lice infestation

The Facts of Lice, and How To Treat Them

It’s back-to-school time, and one thing you may not be prepared for is your child coming home from school with a lice infestation. If the very thought is making your skin crawl, our concierge family doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter want to assure you that, while head lice are annoying and distasteful, they are not dangerous.

The facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated six million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the U.S. among children ages three to 11. And, although creepy, head lice are not known to spread disease.

• Head lice are found worldwide. In this country, infestation with head lice is most common among pre-school children attending child care, elementary schoolchildren, and the household members of infested children.

• Head lice are found in three forms: the egg (also called a “nit”), the nymph, and the adult.

• Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice, the CDC says. Head lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly. They are spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person. Anyone who comes into head-to-head contact with someone who already has head lice is at greatest risk.

• Despite the old myths, it is very uncommon to pick them up by sharing hats, scarves, coats, combs, brushes, towels, headphones, or any other personal items, although it can happen. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the spread of head lice.

• Head lice and their nits soon die if they have no human host to feed on; nits need temperatures close to that found on the human scalp in order to hatch.

• The CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses all take issue with the “no nits” policy of many school systems nationwide, which prevent children with head lice from attending school; these organizations contend that head lice are not a public health risk.

How to spot head lice

Often parents have little warning about an infestation of head lice until they’re combing or styling their child’s hair.

Head lice and their nits are found almost exclusively on the scalp, particularly around and behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the head. Less commonly, head lice can also be found on the eyelashes or eyebrows.

The nits can range in color from white to brown and may look like dandruff, scabs, or droplets of hairspray. A fully grown, developed adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to grayish-white in color.

Other signs and symptoms include:

• a tickling feeling of something moving in the hair;
• itching caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of the creature;
• irritability and difficulty sleeping (head lice are most active in the dark); or,
• sores on the head caused by scratching, which can sometimes become infected with bacteria found on the person’s skin.

How to treat them

The adult female head louse lays her eggs at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp, and are firmly attached there. They hold tightly to the hair with hook-like claws at the end of each of their six legs. Nits are so firmly cemented to the hair shaft that they can be difficult to remove even after they hatch and the empty casings remain.

Most home remedies have been found not to work. The most dangerous of these is gasoline, which the CDC emphatically warns against using.

The CDC recommends treatment with either an over-the-counter (OTC) preparation or a prescription medication known as a pediculicide, following the instructions on the label carefully. It also warns against using a combination shampoo/conditioner or conditioner alone prior to treatment, and advises not to re-wash hair for one to two days after treatment.

If a few live lice are still found eight to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not re-treat. If live lice are still evident after this period, talk to us for the best way to proceed. Some head lice have developed a resistance to OTC treatments and may require a prescription product.

Also, if you’re still not sure whether your child has an infestation, we can make a definitive diagnosis; we can also tell you whether the infestation is still active and recommend ways to treat it.

sugary drinks cause cancer

Do Sugary Drinks Cause Cancer?

Whenever a new study reports some alarming new finding, our concierge family doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter receive panicked questions from our patients, wondering if they’re endangering themselves or their families.

The most recent example is a French study published this month in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) involving more than 100,000 adults which showed an increased risk of cancer in those who consumed approximately two sugary drinks a week. This included both non-diet sodas and 100 percent fruit juice.

The study

While more women than men participated in the study—79 percent to 21 percent—the men consumed on average more sugary drinks than did the women. The researchers controlled for such known cancer risk factors as family history, age, sex, physical activity, educational level, birth control pills, and smoking status.

The researchers gave questionnaires to 101,257 healthy French adults over a nine-year period. Of those, 2,193 cancers were diagnosed: 693 breast cancers, 166 colorectal cancers, and 291 prostate cancers. This equates to an 18 percent overall higher risk of cancer; that is, four additional cases of cancer over five years for every 1,000 people studied. The increased risk for breast cancer was 22 percent for pre-menopausal women and 44 percent for post-menopausal women.

