Category Archives: Heath and Medicine

The Fifth Element and The Cure for The Common Cold

are five elements:







Louis Diat




Garlic has a history.

The buff Egyptian pyramid builders were fueled by it, and 18th-century frenchmen added it to wine to prevent plague infection.

Docs gave it to World Wars I/II soldiers to prevent gangrene. Marco Polo documented its use for food preservation. Hippocrates prescribed it to treat lung disease and cervical cancer.

Garlic has amazing properties – anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antifungal, lnhibits placque formation, lowers blood pressure, helps digestion, regulates cholesterol and blood sugar, stimulates the immune system, increases metabolism, and may help improve erectile dysfunction.


It’s easy to grow and great for keeping away garden pests like deer and vampires.

I know, it’s the smell that concerns you – me too.  But unless you bathe in it (some do), or dab it behind your ears as a pheromone to attract old italian guys, then it shouldn’t cause a problem.







All garlic is good, but fresh is best. I can testify it works better than anything I have tried for cold prevention.  As soon as I get that sore throat feeling I run for garlic. I pop a clove, chew and swallow.  Yeah, it burns and even the dog won’t kiss me but it sure beats dealing with a cold. Long live allium sativum!

Head’s up: Garlic has blood-thinning properties. if you are on meds or have upcoming surgery consult your PCP before adding it to your diet.

Check this site out for an ode to garlic and a must have recipe.

And all garlic lovers need this: a good Garlic Press.



Why Pneumonia Deserves Respect

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha

Pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs (air sacs), is one of the most disrespected illnesses around. It is a baneful monster of a disease that is the leading single cause of death in children worldwide. 156 million new cases every year with 9% needing hospitalization. 50K annual deaths in the US. Most likely to die: children in third world countries. The truth is any one of us could get it any time. Arm yourself with the facts so you don’t become a statistic. Here’s an excerpt from a recent phone interview I did with Streptococcus Pneumoniae, a bacteria often involved.

KD: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with me. It’s been a good 25 years since we first met. Remember, you laid me up for over 3 months?  I’m willing to put that aside for the sake of my readers health. Can you tell us about yourself?

Strept: Thank you Ms. Davis for having me. Sorry for the trouble back in the 80’s, just doing my job. And let me clarify for the audience, I am not the sole culprit behind all the pneumonia infections.  50% belong to me and my partner H. Flu. The rest can be credited to various fungi, virus, and other well known bacteria: Staph Aureus, Klebs Pneumo, and Myco Plasma.

KD: How do you do it? How can such a tiny organism like yourself cause such catastrophic results?

Strept:  It’s complicated. But, it boils down to good genes. Watch this 3 minute video for an easy explanation: The best way to avoid me? Prevention.

KD: A pneumonia vaccine is recommended for those 65+, smokers, or those with a chronic illness.  Does that really prevent you from attacking them?

Strept: Most of the time, but I might still cause them a milder illness.

KD: Do antibiotics work?

Strept: Yes, but I am resistant to some. I have the capability to adapt. The sooner the treatment is started, the better the outcome for the patient.

KD: How will someone know they are infected with you?

Strept: They become ill quickly: Fever, shaking chills, sweating, productive cough tinged with blood or shades of green, fast heart beat, headache, no appetite, malaise, shortness of breath. The old often get confused, may fall. People think they have the flu, and don’t bother going to their doctor.

KD: How can we stop you?

Strept: Nothing is guaranteed, but you can try keep your body defenses strong. It’s the weak that can’t put up the fight. Don’t smoke, wash hands, eat well, breastfeed newborns, get all recommended immunizations, and if you think I might be making you sick, get to your PCP (Primary Care Provider) quickly.


Top Screwups Doctors Make and Drop Dead


Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live. Gustave Flaubert



Drop Dead Healthy By  A.J. Jacobs is my number one pick this week.  He chronicles his quest to achieve maximum health by personally trying all the toted popular advice for getting in shape physically, mentally, and nutritionally.  Not quite finished reading it, but loving his dry sense of humor, and enjoying his blunt honest feedback on flavonoids, exercise, and the art of chewing food.

