Protection from Wildfire Smoke by Alison Sims, M.D.


In the fall and winter of 2017, California experienced record-breaking heat and wind conditions resulting in record-breaking wildfires. The largest wildfire in California history is the Thomas Fire which destroyed over 281,620 acres and more than 1000 structures, and claimed one life. The most destructive wildfire in California history is the Tubbs Fire which was in Sonoma and ended October 31st of 2017; it destroyed 5,643 structures, resulted in 22 fatalities, and affected tens of thousands of lives.

In our clinics, we have seen an increase in pulmonary, sinus and eye complaints, especially from those people fleeing the areas affected by the wildfires, but also from locals with symptoms and illnesses resulting from the dry and strong Santa Ana winds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) has recommendations to minimize your risk of these injuries and illnesses and are summarized here:

Extra care is to be taken by the elderly, children and those with chronic heart or lung diseases. It may be difficult to curtail children’s activities outdoors, but they are the most vulnerable as their lungs are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.

To be sure you are in the know, consult the national website www.AirNow.gov for air quality and/or the South Coast Air Quality Management District website www.arcgis.com for hourly updates of local Orange County Air Quality Index reports. You can even sign up for E-Mail Air Alerts from the latter site. Of course, some fires may be smelled before they are on the internet maps, as in the Riverdale Fire of Orange County on Dec 4-5, 2017. In that case, if you smell smoke, be sure to take care to go indoors immediately.

Indoor air must be kept as clean as possible by closing all the windows, doors, and the fireplace flu. If you have air conditioning it can help, but you must turn off the fresh air intake function and keep the filter clean. Avoid smoking, lighting candles, using a gas fireplace or stove, and vacuuming (it kicks up the dust). If these measures do not create a smoke free zone at home, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or move to another area away from the smoke.

Finally, the surgical paper masks we use to minimize transmission of illnesses such as influenza are NOT effective against the particulates and gases of smoke inhalation. Do not go out in a smoky area or try to exercise outdoors in poor air quality conditions with a simple paper mask. You are not protected, and you are harming your eyes and respiratory system. If you must go out, airtight goggles of any kind are protective for the eyes, and N95 or N100 respirator masks (found at any hardware store) have finer filters with a tight seal on the face for filtering particulates, but they do not filter out gases.

Living in California, wildfires and Santa Ana winds are a part of our lives. If you have any signs or symptoms of respiratory or eye problems, please see a doctor for evaluation and medical care.

 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

Tips for Weight Loss by Karmen Cohen, M.D.

dr. cohen

It's the New Year and it's time to get back on track for many of you with a healthy eating plan.  If you want to lose weight, here are a few tips to help you get going...

Usually weight gain falls into four categories:

Inflammation

Fat in belly, back, face, legs, and edema (swelling) due to fast foods and fried foods.  My suggestion is to eat more anti-inflammatory foods such as raw walnuts, berries, parsley, and celery seeds.

Digestion

Usually conditions such as heartburn, bloating, white coated tongue, brain fog, joint pain, constipation, low energy, and headaches are due to food sensitivities (i.e. gluten, dairy).  My suggestion is to do a ten-day gluten-free diet by avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and oats.  Also, get rid of bad bacteria in the gut by taking high quality probiotics and decrease sugar cravings to starve the bad bacteria in the gut.

Hormonal

Dry skin and nails can be due to a hormone imbalance, child birth, or menopause.  If there is lot of sugar craving, my suggestion is to drink more dandelion root tea or hot liquids with meals.

Mood

Feelings of being angry, sad, or lonely can give rise to different cravings.  My suggestion is to identify major stressors and write them down, do breathing exercises (4 breaths in, hold and count to 7, then exhale deeply into the diaphragm with count of 8).  Taking a 30-minute rest mid-day will help with focus.

General Eating Tips for Weight Loss

Consume more foods from these categories-  the acronym GBOMBS:

  • Green Vegetables

  • Beans (ideally pressure cooked)

  • Onions

  • Mushrooms

  • Berries

  • Seeds (chia, hemp flax seeds)


 

Eat more fiber-rich, low-glycemic foods like cauliflower rice instead of white rice, or shredded zucchini instead of pasta, or quinoa instead of white rice.  Consume 12 ounces of protein 2 times per day (salmon, turkey, chicken, eggs) with colorful vegetable bowls (i.e. cabbage/green/purple, yellow/green/red peppers, cilantro, cucumbers, tomato, red onions) will aid in weight loss.

