Oculolinctus, the new “second base”: Is it safe?

There is a new sex fetish that has gained fervor over in Japan that has started to make its way over to the US is known as oculolinctus. It is mostly becoming big in the late adolescent/early teen age group and it is also called “worming” and it is becoming THE way to express themselves sexually. I hear about a lot of different things that people do to express themselves sexually, but this one that really creeps me out.

eye 2What is Oculolinctus?

Basically, it is eye-licking, for sexual gratification. The eyeballs (the corneas, really) are covered with many tiny nerve endings, that can be excited with licking and make the eye feel very sensitive.  Apparently it is all the rage and the equivalent to “second-base” so when the tweens (it seems to be big in the 12-13 year old age group) get bored with making-out (or kissing) they move on to eye-licking. Seems like an obvious next move to me….(I’m actually being quite sarcastic, this one blows my mind).

Is it harmful?

In a word: yes. In general, it’s not a good idea to stick things that are not prescribed into your eyes (such as contacts, eye drops, etc.) because you risk doing damage to your eyes. Our tongues have tons of microorganisms that are on them at any given time (because of eating/drinking food, breathing, etc) so sticking your tongue with microorganisms and which can be rough with taste buds, can lead to corneal abrasions or ulcers and eye infections.  The microorganisms and bacteria can also lead to styes (infections in the glands of the eye) and untreated infections can cause blindness. You could also transmit herpes and chlamydia from the mouth to the eye which can be very difficult to treat.

Is this really wide-spread?

At one school in Japan, teachers noticed a high number of 12 & 13 year olds coming to school with eye patches, then started asking about the infections, which lead to the discovery of this practice. But it is, at this point, a major public health issue with around 1/3 of all 12 year olds reportedly practicing oculolinctus and there has been a significant increase in eye infections.  HCPs have been treating many young lovers eyes to keep their peepers healthy, and while Japan has a high number of tweens engaging in their behavior, it has been found in other countries and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been also found to have a higher percentage of teens/tweens practicing oculolinctus as well.

Parents and Healthcare Providers alike should ask tweens and teens about this behavior, and warn them about the risks. When I was younger feeling boobs was second base, maybe they should stick to that, it is less risky and no one has to have a tongue in the eye! (Every nurse has a thing that sends them over the edge, that is eyeballs for me….) But, talk to your kids, if they are getting eye infections, and you are concerned, talk to their HCP so the discussion can come from them from a purely health perspective, but keep them safe and free of eye injury/infection.

Yours in Good Health


Should the Morning After Pill be available to all Over-the-Counter?

Not too long ago I wrote about the morning after pill, what it is, and how it works. At that time, it was available Over-The-Counter (OTC) to women 17 years old and over, and below that, women (girls) needed to get a prescription to use the medication to prevent pregnancy.

When used within 72 hours after another failed form of birth control, there is a 90% success rate in preventing unwanted pregnancy. I know there is some debate among people, but from a strictly medical standpoint, it is not an abortion pill, because it merely causes irritation to the lining of a uterus, thus not allowing anything to adhere or become fertilized and start growing. It won’t abort and already growing fetus, and should not be taken if you already know that you are pregnant.  morning-after-pill

Recently, legislation has changed. It has been highly debated at which age group the pill should become available without prescription, in 2011, here in the US, it was decided that above 17 years old can get it as an OTC. More recently legislation has changed (granted it is being opposed) so that women of any age can obtain the medication as an OTC. I have mixed emotions on this one: I think that everyone should have a right to medications that would help to prevent pregnancy after a mistake/failed birth control attempts, but should 10, 11, 12-year-old girls be able to walk in and get the morning after pill, if they are sexually active, and not be counseled regarding Sexually Transmitted Infections, or the effects of the Plan B medications on their body, or on how it would be better for them to be on regular birth control, if they continue to choose to be sexually active.  And then there are the young girls that don’t choose to be sexually active but may be forced.  Are we missing a population that needs our help and interventions?

How do parents feel about this? Would you want to know if your young daughter was using the morning after pill? I guess not giving young women the option of having Plan B as OTC, leads them to possibly make other unhealthy choices, or try home “remedies” to prevent pregnancy, which may be dangerous.

I do like the option of women/girls having the right to make their own medical decisions without the need to get an HCP appointment and then get the prescription filled, and there has been no proven negative effects on their bodies (physically) but I am wondering the mental/psychological effects,and if we could do better as HCPs to intervene and help these women. I am really torn, and I am interested what you all think about this, as it is something that almost every woman has an opinion on: When are we being too free with Plan B administration, and when should we step in?