Unlike some food questionnaires which ask participants to recall what they ate over previous days or weeks, this one was a food diary, asking participants to record everything they ate and drank over a three-day period every two years. This allowed for more accurate data gathering.

Any drink containing more than 5 percent sugar was considered “sugary,” including pure fruit juice, sodas, milkshakes, energy drinks, and hot drinks such as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to which sugar was added.

Other studies

Another similar study, published in May in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found similar results. This study, from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found a correlation between consumption of sugary drinks and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and an increased risk of death from any cause as high as 42 percent.

Although no definitive study has shown that sugar actually causes cancer, a 2017 study published in the journal Nature Communications supports previous data showing that not only is there a correlation between sugar consumption and the proliferation of cancer cells, but that cancer cells take in a greater amount of sugar than normal cells, helping them to thrive and multiply long past the time they would normally die.

The caveats

As scientists often say, “correlation does not prove causation.” This means that other factors, which were not accounted for in these studies, could be at play.

It’s possible that variables not accounted for, such as salt intake, calorie intake, other types of food consumed, even the caramel coloring added to the sodas—which has been implicated in certain cancers—could play a role. It’s even possible that non-dietary factors, such as stress, income fluctuations, or environmental toxins, could have affected the results.

Because the human body is so complex, it’s difficult to attribute cause and effect in any nutritional study.

Nevertheless . . .

Regardless, a large body of studies over many years has fairly well established that excessive consumption of sugar in any form has a negative impact on overall health.

“While this study doesn’t offer a definitive causative answer about sugar and cancer, it does add to the overall picture of the importance of the current drive to reduce our sugar intake,” Amelia Lake, a dietitian and reader in public heath nutrition at Teesside University, who was not involved in the study, told the Science Media Centre in the UK.

“Clearly there is more work to be done and measuring dietary intake is challenging; however, the message from the totality of evidence on excess sugar consumption and various health outcomes is clear—reducing the amount of sugar in our diet is extremely important.”

According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than six teaspoons a day (25 grams, or about one average candy bar) and men should have no more than nine teaspoons a day (37 grams). Given the results of this study, we suspect less would be even better.

If you have questions about this or any other nutritional issue, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

swimming bug

Watch Out for This Unpleasant Swimming Pool ‘Bug’

What would summer be without the silky feel of warm water caressing hot skin as you glide across a swimming pool?

But as a timely reminder that nothing is perfect, this month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta published a report warning swimmers to take precautions against a microscopic parasite that can take up residence in pools and water playgrounds. So our concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter want to alert you to this possible hazard.

Symptoms and Causes

The infection, Cryptosporidium, or “Crypto,” is the most common cause of diarrhea and occurs when swimmers swallow pool water which is infected with it. The resulting illness can last for up to three weeks, leaving sufferers with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, and, possibly, dehydration as a result.

The CDC’s June report noted that, between 2009-2017, reported outbreaks have increased an average of 13 percent per year. Thirty-five percent of the outbreaks were linked to swimming in pools and water playgrounds; 15 percent were linked to contact with cattle, particularly nursing calves; 13 percent were linked to contact with infected people in childcare settings; and three percent were linked to drinking raw (i.e., unpasteurized) milk or apple cider.

Tough to Kill

Unlike other swimming pool infections, Crypto is resistant to the typical concentration of chlorine. Crypto is protected by an outer shell that makes it tough to kill, the CDC reports. For example, it can survive for days in chlorinated water in pools and water playgrounds or on surfaces disinfected with chlorine bleach.

Crypto can easily cause outbreaks because it only takes a few germs to make someone sick, and there can be millions of Crypto germs in feces.

Even in pools which are treated to recommended levels, the Crypto parasite can survive for up to 10 days. The only way to respond to an outbreak of Crypto, the CDC says, is closing the pool and treating the water with high levels of chlorine, called hyperchlorination.

“Young children can get seriously sick and easily spread Crypto,” said Michele Hlavsa, R.N., M.P.H., chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program. “They don’t know how to use the toilet and wash their hands, or are just learning how. But we as parents can take steps to help keep our kids healthy in the water, around animals, and in childcare.”

