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Columns

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Left-over Christmas ham baked with pineapples and a simple glaze.

When my husband and I honeymooned in Williamsburg, we brought back with us a smoked Virginia ham. It was wrapped in a cloth bag and we hung it from the ceiling in our small apartment kitchen.

When I unwrapped it four months later on Christmas Eve I was horrified to find out that it not only had spots of mold on it, I needed to scrub it, then soak it overnight, and then scrub it again in the morning with a stiff brush before cooking it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Q. Can a sinus infection give you a toothache?

I can write from personal experience on this one. I had a bad toothache that sent me to my dentist. He did some X-rays and could find nothing wrong. He asked me about my sinuses, and I told him I was fighting an infection. Bingo.

Yes, infection in the sinuses located in your cheekbones can cause your upper jaw and teeth to ache, and your cheeks to become tender to the touch. Sinusitis is a nasty malady that can do much more than give you a toothache.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Q. Is it worth getting shots for my allergies?

Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots or vaccinations, can alleviate allergy symptoms. However, shots don't work on all allergies or all people.

Doctors advise against allergy shots if you take a beta blocker for high blood pressure or heart problems. If you're considering immunotherapy, seek the advice of a good allergist.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Fred Pattie's Peanut Butter Patties are a Christmas tradition.

I once knew a man whose name was Fred Pattie. His wife's name was Patty Pattie. I'm not kidding.

But wait, it gets better.

Fred Pattie, who was an over-the-road trucker, made the most amazing candy, which he would give as gifts during the holidays.

My favorite? Peanut Butter Patties. This candy tastes just like those iconic, round favorites we all love.

Ever since Fred gave me that recipe, this candy has been a holiday staple in my house, and now my kids even make it, and not just for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Q. How extensive is alcoholism among older people?

Alcoholism is a serious problem among seniors. Here are just a few statistics:

About 70 percent of hospital admissions for older adults are for illness and accidents related to alcohol.

About half of older adults in nursing homes have an alcohol problem.

Older adults lose an average of 10 years off their lives because of alcohol abuse.

About 80 percent of doctors misdiagnose alcoholism as depression in older women.

The highest growing number of alcoholics is among 75-year-old widowers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Q. What causes motion sickness?

Many people including me suffer nausea when traveling by boat, car or airplane. It also happens on rides in amusement parks and playgrounds. The symptoms of motion sickness are caused by conflicting messages arriving at the central nervous system.

Different parts of your body let your brain know where you are and what you're doing. The inner ears let you know if you're turning, or moving forward-backward, side-to-side, and up-and-down.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

My mother made the same Christmas cookies every year. She might add one or two different varieties, but there were always the ones we could count on: "S" Cookies, Dusan Confections, Caramel Spritz and Cappuccino Flats.

Mom's Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies, however, were everyone's favorite. (Except me, mine are the "S" Cookies.) My kids love them and my friends always ask for the recipe. I think if we didn't have them on the cookie plate on Christmas Eve, there would be a revolt in the house.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Q. Whenever I drink a little too much wine, I find that I wake up at night and my heart seems to race for a while. Can wine do that?

The short answer is yes. But, first, it sounds like you haven't told a doctor about this. And you should immediately. What you're describing could be atrial fibrillation. The risk of atrial fibrillation increases with age, particularly after age 60.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Country superstar's new  book an entertaining dream

Things get hectic this time of year. Not only are we looking for gifts, we're also looking for fun, easy ways to entertain.

Because we're so busy, we also want to make simple weeknight meals because other than those marathon cooking days, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, we just don't have time to spend in the kitchen.

I think Martina McBride might have the answer to your problems.

The country singer superstar recently published a beautiful cookbook and entertainment guide that offers an array of recipes for special gatherings and family-friendly options.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Q. Is it my imagination, but am I getting fewer fevers than I did when I was younger?

The immune system doesn't function as efficiently in older adults as it does in younger people.

The body's fever response to infection is not always automatic in elderly people. More than 20 percent of adults over age 65 who have serious bacterial infections do not have fevers.

This brings us to germs, which are defined as microbes that cause disease. Infectious diseases caused by microbes are the leading cause of death.