Home medicine

Drink Up, Old People

I had not realized before that the human urinary system qualifies as “old” as early as age 50. As the bladder muscle becomes less efficient and the immune system less responsive, it’s possible for people like me to have a dreadful urinary tract infection with no fever and sometimes no urinary symptoms! Sometimes the only symptoms are confusion and forgetfulness.

Dehydration is the most likely trigger for a deadly cascade that leads to kidney failure and sometimes death. In my youth, I gave no thought to dehydration. I knew young people who had UTIs and it was no big deal. Over 50, it is a big deal. Two years ago, A friend of mine, age 78, felt puny, didn’t bother to drink much, got a UTI, then kidney failure, and died, all within a week. Another friend, my age, was traveling, didn’t have as much opportunity to drink water, got a UTI, kidney failure, collapse, and luckily has survived. The recovery will take months.

So drink up, old people, water is less expensive than intensive care.

And dehydration doesn’t mean it’s been days since you drank anything. It’s possible to drink a little bit all day and still not be fully hydrated. Naturally, sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea will increase dehydration risk.

Watch out for:

  • dizziness and confusion
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Bloody urine
  • Strong or foul-smelling urine odor
  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Pressure in the lower pelvis
  • Low-grade fever
  • Night sweats, shaking, or chills

In older people, watch for:

  • Confusion, or delirium-like state
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Other behavioral changes
  • Poor motor skills or dizziness
  • Falling

https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/urinary-tract-infections-elderly-146026.htm

Doctor Amazon

Ever need a medical device, maybe a carpal tunnel wrist brace or walking boot? What did it cost?

Wandering around Amazon I saw a reviewer saying a walking boot for his broken foot would have cost $250 and insurance didn’t cover it. He bought it on Amazon for $40.

When I shop Amazon I always filter the search to include only four star or higher ratings, and eligible for free shipping (on orders $49 or more).

 

Witch Hazel and the Infected Digit

In this digital age, all it takes is an infected right index finger cuticle to disable me completely. It was my Mousing finger! My Kindle-tapping finger! I was helpless.

The internet told me to use antibiotic ointment. I’m allergic to most of those, and didn’t want to buy any anyhow. The internet also told me to soak it in warm water and keep it elevated. That was okay, but not working fast enough to suit me. Touch typing with nine fingers is like setting a spider loose on the keyboard, a mess. I was having to change the TV channel with my left hand. Terrible!

I told a friend I was adding a little witch hazel to the water, just in case it helped. He said his Kentucky granny swore by witch hazel and he still uses it for any cut or scrape.

That gave me the push to soak the finger in straight witch hazel several times through the afternoon and evening. I slept with it elevated.

This morning there is still a small healing spot there, but the swelling and pain are gone and I’m typing with all ten fingers.

Hooray for witch hazel, which is also an fine traditional aftershave and astringent. Available in the first aid section at Walmart, just $1.44 for 16 ounces of the house brand or $3 for the name brand.

Home Remedies: Sensitivities

Sensitivity to fragrances, solvents, and other modern chemicals is a growing problem. It seems to have several causes. A variety of treatments have had some success. For me the key turned out to be Taurine.

Our intestines are supposed to manufacture Taurine. The liver uses it to process and remove foreign molecules (like perfume, gasoline fumes, dry cleaning fluid, etc.) from the blood. My intestines don’t manufacture it, so I have to take Taurine tablets to give my liver what it needs to detoxify those everyday chemicals. So my condition is treated but not cured.

I had been chemically sensitive for many years before I found out by chance that exposure to synthetic fragrances causes my blood pressure to go dangerously high. I have to be even more careful to avoid people who are wearing a lot of scent.

I was brought up to know that only I and the man I’m dancing with should know what I smell like. If everyone did that, allergic and sensitive people could go about their business with much less risk.

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

Home Remedies: Sinus Infections

I used to get four to five sinus infections a year, followed by chest infections, coughing, the whole nine yards. Sometime in the late ‘90s, I started using nasal saline morning and night. Since then I’ve had only one sinus infection.

At first, I bought the plastic squeeze-and-sniff bottles of saline at the drugstore. As prices rose, paying $4+ for less than two ounces of salted water began to feel foolish. Big Lots had it for much less, and that was fine for a while. Later on, I started mixing my own at home.

Recipes on the Internet vary. I use one cup of water, boiled, and ½ to one teaspoon (non-iodized) salt, with three drops of grape-fruit extract concentrate as a preservative. Some recipes add a pinch of baking soda as a buffer; it makes the water more soothing. Most recipes omit the grapefruit extract, and if you boil the water, it is safe to omit it.

There have been news stories of people getting dreadful infections from using un-boiled water in homemade nasal saline. Since seeing those, I boil the water and still use the grapefruit extract. The extract is sold at health food stores. Although it’s a bit expensive by the bottle, it is used by the drop and lasts a very, very long time–years, in fact.

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

Home Remedies: Hot Flashes

Estroven, a non-hormonal over-the-counter menopause aid, all but stopped the annoying hot flashes I had. The name brand at one grocery store near me costs $21. The Walmart Equate brand is only $7. For me it worked just fine. I bought the one that is also a multiple vitamin. That way I didn’t spend additional money on vitamins separately.

My own experience is that is does matter what I eat. The more vegetables I eat, the fewer symptoms I have. Dairy foods and grains, especially wheat, seem to make hot flashes worse for me. A friend told me that drinking alcoholic beverages made her hot flashes worse. Spicy foods and caffeine may also aggravate the problem.

Parsley and celery are said to help limit hot flashes. A friend of mine used parsley and said it worked great for her. When Estroven seemed to stop working for me, I bought a large amount of dried parsley from the bulk jars at the health food store. I started adding some to just about everything–omelets, rice, stew. Within two weeks, I had almost no hot flashes. I don’t know why, but there it is. At first, I thought I would need to eat large amounts of parsley, but a teaspoon in a meal is enough.

Black cohosh supplements from the health food store have also worked for people I know. Others have told me that as menopause goes on, what works for you may change. What works this year may not work later on. So I stand prepared to be flexible.

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack