Wednesday, June 19, 2024

June is Cataract Awareness Month

A cataract is the clouding of the clear lens in the eye. This lens focuses incoming light on the retina in the back of the eye, from which nerves lead to the brain. The image you see is created when your brain interprets the nerve messages about the light coming through the lens. A cataract is sometimes caused by the aging of the cells in the lens of the eye. As they clump together, they make vision more difficult. Sometimes the lens gradually becomes colored brownish or yellowish, changing the appearance of what you look at. In addition to aging, other risk factors for cataracts in adulthood include diabetes, eye injury, smoking, steroid use, and UV rays from the sun. Symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision, faded colors, halos or glare around lights, poor night vision, or prescription changes becoming more frequent. Cataracts can happen to children and babies. About 3 out of 10,000 children have cataracts. Childhood cataracts can be genetic, or from the mother having German measles while pregnant. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. They are frequently detected at a routine eye doctor checkup, before you even realize you have a problem. Cataracts are easily treatable by surgery, which restores quality of life to those who have the surgery. Cataract surgery usually is followed up with postoperative antibiotics, steroids, and/or NSAIDs. Your eye doctor will check your eye(s) later on the day of surgery and again a week later. You should be able to drive and return to work after a few days. However, cataract surgery will not restore your vision totally. You will probably need glasses, at least for near vision, when you have healed from the surgery.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Is Raw Milk Safe to Drink?

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization means the milk is heated for a short time to a high temperature. Pasteurization is intended to kill potentially pathogenic bacteria (including Brucella, diphtheria, E. coli, Salmonella, Streptococcus, and typhoid) that can be found in milk. This also extends the shelf life of milk. Some people prefer to drink raw milk for its purported health benefits. Several types of cheese (e.g., asiago, camembert, gruyere, Parmigiano-Reggiano, roquefort) are made from raw milk. Unpasteurized milk “goes bad” more quickly than pasteurized milk. It has a shelf life of only 3-5 days. Belgian food safety experts conclude: “Raw milk poses a realistic health threat due to a possible contamination with human pathogens. It is therefore strongly recommended that milk should be heated before consumption.” What about bird flu in cow milk? There are several types of bird flu caused by the H5N1 virus. Bird flu, also known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, is common in wild birds worldwide. It is transmitted to domestic poultry and other animals, including dairy cattle. These animal viruses, although potentially dangerous to livestock, do not normally infect humans. Live H5N1 viruses in raw milk may cause digestive upset in those who drink it, but as of now, no human deaths from the virus have been reported. As of the beginning of June 2024, only 4 human cases of H5N1 have been reported in the US, 3 in persons who worked with dairy cattle and 1 person who worked with poultry. All individuals had only mild symptoms. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are monitoring the presence of H5N1 virus in milk. They indicate that pasteurization of commercially available milk and destruction of milk from cows sick with the virus are protecting the milk supply. You can read regularly updated reports here:
To be on the safe side, drink pasteurized, not raw, milk.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

June is Dairy Month – What is in milk?

3 Jars of Milk of Various Sizes

Cow milk is made up of 87% water. The other 13% is proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Overall, milk contains 58 different nutrients your body needs.  Calcium may be the best-known mineral found in milk and other dairy products. Calcium forms the structure of strong bones and teeth. An 8-ounce glass of milk or cup of yogurt provides 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium. This is the same amount of calcium as in 13 small cans of tuna, 11 eggs, 7 cups of uncooked rice, 6 oranges, or 5 ounces of salmon with bones. Other dairy products made from milk also contain significant amounts of calcium. An ounce of cheese or a cup of ice cream contains 200 mg of calcium. Cottage cheese contains 100 mg of calcium per ¾ cup serving. Unfortunately, too many people don’t get enough calcium in their diet. Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density that makes your skeleton weak and brittle, can results from calcium deficiency. So can tooth decay! Calcium deficiency can also lead to feelings of fatigue or muscle aches. So, eat more dairy products. Drink up! Milk is known as “nature’s perfect food.”

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Healthinfo Island poster sets for June

You can teleport to any of the eight displays and exhibits using the SLURLs in this posting. In Second Life, click on the poster with the same name as the title of the poster set, and you will get a notecard that contains all the text of the posters plus descriptions of the images.  If you click each poster, you will get a private message with additional information and live links.

Central Pavilion of Healthinfo Island
Check out the calming breathing exercise on the back wall!

June is Men's Health Month. All the poster sets this month deal with various aspects of men's health. You might want to save the quiz for last. The answers are found on posters in the other 7 sets this month. A lot of the information is useful for women as well!

Information on climate change anxiety is poster set 8.

Gay Men, Bisexual Men, and Transgendered Individuals Have Distinct Health Issues - with Pride Flag

5. Gay/Bi/Trans Men Have Distinct Health Issues

Who's Got Freckles? - 4 Faces with Freckles

7. Men: What screenings do you need?  (Photo Caption: Everyone needs regular health screenings.  Men are less likely to be screened than women and are less likely to have a regular physician.  Different tests are done at different ages.  Family history and lifestyle also play a role in determining what to screen for and when.  Use this display as a guide to determine what questions to ask your doctor.)