶ What should I do if I accidentally miss a dose or take too much? ▶▶ Any products or activities I should avoid while taking this drug? When you pick up your prescription, make sure that it’s the one your doctor ordered. Don’t assume that pills can be chewed or cut in half unless your health-care provider has told you that it’s safe, as some pills are meant to release active ingredients gradually. Finally, keep an updated medication list to review with your doctor and pharmacist at regular intervals. Sources: Mayo Clinic, Berkeley Wellness CSANews | SPRING 2020 | 37

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