This year the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) predicts a “near-normal” hurricane season.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, this season may have 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).

 

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June 1st marks the official start of Hurricane season and it runs until November 30th.  September is usually the most active month.  Hurricanes are categorized by their wind speed as designated as the following using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale:

  • Category I have sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph
  • Category II have sustained winds of 96 to 110 mph
  • Category III have sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph
  • Category IV have sustained winds of 130 to 156 mph
  • Category V have sustained  winds of over 157 mph

Category III storms have known to cause “devastating” damage and Categories IV and V have been associated with “catastrophic” damage.

In a given year, the Atlantic Ocean averages 12 named storms with 6 becoming “hurricanes” and 3 becoming “major” meaning a Category III or greater.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was at one point a Category V but when it hit landfall it was a Category 3, tragically killing over 1800 people and causing $108 billion in damage.  The deadliest hurricane to ever hit US soil, however, was the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 in which over 10,000 people died.

Our current hurricane season may be dependent on “El Nino” and water temperatures.

El Nino is refers to a ocean-atmospheric interaction where sea surface temperatures rise near the equatorial Pacific, causing increase wind shear in the Atlantic equatorial region and has been linked to lower than active hurricane seasons.  However warmer water temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean as well as monsoon activity in Africa could increase hurricane activity.

So an El Nino hurricane season may offer some protection but can be easily offset by ocean water temperatures.

This year’s names for the 2019 Hurricane Season are the following

Atlantic

Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dorian
Erin
Fernand
Gabrielle
Humberto
Imelda
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Nestor
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastian
Tanya
Van
Wendy

Pacific

Alvin
Barbara
Cosme
Dalila
Erick
Flossie
Gil
Henriette
Ivo
Juliette
Kiko
Lorena
Mario
Narda
Octave
Priscilla
Raymond
Sonia
Tico
Velma
Wallis
Xina
York
Zelda

 

Hurricane Kate 300px.jpg

How to prepare for the hurricane season

Preparation means starting early.

Make sure you keep informed of the latest alerts and official recommendations.

Evacuate when told to do so by city officials.

Many people will try to tough it out and unfortunately get walled up in their homes.  So make sure you have adequate water (1 gallon per day/person for at least three days) and 1/4 – 1/2 gallon/water/ per pet, except the fish obviously.

Canned foods, flashlights, medical supply kit, batteries, blankets, cash, medications in water proof containers should be set aside for disasters, and put important papers in waterproof/fireproof casings.

According to ready.gov, they recommend the following:

