jellyfish stings

How To Treat Jellyfish Stings

Approximately 150 million people worldwide are victims of jellyfish stings each year. And yes, while rare, you can die from their stings.

Because August is prime season for jellyfish, our concierge family doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter want to offer you some tips on how to treat this common seaside scourge.

Background

Jellyfish aren’t actually fish, but invertebrates that have been around for more than 500 million years. Also known as “jellies” or “sea jellies,” their long, stinging tentacles are used to catch, immobilize, and digest prey. They exist in every ocean.

The most dangerous type of marine animal is the box jellyfish, whose venom is one of the world’s deadliest. Its sting is so painful that swimmers have been known to have a heart attack or drown before being able to reach the shore. Fortunately for us, they are mainly confined to the Indo-Pacific region and northern Australia.

Scientists can’t prove that jellyfish are more numerous than in years past, but it is clear that they are expanding their territory. Theories as to the reason include climate change, agricultural runoff, and overfishing of their predators, which include tuna, swordfish, and sharks.

How to avoid stings

As with any wild creature, the best way to keep from being attacked is to avoid them.

One way to do that is to ask the lifeguard on duty whether jellyfish are prevalent where you’re planning to swim. Also, look for signs or a purple warning flag posted on the beach. These indicate that either jellyfish or other dangerous sea creatures have been spotted in the water. If so, stay out of the water!

You can also identify them yourself: They look like clear or white plastic bags or balloons, either floating on the water or on the beach.

If you do see them on the beach, do not touch them. Jellyfish tentacles can sting for up to two weeks after they’ve died. Wear some type of protective footwear when walking on the beach, because jellyfish—as well as any detached tentacles—can be difficult to spot.

Don’t depend on a wetsuit or coating your body with petroleum jelly to protect you. These may help, but they are not sting-proof. If you must go into the water, special “stinger suits” for sale at some dive shops may offer some protection.

What not to do

Because jellyfish have plagued humans since the first time we set foot in the ocean, many home remedies have sprung up over the millennia regarding the best way to treat their stings.

Many of them, in fact, will not only not help, but can actually exacerbate a sting. These include applying:

• ice
• fresh water
• baking soda
• urine
• ammonia
• meat tenderizer
• alcohol

All of these can make the sting worse by triggering the release of more venom, as can applying ice or a pressure bandage, or rubbing the site briskly with a towel.

What to do instead

The most recent research finds that the best ways to treat jelly fish stings is to immediately douse the site of the sting with vinegar (always bring some with you to the beach).

Then carefully pluck out any visible tentacles with fine point tweezers. Save these for later identification in case a dose of antivenin is required.

Soak affected skin in hot water between 110 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 20 minutes; 45 minutes is better. If you don’t have a thermometer available, test the water with your hand. It should be hot but not scalding.

A mild hydrocortisone cream or an oral antihistamine can help relieve itching and swelling.

Finally, clean open sores three times daily, finishing with antibiotic ointment.

When to seek medical treatment

The following situations require immediate emergency care following a jellyfish sting:

a sting on or near the eyes;
• the sting is from a box jellyfish (identifiable by its boxy shape);
• the sting covers more than half an arm or leg; or,
• the victim displays signs of a severe allergic reaction (i.e., trouble breathing or swallowing, coughing, wheezing, chest pain or tightness in the lungs, low blood pressure, weak or rapid pulse, dizziness, confusion, or fainting, or any other unusual symptom).

For less serious reactions, such as severe pain, if the area looks infected or the victim feels unwell, feel free to contact us at any time for advice and/or treatment.

temperatures

How To Stay Safe in Scorching Temperatures

We’re not even halfway through summer yet, and we’ve already seen record-high temperatures here in south Florida, which can bring dangerous health impacts. The two most serious are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Our concierge doctors in Jupiter want to remind you of ways you can keep your family safe as temperatures soar.

 

What to watch for

The Red Cross warns that some people are more at risk of developing a heat-related illness. These include: people aged 65 and older, who are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature; people with chronic medical conditions, who may be taking medication that can worsen the impact of extreme heat; infants and young children; and, outdoor workers and athletes, who may be more likely to become dehydrated, particularly in extreme heat.

When keeping an eye on the weather forecast, here’s what the various warning terms mean:

  • Excessive Heat Watch: Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Heat Advisory: Heat Index values are forecasted to meet locally defined advisory criteria for the next one-to-two days
  • Excessive Heat Warning: Heat Index values are forecasted to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least two days.

 

Consequences of extreme heat exposure

Such excessive heat as we’ve been experiencing recently can lead to life-threating heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Most people have heard these terms, but may not fully understand what they mean. We want to explain the differences between the two, because the treatments for each are different.

Heat exhaustion

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness. It lists the warning signs of heat exhaustion as:

  • heavy sweating
  • weakness
  • cold, pale, clammy skin
  • fast, weak pulse
  • nausea or vomiting

If you or someone you’re with experiences these symptoms, you should move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen your clothing, apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible, and sip water. If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.

