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Fall officially arrives at your local coffee shops and restaurants this September. With the advent of fall comes new, sugar-laden drinks full of limited-time flavors usher in the start of the holiday season. Before you head out to join crowd, take a minute to think about the health effects of these festive drinks.

Holiday drinks can have serious negative effects on your health. One reason for this is the amount of sugar each drink contains. For example, a venti white chocolate mocha from Startbucks contains 18 teaspoons of sugar—that’s almost double the amount of sugar in a single can of Coke! It’s also more than two times the daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association.

Because these drinks are typically consumed in a short amount of time, the sugar in them is absorbed into your body very quickly, causing your blood pressure to spike. As a response, your pancreas releases lots of insulin which can lead to the development of diabetes. At the same time, your body stores up the excess calories as fat. The stored fat releases chemicals and hormones that are harmful to your body. The buildup of fatty deposits combined with the pancreas constantly overproducing insulin can wreak havoc on your body, leaving you even more susceptible to serious illnesses.

In addition, the flavorings used in hot drinks aren’t necessarily good for your body. Though fall-themed flavors like pumpkin and caramel sound comforting, some drinks sold at coffee shops tend to use a large amount of natural and artificial flavors—meaning there might not even be any pumpkin in your pumpkin spice latte.  It’s important to understand the source of the flavors used in your hot drinks before you consume them.

Despite this, you can still enjoy a nice, seasonal drink this fall! If you absolutely must have your Pumpkin Spice Latte this year, try making it at home using this healthy recipe from EatingBirdFood. This recipe can be made vegan, cuts out a lot of the fat from a normal PSL and won’t cost you $5.00 a drink. SuperheroYou has plenty of homemade recipes that put traditional coffee shops to shame. Find a whole list of do-it-yourself fall drinks here.

If you are in a rush and need to get your coffee to go, there are a few simple ideas of drink swaps you can make to reduce your calorie and sugar intake. Instead of a Pumpkin Spice Latte you can order a Caffé Misto. This drink will still provide a nice burst of cinnamon, but it will cut out almost 75% of the calories. Another option is to ditch the White Chocolate Mocha for a Skinny Vanilla Latte. This swap will take you from 470 calories to 120 calories. For more Starbucks swaps, check out this PopSugar article.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you have to forego all of the perks of the season. With a few simple changes, you can still enjoy all fall has to offer while still keeping your waistline in check.

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If there’s one thing Mexican food is known for, it’s vibrant flavor. However, if you’re trying to eat a healthier diet, you may find yourself avoiding some of your favorite foods. Have no fear – there are plenty of food swaps you can try that stick to your diet plan without sacrificing flavor!


  1. Wheat Tortillas Instead of Flour Tortillas

Instead of a flour tortilla, try eating whole wheat tortillas or using bibb lettuce. Substituting in a wheat tortilla can cut out up to 100 calories per tortilla and they are a better option because they are not processed like flour tortillas. However, you can take it one step further and cut the calories altogether by using bibb lettuce instead. Bibb lettuce is packed with vitamins A, C and K, and is perfect for keeping a taco together.


  1. Fish Instead of Ground Beef

Fish is always a great swap for any meal. It is a leaner protein that’s lower in calories and full of heart-healthy omega-3. Using fish instead of beef will lower your calorie and cholesterol intake. Substituting fish will still let you get a meat-like texture without forfeiting flavor.


  1. Brown Rice Instead of White Rice

You can enjoy a healthier meal by switching in brown rice for white rice for a better source of carbohydrates. Brown rice has a significantly higher amount of fiber than white rice, and fiber is important because it slows down the release of sugar from the food you eat so you can stay full longer, allowing you to lose more weight and feel full. Fiber can also help you maintain a healthy gut as well as lower cholesterol levels and control blood glucose.


  1. Guacamole Instead of Queso

Just because you are dieting, it shouldn’t mean you have to forego having chips and dips. However, instead of queso, try substituting in guacamole. Guacamole is made from raw fruits and vegetables, so it has a high nutritional value. Avocados provide almost 20 essential vitamins and minerals and a good dose of healthy fats that your body needs.


  1. Crisp Vegetables Instead of Tortilla Chips

If you would like to take it one step further, you can replace tortilla chips with raw carrots or celery. Tortilla chips are high in calories and sodium. Replacing it with a crisp vegetable will allow you to get the crunch you crave without eating empty calories. Pair this with some guacamole, and you’ll get your daily allotment of vegetables in no time!


Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean boring eating. With a few simple switches, you can be on your way to a healthier (and tastier!) lifestyle.


