What’s in your chocolate?
I’ve been in the dark about chocolate!
I just received a newsletter from ConsumerLab, one of my favorite consumer websites, that details not only what makes dark chocolate healthy (flavanols), but what potentially makes it just a little bit toxic (the heavy metals lead and cadmium).
And apparently this isn’t new news. I’ve found stories talking about trace levels of heavy metals in chocolate going back over ten years, so I don’t know how I missed it other than I’m not much of a chocolate eater.
Still, I have friends that are chocoholics and I … Continue reading
Any nurse who has worked in an emergency department, especially in a children’s hospital, dreads the Fourth of July.
We’ve seen what fireworks can do to a hand. Or a face. It’s not pretty. (Look on YouTube if you don’t believe me.)
Every state has its own laws on what fireworks are legal. Many cities and communities ban fireworks because of fire danger.
But even legal fireworks are risky and bans don’t necessarily stop people from doing stupid things.
The American Academy of Pediatrics makes this statement on their website:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to urge families
… Continue reading
UV rays damage eyes
As part of May’s Skin Cancer Prevention Month, I wanted to share some tips to protect your eyes.
Just as the sun can injure your skin, it can hurt the delicate tissue of your eyes, too.
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.
Related post: Tanning beds and skin cancer
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 … Continue reading
The debate over screening ECGs
When my son was a teenager, he participated in several school sports, including track and field.
And it always freaked me out when I heard a news report about a young teen athlete suddenly dying on a track or a basketball court.
The stories were similar: young, seemingly healthy teenagers died because no one knew they had a problem with their hearts.
Every time I wondered if I should immediately take my son to his pediatrician and demand an (electrocardiogram) ECG to make sure his heart was OK.
I had to remind myself that these … Continue reading
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just released a warning about keeping hand sanitizers out of the reach of small children. Because more people use hand sanitizers during cold and flu season, there are more reports of children being poisoned by the main ingredient, either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. About 90% of these poisonings were in children younger than five.
Anyway, here is a re-post about preventing childhood poisonings in general, and links to Poison Control and other resources.
Stay safe! FN
A rising number of childhood poisonings
I don’t know much about e-cigarettes and vaping, but a recent study … Continue reading
Homeopathic remedies don’t cure, and they can harm
I’ve posted before about homeopathy and homeopathic remedies. In short, they don’t work. There is absolutely no sound scientific evidence that supports homeopathy.
Related post: A homeopathic parody
At best they’re a waste of money; at worse, homeopathic remedies may be harmful, especially to infants and small children.
In recent months, certain homeopathic remedies for teething babies have been targeted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These products, Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Hyland’s Teething Gel, contain very small amounts of a well-known poison—belladonna or “deadly nightshade.”
How can poison be a … Continue reading
I’m spending the day online getting some gift shopping done, and I thought I’d post about some of the healthcare books and gifts I’m buying for friends and family this year.
I use Amazon a lot (Prime, so I get free 2-day shipping), and I have to include a disclosure here that the following links will take you to my Amazon Associates page. That said, I’m not trying to make any money with my blog, so if you can find these products for better prices elsewhere, great!
For the sleep deprived
As someone who has battled insomnia most of her … Continue reading
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month!
Miami Children’s Hospital has a great public service video with toy safety tips.
My local pediatric hospital, Seattle Children’s, has a webpage devoted to toy safety and safety tips, including how to choose age-appropriate gifts, how to recognize potential dangers, and how to keep toys in good condition to keep them safe.
They also offer links to toy and gift suggestions for different age groups.
The sponsor of Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Prevent Blindness, has this toy safety list on its website:
… Continue reading
Watch for cars!
What is the biggest risk to kids on Halloween night? It’s not an overdose of sugar, or the possibility of tainted treats. It’s the traffic.
The Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety says child pedestrian accidents increase 400% on Halloween, compared to an average day. The greatest number of accidents occur between the hours of 5 pm and 9 pm.
The guide gives the following tips for kids and parents:
- Use crosswalks.
- Stay alert to your surroundings—that means put the phone away and keep your eyes up!
- Plan your route ahead of time.
- Make eye contact with
… Continue reading
The right medication at the right dose
The journal Pediatrics recently published a study that showed about 85% of parents make mistakes when measuring out doses of liquid over-the-counter medications.
That reminded me of this short video from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio talking about medication errors made by parents or other caregivers.
Using over 10 years of data from the National Poison Center, researchers found that children under the age of 6 are exposed to a medication error every 8 minutes: too much, too little, or the wrong drug altogether.
Most often, they found … Continue reading
Kids need flu shots!
Pediatricians recommend all children over the age of 6 months get a yearly flu shot.
In previous years, a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine, FluMist, has been available to parents who wanted to avoid subjecting their children to another needle jab.
But for the last 3 years FluMist has not been nearly as effective as the standard flu shot. So for the 2016-2017 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) are recommending against FluMist for flu prevention.
For the 2016-2017 flu season, the Advisory Committee on
… Continue reading
Triclosan isn’t effective
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began drafting guidelines for the use of the popular antibacterial, triclosan, about 40 years ago.
Two years ago they announced they were ready to implement some much-needed oversight of this chemical. They asked the manufacturers of soaps and body washes to provide more evidence of both its effectiveness and safety.
Well, those companies came up short. Last week the FDA made its final decision to ban triclosan and some other chemicals used in “antibacterial” soaps.
Manufacturers haven’t shown that these ingredients are any more effective than plain
… Continue reading
Hepatitis A outbreaks
This morning I read about a hepatitis A outbreak in Virginia. The source is apparently contaminated strawberries used to make smoothies. So far, 40 people have become sick.
This outbreak follows on the heels of another in Hawaii, where 168 cases of the virus have been linked to frozen scallops.
Let these outbreaks be a reminder or an incentive to anyone NOT vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus—get vaccinated!
The hepatitis A virus attacks your liver and causes varying degrees of nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice. It rarely causes long-term liver damage or … Continue reading
Kids and vaccines
It’s that time of year when the days shorten, stores advertise trendy back-to-school clothes, and parents scramble to make appointments with their kids’ pediatricians for sport physicals and immunizations.
At least, I hope they do.
I am a fervent believer in vaccinations, even though I live in the state (Washington) with–sadly–the highest “opt out” rate in the country.
In 1998 a medical journal published a paper by (now debunked and disgraced) scientist Andrew Wakefield. He implied a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Since then, many parents have feared vaccinating their … Continue reading
Last week Florida health officials announced that Zika is “actively circulating” in certain parts of the state. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has even gone so far as to issue a travel warning to advise pregnant woman not to travel to these areas.
Related post: Protect yourself from mosquito bites
The CDC has been really proactive in educating and updating the public about the Zika virus—what it is, where it is, and how we can protect ourselves.
In addition to their Zika virus homepage, they also have a great series of short videos called Zap Zika.