OPIOIDS

The American Society of Anesthesiologists offers advice for coping with pain and discomfort after surgery.

— Ask about alternatives: Only take opioids when you are in extreme pain. Medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen can help with pain and soreness.

— Manage your expectations: Everyone feels pain differently, but soreness and discomfort after surgery are normal and will improve within a day or two.

— Be an active participant in your own care: In recovery, the nurse will ask you if you are in pain and if so, how much. Be descriptive in explaining how you feel. If you are in major pain, ask that the opioid prescription be written for a small amount, and only take them for a day or two, three at most.

— Be aware of other downsides to opioids: Opioids cause severe constipation and often don’t manage pain as well as people expect.

To learn more, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Does your nose have a circadian clock?

A new study has discovered “that your sense of smell may fluctuate in tune with your circadian clock,” according to a recent New York Times article.

The journal Chemical Senses found that over 24 hours, the sense of smell fluctuates in sensitivity, and is most sensitive during the hours before you go to sleep, peaking at about 9 p.m.

When was it the least sensitive? From 2 to 10 a.m.

PET HEALTH

Is your pet overweight?

A recent story by Gia Miller at WebMD said most American pets are overweight or obese.

That’s according to Dr. Ernie Ward, who founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

But how to tell if your pet is overweight?

Ward said that beyond looking at their belly fat, you should be able to feel your pet’s ribs. The story said, “To determine if a pet is overweight or obese, veterinarians use something called the Body Condition Score, or BCS.” Vets can look at lean muscle mass, the animal’s size and “where they carry their weight.”

According to the story, being overweight or obese is hazardous to a pet’s health.

Ward and veterinarian Laurie Hess advise pet owners to talk to your vet about your pet’s weight and follow their advice on feeding and exercising.

MEDS

Alternatives for opioids

A study released Nov. 7 “suggests that a combination of Motrin and Tylenol may work as well as narcotic painkillers for ER patients who suffer sprains or fractures,” according to a story on WebMD.

The story said that ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin or Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) work differently. “The combination may provide an extra pain-relieving kick, the researchers theorized.”

Comparing those who took narcotic painkillers to those using the non-narcotic painkillers in the study, researchers found “no important difference” in pain relief.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 500,000 Americans have died from a narcotic overdose since 2000.

“If we can limit people’s first exposure to opioids, that may have a long-term effect in reducing people’s risk to becoming opioid-dependent,” said Dr. Demetrios Kyriacou of Northwestern University in Chicago.

— Brandpoint