TIP OF THE WEEK

What to do about itchy welts

If you’re like 20 percent of the world’s population, you will experience hives at some point in your life.

Characterized by itchy or stinging skin that turns into swollen red welts, hives can be triggered by multiple substances or situations, including allergies. The cause can be difficult to diagnose, but hives can last for hours or even days before fading away.

You should see a doctor if your hives are accompanied by symptoms like dizziness, wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest or swelling of the tongue, lips or face, which are linked with more serious allergic reactions. Triggers can be determined through various tests, but in the meantime the condition is commonly treated with antihistamines, oral corticosteroids or the drug omalizumab (Xolair), while severe outbreaks may require an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) or cortisone, reports WebMD. Remaining cool and applying cold compresses may also relieve the itching.

ADDICTION

If you’re taking opioids, ask these hard questions

More than 300 million opioid prescriptions are written annually — often for post-operative pain or chronic pain in the back or legs. Opioids can help ease moderate and severe short-term pain. But long-term they come with big risks, such as addiction and overdose, and they can negatively impact quality of life. The American Society of Anesthesiologists suggests you ask yourself and your physician some tough questions:

— Why was I prescribed opioids?

— Are opioids affecting my quality of life?

— What are my concerns about taking opioids — or stopping them?

— Are there other pain management items?

— What type of physician can best help me manage my pain?

FIBROMYALGIA

Constantly sore? Problem could be FM

If you’ve noticed all-over body pain with no particular source, there’s a chance you may be suffering from fibromyalgia.

While the medical community is still unsure of the cause, the condition affects an estimated 4 million U.S. adults, about 2 percent of the adult population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, it can be effectively managed and treated.

Seeing these symptoms? You may want to see your doctor for a diagnosis.

— Chronic muscle pain, spasms or tightness

— Moderate to severe fatigue and/or loss of energy

— Insomnia and/or tiredness, even following sleep

— Stiffness after remaining in one position

— “Fibro fog,” or difficulty remembering or concentrating

— Bowel issues ranging from abdominal pain to constipation to diarrhea

— Tension or migraine headaches

— Face and/or jaw tenderness

— Sensitivity to odors, noise, bright lights, cold and/or certain medications or foods

— Numbness or tingling in extremities

— Frequent urination

— Low tolerance for exercise

HEALTHY EATING

5 healthier, dad-friendly snack ideas

He may always ensure his kids have access to fresh fruits, lean protein and plenty of water, but Dad’s personal snacking habits might not be so healthy. If so, he’s not alone; chips are the snack food of choice for 63 percent of Americans, and 91 percent of us snack daily, according to a Nielsen report.

Families can work together to help everyone ditch bad snacking habits and replace them with healthier choices that are still Dad-friendly, says Dr. Michael Roussell, a nutrition consultant and contributor to Men’s Health magazine.

For example, “pistachios should be a go-to delicious snack for your father,” says Roussell. Pistachios contain fat, fiber and protein that contribute to a feeling of fullness and satisfaction between meals. Snacking on pistachios can also reduce risk factors for heart disease, according to research from Penn State University.

— Brandpoint