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Whether you’ve just started a new exercise regimen or you’re a seasoned health advocate with a long-established workout routine, there’s always at risk of injuring yourself while exercising. It’s even more likely to happen with exercises you’re already familiar with, so do yourself a favor and learn the warning signs before you end up in recovery for weeks.

  1. Ankle Sprain

Running outdoors is not the only way to twist an ankle. In fact, jogging or full-on running on an indoor treadmill can cause an ankle sprain. Indoor ankle sprains are usually caused by stepping half-on, half-off the treadmill while the belt is still moving. You can also twist an ankle by quickly jumping off a treadmill after your workout, causing your ankle to roll in an unnatural direction. Running on uneven terrain outdoors or running up and off curbs can increase your risk of twisting your ankle.

Stay safe and injury free by attaching a clip on the treadmill to your clothes, which automatically stops the belt if you fall. If you’re running outside, stay on paved, level roads and sidewalks, and avoid potholes and areas where you have to go up and down a curb.

  1. Shin Splints

Many runners experience shin splints in at least one of their workouts. It’s described as a pain along the inner edge of your shinbone, and is really muscle inflammation that can flare up after just a couple workouts. It’s especially common in running sports or jumping activities. Increasing the intensity of your workouts, wearing worn-out workout shoes, uneven ground and running up/downhill or on hard asphalt increases your chance of a flare up.

Wearing the right shoes, gradually increasing workout intensity (no more than 10% a week), and slowly warming up by doing an exercise like jumping jacks before running or jogging helps reduce your chances of developing this injury.

  1. Low-Back Strains

Any sudden, sharp pain is a sign something’s gone wrong. If it happens in your lower back during your workout, it’s a definite sign you’ve overdone it and created low-back strains. Squats and deadlifts done with bad form can damage the lower back, creating strains, nerve compressions and disk herniation. Sideways bends and twisting motions can also cause lower back strains.

To avoid this, learn how maintain a neutral spine by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your spine should make contact with the floor under your neck and lower back, allowing your back’s natural curves to absorb shock during exercise. If you’re a beginner, learn the correct form before adding weight. Weightlifters just starting out should do the leg press or hip sled first before trying squats. Always ask a qualified personal trainer for advice if you’re ever unsure of proper form.

  1. Rotator Cuff Injury

Your rotator cuff, which surrounds and stabilizes the shoulder join, is made up of four main muscles. If you feel shoulder pain when you reach behind you, overhead or out to the side, you may have rotator cuff strain. This can happen from repeating overhead activity, like swimming, tossing a ball, or military presses. These activities can lead to a rotator cuff injury when repeated over time.

The best way to avoid injuring your rotator cuff is by strengthening your rotator cuff muscles as part of your upper-body program. Using good posture, avoiding repetitive overhead exercises with too-heavy weights, and doing pulldowns in the front instead of behind the neck can help you stay safe.

  1. Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small, hairline fractures caused by exercising too much, too soon or from repetitive jumping in one place. The majority of these fractures occur in foot, heel or shin bones. Any pain around the site of the fracture that gets worse after exercising, walking or standing is usually a symptom of a stress fracture. The area might also swell. Sports like basketball and tennis as well as conditions like osteoporosis can increase your risk of stress fracture.

If left untreated, the stress fracture won’t heal properly and will lead to chronic pain. Protect yourself by increasing workout intensity no more than 5-10% in exercise volume reach week. Cross-training can also help you avoid stress fractures.

The good news is that these common workout injuries are easily avoidable. Taking the time to learn the symptoms and protect yourself now will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


How often do you find yourself saying “It’s time to cut back on the carbs”? Most people find themselves thinking this as they munch down on their favorite snack. There is a common misconception that carbs are bad for you, and you should avoid them at all costs. However, this is not always the case. If you want to start eating better, it’s important to know how to implement the right amount of carbohydrates into your diet to prevent unnecessary weight gain and keep you on the right path of towards establishing a healthy lifestyle.

Simply put, carbohydrates are sugars, fibers and starches that are naturally found in fruits, grains and dairy products. Despite anti-carb popular opinion, carbs are one of the basic food groups and are important for a healthy lifestyle. Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that are necessary for your body to function properly.

Everyone has different dietary needs, but the National Institutes of Health recommend an average daily amount of 135 grams of carbs for adults, which amounts to about 45-65% of total calories. People with diabetes shouldn’t eat more than 200 grams a day, while women who are pregnant need to eat at least 175 grams.

