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March 2013

Below, find some possible story ideas for media.

For more information about these items, or for other media requests, contact Cleveland Clinic's Corporate Communications at 216.444.0141.

March 2013

Avoid Spring Allergy Misery

Most of us are ready to welcome warmer days and blooming flowers but for allergy sufferers, the spring season can be a challenging time. David Lang, MD, works at Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute and says that allergy symptoms typically begin in April and May. To minimize allergy-related misery, there are a few tips to follow:

  1. Start taking medication before symptoms start. Most over-the-counter allergy medications can provide relief for typical symptoms like runny noses and itchy, watery eyes. Starting a nasal steroid spray two to three weeks before spring allergies typically start can also make a big difference.
  2. Minimize your exposure. The best defense is to avoid allergens by staying indoors or in an air-conditioned home or building as much as possible. This can cut down the indoor pollen by as much as 90 percent and keep dust mites under control.

To learn more about this topic or to coordinate an interview, please contact Bridget Peterlin at 216.444.5703 or

Breakfast Foods to Avoid

Breakfast foods should give you energy, boost metabolism, fight disease and help keep your weight down. The worst breakfast foods do the opposite. Kristin Kirkpatrick, registered dietician and wellness manager for the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute says you shouldn’t skip breakfast but you should try and avoid these options:

  1. Doughnuts and pastries. They are packed full of unwanted calories and sugar that will lead to a huge peak and then a big sugar crash. This extreme up-and-down will leave you hungry again in no time.
  2. Sausage biscuit. The great amount of sodium in the highly processed sausage can make your blood pressure surge. If you have hypertension, it may even increase your risk for stroke.
  3. Loaded bagel. Most bagels include 300-500 calories worth of starch. Adding cream cheese or butter adds more calories and saturated fat. Diets high in refined carbohydrates have been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Click here to read the full article. To learn more about this topic or to coordinate an interview, please contact Bridget Peterlin at 216.444.5703 or

Making Choices that Keep Sperm Healthy

Some factors related to fertility cannot be controlled but there are certain lifestyle choices that can have a big impact on the overall health of sperm. Edmund Sabanegh, MD, Department Chair of Urology at Cleveland Clinic offers the following tips to help maintain healthy sperm:

  1. Trash the tobacco – Tobacco lowers sperm count and makes it less mobile. Fortunately, the damage is reversible if you quit.
  2. Eat better – Avoid junk food that is loaded with sugar and processed food and eat more fruits and vegetables that are full of antioxidants and vitamins.
  3. Drink in moderation – Social drinking does not pose problems for sperm health but excessive alcohol use can cause your body’s hormones to shift, along with other health problems. Moderation is key.
  4. Don’t abuse testosterone – If you are planning a family, do not use testosterone. It will actually shut down your body’s natural production of the hormone which then shuts down sperm production.
  5. Avoid hot tubs – Exposing testicles to a high level of heat in a hot tub or sauna can lead to fertility problems.

Click here to read the full article. To learn more about this topic or to coordinate an interview, please contact Stephanie Jansky at 216.636.5869 or

Avoid a Hangover this St. Patrick’s Day

This Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, and inevitably, some will wake up feeling slightly 'less than normal' on Monday morning. Kristin Kirkpatrick, registered dietician at Cleveland Clinic offers tips for those that may consume alcohol this holiday but want to prevent a hangover the next day.

  1. Consider a wine spritzer. Wine spritzers include club soda or juice and typically contain more water than alcohol (the alcohol is typically white wine). This can help decrease overall alcohol content consumed and dehydration.
  2. Consider Thai food for lunch the next day. Many Thai foods are full of ginger, a natural root that has been shown to help with gastric distress.
  3. Take a walk. Physical activity can help boost energy after a night (or day) of drinking. Be sure you’re properly hydrated eat some food before you go walking, especially if it is sunny out.
  4. Eat breakfast when you get up the next morning. This will help boost blood sugar stores which may have depleted overnight, leaving you with a serious lack of energy. Make sure that you include healthy proteins and carbohydrates in like an egg sandwich on whole wheat toast or oatmeal cooked in almond milk.
  5. Distract yourself and don't make the event all about drinking. Enjoy a dinner with friends, play a board game, go dancing or enjoy other activities other than just sitting and drinking. This way you can pace yourself.

To learn more tips or to coordinate an interview with Kristin, please contact Bridget Peterlin at 216.444.5703 or

Managing your Child’s Asthma

Children can have different asthma triggers ranging from allergens to the time of day and it can become difficult for parents to determine the cause. Watching a child struggle to breathe, speak and endure coughing episodes can also lead to frustration.

