What is Secondary Drowning?

Secondary Drowning is a term most parents do not recognize. Nor do they understand that it can be fatal to their young children. Secondary drowning is a condition where a small amount of inhaled fluid (such as water) remains in the lung or lungs and irritates the lung(s) and leading to leakage of additional bodily fluids into the lung(s). Often secondary drowning happens when a small child inhales water at the swimming pool – but it can happen in the bathtub too. However, it is not limited to water – it could be milk or juice or other liquid.

In serious cases the small child is experiencing pulmonary edema – a condition where the body actually pushes more fluids into the lung(s). This accumulation of fluids over time reduces the child’s ability to breathe properly and can lead to the child drowning in its bodily fluids – hence the term secondary drowning.

The World Health Organization issued a report about ten years ago that was designed to improve prevention and reporting of drowning. According to the organization, there are six types of drowning and secondary drowning is only one of those.

What are the Symptoms of Secondary Drowning?

After inhaling water or other fluid, the child is:

  • very tired
  • unusual cough
  • unusual behaviour
  • difficulty breathing
  • coughing and wheezing
  • non-responsive

What is the Time Period?

The time period can be short – an hour or two – or up to 3 days. Every situation is different so it is critical that the parents take action if they observe any of the symptoms mentioned earlier. DO NOT PUT THE CHILD IN BED FOR THE NIGHT.

Does Secondary Drowning cause Death?

Yes. And it can happen quickly. There have been numerous cases of parents not recognizing the symptoms and putting their child to bed for the night – and the child never wakes up. If you have any doubts about your child’s condition then it is best to be cautious and take the child to a doctor or emergency room.

And please share you knowledge of secondary drowning with others – especially parents with young children.

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Smoking

Why Smoking is Bad For You

In the first half of the twentieth century, cigarettes were practically put in baby food.  However, since then, people have been continually informed how terribly smoking can affect your health as well as those around you.  While quitting smoking can seem like a hellacious experience worse than death, once you really understand what’s in those addictive little sticks and what the consequences could be, there’s a chance quitting won’t sound so bad.

As you may have suspected, cigarettes aren’t just tobacco rolled up in paper with a little cotton filters to siphon out the bad stuff.  As a matter of fact, the filter that’s ‘supposed’ to make cigarettes safer is typically made out of cellulose acetate, more commonly known as camera film.  The fibers from the cellulose can break off, lodging themselves in your lungs.

However, the filter is hardly the worst thing about smoking cigarettes.  Tobacco companies use a varying cocktail consisting of thousands of chemicals to create the modern day cigarette.  Here’s just a few of the more commonly known ones that help make cigarettes extra addictive while being incredibly bad for you.

Dangerous Chemicals in Cigarettes / Tobacco

  • Formaldehyde – Used to preserve dead things
  • Polonium – Known cancer-causing radioactive agent
  • Lead – Used in paint until its poisonous qualities were discovered and it got banned for public use
  • Methoprene – Insecticide
  • DDT – Also an insecticide that’s been banned many places worldwide
  • Napthalene – Primary chemical in mothballs
  • Cyanide – Poisonous to most living things
  • Arsenic – Also a poison, but most commonly found in rat poison
  • Butane – The flammable gas found in lighters

When continually inhaled into the body, these ingredients (as well as thousands more) have the potential to cause a range of health problems. Besides old cigarette smell, there are diseases and health risks associated with smoking.  Listed below are a few of them.

Diseases and Health Risks Associated with Smoking

  • Cancer throughout the body
  • Weakened heart leading to strokes and heart attacks
  • Premature ageing; Decreases lung capacity
  • Lower libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Calcium depletion causing brittle bones and bad teeth
  • Cataracts

Nicotine and cigarette addiction is a hard habit to break.  However, leveraging your health against such tremendously powerful drugs is a dangerous and unnecessary risk to take.

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Throw Out Your Back

What It Means to ‘Throw Out Your Back’

One moment, you’re casually bending over in your kitchen to pick up a dropped olive or you’re on the couch and reach for the remote when BAM! you’re hit with a terrible pain in your back that would drop you to your knees if you could flex that much.

You are now the most recent contestant in the ‘How I Threw My Back Out’ game show that no one wants to be a part of.

But what does the ominous phrase “throwing out your back” actually mean and what can you do about it?

Back Pain 101

Throwing out your back is a common expression for a sharp and sudden pain in your back that comes from an activity or movement.  The activity isn’t necessarily strenuous; it can result from something as simple as a strong sneeze but unfortunately, the result is usually agonizing.

