Wellness Series: Summer Beach Trip Tips

Summer is finally here! We hope you’ll get lots of time at the beach in the sun with your family and friends. Going to the beach should be fun, and you can keep it that way if you stay mindful of a few healthy tips.

Whether you’re an experienced outdoors adventurer interested in staying safe on some beautiful remote island, or you’re on vacation and want to make sure you’re practicing healthy beach behavior, our HealthTap doctors are here to provide you with the beach tips and facts that will keep you happy and healthy in the sun, all summer long!

What to wear to the beach if you have a changing mole?

“You should get evaluated if you noted any change in color, size, ulceration, irregular borders or symptoms such as pain, itching, etc. Don’t wait. See a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. Best to you.”
- Dr. Humberto Palladino

How do you protect yourself from cold sores when tanning at the beach?

“To prevent cold sores from occurring wash hands often. Maintain a healthful lifestyle (regular exercise, nutritious diet, adequate sleep, keeping stress at bay). Keep lips well moisturized & apply sun screen to the areas that your cold sores normally pop up. Talk with your physician about supplementing with Lysine.”
- Dr. Heidi A. Fowler

How can I tell if my child is dehydrated at the beach?

“Signs of dehydration may include the following: sunken eyes decreased frequency of urination or dry diapers sunken soft spot on the front of the head in babies (called the fontanel), no tears when the child cries dry or sticky mucous membranes (the lining of the mouth or tongue), lethargy (less than normal activity), irritability (more crying, fussiness with inconsolability),  acute weight loss.” – Dr. Michael H. T. Sia

My skin gets really clear after going to the beach. How come?

“Uv light is known to help acne but when you’re in the sun, you cannot calculate the right dose of it, so along with some advantage, there are also disadvantages such as overexposure with resultant risk of burns, increase risk of skin malignancy, etc. I would not just go to the beach to tan to get acne better. Talk to doc about uv therapy for acne whether it is right for you or not.” – Dr. Pavel Conovalciuc

What are white blotches on skin after sun exposure at the beach?

“A skin fungus, tinea corporis, is a possibility. Especially if they occur on the back and chest. Also areas of old scars will not heal well. There are other conditions such as vitiligo that will not tan.” – Dr. Jack Hinkle

Going to the beach tommorow and I need to fix this cough. Any remedies?

“Hydrate well. Consider using a warm air vaporizer. Mix several teaspoons of honey into herbal tea with a squeeze of lemon juice. Or make tea with 2 tsp of marshmallow root bark per 1cup of hot water (steep in a covered pot for at least 5 minutes). Drink several times a day or as needed to relieve coughing. See a physician if your cough is not resolving, difficulty breathing or temp > 104.” – Dr. Heidi A. Fowler

What to do about burning eyes from the sun all day at the beach?

“Now that the event has already occurred, the first thing to try is artificial teardrops to help with any dryness that has resulted. If this does not help, you should see an ophthalmologist to consider starting anti-inflammatory eyedrops. In all honesty, the best idea is to try to prevent this from occurring by wearing uv sunglasses next time!” – Dr. Kyle Rhodes

How do I get rid of dry skin on face after going on beach holiday?

“Skin is dried out. Avoid sun for now and use moisturizer with spf such as neutrogena. If itchy you can add hydrocortisone for a few days.”
- Dr. Morris Westfried

How do I deal with chafing from the beach?

“You can apply vaseline petroleum jelly or a skin moisturizer.” – Dr. Oscar Novick

Will I attract sharks if I swim in the ocean during my period?

“[A]lthough sharks have a phenomenal sense of smell & can smell blood, there is no evidence that links menstrual blood to shark attacks. To date more than 90% of shark attacks have been against males. Enjoy your time at the beach.” – Dr. Heidi A. Fowler

I went to the beach and got blisters from the sun. What can I put on them?

“Neosporin or Polysporin ointment is a good first-aid treatment for sunburn blisters.” – Dr. Thomas G. Fiala

Is it safe for a person with seafood allergies to swim in the ocean or go to the beach?

