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3 days ago · Consumer Health: Fevers 101

a young Asian teenage girl looking sick with cold or fever and mother holding her face

A fever is a common sign of illness, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, fevers seem to play a key role in fighting infections. So should you treat a fever or let the fever run its course?

First, it’s important to get an accurate reading to know the severity of the fever. Check out these instructions for how to take your temperature.

The age of the patient and level of fever will determine whether treatment is indicated. Here’s a quick guide to treating a fever and some specific information about what to do if your child has a fever.

Fri, Jun 12 10:50am · Consumer Health: Meditation and stress relief

a stack of smooth stones in a pool of water, illustrating relaxation, meditation, balance, peace

If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, during these turbulent times you might consider trying meditation. There are many forms of meditation, but most have in common a quiet setting, a comfortable position, focused attention and an open attitude.

Spending even a few minutes in meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit your emotional well-being and overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may help you manage the symptoms of certain medical conditions.

Learn more about how meditation may help you with stress.

Mon, Jun 8 11:52am · Consumer Health: Men's health -- live a longer, healthier life

two young men cooking together in their kitchen

The biggest threats to men’s health include heart disease, strokecancer, suicide, chronic lower respiratory disease and unintentional injuries. The good news is that making a few lifestyle changes can significantly lower your risk of these common killers.

And don’t wait to visit your health care provider until something is seriously wrong. He or she can be your best ally for maintaining health and preventing disease.

Take control by talking with your health care provider about your risk factors. Then get serious about reducing your risk.

Here’s what you need to know to live a longer, healthier life.

Thu, Jun 4 8:42am · Consumer Health: 6 steps to better sleep

a man sleeping peacefully in bed, resting his head on a pillow

Getting at least seven hours of quality rest each night is essential for optimal health. Sleep provides the foundation for all of your daily habits and decisions. Sleep deprivation can significantly affect your mind and body. In addition to perpetuating serious health conditions, lack of sleep can negatively affect your mood and temperament, as well as your ability to focus on daily tasks.

There are many things that can interfere with a good night’s sleep, though. Work stress, family responsibilities and unexpected challenges, such as illnesses, can cause you to toss and turn.

While you might not be able to control the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep. Start with these six simple tips.

Thu, May 28 10:43am · Consumer Health: Women's health -- live a longer, healthier life

a happy, smiling three generations - grandmother, mother and baby - outdoors on a sunny autumn day

The biggest threats to women’s health include heart disease, stroke, cancer and unintentional injuries. The good news is that with a few lifestyle changes, these health threats often are preventable.

It’s important to know that there are sometimes differences in risk factors and symptoms between women and men. For example, women are more vulnerable than men to lung damage from inhaled smoke and pollutants, which puts women at increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And some heart disease symptoms in women can differ from those in men.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, though. Take control by talking with your health care provider about your health situation. Then get serious about reducing your risk.

Here’s what you need to know to live a longer, healthier life.

Wed, May 27 9:58am · Consumer Health: Soy and breast cancer risk

a close-up of a smiling young woman with very short hair, sitting on a couch in a sunny room

It once was thought that soy foods increase the risk of breast cancer. However, studies show that a lifelong diet rich in soy foods reduces the risk of breast cancer in women. In addition, soy contains protein, isoflavones and fiber — all of which provide health benefits.

So where did the idea come from that soy increases breast cancer risk?Learn more about soy and breast cancer from Katherine Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist.

Fri, Mar 6 10:30am · Consumer Health: Inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer screening

a medical illustration of inflammatory bowel disease

If you have inflammatory bowel disease, you may be worried about colon cancer.

Inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of your digestive tract. It’s important to understand that while inflammatory bowel disease increases your risk of colon cancer, it doesn’t necessarily lead to colon cancer.

Your health care provider will consider how long you’ve had inflammatory bowel disease when making recommendations about how often you need colon cancer screening and which screening tests are best for you.

Learn more about inflammatory bowel disease and the need for colon cancer screening.

Fri, Feb 21 4:00pm · Consumer Health: Weight training with free weights versus machine weights

a young man using weight training equipment in a gym

Both free weights and machine weights can help you increase your strength. Other types of resistance, such as using resistance bands or body weight, also can increase your strength.

When considering which resistance option to choose, base your choice on your personal preference, physical fitness level, fitness goals and access to equipment. And whatever type of resistance you choose, remember that proper form and technique is more important than the type of equipment. 

Learn more from Dr. Edward Laskowski, a Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, about the merits of weight training with free weights and machine weights.