The New Writer’s Handbook 2007 By Philip Martin (editor) features the best advice on the craft of writing. Contributors include some of my favorite authors – Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, Linda Sue Park, and others who have experience, insight and are able to sift through the hooey out there and give us their jewels and writer’s wisdom. I am so getting Volume 2.

Developing the Leaders Around You: How to Help Others Reacher Their Full Potential By John Maxwell will teach you how to help those in your sphere of influence to be better leaders. I read anything by John Maxwell.

The Honest Truth about Dishonesty By Dan Ariely takes a look at why all sorts of people cheat and steal. I picked this one up on a whim, thinking it would give me insight as to why my 12-year-old is lying to my husband and me.  Not sure I like this book yet, instead of offering me insight into my son’s problem, it’s making me feel a little uncomfortable with some aspects of my own behavior. Plus, it has too many studies and experiments – I know I should find that stuff interesting, but I’m happy to let researchers do their thing and just give me the concluding evidence.

Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them By Joe Graedon validates what I already knew.  What I didn’t realize was how many mistakes get buried.  The author experienced a tragic screwup with his own mother, but instead of pursuing a million dollar lawsuit he used his powerful situation to make impacting changes in a major health institution.


The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath is a classic that I’ve always wanted to read.  I’m 50% done and doubt I’ll finish it. Terrific writing, compelling. I was really most interested in learning more about Plath, and understand what led her to commit suicide at such a young age. I work with clinically depressed patients with varying stages of illness, anything that might help me better understand the illness in order to help them is worth my attention.


Save Your Life in 20 Seconds

The air moves like a river and carries the clouds with it; just as running water carries all the things that float upon it. Leonardo daVinci

Killer germs like staphylococcus and streptococcus pneumoniae are spread when infected people cough, sneeze, and spew airborne droplets into your breathing space.


They wipe their noses with their fingers and shield their cough with their hand – then touch your keyboard, use your phone, press elevator buttons, and push public shopping carts. Pneumonia and influenza account for 56,000 US deaths annually.


In 2011, TB killed 1.4 million people worldwide.

Protect yourself from those deadly pathogens and other potentially fatal infectious diseases by simply making proper and frequent hand-washing your priority.

On a busy work day, I wash my hands at least 25 times. No, I am not obsessive compulsive (ok…maybe a little). I do it to keep you and me safe.

There are lots of things you can do to keep yourself healthy, but nothing tops regular good old-fashioned sudsy soap and water hand washing. And if your hands aren’t obviously soiled, alcohol based hand cleaners will do. But proper hand washing is vital.  No prissy hand dipping, fingertip only splash n’dry, quick soap rinse and go stuff.  Your technique must be perfect.

Wet your hands, generously apply soap, lather and clean under your finger nails outside the stream of water for at least 20 seconds – about the time it takes to sing happy birthday twice – in your head please. Rinse under running water.

Hopefully you’ll have the automatic paper towel dispensers to finish the job.  Avoid the air dryers – they just recirculate germs.  Use your sleeve to open the door or patiently wait for someone else to do it for you.

And for those of you who need a reminder:  keep your germs to yourself. Cough into your arm instead of my face. Don’t take your runny noses to church, the store, school, wherever. Wash your hands too. Teach your kids.

If you cough in my path I will hold my breath until I turn blue so I don’t breath in germs.  I would never insult you by refusing to shake your hand, but as soon as the coast is clear, I am using my Purell.

For you visual learners, here’s a short demonstration on hand washing, complete with toe-tapping big band soundtrack.

10 Tips for Better Sleep and the Best Cure for Insomnia

The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.

W.C. Fields

The average person requires 7-9 hours of sleep nightly to feel refreshed in the morning and productive during the day. Cheating yourself of sleep?  Not a good idea. Your body will keep tabs and eventually force you to pay back the debt.