To boost energy, my suggestion is to drink at least 4 cups of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon to increase metabolism, and cleanse the liver.  Add interval exercise such as 60 seconds of a fast-paced walk, then 15 seconds of a rest interval.  Start with 15 minutes a day, then increase to 20 minutes per day, then 30 minutes per day, etc.  Also, get a blood test to make sure that your thyroid is functioning the right way.

Snacks for energy- remember acronyms AA and ENT:

  • Apples

  • Almonds/ Almond Butter

  • Eggs

  • Nuts

  • Turkey


 

(Avoid peanuts or peanut butter, dairy, gluten, and soy and corn since they are genetically modified).

 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Winter Blues – Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression by Colleen Kraft, M.D., FAAP

For some children, the change in season brings with it a shift in mood. Is it a passing phase, or something more serious? Here’s what you need to know about depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and your child.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — often referred to as “winter depression” — is a subtype of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. The most common form of SAD occurs in winter, although some people do experience symptoms during spring and summer.

While SAD is almost always talked about in terms of adults, children and adolescents are not necessarily immune. “SAD might exist among children, but it has not been well studied,” says Eve Spratt, M.D., MSCR, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina.

SAD usually develops in a person’s early 20s, and the risk for the disorder decreases as you get older. SAD is diagnosed most often in young women, but men who have SAD may suffer more severe symptoms. As winter approaches, 10 to 20 percent of us begin to suffer mild symptoms of SAD. We are saddened by the shortening days, climb into bed earlier and resent waking up when the morning light grows dim. For 14 million Americans, these symptoms grow considerably worse as winter progresses.

People with SAD may become fatigued and irritable. Eventually, they are no longer able to maintain their regular lifestyle. They may withdrawal socially and no longer enjoy things that used to be fun. It’s as if a person’s batteries have just run down. For parents, SAD can obviously have a sharp impact on the ability to be an effective parent.

Children and adolescents can also suffer these symptoms. They may experience feelings of low self-worth and hopelessness. Children with depression struggle to concentrate on their schoolwork. Their grades may drop, worsening feelings of low self-esteem. Symptoms that last more than two weeks are cause for concern.

Researchers have not pinpointed what causes SAD. There is some evidence pointing to a disruption of a person’s “circadian rhythm” — the body’s natural cycle of sleeping and waking. As the days shorten, the decreasing amount of light can throw off the body’s natural clock, triggering depression. Sunlight also plays a role in the brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin. During winter, your body produces more melatonin (which encourages sleep) and less serotonin (which fights depression). Researchers do not know why some people are more susceptible to SAD than others.

In order to diagnose SAD, doctors need to perform a medical exam to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms, such as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, or mononucleosis. Doctors can administer questionnaires to determine mood and also to look for a seasonal pattern. “It’s difficult to diagnose children with depression in the first place, because it often presents as irritability, and they have a hard time understanding terms like ‘sad mood’ or ‘feeling blue,’” says Dr. Spratt. She points out that one of the most telling markers of depression in children is anhedonia — which means “absence of pleasure.” “So a good screening question to ask children is, ‘When was the last time you had a really good time?’”

Several effective treatments can help sufferers of SAD. Simply bringing more sunlight into your life can treat mild cases. Spend time outdoors everyday, even on cloudy days. Open window shades in your home. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, one low in simple carbohydrates and high in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. If you or your child do not improve, seeing your doctor and participating in treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy may help.

The most common treatment for adults with SAD is light therapy. Patients sit for up to three hours in front of strong light boxes or wear light visors, with UV rays filtered out. However, light therapy is not recommended for children, says Dr. Spratt. If other treatments prove ineffective, prescription antidepressants may help regulate the balance of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that affect mood. Parents with children on antidepressants need to be vigilant in watching for agitation, anxiety, or insomnia and make sure they continue to see their physician on a regular basis.

Parents of children with depression should participate in their child’s treatment and recovery. Learn about the disorder and share what you learn with your child. Make sure your child completes his treatment everyday, no matter what form your doctor prescribes.

Plan low-key quality time together. Your child might not have the energy to go out, but reading a book or playing a family board game can be fun. Encourage your child to get exercise and spend time outdoors. Plan daily walks together. Fix healthy meals for your family, and establish a set bedtime to ensure he gets enough sleep and the same amount of sleep every night.

