Ask Dr. Nandi

  • Top Back-To-School Health Risks & How To Avoid Them
    As the summer vacation comes to a close, we come to accept that back-to-school is imminent. This season change may mean more quiet hours at home for you with the kids away, or it may mean starting up a few classes yourself. Whatever the case for your household, it’s important to be prepared not only with notebooks and pencils, but also with some tips and tricks to keep your health and your family’s health in good shape.

    Tips To Beat The Top Back-To-School Health Risks

    Throughout my practice, I’ve found that the following illnesses and conditions are largely correlated with the school season. You can prevent this by becoming familiar with these risks and learning to avoid them.


    While you may find yourself and your kids to be energetic and lively throughout the summer, it doesn’t take long for depression to surface after only a few weeks back in school. The seemingly never-ending classes and piling homework can take quite the toll on anyone, regardless of age. How To Avoid It: There are many ways to fight depression, and what may work for you may not work as well for someone else. One way to help boost energy levels and improve your mood is to get daily exercise. Another is maintaining a healthy diet. Getting enough sleep is also extremely important. Finding the exact formula to beat depression may take some time, but just keep trying and don’t give up hope. The solution is out there for you!  (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Flus And Colds

    You know the drill. Warm chicken soup and cough drops, a cold towel for the forehead, and about seventeen boxes of tissues. Illness isn’t fun for anyone, especially when you know that one sick kid can lead to everyone sniffling and coughing throughout the house. But, although flus and colds are common during the school year, they certainly don’t have to be your norm. How To Avoid It: The best preventative measure for avoiding these yearly epidemics is hand washing. Really, it is that simple! You may be surprised to hear that a randomized study showed that as many as 78% of people didn’t even use soap when washing hands. Yikes! (5, 6) Aside from the obvious factor of using soap when you wash your hands, there are other helpful tips when it comes to keeping your hands clean of germs. For example, be sure to scrub your hands thoroughly for at least 30 seconds before rinsing. Make sure your kids know how to wash their hands correctly (and often!) to avoid getting sick. (7)

    Social Isolation

    Especially as social media and texting have become more prevalent throughout the world, kids’ social skills are suffering. Cell phones and computers make it so much easier to send an emoji rather than a smile, or a tweet rather than a talk. However, using technology to avoid face to face communication can lead to social isolation or loneliness. (8) How To Avoid It: One way to encourage more social interaction is to limit time spent with technology. For example, you could set a time limit for TV watching, initiate a no-technology rule at family dinners, and be sure that all electronics are turned off by 10 pm. It’s also a good idea to frequently engage your kids in conversation, encourage them to attend social events, and make new friends. All of these things can help lower the risk of social isolation.


    While back-to-school may seem more like back-to-the-battlefield when considering all the possible illnesses and conditions that this season may bring, staying within the healthy zone is a possibility for anyone and everyone. Try out some of these helpful tips and you’ll soon find yourself and the rest of the family able to navigate the schoolyard with ease. Resources: 

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  • Common household chemicals may harm your kidneys


    PFAS Exposure Linked to Kidney Disease

    (WXYZ) – A study looking at widely used household chemicals found they may be harming your kidneys. And children may be at a greater risk than adults.

    What household chemicals should we be concerned about?

    This group of man-made chemicals is the same ones that were reportedly contaminating waterlines in West Michigan this summer.

    Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS are unfortunately common because manufacturing companies use them in many products like food packaging, cleaning products, nonstick cookware, paints, water-repellent fabrics, and fire-fighting foams. They can contaminate our soil, food, and air so people can easily be exposed to these chemicals. And if these environmental toxins enter our bloodstream, our kidneys have to deal with them. Their job is to remove waste and extra fluid from our bodies so it’s not surprising to hear they may be harmed.

    How might PFAS be harming our kidneys?

