Archive for the ‘Medical-Insider Tips’ Category

Doctor Names Sleeping Pills That Are “Less Likely to Be Addictive”

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Eighty-five percent of American adults believe people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleeping pills. That’s according to a 2008 sleep survey from the National Sleep Foundation. What do you think?

In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, we’re featuring our top-10 sleep questions and answers this week. A couple are about sleeping pills and addiction. “The newer prescription drugs, including Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata, are less likely to be addictive,” wrote the author, sleep doctor Wissam Chatila, M.D. You do have to take them as directed.

On a lighter topic, the article also talks about whether it really is healthier to go to bed earlier.

Happy National Sleep Awareness Week!

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Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of and a freelance writer.

This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

The Best Lotions for Your Dry Skin

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

If your skin is so rough you could sand an alligator with it, we’ve got the help you’ve been looking for: how to get the moisture back in!

“Low humidity is the culprit” in winter-weather flakiness, says pharmacist Charles D. Ponte. He recommends using a humidifier and sealing in moisture directly after a bath. Some people also use bath oils or colloidal oatmeal in the water, he says.

But we know what you’re really wondering about: lotion. How to choose? Dermatologist Francesca J. Fusco says a lotion with glycerin, applied immediately after bathing, will help seal in moisture best. Ingredients that also work well include lanolin, squalene, petrolatum, olive oil and sesame oil, she says.

Learn more and get all sorts of skin-health tips in this week’s featured article, “Best Lotions for Dry Skin (and More Skin-Health Tips).” You’ll learn about chapped lips, shampoos, hangnails, toenail fungus and even sweat.

What’s your favorite lotion for the winter?

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Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of

This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

19 Tips for Outdoor and Indoor Seasonal Allergies

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

Seasonal allergies can be so frustrating. It can feel like you have two choices: Feel miserable from the allergies or feel miserable from the medication.

Fortunately, though, those aren’t your only options. In “19 Tips From Allergists for How to Prevent and Treat Allergies,” allergists give their tips on dealing with indoor and outdoor allergies—without medication.

If you do need medicine, check out “Allergy Treatment: What Medicines to Take for Allergies—and How to Take Them,” which features an in-depth, practical rundown of your options—and how to use them best.

Do you have allergies? What has helped you?

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Dermatologists’ Top Picks for Your Skin

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte

Choosing skin-care products can be daunting. There are so many claims, ingredients, formulations—and prices!

So we went straight to the experts. We asked three dermatologists which products they’d recommend—brand names and all. And they said there are plenty of great finds right in your neighborhood drugstore.


What to do when you forget what the doctor said

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Once, I told a perfectly sane, intelligent and otherwise coherent patient to wait in the exam room to have blood work drawn. He smiled, said thanks and followed me out the door. I told him again he needed to come back into the room and wait to have blood drawn. He smiled, said thanks again and walked down the hall to leave. When he opened the door to go to the reception area, I had to gently restrain him so he would actually listen to what I was telling him. He had no fear of the lab work itself. He was just nervous about being in an unfamiliar setting and didn’t comprehend what I was saying.

If you’re like a lot of patients, you forget much of the advice your doctor gives by the time you walk out the door. You’re nervous, traumatized or more concerned about getting out of the building in one piece. Either that or the doctor was too rushed to give you the information in the first place.

We have a new article that provides general instructions on what to do after treatment for some common ailments. (The advice is generic. Always get specifics for your case.) I also wrote a follow-up on common misconceptions I see in my office.

Have you ever made any mistakes treating yourself at home?

James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H., is the publisher of, a Web site written by health-care providers for the general public.

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Weekly Health Tip: Fiber to help you lose weight (from our current issue)

Monday, August 31st, 2009

“Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot digest; therefore it adds volume to fill you up without adding extra calories.  Weight loss genius!  A common complaint often expressed by people on a weight loss diet is, “I’m hungry.”  A wise dieter knows that it’s not only how much you eat, but what you eat that makes the difference between a rumbling stomach and a fully belly.

“Fiber creates a sense of fullness that will leave you satisfied and better prepared to pass up seconds. If you build your meals and snacks around high fiber choices like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins and good fats, you’ll have a great combination that will make it less likely you will overeat.”

What’s Your Diet Type?: Use the Power of Your Personality to Discover Your Best Way to Lose Weight, by Heather K. Jones, R.D., Mary Miscisin, M.S., and Ed Redard, M.D., May 2009, Hatherleigh Press, $19

Weekly Health Tip: How to stick to your decisions (from our current issue)

Monday, August 24th, 2009

“Once you announce that you plan to do something, the prospect of doing it becomes more real. At that point someone other than you is expecting something.  Even if that person doesn’t have a stake in your change, it makes a difference to know that someone is aware of your plan.  It’s a form of accountability.  If you don’t do whatever it is you plan to do, someone else will know that you didn’t do it.”

A User’s Guide to Therapy: What to Expect and How You Can Benefit, by Tamara L. Kaiser, M.S.W., Ph.D., October 2008, W.W. Norton & Co., $18.95

Weekly Health Tip: Healthier topping for baked potatoes (from our current issue)

Monday, August 10th, 2009


butter on baked potatoes

… TRY …

olive oil and balsamic vinegar for more flavor and less saturated fat.

—Robyn Priebe, R.D., C.D., Director of Nutrition, Green Mountain at Fox Run women’s health retreat, Ludlow, Vt.

Weekly Health Tip: How to make your breakfast foods healthier (from our current issue)

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


muffins, pancakes or waffles

… TRY …

adding puréed, cooked pumpkin, sweet potato or carrots for beta carotene. Grated carrots or zucchini also works well in pancakes and muffins when trying to eat more vegetables.

—Robyn Priebe, R.D., C.D., Director of Nutrition, Green Mountain at Fox Run women’s health retreat, Ludlow, Vt.

Weekly Health Tip: Cereal and pasta portion size: How to get it right (from our current issue)

Monday, July 27th, 2009

“For portion control on foods that you pour out of a container, such as cereal and dry pasta, keep the accurate portion-size measuring cup right in the package. This way you can scoop out a portion instead of easily pouring out more food than you need.”

—Janel Ovrut, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., registered dietitian, Fitness Works at Work, Sherborn, Mass.

© My Family Doctor 2010.
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