Your fatigued child will probably need help with his homework. Take time to work through schoolwork together, and communicate your child’s situation to his teachers. Be patient with your child and reassure him that these issues will get better.

Whether noticing symptoms of SAD in yourself or depression in your child, take it seriously. Treating this disorder early and diligently can turn the dark days of winter into a pleasant time of togetherness for your family.

Source: www.healthychildren.org

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Cardiovascular Screening by Mark R. Wade, M.D., Board-Certification: Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease



WHAT IF you could decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease?

First, we need to understand what this term means.  We are talking about atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in which plaques laden with fat and scar tissue narrow and obstruct arteries.  About 50 percent of the time this diagnosis involves coronary heart disease where the arteries which supply blood to heart muscle are obstructed.  The remainder of cases involve cerebrovascular disease which can cause stroke, peripheral artery disease whereby the circulation to the legs is compromised, and aortic atherosclerosis which can lead to thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The traditional major historical risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes.  We should also add a laboratory measurement and high cholesterol level to the major risk factor list.  Lesser risk factors are: having an early family history of cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and obesity.  It has been well-established that if we can significantly reduce the major risk factors we can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. This is particularly true for the lowering of cholesterol levels.  For example, the long-term Framingham Heart Study has shown that, when studying 50-year-old women with no clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease, if all their risk factors were optimized, only 8 percent went on to develop cardiovascular disease in their lifetime, whereas if they hheart stethad 2 or more major risk factors, 50 percent later developed such disease. For men, the difference was even more dramatic with only 5 percent developing cardiovascular disease if risk factors were optimized, whereas 69 percent developed disease if there were 2 or more risk factors.

When we consider that when cardiovascular disease develops, it generally begins well before the age of 50 (there has been evidence that it can begin in the teenage years), we can understand how important cardiovascular risk factor screening is to long-term health. Identifying and successfully treating lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) elevation, high blood pressure, and diabetes is easy to do and makes an enormous difference.

So, to answer our initial “WHAT IF…” question, if you identify and improve your risk factors you can live longer and healthier.

We also know that if disease is already present, there is a much better outcome if we can identify it and correct it, or at least decrease it or compensate for it, earlier in the process rather than later.  Many people with cardiovascular disease don’t have any specific symptoms until something bad like a heart attack, a stroke, or sudden death happens.  So, WHAT IF there were a risk-free and easy way that you could identify whether you already have disease?

There is an easy and readily available way to do this.  SmartBeat is a unique and comprehensive cardiovascular screening program which not only evaluates for lipid elevation, diabetes, high blood pressure, but which directly identifies and measures existing cardiovascular disease.  Blood flow measurement techniques evaluate peripheral arterial circulation. Vascular ultrasound directly measures plaque and narrowing in the aorta as well as the carotid arteries (which lead to the brain).  Additionally, special ultrasonic echocardiography directly visualizes the heart muscle in real-time.  From looking directly at heart muscle we can obtain valuable information about coronary artery blockage.  Echocardiography also quantitates the pumping strength of heart muscle which is the most important determinant of the risk of sudden cardiac death.

So WHAT IF you could easily screen for cardiovascular risk factors, enabling you to modify them early in the process?   (You can.)

And WHAT IF you could easily, and without risk, directly identify and quantitate existing cardiovascular disease, allowing you to aggressively work to correct it before a health crisis occurs?  (You can.)

And WHAT IF there was a readily accessible comprehensive screening program called HeartStrong?  (There is.)   And is covered by all insurance carriers?  (It is.)

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

Cough by Arnold Kremer, D.O.



Did you know that cough is responsible for 30 million medical visits yearly or 40 percent of patient volume?

Acute cough is usually less than 3 weeks and most often due to a respiratory infection.  Differential diagnosis includes, but is not limited to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and pulmonary embolism.

Subacute cough is 3-8 weeks with chronic cough being greater than 8 weeks.

The most common causes for subacute and chronic coughs is post-nasal drip, asthma, GERD, or post-infections, usually self-limiting.  Upper airway cough syndrome can include post-nasal drip, allergic and perennial non-allergic vasomotor rhinitis (a condition that causes chronic sneezing, congestion, or runny nose) and nasopharyngitis (a cold).  Ace inhibitors can cause chronic cough in 15 percent of patients on these medications.   Less common causes of chronic cough include, but are not limited to bronchogenic carcinoma, occult heart failure, occult aspiration, tracheobronchial foreign body, occupational asthma, nasal polyps, or psychogenic.

