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CentCalParentMag_Jun.. - Central California Parent Magazine

CentCalParentMag_Jun.. - Central California Parent Magazine

HealthWatch An update on

HealthWatch An update on your child’s health and welfare Stopping OTC abuse before it starts As parents we know the dangers of accidental poisoning caused by prescription drugs, so we keep them out of reach of curious hands. But danger doesn’t go away once our children reach the tween and teen years. In fact, the most recent data show that one third of all new abusers of prescription drugs are 12 to 17 year olds, with girls in this age group more likely to abuse OTC medications, one in five girls, versus one in seven boys. Every day, more than 4,000 young people begin experimenting with prescription drugs and the number of admissions to treatment facilities has increased 400 percent in the last 10 years, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Seventy percent of children who abuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends, according to the National Family Partnership which recently launched a national Lock Your Meds campaign. “Many teenagers taking the drugs see nothing wrong with it because a doctor prescribed them,” says Peggy Sapp, president of NFP. “Securing our medication and educating our children is something simple that each of us can do.” For more information on warning signs, the mental and physical effects of certain OTC medications, the secrete language of OTC abusers— for example, the “V” for victory sign is actually slang for taking Valium while Kibbles and Bits refers to Ritalin—and what you can do, visit www. Avoid unexpected car seat accidents Many parents use infant car seat carriers for convenience. While we all know about the dangers of improperly secured car seats, each year nearly 9,000 infants end up in the ER for car seat injuries sustained outside of the car. Even infants as young as four months old can wiggle and rock their car seats, report researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center who recently looked at a representative sample of nationwide ER data from 2003 to 2007 for infants under one year old. The babies were injured after they fell out of their carriers or were in the seats when they fell off of a table, countertop, shopping cart or other elevated surface. The most common injuries occurred to an infant’s head, followed by fractured arms and legs. About 8 percent of the injuries were serious enough to require hospital admission. Nearly half of the injuries happened at home. “When an infant car seat is being used as a carrier, proper restraints should be used,” says the study’s lead author, Shital Parikh, a pediatric orthopedist at Cincinnati Children’s. “The car seat needs to be placed on a flat, hard floor. Otherwise, serious injuries can occur.” • Central California PARENT • June 2012 Spoons increase overdose risk During cold and flu season instead of grabbing a kitchen spoon to dole out liquid medicine, head to your pharmacy instead. Using household spoons to give children liquid medicine could lead to dosing errors, a recent study reports. Researchers in Greece measured the capacity of 71 teaspoons and 49 tablespoons collected from 25 households in Attica, Greece and found the difference in household tablespoon and teaspoon sizes could be as much as 192 percent and in some cases unequal to the calibrated dispensers included in many children’s medicines. “This increases the chance of a child receiving an overdose or indeed too little medication,” says Matthew E. Falagas, the study’s lead author and director of the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece. “Pediatric dosages need to be adjusted to age and body weight and, as a result, children are considered to be more vulnerable to dosage errors than adults.” Although adults don’t face the same overdose risks, say researchers, they suggest both adults and children use calibrated syringes available at local pharmacies to take the proper dose of medicine. Miscarriages up heart attack risk Miscarriages are heartbreaking in more than just the emotional sense. Women who suffer recurrent miscarriages face a five times greater than normal risk of heart attack later in life, even after factoring in other risk factors such as smoking, weight and alcohol consumption, found a large European study published in the December online issue of the journal Heart. Stillbirth increased a woman’s chances of heart attack 3.5 times. “All women over the age of 20 need to have their cardiac risk factors assessed,” says Dr. Annabelle Volgman, medical director of the Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Doctors need to pay special attention to their patient’s cardiac risk factors if they have a history of miscarriages. This could be a sign of some medical issues that should be addressed by their primary care physicians, gynecologists, internists and family practice doctors. Of course if they are not getting satisfactory answers they can seek a cardiologist’s opinion.” Brush up, for fertility If you are having trouble conceiving, the culprit may lie in your mouth. Women with gum disease took an average two months longer to get pregnant than women without the disease—seven months instead of five months—found preliminary research out of the University of Western Australia in Perth. Studies have previously linked gum disease with heart disease and premature birth and low birth weight.

B E D T O W E R O P E N I N G F A L L 2 0 1 2 Transforming to All Private Rooms Clovis Community is in the midst of a monumental expansion project and we're excited to announce that our new 5-story bed tower will open this fall. It’s a major step toward Clovis Community becoming the area's only full-service hospital with all private rooms. THERE’S MORE TO COME When finished in 2013, your hospital will be three times its original size and will have: VOTED #1 BIRTH CENTER By Parent Magazine readers Clovis Community Medical Center ������������������������������������������� ������������������� ������������������������������� ���������������������������������������� Three hospitals. One Community. Community Regional Medical Center Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital June 2012 • Central California PARENT •

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