Tuesday, February 25

Health Care and Bullying

Have you ever been bullied by someone? If so, you likely have never forgotten the experience. Dealing with bullies is something that almost everyone goes through at some point or another during their lifetime—school, playground, job. Sometimes, it seems like it never ends for certain individuals. Most of the time, the situation is uncomfortable or irritating to you, but over time the bully goes away or finds another person to bother. Occasionally, however, the results can be catastrophic for the victim.

According to Dr. Cindy Haines with HealthDay TV, being bullied in elementary school and high school can have a long-term negative impact on health. New research in support of this published in the journal Pediatrics is based on an analysis involving nearly 4,300 children. Starting in 2004, 5th graders were asked to describe any bullying they had experienced at the hands of their classmates. The same kids were surveyed again in both the 7th and 10th grades.
More than 30% reported having been frequently bullied during at least one survey. And investigators found that, regardless of age, being bullied was associated with having a worse quality of life, both physically and psychologically. Children who experienced repeated bullying both in the past and the present were the most vulnerable. They fared the worst in terms of overall health, and carried the highest risk for having feelings of low self-worth and depression.

Children whose bullying was exclusively in the past seemed to be healthier than those whose bullying was a current event, the study team noted. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who had no history of bullying whatsoever were found to be the healthiest of the bunch supporting early intervention to prevent bullying altogether. Related info can be found at this site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/videos/news/Childhood_Bullying_021714-1.html.
There are three types of bullying, according www.StopBullying.gov .

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:

Inappropriate sexual comments
Threatening to cause harm

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:

Leaving someone out on purpose
Telling other children not to be friends with someone
Spreading rumors about someone
Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:

Taking or breaking someone’s things
Making mean or rude hand gestures

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:

The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.

The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement(National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that, nationwide, 28% of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.

Much more info on bullying can be found at this site: http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html.

Having to deal with a bully is hard for kids — especially at school, according to www.KidsHealth.org. Listen to your child's worries and convey that they're perfectly understandable and that it's OK for him or her to feel that way. Offer assurance without making him feel like you're trying to talk him out of feeling that way or dismissing his feelings.

As your kid tells you how he feels, be sure to repeat back his thoughts and feelings using phrases like, "I know you're feeling worried." When he feels understood by you, he'll be more receptive to your help and any advice on coping that you offer.

Let him know that everyone worries, even adults, at one time or another. But also make sure he knows that there are ways he can feel better and less fearful. Go over some strategies that he can use if someone teases him. Ignoring the bully and simply walking away or using humor to combat aggressiveness might get the bully to stop. Bullies often give up when they don't get a response from their target.

Try to get your child to talk about what has been going on at school — just listening can be helpful. Although kids can resolve many incidents of bullying on their own, do keep an eye on the situation. If it persists, get involved by talking to your child's teacher or school counselor. Much more info on bullying can be found at this website: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html.

Bullying also takes place at worksite locations, according to http://www.workplacebullying.org/faq/. It is mistreatment severe enough to compromise a targeted worker's health, jeopardize her or his job and career, and strain relationships with friends and family. It is a laser-focused, systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction. It has nothing to do with work itself. It is driven by the bully's personal agenda and actually prevents work from getting done. It begins with one person singling out the target. Before long, the bully easily and swiftly recruits others to gang up on the target, which increases the sense of isolation.

You are miserable. You are harassed. Your work is sabotaged, blocked, or stolen. Perhaps, you didn't think of calling it bullying because that's what happens to kids in school, not to adults. Wrong! Workplace Bullying is experienced by more than one third of the U.S. workforce. Much more detail can be found at the website.

A workplace bully may be your boss or your co-worker. No one should ever make you feel uncomfortable at work. If you are a victim of bullying in your workplace consider speaking to someone in the human resources department for help in dealing with it, according to About.com Career Planning.