PREPARE NOW
  • KNOW YOUR AREA’S RISK OF HURRICANES.
  • SIGN UP FOR YOUR COMMUNITY’S WARNING SYSTEM. THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM (EAS) AND NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA) WEATHER RADIO ALSO PROVIDE EMERGENCY ALERTS.
  • IF YOU ARE AT RISK FOR FLASH FLOODING, WATCH FOR WARNING SIGNS SUCH AS HEAVY RAIN.
  • PRACTICE GOING TO A SAFE SHELTER FOR HIGH WINDS, SUCH AS A FEMA SAFE ROOM OR ICC 500 STORM SHELTER. THE NEXT BEST PROTECTION IS A SMALL, INTERIOR, WINDOWLESS ROOM IN A STURDY BUILDING ON THE LOWEST LEVEL THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO FLOODING.
  • BASED ON YOUR LOCATION AND COMMUNITY PLANS, MAKE YOUR OWN PLANS FOR EVACUATION OR SHELTERING IN PLACE.
  • BECOME FAMILIAR WITH YOUR EVACUATION ZONE, THE EVACUATION ROUTE, AND SHELTER LOCATIONS.
  • GATHER NEEDED SUPPLIES FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS. KEEP IN MIND EACH PERSON’S SPECIFIC NEEDS, INCLUDING MEDICATION. DON’T FORGET THE NEEDS OF PETS.
  • KEEP IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN A SAFE PLACE OR CREATE PASSWORD-PROTECTED DIGITAL COPIES.
  • PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY. DECLUTTER DRAINS AND GUTTERS. INSTALL CHECK VALVES IN PLUMBING TO PREVENT BACKUPS. CONSIDER HURRICANE SHUTTERS. REVIEW INSURANCE POLICIES.
WHEN A HURRICANE IS 36 HOURS FROM ARRIVING
  • TURN ON YOUR TV OR RADIO IN ORDER TO GET THE LATEST WEATHER UPDATES AND EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS.
  • RESTOCK YOUR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS KIT. INCLUDE FOOD AND WATER SUFFICIENT FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS, MEDICATIONS, A FLASHLIGHT, BATTERIES, CASH, AND FIRST AID SUPPLIES.
  • PLAN HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH FAMILY MEMBERS IF YOU LOSE POWER. FOR EXAMPLE, YOU CAN CALL, TEXT, EMAIL OR USE SOCIAL MEDIA. REMEMBER THAT DURING DISASTERS, SENDING TEXT MESSAGES IS USUALLY RELIABLE AND FASTER THAN MAKING PHONE CALLS BECAUSE PHONE LINES ARE OFTEN OVERLOADED.
  • REVIEW YOUR EVACUATION ZONE, EVACUATION ROUTE AND SHELTER LOCATIONS. PLAN WITH YOUR FAMILY. YOU MAY HAVE TO LEAVE QUICKLY SO PLAN AHEAD.
  • KEEP YOUR CAR IN GOOD WORKING CONDITION, AND KEEP THE GAS TANK FULL; STOCK YOUR VEHICLE WITH EMERGENCY SUPPLIES AND A CHANGE OF CLOTHES.
  • IF YOU HAVE NFIP FLOOD INSURANCE, YOUR POLICY MAY COVER UP TO $1000 IN LOSS AVOIDANCE MEASURES, LIKE SANDBAGS AND WATER PUMPS, TO PROTECT YOUR INSURED PROPERTY. YOU SHOULD KEEP COPIES OF ALL RECEIPTS AND A RECORD OF THE TIME SPENT PERFORMING THE WORK. THEY SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO YOUR INSURANCE ADJUSTER WHEN YOU FILE A CLAIM TO BE REIMBURSED. VISIT WWW.FEMA.GOV/MEDIA-LIBRARY/ASSETS/DOCUMENTS/137860 TO LEARN MORE.
WHEN A HURRICANE IS 18-36 HOURS FROM ARRIVING
  • BOOKMARK YOUR CITY OR COUNTY WEBSITE FOR QUICK ACCESS TO STORM UPDATES AND EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS.
  • BRING LOOSE, LIGHTWEIGHT OBJECTS INSIDE THAT COULD BECOME PROJECTILES IN HIGH WINDS (E.G., PATIO FURNITURE, GARBAGE CANS); ANCHOR OBJECTS THAT WOULD BE UNSAFE TO BRING INSIDE (E.G., PROPANE TANKS); AND TRIM OR REMOVE TREES CLOSE ENOUGH TO FALL ON THE BUILDING.
  • COVER ALL OF YOUR HOME’S WINDOWS. PERMANENT STORM SHUTTERS OFFER THE BEST PROTECTION FOR WINDOWS. A SECOND OPTION IS TO BOARD UP WINDOWS WITH 5/8” EXTERIOR GRADE OR MARINE PLYWOOD, CUT TO FIT AND READY TO INSTALL.
WHEN A HURRICANE IS 6-18 HOURS FROM ARRIVING
  • TURN ON YOUR TV/RADIO, OR CHECK YOUR CITY/COUNTY WEBSITE EVERY 30 MINUTES IN ORDER TO GET THE LATEST WEATHER UPDATES AND EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS.
  • CHARGE YOUR CELL PHONE NOW SO YOU WILL HAVE A FULL BATTERY IN CASE YOU LOSE POWER.
WHEN A HURRICANE IS 6 HOURS FROM ARRIVING
  • IF YOU’RE NOT IN AN AREA THAT IS RECOMMENDED FOR EVACUATION, PLAN TO STAY AT HOME OR WHERE YOU ARE AND LET FRIENDS AND FAMILY KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.
  • CLOSE STORM SHUTTERS, AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. FLYING GLASS FROM BROKEN WINDOWS COULD INJURE YOU.
  • TURN YOUR REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER TO THE COLDEST SETTING AND OPEN ONLY WHEN NECESSARY. IF YOU LOSE POWER, FOOD WILL LAST LONGER. KEEP A THERMOMETER IN THE REFRIGERATOR TO BE ABLE TO CHECK THE FOOD TEMPERATURE WHEN THE POWER IS RESTORED.
  • TURN ON YOUR TV/RADIO, OR CHECK YOUR CITY/COUNTY WEBSITE EVERY 30 MINUTES IN ORDER TO GET THE LATEST WEATHER UPDATES AND EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS.
SURVIVE DURING
  • IF TOLD TO EVACUATE, DO SO IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT DRIVE AROUND BARRICADES.
  • IF SHELTERING DURING HIGH WINDS, GO TO A FEMA SAFE ROOM, ICC 500 STORM SHELTER, OR A SMALL, INTERIOR, WINDOWLESS ROOM OR HALLWAY ON THE LOWEST FLOOR THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO FLOODING.
  • IF TRAPPED IN A BUILDING BY FLOODING, GO TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF THE BUILDING. DO NOT CLIMB INTO A CLOSED ATTIC. YOU MAY BECOME TRAPPED BY RISING FLOOD WATER.
  • LISTEN FOR CURRENT EMERGENCY INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS.
  • USE A GENERATOR OR OTHER GASOLINE-POWERED MACHINERY OUTDOORS ONLY AND AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
  • DO NOT WALK, SWIM, OR DRIVE THROUGH FLOOD WATERS. TURN AROUND. DON’T DROWN! JUST SIX INCHES OF FAST-MOVING WATER CAN KNOCK YOU DOWN, AND ONE FOOT OF MOVING WATER CAN SWEEP YOUR VEHICLE AWAY.
  • STAY OFF OF BRIDGES OVER FAST-MOVING WATER.
BE SAFE AFTER
  • LISTEN TO AUTHORITIES FOR INFORMATION AND SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS.
  • BE CAREFUL DURING CLEAN-UP. WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND WORK WITH SOMEONE ELSE.
  • DO NOT TOUCH ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT IF IT IS WET OR IF YOU ARE STANDING IN WATER. IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO, TURN OFF ELECTRICITY AT THE MAIN BREAKER OR FUSE BOX TO PREVENT ELECTRIC SHOCK.
  • AVOID WADING IN FLOOD WATER, WHICH CAN CONTAIN DANGEROUS DEBRIS. UNDERGROUND OR DOWNED POWER LINES CAN ALSO ELECTRICALLY CHARGE THE WATER.
  • SAVE PHONE CALLS FOR EMERGENCIES. PHONE SYSTEMS ARE OFTEN DOWN OR BUSY AFTER A DISASTER. USE TEXT MESSAGES OR SOCIAL MEDIA TO COMMUNICATE WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
  • DOCUMENT ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE WITH PHOTOGRAPHS. CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY FOR ASSISTANCE.

