Rx for Readers: Exercise is the answer

Readers get answers for their medical and health queries.

A mature couple exercising (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A mature couple exercising
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
I am a 62-year-old woman and not at all fat, yet I have developed belly fat. I no longer know what to believe on the Internet. What can I do to get rid of this belly fat?
M.S., Jerusalem
Prof. Naama Constantini, director of the Sports Medicine Center in the department of orthopedic surgery at Jerusalem’s Hadassah-University Medical Center, and chairwoman of the Health Ministry’s National Council for Women’s Health, replies: This is a difficult question. In general, as one gets older, an increase in the percentage of body fat occurs throughout the body and is not focused in one part of the body. Any attempt to lose weight by creating a negative energy balance will cause a general reduction in the percentage of fat and not specifically belly fat. There are various procedures to reduce belly fat, but their long-term effects have not been studied enough.
My recommendation is to carry out physical exercise that includes all types of exercises, including strengthening of the muscles in the center of the body and the belly.
My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter was diagnosed today by her doctor as having hand-foot-and-mouth disease, with sores in her mouth and on various other parts of her body. The doctor said it would go away on its own within less than a week. She is taken care of during the day at the home of a woman who also has four other children my daughter’s age. I heard this disease is very infectious, and that it could be spread by inadequate hygiene while changing diapers. What exactly is hand-foot-and-mouth disease? It sounds like something that affects animals! Is there anything to do to relieve the symptoms? Can adults get it, too? Could my caregiver be to blame for her getting it because she doesn’t wash her hands well enough after diapering the babies? G.H., Modi’in
Prof. Yechiel Schlesinger, medical director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s Wilf Children’s Hospital, replies: Assuming that this is the correct diagnosis, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a common and quite trivial viral illness (caused by a different virus than the one causing animal disease), with fever, as well as oral and limb sores. It is moderately infectious and has nothing to do with hygiene more than the usual precautions.
No specific treatment except for symptom relief (analgesics, anti-pyretic, mouthwash with over-the-counter solutions). Adults can get it, too, much less frequently; no big deal. No one is to be blamed.
Every time I read about another baby or toddler or older child drowning in a pool or the sea, I get nervous. I am a first-time mother to a toddler, and I always try to keep an eye on her near water. But I regularly see parents who seem irresponsible at the beach or the pool. I wonder if there are any more tips on water safety.
D.T., Herzliya Pituah
Dr. Ayelet Shalev, an expert in pediatric emergency medicine at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, replies: When the temperatures rise and the heat becomes unbearable, there is nothing like going to a pool or the beach or even taking out a plastic tub to cool off the kids. But when children under the age of 15 are not properly supervised by an adult, drowning is one of the most common causes of death in this age group. Teach your child how to swim at a young age, or take him or her to a swimming course.
Infants and toddlers under four years – especially boys – are at high risk. Water accidents occur suddenly and quietly, and usually you don’t hear shouts or see signs of distress. It can take only a few seconds for a child to drown.
A small child can drown in only 10 centimeters of water in a bathtub or bucket because his head is heavier in relation to the rest of his body. In addition, at this age, they have little ability to save themselves. Always drain buckets, bathtubs and other containers with water when not in use.
Adults must supervise, but according to a survey by Beterem, the Israel National Center for Child Safety and Health, 22 percent of parents show irresponsible and unsafe behavior around children in the water.
An adult must be within arm’s length of children under the age of five and watching all the time when they are near or in water. Do not read or fiddle with your cellular phone. One can use children’s floats suited to their age and weight, but they are not a replacement for close supervision.
Do not go to a pool or beach that lacks a lifeguard or stay in an area where swimming is not permitted (black flags are the sign of danger). Private pools must be fenced in and locked when not in use.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 9100002, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or email it to jsiegel@jpost.com, giving your initials, age and place of residence.