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When walking hurts

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Maybe you’re just starting a walking routine, or you’re a walking veteran with years of brisk daily walks under your belt. Either way, it’s no fun when aches and pains slow you down or even send you back to the couch. But not all pain is created equal, and while some pains are just inconvenient or uncomfortable, you should know when to call your doctor.

Heel pain is often caused by plantar fasciitis, when the band of tissue that runs from your heel to the ball of your foot is strained, according to Prevention. Pain in your heel or arch first thing in the morning is a common sign. Stretching and supportive shoes are a must, or you can try cold packs or shoe inserts, according to the Harvard Health Letter. Call your doctor if the condition persists.

Calf pain that primarily shows up on one or both sides of the lower calf may be due to spinal stenosis, a condition in which a narrowed spinal canal results in compressed nerves. According to the Harvard Health Letter, symptoms often worsen during the day, so you may choose morning walks instead of evening walks. If you experience pain while walking, take breaks until the pain subsides.

Knee pain that feels like a throbbing in front of the kneecap is often a simple case of runner’s knee, according to Prevention. Try another type of exercise, like cycling or swimming, for a few weeks until the pain subsides. You might also consider some exercises to strengthen your quads and help support your knee for future activity.


Pain throughout the leg that occurs every time you start an activity and stops when you finish could be a sign of peripheral arterial disease or PAD. According to Duke Health, PAD occurs when major blood vessels that supply blood to limbs become fully or partially blocked by fatty deposits.

If you’re obese, a smoker, diabetic, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you may be at increased risk for PAD. If you have leg pain that starts and stops with activity, contact your doctor. A variety of treatments are available, and the earlier the condition is treated, the better.

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Health

Read this before you shovel snow

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Shoveling snow is a job for an athlete, even though people tend to think it is a routine activity that anyone can do.

In fact, shoveling snow takes a huge toll on the heart and back. One shovel of wet snow weighs 16 pounds. If you shovel 12 loads a minute, then in 10 minutes, you’ve moved 2,000 pounds, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

About 100 Americans on average die each year because of snow removal exertion, according to the Denver Post. About 12,000 suffer injuries that require a trip to the emergency room, according to a 16-year study reported in PubMed.

One key is to keep ahead of the drifts. Push snow several times while the snow is feathery, cold, and shallow before it becomes heavy, wet, and deep.



If you must shovel:
* Keep your spine in an upright, neutral position.
* Whenever you can push the snow — don’t shovel it. You can use your large muscles in the hips and legs for pushing.

If you do have to lift:
* Take small bites of the snow with the shovel only about a fourth full.
* Use your leg muscles to lift the load.
* Keep the load low to the ground and close to your body.
* Avoid throwing the snow if you can. If you must throw it, throw light loads.

Breaks are critical
How long you can work depends on how heavy the snow is, your physical condition, and how cold it is outside.
* If you feel fatigued, pain, or shortness of breath, rest until you feel normal again. If you experience shortness of breath for a prolonged period, see your doctor immediately.

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How to avoid getting sick overseas

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Do you have an upcoming trip? If you’re headed abroad, it’s important to take precautions to avoid getting sick. You don’t want to ruin your travel plans by accidentally eating or drinking something that makes you ill.

Remember, even if you’ve received the recommended vaccinations and taken preventive medication, you won’t be protected against common pathogens and bacteria. You should still adhere to the following tips to avoid getting sick:

• Only eat fruits and vegetables that are cooked and peeled

• Avoid raw food, especially shellfish and salads


• Don’t eat food that’s left sitting out uncovered

• Only drink water that’s boiled or bottled and opened in front of you

• Skip the ice cubes unless you’re sure they’re made with decontaminated water

• Avoid unpasteurized dairy products

• Don’t eat food from street cart vendors

If you’re careful about what you eat and drink, it’s likely you’ll remain healthy when you travel overseas.

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Ski fever: The highest slopes can cause mountain fever

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For doctors and nurses at Colorado’s highest elevations, ski season means a steady flow of casualties from a little-understood problem: acute mountain sickness.

Skiers are already for the risk of broken bones and frostbite, but they often don’t know how mountain sickness works, and resorts don’t tell them. The condition is caused by a decrease in oxygen in the blood at higher altitudes. It affects people who travel rapidly from sea level to elevations over 8,000 feet. A more serious condition, high-altitude pulmonary edema, is fatal in 1 percent of cases.

Thousands of skiers experience symptoms within a day of arriving: headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, and vomiting. About 25 percent to 40 percent of visitors experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Copper Mountain Ski Resort warns would-be visitors about it. Their flier says it creates a “hangover” feeling and pregnant women, people with anemia, or people with chronic heart and lung conditions should be cautious.

Aspen, Vail, and some other Colorado mountains have bases at or above 8,000 feet, but people at hotels experience less altitude sickness. The hotels lie at lower elevations, allowing visitors more time to adjust. The peak at Aspen rises to 12,510 feet. At Telluride, the peak is 12,255. Breckenridge peaks rise to 12,998 feet and Copper Mountain peaks top out at 12,313 feet.


Skiers coming from sea level locations such as Chicago (668 feet) or Michigan (839 feet) should allow time for their bodies to adjust before going to the higher peaks.