 

Heat stroke

The signs of heat stroke are:

  • high body temperature (above 103 degrees)
  • hot, red, dry, or moist skin
  • rapid and strong pulse
  • possible unconsciousness.

 

This is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately. While waiting for the ambulance, move the person to a cooler environment, and try to reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths, or if possible, a cool bath. Do NOT try to give fluids.

 

Staying safe in the heat

Here are steps you can take to avoid experiencing either of these serious conditions.

  • Limit outdoor activity. The sun is hottest from 11 a.m. (D.S.T.) to 3 p.m., so try to stay indoors, or at least in shaded areas, during those times. If you must be outdoors, take frequent breaks, preferably in air-conditioned environments, and, if possible, take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat with a wide brim.
  • Drink water frequently, from two to four cups of water every hour. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, because by then you’re already started to dehydrate. Monitor urine color: If your urine is dark, you’re not drinking enough water. Urine should be light yellow or clear. And avoid alcoholic drinks, which can not only impair judgment regarding time spent in the heat but also dehydrate you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars for any amount of time. Also check on animals frequently, ensuring they have access to shade and plenty of cool water.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

 

Keep these safety tips in mind as you enjoy the outdoor fun in summer, and check with us if you feel more bothered than usual by the heat. This could be a sign of a medical condition that warrants investigation.

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.

Coping with Pet Grief

Our concierge family practice doctors in Jupiter have heard it more than once: “I don’t understand it. I’m grieving more for my pet than I did when my parent died.”

That statement may be shocking to some, but research has shown this reaction is not uncommon. This may be due to a number of reasons.

 

Not ‘just an animal’

People who have never had pets, or who haven’t shared a close relationship with them, may not understand the deep bond that can exist between a human and their companion animals. They may minimize or even dismiss the grief that can accompany the death of a pet.

 

Pet owners may grieve more for their animals than humans in their lives because our relationship with our pets may be more uncomplicated than those we share with humans. They offer unconditional love, and let us offer that to them. In addition, we see our animals every day, whereas parents, siblings, and friends may not be as physically close to us.

 

As with the loss of humans in our lives, we also feel grief when a pet dies because, as anyone who has spent time around an animal knows, each of them possesses a unique personality, so we miss that “person” as we would any human individual we’ve come to know and love.

 

Finally, there’s the fact that our animals totally rely on us to feed and care for them, offering a kind of normalcy to every day, similar to the way infant children are dependent on their parents for constant care.

 

Guilt often involved

This dependent relationship also complicates the loss, because pet owners may feel unneeded after an animal dies, or—quite commonly—feel they’re somehow responsible for the death.

 

“If only I’d taken him to the vet sooner.” “Why didn’t I close the gate so she didn’t get into the road?” “I should have had him euthanized sooner/later” is an especially common reaction. These natural feelings add to the grief, and may make it more difficult to cope with.

 

When guilt rears its ugly head, it’s best to remember you did the best you could for the animal you love given the information you had at the time. If the pet died through a preventable accident, you need to forgive yourself and remember it wasn’t deliberate. Also, try to focus on the good life you gave him/her.

 

How to cope

  1. Jettison any expectations that you will “get over” your pet’s death. With any loss, we don’t “get over” it; we eventually learn to live with the new reality and incorporate it into our daily lives. And never set a timetable for when you should start feeling better. Grief is different for every person, and depends on many factors, including your relationship with the animal, your social network, and other things going on in your life.

 

  1. Try to find at least one person you can talk to, not only about your grief, but about what made that particular animal special. If no one in your life offers this safe place, there are numerous online and in-person support groups that can provide this service. Your veterinarian likely knows of support groups in your area.

 

  1. Memorialize your pet. Hold a funeral or memorial service; create a photo album; write down memories; plant a tree. If you were present for the death of your pet, you may become “stuck” on those last moments. Focusing on the entirety of the pet’s life can help you put those final memories in perspective.

 

  1. Take care of yourself. Grief is exhausting. If the pet was ill for a long time, by the time he or she died, you were already worn out from the worry and medical care you gave the animal. Try to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and at least take walks if you’re not yet up for strenuous exercise. You need to support your body as it recovers from the difficult work of mourning.

 

Finally, check with us if your grief interferes with your life, you feel that these steps aren’t helping, or you have thoughts of suicide. We can help.

heat summer

Beware the Danger of High Temperatures

May 30th is Heat Safety Awareness Day, so our concierge family doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter want to take this opportunity to acquaint you with this important health concern. The fact is, heat is a killer, and we here in south Florida need to pay particular attention to the danger high temperatures can present.

Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration are some of the leading weather-related killers. For example:

  • A 1980 heat wave killed more than 1,250 people.
  • In 1995, a heat wave in Chicago took more than 700 people (the deadliest weather event in Chicago history).
  • In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.

 

Some people are more susceptible to negative effects from the heat. These include:

  • people 65 and older, who are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature;
  • people with chronic medical conditions, who may be taking medication that can worsen the impact of extreme heat;
  • infants and young children; and,
  • outdoor workers and athletes, who may be more likely to become dehydrated, particularly in extreme heat.

