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August 2006: Keep your Cool


            New York is often a sweltering town by the time August arrives.  No doubt, recent energy crises and electric company failures to resolve power outages in some boroughs can cause undue stress and exacerbate physical ills. 

            To keep your cool and to keep cool in the summer, try keeping the thermostat on your air conditioner at 78 degrees and not keeping it running if you aren’t home.  For those without air conditioning, wear loose, cotton clothing, do not go outdoors if possible between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. when the sun is highest (and hottest), and drink lots of fresh water (not caffeine, not soda, not alcoholic beverages).  For sick and elderly friends and family, cool compresses and baths may help.

            The first week of August in 2006 is recognized as World Breastfeeding Week.   Why is this so important in both industrialized and developing nations?  Breast milk is still the best way to give babies the immunity to disease and good nutrition they need in their first six to nine months.  If a mother takes care of her body, the baby benefits enormously.  For working moms, it is very hard to breastfeed because that means pumping the milk and storing it while away from the baby.  It is also not easy to nurse a child beyond six months up to one year.  But mothers also benefit – by reduced likelihood of breast cancer.

            National Immunization Awareness Month is celebrated in August because we must remember to immunize our children before school starts in September.  Almost all childhood diseases through which many of us in the Baby Boomer generation had to suffer are easily prevented by immunizations.

            August is Eye Injury Prevention Month.  It takes only one moment in time to destroy someone’s vision.  In the news recently there was a story of a man arguing with his wife.  He threw a carrot (!) at her.  She now has the loss of vision in one eye – in the blink of an eye.  It is not just children playing or getting hurt who might injure their eyes.  Learn more about eye health from your local optometrist or ophthalmologist.

            Finally, encourage loved ones with significant health concerns (such as diabetes, drug allergies, heart conditions, etc.) to become a member of Medic Alert Foundation and to wear a necklace or bracelet that provides vital personal health information to first responders.  It is Medic Alert Awareness Month and you can help your family or friends save their own lives by getting them registered; the data base is confidential and first responders only obtain your information after calling a health care provider during or following your health incident to which they responded.

            Let’s have fun in the August sun – but let’s be healthy about it!