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Women's Health

Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623

Mercy Women's Care at St. Charles
Navarre Medical Plaza
2702 Navarre Avenue
Suite 101
Oregon, OH 43616

Mercy Women's Care at St. V's
2213 Cherry Street
Toledo, OH 43608

General Health

separator Biofeedback for Stress
If holiday stress aggravates other health conditions your have, biofeedback might be a good tool for you. It's a relaxation technique that can help you learn to regulate some of your own bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. Some conditions that biofeedback can help control include asthma, headaches, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure and the nausea and vomiting that sometimes accompany chemotherapy.

If you're interested in learning about biofeedback, ask your doctor for information or visit the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. (

Source: K. Pelletier. The Best Alternative Medicine. Simon and Schuster, New York, New York, 10020; The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 2001

Safe Toys and Gifts
One of the best ways to make sure your child is using toys safely is to get down on the floor and be part of the playing. It's a good way to provide guidance and to make sure your little one isn't using toys in an unsafe way. Plus kids love it when the grownups play with them. Also keep in mind:

  • Age recommendations on a toy's packaging are based not only on the intelligence of a child, but on safety factors too. Even a very bright child may be too young to use certain toys safely.
  • Be aware of product recalls. Visit the Safe Kids Web site for updated information. (

Source: National Safe Kids Campaign, 2001

Alcohol .08
Don't forget the importance of staying away from alcohol at holiday gatherings if you'll be getting behind the wheel later on. As more and more states pass the .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law, drivers who drink are even more vulnerable to receiving drunk driving citations.

Individual BACs can vary from person to person, but here's a general guideline:

An average 170-pound man would reach a .08 BAC after consuming four drinks in one hour on an empty stomach.

For a 137-pound woman, it would take only three drinks per hour on an empty stomach.

Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 2001

Treating SAD
The fewer daylight hours that winter brings can lead to a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. The condition affects women more than men, and adults far more than children or teens. Symptoms include:

  • Lethargy or sluggishness in the winter months
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
  • Irritability
  • Craving sweets and carbohydrates

Treatments for SAD include:

  • Light therapy, an effective treatment for many SAD sufferers. It involves sitting under a bright light box for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Eating a well balanced diet.
  • Getting an hour of daylight time outside every day.
  • Taking an anti-depressant medication.

If you think SAD is affecting you, talk with your doctor to rule out other possible conditions and to find the best treatment for you.

Source: The National Institute of Mental Health, 2001

Pets for Mental Health
Owning a pet can be good for your mental and physical health. Some benefits can include:

  • Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • A built-in excuse for daily exercise (if the pet is a dog)
  • Decreased incidence of depression, especially for older people.

Something about the unconditional love of a pet can make people feel better. If you have some time to devote to a pet every day, and a bit of money to spend at the vet, consider adding a dog, cat, bird or even fish to your household.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; The New York Times, 9 October 2001


Is Weight Watchers® "Good?"
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) describes the best way to lose weight:

  • Make small changes over time
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Balance what you eat over several days
  • Enjoy all types of foods, but don't overdo it
  • Be active

Weight Watchers® has a reputation for being one of the more reliable, successful weight loss programs because it promotes the same moderate approach as the ADA. Foods receive a point value, and participants are "allowed" to eat all kinds of foods as long as their point total stays within a certain range. Group meetings and peer support are another important aspect of Weight Watchers®. Those weekly "weigh-ins" provide strong incentive to keep weight down. Weight Watchers® also emphasizes the importance of exercise.

One thing to watch out for is that the point system makes it easier to have an unbalanced diet. It's possible to eat nothing but dairy products every day, for example, as long as you stay within the point range.

Source: American Dietetic Association: Weight Watchers, 2001

Healthy Comfort Foods
Is there a way to get the comforting taste of comfort foods without the fat and calories? Yes, if you're willing to compromise a little. The key is to try to minimize the fat content and keep your portions reasonable. Some tips:

Use skim or low-fat milk instead of whole.

Use vegetable oil cooking spray when greasing a pan.

Separate the fat from soup stocks and pan juices by using a fat-separating measuring cup.

Remove visible fat from meats.

A quick example: instead of frying chicken, try soaking the chicken (after removing the skin) in skim milk, dip in dry breadcrumbs and herbs and bake in the oven.

Source: J. Brody. Jane Brody's Good Food Book., 2001

Sick from Cookie Dough?
True or False:

Eating commercially prepared cookie dough puts you at risk of getting salmonella poisoning from egg.

Answer: False.

Commercially prepared cookie dough is made from pasteurized eggs. Pasteurization kills the salmonella bacteria.

On the other hand, eating cookie dough you've made yourself can give you salmonella poisoning from the raw egg, unless you've used pasteurized eggs. Eggnog made with raw eggs also poses a risk.

Source: Food and Drug Administration, 2001

Safe Leftovers
The great thing about a big holiday dinner is that it goes a long way. To make sure your leftovers don't make you sick:

  • Don't keep the stuffing inside the turkey after it's cooked. Harmful bacteria can grow and cause food poisoning.
  • Put your leftovers away after two hours.

And don't forget about keeping raw poultry juices away from other foods. That means the cutting board and any utensils you used on the turkey should be thoroughly washed right away.

Source: American Dietetic Association, 2001

Healthy Eating at Parties
Keep these ideas in mind as you make your rounds at holiday gatherings:

  • Don't arrive hungry. You'll be more likely to eat everything in sight.
  • Take your favorite healthy dish along as your contribution to the party.
  • Avoid eggnog. An 8-ounce glass, with rum, has 450 calories.
  • Think twice before popping an appetizer in your mouth. These little bites are gone in an instant, but they're often high in fat and calories.
  • If baking cookies is something you don't want to give up, bake them and then get them out of the house-take them to a party.
  • Find someone else at the party who's also trying to avoid eating too much. Peer support can be a helpful motivator.


Exercise and Shopping Combo

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