“Yes. Most people with seafood allergies are truly allergic to proteins in seafood. However, exposure to these proteins in ocean water and at the beach is so minimal, that the vast majority of seafood allergic patients have no reaction to them. Contrary to a popular misconception, seafood allergy is not due to iodine, and does not cause an increased risk of reaction to dyes used for x-rays and ct scans.” – Dr. Kenneth S. Backman

What should I look for in a sunscreen?

“When buying sunscreen, look for products that have micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in them. These broad-spectrum physical blocking agents protect against both uva and uvb rays without harmful chemicals. Find a product with a minimum spf of 30, but remember that spf only applies to the uvb rays. No standard measurement of protection is yet available for the uva component of sunlight.”
- Dr. Brock Ridenour

I have really fair skin and I am going to the beach. What is the best way to protect myself from the sun?

“The best way to protect yourself from the sun is to wear a sunscreen with at least spf 15 or higher (if you’re fair, 30-45+ is better) and to cover up with a hat and clothing. If you’re in the water, re-apply your sunscreen often; even if it is “water proof” it will wash off when you go in for a swim.” – Dr. Pavel Conovalciuc

How can I get rid of my bikini razor burn?

“For razor burns in the bikini area, first of all stop shaving there for a week or more. Remember, razor burns come from a razor! Wash with an antibacterial soap and do not wear tight panties. An antibiotic cream or ointment applied a couple of time a day may cure any possible infection. If no better, see a dermatologist.”
- Dr. Jerome Litt

Do you have a question that we didn’t answer here? Ask our doctors today!

Wellness Series: Feel Good with Healthy Habits

Healthy habits help you feel good and stay on track with your goals. But how do you get started when you already have a lot on your mind? Whether you’re ready to finally stop smokingcut back on the caffeine, or get into the habit of daily exercise, our HealthTap doctors are happy to inspire you to break your bad habits and replace them with new healthier ones. Let’s get started!

How can I stop biting my nails?

“To break the habit, try a clear nail polish that tastes bad such as mavala. When you notice the taste, make note of your experience just before (cue/antecedents) – stress, boredom, etc. Try new ways to cope with that experience (like stretching or eating a sugarfree mint) until you break the cycle. Next find ways to anticipate & face those emotional cues head-on. A cognitive therapist can help you.” – Dr. John Holmberg

How can I teach my kids to practice healthy eating habits?

“Good healthy eating habits start with toddlers — expose them to fruits, veggies, portion control.” – Dr. Edison Wong

What’s an easy and healthy habit I can adopt?

“7-8 hours of restorative sleep every night is a healthy habit that supports healthy weight loss.” - Dr. David Drewitz

What should I do if I want to quit smoking?

“The smoking habit has several aspects– stress relief, physical addiction, and habits. To be effective at quitting, people often need to find other ways to relieve stress such as exercise or relaxation. The effects physical addiction can be dealt with by nicotine products or by cutting back gradually. People also need to find something else to with their hands and their mouth.” – Dr. Kristi Kohl

I want to drink less soda. How can I do it?

“Tapering off soda is probably the best way to do it: try mixing in other beverages that aren’t carbonated. If, for example, you drink 5 cans of soda a day, start by cutting down to 4 a day for a week, then 3, and so on. Make it a point to drink water or any other type of healthy drink and increase those as you decrease your soda. Maybe you’ll end up liking something else better that’s healthy!” - Dr. Karl Spector80619369

What can I do to stop grinding my teeth?

“Try stress reduction techniques. If you grind at night, try not to watch the news or do anything work-related before going to sleep. Sometimes daily exercise can be helpful. Also, see your dentist to see if a night guard would be beneficial.” - Dr. Stephen J. Gordon

What are easy ways to practice healthier habits every day?

“Daily habits. Did you know standing during phone conversations and parking far away are simple ways.” – Dr. Gopinath Upamaka

I stay up too late and sleep much of the day. How can I go back to a normal sleeping schedule?