Always have an emergency plan, practice it with family members, discuss with distantly located relatives how you will notify each other of your safety, and stay tuned to your radio, TV, wireless emergency alerts encase evacuations are ordered.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 
Published in News & Information

As August approaches, the CDC is asking health care professionals to be on the lookout and report any suspected cases of AFM (Acute Flaccid Myelitis), a paralyzing illness resembling polio, as cases may peak during this time.

Last year a total of 233 cases were confirmed in 41 states.  This year 11 have been reported and an additional 57 cases are being investigated.  Cases have been reported in California, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and West Virginia this year.

 

afm-state-map.png

IMAGE ABOVE FROM CDC

Last year, California, Colorado and Texas appeared to be the worst hit with 15, 16 and 31  cases respectively.  Experts are urging states to report any cases of suspected AFM as the above map could be an under-representation of true numbers.

On their website, the CDC reports the following:

  • MOST OF THE PATIENTS WITH AFM (MORE THAN 90%) HAD A MILD RESPIRATORY ILLNESS OR FEVER CONSISTENT WITH A VIRAL INFECTION BEFORE THEY DEVELOPED AFM.
    • VIRAL INFECTIONS SUCH AS FROM ENTEROVIRUSES ARE COMMON, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN, AND MOST PEOPLE RECOVER. WE DON’T KNOW WHY A SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE DEVELOP AFM, WHILE MOST OTHERS RECOVER. WE ARE CONTINUING TO INVESTIGATE THIS.
  • THESE AFM CASES ARE NOT CAUSED BY POLIOVIRUS; ALL THE STOOL SPECIMENS FROM AFM PATIENTS THAT WE RECEIVED TESTED NEGATIVE FOR POLIOVIRUS.
  • WE DETECTED COXSACKIEVIRUS A16, EV-A71, AND EV-D68 IN THE SPINAL FLUID OF FOUR OF 570 CONFIRMED CASES OF AFM SINCE 2014, WHICH POINTS TO THE CAUSE OF THOSE PATIENTS’ AFM. FOR ALL OTHER PATIENTS, NO PATHOGEN (GERM) HAS BEEN DETECTED IN THEIR SPINAL FLUID TO CONFIRM A CAUSE.
  • MOST PATIENTS HAD ONSET OF AFM BETWEEN AUGUST AND OCTOBER, WITH INCREASES IN AFM CASES EVERY TWO YEARS SINCE 2014. AT THIS SAME TIME OF YEAR, MANY VIRUSES COMMONLY CIRCULATE, INCLUDING ENTEROVIRUSES, AND WILL BE TEMPORALLY ASSOCIATED WITH AFM.
  • MOST AFM CASES ARE CHILDREN (OVER 90%) AND HAVE OCCURRED IN 48 STATES AND DC.

