Pepper trees also get a bad rap

Pepper trees also get a bad rap

The Brazilian Pepper tree – also known as the Florida Holly – is an invasive species from South America that has spread throughout Florida and the Southeastern U.S. Many Floridians hate it because it is a common source of contact dermatitis similar in nature to poison ivy. Despite this mischievous aspect of the plant, immunologists have discovered it has incredible antibiotic properties. Amazonian native healers have used the plant for hundreds of years for its medicinal value. Now modern science…

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These ulcers probably not caused by allergy

These ulcers probably not caused by allergy

Dear Dr. K:  Dear Dr. K: I get recurrent aphthous ulcers in my mouth and on my tongue. Is this an allergic problem? Known by various names, including canker sores, this condition of recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) can be due to allergy, but that is one of the least frequent causes. Several systemic illnesses have RAS as part of their disease complex, including Behcet’s disease with RAS, genital ulcers, eye disease and neurologic symptoms; MAGIC syndrome with RAS, genital ulcers…

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Q – Tips: ionizers and ozone

Q – Tips: ionizers and ozone

Several local businesses recently have advertised installation of ionizers to central air-conditioning systems to improve air quality and reduce infections. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), however, recommends that ionizers only be used temporarily to clear contaminated air, but not on a permanent basis because they produce ozone.

Don’t blame the goldenrod — blame prolific ragweed

Don’t blame the goldenrod — blame prolific ragweed

When allergic people hear the word goldenrod, it makes them want to sneeze. But if truth be told, these plants have been victims of a bad rap. Goldenrod blooms at the same time (late summer and fall) as ragweed, and because of its bright yellow flowers, it has been blamed for fall allergy symptoms. But this plant produces a very heavy and sticky pollen that relies on insect transfer for pollination. It’s too heavy to fly in the wind. Ragweed…

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Not just face lifts with Botox

Not just face lifts with Botox

By Sasha Klemawesch, M.D. When a patient recently told me that she was getting Botox for her depression, not for cosmetics, my initial reaction was: “Sure, and your rhinoplasty was for a deviated septum.” But is turns out the joke was on me. Botox has been explored as an alternate therapy (to drugs) for clinical depression. Charles Darwin was one of the earliest with the theory that facial expressions are not only manifestations of emotions, but also have a direct…

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Child’s fear of choking again can lead to weight loss and eating issues

Child’s fear of choking again can lead to weight loss and eating issues

Some children who have endured a scary choking incident may suffer from what’s called Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. The disorder was recently reviewed in The New England Journal of Medicine and presents as a condition associated with weight loss due to eating difficulties following a choking incident. The child basically fears having another choking episode. This leads to avoiding solid food, preferring or demanding only soft food or liquids such as milkshakes, puddings and oatmeal. Weight loss follows because the…

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More than weather events, summer storms can trigger allergic asthma

More than weather events, summer storms can trigger allergic asthma

Nine people died and 8,500 more recently were hospitalized with severe asthma in Australia in a single week of thunderstorms. Said storms occurred during the peak of rye grass pollen season. The rain caused the pollen to become saturated, and the electrical discharges caused fragmentation of the pollen grains into tiny particles.  More typically, pollen grains are filtered out by the nose/sinus area, leading to hay fever symptoms. But tiny fragments created by the storms were able to slip right…

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Dear Dr. Sasha K: Do I really need my appendix out?

Dear Dr. Sasha K: Do I really need my appendix out?

First of all, we don’t really need an appendix, which is why it is often removed as a precaution against future appendicitis during other abdominal surgery. However, appendectomy for appendicitis is still the most common surgery done by acute-care surgeons, and has been the mainstay for centuries for treating appendicitis. The first appendectomy was in 1735. In fact, ask any physician, surgeon or non-surgeon how to treat appendicitis and the universal answer will be, “cut it out.” But that response…

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