Asthma is the second leading cause of cough and the most common cause in children.

Acute bronchitis-cough lasts at least 5 days (often 1-3 weeks) and doesn’t have findings suggestive of pneumonia (fever, tachypnea, rales) and doesn’t have COPD. The patient may or may not have wheezing.

Chronic bronchitis-cough with sputum over at least 3-month period and can even continue for consecutive years, which is usually seen in smokers.  Treatment is smoking cessation counseling.

For post-nasal drip (upper airway cough syndrome) treatments are:

  • FlonaseArnold Kremer web, D.O.

  • Nasonex

  • Chlorpheniramine

  • Cetirizine

  • Loratadine


Those with excess somnolence may be prescribed azelastine or intranasal ipratropium.

Cough variant asthma treatments include inhaled glucocorticoids and as-needed bronchodilators.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

Kids & Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age by Colleen Kraft, M.D., FAAP

​In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills.

Tips to Help Families Manage the Ever-Changing Digital Landscape:

  • Make your own family media use plan. Media should work for you and within your family values and parenting style. When used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime and sleep. Make your plan at HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan.

  • Set limits and encourage playtime. Media use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children. And—don't forget to join your children in unplugged play whenever possible.

  • Families who play together, learn together. Family participation is also great for media activities—it encourages social interactions, bonding, and learning. Play a video game with your kids. It's a good way to demonstrate good sportsmanship and gaming etiquette. You will have the opportunity to introduce and share your own life experiences and perspectives—and guidance—as you play the game.

  • Be a good role model. Teach and model kindness and good manners online. Because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. Interacting with your children is the gold standard!

  • Know the value of face-to-face communication. Very young children learn best through two-way communication. Engaging in back-and-forth "talk time" is critical for language development.

  • Limit digital media for your youngest family members. Avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, watch digital media with them because they learn from watching and talking with you. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just 1 hour a day of high-quality programing, and watch it with them so you can help them learn from what they're seeing.

  • Create tech-free zones. Keep family mealtimes, other family and social gatherings, and children's bedrooms screen free. These changes encourage more family time, healthier eating habits, and better sleep, all critical for children's wellness.

  • Apps for kids – do your homework. More than 80,000 apps are labeled as educational, but little research has demonstrated their actual quality. Look to organizations like Common Sense Media for reviews about age-appropriate apps, games and programs to guide you in making the best choices for your children.

  • Remember: Kids will be kids. Kids will make mistakes using media. Try to handle errors with empathy and turn a mistake into a teachable moment.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

10 Things for Parents to Know About the 2017-2018 Flu Vaccine by Colleen Kraft, M.D., FAAP

Colleen KraftHere are 10 things you need to know about the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine:

  1.  The flu vaccine is essential for children.


The flu virus is common and unpredictable, and it can cause serious complications and death, even in healthy children. The influenza immunization each year is the best way to protect children.

Each year, on average, 5% to 20% of the U.S. population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from complications. At least 101 children died from the flu in the 2016-2017 season. If you choose not to vaccinate your child, you not only miss the opportunity to protect your own child but also can put others at risk.

Needle use reviseThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual influenza immunization for all people ages 6 months and older, including children and adolescents. In addition, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children with high risk conditions and all children under the age of 5 especially should be vaccinated.

Young children, people with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are at high risk for complications of influenza, such as pneumonia.

  1.  Now is the time to get vaccinated.


Influenza vaccine shipments have already begun, and will continue through the fall and winter. Call your pediatrician to ask when the vaccine will be available.

Infants and children up to 8 years of age receiving the flu shot for the first time may need two doses of the vaccine, administered four weeks apart. It is important that these children get their first dose as soon as possible to be sure they can complete both doses before the flu season begins. 

  1.  This year's flu vaccine is only available as a shot.


The inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) is given by intramuscular injection and is approved for children 6 months of age and older.

  1.  It doesn't matter which form of the vaccine you get.


The quadrivalent influenza vaccines for the 2017-2018 season contain the same three strains as the trivalent vaccine, plus an additional B strain. Although this may offer improved protection, the AAP does not give preference for one type of flu vaccine over another.

  1.  You can't get the flu from the flu vaccine.


Flu vaccines are made from killed viruses. Mild symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and chills, can occur.