It’s vital to know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the warning signs for each, and what to do in the event you or someone else experiences them. You should also know how to avoid these serious conditions.

 

Heat exhaustion

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness. It lists the warning signs of heat exhaustion as:

  • heavy sweating
  • weakness
  • cold, pale, clammy skin
  • fast, weak pulse
  • nausea or vomiting

If you or someone you’re with experiences these symptoms, you should move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen your clothing, apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible, and sip water. If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.

 

Heat stroke

The signs of heat stroke are:

  • high body temperature (above 103 degrees)
  • hot, red, dry, or moist skin
  • rapid and strong pulse
  • possible unconsciousness.

This is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately. While waiting for the ambulance, move the person to a cooler environment, and try to reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths, or if possible, a cool bath. Do NOT try to give fluids.

 

Stay safe in the heat

Following are steps you can take to avoid experiencing either of these potentially deadly conditions.

Limit outdoor activity. The sun is hottest from 11 a.m. (D.S.T.) to 3 p.m., so try to stay indoors, or at least in shaded areas, during those times. If you must be outdoors, take frequent breaks, preferably in air-conditioned environments, and, if possible, take cool showers or baths to cool down.

Dress appropriately. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat with wide brim.

Stay hydrated. Drink water frequently, from two to four cups of water every hour. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, because by then you’ve already started to dehydrate. Monitor urine color: If your urine is dark, you’re not drinking enough water. Urine should be light yellow or clear. And avoid alcoholic drinks, which can not only impair judgment regarding time spent in the heat but also dehydrate you.

Check the car. Despite all the awareness and warnings in the last few years, more children—51—died in hot cars in 2018 than any year on record. It happens to the most conscientious parents who simply have too many things on their minds. When transporting children, place something necessary—a purse or briefcase—next to the child. Keep car doors locked and never allow children to play in a car. And countless numbers of pets die when owners leave them alone in a hot car “just for a couple minutes.” Never leave pets alone in a closed car, even for a few minutes.

 

Check with us to see whether any medical conditions might make you more susceptible to heat.

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.

Obesity Is a Little-Known Cancer Risk

When you think of ways to prevent cancer, you think of stopping smoking, avoiding the sun, getting regular screenings, and so on. But one way that might not occur to you is losing weight.

Therefore, our concierge family practice doctors in Jupiter thought you should know that there are 13 different types of cancer linked to overweight and obesity.

The risk

A recent article in The Washington Post reported that, although smoking is the number one preventable cause of cancer, killing more than 500,000 people in this country every year, “obesity is poised to take the top spot, as Americans’ waistlines continue to expand while tobacco use plummets.” It also appears that the more overweight a person is, the higher the cancer risk.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the types of cancer that may be influenced by overweight include:

  • esophageal
  • thyroid
  • colon
  • renal
  • liver
  • melanoma
  • multiple myeloma
  • rectal
  • gallbladder
  • leukemia
  • lymphoma
  • prostate in men
  • post-menopausal breast and endometrial in women

Being overweight also makes it more difficult to survive once a cancer is diagnosed.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about eight percent of all cancers in the United States, as well as about seven percent of all cancer deaths. In addition, having too much belly fat, regardless of body weight, is linked with an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer, and is probably linked to a higher risk of cancers of the pancreas, endometrium, and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

The reasons

Despite the apparent links, researchers are not certain of the reason that increased weight raises the risk of cancer. But they do have some theories. The ACS believes that timing of weight gain plays a role.

“Being overweight during childhood and young adulthood might be more of a risk factor than gaining weight later in life for some cancers,” the ACS says. “For example, some research suggests that women who are overweight as teenagers (but not those who gain weight as adults) may be at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer before menopause.”

The Post reports that researchers are homing in on the “visceral” fat that surrounds internal organs as the culprit.

“Rather than being a harmless glob, this fat is a ‘metabolically active organ’ that produces hormones such as estrogen, which is associated with a higher risk of breast and some other cancers, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. . . . The fat also secretes proteins that drive insulin levels higher, which may spur cell growth and increase the possibility of cancer. And it can cause chronic inflammation, another risk factor for the disease, according to the group.”

“It’s a complex interplay of metabolism, inflammation, and immunity,” Jennifer Ligibel, a breast oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told the paper. “It creates an environment that is more permissive for cancer.”

It’s also possible that lifestyle choices which cause overweight—poor diet and lack of exercise—are themselves contributing factors.

The upshot

While the effect of losing weight on reducing cancer risk is still uncertain, the ACS believes reducing body weight is a good move.

“Some body changes that occur as a result of weight loss suggest it may, indeed, reduce cancer risk. For example, overweight or obese people who intentionally lose weight have reduced levels of certain hormones that are related to cancer risk, such as insulin, estrogens, and androgens.”

To improve cancer odds, Ligibel of Dana-Farber told The Post that even a five percent reduction in body weight produces a beneficial result on blood sugar and inflammation.

We know dieting is difficult, but the results are well worth it, not only in reducing the risk of cancers and heart disease, but in improved quality of life overall. If you are overweight, please see us for tips and advice on simple ways to slim down.

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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