Entries in Holiday (5)


Learn the Warning Signs of “Holiday Heart Syndrome”

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People tend to overindulge with eating and drinking over the holidays, and this causes a rise in cases of “holiday heart syndrome” or an irregular heartbeat, according to MedPage Today.

Warning signs of “holiday heart syndrome” include the following: palpitations, fainting and chest pains.

This can occur in otherwise healthy people, who overeat and consume too much alcohol. Caffeine and lack of sleep can also contribute to an irregular heartbeat.

Partyers, who become patients at emergency rooms, often complain that their hearts feel like they’re racing out of their chests.

Intravenous fluids usually solves the problem, and sometimes medication is required.

In rare cases, “holiday heart syndrome” can pose the threat of stroke or blood clots.

Taking it easy on the bar and buffet tables and this will help you avoid a trip to the hospital.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elf on the Shelf Gives Children’s Hospital Patients a Christmas Treat

Le Bonheur Children's Hospital(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- There are no Dancers or Prancers or Comets or Vixens, no partridges in a pear tree or even nutcrackers dancing when you’re sick in the hospital at Christmastime.

For the young patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., however, there is a Betsy Bojangles, an Elfvis, a Bonnie and a Jingle Bell Jimmy in their midst.

They are not nurses or strangely-named doctors but Elves on the Shelf who have come to the well-known children’s hospital to spread Christmas cheer.

The Elf on the Shelf is, of course, a Christmas tradition born from one Georgia family’s annual ritual: The Elf came from the North Pole, appeared in a different spot each day and then flew home to the North Pole nightly to report back to Santa. It’s now part of millions of families’ Christmas each year around the world.

When Linda Hill, a longtime volunteer at Le Bonheur, had the idea to use the Elf to help spread Christmas cheer in the hospital, the Marietta, Ga., company that sells the $29.95 Elves and accompanying book, jumped at the opportunity.

“We are inspired by the work they do with children,” a spokesperson for the family-owned company told ABC News.  “We were delighted to be able to partner with them.  The people who work with sick children are nearest and dearest to our hearts.”

And just like that, in a bit of Christmas magic, last week 15 Elves -- one for each of the hospital’s 12 floors plus one for the family house, the same-day surgery facility and the hospital as a whole -- arrived with Elf dust from the North Pole.

Ever since, the Elves’ daily arrival from the North Pole, always in a different location on each floor, has been captivating patients like Kylie, a five-year-old in the hospital for a neurological operation.

“I met her as she was getting ready to go in for a surgical procedure, and she would have nothing to do with me,” Jessica Kellough, one of the hospital’s child life specialists, told ABC News.  “When I mentioned that our Elf had arrived that morning, she turned and looked at me and her eyes got really big and [it was the] first time I got a response from her. The only thing she wanted to do or talk about was finding the Elf.”

After surgery, according to Kellough, Kylie was placed on bed rest so her nurse brought the Elf magic to her in the form of a letter the Elf sent to her from the North Pole.  From then on, Kylie insisted the letter lay next to her always in bed.

“It’s a huge motivator for her and it got her mind off her surgery,” Kellough said, noting the nurses and therapists are also using the Elves with patients who are being rehabilitated, to get them up and moving in search of the Elves around the hospital.

“They all have them at home so they’re excited to know that the Elves haven’t forgotten them now that they’re at the hospital,” she said.

Elf on the Shelf has partnered with children’s hospitals in the past, according to the company spokesman, but this is the first time the Elves have made their way from the North Pole to Le Bonheur.

Le Bonheur, which treats nearly 250,000 kids from across the country with all different ailments every year, is known for its innovative practices to keep patients stimulated -- earlier this year the building’s window washers dressed as real-life superheroes -- and says they hope, like so many families, to make the Elf on the Shelf one of the hospital’s annual traditions.