The “48 states” refers to cases since 2014.   90% of the cases occurred in children under the age of 4.

The age range of children affected appear to be 3-14.  A 6-year-old boy in Washington State died in 2016 and was the first death to be linked to this mysterious illness.  His parents reported he had felt ill, became dizzy and within hours suffered swelling in the brain and paralysis.  Despite medical efforts, he passed.

In 2018 parents of two children who died from AFM accused the CDC of hiding their deaths.

Although the exact cause of AFM is unknown, health experts are considering a variety of possibilities. They have actually been investigating this since 2014 when reports of AFM began to surface across the United States.

What is AFM?

AFM stands for Acute Flaccid Myelitis.  It’s a condition that occurs suddenly, causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle tone and reflexes.  Although limb weakness is the primary symptom, patients could also exhibit slurred speech, facial drooping, and in serious cases inability to breath due to paralysis of the respiratory muscles.  Mild cases appear to resolve but serious cases can cause residual paralysis or death. Children appear to be more affected than adults.

What causes AFM?

Although health officials do not know for certain, due to its rapid onset, a pathogen such as a virus seems highly likely.  With the 2013-2014 outbreak, some of the cases tested positive for enterovirus (EV-D68), but it is not conclusive whether this was the exact cause or just coincidentally found in the patients tested.

Some postulate a combination of viruses may be a factor or an autoimmune disease.  Although Guillain-Barre syndrome causes acute limb weakness and paralysis when the immune system begins attacking the nervous system, the report that many individuals feel feverish or ill prior, seem to point to a pathogen as the primary cause although the latter is not being ruled out.  Virus families such as enterovirus (including polio and nonpolio enterovirus), adenovirus (causing respiratory and GI illness) cocksackieviruses and flaviviruses (including West Nile) have been suspected.

How common is AFM?

Per the CDC, acute flaccid myelitis is rare (less than 1 in a million cases) however currently they report 570 cases have been confirmed since the outbreak began in August 2014.

How is it diagnosed?

Medical professionals look at a variety of factors.

Medical professionals look at a variety of factors.

History: how the paralysis/loss of muscle tone began and which limbs did it affect first

Laboratory tests and CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) testing: to look for signs of infection

MRI of the brain: which may show gray matter involvement in a case of AFM.

Is there a treatment?

There is no standard treatment that has been proven effective, however depending on the severity of the symptoms, health professionals can consider a variety of options including steroids, IVIG, interferon, antivirals and supportive measures.  Some physicians are using “nerve transfers”, similar to a transplant, to help children regain control of their limbs.

Is there a vaccine?

No.  Until they can identify the exact cause, or causes, health officials cannot create a vaccine.

How does one avoid getting AFM?

If we assume it’s a pathogen causing the illness, avoiding contact with sick individuals, being up-to-date on one’s vaccines and good hand-washing are imperative.  Although we do not know if AFM is caused by a mosquito-born illness, avoiding mosquitoes would be wise as well.   More therefore needs to be researched to determine why and how those individuals with AFM were infected.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Health
%PM, %06 %809 %2019 %18:%Jul

Earthquake preparedness

As multiple earthquakes and aftershocks rattle the Southwestern US, seismologists predict more to come and people fear the “big one” could follow.

Here’s how to prepare:

Have An Emergency/Earthquake/Fire Readiness Plan

Assuming cell phones will not work in the event of a natural disaster, map out with family and friends where possible meeting sites will be.

Know your emergency exits and plan what to do in case of an earthquake/fire (explained below).

Have food, water and supplies stored in plastic garbage bags that can be easily grabbed and taken with you in case of an emergency.

Have an “emergency kit” with phone numbers, medications, money and other important documents in water-proof/fire-proof casing.

Include tools, whistles, flash lights and batteries in your emergency kit as well.

Ensure Your House is Safe

Loose foundations, awnings, book shelves, chandeliers and knickknacks to name a few could cause serious injury in the event of an earthquake.  Anchor down any loose fixtures.  Family members should know how to shut off gas/electric/water supplies and appliances should have flexible, break away connections. Avoid hanging anything heavy such as pictures or chandeliers above the bed.

Consult professionals if unsure if your house is able to withstand shifts in its foundation.

