Five health news stories from the past week you should know about:
1. Do you cook with hot sauce? Be careful which brand you choose. A new study by University of Nevada Las Vegas of 25 imported brands found four from Mexico with high levels of lead. The brands include El Pato Salsa Picante, Castilo Salsa Habanera, Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero and Bufalo Salsa Clasica, reports NBC News. Lead can affect the body’s organs and is especially risky for children, who absorb it faster than adults.
2. Bite me. That’s the message some people seem to send to mosquitoes. Who gets bitten the most? Smithsonian magazine has a list. (Hint: Beer-drinkers and pregnant women, beware.) For an easy way to repel mosquitoes, check out this AARP story.
3. The moon messes with your sleep. A new study suggests that a full moon affects our melatonin levels and can make it harder for us to fall asleep and stay deeply asleep — probably because our body rhythms are in tune with lunar cycles, Time magazine explains. Subjects in the study, who were monitored in a sleep lab, had lower melatonin levels and reported feeling less refreshed upon awakening during the full moon phase.
4. Cold caps during chemo. Cancer patients will tell you that hair loss is one of the worst side effects of chemotherapy. Now researchers are studying whether wearing a cold cap during chemo, to slow blood supply to the scalp, might reduce hair loss. The technique is widely used in Canada and Europe, but not here, reports the Associated Press.
5. Watch those TVs! No, we don’t mean the programs. We mean the fact that those huge, top-heavy flat-screen TVs can topple over and injure or even kill a small child. Grandparents and parents may not realize that falling televisions send a child to the ER every 30 minutes, says NBC News. Follow safety tips that include mounting flat-screens on the wall, instead of placing them on furniture, or using straps or brackets to anchor them safely.