“Sometimes when you’re at the hospital, especially around Christmas, some of the magic seems lost,” Kellough said.  “This year something seems different.  Elf has brought back some of that magic this year. It’s just been inspiring to see the power the Elf has had here.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Give Your Holiday Turkey Plastic Surgery

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Throw out your kitchen twine and forget your trussing techniques. Surgical staples are the newest way to keep stuffing inside a holiday turkey, according to research published in the Veterinary Record. The staples hold the stuffing inside of the bird while keeping the skin intact.

Researchers from the study deboned and stuffed 15 turkeys averaging 3.56 kilograms (7.83 pounds) each. They randomly applied five different types of surgical suturing techniques to the birds. Then, the turkeys were baked at 180 degrees Celsius (356 F)  for two hours until the center of the turkey reached 76 degrees Celsius (168.8 F).

The Utrecht pattern, a suture technique commonly used for cow wombs after Caesarean sections, was found to be the best way to stitch up the turkey before baking.

Once baked, and the sutures removed, the birds that were stapled held up the best. The other methods that were used damaged the turkey skin when they were removed. The results were graded, and stapling scored the lowest on skin breakage and highest on cosmetic appearance.

While stapling is considered safe, the authors point out that the staples are indigestible, so take care not to leave one in.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Holiday Leftovers: Delicious or Deadly?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After countless hours fussing over a holiday feast, you may see leftovers as liberation from the kitchen. But before you reheat and eat that once-hot turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole or custard pie, you should know that they can make you so sick you might wish you were dead.

Food safety specialists explain that when cooked foods linger more than two hours at room temperature, they can become mess halls for colorless, odorless, tasteless bacteria.

You might suspect such dangers in meat or turkey, and you've probably heard that it's important to separate turkey from the stuffing when storing them. But what might surprise you is that even simple, starchy dishes like mashed potatoes enter a bacterial "danger zone" at temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At those temperatures, toxic bacteria can quickly multiply, stealing your holiday spirit -- and squashing your appetite.

Given enough warmth, nutrients and moisture, a single bacterium dividing every half-hour can produce 17 million offspring in 12 hours, according to figures cited by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Holiday Stress: Bad for Holidays and Health

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The winter holidays are full of festive decorations, gatherings with loved ones and plenty of home-cooked food and drinks.

They are also filled with stress, and experts say that stress can be counterproductive and harmful to one's health, even if it is just for a few weeks.

"When we're stressed, our adrenal glands release hormones, especially adrenaline and cortisol,as part of the normal 'fight-or-flight' response," said Dr. Philip Ragno, president of Island Cardiac Specialists in Garden City, N.Y. and director of cardiovascular health and wellness at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. "With an increase in adrenaline, our heart rate and blood pressure go up in order to deliver more blood to our muscles and the release of cortisol heightens our immune system and increases our blood glucose levels."

These are all a healthy part of the body's response to stress, but over time, chronic stress can really take a toll on the heart.

"Constant stress can cause cortisol to become chronically elevated, with levels up to 10 times higher than our normal baseline. Persistent elevation of cortisol levels can lead to increased levels of bad cholesterol, decreased levels of good cholestero, and elevated blood sugar levels. These changes result in the development of excess abdominal fat and diabetes, as well as reducing our immune response," said Ragno.

The triggers are the same every year: too much shopping and preparation to do, end-of-year job responsibilties, crowds, and family gatherings are among them.

In order to ease their holiday stress, experts advise people to really make time to relax, take a few deep breaths, and put things into perspective.

"Just stopping and reflecting for a few minutes will help to lower adrenaline and cortisol levels," said Ragno.

"Take a few minutes when you can to relax and appreciate what the holidays are about," said Rego. "Watch the joy in children's faces, watch an old movie or listen to a holiday song."

"The world's not going to end if something doesn't get done," said Williams.

People should also eat well and make time to exercise, since overindulging and putting off workouts until it's time for New Year's resolutions are common.

To prevent an unwanted meltdown, experts say there are some signs to watch out for that you may be about to have one.

"If you're not able to sleep, if you find yourself waking up at 4 a.m. because you can't sleep, if you find yourself drinking too much and behaving in ways that really aren't like you, you should really take a step back and say that things are getting out of hand," said Williams.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio