What is the UV Index?

uv indexClouds don’t protect you from the sun

On a cloudy summer day it’s easy to forget that the sun’s skin-damaging ultraviolet or UV rays aren’t blocked by the clouds. We still have to use sunscreen, wear hats and sunglasses, or stay out of the sun to protect ourselves.

Related post: Be informed – What is SPF?

UV rays not only cause sunburn, but also skin cancer and cataracts. And there aren’t enough beauty creams in the world to undo the premature aging effects of the sun, either.

Watch this video to see the sun’s “invisible” damage to the … Continue reading

What is a dry drowning?

Dry drowning and secondary drowning

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about kids and water safety.

I want to add some information about two little known conditions called “dry drowning” and “secondary drowning.” They’re relatively rare, thank goodness, but can happen up to 24 hours following a near-drowning when parents think their child is no longer in danger.

Both a dry drowning and a secondary drowning occur out of the water, after a child inhales some water. He or she might look panicked and cough violently for a short time. Often these kids then feel well … Continue reading

First aid for 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.

If you want some pretty graphic reasons to stay away from fireworks, just go to YouTube and search for “fireworks injuries.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following tips to keep kids safe:

  • Fireworks can result in severe burns, blindness, scars, and even death.
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Home remedies for sunburns

sunburnsFew summer ailments are as common as sunburns.

Prevention is key, of course, and you can read my previous posts on using sunscreens and how to save money on them.

But if you or your kids get a sunburn, here are some simple steps you can take to stop the burning and promote healing.

You don’t need to buy a bunch of special products. I do keep an inexpensive bottle of aloe vera gel in my medicine cabinet as one of my basic first aid supplies.

Tips to treat sunburns

  • Cool the skin. Whether
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Water safety tips

water safety tipsA preventable tragedy

A children’s hospital in Texas just released a grim statistic for the not-yet-over month of June: 15 near drownings and two drowning deaths of small children.

“Can you imagine being a parent, sitting in the ED waiting room, praying that the life of someone you love so dearly is spared, especially since it was something that didn’t have to happen? No parent wants to be saddled with that guilt.”

Such tragedies aren’t unique to Texas. Near drownings and deaths are reported every spring and summer as the weather heats up, kids get out of school, and families … Continue reading

“Pass on Packets” to keep kids safe

pass on packetsYesterday, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital hosted a Twitter chat discussing the dangers of those oh-so-convenient laundry detergent packets or pods that many of us use.

I use them.

But here is a scary statistic: every month almost 1,000 children under the age of 6 suffer the ill effects of biting into a packet and being exposed to the toxic detergent.

A pediatrician at OHSU writes:

If ingested…the highly concentrated packets can lead to vomiting, oral burns and swelling, respiratory distress and even respiratory failure – not to mention the neurologic impacts such as seizures,

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First aid for heat stroke

first aid for heat strokeHere comes the sun!

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!
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Healthy food choices – Dining Decisions

healthy food choicesEven toddlers seem to be playing with smartphone and tablet apps, so why not make it educational as well as fun?

Obesity among children is still a major public health problem. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hopes their new app, Dining Decisions, will help teach young children how to make healthy food choices.

The app was just released last month, and it’s only available for iPhones and iPads, so I haven’t been able to try it out yet. Hopefully it will be available in an Android version soon! I want to play.  🙂

Related post: Healthy kids Continue reading

Home remedies for allergy eyes

allergy eyesSpring and allergy eyes

I love the sunny days of early spring when the trees are in flower…but then my allergies kick in.

I don’t mind the runny nose and sneezing so much. I can use my neti pot to keep the pollen out of my nose.

But I’ve had a harder time treating the allergy eyes—the itchy, red, watery, ugly eyes that are the byproduct of all that seasonal pollen floating in the air.

Another name for allergy eyes is allergic conjunctivitis.

Try some simple treatments

I can’t avoid spring flowers, but I’ve finally (after many years of suffering) … Continue reading

Choose paper towels over air hand dryers

I just came back from vacation. Between airports, restaurants and public attractions, I washed my hands in a lot of public restrooms. I noticed that more places, especially newer ones, have installed high-tech hand dryers rather than paper towel dispensers. Some have both.

I usually use a paper towel because it’s faster and I can use it on the handle of the restroom as I’m leaving.

But I’ve never really considered if there’s a health difference between the two ways to dry your hands. Apparently, there is.

recent study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology compared how many germs … Continue reading

Prevent sports-related eye injuries

eye safetyIt’s spring and sporting equipment is coming out of the closets!

That’s why April is designated Sports Eye Safety Month.

If you and/or your kids play a sport that involves fast-moving balls, frisbees or sticks, the American Academy of Ophthamology (AAO) wants you to take steps to prevent eye injuries.

Every year, more than 42,000 people are seen in ERs with sports-related eye injuries, and 13,500 suffer some degree of blindness as a result.

Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eye. Basketball players tend to get poked in the eye with fingers. Tennis and

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ER tips to keep kids safe at home

As any parent or child caregiver can tell you, keeping kids safe—especially into-everything toddlers—takes a lot of planning ahead. We look around the house or yard and try to think like they do: What will they be attracted to? What will they pick up and put in their mouths? How high can they reach? Etc….

And sometimes we fail.

I just watched two video clips of ER docs talking about some common injuries they see, and what parents can do to make their homes more safe.

The first is from the TV show The Doctors: 3 Dangerous Drugs that Can Continue reading

Screening kids for lead poisoning

The high lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s water supply have been news for several months. There’s been a lot of finger pointing and congressional hearings and such, but the bottom line is that because an agency didn’t do its job properly, the health of many kids was put at risk.

Lead poisoning is especially serious in infants and young children, as it interferes with brain development.

Sadly, the situation in Flint is not unique. Washington, DC, had a similar crisis a few years ago, and just last week my home state, Washington, reported that 34 water systems had lead … Continue reading

Spring break and the Zika virus

Just in time for spring breaks across the country, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has posted the following fact sheets on its Zika Virus homepage:

Most of the tips concentrate on avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites by using recommended insect repellents and bed nets, and wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants, or clothing treated with permethrin.

Related post: Be informed – Bug repellents

It’s believed the Zika virus causes the really tragic birth defect microcephaly, so pregnant women or women planning on becoming pregnant need to … Continue reading

Michael Pollan – “Cooked”

cookedIf you have Netflix, I highly recommend watching Michael Pollan’s new series, Cooked.

Based on his book of the same name, Cooked, in typical Pollan style, shows us a fresher, healthier, and more enjoyable way to eat. He focuses not only on the nutritional value of foods, but also the culture of preparing and sharing meals.

The series is divided into four parts: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Each episode features mouth-watering meals from a variety of countries and cultures.

Pollan also offers theories as to how America’s diet and food culture got so completely messed up.

Related post:
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