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  • January 14, 2022

    By Allison Larson, MD

    Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or spend the season curled up by the fireplace, the low humidity, bitter winds, and dry indoor heat that accompany cold weather can deplete your skin’s natural moisture. Dry skin is not only painful, uncomfortable, and irritating; it also can lead to skin conditions such as eczema, which results in itchy, red, bumpy skin patches. 


    Follow these six tips to prevent and treat skin damage caused by winter dryness.


    1. Do: Wear sunscreen all year long.

    UV rays can easily penetrate cloudy skies to dry out exposed skin. And when the sun is shining, snow and ice reflect its rays, increasing UV exposure. 


    Getting a sunburn can cause severe dryness, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer. Snow or shine, apply sunscreen before participating in any outdoor activity during the winter—especially if you take a tropical vacation to escape the cold; your skin is less accustomed to sunlight and more likely to burn quickly.


    The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.


    That being said, if you are considering laser skin treatments to reduce wrinkles, hair, blemishes, or acne scars, winter is a better time to receive these procedures. Sun exposure shortly after a treatment increases the risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), and people are less likely to spend time outside during the winter.


    Related reading: 7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Skin in the Sun

    2. Do: Skip products with drying ingredients.

    Soaps or facial products you use in warm weather with no issues may irritate your skin during colder seasons. This is because they contain ingredients that can cause dryness, but the effects aren’t noticeable until they’re worsened by the dry winter climate.

    You may need to take a break from:

    • Anti-acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
    • Antibacterial and detergent-based soap
    • Anything containing fragrance, from soap to hand sanitizer

    Hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer, which contains a high level of skin-drying alcohol, cannot be avoided; we need to maintain good hand hygiene to stop the spread of germs. If your job or lifestyle requires frequent hand washing or sanitizing, routinely apply hand cream throughout the day as well.


    During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen a lot of people develop hand dermatitis—a condition with itchy, burning skin that can swell and blister—due to constant hand washing. Sometimes the fix is as simple as changing the soap they're using. Sensitive-skin soap is the best product for dry skin; it typically foams up less but still cleans the skin efficiently.


    3. Do: Pay closer attention to thick skin.

    Areas of thin skin, such as the face and backs of your hands, are usually exposed to the wind and sun the most. It’s easy to tell when they start drying out. But the thick skin on your palms and bottoms of your feet is also prone to dryness—and tends to receive less attention.


    When thick skin gets dry, fissures form. You’ll see the surface turn white and scaly; then deep, linear cracks will appear. It isn’t as pliable as thin skin. When you’re constantly on your feet or using your hands to work, cook, and everything in between, dry thick skin cracks instead of flexing with your movements. 


    To soften cracked skin, gently massage a heavy-duty moisturizer—such as Vaseline—into the affected area once or twice a day. You can also talk with your doctor about using a skin-safe adhesive to close the fissures and help them heal faster.


    Related reading:  Follow these 5 Tips for Healthy Skin

    4. Don’t believe the myth that drinking more water will fix dry skin.

    Contrary to popular belief, the amount of water or fluids you drink does not play a major role in skin hydration—unless you’re severely dehydrated. In the winter, especially, dry skin is caused by external elements; it should be treated from the outside as well. 


    The best way to keep skin hydrated and healthy is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment—not lotion—to damp skin after a shower or bath.
    Some people need additional moisturizers for their hands, legs, or other areas prone to dryness.

    While some lotions are made better than others, most are a combination of water and powder that evaporates quickly. Creams and ointments work better because they contain ingredients that can help rebuild your skin barrier. 

    Look for products with ceramide, a fatty acid that helps rebuild the fat and protein barrier that holds your skin cells together. The AAD also recommends moisturizing ingredients such as:

    • Dimethicone
    • Glycerin
    • Jojoba oil
    • Lanolin
    • Mineral oil
    • Petrolatum
    • Shea butter

    For severely dry skin, you can try a “wet wrap” technique:

    1. Rinse a pair of tight-fitting pajamas in warm water and wring them out so they’re damp, not wet.
    2. Apply cream or ointment to your skin.
    3. Put on the damp pajamas, followed by a pair of dry pajamas, and wear the ensemble for several hours.

    Dampness makes your skin more permeable and better able to absorb hydrating products. If the wet wrap or over-the-counter products aren’t working for you, talk with a dermatologist about prescription skin hydration options. 