Precautions

According to the CDC, outbreaks caused by Crypto occur most commonly in the summer. It recommends the following steps to protect yourself and others:

 

• Do not swim or let kids swim if they have diarrhea.

• If diagnosed with Cryptosporidiosis, do not swim until two weeks after diarrhea completely stops.

• Do not swallow the water you swim in.

• Keep kids with diarrhea at home and away from childcare.

• Wash your hands with soap and water after coming in contact with animals or anything in their environment, especially animal feces. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not work effectively with Crypto.

• Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks, and don’t change diapers in the pool area—do so in a diaper-changing area away from the pool.

• Rinse off in the shower before getting into the water to help remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the pool water.

• Remove shoes worn in animal environments (barns, pens, etc.) before going inside your home.

• If you drink milk or apple cider, buy only pasteurized types.

 

Those with healthy immune systems don’t require special treatment if they contract this unpleasant bug. However, the CDC warns that those who are especially young or old or who have compromised immune systems are at increased risk for life-threatening dehydration or malnutrition. If your immune system is compromised in any way, you develop blood in your stools, are having trouble staying hydrated, or if the illness lasts longer than 10 days, be sure to let us know.

get the best sleep

Get a Good Night’s Sleep On a Hot Summer Night

The concept of air conditioning was first proposed by Florida physician and inventor Dr. John Gorrie in the 1840s. Gorrie believed that cooling was the key to avoiding diseases like malaria and making patients more comfortable, but his rudimentary system for cooling hospital rooms required ice to be shipped to Florida from frozen lakes and streams in the northern United States.

To get around this logistical challenge, Gorrie began experimenting with the concept of artificial cooling. He designed a machine that created ice using a compressor powered by a horse, water, wind-driven sails, or steam, and was granted a patent for it in 1851.

But it wasn’t until 1902 that Willis Carrier perfected the process and introduced it at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

Nowadays, most Americans, especially here in Florida, have air conditioning in their homes. But if you’re one of those who prefer not to use it, or if your power goes out, or you travel somewhere that lacks it, our concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter want to offer some tips on how to get a good night’s sleep in the summer heat.

The only thing worse than having insomnia is having insomnia on a hot summer night. To keep your cool, try the following.

 

Cool the room

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), if you are sleeping and the temperature rises above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it can wake you up. So be sure to keep the room as cool as possible by:

• closing the blinds and windows during the day to prevent heat buildup during the hottest part of the day;

• using a fan to keep the air circulating and supply “white noise” to block out street sounds;

• placing a bowl of ice or ice packs in front of the fan, which will help chill the air;

• dampening a sheet and hanging it across the window, both to block out light and heat, and to take advantage of cooling evaporation as it dries.

 

Cool the bed

• Use cotton, linen, or bamboo sheets, which provide breathability. Also avoid high-thread-count sheets, which tend to trap body heat. Opt for sheets with thread counts under 400.

• Some pillows—like those stuffed with buckwheat—are specifically made to stay cool. Or you can try putting your pillow inside a plastic bag in the freezer for an hour or so before bedtime. Alternatively, place ice packs inside the pillowcase.

• Remove all extraneous bedding, including blankets and extra pillows, which tends to hold heat.

 

Cool yourself

• Avoid alcohol or heavy meals—especially carb-heavy foods—in the evening. Alcohol dehydrates you as well as making you feel hotter, and large meals produce extra heat in your body during digestion.

• Take a cool bath or shower or a dip in the pool just before bedtime. The evaporation of the moisture on your skin acts to cool you.

• Fill a hot water bottle with water and freeze it, then take it to bed and place it beneath your knees or neck, or on your chest or wrists.

• Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day, because your body needs water to help keep you cool.

• Remember that warm air rises, so if you have the option, sleep on the lowest floor in the house.

 

What if none of this helps?

If you’re still having trouble getting sufficient shut-eye in the summer, you might try the supplement melatonin. A hormone made by the pineal gland, it has been used successfully by many people for sleep issues. Most people can take it without a problem, but some experience such side effects as dizziness, anxiety, or daytime sleepiness. It is also contraindicated for those taking several medicines (blood thinners, birth control pills, and immunosuppressants, among others). So check with us first.