Sometimes people can confuse the different types of carbohydrates. Carbs are found in both “good” foods (vegetables), and “bad” foods (cupcakes). Highly refined and processed foods, pastries, sodas, white rice, white bread and other white-flour foods are considered bad carbs, while good carbs are those found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and beans. Here is a great checklist from the Pritikin Longevity Center for determining whether or not the carbs you’re about to eat are good or bad:

Good carbs are:

  • Low or moderate in calories
  • High in nutrients
  • Devoid of refined sugars and refined grains
  • High in naturally occurring fiber
  • Low in sodium
  • Low in saturated fat
  • Very low in, or devoid of, cholesterol and trans fats

Bad carbs are:

  • High in calories
  • Full of refined sugars, like corn syrup, white sugar, honey and fruit juices
  • High in refined grains like white flour
  • Low in many nutrients
  • Low in fiber
  • High in sodium
  • Sometimes high in saturated fat
  • Sometimes high in cholesterol and trans fats

It’s also important to know how the glycemic index of a food will affect your body. In fact, nutritionists consider this more important than the type of carbohydrate you’re eating. The glycemic index has the ability to measure how quickly and how much a carbohydrate raises your blood sugar. Foods like pastries have high-glycemic indexes, while low-glycemic foods raise your blood sugar gently to a lower degree. Research has linked high-glycemic foods with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Carbohydrates provide you with energy and fuel your central nervous system and working muscles. Keeping carbohydrates an important part of your diet helps maintain brain function, healthy moods, memory and energy—they can even influence your decision making.

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.




Did you know that Latinos typically have a longer life span than most people? While these longer lives provide a lot of benefits, it also means that Latinos are significantly more likely to develop dementia as the years go by. Because the risk is so high, it’s important to take steps now to prevent dementia in the future.

The good news is that up to 1/3 of all dementia cases can be prevented with just a few precautionary steps now. A study from the University of Southern California identified a few simple things that people can begin to do to help prevent dementia. By beginning these steps today, you can start to protect your mental health for decades to come.

Quit Smoking

It’s no secret that smoking is very harmful to the cardiovascular system. Damage to the cardiovascular system has been linked to dementia. By ditching the habit for good, you will be greatly increasing your chances of fighting of dementia.

Go to if you are looking for help to quit smoking.

Continue Your Education

Research shows that continuing education past the age of 15 could reduce the number of dementia cases by 8%. Encourage your loved ones to continue to pursue an education through high school and beyond. Help your loved ones study and succeed in school.

If you are past college age, try picking up a book about something you know very little about. Learning a new language or a new skill is a great way to keep your mind active. You can even try something as simple as learning one new fact every day.

Get Your Hearing Tested

Sometimes, something as simple as getting your hearing checked can help with your brain health. Almost 20% of people over the age of 12 have some form of hearing loss, and this number only increases with age. Protecting your hearing and regular checkups will be good for your ears and your mind.

Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check

There are lots of things you can do to help keep your blood pressure at healthy levels. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are a great first step. Low sodium diets are also a great way to prevent high blood pressure. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake can also help steady your blood pressure.

Keep Active

Physical activity and social activity are both important when working to prevent dementia. Physical activity helps you stay in shape and helps promote mental health. Social activities including hobbies and organizations help mental health and can help you protect your mind later in life. Try combining physical activity and social activity by joining a yoga gym or participating in boxing classes.

For more helpful health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



Next Monday, there will be a total solar eclipse that will be visible throughout the United States. In Laredo, the eclipse will start around 11:41 a.m. on August 21st. It will peak around 1:08 p.m. and end around 2:36 p.m. During this time, you will be able to see the sun go behind the moon and become partially or even completely blocked out depending on the time. You can use this map to pinpoint exactly where you will be, and to get a better sense of when the eclipse will be passing you.

This is the first time a solar eclipse has spanned from coast to coast since 1918, and this is the very first solar eclipse that has gone over America exclusively. On average, a total solar eclipse only happens in each location every 375 years, so this is definitely not an event to miss!

However, staring at a solar eclipse can be VERY dangerous. Similar to how the sun’s rays can start a fire through a magnifying glass, an eclipsed sun can go through the lens in your eyes and burn your retina. This can cause permanent eye damage and even blindness. Even worse – it doesn’t hurt while it’s happening, so you will have no clue what’s happening until it is too late. The same principal can be applied when looking at the eclipse through a telescope. It is important to make sure you are safe while watching the eclipse.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to enjoy the solar eclipse while protecting your eyes. If you are interested in getting the most out of the solar eclipse, you can create a pinhole projector from an old cardboard box and some other materials lying around the house. The University of Central Florida produced this great video that demonstrates how to make a simple pinhole projector.

