A cheaper doctor’s appointment

Got a cough that won’t go away? Stop by the health clinic at your local supermarket or drugstore.
These walk-in clinics can offer the same quality of care as doctor’s offices and emergency rooms for routine problems, according to a new University of Pittsburgh study.
     “The nurse practitioner or physician assistant at the facility can diagnose the problem and prescribe a medication,” says Ateev Mehrotra, M.D., the study’s lead researcher. And at between $20 and $120, the fee is usually hundreds of dollars less than a doctor’s visit or ER trip. Although many clinic accept health insurance, they don’t require it—making them an affordable option for everyone.

Myth of the month

You don’t need to drink as much during winter workouts
“Bundling up in all of those layers can cause you to sweat more than usual,” says Kim Mueller, R.D., a sports nutritionist and the owner of Fuel Factor in San Diego. But you may not feel the need to drink, since cool temperatures can mask your sense of thirst by about 40 percent. To avoid getting dehydrated (which raises your risk for frostbite), sip water during your workout. For most moderate sessions, Mueller says 8 ounces is enough. Drink more if you’re skiing; the dry air at high altitudes increases your fluid needs.

Depressed? Why you should seek help

Work stress. Hormones. A fight with your boyfriend.

There are plenty of reasons for a blue mood, but if yours has lasted for more than two weeks, you may be suffering from depression and need help. According to a new Harris Interactive survey, most people waited six years, on average, to see a doctor about their symptoms because they felt like they could get over it on their own. “If left untreated, depression can become more severe over time,” says Susan Kornstein, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University. A mental health professional can help identify the causes and find the right treatment, such as therapy and/or medication.

Is that pain in your knees early arthritis?

It could be. Nearly 1 million women under the age of 40 suffer from this degenerative joint disease. Take these steps to lower your risk.
  • Work up a sweat
    Not only will you maintain joint flexibility, you’ll also shed pounds. “Being overweight puts stress on joints, which may lead to arthritis,” says Leslie Campbell, D.P.M., a podiatrist in Plano, Texas.
  • Seek support
    “More than half of all people under-or overpronate, which can wear down cartilage over time,” says Campbell, who recommends slipping an over-the-counter insole, like Dr. Scholl’s Arthritis Pain Relief Orthotics, in your shoes.
  • Walk in flats
    A new study published in Artbritis & Rbeumatism found that women who wore high heels often were more likely to suffer from heel and ankle pain later in life.

Dirty little health secret

Whether you spend the morning gardening or a few minutes searching for four-leaf clovers, find a way to get grubby today. “The germs in all kinds of soil trigger your body to produce more immune-boosting white blood cells,” says Mary Ruebush, Ph.D., author of the new book Why Dirt is Good. “That means you’ll be better able to fight off colds and more serious illnesses down the road.” So go ahead and start digging!


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