In extreme cases, let us know. If necessary, we can prescribe sleep medications for a few nights. These will help you sleep but can also induce troublesome side effects. Ideally, they should be used only for short periods of time in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. We can also recommend various types of sleep studies that might help pinpoint more serious issues such as sleep apnea.

Celery Juice: Refreshing Tonic Or Miracle Medicine?

Our concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter have been receiving questions lately from some of our patients regarding the latest fad in “miracle cures,” celery juice. Touted on the Internet, in women’s magazines, and in a recent book as the answer to everything from diabetes to heart disease to heartburn, the benefits attributed to daily consumption of celery juice seem too good to be true.

So we thought we’d take a look at some of the claims for the efficacy of celery juice and see whether there’s any science behind it.

 

The claims

Celery juice, the so-called “miracle elixir,” is said to contain “previously unknown sodium cluster salts that actually neutralize pathogens secretly causing hundreds of symptoms and conditions.” The juice is also said to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is known to trigger numerous health issues.

As a result, proponents claim, a daily glass of celery juice can lower blood pressure, reduce LDL (known as the “bad” cholesterol), ease arthritis, asthma, joint pain, and a host of other chronic illnesses, as well as promoting rapid and effortless weight loss and even curing some cancers.

 

The reality

Celery is a healthy vegetable, containing such vitamins and minerals as vitamins C and K, folate, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. And, like other vegetables, it is high in antioxidant polyphenols, known to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and neutralize free radicals which are responsible for cellular damage. But what about the “miracle elixir” claims?

First of all, nutritionists say there is no such thing as “sodium cluster salts.” Celery does, however, contain salt, and juicing the vegetable concentrates the amount of salt you get. The recommended intake of celery juice is 16 ounces in the morning, 30 minutes before breakfast. One bunch of celery, the amount needed to make 16 ounces of celery juice, contains approximately 800 mg. of sodium, The Washington Post reported recently.

“That’s more than you’ll get in two orders of french fries,” Charleston, S.C.-based registered dietitian Debbie Petitpain told The Post. Petitpain is a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Second, while inflammation can be a trigger for many serious and even deadly illnesses (see our recent blog, “Inflammation: The Silent Killer”) there’s no evidence that celery juice can reduce inflammation any better than numerous other fruits and vegetables, including beets, cabbage, parsley, or lettuce.

Finally, juicing any fruit or vegetable extracts some of the healthy fiber they contain. Fiber is not only filling, it helps maintain regularity, prevents the development of diverticulitis and hemorrhoids, and lowers cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

 

The conclusion

“There is no one ‘superfood’ that can meet all of our daily requirements,” Petitpain told The Post. “And in fact, research continually shows that the best nutrition comes from consuming a variety of food groups and various foods within each group.”

The popular book on celery juice also recommends, in addition to the morning drink, a diet high in fruits and vegetables, free of dairy, sugar, and processed foods. This alone would lead steady weight loss and better health overall, even without the juice.

There is no question that celery is high in many nutrients and antioxidants that can help alleviate many diseases. Unless you’re allergic to celery, as some people are, there’s no reason not to try it if you’re not on a low-salt diet.

But we believe that the most sensible eating plan is one that includes a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat meats and seafood, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. If you’d like more information on this or any related topic, be sure to contact us.

jupiter family doctor

How To ‘Break the Grip of the Rip’

This week is National Rip Current Awareness Week, so our concierge doctors in Jupiter want to acquaint you with this common, often-deadly, phenomenon. The National Weather Service (NWS) has already reported 17 surf zone fatalities nationwide this year, including one in Jupiter, and another nearby, from rip currents. The beach, while beautiful, needs to be approached respectfully.

An average of 100 people die in rip currents every year, and nearly 80 percent of all rescues—30,000 a year—made by lifeguards at ocean beaches are from rip currents. Although they can occur at any time, they are especially prevalent when the ocean is churned up with powerful offshore storms.