You can also try to find solar eclipse glasses. These glasses allow you to look directly at the sun, but will block out the harmful rays. Glasses should be available at the Joe A. Guerra Laredo Public Library, the Inner City Branch Library and the McKendrick Ochoa Salinas Branch Library. You can also purchase some glasses online from a number of retailers. It is important to note that sunglasses are NOT safe for looking at the sun. There are a lot of fake eclipse glasses online today, so make sure your glasses are ISO 12312-2 certified.

There’s no doubt that this eclipse is a once in a lifetime event. Take some time to enjoy it next week, but remember – please enjoy it safely!

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.



There’s nothing more difficult than trying to wake your children up for school in the morning. Sleepy eyes and groggy pleas for five more minutes in bed often lead many parents threatening an earlier bed time the next night. But is that really the solution? How much sleep does your child really need, and what should you do if your child isn’t getting enough?

Why sleep is important?

Sleep provides lots of benefits for children. It helps children grow and promotes a healthy weight. It also helps the heart develop and prevents vascular damage. Sleep helps fight off hyperactivity and can often help boost learning. With so much resting on a good night’s sleep, it’s important to know how much sleep your child should be getting every night.

How much sleep does my child need?

Every age group needs a different amount of sleep each night. For infants that can be as much as eighteen hours a day. Toddlers need between 12 and 14 hours a day. Children between the age of 3 and 12 need anywhere from 10 – 12 hours of sleep per day. Teenagers can get by with 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

This can vary between every child. As always, consult your physician if you have questions about whether your child is sleeping enough. If you would like to learn more, WebMD discusses further in depth how much sleep each age group needs.

How can I tell if my child is sleep deprived?

Fortunately, sleep-deprivation is very rare for babies. However, there are a few signs that your infant needs more sleep. Things like a noticeable lack of interest in stimulating things surrounding the baby, being hard to wake up, and feeding troubles could be a sign that your baby is not sleeping enough.

However, symptoms of sleep-deprivation are different in older children. Difficulty concentrating, falling asleep during the day, sleeping in late on the weekends and trouble waking are all signs that your child could be sleep deprived. Another sign is hyperactivity and defiant behavior.

What can happen if my kid doesn’t sleep enough?

Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize sleep insufficiency in children, because the symptoms are different than what you would expect to see in a sleep deprived adult. Kids who aren’t getting enough sleep experience negative changes to their mood and behavior such as memory problems and academic struggles.

If this lasts long term, it can have lasting effects on their schoolwork, home life, and even their brain development. If you think your child may not be getting enough sleep, it is important that you speak to a health care professional

What should I do if my child does not get enough sleep?

It’s important to have a bedtime routine established. If you do not already have one established, begin a routine as close to the desired bedtime as possible. This should include calming activities like a bath and a story, and it should happen every day. As you get more settled into the routine, you can begin the routine a couple minutes earlier every two to three days until your child is headed to bed at the right time every night.

Try to avoid screens close to bedtime, and make sure your child is not eating foods that are high in sugar. This will make your child more energetic and will make the bedtime routine even harder.

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Like most parents, you probably have a checklist of supplies to buy and an ever-growing to do list of errands that must be done before your child goes back to school. In the midst of all of this preparation, it’s also important to create a game plan for keeping your kids healthy and illness-free this school year.

Schools can be breeding grounds for bacteria and illnesses, with hundreds of students walking through the halls each day, picking up and leaving sickness in their wake. This means your child is at greater risk of getting sick by being exposed to an increased amount of germs every day.

It’s no secret that eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of rest is important for maintaining your child’s health, but you can always do more! Helping your child develop healthy habits now will minimize their chances of getting sick once school starts, giving them more time to learn and play while saving you from countless trips to the doctor.