    Drinking more water isn’t the answer to dry winter skin. The best solution is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment directly to damp skin. Get more cold weather #SkinCareTips from a dermatologist in this blog: https://bit.ly/3KbVUA1.
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    5. Don’t confuse skin conditions with dryness.

    Skin conditions are often mistaken for dry skin because peeling or flaking are common symptoms. Redness of the skin or itching in addition to dryness and flaking indicates a skin condition that may need more than an over-the-counter moisturizer.


    Skin cells are anchored together by a lipid and protein layer (like a brick and mortar wall). With very dry skin, the seal on this wall or barrier is not fully intact and water evaporates out of the skin’s surface. The skin will become itchy and red in addition to scaly or flaky. If you experience these symptoms, visit with a dermatologist.

    6. Don’t wait for symptoms to take care of dry skin.

    Be proactive—the best way to maintain moisture is to apply hydrating creams and ointments directly to your skin on a regular basis. Start by applying them as part of your morning routine. Once you get used to that, add a nighttime application. And carry a container of it when you’re on the go or keep it in an easily accessible location at work.

     

    You can’t avoid dry air, but you can take precautions to reduce its harsh effects on your skin. If over-the-counter products don’t seem to help, our dermatologists can provide an individualized treatment plan. Hydrated skin is healthy skin!


    Does your skin get drier as the air gets colder?

    Our dermatologists can help.

    Call 202-877-DOCS (3627) or Request an Appointment

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  • May 31, 2017

    By MedStar Health

    The administration of an institutional review board (IRB), or any regulatory committee for that matter, can feel like death by a thousand paper cuts. Each step in the process is like a tiny paper cut: one step individually can be annoying, but not enough to do you in. However, the culmination of these injuries can have a greater overall harm. Process improvement for an IRB office requires taking a meticulous look at each step and asking these questions:

    • Is the step required by regulations?

      • If no, is it a best practice or does it adhere to an industry standard?

        • If no, does it fulfill a business purpose?

          • If no, can the step be eliminated? And if so, what are the risks of eliminating the step?

    The goal behind this method is to ensure the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is effective in our processes, eliminating unnecessary red tape so that the office and its committees can focus on the things that matter, protecting human subjects and conducting animal use procedures with the highest scientific, humane, and ethical principles.

    Of course, research and medical care are a heavily regulated industry. Eliminating steps or processes is not always possible. The next goal is to focus on efficiency. Can we meet these requirements in a less burdensome way?

    With this as the backdrop, ORI would like to announce the following changes that may affect investigators:

    1. Removing signatures and stamping of approval documents (except consent forms)
      Regulations do not require IRB approval letters to be signed. Stamping is not mentioned in the regulations. “Stamping” became a practice for consent forms because of OHRP commentary in warning letters published in the 1990s and early 2000s. Stamping was a viable solution in the 1990s and -2000s, when IRB processes were on paper. However, most abandoned the practice of “stamping” all approved documents when IRB processes moved into electronic systems. Printing, signing, stamping, scanning and inputting back into InfoEd causes delays in providing notifications back to study teams.
      Starting in June, ORI will no longer sign approval letters or stamp any approved documents except for consent forms. The IRB-approved letters will include the version and date to provide the necessary audit trail as to what documents were approved.
      Future enhancements will include evaluating InfoEd in the coming weeks to replace the physical stamp with an e-generated mark on the consent forms.
    2. Reducing review times for personnel changes
      Currently, personnel changes are reviewed by the ORI staff and a voting member of the IRB. OHRP guidance states that personnel changes (other than a change in PI) are not considered “modifications to the research” and do not require IRB member review. To reduce review times for personnel-only changes, member review will no longer be required for personnel-only changes.
  • May 31, 2017

    By MedStar Health

    Each year, MedStar Health awards scholarships to approximately 30 first-year Georgetown University medical students in order to pursue research during the summer. For eight weeks, each summer scholar works under the direction of a MedStar Health physician-investigator to conduct research in a specific area, with the opportunity to have some clinical exposure. These scholars are housed at various locations throughout the MedStar system and their experience culminates with a capstone presentation in the fall.

    Congratulations to the Class of 2020 Scholarship Recipients.