The side effects of the flu vaccine are mild (and nothing compared to having the flu). The most common side effects are pain and tenderness at the site of injection. Fever is also seen within 24 hours after immunization in approximately 10% to 35% of children younger than 2 years of age but rarely in older children and adults. These symptoms are usually mild and resolve on their own in a couple of days.

  1.  If you catch the flu and are vaccinated, you will get a milder form of the disease.


We know that flu vaccines are about 60% effective--yes, we all wish that number were higher. The good news is that vaccinated people who get the flu usually get a mild form of the disease, according to a study. People who are not vaccinated will likely be in bed with fever and miserable and even could develop a complication.

  1.  There should be plenty of vaccine for everyone this year.


For the 2017-2018 season, manufacturers have projected that they will produce between up to 166 million doses of flu vaccine.

  1.  The influenza vaccine doesn't cause autism.


A robust body of research continues to show that the influenza vaccine is safe and is not associated with autism.

  1.  The flu vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines.


The flu vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, but at a different place on the body. It is also important to note that children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two doses spaced one month apart to be fully protected. These children should receive their first dose as soon as the vaccine is available in their community. Live vaccines (like the MMR and chickenpox vaccines) may be given together or at least 4 weeks apart.

  1.  Children with an egg allergy can get the flu vaccine.


Children with an egg allergy can safely get the flu shot from their pediatrician without going to an allergy specialist. Even those with a history of severe egg allergy don't have to treat getting the flu vaccine differently than getting any other vaccine, because these people are not likely to have a reaction to the flu vaccine.

Source: www.healthychildren.org

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

Physical Activity – How Much is Enough? By Russell Alterman, D.O.

dr-alterman-lo-res


In our busy lives we try to balance work and play.  The more complexity we build into our lives, the greater is the need to play.  Anything that gets your body moving is physical activity, but jogging to catch the elevator is not exercise- it’s actually just the opposite.  Sudden acceleration of our heart and breathing rates for just a few seconds is counterproductive and can actually harm the less-physically fit person.

Let’s talk briefly about what the word CARDIO means and how this phrase relates to physical activity.  Cardio means aerobic activity and this means getting your heart beating faster and your breathing gets harder.  TEN MINUTES IS THE MINIMUM beneficial timeframe to take your body into the aerobic phase.  Mowing your lawn, biking around your neighborhood, or even a ten minute exercise video in front of your television are all excellent forms of aerobic activity - if sustained for the FULL TEN MINUTES.

Another important concept for fitness is INTENSITY: how hard you push yourself - LIGHT, MODERATE, or VIGOROUS.  Unfortunately, cooking, shopping and laundry are activities of daily living (ADLs) and do not qualify for aerobic activity.  However, if you can keep up a pace of exercise as mentioned above for ten minutes which gets your heart pumping and you break a sweat, you have accomplished this small goal.  Some experts have even given a simple guideline: in light to moderate activity you should be able to talk but not have enough breath to sing the words to your favorite song.  In vigorous activity, you might be able to get a few words out between rapid breaths.

MODERATE-INTENSITY AEROBIC ACTIVITY EXAMPLES

  • Walking Fast (not race-walking)WORKING-OUT-HARD-ENOUGH-are-you

  • Water Aerobics

  • Bike Riding on Level Ground or a Few Hills

  • Ballroom Dancing

  • Pushing a Lawn Mower

  • Playing Doubles Tennis


 

VIGOROUS-INTENSITY AEROBIC ACTIVITY EXAMPLES

  • Swimming Laps

  • Jogging or Running

  • Fast Biking or Mountain Biking

  • Singles Tennis

  • Shooting Hoops


 

Rule of Thumb: 2:1   Two minutes of moderate activity equals one minute of vigorous activity.  Many of us might consider whether we are healthy enough to even begin an exercise program.  I would recommend scheduling a physical exam before you get going to affirm your healthy heart!

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

The Kids Corner: Halloween Safety Tips by Colleen Kraft, M.D.

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help ensure that they have a safe holiday. You can find topics on child health, development, and safety on www.healthychildren.org

All Dressed Up:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.

  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.

  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.

  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.

  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.pumpkin


 

Carving a Niche:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.

  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin.


 

Home Safe Home:

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.

  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.

  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.


 

On the Trick-or-Treat Trail:

  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.

  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters:

    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.

    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

    • Carry a cell phone for quick communication.

    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.

    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.

    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.

    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.

    • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!



  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.


 

Healthy Halloween:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.

  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.


 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.