If you would like to try to deal with this situation before you report it, here are some tips. If you are being physically threatened don't waste a minute before you report it to both your employer and the police. If you are dealing with a workplace bully:
  • Seek the advice of a trusted mentor who may have dealt with this situation before.
  • If you can, confront the bully in a professional manner, but only if your physical safety isn't threatened. Don't sink to his or her level. Stay as calm as possible. Don't yell or threaten. Often bullies are looking for this type of confrontation and it will encourage them to come back for more. Don't cry or show weakness either. That's usually what the bully is after in the first place.
  • Don't try to win over other people to your side. The way in which you handle the situation will allow them to make their own judgments.
  • Don't allow the bully to intimidate you or make you feel bad about yourself. You know your true worth. Don't forget what that is.
  • Do your job and do it well. The workplace bully wants you to fail and when you don't he or she will be defeated.
  • Make sure your superiors are aware of your work. Workplace bullies often try to spread the word that you are not doing your job well and will even go as far as to report the smallest infractions to your boss. Your actions will carry more weight than his or her words.
  • Don't allow the bully to isolate you from your colleagues. Keep up your workplace friendships.
Bullying is wrong, and the behavior of bullies should not be tolerated. If you or a loved one or friend is a victim of a bully, report it to an authority who is empowered to take action to stop the offenses. If you feel that you have little to no recourse, then seek professional help. Remember, a bully is someone who feels they can beat you up, in more ways than one. If you take that power away, then you have an opportunity to seek renewal and relief in your daily life.

Until next time.
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Thursday, February 20

Health Care and Teen Pregnancy

Learning that you are going to have a baby in most cases is celebrated as wonderful news to the parents, family members, and friends, unless you are an unwed teenage girl. In those cases, the stigma and fear of the unknown with bringing a new life into the world can be almost devastating to the psyche and emotions of the pregnant teen. However, teen pregnancy is still a major health care issue, not only in the US, but around the world. Girls having sex with boys includes the risk of getting pregnant.

Health officials worry about teen births because adolescent mothers often aren't prepared to handle motherhood either financially or emotionally, and may face more health risks from pregnancy. The good news: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the nation's teen pregnancy rate has been tumbling for two decades, falling by nearly half since 1991.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2011, a total of 329,797 babies were born to teenage women aged 15–19 years, for a live birth rate of 31.3 per 1,000 women in this age group. This is a record low for U.S. teens in this age group, and a drop of 8% from 2010. Birth rates fell 11% for women aged 15–17 years, and 7% for women aged 18–19 years. While reasons for the declines are not clear, teens seem to be less sexually active, and more of those who are sexually active seem to be using birth control than in previous years. More details can be found at this site: http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/.

In 2012, the birth rate for girls aged 15 to 19 was 29 for every 1,000. About 89 percent of the births were in unmarried girls and young women. Hispanics and blacks are much more likely than whites to give birth as teens, according to HHS. Still, the numbers of teen births are fairly high: By one estimate based on 2010 figures, one in every seven adolescent females in the United States will give birth before age 20.

Most teenage girls don't plan to get pregnant, but many do, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH). Teen pregnancies carry extra health risks to both the mother and the baby. Often, teens don't get prenatal care soon enough, which can lead to problems later on. They have a higher risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure and its complications. Risks for the baby include premature birth and a low birth weight. If you're a pregnant teen, you can help yourself and your baby by following these guidelines:

·         Getting regular prenatal care.
·         Taking your prenatal vitamins for your health and to prevent some birth defects
·         Avoiding smoking and using drugs and alcohol
·         Using a condom, if you are having sex, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases that could hurt your baby

Declining teen pregnancy rates are thought to be attributed to more effective birth control practice, newer methods of birth control (e.g., long-acting, reversible contraception), and decreased sexual activity among teens, according to this website: http://www.healthcommunities.com/teen-pregnancy/children/overview-of-teen-pregnancy.shtml  .

Still, teenage pregnancy rates remain high and approximately 1 million teenage girls become pregnant each year in the United States and about 13 percent of U.S. births involve teen mothers. To lower teen pregnancy rates, older children must be educated about sex and sexuality and about the consequences of pregnancy.

·         Teenage births are associated with lower annual income for the mother. Eighty percent of teen mothers must rely on welfare at some point.
·         Teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of school. Only about one-third of teen mothers obtain a high school diploma.
·         Teenage pregnancies are associated with increased rates of alcohol abuse and substance abuse, lower educational level, and reduced earning potential in teen fathers.
·         In the United States, the annual cost of teen pregnancies from lost tax revenues, public assistance, child health care, foster care and involvement with the criminal justice system is estimated to be about $7 billion.

 Teen pregnancy is a serious issue in America. Here are some mind blowing statistics:
·         3 in 10 teen American girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. That’s nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year.
·         Parenthood is the leading reason that teen girls drop out of school. More than half of teen mothers never graduate from high school.
·         Less than 2 percent of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30.
·         About a quarter of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of their first baby.
·         The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the western industrialized world.
·         From 1990 to 2008, the teen pregnancy rate decreased 42 percent (from 117 to 68 pregnancies per 1,000 teen girls).
·         In 2008 the teen pregnancy rate among African-American and Hispanic teen girls, age 15 to 19, was over two and a half times higher than the teen pregnancy rate among white teen girls of the same age group.
·         8 out of 10 teen dads don’t marry the mother of their child.
·         A sexually active teen who doesn’t use contraceptives has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
·         Almost 50 percent of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives.