But bad weather is not necessarily a requirement for developing a rip current. Great weather for the beach does not always mean it’s safe to swim, or even to play in the shallows. Rip currents often form on calm, sunny days.

 

What is a rip current?

Rip currents are often incorrectly called “rip tides.” A tide is something different: a very gradual change in the level of water, occurring on a regular basis over a period of hours.

A rip current is a powerful, narrow channel of fast-moving water that can rush at speeds of up to eight feet per second, pulling swimmers away from the shore out into open water. They usually extend through the line of breaking waves, but can flow a hundred yards or more offshore. They can be as narrow as 20 feet or as broad as several hundred yards wide.

Often referred to as “undertow,” rip currents don’t actually pull swimmers under the water. The strongest pull is actually felt about a foot above the bottom of the ocean’s floor, which can knock your feet out from under you, making you feel you’re being pulled under, even though you’re not. But because of the current’s power, as the shoreline rapidly recedes, swimmers panic, struggle, exhaust themselves, and drown.

 

How to spot a rip current

Rip currents are most prevalent at low tide, when the water is already receding from the beach. They are also more likely to occur with a strong onshore wind.

Though often difficult to discern from the shore, some of the telltale signs are:

  • an area with a noticeable difference in the color of the water, caused by sand and sediment being churned up by the water;
  • a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving out to sea; or
  • a place where the waves aren’t breaking, but has breaking waves on either side.

 

Remember, though, that many rip currents are completely invisible. The only time you can be certain there are no rip currents hidden in the water is if there are no breaking waves. No waves, no rip.

 

How to ‘Break the Grip of the Rip’

jupiter family doctorThe U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA) warns that not even Olympic swimmers can swim against a rip current, because the pull is simply too powerful. According to the USLA, the most important thing to do when caught in a rip current is to remain calm. This helps you conserve energy and think clearly. Realize that you will not be pulled indefinitely out to sea; remember that most rip currents dissipate within a hundred yards of shore.

  • Don’t fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following (that is, parallel to) the shoreline. Once you’re out of the current’s pull, swim at an angle through the waves back to shore.

 

  • If for some reason you can’t reach shore, draw attention to yourself: Face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.

 

  • If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If one is not available, call 911. Throw the victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape. Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

 

Finally, never swim at a beach without a lifeguard nearby. The USLA reports that the chances of drowning at a beach with a lifeguard are 1 in 18 million.

 

If you have concerns or questions about this or any other health-related topic, please feel free to contact us.

screen time for kids

Screen Your Kids’ Screen Time

Our concierge family doctors in Jupiter understand that, in a world dominated by screens, trying to limit your children’s screen time can be a daunting task. But the World Health Organization (WHO) recently released new guidelines that largely track those issued two years ago by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

 

What is ‘screen time’?

First, let’s define what constitutes “screen time.” The AAP defines it as time spent using digital media for entertainment purposes. The organization does not include time spent doing homework in its recommendations. The WHO has a similar definition of passively watching entertainment on a screen. But the overall thrust of its guidelines were aimed, not just at the sedentary activities of viewing computers, smartphones, and televisions, but at improving physical health through sufficient exercise and sleep.

In addition, the AAP guidelines addressed screen time for children of all ages, while the WHO recommendations focused on children under age five.

 

Problems with infants

Both groups recommend no screen time at all for infants 18 months and younger.

“The noise and activity of a screen are distracting for a child,” Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos told CNN. Chassiakos is the lead author of the AAP’s report. She said banning screen time for babies is crucial, not only for brain development but for healthy parent-child connections.

 

“Even if the baby isn’t directly looking at the screen—for example, if a mother is nursing her child on the couch while watching TV—the baby can be overstimulated by the lights and sounds, which may cause distress and sleep problems.”

 

Chassiakos also noted that screens tend to interfere with creating intimate bonds between parents, children, and siblings and that tech-free bedrooms can help promote better sleep. Other experts have warned that screen time may inhibit a child’s ability to develop language and social skills.