While it might feel like your back is imploding in on itself in a fiery blaze, a definite diagnosis of back pain can sometimes remain a mystery.  In other instances, the root of the pain can be pinpointed to muscle spasms or spinal disc problems by your physician.

Preventing a Thrown Back

It’s almost impossible to completely prevent unexpected back pain that can strike from any minute movement.  Thankfully, there are lifestyle choices that can help reduce your overall chance of chronic back problems.

  • Stand up straight.  It sounds too simple, but poor posture is a huge contributor to back problems.
  • Lift objects properly.  Use your knees to lift heavy items while keeping your back straight.
  • Exercise Regularly.  Staying in shape strengthens your muscles, making them less prone to strains and future issues.
  • Don’t wear high heels.  Although they make your legs look amazing, heels create body misalignment, especially along your spinal cord.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.  Excess body fat puts strain on your entire body, but your back is particularly susceptible and takes the brunt of weight.

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Polio Has Returned

Polio is Back: What This Means for You

Polio is a disease that most medical communities predicted would be completely eradicated by 2014.  In fact, last year there were only about 400 cases worldwide.  Unfortunately, due to poor vaccination policies, this virus is back in action with the World Health Organization recently declaring it “a public health emergency of international concern.”

What is polio?

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a viral infection that causes spinal and neural damage that can lead to breathing problems, nerve damage, paralysis, and possibly death.  This highly contagious disease is most commonly spread through hand-to-mouth contact from feces contaminated water or food.

Only about 5% of those infected will have severe symptoms, but the other 95% become carriers of the disease, which has no cure, but is completely preventable through vaccination.

Who is affected?

Up until last year, the disease had been virtually wiped out with Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria being the major exceptions.  Unfortunately, the poor sanitation found in these war-torn countries, along with weak vaccination policies, has made them susceptible as a breeding ground for the virus.

Other countries, such as Afghanistan and China who are now getting instances of polio, have tracked them back to travelers who were not properly vaccinated. Children and the elderly, who are typically the most vulnerable of the population, are also the ones most affected by the recent polio outbreak.

What steps need to be taken?

Since much of the world was vaccinated when they were young, there is very little in the way of individual prevention now – since the polio vaccination does not require a booster later in life.  Because of this, most healthy adults don’t need to take further action against polio if they will not be traveling internationally.

However, in an extreme action to reclaim 25 years of work against polio, WHO is now mandating that international travelers of all ages need to be vaccinated if they will be leaving the Middle East or Central Africa and carry proof of vaccination with them while out of the country.  They also recommend that anyone going to these areas get a preemptive vaccination.

With worldwide prevention cooperation, polio can once again get back on track for full global eradication.

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Medical Considerations Before Getting Married

Medical Histories

Love is a beautiful thing that comes in all shapes, sizes, and ways.  And while love is the foundation of marriage, most people understand that there are lots of other components needed like trust, similar values, and compatibility to truly endure the test of time.

That being said, a consideration that is often overlooked or swept under the table prior to getting married is the medical history and physical health of your partner and their family.  These factors can play a major role in your future life together, especially if you plan on having children.

Sexual Health

A happy, healthy sex life is important for all relationships as well as an open dialogue about your sexual past.  It’s beneficial to get tested together for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and talk about anything you or your partner may have acquired before getting together.

This becomes essential if one of you have contracted an incurable STD, such as HIV or herpes.  These lifelong viruses don’t have to be deal breakers, but they can greatly alter your sex life, especially since extra precautions might be needed in the bedroom.

Genetic Testing

Genetics are playing a larger role in families than ever before.  Knowing your family history for disease as well as your partner’s can provide a crystal ball to the future of your own family.

For instance, if you know your family has a history of heart disease, you’d probably try to implement healthy life choices to minimize your chance of heart attack.  With your partner’s understanding and cooperation, this kind of lifestyle will be easier to achieve.

For those planning to have children, knowing your genetic predispositions can give you a helpful assurance into the life of your child.  Carrier testing prior to getting pregnant can tell you if you or your partner have genetic mutations which can lead to life altering diseases for your baby such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.  However, even if you’re at risk, having the recessive mutation is not a guarantee that it will be passed along to your kids.

Unfortunately, medical considerations are rarely a fun or sexy topic to talk about when you’re romantically involved.  But for those wanting to tie the knot, knowing your physical health and history can contribute to a long, happy life together.