During a Quake

If indoors, take cover under a table, desk, or doorway.  Be careful of swinging doors, and keep hands and arms close to your body, covering your head if possible.

 

Earthquake-Safety-Tips.jpg

 

Avoid running outside during an earthquake. Find a room in the house with few  wall/ceiling hangings and stay in the center to avoid windows, bookshelves or other furniture shifting and falling onto you.

If you’re in bed, and no time to run to a safe room, you can cover your head with a pillow.

If you are outside when the shaking starts, find an open area and drop to the ground, staying low.  Avoid power lines, trees, overpasses and buildings.

If in a vehicle when the shaking starts, pull over to a safe open area. Again avoid power lines, trees, buildings and overpasses.

After a Quake

Exit any damaged buildings, move away from them and go to an open area, and refrain from going into another building that may appear damaged.

If you live in an area near water, go to higher land in case a tsunami follows. 

If trapped inside, use a whistle or nearby object to alert first responders of where you may be.

For more information on earthquake preparedness, visit here.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

 

 

Published in Health
%PM, %25 %735 %2019 %16:%Jun

Prevent childhood drowning

The leading cause of death in children are “unintentional injuries” including drownings.  According to the CDC, 20% of drowning victims are under the age of 14.  And non-fatal drowning victims could sustain brain damage and long term disability.

Pools, bathtubs and any body of water pose risks, however this time of year is especially dangerous, because activities surrounding pools, such as BBQs and alcohol use, become distractions to the adults supervising.

When it comes to drowning prevention, the following is necessary:

All pools should be enclosed

Fence height should be at least 4-5 feet high and the entry gate should self-close and self-latch.

Even if your pool has a fence, be aware that the house who’s hosting the BBQ, play date, or sleep-over may not.

And any kiddy pools or ice buckets used for drinks should be dumped out after use and flipped over so they do not become a future threat.

All young children should be within arm’s reach of an adult when swimming

The farther you are away from the child you’re supervising, the longer it takes to rescue. With distance between you and the victim, other children may swim in your path and you may lose sight of where the victim submerged.  And seconds count.  A panicked child under water may also aspirate water into the lungs becoming hypoxic quicker.  Moreover they could be at risk of “secondary drowning” in which water in the larynx triggers a spasm closing up the airway, or water falling into the lungs causes pulmonary edema and respiratory failure days after the water incident.

Do not get distracted

Put the phones away.  Adults supervising kids in a pool should not be answering a phone call or on social media.  Moreover, adults should not be drinking alcohol while supervising a child. Reaction time is key, and a drunk adult could become a drowning victim as well.

Remember that drowning is silent

Many drownings occur while others are feet away from the victim. Why? Because a submerged victim makes little sound and nearby splashing visually and auditorily obscures the victim’s splashes.

 

Parents have long learned that when children get quiet during playtime, something could be going wrong.  Use that same Spidey-sense when they are in the pool.

swimming-pools

Learn CPR and water rescue skills

Most CPR classes teach adult, child, and infant CPR.  Having this knowledge and becoming certified could save a life one day.

If swimming in open waters, know the weather and sea conditions prior to jumping in.  Life jackets/vests, appropriate for the child’s size, should be worn, even if the child is out of the water, such as in a boat.

What is “Dry Drowning” and “Secondary Drowning”?

Dry Drowning occurs when water touches the first pass of the respiratory tree, one’s vocal cords, larynx.  When water touches this area a reflex is triggered, causing a spasm (laryngospasm) such that the vocal cords constrict and close up the airway.  It’s a defense mechanism designed to prevent water from falling into the lungs. However, laryngospasm causes immediate hypoxia, lack of oxygen, and if not reversed, the victim will die.  In dry drowning, water never officially reaches the lungs!

 

 

bronchi_lungs.jpg

IMAGE FROM SEER TRAINING

 

In Secondary Drowning, water gets inhaled and sits in the respiratory tree and if uncleared through coughing, will sit and prevent proper oxygenation.  Moreover the water will irritate the lung linings causing more fluid and inflammation, resulting in pulmonary edema.  This could occur hours to days after the water activity.

According to Florida Hospital Tampa pediatrician, Dr. James Orlowski, these events are very rare, comprising only 1-2% of drowning incidents.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms for both “Dry” and “Secondary Drowning” are similar in which the victim could have any of the following:

  • Cough
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Behavior Changes
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty speaking
  • to name a few…

Prevention

Horse play in water should be avoided. This includes bathtubs, plastic pools, hot tubs, pools, lakes, ocean, etc.

Never swim alone. 