Yours in Good Health


Are you a part of the Clean Plate Club?

Growing up, I remember sitting at the kitchen table and staring at a plate of goulash, trying to mentally will it to go away….but my mother telling me I couldn’t leave the table without cleaning my plate because there were some children who didn’t have food. Ugh. I remember thinking, they wouldn’t want the goulash! But, when there were foods that I liked, I was in the “Clean Plate Club” in no time flat (I am a ridiculously fast eater for some reason.) But despite us not wanting to waste food, this may be a bad thing to teach children; it can cause some bad habits later on.

How can it be bad?

A few studies have been done recently to look at how often parents these days are actually pushing this “clean plate club” idea on kids, and the journal Adolescent found that 2/3rds of parents actually still push this idea on their adolescent and teenage children. When you encourage your children to eat based on how much you offer them, and teach them to eat ALL of the food, they learn to eat what is in front of them, and not to eat based on what their body is feeling and needing, or on satiety.  As portions seem to get bigger and bigger, and children are just eating what’s given to them, they are consuming more and more fat and calories than necessary.  They will consume more than their bodies need, and tend to gain weight over time. While they are growing quickly and hormones are changing, it doesn’t always take effect immediately, but it will lead to bad habits as an adult too. Also, the study (which looked at around 2200 children and 3500 parents) found that parents of overweight children, despite encouraging the clean plate club earlier on in life, started encouraging less food consumption (possibly under eat), while children that were skinnier were still being encouraged to eat large amounts (possibly overeat).  The Center for Disease Control has found that in the past 3 decades, childhood obesity has increased by 2 fold and adolescent obesity has tripled, and in 2010 alone 1/3 of all children were noted as obese.

healthy foodsIt is really important to teach portion sizes, but also healthy eating, and proper eating: fill your house with healthy foods and snacks, let them make the right choices.  If they choose to fill up on carrot sticks (even with peanut butter), great, it’s much better than potato chips! They can learn when they feel full on their own without parents hovering; sometimes pressuring them to eat more or less makes the situation worse, they can learn to eat on their own.  When they are growing, they will eat more because their bodies need the nutrition, and when it slows, so will their intake. As parents, we need to supply the healthy foods for them to eat, and to teach them to make the right choices.

So don’t push that clean plate club! Just push the healthy foods.  And sometimes having your child talk to their Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) or a nutritionist can help them to learn better food choices, if they are making poor choices on their own, and so they can also learn the long-term implications of poor eating habits. Regulate what they eat by making healthy food available, not by forcing, and you will have a better chance of them learning to eat healthy!

Yours in Good Health


West Nile Virus: What is it??

I know that mosquito bites are annoying, and we hear about West Nile Virus, and I see the signs all over that West Nile can come from mosquito bites, but do we really know what that means?  What are the symptoms of West Nile?  Is it a big deal? Do I even care? I have been getting a lot of questions about this especially since there have been numerous reports of West Nile Virus found in certain areas around where I live, and the Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 48 of the 50 states have fond cases this summer.  So, let’s get to the bottom of it!

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus is a virus transmitted by mosquitos that can cause very generalized reactions, ranging from very mild to very extreme, with potential for very serious illness. It is considered a seasonal epidemic that flares up in the summer in North America and remains as a high threat through the fall. The CDC reports that this summer has the highest rates of West Nile (just shy of 1600 cases) since it was first found in 1999, and 70% of the cases are from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Michigan.

What are the symptoms?

The virus is really defined by the symptoms really. Only about 1% of people who are infected will get a serious reaction and the two most determining factors seem to be age over 50 years old, and having a weakened immune system (due to transplantation, immunosuppression, chronic disease, etc.) It takes anywhere from 3-14 days to have symptoms of the virus after being bitten. Most people have absolutely no symptoms at all, while other people might have mild symptoms that include:





-skin rash

-eye pain

-swollen lymph nodes

More severe symptoms include:

-high fevers

-neck aches/pain

-severe headache (like a migraine)

-stiff neck muscles


-muscle weakness and/or lack of muscle coordination


-partial paralysis

*These symptoms usually last a few days but the symptoms that are more severe last a week or more and some, like paralysis, can be permanent.  If you have these symptoms, you should seek medical care.

How is it transmitted?

WNV is primarily transmitted to humans and animals through mosquito bites, and the mosquitos become carriers after feeding on dead birds that are infected with the virus.  Other ways of transmission are through blood transfusion and organ transplantation, but it is now a virus that is screened for more thoroughly, so the risk is significantly diminished.  But, you are at your highest risk to become infected during warm weather, due to the nature of the transmission and high breeding levels of mosquitos!

