Fending off spring allergies
IRRITABLE BOWEL Syndrome
(IBS) affects between 25 million
and 45 million people in the
United States. The number is
difficult to pin down because
many sufferers do not seek
IBS is a complex disorder
characterized by abdominal
pain, cramping, bloating,
diarrhea and constipation.
The exact cause is unknown,
but the symptoms may result
from the way the gut, brain
and nervous system interact,
and involve problems with
contractions in the muscles
of the colon. Symptoms occur
for at least 12 weeks in a
This is a long-term condition for which there is no
known cure. The individual
symptoms can be treated by
medications and changes in
diet and lifestyle. Counseling
often proves beneficial.
By Deborah Herlax Enos
FIFTY MILLION Americans suffer from allergies. I have spent the
majority of the spring season
indoors and out of the line of fire.
After years of dreading spring, I
decided to fight back.
Here are a few tips that have helped me.
Irrigate. Your nose, that is. Nasal irrigation is a
part of one’s daily routine in India and Southeast
Asia. Look for a neti pot (looks like a little teapot) or
nasal saline spray.
Take a shower. Pollen can really accumulate
in your hair and on your skin. I find that if I take a
shower before bed, my sinuses are clearer, making it
easier to sleep.
Avoid peak pollen times. Stay inside from 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. If you exercise outside, do it early in
the morning, when pollen counts are lowest.
Shampoo your pet. Pollen can cling to your
pet. Get a spring haircut for Fido and wash indoor/
outdoor pets often. Keeping your pet out of your
bedroom and off furniture can also be helpful.
Start cleaning. Do a thorough cleaning or,
better yet, pay someone else to do it. Windows,
screens and furnace filters collect mold and dust
throughout the season, which can provoke your
Go on an anti-inflammation diet. When
you are suffering from allergies, your nose is already
inflamed. Avoid eating foods that will cause more
inflammation, such as sugar. (This is a good incentive to cut back on your sugar intake.)
Limit your dairy intake. Many doctors
believe that dairy products increase mucus production, which can agitate and provoke allergy
I hope you find these tips helpful. Make sure
you consult with your physician before starting any
new health program. C
Deborah Herlax Enos, CN, (
is the author of Weight a Minute! Transform Your
Health in 60 Seconds a Day. She regularly appears
on NBC, ABC and FOX News.
Little pitchers have big fears
What parents need to know about pitch counts
• More women than men
are affected, by a ratio of two
• Most persons with IBS
are under the age of 50, but
older adults can suffer as well.
• IBS is second to the
common cold as a cause of
absenteeism from work.
• Stress does not cause
IBS, but it can worsen or trigger symptoms.
• IBS is unpredictable;
symptoms vary and are sometimes contradictory.
• The impact of IBS can
range from mild inconvenience
to extreme debilitation. People
with moderate to severe IBS
must struggle with symptoms
that often impair their physical, emotional, economic, educational and social well-being.
For more information,
visit the website of the
International Foundation for
By Star Lawrence
SINCE 2006, KEEPING track of the number of
pitches thrown has been a rule in Little League.
Why? Research done at the American Sports
Medicine Institute (ASMI) in Birmingham,
Alabama, shows that all pitches, even in practice sessions, count toward stressing young, growing muscles and pulling joints in stressful directions.
A one-year study at ASMI reviewed 172 pitchers
between the ages of 9 and 12 and found that 40 percent had elbow injuries. Around the same time, an
American Academy of Pediatrics study showed that
half of the 15 million to 18 million
youth sports injuries were
from overuse. Additionally,
other research showed that
stressing the growth plates in
developing kids could stunt
growth and produce painful
and damaged joints.
“Baseball is year-round now,”
says Kevin D. Plancher, M.D., clinical
associate professor at the Albert
Einstein College of Medicine in New
York City. He started seeing a lot of elbow
pain in young ballplayers in the 1990s.
At first, it was thought that throwing
“junk”—curveballs, changeups and sliders—instead of fastballs contributed more
to throwing-arm injuries. Then the research
began to indict the number of throws, as well
as types of pitches.
In response, Little League and USA Baseball
developed “safe numbers.” Pitches per day for kids
age 7 to 8 was set at 50; for age 9 to 10, 75. At age 17
to 18, 105 pitches in a day would be allowed. Rest
and recovery periods were also suggested—e.g.,
pitching more than 61 throws in a day should be followed by three days off the field.
What can conscientious parents do? Plancher
says, “Become familiar with the rules on pitch types
and counts.” If you want your child to be in the sport
for the distance (or the scholarship), limit play to
nine months a year at most. Urge cross-training in
other sports. Have your child ice his or her elbow
after every game. If an elbow or muscle hurts longer
than three days, see a sports medicine specialist.
On a cautionary note, a famous name is now
associated with these conditions when
they are at their worst: Tommy John,
the former Los Angeles Dodgers
pitcher. “Tommy John surgery”
replaces an elbow ligament with a
tendon taken from somewhere else
in the body.
Hundreds of Tommy Johns are
now performed on high-schoolers.
“This is baseball,” sighs Plancher.
“It’s supposed to be fun.” C
Star Lawrence is a medical
journalist based in the
to throwing-arm injuries. Then the research