Swim in areas staffed with lifeguards and/or appropriate supervision. 

If water does get inhaled, watch the child or adult to look for any of the above symptoms. If concerned, seek medical help immediately. 

Have a safe and healthy summer!

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

 

Published in Health

A Hepatitis A outbreak has now been declared in Clark County Nevada.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, 37 cases have been reported since the start of this year.

Drugs and homelessness have contributed to the outbreak but it can be spread by eating contaminated food.

Per the CDC, 20,133 cases, with 11,595 hospitalizations have been reported in multiple states including Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida and Arizona to name a few. According to the CDC, California and Utah have declared their outbreaks’ over.  191 deaths have been reported since the outbreak began in 216.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits.  It’s transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract.  Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Fever
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dark Urine
  • Joint Pain
  • Clay – looking stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health

For years we’ve been hearing stories of children being diagnosed with brain tumors or liver disorders based on followers viewing their picture on social media and alerting parents to suspicious findings.  Now a study, published in PLOS One, finds 21 different medical conditions to be revealed based on the vocabulary people use when posting on their timeline.

Penn State and Stony Brook medical researchers reviewed thousands of Facebook status updates and found certain keywords surface more often with those having specific conditions.

 

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IMAGE FROM: HTTPS://JOURNALS.PLOS.ORG/PLOSONE/ARTICLE?ID=10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0215476

For Diabetes, for examples, key words included: pray, family, blessed, very, thank, thankful, doctor, blood, hospital

For Sexually Transmitted Illnesses, there were many expletives as well as the terms cry, scream, away, guess, wow and babe

For Drug Abuse, there were many expletives as well as well as the terms nobody, everybody, stop, call, text and bored

For High Blood Pressure, terms that commonly surfaced included doctor, blood, hospital, mother, good, peace, rip.

MedicalXpress reports:

SOME OF THE FACEBOOK DATA THAT WAS FOUND TO BE MORE PREDICTIVE THAN DEMOGRAPHIC DATA SEEMED INTUITIVE. FOR EXAMPLE, “DRINK” AND “BOTTLE” WERE SHOWN TO BE MORE PREDICTIVE OF ALCOHOL ABUSE. HOWEVER, OTHERS WEREN’T AS EASY. FOR EXAMPLE, THE PEOPLE THAT MOST OFTEN MENTIONED RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE LIKE “GOD” OR “PRAY” IN THEIR POSTS WERE 15 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO HAVE DIABETES THAN THOSE WHO USED THESE TERMS THE LEAST. ADDITIONALLY, WORDS EXPRESSING HOSTILITY—LIKE “DUMB” AND SOME EXPLETIVES— SERVED AS INDICATORS OF DRUG ABUSE AND PSYCHOSES.
“OUR DIGITAL LANGUAGE CAPTURES POWERFUL ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES THAT ARE LIKELY QUITE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT IS CAPTURED THROUGH TRADITIONAL MEDICAL DATA,” SAID THE STUDY’S SENIOR AUTHOR ANDREW SCHWARTZ, PH.D., A VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT PENN IN COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCE, AND AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY. “MANY STUDIES HAVE NOW SHOWN A LINK BETWEEN LANGUAGE PATTERNS AND SPECIFIC DISEASE, SUCH AS LANGUAGE PREDICTIVE OF DEPRESSION OR LANGUAGE THAT GIVES INSIGHTS INTO WHETHER SOMEONE IS LIVING WITH CANCER. HOWEVER, BY LOOKING ACROSS MANY MEDICAL CONDITIONS, WE GET A VIEW OF HOW CONDITIONS RELATE TO EACH OTHER, WHICH CAN ENABLE NEW APPLICATIONS OF AI FOR MEDICINE.”

The concept of using a “digital language” to help identify certain risk factors is nothing new when it comes to mental illness but is virgin territory when we discuss endocrinology conditions such as diabetes.

More research obviously needs to be done, however, this study demonstrates that not only can our physical actions tune a medical provider into our pathology but so can our social media behavior.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Health
%PM, %15 %732 %2019 %16:%Jun

Father’s Day - Do’s and Don’ts

This Sunday is Father’s Day and millions of Americans celebrate it the wrong way.  Why? Because no one asks Dad what he wants, and Dad is too nice to say.

Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday of every June.  Although first celebrated in 1910 when Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her veteran father like mothers are on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day became an official holiday in 1972 by  President Richard Nixon.

Although Father’s Day is supposed to honor Dads, retailers and even families seem to miss the mark.  Here’s some Do’s and Don’ts for this Father’s Day.

