health

Start small to make big fitness changes

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: Like many others, you may want to lose weight and exercise, but somehow you can’t keep those goals? How’s a person to stay on track?

Avoid the triggers for ADHD

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: It seems like half the kids in my son’s fourth-grade class are diagnosed with ADHD. What’s going on? Am I imagining things?

Cash can bribe dieters to lose weight, study finds

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Willpower apparently can be bought. The chance to win or lose $20 a month enticed dieters in a yearlong study to drop an average of 9 pounds — four times more weight than others who were not offered dough to pass up the doughnuts. Many …

If you didn’t heed our advice last fall to get an early-bird vaccine because you were busy, you didn’t think you needed one or you fell for one of the flu “fictions” circulating faster than the H3N2 virus in a crowded subway car, now’s the time to step up and get that shot! It’s about 62 percent effective at preventing the flu, and if you do get the virus, symptoms are a lot milder. (Tip: Exercise your arm immediately after you get the shot. It increases the likelihood that the shot will be effective.)

Still need convincing? Here are some flu falsehoods and the real scoop.

Flu fiction No. 1: It’s too late.

Truth: A late flu vaccine’s better than none at all. Yes, it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies, but since flu season can drag into late May, it still can come in handy.

Flu fiction No. 2: The most common flu strains this year aren’t in the vaccine.

Truth: This year’s vaccine contains the three strains responsible for 90 percent of flu this season. If you get the flu after you have your inoculation, it’s probably because you caught the bug before the vaccine kicked in or you’ve come down with a type that isn’t in the vaccine.

Flu fiction No. 3: The vaccine is too risky for kids and pregnant women.

Truth: Kids (including teens and college students) and pregnant women need it — but aren’t getting it. Every year, up to 40 percent of kids catch the flu — and 20,000 kids under the age of 5 wind up in the hospital as a result. Yet only around half of little kids, teens and pregnant women (and just one in five college students) get the vaccine. If you’re pregnant, a vaccine protects you and your fetus — and it keeps protecting your baby after birth (the child gets your antibodies while in the womb).

Flu fiction No. 4: I’m healthy, so a bout of the flu’s no big deal.

Truth: Flu sets you up for bacterial infections and life-threatening health problems.

The flu vaccine can cut your risk for a heart attack or stroke by a whopping 50 percent — most likely because plaque in your arteries isn’t subjected to the revved-up inflammation that happens when your immune system is battling the flu. (Inflammation can make the plaque rupture, causing a heart attack or stroke.) Could this benefit cut your risk for diabetes and cancer? Maybe.

Flu fiction No. 5: I’ll just keep my hands clean.

Truth: The flu virus is mostly airborne. Tiny flu-virus particles float in the air for hours after a cough or sneeze. Wearing a face mask in crowded places could cut your risk for flu by about 50 percent, but we think it’s easier just to get the vaccine! Regular soap-and-water scrubbings or rubbing on alcohol-based hand sanitizer can prevent the spread of cold viruses and bacteria that can easily infect folks with the flu.

Flu fiction No. 6: The vaccine is sold out.

Truth: You can find it. If you’re among the 64 percent of people who haven’t gotten their flu protection yet, track down this life-saving vaccine near you with one click: www.flu.gov.

King Features Syndicate

DRS. OZ AND ROIZEN: Still need convincing to get a flu shot? Here are five flu falsehoods and the real scoop.

New parents confused by conflicting advice

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: We just had our first child, and we’re getting more advice from people than sleep. Some say you need to breastfeed, and others say it’s fine not to. Some say pick the child up when he cries; others say let him cry himself to sleep. My wife wants to breastfeed for a year or so, and my instinct is to pick my son up when he cries.

How to cope with an overscheduled life

Q : I’m 38, a wife and a working mom with three kids. My days are jammed. I’m worried about taxes; my boss wants me to take on more responsibility at work; the cellphone is always ringing. Sometimes I can’t remember what I am supposed …

Is it Alzheimer’s or something else?

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: A recent report looked at nearly 1,000 people with dementia and found that up to 30 percent didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease; many had what are treatable medical conditions or negative reactions to medication. Here are some of them.

Here’s what to eat after having a heart attack

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: After a heart attack and bypass surgery, what are the best food choices?

Figuring out why eyes tear in cold

DRS. OZ AND ROIZEN: Every time I go outside in cold weather, my eyes tear a lot. What causes it, and can I stop it?

Sorting out impact of new health act

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: The Affordable Care Act has her confused. What will it mean to consumers?

Getting a handle on gastric bypass

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: Bariatric surgery might be the answer for someone who is overweight and has Type 2 diabetes.

Why your allergies remain even though winter’s near

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: Leaves are gone, there are no flowers, but my allergies just keep going. What is it that gets me sneezing and congested during the winter?

Straight talk about misaligned eyes

Q. I am tired of being embarrassed about my one eye that’s misaligned. I’m 28, just moved to a new city for a new job, and I know it doesn’t make a great first impression. Sometimes people assume I’m stupid, and trying to meet women …

Kids need fewer, not more, antibiotics

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: A doctor refrains from giving an antibiotic until lab confirm’s 6-year-old’s sore throat is indeed strep. Was the doctor right to wait?

What switches genes on/off?

Q. I thought I was born with my genes (some from Mom, some from Dad), and they made me who I am. Now I hear that how you live day-to-day turns genes on and off. Does that change who I am, basically? A. You were …

Taking too many antacids masks real problem

DRS. ROIZEN AND OZ: Popping antacids on a regular basis might bring relief at the moment, but is not a long-term solution.