  1. Improve sleep environment: good mattress, comfy pillow, clean room, dark, cool temperature.
  2. Reduce light exposure in the evening, use night lights for bathroom runs, but get good day light exposure during waking hours.
  3. Use the bed only for sleeping and a 3 letter word that starts with “s”.
  4. No naps after 3pm. Gary, are you paying attention?
  5. Wear light cotton loose PJ’s (fun fact: 31% of men sleep in the nude).
  6. Don’t eat a heavy evening meal or 2-3 hours before going to bed.
  7. Don’t sleep with lights or TV on.
  8. No evening alcohol or caffeine. This includes chocolate.
  9. Exercise every day, early is best.
  10. Talk to your primary care provider if you are constantly tired, snore loudly, or are over using an over-the-counter sleep aid.

Check out the National Sleep Foundation for more sleeping facts and advice.


10 Best Weight Loss Tips

Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you’ve conquered human nature. Charles Dickens

Here’s a list of my ten favorite weight loss tips.  I give this as counsel, and in writing to any patient I see whose BMI is in the high end overweight, or obese (30+ )range.  Which is probably 2 out of every 3 patients I see.

  1. Always start your day off with breakfast. It fuels your body for the day. This will help you lose weight and keep it off. Oatmeal, turkey bacon, greek yogurt, high fiber cereals.
  2. Eat 3 small meals and 2 light snacks a day. This will help you not feel hungry and keep blood sugar stable. Skipping meals reduces your metabolism and increases your risk of eating excessively after a long fast.
  3. PLAN meals and snacks ahead of time. MAKE the time. Eat fresh fruit, vegetables, nonfat yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat granola bars or peanut butter on whole grain crackers. Make fresh salad and top with raw nuts, tuna or a skinless chicken breast or a sandwich with fresh veggies for lunch. Set some time aside to ready a menu of meals you’ll have for the week. Prepare dinner ahead, have ingredients ready.
  4. Keep a food diary. Studies show that people who keep a continuous food diary successfully lose weight and keep it off. Know how many calories you need. Try MYFITNESSPAL.COM 
  5. Measure your portion sizes and servings. Too much of any food will result in weight gain, even fruit and low-cal snacks.
  6. Choose highly nutritious, low-calorie foods. Chicken, turkey, vegetables, fruit, limit red meat, and if you eat meat pick sirloin or lean cuts.
  7. Clear your cupboards of high calorie snacks like tortilla chips, cookies, candy, baked goods. Have whole wheat pretzels, low-fat granola bars, fruit canned in it’s own juice, nonfat pudding, dried fruit, almonds available. Eliminate as much white flour and sugar products.
  8. Do not drink beverages with calories. Some people drink over 500 calories a day from sugar-sweetened sodas, teas, juices or alcohol. Drink water instead. Aim for 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day – add a splash of lemon or orange. Don‘t mistake dehydration for hunger. Drink water.
  9. Eat until 80% full, and take your time when you eat. Focus on being satisfied after a meal–not full. You will be surprised at how much less food it’ll take to satisfy you.
  10. Avoid eating 2 –3 hours before you go to bed.  Eating before bed is like putting gas in a parked car – you don’t need the fuel so it’s going to sit in your tank and be stored as fat.

BMI Calculator

BMI Categories:

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

PDF Format of this post Weight loss help DavisFNP

The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never get sick – no more bronchitis, stomach bug, or other nasty viruses? Close to $40 billion a year is spent treating the common cold. But what if there was a simple solution to avoid sickness? Imagine how much more you could do and the money you’d save if you never got sick. In his book The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick, Gene Stone found a sampling of everyday people who claimed to never get ill. 25 healthy living “secrets”, some unique, others well known. Meet Patricia, a native New Yorker who eats dirt, and Phil, a teacher who claims detoxification cured his cancer. Take a peek into the lives of regular people, who do a little something extra – eat fresh garlic, consume only plant based foods, take probiotics, make a habit of napping. They all swear their routine keeps them healthy. Will their tips work for you? Read the full review and find the “secret” website here.

