ASK MEN’S HEALTH

Men's Health (Singapore) - - ON THE COVER - – TOM

SScratch­ing di­rectly on a bite only makes it itch more – which is ab­so­lutely true. But scratch­ing around it is also a bad idea. Do­ing that can still lead to itch-in­duc­ing in­flam­ma­tion and in­fec­tion (like MSRA a.k.a. me­thi­cillinre­sis­tant Sta­phy­lo­coc­cus au­reus, a bac­te­ria that loves to in­fect the skin), says Adam Fried­man, M.D., a pro­fes­sor of der­ma­tol­ogy at Ge­orge Washington Univer­sity. (Same goes for press­ing a fin­ger­nail into the bite.)What’s more, scratch­ing any­where could trig­ger neu­ro­chem­i­cal shifts that may heighten the brain’s per­cep­tion of itch, sug­gests re­search on ro­dents. Grab ice in­stead; ic­ing a bite or rash for five to 10 min­utes will re­lieve the itch by over­whelm­ing the same nerves re­spon­si­ble for said itch, Fried­man says

I LOVE A COLD BEER AF­TER A HOT WORK­OUT. BAD IDEA? — TONY

Chill, Tony—it’s fine. In fact, some re­search sug­gests that a post-work­out beer might aid re­cov­ery. Okay, it was non­al­co­holic beer, but still: When marathon run­ners drank about a litre of NA brew in the weeks be­fore and af­ter a big race, they had less in­flam­ma­tion than run­ners who drank a placebo. Bonus: less chance of an up­per res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion. Beer has water and carbs, both vi­tal for re­hy­dra­tion and re­cov­ery, and the polyphe­nols in hops and bar­ley boost im­mu­nity to aid re­cov­ery, says study co-au­thor David Nie­man, Ph.D., M.P.H. Have your brew with a hand­ful of raisins or dates to pack an even big­ger polyphe­nol punch, says Nie­man. And if you’re drink­ing reg­u­lar beer, also have water and some salty food. The combo may aid re­hy­dra­tion, a Dutch study sug­gests; more re­search is needed on that.

WHEN I PLAY HOOPS, MY THROAT OF­TEN TIGHT­ENS AND MY VOICE GETS HOARSE. AM I DY­ING? – DAN

Not dy­ing, Dan. Sounds like a con­di­tion called ex­er­ci­sein­duced vo­cal cord dys­func­tion. “It’s more com­mon in ath­letes,” says mayo Clinic oto­laryn­gol­o­gist David Lott, M.D. It oc­curs when the lar­ynx, which houses the vo­cal cords, be­comes overly sen­si­tive. When you’re re­ally suck­ing wind, “you take in more air and your vo­cal cords sense that as an ab­nor­mal sen­sa­tion, spasm, and close up as a means of pro­tect­ing them­selves,” Dr. Lott says. When you feel symp­toms com­ing on, take three strong sniffs in through your nose – it forces the vo­cal cords open. A per­ma­nent fix re­quires weeks or months of voice ther­apy to re­train your throat mus­cles; see a speech ther­a­pist for that. Left un­treated, it’ll get worse.

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