A lot of people believe that a smartphone is dangerous. There have been endless discussions about cell phones and cancer, for example. In reviewing the data, there is none to show that microwaves such as those used in cell phones cause brain tumors. On TV about 10 years ago, a cell phone was shone to cook popcorn on a table. What was not shown was the radiant heater underneath the table. This was hardly convincing and made cell phones as a cause of brain tumors highly unlikely.

There are easier ways to be harmed from your cell phone. You carry your smartphone wherever you go; at school, at work, into the restroom, while shopping and while running all kinds of errands. Some people even talk into their phones while on the commode. This is not a great idea since smartphones harbor viruses and bacteria like E. coli and can make you very sick. My recommendation is to use alcohol-based wipes to clean your cell phone at the end of the day and keep it out of places where it can become very contaminated. The treatment for Lyme disease prevention is usually doxycycline or another antibiotic if you cannot take tetracyclines. The treatment if given early enough will prevent the disease from appearing.

Looking down at your cellphone while walking is also not a good idea. People get so involved with their smartphones that they exclude all activity around them, and people have been maimed by walking into poles or wandering into traffic and being hit by cars. Texting and browsing while walking or sitting strains the neck muscles and lead to knots or spasms that cause nerve pain in your neck, your back, shoulders, or down your arms. Most experts suggest that you take a break every 20 minutes when you are texting or browsing on your smartphone. Keep good posture and do not hunch forward. Hold your phone high when you are using it. It’s important to have great efficiency in your work environment (ergonomics) and understand that using the smartphone to the exclusion of all that surrounds you can come at a cost. Judicious use of the smartphone is important because it can be dangerous to your health.

Can eating cheese cause a headache?

Research into cheese and headaches is lacking. However, the tasteous aged cheese is more likely to cause headaches. This is because the aged cheese had more tyramine in it. As the proteins in the cheese breakdown as the cheese gets old, a substance called tyramine forms and causes most of the headaches associated with the cheese. Some experts feel that the tyramine makes nerve cells release norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Cheese is not the only substance that contains tyramine and other foods can give you a headache. Cured or smoked meats and fish, beers on tap or home brewed, over-ripe fruits and fava or broad beans all contain high levels of tyramine. So next time you get a bad headache, remember what you ate before it appeared.

How can I control my migraine headaches?

Migraine headaches are horrendous and can be triggered by many things, perfume is one. In fact, odors are excellent triggers of migraine headaches. Block the scent of a cologne or perfume that sets off a headache by smelling mint or coffee beans. These are called substitute scents, and very effective. Be sure to keep a small amount of crushed coffee or mints in your pocket or purse to ward off those headaches caused by scents.

The biggest cause of a migraine headache is stress. That stress could be switching from a busy work week to a relaxing weekend and then back to stress on Monday. We call this cyclic stress. It is more important to regulate your work and un-busy your schedule where you can find time for the things you enjoy. When I see people under stress, I ask about hobbies like painting, playing golf or tennis, or simply going to a park bench or into the woods to meditate.

Be “regular” regarding your schedule. Pick times to wake and go to bed every day. Exercise regularly (takes discipline) and stick to usual times for meals and snacks. Consistency will give you fewer migraine headaches. If none of this works and you are destroyed by your migraines, a drug called a triptan could be prescribed by your physician. This is a drug that comes in many forms, tablets or melting strips that you can place on your tongue, designed to remove the headache that is most commonly caused by vein dilation in the brain in minutes. Briefly, It acts by stimulating serotonin which causes constriction of blood vessels in the brain and ends the headache.

Are there any foods that are cheap and still healthy for me?

There are any number of foods that are inexpensive and healthy for you to eat. Periodically I will give you examples of some inexpensive foods that are healthy additions to your diet.

Lentils are perfect and ½ cup of cooked lentils cost 20 cents per serving and contain 115 calories. Even though they are little, they pack 9 grams of protein per serving. They are also a good source of folate, iron and potassium and they are a great source of fiber, so you feel full longer. Try this on salads, in stews or over rice.

Another great healthy food is the egg. Everyone believes that the egg is bad for you because it contains a yolk which raises your cholesterol. One egg cost 25 cents and has 72 calories and there is 6 grams of protein in each egg. Vitamin D and A, choline (essential for breastfeeding women and pregnant women) and limited amounts of cholesterol come into your body when you eat one egg. To be sure, if you eat 6 eggs, your cholesterol will rise, but one egg a day is great.

I like oatmeal for breakfast in a medium sized warm bowl. Oats are used as fillers in meatloaf, burgers, casseroles and fruit cobblers. The fiber in oatmeal keeps you feeling full, lowers your cholesterol, and can even boost your immune system. Oatmeal also has antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage. There are about 140 calories in one medium bowl of oatmeal. Add raisins, cranberries, and a dash of cinnamon and you have a delicious healthy breakfast. One serving is about 22 cents and you can get a medium bowl for about a dollar.

Finally, another great source of protein are sardines. There are about 90 calories in a 4-ounce serving that cost $1.70. These little fish are great sources of protein, calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids which help prevent heart disease. If you really want to keep your calories low, look for those packed in water and not in oil. I always looked at sardines as one of the healthiest snacks you can have. It’s not for everyone, but it is probably the healthiest choice.

What are some causes of shortness of breath?

This is a big topic and very timely since the spring always brings wheezing and coughing to many people. It could be the result of a cold or simply an allergy to pollen, which in Saddle River seems like green snow. Your airways narrow and swell and make you struggle to get air into your lungs as you cough up mucous or hear whistling when you breathe.

Lots of things trigger an attack: pollen, dust, cigarette smoke, exercise, freezing air or air conditioning, a cold and simple stress. Doctors often prescribe an inhaler to help you breathe during an attack. Allergies are more common as people age and sometimes an allergic reaction triggers asthma. The stimulant might be in the air, or it might be in a food or something you touch.

People breathe harder when they are scared or worried. Most of the time it is not a big deal, but if you have COPD or other lung problems, the stress of a car accident or a court subpoena might tip you over and you could have an asthma attack. Some people under stress breathe so hard they get lightheaded and pass out.