Ask Dr. Monti: What’s the Best Way to Treat a Mosquito Bite?

Dr. Monti

If bitten by a mosquito, immediately clean the area thoroughly with soap and water. You can expect intense itching and a visible bump for 24 hours. Your symptoms will be less intense on the second day, and disappear after about 48 hours. These symptoms are indicative of our body’s immune reaction to the mosquito’s saliva, which is discharged into the skin during a bite. Mosquito saliva includes a protein that is foreign to the human body, which is why a bite so closely resembles allergic reactions. The timeline and severity of symptoms vary depending on your sensitivity and the amount of saliva discharged. No matter how uncomfortable, it’s important to resist scratching the bite. You could easily break the skin and cause an infection. If there is redness past three days, persistent pain or excessive swelling, consult your physician immediately. To minimize the symptoms of a mosquito bite, there are over-the-counter medications that can help with the itchiness, but there are a few effective home remedies as well, including: (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: My Allergies Are Off the Charts This Year And Alavert Isn’t Cutting It! What Can I Do to Find Relief?

Dr. Monti

With the summer months upon us, many people are experiencing allergies caused by “airborne” pollen. Experts indicate that over 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, making pollen the most common allergen. Pollen is a fine, powdery substance produced by seed-bearing plants, which is released into the air when plants bloom during the spring and summer months. The “pollen count” refers to the number of pollen grains present in a standard volume of air (i.e. a cubic yard) over a 24-hour period at a particular place and time. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Does Electro-Training Really Work?

Dr. Monti

Q: There’s a weight-loss clinic that recently opened in Center City called Bailine Body Sculpting (they also have a location in Blue Bell). You lay motionless for 30 minutes while electric pulses cause the muscles in the abs, hips, thighs, and buttocks to contract. Can computerized muscle stimulation really give me a tiny waist without the work?

A: One of the newest wellness trends is electrical “muscle stimulation” that promises to help you lose fat and tone muscle.  Akin to functional electrical stimulation, which has long been used by physical therapists to help repair injuries, this practice employs electrical impulses that force your muscles to contract repeatedly. The impulses are delivered through pads containing electrodes, which are placed directly on the skin. Several published research articles indicate that electrical stimulation can increase muscle performance. However, the effectiveness of muscle stimulation for fat loss is less well understood, and additional research is needed to prove its efficacy for this particular purpose. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Can Pasta Really Be Low-Carb?

Dr. Monti

Question: Can carbs really be “protected”? I’ve been eating Dreamfields pasta recently and I love it, but is the company’s claim that there are only five grams of digestible carbs per serving, and that it therefore only affects blood sugar slightly compared to other pastas, legit? Can it really be used as part of a low-carb diet or as a better pasta option for diabetics?

Answer: I appreciated getting this question because it caused me to do a little investigative reporting, which confirmed my need to always remind patients that food labeling must be scrutinized carefully. The concept of a low-carb pasta via “protected” carbs certainly has its intrigue in our carb-conscious culture, but do the facts support the claims? (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Are Digital Devices Ruining Our Eyesight?

Dr. Monti

Question: Are computers, iPhones and iPads ruining our eyesight? I’ve heard they can cause Computer Vision Syndrome. Is that true?

Answer: From carpal tunnel syndrome to asbestos exposure, working conditions often present risks to personal health. In the contemporary digital age, our professional lives are mediated by computers and smartphones. In addition to increasing exposure at work, many of us log “screen time” at home on personal computers, television and ongoing text messaging. Though technology has certainly made us more efficient, it may also affect our eyesight. Reading text on a computer screen is different than reading text on a page. Computer text is not as sharp, the level of contrast between the background is reduced, and glare and reflection on the screen may make viewing difficult. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Are There Any Natural Ways to Fight Cellulite?

Daniel A. Monti, MD

Question: Help! Bathing suit season is coming up fast. Are there any natural, non-invasive ways to get rid of and prevent cellulite?

Answer: Cellulite is caused when deposits of fat alter the connective tissues underneath the skin. This process can create visible changes in the shape and appearance of skin. A variety of factors, including total amount of body fat, gender, genetic predisposition, and lifestyle, determine the prevalence of cellulite. It is important to note that while obese people will often have visible cellulite, visible cellulite alone does not mean one is obese. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Are Juice Cleanses Good for You?

Dr. Monti

Question: Are juice cleanses good for you?

Answer: I am a big fan of fresh vegetable juices and would encourage everyone to get some in their regular diet. The nutrients and live enzymes can’t be beat, particularly when a variety of vegetables is used. Consume vegetable juices in moderation and be careful to not overdo the sweet juices, such as carrots and most fruits. A general rule is not to juice more than you would eat of the actual plant. For example, two or three large carrots is plenty. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Can Mental Activities Like Sudoku Lower My Risk for Alzheimer’s?