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Babysitter Emergency Documents

(Adult) Babysitter Emergency Documents

Getting time away from the kids for a romantic night on the town, a ballgame with friends, or a short vacation is often a rare and momentous occasion for parents.  As exciting as these opportunities can be, leaving your kids alone with a babysitter may also be an equal source of anxiety.  Although everything will probably go smoothly, providing your sitter with the proper instructions and emergency documents can help alleviate any nervousness about emergency situations, even for brand new parents.
To start, a good emergency packet for your sitter needs to have the basics.  Make sure to include:

  • You and your partner’s contact information – Full names, cell phone numbers, home number, and work number
  • Where you’ll be heading with contact information
  • Your full home address, including the cross streets
  • Local emergency phone numbers for the police, fire department, poison control, hospital,  and pediatrician
  • Contact information for a trustworthy neighbor
  • Each child’s full name and age
  • A full medical checklist for each child including food allergies, illnesses, medication, potential medical problems
  • Emergency items locations such as the fire extinguisher, flashlight, candles, circuit breakers, water shut off and first aid kit
  • Rules the kids are expected to follow like bedtimes, friends, and chores

In order to make sure that your babysitter’s emergency documentation is complete, you’ll want to make ensure that you have a “consent to treat” form or healthcare authorization for your children.  These forms will give permission for your children to be under the (adult) babysitter’s care and to act on your behalf in the event of an emergency.  Many also have a place for the kid’s medical history so that all of the information is in one place.  Templates of these forms as well as the checklist above are readily available to print from the internet.

Common Reasons people visit an ER

Common Diseases Many People Don’t Know They Have

You Have What Disease – and Didn’t Know It?

In the world of internet self-diagnosis, it’s easy to be a hypochondriac, especially with the possibility of over 12,000 possible conditions that inflict humans. Researching a simple head cold online can lead you to believe that it’s inoperable brain cancer. However, there are much more likely and serious conditions that millions of people live with every day without realizing it – undiagnosed common diseases.

Celiac Disease

According to estimates there are nearly 1.8 million Americans that have celiac disease, but only about 22% of them have actually been diagnosed with it. Celiac disease prevents the small intestine from digesting vital nutrients and food, causing a hypersensitivity to gluten, which is found in barley, wheat, and rye. A whole range of gastrointestinal symptoms from bloating to unexplained weight loss can point to celiac. In addition, general problems such as hair loss, muscle cramps, and bruising easily can result from long term nutrient deficiency.

Diabetes

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has shocking statistics that around 79 million adults are pre-diabetic, meaning that they have a high probability of getting full blown diabetes within their lifetime, which could have been completely prevented. Another startling number is that about 27% of the population with diabetes doesn’t know that they have it.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that inhibits glucose production causing elevated glucose levels in the blood. Like celiac, the symptoms of diabetes can also be very subtle. Changes in your appetite and thirst, slow healing cuts and bruises, and fatigue can all be indicators that you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is thought to affect nearly 14% of adults, although the majority will never be treated since there is no simple blood test that can diagnose it. People with the disorder have regular breathing pauses throughout the night while they are sleeping, causing poor, shallow sleep and waking up throughout the night. Understandably, fatigue is a direct symptom of sleep apnea, but if it is never treated it can contribute to more serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even death if the brain is completely deprived of oxygen for too long.

There are other diseases that are on this list and they include:  hepatitis C, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart failure (the heart’s inability to pump enough blood through the body). All in all, while you shouldn’t live your life in constant fear, it’s always good to know your body and to watch for changes that could be a serious health development.

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Reasons to Avoid Sugar

Sugar

It’s hard to say no to a piece of birthday cake at the office or a perfectly toasted crème brulee after a celebratory dinner. And while the occasion treat is understandable, overindulging or not watching for sugar additives in everyday foods can potentially have adverse affects on you and your family’s health.

One of the most obvious reasons to avoid sugar is its direct correlation to your waistline. As a high calorie, low nutrient substance (especially white refined sugar or other highly processed sweeteners), sugar is either quickly used by your system for energy or quickly stored as body fat for a later date. However, outside of needing to buy new pants, sugar can have some surprising and serious long term affects to your body.

Bone Minerals

Since the 1970s, sugar has been found to abrasively deplete bone mass and minerals. In particular, it impacts copper, calcium, and magnesium, weakening the very core of our bodies.

