First aid for fireworks injuries

Every year around the Fourth of July, hospital emergency departments and fire departments get ready to treat lots of fireworks injuries.

By July 5, most large communities have reported property damage—fires, mostly—and bodily damage—burns, missing fingers, blindness.

As a reminder to everybody to be careful around fireworks—my preference is to avoid them altogether—the San Diego Fire Department put together this great public service video demonstrating the danger of explosives fireworks.


I would also refer you to some of my relevant first aid posts:

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What attracts mosquitoes?

As a child, I remember my mother declaring that of our entire family (2 adults and 4 kids) she was the only one who was pestered by mosquitoes when we were at our summer cabin by the lake.

She felt understandably persecuted by the little blood-sucking menaces.

And she probably was right.

WebMD reports that “genetics account for a whopping 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites.”

New research out of the London School of Tropical Medicine confirms this.

The researchers used pairs of identical and fraternal twins who volunteered to be mosquito meat (who would do that?!).

With these

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Learn CPR and first aid

I just read a great little story about a young man who saved a life because he knew how to perform CPR—and wasn’t afraid to use it!

CPR delivered: “I left a pizza boy and came back a pizza man”

CPR is a great skill to know. It’s not going to be useful in every scenario, but just having the knowledge of how to do it can be very empowering in an emergency situation. And many CPR classes also teach you how to use one of the portable defibrillators (AEDs) that are more common in schools and other public places.… Continue reading

How healthy are public pools?

This summer is already unusually hot where I live and kids and adults are flocking to the local public swimming pools and wading pools.

But I read a couple of articles last week that first made me think “Eww!”, and then made me wonder about how healthy public pools really are.

A diarrhea-causing parasite that is often transmitted through water is causing an increasing number of outbreaks in U.S. pools and spas, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Turns out there is a reason pools … Continue reading

First aid for heat stroke

Living in the Pacific Northwest,  we rarely have to worry about heat stroke or other heat-related illnesses.

In fact, it so often rains through the Fourth of July, we joke that summer doesn’t officially start until July 5th.

But today and through July 4th a heat advisory will be in effect where I live. We are being warned that not only will temperatures be unusually hot and uncomfortable, they might be deadly for some.

Most at risk are the very young and elderly.

  • Do not leave children of any age (or pets) unattended in parked cars!
  • Take extra care of
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Palliative care and hospice

hospice and palliative careFor the last few months, my family has been dealing with the reality that my 93-year-old father’s health is failing. Following a health crisis that resulted in his being hospitalized and no longer able to make decisions himself, my mother and siblings all agreed that he would not want any heroic, life-extending treatments.

He survived that hospitalization, however, and is now living in a memory care home. He is receiving excellent (and very expensive) around-the-clock care.

When he was discharged from the hospital, I made it known to everyone involved—his primary care doctor, the visiting home health nurse, and his … Continue reading

Know your health insurance

Two recent stories from Kaiser Health News caught my attention because they underscore the burden placed on patients to understand exactly what services their health insurance does or doesn’t cover.

Of course everyone should know their health plan’s benefits, but with so many different types of plans, and the hair-pulling-out frustrations of narrow networks, it can be really difficult. Unfortunately, the financial consequences of making a mistake are heavier than ever.

The first story tells of a … Continue reading

Choose sunglasses that block UV rays

Just as the sun can injure your skin, it can hurt the delicate tissue of your eyes, too.  Long-term exposure to UVA and UVB rays contributes to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Cataracts, cloudy areas on your eye’s lens, can be corrected with surgery; there is no effective treatment for macular degeneration, and it can lead to blindness.

Did you know you can also get melanoma of the eye? Unprotected UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds increases the risk of this type of cancer. And, of course, squinting against the sun’s glare can lead to wrinkles … Continue reading

What patients want to say…

A few weeks ago, I posted about a survey that listed the top ten things physicians wanted to say to their patients—but didn’t.

Another survey gives us the flip side: 10 Things I’d Like to Tell My Doctor, But Don’t

I thought the list would be patient confessions, such as “I really drink twice as much wine as I admit to” or “I know I told you I don’t smoke, but it’s only a pack or two a week.”

Judging by this survey, patients—understandably—are stifling the urge to complain about the lack of respect they receive from the physician, … Continue reading

Look “Up” – Health benefits of positive thinking

positive outlookDo you think of yourself as an optimist or a pessimist? Or, like me, a hybrid of the two (hope for the best, but plan for the worst)?

I just finished reading Up: How Positive Outlook Can Transform Our Health and Aging by Hilary Tindle, MD, MPH, and found it an engaging look at how our outlook can drive our behaviors toward better or poorer health.

Dr. Tindle began her career as a primary care doctor. What she found were “relentless days of chronically ill” patients who suffered from obesity, depression, anxiety, insomnia, smoking, drinking, loneliness and isolation.


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