Additionally, for more information on this topic, the Guttmacher Institute has provided a significant amount of statistics concerning teen sexual activity and pregnancy at this website: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html.

Of course, the safest bet is to maintain abstinence as a teen and avoid sexual contact or intimacy unless you are married. But if the unthinkable happens, and you are not prepared for it, the options are limited--abortion, birthing the child and raising the baby on your own or with family, and adoption. There are ways to handle pregnancy that are better for the child than ending your "mistake." Remember, all life is precious whether in or out of the womb.
So you think teen pregnancy is a problem? Want to do something about it? There are organizations in many communities devoted to preventing teen pregnancy—they are affiliated with churches, synagogues, schools, independent clubs, non-profit organizations, health centers, and reproductive health organizations. Contact your local school board, faith leaders, youth groups, and others who are concerned about young people. You can also talk to parents and teens and educate them about the consequences of unprotected sex and teen pregnancy. In fact, one of the most important things anyone can do is to make sure parents and teens talk about these issues and know the facts, according to http://stayteen.org/teen-pregnancy, and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

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Tuesday, February 11

Health Care and Traffic Accidents

Have you ever been in a car wreck? Whether you have experienced anything from a minor “fender bender” to a full blown accident and the vehicle was totaled, you likely had some type of injuries related to the event. Not only a physical trauma is possible, but your psychological and emotional well being can be affected as well. Sometimes, those with more dangerous accidents—those who are still alive to talk about it— may also suffer from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And, there is a large number of accidents that are fatal. Traffic accidents have come down over the past 10 years, but there are a lot that still happen every day.

On average, another person dies in a car crash every 12 minutes in this country - that's approximately 123 deaths per day, according to CarInsuranceList.com. Through the coordinated efforts of automobile designers, manufacturers and organizations like the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), the safest cars, with the most advanced safety features are being driven off car lots each year. If that is the case, what are the most common causes of car accidents?

 Well, there are four major factors that contribute to vehicle accidents. They are, in ascending order, mechanical issues, road design / maintenance, road condition, and poor driver performance. The latter is, of course, the most significant, and 95% of all accidents involving motor vehicles - worldwide - include poor driver performance in tandem with one of the other three. If you drive long enough, chances are you will have an accident, or know someone who does. Accidents on the road in the US are so common that the number of individuals injured every year is in the millions.

While distractions can cause accidents - cell phone conversations, sipping coffee, applying make-up - the biggest cause of vehicle accidents is speeding, though aggression is quickly becoming a significant cause as well. Law enforcement officers are also generally quick to remind us that the chance of a motor vehicle accident increase by 50% once the sun goes down. According to www.CarInsuranceList.com, the following factors (in order) cause the most accidents - and all of them are under the driver's control:

--Unsafe or too-frequent lane changing.
--Not using turn signals.
--Not yielding the right of way.
--Ignoring traffic signals.
--Driving while impaired by alcohol or chemicals

The good news is that children fatalities due to traffic accidents and are going down, according to CBS News. Children are dying less often in traffic accidents: Over a decade, the number who died in crashes dropped by 43 percent, according to a new government report. Health officials say the increased use of car seats and booster seats drove the decline. Still, one-third of the children 12 and under who died in 2011 were not buckled up. Young children traditionally have been only a small fraction of total traffic deaths. In the last year of the study, children accounted for 650 of the 21,000 deaths of drivers and passengers. More info is at this site: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/child-traffic-accident-deaths-declined-43-percent-over-last-decade-report/.

 Researchers in Sweden recently have found that people with ADHD are about 50 percent more likely to be in serious traffic accidents, compared to people without the condition, according to Fox News. But taking medication to control some of the symptoms may help reduce that increased risk - at least among men, according to the study. The researchers write in JAMA Psychiatry that while they can't say why there appeared to be an increased risk of serious traffic accidents among people with ADHD, past research has attributed it to inattentiveness and impulsivity. More details can be found here: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/30/adhd-tied-to-more-traffic-accidents-medication-may-help/.