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When should you go to the emergency room?

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It’s easy to see that an accident victim needs emergency treatment. Judging whether a medical condition requires a trip to the emergency room (ER) is more difficult.

Get to the ER fast, say doctors at Harvard Medical School, if any of these problems occur:

Severe abdominal pain. Especially if there is vomiting, swelling or tenderness of the abdomen, or fever. This may signal appendicitis, bowel obstruction, or a perforated organ.

Breathing difficulty. Go quickly if you have heart or lung disease, asthma, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, swelling, dizziness, pale clammy skin, or swollen tongue or throat.


Chest pain. People with coronary artery disease or angina should get help if pain begins during exercise and persists despite 10 minutes of rest or under-the-tongue nitroglycerin. It could signal a heart attack.

Confusion or changes in consciousness. Sudden onset of confusion or memory loss is an emergency. The altered mental status could be a sign of stroke or other serious problem.

Fractures. Suspected fractures should be evaluated promptly, except in the case of a finger or toe.

Headaches. Most can be treated in the doctor’s office. Go to the ER if a headache is accompanied by confusion, nausea, and vomiting, loss of sensation or muscle strength, fever or sensitivity to light.

Numbness or tingling. Widespread numbness or tingling can be due to a stroke. Get help immediately if one side of the body is affected, vision is blurred or distorted or if speaking is difficult.

Rash. Rash accompanies many illnesses, is a common reaction to certain foods, and usually does not require immediate treatment. But purple spots on the skin accompanied by fever are signs of serious illness such as meningitis. Hives that appear after an insect sting are a signal to get immediate treatment.

Vomiting. This is an emergency if it produces blood or material that looks like coffee grounds. These are symptoms of serious problems that should be treated immediately.

Cost is never a consideration when your life is in jeopardy. For these symptoms, get emergency room treatment as soon as possible.

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DNA determines your reaction to caffeine

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Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychostimulant in the world, but did you know your genetic code can determine if it has a positive or negative effect on your body? Here’s a quick overview.

Reactions
Consuming caffeine increases blood pressure and dilates blood vessels. While this can have a feel-good effect on some people, others may experience heart palpitations as a result.

One of the reasons for this difference in reactions is a specific enzyme that’s responsible for metabolizing it. Genetic variation determines how fast your kidneys can eliminate caffeine from your body. Consequently, it has practically no effect on people whose bodies can get rid of it quickly, but, it can increase the risk of hypertension in people whose bodies eliminate it slowly.

Consumption
The amount of coffee you drink may also be linked to your DNA. Scientists have pinpointed two specific genes that are directly associated with how many cups of joe people drink per day. Additionally, these genetic sequences indicate whether someone feels the need to consume caffeine, and if so, how often.


If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake, make sure to discuss the issue with your doctor at your next appointment.

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The science of sweating

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Everybody does it, but we usually try to hide the evidence. Sweating is a normal part of living, an essential function that helps keep us alive. It’s satisfying during hot yoga sessions or a long workout, but for the most part, we spend our adult lives trying to hide the evidence with anti-perspirants, dress shields, moisture-wicking fabrics, and for the particularly sweaty among us, Botox injections in the armpits to paralyze sweat glands.

Sweat is more than just something that stains our favorite shirts, according to Sarah Everts in her book The Joy of Sweat, published earlier this year. It’s a built-in cooling system, a complex network of glands that release fluid, which evaporates from heated skin and produces a cooling effect that lets us go outside on a hot day or enjoy a workout without risking death. And far from being gross and unsightly, sweat is an evolutionary marvel, an adaptation that allowed early humans to disperse into diverse climates and forage for food during daylight hours while many predators retreated to the shade for survival.

And that unpleasant odor that we associate with sweat? Our bodies don’t actually create that. Larger sweat glands, such as those in the armpits and groin, secrete sweat with a slightly different molecular profile, with fatty particles that bacteria love to feast on. In turn, the bacteria produce waste that, to human noses, smells like rancid butter and wet dog, among other things, according to Everts.

But even if your armpits are a little ripe, don’t kick yourself over it because, as Everts reminds readers, it could be much worse. Some animals spend their days rolling in mud, while others urinate or vomit on themselves to produce a similar, though much less efficient cooling effect.


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Upcoming Events

Jan
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jan 19 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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7:00 pm FRWRC Woman Gathering @ ONLINE
FRWRC Woman Gathering @ ONLINE
Jan 20 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FRWRC Woman Gathering @ ONLINE
The Front Royal Women’s Resource Center presents: WomanGathering – 7 PM, Virtual via Zoom Webinar with guest Dawn Devine, the Executive Director for the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. Topic: Why Children are our most valuable resource. Click[...]
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1:00 pm FRWRC Book Circle @ ONLINE
FRWRC Book Circle @ ONLINE
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FRWRC Book Circle @ ONLINE
January 21 – FRWRC Book Circle – Free Virtual Event – Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Questions about FRWRC Online Book Circle, please contact: Lyn Bement at dlbement@comcast.net or (540) 635-3000. In person Book Circle Postponed until[...]
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jan 26 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and... @ ONLINE
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 2 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
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all-day First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
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9:00 am Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
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Women's Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
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Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion[...]