How can I be diagnosed?

Your HCP will determine based on your symptoms if you need further testing, but they will start with lab tests to look for an increased level of antibodies to the WNV, which means that your body is fighting off the virus or has recently.  If you have increased antibodies, you will then most likely get a lumbar puncture (AKA a spinal tap) to assess for the virus in your cerebral spinal fluids (CSF); to help diagnose the meningitis (stiff neck, high fevers, muscle convulsions/rigidity).  The CSF that is drawn off, if infected will show high levels of white blood cells (WBCs) and also the WNV antibodies.  And finally, if you are having confusion/stupor, etc. you will be ordered for an MRI or an electroencephalography (EEG) to study your brain and the swelling (MRI), and the brain waves and function (EEG) to determined the severity of the infection.

Are treatments available?

Because it is a virus, not really, no.  Most of the “treatment” is just rest, and supportive care like Intravenous (IV) fluids if you are in the hospital, using tylenol/advil to treat fevers, eating a healthy diet, and focusing on regaining strength. There is some current research looking at interferon therapy, which is an immune modulating therapy, to help people with severe symptoms overcome the virus faster but the research is in pretty early stages, although at this point it looks promising, interferon therapy is a very intense therapy.

How can I protect myself?

From your home/living area, try to reduce breeding of mosquitos by eliminating any standing water, like change out bird bath date frequently, anything that has still sitting water in it, dump it, and clean out gutters.  Anything moist, damp, or filled with water is the perfect little breeding ground for mosquitos, so do what you can to eliminate them! Also, make sure to change out your animals water bowls that are left outside (if you have one). And how to prevent getting bitten? Wear long sleeves and long pants if going into mosquito ridden areas, especially at dusk or dawn as that is when they are most likely to swarm. Also use insect repellent with DEET (avoiding faces and hands of children) and for young infants you can cover their strollers with mosquito netting (do not use DEET on children under 2 months).  Use good sense, and use the monthly medications to prevent your dogs/cats from getting infected too!

If you are worried about your risk because you spend a lot of time outdoors, in the woods, or in high risk areas, then talk to your HCP about your risk and other ways to prevent WNV.  Also, talk to your HCP about any symptoms you may have had, they may want you to come in for further testing, or come in earlier if you experience symptoms again, to be able to diagnose you!  Wear that bug spray!!

Yours in Good Health


Asthma: Medications and Alternative Treatments

As previously discussed, Asthma is a long-term disease that causes a narrowing of the airways due to an allergic or hypersensitive reaction.  The bronchus spasm, and make breathing very difficult.  There are numerous medications that can be taken either in pill form or inhaled, that are FDA  approved, or you can try some different alternative therapies: some include taking herbal supplements (which may or may not be helpful) and  some include diet, exercise, and breathing techniques.

Modern Medical Treatments:
Allergy medications– like Zyrtec or Claritin to prevent common allergies and possible flare-ups
Inhaled Corticosteroids- like Flovent or Pulmicort. These are inhaled medications that have low risks from long term use and take a few days to a week to build-up in your system and are used for long term prevention of symptoms.
Leukotriene Modifiers: Oral medications such as Singular that prevent asthma symptoms for 24 hours at a time. They can have some serious mental side effects like depression and hallucinations, so you need to be aware of any feelings of sadness that are new and unlike you.
Long Acting Beta Agonists (LABA): like Serevent are inhaled medications that open airways and prevent inflammation but they have been linked with severe asthma attacks if they are not taken along with an inhaled corticosteroid.
Combination Inhalers: a mixture of a LABA and corticosteroid, like Advair. They work well for long-term control of symptoms, but there is a risk of asthma attack because of the LABA involved.
Theophylline: a daily pill that helps to open the airways by relaxing the muscles around the airways. It is kind of a treatment of the past, and not used very frequently these days….it was a first line treatment years ago.

What are Alternative Treatments?
Breathing exercises: in which you stretch the volume of your lungs and learn to relax to take deep breaths, can help to decrease the amount you need medications. Yoga breathing techniques can help to learn to relax and the feelings involved with taking deep, relaxed breaths.
Diet: eating fresh fruits and veggies high in antioxidants can help improve lung functions and prevent asthma symptoms.  As well, Omega-3 Fatty Acids (found in fish, flax, etc) have been found to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the lungs, so it can help to improve asthma symptoms as well.
Exercise: regular cardiovascular inducing workouts can hep to strengthen your lungs and improve their function.  Working out in cold weather can trigger asthma, or if outdoors during high allergy season, but in a gym with AC you can work out your lungs and body all at the same time!