CNN has reported that motor vehicle accidents don't just impact the people involved, they also impact the economy, to the tune of just under $100 billion for medical care and injury-related productivity losses in the United States each year, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday. That includes $3.6 billion annually toward injuries to children. Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries.

 According to the study in 2010, injuries, both fatal and nonfatal, to people riding in cars and light trucks cost $70 billion a year. Injuries to motorcyclists cost $12 billion. Bicyclists and pedestrians, who are vulnerable against motor vehicles, cost $5 billion and $10 billion a year respectively, as noted by the CDC. The study also found the amount of money that goes toward motorcyclists' and pedestrians' injuries is disproportionate when compared to the number of injuries, likely due to the severity of their injuries.

While motorcyclists only account for 6 percent of motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries, they lead to 12 percent of the costs. And pedestrians, who only comprise 5 percent of motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries, consume 10 percent of the total costs, according to the study. More info is found at this site: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/08/25/motor.vehicle.accident.costs/.

Any way you look at it, traffic accidents can cause serious harm and injury, even death in tens of thousands of cases. There are causes for all of them, including weather conditions, speed, lack of attention, and other factors. The bottom line is that safety is paramount, and paying attention to your road conditions is extremely important to keep you safe. If you drive, remember to buckle up, watch your speed and the other drivers around you, and follow directions. Be careful.

Until next time.
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Friday, February 7

Health Care and Melanoma

One of the most dangerous forms of cancer is melanoma—a type of skin cancer that can be very aggressive, especially in its later stages. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers. However, it is much more dangerous if it is not found early. It causes the majority (75%) of deaths related to skin cancer.

The most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; some develop from moles, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Melanoma kills an estimated 8,790 people in the US annually per the SCF.

If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year. In 2010, about 68,130 of these were invasive melanomas, with about 38,870 in males and 29,260 in women. Much more info about melanoma can be found at this site: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma.

In men, melanoma is often found on the trunk (the area from the shoulders to the hips) or the head and neck, according to the National Cancer Institute. In women, melanoma forms most often on the arms and legs. Melanoma is most common in adults, but it is sometimes found in children and adolescents. Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for melanoma include the following:
  • Having a fair complexion, which includes the following:
    • Fair skin that freckles and burns easily, does not tan, or tans poorly.
    • Blue or green or other light-colored eyes.
    • Red or blond hair.
  • Being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time.
  • Being exposed to certain factors in the environment (in the air, your home or workplace, and your food and water). Some of the environmental risk factors for melanoma are radiation, solvents, vinyl chloride, and PCBs.
  • Having a history of many blistering sunburns, especially as a child or teenager.
  • Having several large or many small moles.
  • Having a family history of unusual moles (atypical nevus syndrome).
  • Having a family or personal history of melanoma.
  • Being white.
  • Having a weakened immune system.
  • Having certain changes in the genes that are linked to melanoma.
Being white or having a fair complexion increases the risk of melanoma, but anyone can have melanoma, including people with dark skin. More info can be found at this website: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/melanoma/Patient.

According to the American Cancer Society, having darkly pigmented skin lowers your risk of melanoma at these more common sites, but anyone can develop this cancer on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and under the nails. Melanomas in these areas account for more than half of all melanomas in African Americans but fewer than 1 in 10 melanomas in whites. Melanomas can also form in other parts of your body such as the eyes, mouth, genitals and anal area, but these are much less common than melanoma of the skin. Find more info about melanoma at this website: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-what-is-melanoma.

Thinking of "ABCDE", according to the National Cancer Institute, can help you remember what to watch for:
  • Asymmetry - the shape of one half does not match the other
  • Border - the edges are ragged, blurred or irregular
  • Color - the color is uneven and may include shades of black, brown and tan
  • Diameter - there is a change in size, usually an increase
  • Evolving - the mole has changed over the past few weeks or months
Surgery is the first treatment of all stages of melanoma. Other treatments include chemotherapy and radiation, biologic, and targeted therapies. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells. More info can be found here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/melanoma.html.

Once melanoma has been diagnosed and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Depending on your situation, you may have different types of doctors on your treatment team. These doctors may include:
  • A dermatologist: a doctor who treats diseases of the skin.
  • A surgical oncologist (or oncologic surgeon): a doctor who uses surgery to treat cancer.
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy.
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy.
Per the ACS, many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and other health professionals. It is important to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your treatment team to help make the decision that best fits your needs. If there is anything you do not understand, ask to have it explained.

