Thursday, February 18, 2021


Falls can cause injuries that range from minor to fatal.  They are a serious consideration for all ages, and are the most common single cause of all injuries treated in hospitals.  Women are three times more likely than men to be hospitalized from a fall-related injury.

Children have a risk of falling as they develop.  Three things  affect the seriousness of a fall for a child or baby: height from which the child can fall, what the child falls onto, and what they may hit as they fall.  Babies should be placed where they cannot fall, as many of them can roll off a bed before parents know they can roll. Slippery areas should be avoided by children of all ages.

Walking is the most common fall-related activity for middle-aged people.  Falls frequently occur outside where there are uneven surfaces such as cracks or height changes, and ice on sidewalks or curbs. Injuries related to these falls can be serious and sometimes fatal.

Falls are the top cause of accidents in people over the age of 65.  Normal changes of aging such as poor eyesight and hearing, illnesses, and physical conditions that affect strength make people more likely to fall. Poor lighting or throw rugs in the home, and some medications that upset balance such as medication for depression, sleep problems, and high blood pressure can make older people more likely to fall.  People taking four or more medications or who have a medicine change in the past two weeks are more likely to fall.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Is Chocolate Good for Your Health?

 There is much controversy regarding the benefits as well as hazards of consuming chocolate.  It is derived from Theobroma cacao seeds, which go through processing after they are picked.  Theobroma means “food of the Gods,” and many people adore chocolate and regard it as such.  Chocolate contains dietary flavonoids (also called flavonols) that can have a bitter taste.  The milk chocolate process transforms it into a sweet taste.  The added sugar does give the body additional calories, giving it a bad reputation for causing weight gain.  Possible health benefits of chocolate come from its antioxidant potential.  The higher the cocoa content and the less sugar content, the more health benefits there are. 

Among these benefits are:

·         Lowering cholesterol (study published in The Journal of Nutrition)

·         Prevention of memory decline (study at Harvard Medical School)

·         Lowering risk of developing heart disease by one-third (research published in The British Medical Journal)

·         Reduces likelihood of stroke (Canadian study published in Heart)

·         May streamline cognitive function (study published in Appetite)

·         Boost in athletic performance (study published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition)

Many other benefits seem to be associated with consumption of chocolate (mainly dark chocolate), and there are accompanying studies to support the claims.  It must be remembered that the high calorie content of chocolate can affect weight and tooth decay.  Some research suggests a relationship to poor bone structure and osteoporosis.  Health benefits must be weighed against negative aspects to eating chocolate and the type of chocolate eaten.  Moderation may be the key.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Sleep Training – A Difficult Task for Parents


Sleep training by allowing babies to cry is growing in use, and it appears that infants can be trained to sleep through the night at an early age. Allowing a baby to cry for more than an hour may be necessary for sleep training, but most babies do not cry that long.  It does not negatively affect children’s long-term mental and physical health. 

If parents do not intervene when an infant cries at night, sleep training may be accomplished in as little as three days. Even though some pediatricians recommend that sleep training be tried at 4 to 6 months, many of them are finding both with patients and their own children that 2 months works well. If parents make checks, they should be quick with no lights or consoling.  Most of the time crying declines within a week, but sleep training may be harder on parents than the babies.

Studies have shown that parents who are quicker to respond to a crying infant are more likely to have children who are unable to sleep through the night.  Some parents prefer a very gentle approach, while others wish they had followed the advice regarding sleep training.  Both children and parents need to sleep.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Eating Spicy Food

Many people like to eat spicy food. Not all chilies are of equal heat, not even the same color and species of chili raised in a given state.  The heat is partially determined by the soil in which the chili plant is grown.  Smaller peppers are generally hotter than larger varieties. Capsaicin is the molecule responsible for the heat in chili and foods flavored with them.  Other spices, such as mustard and horseradish, also contain capsaicin.  Capsaicin may have some health benefits, including pain relief to the skin.

Spicy heat as well as thermal heat is registered through receptors on the tongue nerve cells.  The receptor transmits the hot signal to the brain.  The gastrointestinal tract may feel the heat of a spicy dish, but while they may feel like they are burning, your mouth and stomach actually are not.  Water will not quench the heat as milk will, because pepper oils contain the spicy components and do not dissolve well in water.  A regular diet of spicy food keeps the burn away by inhibiting transmission of pain signals.

