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Your Mammogram: Make It More Comfortable with These Tips
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month — a great time to schedule that mammogram you may have been putting off. If anxiety about possible discomfort has kept you from picking up the phone, try these tips.
■ Hold off on caffeine. Caffeine has a tendency to make a woman’s breasts tender and lumpy, potentially making the mammogram uncomfortable. Avoid drinking coffee and tea, unless it’s decaffeinated, for a week prior to a mammogram. Other items containing caffeine include diet drinks, chocolate and even some common over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Be sure to read the label of any OTC medications before you take them prior to a
■ Check your calendar. “Most women’s breasts are naturally more tender or slightly swollen during the week prior to their menstrual period,” says Alicia Starr, M.D., medical director at Baylor Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Imaging Center. “Try to avoid scheduling your annual mammogram during this time.”
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid catching the flu this winter. But there are other things you can do to help protect yourself. (And you got that flu shot, right? If not, there’s still time for it to help protect you this season. But get a move on!)
■ Avoid touching your face, unless you have clean hands. The eyes, nose and mouth are entry ports for flu viruses.
■ Cover your mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately.
■ Avoid sharing objects (cups, utensils, etc.). Wipe down shared equipment such as phones and keyboards.
■ Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce immune system functioning, thus lowering the body’s ability to fend off colds and flu.
■ Drink more water. You may not feel as thirsty during fall and winter, but it’s important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated. Consume at least eight glasses a day.
— Source: University of California, Berkeley