  1. Keep regular bed & wakening time (even weekends). Get up same time daily.
  2. Use regular, relaxing bedtime routine: warm bath / shower, aromatherapy, reading, or listening to gentle music.
  3. Sleep in dark, quiet, cool room w comfy mattress & pillows.
  4. Bedroom only for sleep & sex. Put work materials, computers, & TVs in another room.
  5. Finish eating at least 2-3 hrs prior to bed.
  6. No caffeine w/i 6 hours; alcohol & smoking w/i 2 hrs of bed.
  7. Exercise regularly; finish a few hrs before bedtime.
  8. No naps. Retire only when tired.
  9. Find another time to write down problems & solutions.
  10. After 10-15 mins of inability to sleep, go to another room & read or watch TV until sleepy. Consider acupuncture, chamomile tea, warm milk or melatonin.”

- Dr. Heidi A. Fowler

What should I do when I get a snack attack?

“Studies have shown that the urge to snack usually disappears after about 10 min. I would recommend some alternative activity once you recognize that you have the urge to snack. That might be exercise or working in the garden. It may be calling a friend and talking on the phone or listening to music. I would recommend doing something that you enjoy so that you can start to change triggers.” – Dr. Vance Harris179695018

What’s one way to make sure my kids practice healthy habits?

“Want your children to learn healthy habits, practice the habits daily. They are watching what you do.” – Dr. Barbara Lavi

Should my eating habits change if I am pregnant?

“The same healthy habits apply in and outside of pregnancy. A balanced diet of more fresh and less processed food is the way to go. And try to take your prenatal vitamin daily.” – Dr. Liza H. Kunz We hope these tips will help you start and stick to your new healthy habits. According to Dr. Drewitz, “don’t give breaking bad habits your focus. Channel your energy toward building healthy habits.”

Got a question about forming healthy habits? Ask our doctors today!

Positive Ways for Doctors to Boost Their Online Reputation

Guest Contributor: Ron Drabkin

What do online defamation, 1 star reviews on Yelp, and expensive reputation management consultants have in common? They are now the reality for anyone trying to build an online reputation, and their implications are enough to frighten anyone. For doctors, the implications can be even worse.

At HealthTap, we believe in positivity.  Much of the press on reputation management is negative, such as suggestions on lawsuits, getting websites to take down bad posts, and the like.  However, we suggest that Doctors improve their online reputations with positive means.

Why?  The more positive and authoritative content about a doctor is published on the web, the more likely that content will dominate the first page of google searches on a doctor’s name.  Stated differently, by publishing more positive content, any negative pages that exist today can be pushed down or pushed to a second page, and new negative content will be boxed out from appearing on the first page of a search.  Perhaps most importantly, positive content is an honest exercise in telling Google, other websites, and people about yourself.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 4.56.55 PM

Some suggestions to boost your positive reputation include:

Ensure websites with directories of doctors have the correct information.  Go to Yelp, to HealthTap, your medical group/affiliate hospital, etc, and confirm they actually have the correct information on your practice.   If they do not, simply correct the information yourself.

Encourage positive reviews, from patients, colleagues, and residents.  Do so naturally.  Don’t spam people, but when you get a compliment from a patient, ask them to write a review.

Link your positive mentions together.  If you have a customer facing website, but another website has published your research, or contains your contact information, link to them. This lets Google and individual users find the positive information on you more easily.

Create more positive content about yourself and your practice. If you don’t yet have one, create a website. If you have a website, make sure it is human, friendly, and full of positive stories about you and your patients.  Claim your doctor page on HealthTap, Google+ or LinkedIn.  Consider a business Facebook page.

Don’t rush into paying for a service that claims they will instantly fix your reputation.  Many will do no more than is stated above.  Others might use unethical means to improve your online reputation, which can get you in hot water with Google.  For example, they may resort to fake reviews, which are increasingly being caught and punished by the search engines and review sites.


