Is ‘Beaver Fever’ Cause of Digestive Trouble?
DEAR DR. ROACH: Last summer I went camping and ran out of clean water. I had to boil water and drink it without any treatment tablets. That evening, I had painful cramps in my stomach, and in my upper abdomen, under my ribcage. Since then, my digestion has been horrific. I have constant rank gas and bloating when eating foods I’ve never had a problem with before, even fruits and vegetables. I have been a big eater of probiotic foods, with no digestive disturbances. However, since this incident, any form of probiotic, whether from capsule or natural foods like sauerkraut or kimchi, gives me the worst gas and bloating I’ve ever had.
I had parasite and bacterial stool testing done with my doctor, and I came up clear. I feel like I need antibiotics or something to clear whatever is going on with my digestive system, but I’m hesitant because I have had four rounds of antibiotics in 2017 from surgeries. I am worried about “beaver fever.” What do you recommend? — A.L.
ANSWER: There are several infections one can get from drinking unprocessed water while camping. “Beaver fever” is a name for infection from the parasite Giardia lamblia, which is found in water where animals (especially beavers) are found. It’s a reasonable thought — it’s one of the few waterborne infections that can persist for months. However, I think Giardia is unlikely. Symptoms from Giardia normally begin one to two weeks after exposure, and the parasites are killed very rapidly by boiling water.
Your symptoms are very much like irritable bowel syndrome, and I do wonder if it might have been triggered by some event that day you were camping. Usually, three sets of cultures for parasites are done to make sure there isn’t an unwelcome guest in your intestine causing symptoms. A gastroenterologist would be a good choice to help you track down an identifiable cause and to get some symptomatic relief. Antibiotics are not recommended without knowing what you are treating.
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DEAR DR. ROACH: Seven years ago, I had a stroke. I was immediately put on Lipitor and Plavix. The statin drugs made my arms and shoulders ache, and the doctor tested me and found no reason for it. He said anecdotally that he had many patients who complained of the same thing. He then put me on fenofibrate. The pain stopped immediately. Now he says new research shows that any cholesterol-lowering drug makes the blood tests show lowered cholesterol levels but it does not prevent heart attack or stroke. So he took me off it. I wonder if you know anything about this study that said there was no benefit to taking statins. I did not really understand what he said. — G.C.
ANSWER: It sounds like the message got a bit confused. The evidence that statin drugs reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in people at high risk, such as those who have had a previous event, is very strong. However, the evidence for fibrate drugs, such as fenofibrate, is much weaker.
Statin drugs often cause some muscle aches. Pravastatin and fluvastatin are least likely to cause this problem, so it’s worth a try switching, in my opinion. Some people get relief from muscle aches with a CoQ10 supplement.
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Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer
individual letters, but will incorporate them
in the column whenever possible.
Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.
© 2019 North America Synd., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
In the past year my family has grown by two. Two dogs that is. In our first 18 years together we have had four children and no pets. This past year has been flipped with the addition of these two fur babies. I never thought that you could get so attached to a pet as quickly as we all did. I have come to realize just how much like a real baby pets are. It got me thinking about how I want to protect them just as much as my own kids. Here are some safety tips you can make in your home to protect your pets all year round.
Pets can be just as curious as a baby. They will try and jump up on things, will bump into things and put things in their mouths. Make sure small objects are up and out of the way. Pets can choke on these things and, if swallowed, can be become very ill. Never allow pets up on the countertops when cooking. Pets can easily knock over your cooking equipment causing burns to them or their owner. Also, use flameless, battery operated candles if possible. Pets walking around on a countertop or piece of furniture can easily knock over a candle starting a fire or catch themselves on fire.
If you use a fireplace in the home, make sure there is a heat-tempered metal or glass screen in front of the fireplace. This will help prevent your pet from accidentally getting too close to the warm fire and getting burned. Use caution when using equipment that have electrical cords. Many pets like to chew on cords, especially when younger, which could result in electrocution.
Lastly, make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home. Working smoke alarms save lives, both human and animal alike. And if you would happen to have a fire in your home never go back in to get a pet. Tell a firefighter and they will decide if they can get them out safely.
If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at 563-589-4195 or at Dpaulson@cityofdubuque.org.
New Brain Health Initiative
A Home for All Ages
Most midlife and older Americans say they want to stay in their current home for as long as possible. Using universal design features make it more convenient for you now and in the future. Develop a long-range plan to make necessary improvements as time and resources permit. Some possibilities include widening all doors to at least 32 inches, replacing round door knobs with lever handles, creating a seated work area in the kitchen, converting to single-lever faucets at sinks, replacing shower heads with hand-held shower units on a slide bar, and adding adjustable shelves for easy-to-reach storage.
A garage should have a sheltered connection to the house and generous walkways around vehicles. If steps are required to go from the garage to the main level of your home, plan for enough extra space inside the garage so a ramp could be added in the future, if needed.
