Health Highlights: May 26, 2008

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Warm Weather Workouts Require Common-Sense Precautions

Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start of summer, and that means more people will be heading outdoors to pursue favorite exercises and physical activities.

With that in mind, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Association and more than 50 supporting organizations, including the National Athletic Trainers' Association, have launched the "Exercise is Medicine" initiative. It includes a list of tips that people of all ages can follow to enjoy physical activity and exercise while reducing the risk of "exertional heat illness."

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Warm Weather Workouts Require Common-Sense Precautions
    • Poll: Wounded Iraq Soldiers Get Substandard Care From VA
    • Caressing Preemies May Help With Pain of Medical Procedures
    • New York City Man Dies After Taking Aphrodisiac From Toad Venom
    • Truckers, Bus Drivers Can't Take Anti-Smoking Drug Chantix
    • Everlasting Jelly Candles Pose Fire, Burn Hazards

"Many cases of heat illness are preventable and can be successfully treated if such conditions are properly recognized and appropriate care is provided in a timely manner," said certified athletic trainer Brendon McDermott, of the University of Connecticut. "We're hoping to educate athletes, coaches, parents and health-care providers about what can be done to prevent and treat heat illnesses."

To guard against heat illnesses, the trainers' association recommends the following steps:

  • Gradually increase activity in terms of intensity and duration in the heat. This prepares your body for more intense, longer duration exercise in warm conditions, and helps prevent injury and heat illness.
  • Mix in periods of rest during activity and assure adequate rest between exercise bouts. Rest breaks are an important defense against heat illness, and proper sleeping habits decrease your risk as well.
  • Begin outdoor activities only after you're properly hydrated. Drink water or sports drinks throughout physical activity in the heat.
  • A darker urine color is a quick sign of dehydration. Your urine should look more like lemonade than apple juice.
  • Exercise during cooler portions of the day -- early morning or late evening, if possible.
  • Don't participate in intense exercise if you show signs of an existing illness, such as fever, diarrhea or extreme fatigue. These can decrease your body's tolerance for heat and increase your risk of a heat illness.

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Poll: Wounded Iraq Soldiers Get Substandard Care From VA

A considerable majority of Americans believes that Veteran's Administration hospitals and other military health facilities are not giving wounded Iraq war veterans the quality of care they deserve.

The latest poll from the Harvard Opinion Research Program at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Harris Interactive® polling organization finds that 62 percent of Americans believe medical care for returning wounded U.S. soldiers from Iraq isn't adequate. In the same poll, 65 percent said that mental health care for returning vets was substandard, according to a HSPH news release.

The poll found that this opinion ran across the spectrum of American society. Those who had a family member serving in Iraq were just as likely as respondents with no family ties to the Iraq war to believe VA hospital care was substandard.

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