Rethink the BBQ celebration

Whenever a BBQ gets planned, someone needs to prepare the backyard, clean the grill, bring out the furniture, work the grill, serve the food, clean up the grill, clean up the backyard……and guess who that is…Dad.  And its hot, super hot outside. Not the most fun way to celebrate one’s day.  Go out to eat instead. Retailers like it and no one has to do the lifting.

The extended family is coming

Many households this Sunday will see Dad and the in-laws in the same room at the same time. For some this could be a pleasant occasion.  For others, uncomfortable and stressful.  Wives feel conflicted as they want to celebrate with their Father, but make the day spectacular for hubby.  If an issue, I recommend splitting up the day where Grandpa has a Father’s Day brunch and Dad celebrates a Father’s Day dinner.  Or designate a different day to celebrate each.

Buying Dad the wrong gift

Avoid the following gifts for Dad:

Grill tools or BBQ Apron– remember the BBQ is a lot of work, don’t remind him of it

Cologne –  most men don’t like “parfuming” up….. they wear it for others but it’s not for them

Lawn Mowers – unless its a ride-on, lawn mowers remind Dad of lawn work.

Dress/ Suit Shirts – button-up neck-constricting linens are not one’s most cherished gift. Unless they save him a trip to the department store, buy him something more comfortable.

Funny Underwear – underwear should never be a gift, its underwear….

Personal Hygiene/Shaving Products – this equates to getting a disposable razor for Mother’s Day.

Instead, opt for the following…

Let Dad Have a Real Day Off – Take the kids out and give Dad a day to himself.  Sure the kids could give Dad his gifts during brunch or dinner but allow Dad to spend the day how he wants to:  in his underwear, taking a much needed nap, going for a drive, fishing, etc.  Too bad there’s no skiing in June.

Ask Dad what He Wants – this doesn’t seem to get done all year round.  Why not start on Father’s Day?  Maybe he wants a Google Home or the next video game installment. Which brings us to….

Gift Cards Make the Best Gift – he can buy what he wants, and not feel awkward asking for it.

A Big Hug and Kiss Hits the Mark – despite any level of macho-ness, Daddies love this.  Make him feel special.

Happy Father’s Day!!!  Enjoy!

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in Opinion
%PM, %12 %758 %2019 %17:%Jun

Heat illness and heat stroke explained

The National Weather Service has issued “excessive heat warnings” for many parts of the Southwest United States.  It’s the first of the season for many states, so don’t be unprepared.

What is an “excessive heat warning?”

This occurs “within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions”. This means that the heat index (air temperature and humidity) will be greater than 105 degrees for more than three hours a day for at least two days in a row and the night-time temperatures will not drop below 75 degrees. Although many of us may live in areas where this occurs each year, the onset can be one of the most dangerous times.  Symptoms such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke must be identified.

What are Heat Cramps?

At first when one feels symptoms, it may come in the form of heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful spasms that occur in the muscles of the arms and legs and even abdomen. We believe that when one loses fluids and salts from excessive sweating, cramps ensue. Its important in these cases to get the person out of the heat, hydrate them with sips of fluid and electrolytes and massage the body parts affected. 

What is Heat Exhaustion?

If one does not leave the heat and come indoors, the next risky event that can occur is heat exhaustion. This worsens as the victim sweats profusely becoming more and more dehydrated. They could also have cramps but nausea may ensue, they may look pale and clammy and their heart rate will increase to try to compensate for the lost fluid. These individuals may become dizzy, weak and even faint. Immediately bring the person indoors, lie them down, elevate the feet, give sips of fluid, cool down the body applying cool and wet cloths to the underarms and body, and contact medical authorities if symptoms continue or worsen.

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IMAGE FROM MEDSTAR

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke will occur if a vulnerable person does not get out of the heat in time. It is a medical emergency and can be fatal. If an individual has heat stroke 9-1-1 must be called immediately. Bring the victim indoors away from sunlight, lie them down, remove unnecessary clothing, cool their body with cold compresses and watch for signs of rapidly progressive heat stroke in which they have difficulty breathing, seize or lose consciousness. If they are unconscious you cannot give them fluids. Only if they are alert, awake and able to swallow will you be able to give fluids. Do not give medications to reduce the fever such as aspirin or acetaminophen since their body may not be able to metabolize them properly and this could make matters worse.

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Who is vulnerable to heat related illness?

