water dangers

Summer Water Safety Tips: Boat, Pool, Beach, Garden Hose

One of the many pleasures of summer is spending time on, in, or near the water. But as enjoyable as a refreshing swim or boating trip can be, water needs to be respected. Our concierge family practice doctors would like to review some safety tips to help keep you and your family safe.

 

General

  • It’s natural to love the water, but you should be cognizant of its power. Always swim with a lifeguard present, and never swim alone.
  • Be sure you and your children have taken age-appropriate swimming lessons and know how to swim well.
  • Never turn your back on a child in the water, even for a moment.
  • Avoid alcohol use when in or around water: It impairs balance, coordination, and judgment, as well as swimming skills.

 

Boat

  • According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), 78 percent of boating deaths in 2014 were due to drowning; 84 percent of those victims were not wearing life jackets. Every person (and animal) on a boat should be wearing a USCG-approved life jacket.
  • Make sure everyone stays in their seats. Never allow anyone to sit on the gunwales or setbacks or outside protective railings.
  • If you notice a sudden temperature drop, choppy water, lightning flashes or an increase in wind speed, get back to port immediately.
  • Learn about how to avoid the hazards of carbon monoxide, the odorless, colorless poisonous gas emitted by all combustion engines.

 

Personal Watercraft (PWC)

  • Even though they represent just over five percent of watercraft, PWCs represent over 60 percent of all on-water collisions. Take a boating safety course before using your PWC.
  • Know and understand all the operational features of your PWC.
  • PWCs require special protective clothing for all operators and passengers. Check your operator’s guide or the manufacturer’s website for specific requirements.
  • Securely attach the engine cutoff lanyard (“kill cord”) to your wrist or lifejacket so that in case you fall off, the engine will immediately stop.
  • Avoid wake jumping, splashing, or passing closely to any other vessels. Also avoid “buzzing” swimmers, skiers, or divers.
  • Obey all posted signs, and avoid driving too close to residential areas or congested waters.

 

Pool

  • Be sure to install child-proof fencing all the way around the pool. Fences should be at least four feet high, with self-closing and self-latching doors that open outward. Consider door alarms for those that open directly into the pool area.
  • Also remove any structures that would allow them to circumvent the fence, such as ladders and toys.
  • If a child is missing, always check the pool first—seconds count.
  • Empty portable pools when not in use because small children can drown in as little as an inch of water.
  • Always make sure a responsible adult is watching the children playing in or near the pool area (with no distractions, e.g., smartphones off).

 

Beach

  • Know the signs of a rip current: a channel of churning, choppy water; a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving out to sea; or a break or gap in the incoming wave pattern. Know how to escape if you’re trapped in one: Swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the current, then swim back to land.
  • Never dive head-first into the water. If the bottom is too shallow, such a dive can cause paralysis or death. Always go into the water feet first until you know the conditions hidden beneath the water.
  • Don’t dig holes in the sand, and watch for them when walking along the beach. More people are killed every year by collapsing sand holes than by sharks.

 

Garden Hose

  • What possible harm could come from a garden hose? How about severe burns? This happened two years ago to a Las Vegas toddler whose mother was filling a kiddie pool when her child got too close. He received second-degree burns over 30 percent of his body.
  • Water in a garden hose left in the sun can heat up to 130-140 degrees, burning humans and animals. When first turning on a hose, always allow the water to run onto asphalt or concrete for several minutes before aiming it onto anything living, including plants.

 

Your family doctors at MD 2.0 want you to have a wonderful summer. Just be sure to keep these few safety tips in mind.

steps for womens health

Steps Women Can Take For Good Health at Any Age

Your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, would like to remind you that this week is the 19th annual National Women’s Health Week, when an alliance of government organizations spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calls attention to the ways women can improve their health.

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‘Missed’ Heartbeats – Harmless or Deadly?

You’re sitting calmly, maybe reading or watching TV, and suddenly feel a flutter in your chest. Or worse, it feels as if your heart has stopped for a few seconds, then started up again.

The symptom you could be experiencing has been called “missed” heartbeat, “skipped” heartbeat, or heart “flutters.” Some people describe it as a hiccup, a pause, or a jump in their heart’s normal rhythm, or as if their hearts have “extra” beats. The fact is, it’s extremely common and usually no cause for concern.

The medical terminology for this syndrome is either premature ventricular contraction (PVC), or premature atrial contraction (PAC), depending on where in the heart they originate. PACs occur in the heart’s upper chambers (atria), PVCs in the lower chambers (ventricles). In general they are known as arrhythmias, meaning a heart beating out of normal rhythm.

The Heart Rhythm Society explains:

“The reason PACs or PVCs can sometimes be felt as a skipped beat is that the heart gets a premature signal to squeeze before it has had time to fill with blood. The resulting heart contraction does not produce blood flow to the body. A pause is felt, and the following heart beat is more forceful than usual. If the PAC or PVC is less premature, and the heart has had time to fill with blood before receiving the early signal to squeeze, an extra beat will be felt, rather than a skipped beat.”

The Washington Post, in a recent article on this phenomenon, reported, “PVCs and PACs are so common that, when study participants wear portable, rhythm-tracking devices called Holter monitors, virtually everyone gets at least one premature beat over a 24-hour period.

“We always see these early beats,” Dr. Gregory Marcus, a cardiac electrophysiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said. “It’s part of being human.”

These irregular beats occur more often as people age, and in nearly all cases are harmless. The cause is a disruption in the heart’s electrical signal which regulates its normal rhythm. The triggers are largely unknown. Absent any heart disease, they have been blamed on caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and anxiety, among other possible causes. Some people report experiencing them regularly for years with their doctors unable to pinpoint a reason.

Premature beats are common in healthy people of all ages, according to the Heart Rhythm Society. However, they can also be a sign of more serious problems. These can include thyroid problems, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and heart failure. Atrial fibrillation, which also causes an irregular or racing heart rate, and mimics the harmless kind, can raise the risk of a stroke.

Although some people can experience “skipped” or “missed” heartbeats as often as 1,000 times a day, if they are accompanied by shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness, sweating, and fainting or near-fainting, they could signal an impending heart attack and should be treated as an immediate emergency.

While most cases of heart palpitations are benign, you should not hesitate to contact your concierge doctor to have them evaluated. We can perform a series of tests that will rule out more serious illness, provide advice on some ways to avoid them, and help set your mind at ease.

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