Avoiding Heat Stroke

• Wear light-colored, lighweight, loose fitting clothing.
Dark and/or restrictive clothing traps heat making it difficult for your body to regulate its temperature. Bring a sweater if you’ll be indoors with heavy air conditioning so you don’t get too cold.

• Avoid sunburn.
Sunburns make it difficult for your body to get rid of heat, wear sunscreen even if you do not think you’ll be outside for very long. It only takes a few minutes to get a sunburn. Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses to better protect your face and eyes.

• Seek a cooler place.
Even a few hours in air conditioning can stave off heat exhaustion. If you don’t have a/c where you live go to a public library or community center to cool off. This is especially important for the very young and very old. Check on any neighbors, friends, relatives without a/c who is elderly or has mobility issues and make sure they can access a place to cool off. Many municipalities offer free rides and places for people to cool off during the day.

• Drink plenty of fluids.
Staying hydrated is important, but even more so during a heat wave. Make sure you drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages which dehydrate you faster.

• Avoid hot spots.
On a hot day, the temperature in your parked car can rise 20 F (11 C) in just 10 minutes. Let your car cool off before you drive it. Never leave children or anyone else in a parked car in hot weather for any period of time!!!!

• Avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day
It’s best not to exercise or do any strenuous activity in hot weather, but if you must, follow the same precautions and rest frequently in a cool spot. Taking breaks and replenishing your fluids during that time will help your body regulate your temperature.

Why We Vaccinate

Summer is half over and back to school is around the corner and it is time to think about vaccines. Last month the first measles related death in the US since 2003 has been recorded. While almost every doctor will tell you vaccines are a vital part of your child’s health, there is a small but vocal minority who want you to believe that vaccines are unsafe. This is just not true.

Here is a great infographic that explains why vaccines are so important.

http://www.vaxnorthwest.org/about-vaccines–2/vaccine-achievements

vaccines

Tips on Enjoying the Sun this Summer (But not too much!)

Summer is here and so is the summer sun! Before you grab your bathing suit and picnic basket don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

Sun damages the skin and even mild exposure can put you at risk for premature aging and even cancer. How do you protect yourself from the sun? Just follow these steps.

1. Wear Sunscreen…. Everyday

About 80 percent of the average person’s lifetime sun exposure is incidental.  Any more than 15 minutes you can be putting yourself at an unnecessary risk. So if you leave the house, put on sunscreen. If you use a moisturizer, save a step and use a moisturizer with SPF.

2. Protect Your Eyes

Did you know that your eyes can get sunburn? Ouch! Sunglasses help shield the skin around your eyes from dangerous UV rays. Opt for a pair clearly labeled to block 99 percent of UV rays. Wider lenses best protect the delicate skin around your eyes and keep them looking youthful.

 

3. Don’t forget your lips!

There are many lip moisturizers with SPF, apply and keep applying throughout the day to keep your smile safe.

4. Try on UPF Clothing

While regular clothes can shield you, too, provided they’re made of tightly woven fabrics and are a dark color. Some clothing is specially designed to keep out UVA and UVB rays. As with SPF, the higher the UPF (which ranges from 15 to 50+), the more the item protects.

Example: a dark-blue cotton T-shirt has a UPF of 10, while a white one ranks a 7. To test clothing UPF, hold the fabric near a lamp; the less light that shines through the better! Also, be aware that if clothes get wet, protection drops by half.

5. Watch the Clock

UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try your best to keep in the shade best as you can.

6. Wear a Hat

Choose a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around to  protect the skin on your face, ears, and neck. Wide brimmed hats are in ladies, rock them and your skin will thank you for it!

7. Keep that Sunscreen On

Sunscreen wears off with exposure to sweat and water (yes, even the ‘waterproof’ kind). Make sure you reapply throughout the day!

Does the Month You Are Born in Affect Your Health

Recent studies now suggest when a person is born may affect their future health.
Researchers who compiled the birthdays and medical records of patients found that people born in May are the healthiest. Those born in March are more likely to have heart issues.
The study also revealed that People born in October might be at the highest risk for contracting diseases.
One study concluded individuals born in seasons with more abundant home dust mites had a 40% increased risk of developing asthma complicated by dust mite allergies. Their finding was corroborated later when it was found that sensitization to allergens during infancy increases lifetime risk of developing allergies. In addition, some neurological conditions may be associated with birth month because of seasonal variations in vitamin D and thymic output.

Beware of New Tick Illness

A new potentially fatal tick borne illness has been reported in Connecticut. The Powassan virus is a rare, but extremely serious tick borne illness that has made it’s way from Canada to our area. Currently, it doesn’t have a treatment or a cure.