Are there Herbal Supplements?
As always, they haven’t been extensively studied or FDA approved, so I can’t say I condone the use of herbal supplements but many people have reported decreased asthma symptoms when using these products, and they may benefit you: butterbur, dried Ivy, Ginko extract, Indian frankincence, reishi mushroom, and Choline.  It is best to take these under direction of your HCP or an herbal healer, so please discuss so they can talk to you about any interactions to look for and any reactions that may occur.

Does anything make Asthma worse?
Exposure to allergens: if you are allergic to something, and know it, it can make your asthma symptoms worse, or cause flare-ups so you should stay away from that allergen, or do your best to avoid it (like cigarette smoke, exhaust, or foods that cause allergic reactions.)
Cold weather: As stated above, it can cause constriction of the bronchioles and make asthma symptoms worse.
– Anything high in saturated fats (meats, butters, etc) can make asthma symptoms worse
– Additives and preservatives can cause people to have reactions and common additives are artificial sweeteners and sulfites (found in cheeses, red wines, etc.)
– Milk products can cause an increase in mucus production and a thickening of the mucus, making asthma symptoms worse.

Asthma is different for everyone and the way we all react can be very different, so work with your HCP to see what best fits your lifestyle and your beliefs.  Work with your HCP on your Action Plan and take into account all aspects of alternative and medical therapies. You know your body best, so learn what your triggers are, and how to prevent them!

Yours in Good Health

Start them young on the right foot

I am not a parent to any human beings, I clearly have two dogs, and I really don’t like when people give me advice related to my pooches (I almost made the statement that I hate when people without dogs give me advice related to my dogs, but really, it is all unsolicited advise!!).  So, I am going to preface that I am not a parent, and not preaching about how to raise a child here at all, but I have touched on it before in my blogs on nutrition, and I do think it is important to teach by example; study just caught my eye, and I wanted to pass it along because it deals with the devils drink, or as I like to call it: SODA!

sodaNow, I am never one to turn down a nice gin and tonic every now and again, or to not drink ginger ale when I have a sick stomach, but daily consumption of soda (diet or full sugar) really is horrible for your stomach (causes ulcers) and for your pancreas (your risk of type II diabetes goes up thus increasing your long-term risk for pancreatic cancer), along with the standard issues of obesity, tooth decay, caffeine dependence, and weakening of bones (phosphoric acid in soda can leach calcium off of your bones- creepy!!).  Also, there are new studies showing that increased soda consumption increases cardiovascular risks (i.e. stroke and heart attack) too because of the dyslipidemia (literally a disruption in lipids, or fats, that are in the blood….too much fat in the blood leads to plaque build up on cells and artery/vein walls) that occurs.

The Journal of American Dietary Association did a long-term study starting in 1996 with 5-year-old caucasian girls (roughly 170 children and parents as subjects), looking at the health/dietary differences between girls that were drinking soda at age 5 and those who weren’t.  I didn’t find the outcome shocking at all, but I did find it very sad: the girls who were drinking soda at age 5 continued to do so through age 15 and had an extremely low milk intake a higher intake of foods with added sugars, and lower intake of protein, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium in their diets. Basically, these children were eating processed foods and drinking soda on a daily basis as their normal diets.  This significantly increases the rate of obesity and type II diabetes, and treating type II diabetes becomes much more difficult when people have no concept of healthy meal choices.  So these children are engrained with these poor diets, and it is a tough challenge to change their eating habits.

These girls were set up at the age of 5 for increased cardiovascular risks for stroke and heart attack, diabetes, and cancer, all because of poor eating habits stemming around the consumption of soda.

I remember when I was young, and it was a HUGE treat to be able to drink soda; special occasions only!  And I remember my mom always regretting the decision as we were bouncing off the walls, but it was always water and milk only, and juice with breakfast.  Granted, I am very lucky to have the mom that I do, she still treats me like her baby whenever I come home, making me snacks and meals galore!! But, even with busy working moms, who don’t have the time to cut carrot/celery sticks and have them waiting as an after school snack, there are so many healthy snack options at the grocery store to choose from, and if you fill your house and fridge with healthy stuff, your children will learn to eat healthy stuff and that it tastes good!

So, please try to limit soda intake for younger kids and allow them healthy choices when you can control what they eat, so they learn what’s healthy, and we can only hope they continue that path as they grow up and make their own choices, but try to set them up for success in life and decrease their risks for long-term illnesses as much as you can.  And, honestly, in this economy, a Brita filter for a month giving fresh clean water, is a boatload cheaper than even generic brand soda!

Yours in Good Health, and for all the little ones out there 🙂