Wear gloves when cutting chilies or wash your hands with warm soap and water to wash the oil off of your hands.  You may experience swelling and pain in and around your eyes if you touch your eyes after handling hot peppers

Monday, December 14, 2020

Virtual School and ADHD


For students with ADHD, virtual school will be more difficult, particularly for elementary students. They have difficulty shifting attention, managing focus on less engaging material, and motor hyperactivity. They also have problems with organization, planning, working memory, and impulse control.  Teachers provide support, reassurance, and confidence when the child becomes frustrated.  Even when the child is properly medicated, it is easier for trained teachers than for parents.

 Things parents can do to help these children to adapt to a virtual classroom include:

·         Promoting good sleep patterns. Adequate, restful sleep is critical to physical health, psychological health, and healthy development. Children with ADHD

have sleep difficulties that may be exacerbated by their medication.  Parents must set and maintain healthy sleep routines.

·         Parents must create routines around the “school day.”  There should be a consistent wake up time and a healthy breakfast.  The children should be allowed to have a short period of enjoyable activity before turning the computer on.

·         Set the stage by minimizing distractions by avoiding rooms with a lot of toys or games that might tempt children.  Mute noisy siblings and listen for sounds of trouble in order to help the ADHD children if they need help.

·         Build in breaks from the computer. Children need a 10 to 15 minute breaks, with maybe even a snack, bathroom break, or an activity to get the wiggles out. They also need a reward at the end of the day.

·         Provide physical activity to improve attention, energy, and sleep.  Getting outside to raise the heart rate up in the sunshine is most important.

·         Know your child and encourage their strengths. Set reasonable goals, be patient, and focus on daily routines

Wednesday, November 4, 2020


Hypothermia classically occurs from exposure to extreme cold.  Hypothermia can occur even at temperatures as high as 65̊ Fahrenheit, but more often occurs in cold wet weather.  It occurs when the body expends more heat than it creates.  Hypothermia occurs when the core temperature of the body drops.  It can be mild (35̊ to 33̊ C or 95̊ to 93.2̊ F), moderate (33̊ to 28̊ C or 89.6̊ to 80.6̊ F), or severe (below 28̊ C or 80.6̊ F).  Mild hypothermia is usually accompanied by shivering, clumsiness, or incoordination. Shivering disappears around 33̊ to 32̊ C.  As body temperature continues to drop, confusion and disorientation occur, followed by coma. A rectal or esophageal temperature is necessary to accurately determine if hypothermia is present. A special mercury thermometer or thermistor probes are essential to obtain an accurate reading.  Hypothermia can occur from exposure to cold outdoors or even extreme cold in the home

Even though hypothermia can happen when children play outdoors in very cold weather, exposure in a parked car is a possibility. Leaving children in cars is very dangerous in cold weather and hypothermia can happen in minutes. Their small body mass makes young children more prone to heat loss and hypothermia than adults.  Children also have less fat, which helps to serve as protective insulation.  Sitting in a small confined space leads to hypothermia faster.  The interior of a car becomes cold quickly and it should be a rule never to leave any living creature alone in a car, regardless of the temperature.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Myths about Fever in Children

Most parents believe that a fever indicates that a child is seriously ill and that a high fever will cause brain damage in children.  Fever is actually the immune system fighting a virus or bacteria.    Fever may not feel friendly, but it is not necessarily a foe.  It helps the body fight the infection. Temperatures vary throughout the day and differ by age, activity level, and other factors. Most doctors consider 100.4 F to 100.9 F as the beginning of a fever, but parents will give Tylenol for elevated temperatures (below 100 F).


The following are important things to know about fever.

·         Normal temperature taken by mouth is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

·         A high temperature may indicate serious illness in teens and adults, but may not in children under 12. 

·         Rectal temperatures are most accurate, but are most important in the first 6 months of life. Armpit (axillary) temperature is appropriate for any age.  A digital multiuse thermometer may be the only kind needed. 

·         Children with a fever should be kept comfortable and be given lots of fluids, ice chips, and popsicles.  Dress them in light clothing. Tylenol may be alternated with ibuprofen.

·         If the child is not too uncomfortable and the fever not too high, it does not necessarily need to be treated.