Young children and elderly individuals may have issues adjusting to the outside environment and may be more prone to dehydration. Those with medical conditions such as heart, lung, thyroid disease can be at risk as well. If you’ve ever suffered from heat stroke you can be vulnerable again. And many medications could make you susceptible such as diuretics, vasodilators and beta-blockers for blood pressure and antidepressants. The biggest risk comes when we are unprepared. Having an unusual cool week prior to a heat warning could preclude many from taking proper precautions. Staying indoors, checking air conditioning and fan devices to make sure they work properly, wearing cooler clothing is just the beginning. Stocking up and planning to hydrate frequently is paramount because when death occurs to excessive heat, dehydration is the main culprit. 

Bring your pets in doors, and watch your kids, friends and family members frequently. If they are beginning to sucumb to the heat, they may be quiet and not be able to voice it.

Avoid drinking alcohol in the heat. It can dehydrate you more and worsen the situation.

Avoid excessive exercise when outdoors and make sure to make use of shady areas.

The summer and early fall offer exciting and fun ways to enjoy nature. Don’t let the heat get to you. Remember….if you can’t take the heat, get out of the…..well heat…….

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

Published in Health

The latest potentially deadly challenge sweeping social media is the “Vacuum” or “Trash Bag” Challenge.

In this feat, one climbs into a garbage bag, while a friend or parent sucks air out of the plastic bag until the inmate topples over.

Bringing people to the point of falling (or if putting the bag over their face) of asphyxiation can cause a plethora of health issues including fractures, respiratory failure, stroke and death.

And even if parents appear to be supervising or performing the challenge and the child comes out unscathed, dangers lurk as the child could try to reproduce the challenge with their friends, this time putting the bag over one’s head.

This Spring another stupid challenge swept social media called the “Shell On” challenge in which teens Snapchat videos of themselves eating through fruit skin, cardboard boxes and plastic bags containing their food.

Although this appears to not be as dangerous as the Tide Pod or Boiling Water Challenge, it can cause choking and asphyxiation.

What other dangerous challenges are out there?

Last year we learned of the “Boiling Water Challenge” in which kids drink boiling water from a straw or have it poured all over their body. Then they topped it off with a more dangerous challenge, the “Fire Challenge.”

The Fire Challenge is executed by pouring rubbing alcohol on one’s body and then setting oneself on fire.  A video records the victim running into a tub or shower to wash it off, and this trend has gone viral.

Unfortunately it’s one of the most dangerous.  A 12 year-old girl from Detroit who participated in this challenge is undergoing multiple surgeries to repair burns afflicting close to 50% of her body.

Multiple cases of the “Fire Challenge” have been reported over the years, including a 12 year-old boy from Georgia.

One would think children, especially teens, innately know that fire is dangerous but maybe the younger generation has been so protected that they haven’t experienced the basic concepts of danger and inadvertently underestimate its force.

Challenges that involve dangerous stunts have been around for some time.  The Choking Challenge induced children to suffocate themselves for the high of feeling asphyxiated.  The Tide Pod Challenge tempted kids to put colorful cleaning packets in their mouths, hoping they wouldn’t burst.

The Cinnamon Challenge sparked thousands to inhale the common kitchen spice and cough till they puked.  Then the Condom Challenge offered two options where one dropped a condom filled with water on a friends face, or snorted one through the nose.

We adults can’t for the life of us figure out what the reward is in performing these challenges, but presume its fame and awe among friends and social media followers.  But these challenges prove dangerous and in some cases deadly.  Unfortunately the YouTube Clips never show the after effects of these pranks…maybe they should.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in Health

This week the CDC reported their findings of thousands of children being enrolled in school without any waiver for vaccine exemption.

As states aim to limit parental choice to limit vaccination based on religious objections, the country is fighting multiple outbreaks, including Measles, Mumps and Hepatitis A, which are potentially preventable with vaccination.

When the CDC looked at data submitted by 27 states, the majority of unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in 10 states lacked waivers.

Which brings to question, are other reasons at play when a child is not vaccinated rather than religious or medical objections?

When a family adheres to the vaccination regimen, office visits are need at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, sometimes 15 months of age, and 4 years old –  6 years old, in addition to any other follow ups deemed necessary by the medical provider.

 

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Most medical offices that provide vaccines are only open during the weekday, hence a parent who cannot take off work to bring their child in the doctor may have difficulty adhering to the vaccination schedule.

And then when asked why their child wasn’t vaccinated, it may be less embarrassing to cite “religious reasons” rather than fear of losing income or one’s job when taking off for the doctor’s visit.

I suggest weekend or night “vaccination clinics” at schools to make parents aware of alternative times to vaccinate and increase access to those who may not be able to leave their job during the weekday.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health
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