Tag Archives: water

The Truly Amazing Story of Ian (Article)

 

 

With the permission of him and his family, I am going to tell you what happened to a patient of mine named Ian. Three years ago on a hot summer day, Ian went to the pool with his brother to go swimming.  They played games, competing and challenging each other physically like brothers do.  During a game of “How far can you go underwater?,” Ian’s brother noticed that Ian stayed underwater too long . Tragically, an 18-year-old lifeguard and an adult neighbor dragged Ian out of the water blue, lifeless and almost dead.  Ian’s life was now in the hands of  others, his  neighbor and a teenage lifeguard.  How quickly life can change!

Unfortunately, all of the pool water that Ian inhaled severely damaged his lungs; doctors just didn’t know whether the damage extended to his brain.  He spent weeks in the pediatric ICU with all the advanced respiratory support the doctors could muster. The most extreme measures were used to keep Ian going.  Things didn’t look good; the medical staff told Ian’s parents that he had just a fifty percent chance of surviving.  While the family prepared for the worst, however, Ian fought back.

A month after entering the hospital, a frail and exhausted Ian went home with fairly good lungs and, fortunately, a great brain and spirit.  His recovery was truly miraculous, a testament to his wonderful medical care, his religious faith, and his remarkably strong strength of character.

Knowing Ian’s story, I was thrilled when his mother called me recently to tell me that Ian has a summer job.  Not only has he managed to make a complete medical recovery against very steep odds, strengthen his bonds with his family, return to school and earn good grades, but now he has a summer job as, of all things, a LIFEGUARD!  Talk about giving back, this guy is AMAZING!  When I spoke to him recently, he told me that he hasn’t saved anyone yet, but he is ready to return the life saving favor to anyone who needs him. I know he will.

 

If you have comments, log onto my pediatric blog at www.docsmo.com.  Take a few minutes to explore the literally hundreds of articles and posts on the site.  Until next time.

 

Written by Paul Smolen MD

 

 

 

 

 

From the desk of Doc Smo: Hand washing (Article)

I can still hear my mother’s voice as I ran out of the bathroom:  “Have you washed your hands?!”   Hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating was imperative in my household growing up.  I noted with interest that we  celebrated the fifth annual global hand washing day on October 15th.    Epidemiologists and other health experts  note that it is particularly important for children to wash their hands, just as my mother used to insist.  Diarrheal illness and pneumonia are the two most common killers of children around the world, and these diseases often infect their victims via unwashed hands.  Experts estimate that 2.2 MILLION children under age 5 years  die annually from either diarrhea or respiratory illness.  They think that a third of  diarrhea deaths and a sixth of pneumonia deaths could be avoided by hand washing.

Proper hand washing is something every child needs to learn.  Fortunately, here in the United States our drinking water is generally  clean, so washing with it is beneficial.  Proper hand washing requires at least 20 seconds of washing with soap and clean water, followed by drying with a clean towel.  Hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol are an acceptable substitute when soap and water are not available.  The following is the list of times the Center for Disease Control urges hand washing:

1.  before, during, and after preparing food;

2.  before eating food;

3.  before and after caring for someone who is sick;

4.  before and after treating a cut or wound;

5.  after using the toilet;

6.  after changing diapers or cleaning a child who has used the toilet;

7.  after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;

8.  after touching an animal or animal waste;

9.  after handling pet food or pet treats; and

10. after touching garbage.

Modern medicine provides powerful medicines and treatments, but I am convinced that soap and water are almost as powerful.  Remember my DocSmo pearl “Prevention trumps treatment:”   preventing a disease is more powerful that treating a disease once it occurs.  Soap and water prevent disease.  Hey, Mom, you were right after all!  Thanks.  Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com.   Check out other articles and podcasts when you are there.  Until next time.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

 

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6140a7.htm?s_cid=mm6140a7_e

 

http://www.cdc.gov/features/globalhandwashing/

Adopt a Healthy Dental Diet for your Children (Pedcast)

Transcript:

DocSmo, your pedcast host: you  know, those practical, portable mp3s that help educate parents on a vast variety of parenting topics from conception to confirmation.  Let me remind you that by listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to my terms and conditions posted on my website.  I am probably not your child’s doctor, so for specific advice with regards to your child, please consult the wonderful person you call your pediatrician.

 

Today’s topic is a big one…the number one chronic disease in children: dental decay.  Healthy gums and teeth important for long term health. Many experts now think that heart and blood vessel disease that lead to heart attacks and strokes may be caused by poor dental hygiene.  Even Alzheimer’s has been implicated in the dirty mouth paradigm.

