Ask the Doctor: Childproofing a home, weight loss roadblocks, and Listeria

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Doctor Rob Riley joins us from Memorial Family Medicine every Tuesday to answer viewer questions.

Here are the questions he addressed during NewsCenter 16 at Noon on January 26, 2016:

Oliver: What are ways to keep your home safe with a toddler? Maybe top 5 things?

Dr. Riley: Keep toxic materials/medications out of reach and locked up. Kids who can walk can also learn to climb, so out of reach may not be enough.

Avoid the use of baby walkers. They're kind of cool, but they've been associated with lots of injuries in this age group.

Plug your electrical outlets with those little plastic things. Kids really can't get their fingers in there, but they're not above sticking some piece of metal in there.

Childhood burns are common household injuries. Set your water heater to below 120 degrees.

Don't leave the stove unattended when cooking. Remember to turn the handles in so the child can't reach up and pull the hot pots or pans down on himself.

Steve: I started out strong with my weight loss plan in January. Now I've hit a road block. I hate the food I'm supposed to eat and I don't want to go to the gym. Ideas?

Dr. Riley: It's pretty common for people to have some initial success with attempts at weight loss and then find things more difficult over time. Some of that has to do with changes in the body as we reduce our calorie intake, and some of it has to do with us.

First, we don't always set reasonable expectations. For many people, the first few pounds come off pretty quickly and it's easy to get discouraged when things get tougher. We have to realize that if we have quite a bit of weight to lose, that this is going to be a long journey. Losing about a pound a week is about all we can expect for most people with reasonable diet and exercise changes.

And that brings up another challenge: When some of us decide to make changes, we make lots of big changes. We try to survive on food we don't like and not enough of it. Or we start trying to exercise way more than our bodies are ready to handle. We're better off to make small healthy changes we can stick to over time. Otherwise, we tend to get fed up early on and go back to old habits. So small changes, appropriate expectations, and dedication to the long haul are the best strategies for successful weight loss.

Joel: Packaged salads have been linked to a Listeria outbreak in the U.S. What are the symptoms of consuming Listeria and should I be concerned?

Dr. Riley: Most people who consume food contaminated with Listeria won't have any symptoms at all. The bacteria are destroyed in their stomach and never cause a problem.

Those who do become ill may have flu-like symptoms of fever and muscle achiness, perhaps with intestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most of those people will get better without treatment.

More rarely, people go on to have more serious infections that might cause dangerously low blood pressure or infections of the brain and spinal cord. So the risk of serious infection is small, even with exposure, but serious infections are possible.

Government and food industry companies are monitoring and move to remove potentially contaminated food from the market as quickly as possible. I urge people to pay attention to the food recall warnings that are issued from time to time when problems like this arise.

If you have medical questions, you can call the health professionals at Memorial Hospital.