You can make a difference in the fight against cancer by volunteering your time, participating in an event, or donating to the cause. Find out about all the ways you can get involved today. Find more details about treatment options at this site: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-treating-general-info.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), anyone can get melanoma. When found early and treated, the cure rate is nearly 100%. Allowed to grow, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can spread quickly. When melanoma spreads, it can be deadly. Dermatologists believe that the number of deaths from melanoma would be much lower if people:
  • Knew the warning signs of melanoma.
  • Learned how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer.
  • Took the time to examine their skin.
It’s important to take time to look at the moles on your skin because this is a good way to find melanoma early.  More detailed info can be found at this site: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/melanoma.

Nothing to play around with, this disease is a killer. Make sure you see your doctor or a specialist if you have any questions about a possible melanoma or issue with a mole. Remember, waiting is not the answer. Do yourself a favor, and go get any possible skin problems checked out before you wait too long. If someone you know may have a problem, suggest they visit their primary care provider or an urgent care clinic. Taking preventive measures definitely pays off in this type of health care situation.

Until next time.
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Wednesday, February 5

Health Care and Dental Health Month

February is Dental Health Month, and it should be celebrated by brushing, flossing, and a trip to the dentist for your semi-annual checkup. Not exciting? Well, just because you aren’t going to be eating cake and blowing out candles in the dental chair doesn’t mean you can’t feel great about good oral hygiene and a beautiful smile. Besides, you can go out for a good time later after you get your teeth cleaned and have them whitened with a really good professional teeth whitening system. Just remember to brush before you go to bed. And, your children need even more protection from poor dental health.  

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), each February, the ADA sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. NCDHM messages and materials have reached millions of people in communities across the country. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Whether you're a member of the dental team, a teacher or a parent, the ADA has free online resources that can help you with oral health presentations, ideas for the classroom and coloring and activity sheets that can be used as handouts. Much more info can be found at this site: http://www.ada.org/5578.aspx .

Despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. More than 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16- to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth. Although overall rates of tooth decay have decreased over the past four decades, decay has actually increased in preschool age children in recent years.

According to the NIDCR, the good news is there are safe and effective preventive measures that can protect teeth. Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can help keep children from getting cavities. In addition, dental sealants and community water fluoridation are two other strategies that can help prevent tooth decay. More material about this can be found at this site: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/NewsAndFeatures/Announcements/ChildrensDentalHealthMonth .

Pediatric dental visits earlier in life increase the child’s comfort level with the dentist and make future visits easier, according to InsuranceNewsNet online. To best help a child learn good habits of dental care, here are a few ways for children to develop a healthy dental routine.

• Do not put a child to bed with a bottle of juice or milk. Letting children go to sleep in the crib with a bottle can cause tooth decay.
• Establish brushing routines early. Use a rubber fingertip to clean babies’ teeth. As teeth develop, they can begin brushing, but a parent should go in afterwards and go over it again to ensure they are doing it correctly. cbg recommends supervising until they are approximately 9-years-old.
• Limit snacks to no more than three times per day. Avoid sticky snacks like fruit roll-ups and gummy bears.
• Schedule a child’s first dental visit as early as 6 months, even if there is only one tooth.
More information can be found at this site: http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2014/02/04/in-recognition-of-2014-national-children%e2%80%99s-dental-health-month-capital-benefits-a-455246.html .

Here are some facts about dental issues with children that are very concerning, according to the Chicago Dental Society:
§  Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness in children.
§  51 million school hours are lost each year to dental problems.
§  Research shows that if a child’s tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self-esteem.
According to the Academy for General Dentistry, a visit to the dentist doesn't just benefit the child. Parents can pick up tips about properly caring for their child's teeth. Talk to your dentist to learn how to soothe teething irritations, stop prolonged pacifier- and finger-sucking, modify your child's diet to reduce cavity-causing sugars, and more. This month of February is especially dedicated to the oral health of children. Pediatrics and family dentists are thoroughly making efforts to reduce problems of dental health in kids. More information can be found here: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/national-childrens-dental-health-month-begins-454805.htm.

If you or your family have not been to the dentist yet, use this opportunity to schedule a checkup for your good dental health. Plus, take your kids if they haven’t been yet. A great smile is priceless.

Until next time.
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Monday, February 3

Health Care and Tennis Elbow

Ever hear anyone complain about tennis elbow, or perhaps feel you are suffering from it yourself? Is it because you are guilty of just playing too much tennis, or is the root cause something else?  Tennis elbow is a common term for a condition caused by overuse of arm, forearm, and hand muscles that results in pain in your elbow. You don't have to play tennis to get this, but the phrase developed because it can be a significant problem for some tennis players.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow. Not surprisingly, playing tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition. But several other sports and activities can also put you at risk. Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow.