    Frank S. Pellegrini, M.D. Scholars
    Recipient Research Area Location Mentor(s)
    Esther Chung Patient Safety MI2/MWHC Seth Krevat, MD/Kelly Smith, PhD
    Ansha Janna Islam Quality Improvement MIQS Chris Goeschel, ScD, RN
    Pines-Kleinman Mental & Behavioral Health Scholar
    Recipient Research Area Location Mentor(s)
    Megan O'Brien Psychiatry MGUH Matthew Biel, MD
    MedStar Health Primary Care Scholarships at MedStar Franklin Square (MFSMC)
    Recipient Research Area Location Mentor(s)
    Tara Filsuf Family Medicine MFSMC Nancy Barr, MD
    Rebecca Xi Family Medicine MFSMC Tobie Lynn Smith, MD
    Sunita Mengers Pediatrics MFSMC Harsha Bhagtani, MD/Scott Krugman, MD
    He Zhou Internal Medicine MFSMC Carrie Hempel, DO/Keri Jacobs, MD
    MedStar Health Scholarships at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital (MUMH)
    Recipient Research Area Location Mentor(s)
    Jack Pollack Asthma & Allergy MUMH Sudhir Sekhsaria, MD
    Stephen Pineda Internal Medicine MUMH David Weisman, MD/Rosemarie Maraj,MD
    Amber Famiglietti Internal Medicine MUMH Stephanie Detterline, MD/ Alex Yazaji, MD
    Kelly Comolli Sports Medicine MUMH Justin Cooper, MS/Andy Lincoln, MD
    Jeremy Marx Orthopaedic Surgery MUMH Jacob Wisbeck, MD
    Kathleen Stahl Endocrinology MUMH Pamela Schroeder, MD
    MedStar Health Scholarships in Washington, D.C.,
    Recipient Research Area Location Mentor(s)
    Aisha Lott Palliative Care MWHC Hunter Groninger, MD
    Alexandra Gustafson Vascular Surgery MWHC Steven Abramowitz, MD
    Andrew Crocker Surgical Oncology MGUH Waddah Al-Refaie, MD
    Jennifer Tang Pediatrics MGUH Kirsten Hawkins, MD/Hilary Wolf, MD
    Christopher Folgueras ID, Hepatitis & HIV MGUH Dawn Fishbein, MD
    Kristen Klemmer OB/Gyn, HIV & Pregnancy MWHC Rachel Scott, MD
    Ayalivis De La Rosa General Surgery/Surgical Education MGUH Shimae Fitzgibbons, MD
    Cassandra Cairns Emergency Medicine/Surgery MGUH/MWHC Munish Goyal,MD/Shimae Fitzgibbons,MD
    Lydia Koroshetz Emergency Medicine MWHC Maryann Amirshahi, MD
    Emilie Fortman Human Factors Engineering MI2 Raj Ratwani, PhD
    Jenna Bekeny Cardiology MWHC Ana Barac, MD, PhD
    MedStar Health Scholarships in Population Health
    Recipient Research Area Location Mentor(s)
    Elizabeth Wetterer Women’s and Infants’ Services MWHC Loral Patchen, PhD
    Erica Meninno Neurology & Multiple Sclerosis GUMC Carlo Tornatore, MD
    Saumik Rahman Family Medicine MGUH Jeffrey Weinfeld, MD
    Leah Foley Diabetes MDI Michelle Magee, MD
    Thomas Fredrick Family Choice MFC Patryce Toye, MD
  • May 31, 2017

    By MedStar Health

    Research led by Andrew Shorr, MD, MPH, in the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Service at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has identified some causes of hospital-acquired infections for patients not on ventilators.

    Published in Respiratory Medicine, the study, “Viruses are prevalent in non-ventilated hospital-acquired pneumonia”, looked at hospital-acquired pneumonia arising in non-ventilated patients (NVHAP) to identify the prevalence of viruses causing NVHAP and to identify any patient characteristics that could be identified as having a viral etiology.

    Nosocomial can be acquired by any patient in a hospital, whether or not they are on a ventilator. Most current research focuses on ventilated patients, as it is easier to identify an occurrence within an intensive care unit. “Traditionally, most cases of pneumonia in the hospital, whether they be community-acquired pneumonia, hospital-acquired pneumonia, or ventilator-associated pneumonia are thought to be caused by bacterial pathogens,” the authors said.