John Carl, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Cleveland Clinic says they best way to develop an effective treatment plan for a child is to come to pediatric medical appointments prepared. He suggests the following tips:

  1. Keep detailed records – write down how often your child has wheezing episodes, if something may have triggered symptoms, the number of office visits, what type of medication they are on and how often they use it.
  2. Check your home for asthma triggers – this can include tobacco smoke, furry pets and outdoor allergens like trees, grass and mold.
  3. Know what tests to request – talk to your pediatrician about pulmonary (lung) function tests and asthma control tests.

Access the full article here. To learn more or to coordinate an interview with Dr. Carl, please contact Abbey Linville at 216.445.9274 or

Avoid Imbalance and Falls from Dizziness

Each year, more than 10 million patients seek medical treatment for dizziness or vertigo. In most cases, vertigo is caused by an imbalance in the inner ear and nervous system, called vestibular disorders. This can occur at any age and lead to accidents and dangerous falls.

“Many falls are due to vertigo which is a common medical problem,” says Judith White, MD, PhD, medical director of the new Balance, Dizziness and Fall Prevention Center at the Cleveland Clinic Beachwood Family Health and Surgery Center. “Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits and the main cause of accidental deaths among Americans 65 and older.”

Dr. White recommends the following tips to prevent falls:

  • Meet with a vestibular specialist and develop a treatment plan if you experience symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, wooziness, spinning, vertigo, disorientation, imbalance and falls.
  • Learn and practice various exercises that can significantly improve balance such as Tai Chi.
  • Remove hazardous items around the house like loose floor rugs and stools that can trip people.
  • Avoid high heels and wear flatter, flexible shoes or shoes with good traction.
  • Place hand grips in the bath and shower for additional support.
  • Always use handrails when walking up and down stairs.

To coordinate an interview with Dr. White, please contact Jenny Popis at 216.444.8853 or

Improve your Eating Habits During National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, and Cleveland Clinic experts are encouraging you to "Eat right your way, everyday!" Registered dietician Amy Jamieson-Petonic offers tips to improve overall nutrition.

  1. Go soda free and replace with green tea. The sugar in soda has been linked to a number of health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It also increases pain in those suffering from arthritis and may lead to restless sleep.
  2. Add more “green” to your diet like a smoothie or green veggies, such as broccoli with low fat dip.
  3. Add 100% whole grains such as whole grain cereals, bread or crackers to your diet. They will fill you up and keep you going all day long.
  4. Add a small handful of nuts to your diet for heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Just six walnut halves will help curb cravings.
  5. Meet with a Registered Dietitian who can help you set a plan and meet your goals.

To learn more or to coordinate an interview with Amy about her tips, please contact Bridget Peterlin at 216.444.5703 or

Regular Screening for Colon Cancer Saves Lives

One in 18 American men and women will get colon cancer in their lifetime. Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer for men and women in North America and claims more than 50,000 lives every year.

The main reason people develop colon cancer is because they didn't regularly screen for it. Yet if detected early, colon cancer can be prevented. Colon cancer usually starts as a non-cancerous growth called a polyp that forms on the lining of the colon and rectum. If polyps are found and removed early enough through an exam called a colonoscopy, the cancer can be prevented before it starts. If cancer is detected and found early, 90 percent of these cases are curable.

Early detection is important and a colonoscopy screening only takes 20 minutes. A healthy diet and lifestyle can also reduce your risk of developing cancer.

To learn more or to coordinate an interview with a colon cancer expert, please contact Caroline Auger at 216.636.5874 or

Grandparents Need to Learn Current Child Safety Standards

The number of grandparents serving as primary caregivers to their grandchildren is increasing tremendously. Though today’s grandparents may have a wealth of parenting experience and knowledge, research says some of them are not aware of current child safety standards as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Cleveland Clinic Pediatrician Elaine Schulte says there are several child safety issues grandparents should be aware of.

  • Most grandparents think it is okay to have bumpers, stuffed animals and blankets in cribs but the AAP advises against it.
  • Many do not know the best sleeping position for a baby is on its back in order to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Some grandparents believe a walker is a good device to help babies learn to walk, though the AAP strongly recommends against it because of serious safety concerns.

Click here to read the full story. To learn more or to coordinate an interview with Dr. Schulte, please contact Abbey Linville at 216.445.9274 or