HealthTap and Google Continue to Deliver Innovation at Your Fingertips

Now in Collaboration with the Google Mobile Search Experience, HealthTap Offers Deeper More Gratifying Results

HealthTap and Google share the common goal of continuously innovating to advance user experience and immediate gratification.

Google recently launched new “mobile deep linking” technology that now offers Android Google search users the option to read content from an Android app instead of a mobile web browser — offering a richer, more engaging mobile experience. HealthTap joined Google as a launch partner to present millions worldwide looking for trustworthy doctor answers the option to read them from HealthTap’s highly-acclaimed Android app.

And voila, a better mobile HealthTap experience and a better mobile search from Google.

HealthTap is committed to bringing you the most gratifying experience for your important and time-sensitive health questions.

That’s why we put our services right at your fingertips and in the hands of thousands of trusted leading medical experts.

Now mobile Google searchers will have an even better experience due to HealthTap’s participation in Google’s mobile deep linking initiative to optimize the mobile web and app search results.

HealthTap Brings Instant Gratification to Healthcare with New Talk To Docs App

First-ever voice-activated health companion puts answers from 50,000 U.S.-licensed doctors at everyone’s fingertips

Palo Alto, CA – October 30, 2013. HealthTap, the company leading the mobile revolution in healthcare, today unveiled TalkToDocs. This unique new app makes the knowledge of 50,000+ doctors available immediately anytime, anywhere. Using the simple, voice-activated interface of the new TalkToDocs app, anyone who needs health information can simply speak their health and wellness related questions and receive instantaneous, personalized responses from qualified doctors, at no cost.


TalkToDocs is:

  • Voice-controlled: No need to type and view text on a small screen (text and pictures are also available on demand).
  • Instantaneous: TalkToDocs provides people with immediate expertise and immediate relief.
  • Trustworthy: TalkToDocs offers personalized answers to every health question, created exclusively by U.S.-licensed doctors in good standing.


TalkToDocs is the first project launched out of HealthTap Labs. Based on insights from the millions who have already used the ultra-popular HealthTap app, computer and data scientists at HealthTap Labs combined artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and advanced voice recognition technologies to create the new app.

“TalkToDocs not only understands the health topic presented in a spoken question, it also determines and reads back the best doctor answers for the person who asked it,” said Geoffrey Rutledge, MD, PhD, HealthTap’s chief medical and data officer. “Having served more than 1 billion doctor answers to people in need everywhere, we have created and organized the world’s most extensive knowledgebase of user questions matched to answers from trusted doctors. Using data science and advanced semantic technology, we’ve built an app that everyone, young or old, healthy or ill, should have on their phone – for a time of need.”

“Immediate access to trusted doctors really matters,” said Ron Gutman, HealthTap’s founder and CEO. “In the past few months, more than 10,000 HealthTap users have already sent us notes thanking us for saving their lives. When people have health questions, they want and need answers now, and they want to be able to trust those answers. This is exactly the promise of TalkToDocs. It’s everything that people have come not to expect of our current healthcare system: fast, reliable, and ubiquitous!

Solutions like this, where you can speak a question and get an immediate answer from a doctor, are especially critical as more than 30 million previously uninsured Americans prepare to enter the health system with the Affordable Care Act, and make demands on our already-stretched resources.”

TalkToDocs is powered by HealthTap, the premiere mobile health platform that puts trust and customer focus at the center of healthcare.

About HealthTap

HealthTap is the best way to connect with the most trusted health information and doctors. With top-rated web and mobile apps, HealthTap offers immediate and free access to personalized, reliable, and trusted health answers and tips from a network of over 50,000 U.S.-licensed doctors. Sign up today and download HealthTap’s free apps for iPhone, iPad or Android at www.healthtap.com.

For even faster, easier access to the full HealthTap knowledgebase, download TalkToDocs at healthtap.com/talktodocs_android or healthtap.com/talktodocs_ios.


Media Contacts

Kei Hoshino Quigley


(415) 625-8555