House Calls, August 16, 2012
Practicing family physicians from the UNC Department of Family Medicine have teamed up with The Carrboro Citizen to bring you a weekly feature responding to your questions about health and medicine. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we respond to questions about lime concentration in tap water, wine for health and bubble baths.
Dear HOUSE Calls, If there is a high concentration of lime in your water, is that bad for your health?
Generally, lime is added to “hard” tap water to make it “soft.” Neither hard water nor soft water is associated with any health benefit or harm. We don’t know of any adverse health effect of lime concentration in household water supply. People may soften their water because hard water may feel funny in the shower or leave deposits. If you have any concern about the content of your water (city water or well water), we recommend you get it tested by your county health department.
Dear HOUSE Calls, Is a glass of wine with dinner a healthy option?
This has been the subject of many studies. Most studies and those that have synthesized findings from many studies (meta-analysis) have shown a modest benefit with regard to heart disease prevention from consuming a small amount of alcohol. Some studies have shown that red wine in particular is beneficial for cardiovascular health. We caution that these studies generally show improved health for up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, with significant adverse health consequence for drinking more than this limit on a regular basis. Alcohol (especially in larger quantities) can have adverse health effects including insomnia; depression; weight gain; and damage to the liver, brain, pancreas, bone marrow, muscle, nerves and stomach.
Dear HOUSE Calls, Does bubble bath really cause UTIs in little girls?
A UTI, or urinary tract infection, is a bacterial infection of the bladder or urethra (the tube from which urine comes out). There is really no good evidence linking bubble baths to UTIs. What we do see is irritation of the urethra and vagina from bubble bath with similar symptoms to UTIs (pain with urination and urinary frequency), but no associated infection. If your daughter is not bothered by a bubble bath and enjoys it, we would recommend not worrying about it. If you start to notice these symptoms within a day of bubble baths on a regular basis, you may want to discontinue the bubble baths or at least try a different brand of bubble bath.
House Calls is a weekly column by Dr. Adam Goldstein, Dr. Cristy Page and Dr. Adam Zolotor on behalf of Your Health and the UNC Department of Family Medicine.
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