    This retrospective analysis identified the prevalence of a virus as the cause for NVHAP and identified patient characteristics for these infections in 174 cases. Bacterial pathogens were found in 23.6% of patients and viruses were identified in 22.4% of patients. Few differences were found between patients for whom cultures were negative for viruses and patients with either viral or bacterial etiologies.

    “Our findings are important in that they help to confirm that the etiologic agents of ventilated hospital-acquired pneumonia are generally similar to those in NVHAP,” said the authors. While this research does have limitations in scope, as both testing for viral infections and cultures are not conducted for all cases of NVHAP and there are cases of false-negatives for those cultures, it suggests that further research is necessary to verfiy the conclusions.

    Dr. Shorr is Associate Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Chief of the Pulmonary Clinic at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

    Respiratory Medicine, 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.rmed.2016.11.023

  • May 29, 2017

    By Jeffrey Dubin, MD, Chief Medical Officer

    Most people barely notice their hearts beating. And that’s natural. But any noticeable change in the heartbeat should be concerning. Heart palpitations can be a sign of a serious condition, but some heart palpitations are totally normal.

    I describe the feeling of heart palpitations as the heart-pounding sensation you get after running up a flight of stairs. But for people with heart palpitations, that feeling could just show up while they’re sitting on the couch.

    What are heart palpitations?

    A heart palpitation is the feeling of the heart racing or pounding. Heart palpitations may feel like the heart is:

    • Beating irregularly
    • Beating too quickly
    • Beating too strongly
    • Skipping beats

    We see one or two patients per day who are complaining of these or similar symptoms. Patients sometimes tell me they can see their shirts move because their hearts are beating so hard.

    Most heart palpitations aren’t dangerous. But they can be signs of several serious heart conditions. Get help if you feel heart palpitations that don’t go away quickly on their own. We’ll work to find what’s causing palpitations and refer you to additional care from a cardiologist if necessary.

    “Get help if you feel heart #palpitations that don’t go away quickly on their own.” via @MedStarWHC

    Click to Tweet


    What causes heart palpitations?

    Older adults are more likely to have medical conditions that can increase their likelihood of having palpitations. But heart palpitations can show up in people of any age.

    Some of the heart conditions that can cause heart palpitations include:

    • Cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat), including atrial fibrillation (also known as A-fib) and atrial flutter
    • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
    • Premature atrial complexes (PACs)
    • Premature ventricular complexes (PVCs)
    • Tachycardia

    Other issues that can cause heart palpitations include: 

    • Being dehydrated
    • Caffeine, nicotine or alcohol
    • Certain medications, including decongestants or inhalers for asthma
    • Hormonal fluctuations in women who are menstruating, pregnant or about to enter menopause
    • Problems with electrolytes, including low potassium levels
    • Strong feelings of anxiety, fear or stress, including panic attacks

    Overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism, can throw off the heart’s normal rhythm, causing palpitations. This type of thyroid disorder is treatable with medications to slow the heart rate and treat the overactive thyroid.

    Heart palpitations and anxiety

    Heart palpitations sometimes can be caused by extreme anxiety, rather than a heart condition. That might lead to a patient needing treatment for a possible anxiety disorder from a psychiatrist.

    But we still have to make sure patients are checked out by a cardiologist for any possible heart problems first. We do have some patients who have been diagnosed before with anxiety and know that’s what’s happening. For the majority of patients, however, we don’t want to label their condition as an anxiety attack before knowing for sure that there isn’t a heart problem we need to address.

    When to get help for heart palpitations

    Most people’s hearts beat between 60 and 100 times per minute. If you’re sitting down and feeling calm, your heart shouldn’t beat more than about 100 times per minute. A heartbeat that’s faster than this, also called tachycardia, is a reason to come to the emergency department and get checked out. We often see patients whose hearts are beating 160 beats per minute or more. The body can’t sustain that for long periods of time.

    You also should get checked out if you feel like your heart’s beating irregularly. The heart should beat steadily, like a metronome. If you feel like it’s pausing or skipping beats, that could be a sign of an abnormal heartbeat, which can increase the risk of a stroke.

    If a patient comes into the emergency department while the palpitations are going on, we may be able to provide medications to slow the heart rate or convert an abnormal heart rhythm to a normal one. In extreme cases where medications aren’t enough, we may need to do a cardioversion. That’s when we shock the heart so it can reset itself to a normal rhythm. Patients are sedated during this procedure so they do not feel the electrical shock.  