Back to School Health Tips:

  1. Try multivitamins. Multivitamins designed for kids do a great job of supplementing a healthy diet. Vitamins ensure that your child is getting the recommended daily allowance of the necessary nutrients needed for them to grow up healthy and strong. With the large variety of fun flavors—ranging from gummies to sour—your child will enjoy taking them! Adding a multivitamin to your child’s diet is one simple way you can support your child’s immune system and stop them from getting sick.
  2. Cover coughs and sneezes. Many underestimate the importance of teaching kids to “cover” their coughs and sneezes by coughing into the crook of the arm rather than their hands if they don’t have a tissue. Failure to do so can spread germs onto other surfaces that will likely be caught by other children.
  3. Keep hands away from eyes and mouth. Hands—especially those constantly touching school surfaces—are covered in germs. Avoiding germ points of entry like the eyes and mouth will help kids evade illness.
  4. Don’t share water bottles or food. Anything that contacts the mouth area shouldn’t be shared with others.
  5. Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. Make sure your child understands the power of hand washing, often considered the number one rule to cut down on colds and flu. Teach them to sing “Happy Birthday” while hand washing to ensure they have washed their hands for enough time. Hands should be washed or sanitized especially before eating.
  6. Play! Encouraging your child to play will help them get exercise that will help their mind and body stay healthy.
  7. Keep a healthy diet. Maintaining a balanced diet will help your child grow strong and stay healthy.
  8. Getting a good night’s rest will ensure your child stays healthy and succeeds in school.

Implementing these healthy habits into your child’s daily routine will go a long way to keep your child healthy this school year.

For more helpful health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


It’s no surprise that Laredo is more than 90% Latino. This vibrant culture is a part of what makes our community so special. Unfortunately however, this means that Laredo is at a greater risk for certain health issues.

Statistics show that diabetes, chronic liver disease and kidney disease have a much higher death rate in Latino communities when compared to the national average. Latinos are estimated to be about 50% more likely to die from complications arising from diabetes or liver disease.

Because Laredo has a significantly higher risk for these diseases, it is important to know what you can do to stay healthy! Here are some quick tips for a healthier and happier lifestyle:


  • Get in to the habit of regular exercise. Exercise will help you lose weight and lower your blood sugar. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the best ways to control diabetes.
  • Include more fiber in your diet. Fiber can help you control your blood sugar and will promote weight loss. High fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains are a great option for increasing your fiber intake.
  • Start eating more whole grains. Whole grains should make up about 50% of your daily grain intake. Breads, pastas, and cereals can all be substituted with a whole grain alternative without a huge change to your current diet.
  • Stay consistent with diabetes healthy activities. Theres is no quick fix to prevent diabetes, however, keeping up with these activities every day will go a long way to staying healthy.

Liver Disease 

  • The best way to prevent liver disease is to drink alcohol in moderation. For men and women under the age of 65, the best option is to limit yourself to two drinks a day.
  • Always use medications appropriately. Take medications only when needed and only as recommended. Always be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist when mixing any medications or herbal supplements.
  • Be cautious with aerosol sprays. Whenever using aerosol sprays, you should be use them with a face mask on in a well-ventilated area.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Diet and exercise can help keep your weight in check and can help prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Kidney Disease

  • Decrease your salt and fat intake. A low-sat and low-fat diet will help keep your blood pressure under control. Try substituting low-fat options into your current diet.
  • Make sure you exercise 30 minutes every day. Exercise will keep your weight under control and will help keep your kidneys healthy.
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor. This will help you and your doctor track how healthy your kidney is, and can prevent your kidney disease from becoming serious.
  • Stop smoking or using tabacco. If you are currently smoking and wish to quit, check out to find resources and tips on how to ditch smoking for good.

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Summer is a great time to experience the outdoors with your family. Along with taking precautions against heat-related illnesses, you can also take steps to keep the mosquitos away!

For most people, mosquitos tend to a slight annoyance. However, sometimes getting bitten by a mosquito can mean the transmission of a serious disease. Some of the illnesses that can be spread by mosquitos in the US are the West Nile Virus and different kinds of encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain). In order to stay safe this summer, it’s a good idea to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites when enjoying the outdoors.

It is important to take steps to prevent mosquito bites both inside and outside of the home.

For outdoor mosquito prevention, make sure you remove any areas where there could be standing water. Mosquitos lay eggs near water and can quickly multiply. Tightly cover any storage container water, or treat it with larvicides if you are not planning to drink the water. Treat the garage, under patio furniture and decking with insect spray, as mosquitos like to rest in dark/humid areas.

For indoor mosquito prevention, make sure your screens are secure and untorn. Do not prop open doors and allow mosquitos to come inside. Remove any standing water from sinks, bathtubs or pots to prevent the laying of eggs. You can also use an insect “fogger” inside the home to kill mosquitos, and to reach the dark humid places in the home, such as in closets, under furniture or in the laundry room.

Keep in mind that mosquito bites effect our furry friends too through the spread of heart worms in dogs and cats. Protect your animals with monthly pills, a topical gel or a longer-term injectable product. Check with your local veterinarian today!

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


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