health

Don't overindulge at holiday

The holiday season means delicious foods to enjoy but it's also easy to overindulge. Nathan Hamman, manager of wellness at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, recommends having a snack before going to a holiday party to reduce the risk of overeating because you're starving. Once at the party, avoid a "liquid diet" because calories from beverages, especially alcohol, can add up. When filling up your plate, focus on eating fruits and vegetables but don't overdo it on the dips, which are high in calories.

Protect teeth during exercise

Jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding are common during high-intensity workouts and sports. The cumulative effect can be fractures, chips or holes in the teeth, or jaw damage, said Dr. Shah Krish, author of "Restore Your Rest: Solutions for TMJ and Sleep Disorders." Krish recommends wearing an oral appliance — one that aligns and supports the jaw and is custom-made by a dentist for optimal effectiveness and comfort. A proper appliance protects the teeth, jaw, facial and neck muscles, he said. Krish also recommends breathing through your nose. Mouth-breathing during exercise dries out the mouth, reducing saliva and creating an environment for bacteria. Nose-breathing can improve airflow and relax the jaw and neck muscles.

Vaccine prevents liver infection

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received confirmation of five hepatitis A cases in east-central Illinois, bringing to 69 the number of cases confirmed statewide this year. IDPH encourages people at highest risk for infection — including men who have sex with men, homeless people and those who use drugs — to get vaccinated against hepatitis A. Hepatitis A, an infection that can damage the liver, is passed from person to person through food, water, drug use and sex. But it is vaccine-preventable. McLean County Health Department has free or reduced-cost hepatitis A vaccine available for people at highest risk. Call 309-888-5435.

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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