 

When I was child, I used to get sugarcane stalk to chew on all day; dental visits were terrible.  I have memories of dinner table discussions between my parents about what causes cavities.  4 kids, and expensive dental visits got them thinking hard!  They didn’t know that sugars in the mouth cause most decay.  They were busy giving me 5 cents to go to Fred’s Fruit Stand to get sugarcane to chew on all day!  Isn’t that ironic.

 

We know what causes dental decay now: Strep Mutans- bacteria that ferments sugars into acids  which melt the enamel off your teeth.  Diet has a lot to do with this process: frequent exposure of teeth to sugars is a recipe for decay.  The longer sugars are in your child’s mouth, the worse the decay.  Some children are lucky and get really good enamel, but not most.

 

Word is out about stopping the bottle by 1 and no bottles in the bed; now we have sippy cups that do the same thing. ”But I dilute the juice doctor”, I can hear the parents say. Remember, bacteria don’t need a lot to eat; even very dilute sugar can get them going and destroy your child’s dental enamel in a flash.

 

While we are on the topic of nutrition, here are some easy things you can do to reduce dental decay in your children.

  • Make sure your children brush their teeth at least twice per day when they are old enough.
  •  Use flouride toothpaste when they are old enough to spit it out and not eat it.
  • In between meals, drinks should only be water.  No dilute juice, soda, tea, or anything with sugar in it including milk.
  • Snacks should not be sugary or sticky; sugary and sticky is the worst (Ex: candy, soda, sugar gum, gummies including vitamins).  Instead, give them dental healthy snacks- popcorn, nuts, cut up veggies or fruit.
  • If your child is old enough, chewing sugar free gum after meals and snacks is great for your teeth…pulls out plaque and bacteria from creavices
  • At Halloween when they have all that candy, let them have fun for a set period of time and then remove the candy.  Their slow enjoyment could be very expensive when the dental visit time comes around.

Sounds like little things, but following these guidelines could really improve your child’s health and save you a small fortune in dental bills.

 

I hope you learned a little something from that discussion of dental decay.  Fast, practical and portable are always my goal.  If you like what you hear, invite your friends to listen.  And make sure you subscribe on iTunes or at my website, www.DocSmo.com by simply hitting the RSS feed button and signing up; a free pediatrics degree is here for the taking.  Please feel free to send comments to my blog.  I will try to answer comments and post interesting thoughts.

 

This is Dr. Paul Smolen broadcasting from beautiful studio 1E, that’s first child’s bedroom, east side of the house, hoping that you don’t delay protecting your child from dental decay!

 

Until next time

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SmoNotes

1. oralhealth.pdf (application/pdf Object)
*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.

 

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From the desk of Doc Smo: Swimmer’s Ear Prevention 101 (Article)

If you have ever had it, you know Swimmer’s Ear hurts like crazy. However, most people have no idea what Swimmer’s Ear is and what causes it. Well, lets fix that right now. To understand the cause, we need to start by gaining an understanding of the architecture of the ear and how it is different than other places in the body. The ear canal is a dark tunnel lined with skin that is often very damp, especially in warmer weather. Water frequently gets in but gets trapped by the shape of the ear canal. Well, what happens to water anywhere it sits around without movement, especially when it’s at body temperature? You know it, yuk grows in it! This is especially true in your ear canal when you are in and out of water all day. Once the water enables fungus and bacteria to grow in the ear canal, it is easy to see how these microbes can infect the surrounding skin. Swelling occurs to the point that the ear canal can literally be shut, making things much worse. Oh man, that can hurt!
All of this leads to a tender ear, aching down the side of the neck, and a very miserable child. The children most prone to having bouts of Swimmer’s Ear are: those with eczema (lots of cracks in their skin), those who frequently use Q-tips, those who are in and out of water frequently (especially lake or ocean water), and those who go to bed with wet hair (yes, your mother was right on that one).

Once an outer ear infection gets started, it can be very difficult to control; prevention is the only game in town. Here is a simple way to prevent Swimmer’s Ear in your child, especially as they go off to camp and swim in lakes and rivers. First, buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol and pour half of it out. Fill the bottle back up with either white vinegar or apple vinegar. If you can get a bottle with a dropper on it, great. At the end of EVERY summer day, when no more water is going to get into your child’s ear (usually bedtime), put a few drops of the alcohol/vinegar mixture in their ears and rub it around. Dry the excess with a towel. The combination of the alcohol and acidic vinegar make a very hostile place for germs, and they simply don’t grow. Without the bacteria and fungus in abundance, the cracks don’t get infected. Make sure their hair is dry, and put those little puppies to bed. If you are religious about this, most children won’t be suffering from Swimmer’s Ear this summer. Miss a day or two and all bets are off. If they go to camp, figure out how to make this happen there. It is worth the effort.