The WHO took these recommendations a step further, noting that improving physical activity and sleep among young children, while limiting sedentary behaviors such as screen viewing, can help prevent problems later in life stemming from becoming overweight and out of shape.

 

The recommendations

Here are the WHO’s new guidelines:

Infants younger than one

  • no screen time at all
  • physical activity several times a day, including floor-based play and 30 minutes of tummy time
  • limiting restraint (in a stroller, high chair, or caregiver’s back) to less than an hour at a time
  • 14-17 hours of quality sleep, including naps, for infants three months and younger
  • 12-16 hours of quality sleep, including naps, for those between four and 11 months

 

Children between one and two

  1. no screen time for one-year-olds
  2. one hour of screen time for two-year-olds
  3. 180 minutes a day in physical activity (not necessarily structured exercise)
  4. limiting restraint to less than one hour at a time
  5. between 11 and 14 hours of quality sleep, including naps

 

Children between three and four

  • one hour of screen time
  • 180 minutes a day of physical activity, including 60 minutes of vigorous running and jumping games
  • 10-13 hours of quality sleep, which may include naps

 

“Too often, I see tired, overscheduled kids who eat on the run during the week and become sedentary on weekends because they are exhausted,” Dr. Jennifer Shu, an AAP spokeswoman, told CNN.

 

As always, we are here for you and your family, so feel free to consult us regarding any questions you may have about shielding your children from excessive screen time.

protect child from drowning

How To Protect Your Child From Drowning

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children. Our concierge primary care doctors in Jupiter, want to emphasize the importance of teaching children not only the rules associated with being in and around water, but how to swim at an early age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released updated guidelines recommending swimming lessons for toddlers, revising long-standing guidance against swimming lessons for children under age four.

Start early

The earlier guidelines were based on the belief that children under four could not master the skills required to hold their breath and coordinate their limbs properly to develop adequate swimming skills. There was also a lack of evidence that swimming lessons would help prevent drownings in the under-four age group, as well as the suspicion that swimming lessons for such young children might confer a false sense of security in their parents.

But one study reported that lessons between the ages of one and four produced an 88 percent reduction in drownings. These findings, coupled with the fact that children between the ages of one and four are at the highest risk for drowning, eventually changed the thinking and led to the revisions. Of course, they’re not all going to be mini-Michael Phelps, but the AAP stresses that they can be taught basic water skills and water safety skills.

“Floating, grasping the wall, climbing in and out of the water, turning back to the wall . . . a lot of times children end up falling into the water and they look to the furthest point, and if they just turned around they would be better off,” Katie Lee of the Goldfish Swim School in Long Island, New York, told CBS News.

It’s a matter of allowing very young to feel comfortable in the water, and not panic if they find themselves in it unexpectedly. You can start by holding your baby in your arms, moving them slowly back and forth, allowing them to feel the silky sensation of water on their skin. You can sing to them, and even bob them up and down, reinforcing the feeling that being in water is fun.

Slightly older children can be taught to blow bubbles in the water, thus learning how to avoid swallowing water. You can also teach them how to float on their backs and kick their legs as you hold them up. Formal swimming lessons with a certified swimming instructor can start as early as age one, depending on the child’s physical abilities and emotional development.

Reduce risk

In addition to teaching your child basic water skills, it is critical to be vigilant at all times to prevent a tragedy. Young children can drown in as little as two inches of water, and within 90 seconds without breathing, oxygen in the brain begins to drop. Other experts cautioned that the perception of children flailing around in the water when they fall in is largely myth. Very young children tend to fall in and immediately sink.

“Don’t even run into the house for a second to go to the bathroom or grab the phone,” Dr. Mark Waltzman, a pediatric emergency medicine expert, told CBS News.

Other suggestions from AAP to prevent drowning include the following:

  • Parents should never leave children alone or in the care of another child while in or near bathtubs, pools, spas, or other open water.
  • Empty water from buckets and other containers immediately after use.
  • Never leave young children alone in the bathroom. Toilet locks can prevent drowning of toddlers.
  • Even with older children and better swimmers, the supervising adult should focus on the child and not get distracted with other activities.