The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse — repeating the same motions again and again. This leads to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. There are many treatment options for tennis elbow. In most cases, treatment involves a team approach. Primary doctors, physical therapists, and, in some cases, surgeons work together to provide the most effective care, according to the AAOS.

The symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually. In most cases, the pain begins as mild and slowly worsens over weeks and months. There is usually no specific injury associated with the start of symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include:

·         Pain or burning on the outer part of your elbow
·         Weak grip strength

The symptoms are often worsened with forearm activity, such as holding a racquet, turning a wrench, or shaking hands. Your dominant arm is most often affected; however both arms can be affected, according to the AAOS. Much more info can be found at their website: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00068.

According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), pain is the primary reason for patients to seek medical evaluation. The pain is located over the outside aspect of the elbow, over the bone region known as the lateral epicondyle. This area becomes tender to touch. Pain is also produced by any activity which places stress on the tendon, such as gripping or lifting. With activity, the pain usually starts at the elbow and may travel down the forearm to the hand. Occasionally, any motion of the elbow can be painful. Here are some non-surgical ways to help improve the condition:

Activity modification – Initially, the activity causing the condition should be limited. Limiting the aggravating activity, not total rest, is recommended. Modifying grips or techniques, such as use of a different size racket and/or use of 2-handed backhands in tennis, may relieve
the problem.

Medication –anti-inflammatory medications may help alleviate the pain.

Brace –a tennis elbow brace, a band worn over the muscle of the forearm, just below the elbow, can reduce the tension on the tendon and allow it to heal.

Physical Therapy -may be helpful, providing stretching and/or strengthening exercises. Modalities such as ultrasound or heat treatments may be helpful.

Steroid injections –A steroid is a strong anti-inflammatory medication that can be injected into the area. No more than (3) injections should be given.

Shockwave treatment – A new type of treatment, available in the office setting, has shown some success in 50–60% of patients. This is a shock wave delivered to the affected area around the elbow, which can be used as a last resort prior to the consideration of surgery.

Surgery is only considered when the pain is incapacitating and has not responded to conservative care, and symptoms have lasted more than six months. Surgery involves removing the diseased, degenerated tendon tissue, according to ASSH. Procedures are typically performed in the outpatient setting. More info about tennis elbow can be found at this site: http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/TennisElbow.aspx.

According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), if your tennis elbow is due to sports activity, you may want to:
  • Ask about any changes you can make in your technique.
  • Check any sports equipment you are using to see if any changes may help. If you play tennis, changing your grip size of the racket may help.
  • Think about how often you have been playing and whether you should cut back.
If your symptoms are related to working on a computer, ask your manager about making changes to your work station or have someone look at how you chair, desk, and computer are set up. An occupational therapist can show you exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your forearm. More info can be found here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000449.htm.

According to SportsInjuryClinic.net, stretching exercises for tennis elbow should begin as soon as pain allows. They should be performed very gently at first and continue throughout the rehabilitation process and after. Hold stretches initially for 10 - 15 seconds - during the acute stage. Later stretches can be held for up to 40 seconds. Repeat stretches 3 times and aim to stretch at least 3 times a day. Tennis elbow strengthening exercises should also begin as soon as pain allows. Again this will depend on how bad the injury is and is likely to be a few days after stretching exercises commence.

The basic rule is if it hurts doing the exercise then wait! Start with static exercises and gradually progress. When these can be done comfortably move onto concentric and then eventually eccentric type exercises. It is important that strengthening exercises are done before trying to return to activity. Also apply cold therapy after strengthening exercises to control pain and inflammation. Returning to regular activities should be done gradually whether the injury is work related or sport related. Only go back to normal activities when the elbow is pain free and strengthening exercises have been progressed. Much more information can be found at this site:  http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/elbow-pain/tennis-elbow/rehabilitation-of-tennis-elbow.

Tennis elbow can be a serious injury if left untreated, and it can cause long term damage if you don’t take care of getting an early diagnosis and subsequent treatment. If you feel you may be experiencing pain due to overuse or continuous types of similar movements, see your doctor. Your physician should be able to diagnose your issue and recommend how you should take care of the problem. More serious cases should be referred to an orthopedic specialist for possible surgery or other options.

Until next time.
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