Plan space for a future master bedroom on the main level, if not currently located there. Consider how an office or family room might double as a guest bedroom with the use of a sofa bed. Provide pathways at least three feet wide on each side of the bed, plus room to accommodate other furniture. Be sure the bedroom is close to a full-sized bathroom and has a walk-in closet or convenient storage.
You’ll need a full-sized bathroom on the main level with a five-foot circle of open floor space for maneuvering a wheelchair between bathroom fixtures A shower stall instead of a tub will be more convenient.
Learn more in the publication, “Update Your Home for a Lifetime of Living — Retirement: Secure Your Future” at https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/5400
• Keep a small bottle of white vinegar by your washing machine. Douse the underarm of T-shirts with the vinegar to remove antiperspirant stains and to deodorize shirts just before washing.
• “When you go to the pool, make sure you take a sealable baggie to protect your cellphone. You can use the touchscreen through the plastic, and it’s less likely to get wet. However, this doesn’t take the place of a sealable water bag if you’re going IN the water.” --
G. in Virginia
• Cover metal belt buckles with a couple coats of clear nail polish to keep them from getting scratched up.
• This is an old-school trick for help threading a needle: Use a spritz of hairspray on your fingertips, and bring thread to a point. It stays nice and stiff for threading.
• According to the experts from REI, here’s a double-duty tip for your Nalgene water bottle. After helping you stay hydrated all day hiking, fill your bottle with hot water just before you retire for the night, and pop it down in the bottom of your sleeping bag after sealing well. It’s a nice bit of warmth for your toes!
• “We recently went tubing, and here’s a genius thing we saw: A laundry bag was secured to a small ring float, which was tied behind the other tubes like a little caboose. It held canned drinks and water bottles. The water kept them super cold, and empty cans went right back in the bag, zipped securely away.” — C.W. in Florida
• To test the seals on your refrigerator and freezer, close a piece of paper in the door. If you can pull it out easily, it’s likely that your seal is loose. Clean or replace door gaskets for a better seal.
• To clean the microwave, try adding the juice of half a lemon to a cup of water and setting to boil (four minutes) in the microwave. Let the steam circulate for an additional four minutes, then remove the cup and wipe down all sides of interior. Use the cut lemon to clean a wooden cutting board. Sprinkle with salt and scrub, then rinse and dry.
• “To keep plywood or thin materials from splitting, I tape my cut line with low-tack masking tape. It keeps my cut sharp, reduces the fraying and it’s easy to remove when I’m done.” — G.S. in Minnesota
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Now Here’s a Tip,
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Orlando, FL 32803.
© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
Pork, Pineapple and Red Onion Kebabs
A little brown sugar brings out the natural sweetness of the pineapple and the pork, and the bite of red onion gives these grilled skewers a lively kick.
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pound pork loin, cut into pieces
1 medium red onion
1/2 small pineapple
1. Heat grill to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, 2 teaspoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the pork and toss to combine.
2. Cut the onion into 8 wedges, then cut each wedge in half. In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pineapple and the remaining tablespoon oil.
3. Thread the pork, onion and pineapple onto the skewers and grill, turning occasionally, until the pork is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our Web site at www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/.
© 2019 Hearst Communications, Inc.
All rights reserved
Even if you never leave home, you can “travel” to Spain with your taste buds to savor the flavors of a traditional drink in an untraditional way. A glass of this is guaranteed to cool you off, even during the hottest heat wave of the summer!
1 3/4 cups unsweetened grape juice
1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice
3 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 3/4 cups diet ginger ale
1. In a large pitcher, combine grape juice, orange juice, lemon juice and lime juice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, stir in diet ginger ale. Pour into tall glasses with ice. Serves 4 (full cup each).
• Each serving equals: 84 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 20g carb., 23mg sodium, 0g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Fruit
© 2019 King Features Syndicate, Inc.
“Welcome to Medicare” Seminar Offered in Asbury, IA
Are you going to be eligible for Medicare in the near future? Have you been on Medicare for awhile and want to better understand what it offers? Do you have a family member you help with Medicare issues?
“Welcome to Medicare” is for you! This two-hour seminar offered by the Sunset Park Place SHIIP counselors, will be held Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. - noon. The seminar will be held at Dubuque County Library District, Asbury Branch, 5290 Grand Meadow Dr., Asbury, IA 52002. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please register between Jul. 20, 2019 and Aug. 12, 2019 by calling 563-583-3384.
“We’re excited to offer this free seminar to the community,” says Jerry Bell, Manager from Sunset Park Place. “Medicare is such an important program and understanding what it offers helps assure that anyone eligible gets the health benefits they deserve,” he adds.
“Welcome to Medicare” will cover Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, the prescription drug benefit (Part D), Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplement insurance. For more information or questions call 563-583-3384.
SHIIP, the Senior Health Insurance Information Program, is a service of the State of Iowa. SHIIP counselors are trained by the state and do not sell or promote any insurance companies, policies or agents. Sunset Park Place is a local sponsor for SHIIP in Dubuque county.