Friday, July 03, 2015

Don't blow off a finger--OK?

I guess most people know fireworks are explosives and explosives are dangerous.

Even so-called "safe ones," such as sparklers, can be 2000 degrees F.

In 2014,  more than ten thousand people turned up in ERs with fireworks injuries. Most of t these were around July 4, of course.

Keep these away from kids--even if you supervise--more than half of kids injured were being supervised. Dad--hear that?

Some safety tips:

--Observe all local laws.
--Never allow kids to play with or light fireworks--even sparklers
--Older children should be closely supervised
--Buy from reliable sellers
--If packaged in brown paper--they may be for public use and thus filled with lots of whallop
--Read and follow labels (again, Dad)
--Be sure everyone is out of range before lighting
--Light fireworks on smooth dry surfaces--never around dried grass or leaves
--NEVER relight duds that did not go off!
--Light one at a time
--Dispose of by soaking in water 15 mins after firing and then put in trash
--Never light fireworks in a glass or metal container
--Never point fireworks at someone, even in fun
--Don't carry fireworks in your pocket
--Whoever lights the fireworks should wear ear and eye protection
--Use long matches, not cigarettes or lighters
--Never shorten or lengthen a fuse


We used to wave sparklers around. I loved those curling black snake things...but they were hot, too.

My father also had a little cannon his dad had brought back from the Spanish-Am War. He set it off on the Fourth. The police always showed up. But then they started helping.

A different time, no doubt. But wouldn't you rather eat ice cream than sit in an ER?


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Scoliosis usually spotted in school age kids

Scoliosis is a disorder in which a normally straight spine curves to one side.

It affects 2-3% of the population (National Scoliosis Foundation). This is 6-9 million people.

It  is found in all ages, but mostly develops in kids from 10 to 15 and is most common in girls.

Parents most often notice it and it can be detected in screenings at school. Eighty to 85% of cases have no known cause, although it does seem to run in families.

It also apparently cannot be prevented, no matter how much you emphasize good posture. So don't feel guilty, parents.

Scoliosis can sometimes seem like it appeared overnight. The curve of the spine may be waiting for a growth spurt to become evident. One should may seem higher than the other. On hip may be higher.The head may seem off-center. When the child bends forward, one side of the back may seem higher than the other.

According to Fabien Bitan, MD, an spinal surgeon at the Atlantic Spine Center, the treatment starts with observation and repeated examination (curve under 25 degrees). Maybe every six months.

Bracing may be recommended to keep the curve from getting worse. Some braces are worn all the time, some at night. They don't reverse the curve but can keep it from getting worse. If the curve stays below 40 degrees until the child stops growing, it will slow, gaining maybe one degree a year.

Surgery is only recommended when the curve is more than 40-50 degrees, bracing has not halted it, and the patient is still growing.

Alternative treatments such as physical therapy, electrical stimulation, or chiropractic don't work.

If someone says your child has this, learn about it, involve the child, and provide a lot of encouragement.

Usually it will not interfere with normal childhood.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Please secure windows

Children climb up, explore everyplace, they are fast--and they fall out of windows.

Falls from windows cause more serious injuries than any other fall kids take.

They studied this at Loyola.

--Keep furniture away from windows--esp cribs, changing tables, or anything kids can use to climb. (My ex could climb out of his crib before he could walk.)

--Screens keep insects out--but don't keep kids in! Use a window guard (Google)--one that releases in case of fire.

--Or use window stops that only allow a 4-inch opening. (I used to put a nail in the side of the sash.)

--Keep windows locked when you can.

--Do not allow kids to play on balconies or roofs.

--If you can put chips or grass beneath windows.

This child is thinking about the window--you are not. You must think about it ahead of time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sometimes older people discouraged from having pets

I want another dog.

I think.

We once had a dog and four cats. One cat remains--she has been walking around in here forever--we are not even sure how old she is. My daughter was in HS when she came as a kitten--and my kid is now 33. I am writing a cartoon about this cat, and she loves being our one and only, but I miss dogs.

Then I bills, food bills, tripping risk, can't walk it with my arthritis, attachment. Well, attachment is what I want.

There is a paper in the J of Activities, Adaptation & Aging, reviewing pet ownership by us oldies.

They say older people maybe can get older pets, but older pets mean more vet bills.

The researchers said maybe the IDEA of disability is worse than the actual disability.

Shelters, they said, could match animal to owner better. Meals on wheels could include pet meals. Maybe people could adopt on a trial basis.

Many assisted living places allow small pets--but nursing homes do not. I remember a very yippy-barky Pomeranian at one place Mom lived--it always lunged on its leash in the lobby trying to take a good chomp out of you.

My grandmother loved her dachshund. Years after she moved into a nursing home, she asked after him. Finally my dad said, "Now, Lennie, what would it be like if dogs were running all over in here?"

She thought a second and said, "Heaven."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ten tips from a nurse on how to stay alive

Alexandra Robbins wrote THE NURSES and offered readers of Everyday Health some tips.

1. Get a second opinion on surgery. As a nurse, she could not speak, but she says she thought 30% of her open-heart surgery patients did not need the operation--and were not told how much rehab they faced and how they might never be the same.

2. Appoint one spokesman for the family. Nurses have more time for the patient if they don't have to answer questions and fill in multiple people.

3. Avoid teaching hospitals in July.This is when the interns start laying hands on humans--stats show medication errors spike 10%.

4. Watch when a staff member enters the hospital room. Be sure they wash their hands or remind them to. Bring your own sanitizing wipes and wipe things off sometimes.

5. Do as much as you can for yourself and the patient. Bring your own food and bevs. Ask if you can help--maybe with tooth brushing, feeding or therapy.

6. Have end-of-life discussions early. Chest compressions break ribs, long times in the ICU poison the body. Know the facts. That chest shocking thing--works only in a small percentage of cases.

7. Have someone stay with the patient 16 hours a day. Try to get visitors to take turns.

8. Don't be afraid to ask questions.Don't worry about annoying or bothering a nurse or doctor. Avoid the word why--don't say why did you give him that medication...Say what does that medication do?

9. Be kind to your nurse. People who are nice get meds on time and maybe some other perks. Human nature.

10.  Be patient--sometimes the nurse cannot answer the call light immediately.

Or--those beeping IVs--I hate to listen to those. Sometimes if you are sick or afraid or probably both, you can get cranky. I have. But try to think of the nurse's side. You will benefit.