The Immune System

That delicious devil sugar also causes problems with your immune system by blocking vitamin C carried by the insulin stream and suppressing phagocytes. Phagocytes are cells that protect the body by ingesting outside bacteria, but they don’t function well with high sugar levels, reducing your body’s ability to fight pathogens.

The Brain

Even though you think that last cupcake might be calling to you, sugar can literally mess with your thoughts. It is a contributor to Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products, which bind to proteins found throughout the entire body. When concentrated in the brain, AGEs can create the stepping stones to Alzheimer’s disease down the line.

Despite such detrimental health consequences, most people will continue to include sugar in their daily lives. Besides being tasty and generally recognized as a ‘comfort food’, sugar is addictive; eight times more addictive than cocaine in fact, making it a hard habit to break.

Even if you don’t completely cut out sugar in your diet, just reducing your intake can lead to better health.

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Kitchen Burns

Treating Kitchen Burns

Any good chef – or bad chef for that matter – knows that the occasional kitchen accident happens.  Grabbing a hot pan, skimming your arm against a hot oven surface, or a flambé gone array can all result in an unwelcomed kitchen burn.  Knowing how to treat these injuries can prevent scarring and infection problems down the road.Fast, superficial burns are a battle wound experienced by even the most amateur kitchen participant, especially on the hands and arms.  For first degree burns like these where the skin is only red, hasn’t been broken, and no blistering is evident, conventional wisdom recommends running the burn under cold, clean water until the pain subsides.   Afterwards, an antibiotic cream or aloe can be applied to further protect and sooth the area.

If your mind was seriously somewhere else when you were grabbing that scorching lid or you got clumsy with the bacon grease, you could have a more severe burn.  Common symptoms of a second degree burn are immediate blistering with swelling, redness, and lots of pain.  A first step to help the burn is to soak the affected area for about 15 minutes under cool water.  Since this is likely to be a deeper injury, you’ll want to protect it with a sterile bandage and antibiotic cream for the days following the incident, making sure that it doesn’t show signs of infection such as renewed redness, swelling, or puss.

A third degree burn can seem similar to a second degree one, but a lack of feeling from nerve damage or varying skin color can mean that it’s much deeper.  Anytime a third degree burn is suspected, you’ll want to plan a quick trip to your local emergency room.

It’s important to note that any burn is best handled by your physician, especially if it’s on your face or genitals and larger than two inches.  A combination of the two probably makes for a particularly bad day.

Of course, a little common sense and precaution while cooking is the best prevention for burns while in the kitchen.

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Superficial Injuries

Superficial Injuries

Whether it’s a paper cut or scraped knee, superficial wounds are an unavoidable and common occurrence in our daily life.  Since the skin is our biggest organ and best defense against infection and disease, it’s vital to know how to treat these minor wounds to keep yourself healthy and prevent bigger problems down the road that could have been easily avoided.  It’s also a bonus if you can accomplish this with minimal scarring as well.

Superficial skin injuries typically fall into four different categories: burns, scrapes, cuts, and punctures.  While each of these has slightly different tricks and tips, the basic treatment of them is similar with cleanliness and disinfection being your most important concern.   (Note: These are only general guidelines.  You should always consult and follow your physician’s instructions when applicable.)

General Care for Superficial Wounds and Injuries:

  1. Apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
  2. Once the bleeding has stopped, you’ll want to wash the wound.  Generally, running it under cold clean water for about 10 minutes (especially for burns) or wiping with a clean cloth and a mild soap will do the trick.
  3. Disinfect the wound with hydrogen peroxide or other antibiotic gel.
  4. Cover the exposed area with a sterile, non-stick bandage or wrap.  Breathable materials are recommended to allow the wound to heal and scab.

Once the wound starts to heal, there’s a good chance that it will eventually cause a scar to form.  Although not entirely avoidable in many cases, there are steps that you can take to minimize the scarring.  Unless you’re going for the sea battered pirate look, here are a few tips that can help reduce scar tissue:

  • Use minimal antibiotic creams and salves to let the wound breath as much as possible.  Your body naturally produces a fluid (called exudates) to facilitate in the healing process.
  • Keep the scab as dry as possible.  Lengthy exposure to water will break down the scab and lengthen healing time.
  • Keep the wound out of direct sunlight since UV rays can increase scarring.
  • The best tip to avoid scars:  Don’t pick at the scab!  Let your body shed the scab at its own rate to allow it proper healing time below the surface.

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