Tips for homes with pools include these useful guidelines:

  • Never turn your back on a child in the water, even for a moment.
  • 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.
  • Always make sure a responsible adult is watching the children playing in or near the pool area (with no distractions, e.g., smartphones off).

If you have questions about age-appropriate swimming lessons and activities for your child, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Take Sleep Seriously – World Sleep Day

Our concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter know that sleep is often the best medicine for any illness or injury. Conversely, lack of adequate sleep can not only interfere with recovery, but it can also trigger a host of diseases.

This Friday, March 15th, is World Sleep Day, designed to highlight the critical role sleep plays in maintaining health. World Sleep Day is hosted by the non-profit World Sleep Society (WSS) and was created because “Time and time again, sleep medicine professionals and researchers came up against the belief that sleep was not important enough in personal health and well-being to be a priority,” the WSS explains. It added that “society’s 24/7 flow” exacerbates what some medical professionals and researchers have called a national health crisis.

Several causes

The health issues associated with lack of sufficient sleep are myriad: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression . . . even a shorter lifespan overall.

How does poor sleep impact health? In short, the time we spend sleeping is time the body uses to repair itself, which it can’t do when we’re eating, working, playing, active, or stressed. From a medical standpoint, during sleep the immune system releases cytokines, which are a type of protein the body needs not only to sleep, but to fight the effects of stress, illness, or injury.

Research has shown that lack of sleep also reduces the number of certain antibodies used to fight infections. In addition, Japanese researchers found that losing six hours of sleep over a single night resulted in significantly elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels, warning signs for increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Effects of poor sleep

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), here are some of the effects of insufficient sleep on adults, as well as children and teens.

Brain and emotions

Sleep helps form new pathways to enhance learning, memory, problem-solving, decision-making, and creativity. Sleep deficiency has been linked to anxiety, depression, suicide, risky behavior, and inability to cope with change. The loss of even a single night of sleep has been shown to increase formation of the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, children who are sleep deficient may feel angry and impulsive, have difficulty paying attention, and get lower grades.

Physical health

Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke in adults. It also increases the risk of obesity in all age groups. In addition, insufficient sleep hinders the body’s ability to repair itself, including hampering the immune system. Sleep also supports healthy growth and development in children and teens, helping to boost muscle mass.

Performance and Safety

A loss of even one to two hours of sleep a night over several nights has the same effect as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two. Sleep deficiency not only interferes with the ability to drive a car, it can affect people in all lines of work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly-line workers. So insufficient sleep is not only affecting those who experience it, but can impact others, as well. The NIH estimates that driver sleepiness is a factor in approximately 100,000 auto accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.

What Is Healthy Sleep?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to a third of Americans do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep a night. If you’re sleeping well, you:

  • will fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes of going to bed;
  • will sleep between seven and nine hours per night (longer than that is also unhealthy);
  • will remain asleep for the entire night;
  • will awaken feeling refreshed, and will remain alert and productive during the day; and,
  • will not snore, gasp for breath, or feel restless while you’re trying to sleep.

If you typically skimp on sleep during the week and try to catch up by sleeping in on the weekends, a new study published last month in the journal Current Biology has some bad news for you. Researchers found that so-called “recovery sleep” has no benefit to the body in the long term. As reported in The Washington Post, participants in a sleep laboratory who we limited to five hours of sleep on weekdays then allowed to “binge sleep” on weekends still gained nearly three pounds over two weeks and also experienced metabolic disruption that would increase the risk of diabetes later in life.

To help you obtain the proper amount of sleep, you should:

  • go to bed at the same time every night
  • don’t try to sleep on a full stomach
  • refrain from using caffeine or alcohol after dinner
  • turn off “blue-light” devices (TVs, computers, smartphones) at least an hour before bedtime; and,
  • restrict activity in the bed to sex and sleep (i.e., no working, reading, TV, etc.)

Because healthy sleep is so crucial to your health, please let us know if you have any difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep so we can help uncover the cause and provide solutions.

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