Unlike Lymes Disease that takes weeks for symptoms to show, if bitten by a Powassan infected tick you can get the virus within a matter of minutes, and while the symptoms are similar to Lyme disease, they are more severe.

“The doctor just has to support you during the acute illness and hope that you survive,” Dr. Daniel Cameron explained. “You can get seizures, high fevers, stiff neck. It comes on so suddenly that it’s the kind of thing people go to the emergency room for.”

It is important to keep on top of tick prevention and detection.

 

Here are some tips from the CDC to prevent tick bites

  • Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Walk in the center of trails.

  • Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin

Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.

Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.External Web Site Icon

  • Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body

Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.

Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)

Allergy Season is Here!

allergy season

Winter is barely over and for many Spring is not the glorious season of hope and growth, but weeks of itchy eyes, stuffy noses and congestion.  Allergies affect a large portion of the population. So what causes allergies?

When you’re allergic to something, your immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harmful to your body. (Substances that cause allergic reactions, such as certain foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines, are known as allergens.)  The immune system produces IgE antibodies to fight these foreign invaders.  These antibodies release histamine into your blood stream. Histamine causes the reactions in your nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract and causes the symptoms of the allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions can be mild, like a runny nose, or they can be severe, like difficulty breathing. An asthma attack, for example, is often an allergic reaction to something that is breathed into the lungs by a person who is susceptible.

Some types of allergies produce multiple symptoms, and in rare cases, an allergic reaction can become very severe  and a person can go into anaphylaxis which can be life threatening if not taken care of properly

Think avoiding peanuts is the answer to childhood allergies?

 

Think again!

For years, parents of babies who seem likely to develop a peanut allergy have gone to extremes to keep them away from peanut-based foods. Now a major study suggests that is exactly the wrong thing to do.

The study, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and discussed at an American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology conference in Houston, found that exposing infants like these to peanuts before age 1 actually helped prevent a peanut allergy, lowering the risk of developing a peanut allergy by as much as 81 percent. Instead of provoking an allergy, early exposure seemed to help build tolerance.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the results “without precedent” and said in a statement that they “have the potential to transform how we approach food allergy prevention.” His agency helped fund the study, the largest and most rigorous test of this concept.

A word of warning, though: The babies in the study were checked to make sure they didn’t already have a peanut allergy before they were fed foods that included peanuts, so parents of babies thought to be at risk for an allergy should not try this on their own.

“Before you even start any kind of introduction these children need to be skin-tested” to prevent life-threatening reactions, said Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, an allergy specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Also, small children can choke on whole peanuts, so smooth peanut butter or other peanut-based foods are safer, said Gruchalla, who wrote a commentary on the study in the journal.

The main finding — that early exposure to a problem food may keep it from becoming a long-term problem — should change food guidelines quickly, she predicted.

“Isn’t it wild? It’s counterintuitive in certain ways and in other ways it’s not,” she said.

Peanut allergies have doubled over the last decade and now affect more than 2 percent of kids in the United States and growing numbers of them in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Peanuts are the leading cause of food allergy-related severe reactions and deaths. Unlike many other allergies, this one is not outgrown with age.

Food allergies often are inherited, but research suggests they also can develop after birth and that age of exposure may affect whether they do.

American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines used to recommend against giving children foods with peanuts before age 3, but that advice was dropped in 2008 because there was no evidence it was preventing allergies. Now, most parents introduce peanut-based foods as is appropriate for the child’s age, like other solid foods.

Gruchalla thinks that babies with some signs of a peanut allergy risk, such as parents who are allergic, should have a skin test between 4 and 8 months of age. If it’s negative, they should be started on peanut products as the babies in this study were. If they show some sensitivity to peanuts, a “food challenge” monitored by a doctor experienced at this should be tried.

For children who already have peanut allergies, researchers have been experimenting with small regular amounts of exposure to try to train them to tolerate those foods. But these are still experimental and must be done with the help of a doctor.

Of Peanuts and Measles, Which One Is More Dangerous?

Across the country, thousands of schools have quietly, and without fuss, gone on peanut lockdown. Peanut butter has been banned, and foods that may have once seen, or been in a room with a peanut have been sequestered to special rooms, if allowed at all. While some have scoffed, pretty much all of us have accepted that if we can save a child from an allergic reaction, or worse, death, it’s worth the little bit of inconvenience. After all, about 11 Americans each year die of food allergy related deaths.

Sound like a low number? It’s not. Since about 1998, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been tracking the number of food allergy deaths just as they track all the other causes of death across the United States. When someone dies in the US, his death certificate data is pumped into a massive database and indexed according to the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death (ICD-10), a standardized system developed by the World Health Organization. ICD-9, the previous standard, did not have a code for food allergy deaths, but now we have solid data for almost ten years. The underlying number of food allergy deaths according to ICD-10 codes isn’t publicly available in CDC databases because it is so small–statistically insignificant, according to the CDC. More people die each year from lawnmower accidents than from all food allergies combined.