Dr. Monti

Question: Is it true that doing mental activities like crossword puzzles and Sudoku can lower my chances of having dementia or Alzheimer’s later in life?

Answer: There is data to support that proactively using your brain can preserve cognitive ability and delay dementia illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. One way of looking at it is that the more you use your brain, the more interconnected all of its neurons become. Therefore, it is probably best to regularly do a broad range of mental exercises. For example, doing only crossword puzzles may help you to maintain good vocabulary and word recognition skills, but might not help you stay good at adding the totals on your grocery bill. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Can Melatonin Help You Sleep?

Dr. Monti

Question: Can melatonin supplements really help me fall asleep at night?

Answer: Our bodies produce melatonin naturally in the pineal gland, a pea-sized structure embedded deep within the brain. Melatonin is an important aspect of the internal biological clock that tells us when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Darkness triggers the release of melatonin, and light inhibits its production. That is why it is important to have a dark room at night. Shift work, travel across time zones, and too much light in the bedroom (e.g., from a TV, computer, etc.) can interfere with melatonin production. Also, there can be decreased melatonin production as we age. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Do I have Adult ADD?

Dr. Monti

Q: Lately, I feel as though my mind is constantly hopping from one task to the next. Even though I’m “busy” all day at work, I feel like I’m accomplishing little. How can I tell if I have symptoms of adult ADD or if I’m simply over-worked?

A: So many variables can affect attention, from high stress and not getting enough sleep to medical issues. If this is a new problem, then the first thing to do is get a checkup from your doctor and make sure you are evaluated for hormonal issues and receive a depression screen, as part of the general medical assessment. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Is It Safe to Drink Seltzer?

Dr. Monti

Question: Is it safe to drink a lot of seltzer? It’s helped me kick my diet soda habit, but even though it’s calorie- and artificial sweetener-free, I’ve heard that carbonation can alter the body’s pH levels and cause health problems. Should I cut down on how much seltzer I drink?

Answer: No matter what you call it – seltzer, soda water, sparking water, or carbonated water – this type of beverage is water that contains dissolved CO2 gas. When combined, water reacts with CO2 to create carbonic acid. Carbonation can occur naturally in spring water that picks up carbon dioxide stored in rocks, or it can be infused by the manufacturer. Carbonated water is an increasingly popular beverage, which has led to questions about its safety. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Is Restless Leg Syndrome Real?

Dr. Monti

Question: Is Restless Leg Syndrome real? And if so, are there any natural ways to treat it?

Answer: Yes, it is real. As many as 10 percent of the U.S. population may have some form of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). It is about twice as common in females.

Patients often describe their symptoms as creepy, crawly, jumpy, bubbly, anxious, and sometimes painful sensations in their calves, typically occurring in the evenings or bedtime. The most distinctive or unusual aspect of the condition is that lying down and trying to relax can actually activate the symptoms and make them worse. Most people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Many people with RLS report that their job, personal relations, and activities of daily life are negatively affected as a result of their sleep deprivation. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: What’s the Difference Between Viagra, Levitra and Cialis?

Daniel Monti

Question: What’s the difference between Viagra, Levitra and Cialis? And are they really safe to use?

Answer: All three drugs work by inhibiting an enzyme, phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5), which is concentrated in the penile erectile tissue and interferes with a man’s ability to have an erection.

None of these drugs produces an instant erection; they take about a half an hour to become effective. Viagra and Levitra last up to 4 hours. Cialis comes in two forms: one for daily use, and a higher dose that can work for up to 36 hours, which means that it stays in your system longer. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Is “Dry Eye” a Sign That You’re Dehydrated?

Dr. Monti

Question: Is “dry eye” a sign that you’re dehydrated?

Answer: Dry eye syndrome is a common problem in adults. Dehydration can cause your eyes to be dry, and winter is a time when dry eyes tend to be at their worst. Our eyes need continuous lubrication, which is achieved by specialized glands around the eyes which make tears. Our eyelids act like windshield wipers spreading the tears evenly across the surface of the eye. When there are problems with the tear glands or our eyelids, our eyes can get dry. This can cause a dry or gritty sensation, pain, redness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision and tearing. (more…)

Ask Dr. Monti: Is Hot Yoga Safe?

Dr. Monti

Question: Is hot yoga safe?

Answer: I am a big fan of yoga, but it is important that you choose a form of it that fits your body and any limitations you may have. So called “hot” yoga refers to yogic practices performed in studios heated to as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity may be as high as 60 percent in some studios, which means a heat index of 149 degrees — which is pretty hot! Proponents feel that stretches and therapeutic benefits are enhanced in this hot environment. (more…)