JAMA Fish Drama

Let your hook always be cast.  In the pool where you least expect it, will be fish. Ovid

Photo: Diliff

Not everyone has heard the latest hoopla regarding fish oil supplements. Like the folks at Carlson Labs, manufacturers of my personal favorite fish oil supplement. I called them today to see what they thought about JAMA’s recent announcement that fish oil supplements were no more effective than a placebo at preventing premature death or serious cardiovascular problems. The Carlson rep thought I had said, “Have you read the latest Drama study”.  Evidently the drama from JAMA has not effected Carlson’s sales because she thought I was nuts. She wasn’t impressed with my summary of the report. She confirmed sales are brisk. People are still taking their omegas, and unless they have had it with fish burps, a new study won’t persuade them to stop.  I’ve been taking the supplements for over 2 years, and I too see no reason to stop.  Besides, what would I do with the super-sized bottle I just bought?

After re-examining data from 20 previous clinical trials over the past 2 decades involving nearly 70,000 patients, Dr. Moses Elisaf concluded that the Omega 3 supplements won’t prevent a heart attack or stroke. Really? Whatever. It’s still good for me, right? After all, It is an anti-inflammatory. And I know that tons of health problems are related to an inflammatory process.

The Carlson rep toted the benefits of fish oil: great for joints/arthritis, dry skin, brain and eye health. Some people take it to help with their ADD, or to keep depression at bay (not enough omega 3 = less dopamine and serotonin in the brain). And, medical practitioners do prescribe it for high triglycerides levels.

Best healthy bet: Eat food that is good for you, and include at least 2 servings a week of cold water fish. No, it can’t be fried or in the form of a fast food patty – the frying cancels out the benefits and could increase your heart disease risk.  Your body needs omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). It doesn’t make it so you’re going to have to eat it.  Anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, lake trout, albacore tuna, salmon, scallops, flax seeds, walnuts, and olive oil are all good sources.

The jury is still out on what the future holds for omega 3 fatty acid supplements. More specific long-term trials and studies are warranted. For now, with my doctor’s blessing, I shall continue my Carlson norwegian salmon oil 1gm daily, and do my best to eat sardine (gag), anchovies (yuck), and herring (puke).


My Preceptor is Dead

Humpback whale tail by Captain Budd Christman

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. -William Arthur Ward

He was my preceptor, my collaborator, my children’s pediatrician, and my friend. He died August 26th, 2012 – sudden death on a beautiful August morning. 55, active, non-smoker, world traveler, patient advocate, and deliverer of the kind of care you would want for yourself and the world. I heard the news from an email:

“I got a call this morning. Jay passed away yesterday while working at Urgent Care.  I’m still in shock.  He was so healthy and only ate what was good for you…I saw him in July. He looked great.  Such a shock. Take care and this proves that life is too short.”

Passed away. I kept reading them over in unbelief. Then I stared at them, thinking maybe I could will the words away. I heard he was cremated. It wasn’t until a week later when I stepped inside the funeral home and saw the memorials – his favorite puffin tie, high-school yearbook, awards, and larger than life photograph of his robust, smiling face. It was true, he was gone, and I sobbed. Jay had a huge impact on the Nurse Practitioner that I grew to be. As I formed, he gently led me like a father, and slowly let me take my own shape – finding my own way through diagnosing and delivering care to our patients. He game me his pearls. Amoxicillin for smokers. Erythromycin for my-cough-plasma. Brand Tylenol only. Worst Strept throat think Mono. Verify allergies. Save ears for last. Suspension not solution. Maltsupex. 3-day food diary. OM? Remove the wax to see the drum. Toilet paper roll=cheap spacer. Always order HCG despite claim “impossible”. Paps: touch thigh before nether regions. Pharmacist is your friend. Wait one year before RX new drugs. Use mom’s lap for clingers. Be nice, stay humble, eat well, and enjoy life.

Twenty years ago, I was privileged to have trained with him, honored to have worked alongside him, and blessed to have known him. Today’s Nurse Practitioner students are rarely precepted by MD’s. What a shame. Removing them from our education only widens the division of our professions. Perhaps if we took another look at how things used to be we would see ourselves as players on the same team, not separate entities who are different in their approach to patient care. I see no difference. APN’s in training: if you have a chance to precept with a Family Practice Doc, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. My preceptor has died, a life gone too soon, and the loss is devastating.