However, as you may have read recently in the news, we are currently in the throes of a measles outbreak, slowly spreading across the United States, largely due to the anti-vaccination movement. People who think nothing of avoiding peanuts are now willing to risk the lives of not only their children, but also themselves, the immune compromised, and even the unborn around them. We urge you to think reasonably, and act responsibly toward your own children, and those around you, when making your healthcare choices.

Before the measles vaccine became available, there were approximately 450,000 measles cases and an average of 450 measles-associated deaths were reported each year.

A simple case of the measles isn’t fun. Measles is highly contagious for one week before and one week after the rash begins. Measles is spread by infected droplets during sneezing or coughing, contaminated objects, and direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons. The measles virus resides in the mucus in the nose and throat of infected people. When they sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air and the droplets remain active and contagious on infected surfaces for up to two hours.

While simple measles itself is unpleasant, the possibly complications are very real, and can be very dangerous. Six to 20 percent of the people who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea, or even pneumonia, and can die. One out of 1000 people with measles will develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and about one out of 1000 will die. Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) can lead to convulsions, lifelong deafness, or mental retardation. Measles can cause miscarriages or premature delivery in pregnant women. These risks are real, but they are VERY preventable!

Our office currently offers ALL recommended vaccines available, including the MMR and MMR booster.

Who should get the MMR vaccine?

Children should get 2 doses of MMR vaccine:

First Dose: 12-15 months of age

Second Dose: 4-6 years of age (may be given earlier, if at least 28 days after the 1st dose)

Some infants younger than 12 months should get a dose of MMR if they are traveling out of the country. (This dose will not count toward their routine series.)

Some adults should also get MMR vaccine: Generally, anyone 18 years of age or older who was born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they can show that they have either been vaccinated or had all three diseases.

MMR vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Children between 1 and 12 years of age can get a “combination” vaccine called MMRV, which contains both MMR and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines. There is a separate Vaccine Information Statement for MMRV.

Some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait. Making sure that those who CAN get the vaccine DO get the vaccine PROTECTS THESE PEOPLE FROM ILLNESS AND DEATH!

Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of MMR vaccine, should not get the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.

Anyone who had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of MMR or MMRV vaccine should not get another dose.

Some people who are sick at the time the shot is scheduled may be advised to wait until they recover before getting MMR vaccine.

Pregnant women should not get MMR vaccine. Pregnant women who need the vaccine should wait until after giving birth. Women should avoid getting pregnant for 4 weeks after vaccination with MMR vaccine.

Tell your doctor if the person getting the vaccine:

Has HIV/AIDS, or another disease that affects the immune system

Is being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids

Has any kind of cancer

Is being treated for cancer with radiation or drugs

Has ever had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)

Has gotten another vaccine within the past 4 weeks

Has recently had a transfusion or received other blood products

Any of these might be a reason to not get the vaccine, or delay vaccination until later.

 

Protect Yourself From the Flu

The CDC is reporting an especially virulent and severe flu this season. The travel, stress and activity of the holidays can weaken your immune system as well as provide a perfect opportunity for germ spreading.  Many people don’t take the flu seriously, but remember it kills thousands and sickens millions each year, but it can be prevented.  So keep these tips in mind as you prepare to return to the office after the holidays.

Ways you can prevent getting the flu:

  1. Get the flu shot: The most effective defense against the flu is the flu shot. While they are usually a must for those who are most vulnerable (the young, the old and those with compromised immune systems), getting the flu shot can not only keep you healthy, but your loved ones healthy as well.  The flu shot is safe, effective and easily available through your doctor or pharmacy.
  2. Wash your hands often: This should be a no brainer.  It sounds so simple, but soap and water are the constant companions of doctors and nurses. To completely get rid of viruses from your skin, you need to scrub hard for 20 seconds or more. A good way to time yourself is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. It doesn’t matter if the water’s hot or cold — the very act of scrubbing will physically remove the germs. If a sink isn’t readily accessible invest in an alcohol based hand sanitizer and use it after each time you come into contact with someone.
  3. Sanitize your environment- Germy fingers touch plenty of surfaces in your home and work. Wipe down phones, keyboards, doorknobs, sinks with Lysol or any common household disinfectant especially in the bathroom and kitchen!
  4. Eat Well & Stay Rested- Keep your immune system in tip top shape, eat healthy and get plenty of rest.
  5. If you are sick, stay home!- If your employees are sick, make them stay home.  One sick person can infect many more.