    Further testing for heart palpitations

    In most cases, we see patients in the emergency department whose palpitations have either gone away or aren’t critical by the time they arrive. Like a car problem that clears up when you visit the mechanic, this can be frustrating for patients.  

    We reassure them that just because we don’t see an abnormal heart rhythm now doesn’t mean that they didn’t have one before. We check for any signs of damage or injury, and we may monitor patients for a few hours at the emergency department to see if they have another episode of palpitions, but there may not be enough time to capture an abnormal heart rhythm that comes and goes.  

    We often refer patients who have had heart palpitations to a cardiologist in the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. For example, we might diagnose an abnormal heart rhythm in the emergency department, but it’s not something that needs emergency treatment. Or we might not see evidence of an abnormal heart rhythm, but we think the patient could benefit from additional monitoring to rule out possible heart problems.  

    A cardiologist can provide patients with special monitoring equipment to examine the heart’s rhythm. There are two main types of monitoring equipment. A Holter monitor will record the heart’s rhythm continuously for a defined time limit (often 24-48 hours), while an event recorder will only record briefly when a patient has symptoms of palpitations and presses a record button. If this testing shows evidence of a heart condition, our cardiologists work with patients to create an effective treatment plan.  

    A normal heartbeat is easy to take for granted. So when we feel heart palpitations, it can be very scary. But with quick medical attention and advanced monitoring, your heart can beat steadily for a long time to come.

  • May 25, 2017

    By MedStar Health

    We are a nation obsessed with caffeine: Cans of caffeinated energy drinks with flashy names line beverage shelves. New coffee shops seem to open every day. Caffeine is added to gum, jelly beans, oatmeal and the soap in our bathtub. You can even inhale it through a caffeine vaporizer.  

    Eighty-five percent of Americans consume at least one caffeinated beverage each day. And unfortunately, it’s not just adults. About 73 percent of children consume caffeine on a given day. Caffeine in high amounts can be dangerous for anyone, but children especially can fall victim.  

    A 16-year-old South Carolina student collapsed during class in April 2017 after drinking a latte, a large Diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink in a two-hour period. The coroner said the previously healthy teen died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event that likely caused arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat. Unfortunately, these stories are becoming all too common.  

    Caffeine is a stimulant that can give you a boost of energy and make you feel more awake. But it also can increase your blood pressure, cause shaky hands, insomnia and an upset stomach, and in extreme cases can cause abnormal heart rhythm and seizures.

    And although it’s legal and widely consumed, make no mistake: Caffeine is a drug. More than 20,000 people visited emergency rooms in 2011 for health problems involving caffeinated drinks, particularly energy drinks. That was double the number in 2007. I’ve seen this increase firsthand at MedStar Health, particularly among college students during finals. The reporting for such visits isn’t great, and I think this number is just the tip of the iceberg of the true number of people who are negatively affected by caffeine.  

    To turn this disturbing trend around, we must examine the risk caffeine poses and what we need to do as individuals, as parents and as a country to keep our hearts safe.  

    How much caffeine should adults and children have in a day?

    The U.S. hasn’t developed guidelines for caffeine intake, but medical organizations generally recommend the following:

    • Adults: Less than 400 mg of caffeine a day
    • Age 12-18: Less than 100 mg  
    • Age 10-11: Less than 85 mg
    • Age 7-9: Less than 60 mg
    • Age 4-6: Less than 45 mg
    • Younger than 4: No caffeine  

    These recommendations are based on a 24-hour period, not all at once in two or three hours. But these numbers may not be perfect for everyone. Other details must be considered. People with a heart condition such as a cardiac arrhythmia may need to be careful when consuming caffeine.  

    The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children and adolescents not consume energy drinks of any kind. Not long ago, I saw a man in a gas station about to buy a 20-ounce energy drink for a 7- or 8-year-old. I stepped in and said while I didn’t want to tell him what to do, I was worried about the effect the drink could have on the boy. The man replied, “Are you kidding me? I didn’t know that. I’m not buying this for him.”  

    Body size also affects the amount of caffeine you can safely consume. A 240-pound man may be able to tolerate more caffeine than a 155-pound man. Genetics affects how your body reacts to caffeine. People who have a specific variation of a certain gene metabolize caffeine more slowly, which means they experience side effects from less caffeine than others.  