    The researchers looked at 74 studies and found cellular changes from PFAS exposure along with several altered pathways linked to kidney disease. Plus they found kidney function can be negatively affected or worsened, leading to overall poorer kidney function. Unfortunately, the researchers felt children may have greater exposure to these chemicals. But a lot more research is needed to understand the long-term health effects for everyone.

    What are the early signs of kidney disease?

    About 30 million people have chronic kidney disease, that’s more than 1 in 7 people. Having this condition means your kidneys are damaged and not filtering the blood as they are supposed to. This can develop slowly over time. Some people don’t have symptoms and may not know they have a problem until their kidney function is considerably impaired. But symptoms to look out for include:

    • Changes in how much you urinate
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Fatigue and weakness
    • Sleep problems
    • Muscle cramps
    • Swelling of ankles or feet
    • Chest pain or shortness of breath

    If you’re concerned, please see your doctor. There are urine and blood tests that look at kidney function which can help with a diagnosis.

    Is there anything that can be done if you have PFAS in your body?  Click here to learn more.

    It’s important to keep your kidneys in tip-top condition so here are my prescriptions:

    1.  Don’t smoke as it can damage your kidneys or worsen any existing damage.  Smoking can also interfere with blood pressure medication and high blood pressure is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease.
    2. Be sure to follow medication instructions, especially for nonprescription pain relievers.  Taking too many can lead to kidney damage.
    3. Manage any medical conditions you have.  Especially those that increase your risk for chronic kidney disease like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.
    4. Take preventative steps regarding PFAS.  Think twice about stain or water-resistant products, skip non-stick pans, choose seafood that’s lower on the food chain (like Salmon), and consider installing a PFAS certified In-home water filtration system.

    Copyright Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
    Data pulled from WXYZ. 

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  • Ask Dr. Nandi: What are the health hazards of hurricanes, tropical storms?


    What are the effects of hurricanes?

    (WXYZ) – As Hurricane Florence leaves a devastating mess in North Carolina, the good news is that scores of people have been rescued. Although they may now be safe, there are hidden health hazards that they, and thousands of other residents, could be facing in the post-hurricane aftermath.

    What are some of the unexpected health hazards?

    Experiencing a hurricane is scary and distressing but what follows it can be just as hazardous. Often we see images of people wading through very deep waters and that can present several health issues. Because floodwater can carry germs and is often a mix of rain, sewage, and chemicals. So people can end up with boils or skin rashes on their bodies, or experience burning of the skin and eyes. Also, open wounds can become infected, and you’re more at risk to get dermatitis, pink eye, or ear, nose and throat infections.

    What about drinking water and food?

    Drinking water or eating food is also a concern if it’s contaminated. This can cause stomach upset and diarrheal diseases like E. coli or Salmonella infection. You could also pick up a potentially dangerous bacterial disease called Leptospirosis. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure, meningitis, respiratory distress, even death. So it’s extremely important to have access to clean water as soon as possible. Because we also don’t want people to become dehydrated, as that can be very serious especially for children and older adults.

    Can hurricanes affect mental health?

    Studies show that mental health can really be impacted. But it’s no surprise that a natural disaster can lead to extra stress, anxiety, anger, grief, and depression. Most people will recover but for some, the trauma could be long-lasting and they may end up with post-traumatic-stress-disorder. Children especially can suffer, especially if they were separated from parents. Counseling can help and there’s also a Disaster Distress Helpline offered by the Health and Human Services Department that people can call to speak with a mental health professional.

    1.  If possible, keep away from floodwater.  If you have to touch the water or anything that has been touched by it then be sure to wash your hands with soap and water.
    2. Don’t let children play in floodwater or anything that has touched floodwater like toys.  It’s best to keep them out of the area until it’s been cleaned properly.
    3.  Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  They can carry disease so be sure to apply bug spray with DEET.
    4. Throw out any food that has come into contact with flood or stormwater.  Unless you know the water supply is safe, use bottled, boiled or treated water for cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene.   

    Copyright Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
    Data pulled from WXYZ.

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