    How much caffeine are you drinking?

    The amount of caffeine varies dramatically between types of drinks and brands. And for coffee, it also depends on how it was prepared:

    • Brewed, drip coffee (8 ounces): 75-165 mg
    • Espresso (1 shot): 45-75 mg
    • Latte or mocha (8 ounces): 63-126 mg
    • Soft drinks (12 ounces): 30-60 mg
    • Energy drink (8 ounces): 27-164 mg  

    Based on these amounts, a teen could have two 12-ounce soft drinks a day to stay within recommended guidelines while an adult could have about four 8-ounce cups of coffee or two to three 8-ounce energy drinks.

    Don’t forget to check your drink size. Is that cup of coffee in front of you really only 8 ounces? Or did you order a large and it’s actually 20 ounces? How about that energy drink? Is it 8 ounces, 16 ounces or more? If so, double, triple or even quadruple the above caffeine amounts to determine how much you’re really consuming.  

    How caffeine affects the heart

    Caffeine affects the heart in a few ways. 

    • It stimulates the synthetic nervous system, which activates the body’s fight or flight response and causes an increased level of adrenaline in the blood. This in turn can raise your blood pressure and heart rate.  
    • It also can interfere with the heart’s conduction system, the process by which electrical impulses sent from the heart muscle cause the heart to beat.  

    Both of these have the potential to trigger an abnormal heart rhythm.  

    While most people develop a tolerance to caffeine over time and the effects on the heart are lessened, the risk never disappears entirely.  

    When it comes to energy drinks, the amount of caffeine isn’t the only concern. These drinks tout “natural energy-boosting effects” gained from a mix of other ingredients including stimulants and additives. Unfortunately, we don’t know a lot about the safety of such ingredients, especially when paired with caffeine.  

    An April 2017 study found that consuming an energy drink was associated with potentially harmful changes in blood pressure and heart function beyond those seen with caffeine alone. The researchers measured participants’ blood pressure and used an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to monitor the heart’s electrical activity twice for 24 hours: once after consuming an energy drink and once after drinking another beverage with the same amount of caffeine but none of the other ingredients.  

    They found blood pressure increased by five points after drinking the energy drink but less than one point after the caffeine beverage. Blood pressure also remained elevated six hours later with the energy drink. An ECG change known as QTc prolongation, which is sometimes associated with irregular heart rhythms, also was seen after drinking the energy drink but not with the caffeine beverage.  

    What can we do to prevent future tragedies?

    Every time I read a story in the media about a caffeine-related death, especially when it’s a child, I wonder when we as a country will wake up to the real risks caffeine poses – especially energy drinks. How many deaths will it take before we stop selling drinks containing toxic levels of caffeine over the counter to our children?  

    Energy drinks are primarily marketed to kids and adolescents. The bright colors, flashy labels and names such as “Monster” and “Rockstar” seem designed to appeal to our nation’s youth. It’s reminiscent of how Joe Camel ads were used by the tobacco industry.  

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the amount of caffeine in soda, but not energy drinks because they are considered a dietary supplement and not a food. Other countries are moving to increasingly regulate energy drinks, and I think it’s time the U.S. does so as well.  

    While regulating the amount of caffeine in such drinks or requiring warning labels may take time and considerable debate, I think we can find common ground on other regulations, such as restricting their sale to minors.  

    Until the FDA acts, it’s up to us to keep ourselves and our children safe. I think the biggest challenge is that too many people simply don’t know how dangerous high amounts of caffeine can be – especially for children.  

    We need to talk to our children about caffeine the same way we discuss alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Caffeine is a drug and it’s addictive. By recognizing the potential risks that large amounts of caffeine can pose, we can prevent more people from consuming dangerous amounts of it.  

  • May 23, 2017

    By MedStar Health

    Memorial Day is just around the corner and is considered by many to be the official start of summer. As the days get longer and warmer, many people look forward to one of the tastiest ways to cook - outdoor grilling.

    Unfortunately, each year, nearly 9,000 home fires [1] are caused by grilling, and more than half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns.

    Check out these 10 grilling safety tips from our Burn Center team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, so that you and your family can enjoy the great taste of food cooked on the grill all summer long.

     

    1The National Fire Protection Association’s Home Grill Fires Fact Sheet