Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Who Gets Kidney Stones?

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Kidney stones tend to run in families and they affect many more men than women. People with gout, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and chronic urinary tract infections are most likely to develop kidney stones. (more…)

Treatment and Management Dyspepsia

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The primary step in treating patients with dyspepsia is to determine the risk for malignancy. If risk is minimal, then determine the appropriate type of therapy to use. Due to a possible association between a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and dyspepsia (primarily due to its relationship to ulcer disease), many physicians look for this infection with a simple and noninvasive test. (more…)

Symptoms of Pediatric Asthma

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Most asthmatic children show no evidence of a chronic disease between attacks. It is, therefore, essential that the child be seen by a healthcare provider when symptoms are present. The patient’s medical history, physical examination and other diagnostic measures are the key components to making a proper diagnosis of asthma. Children are generally brought for medical care with one or more of the following commonly reported symptoms:
Wheezing is a whistling sound that results from narrowing of the airways. (more…)

Fighting Tiny Mites

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Your 10-year-old daughter has an itchy rash on her wrist and hands. She has scratched the area so badly that it is starting to scab, but she says it is still extremely itchy. You’ve tried lotions and creams but the itch is still there, and now the rash has spread to her tummy and legs. Your pediatrician diagnoses scabies. Scabies?
Scabies is a skin inflammation caused by the insect Sarcoptes scabiei, a mite so tiny it cannot be seen with the naked eye. The female mite burrows into the skin, lays her eggs and moves on to other areas or other people. Over a period of weeks, the eggs hatch and the mites spread. The material left by the mites causes an inflammatory rash, which is almost always described as intensely itchy.

The rash can appear as long burrows or tunnels just at the surface of the skin, or as skin-colored bumps, located in the webs between fingers, at the wrists, at the outside of the elbows and other places. In babies, scabies can appear in the diaper area, on the trunk and all along the arms and legs.

A doctor usually makes the diagnosis of scabies just by looking at the rash. It is possible to scrape one of the burrows and find the insect or eggs by looking at the scraping under the microscope — but 90 percent of the time the scraping doesn’t show the mites.

Although scabies alarms most of us who prefer not to think of insects burrowing into our skin, scabies does respond well to treatment. The best treatment is to apply a cream of 5-percent permethrin (Acticin, Elimite), an insecticide, to the child’s body — all of it, from the neck down — and leave it on overnight, for eight to 14 hours. Be sure not to apply it to the fingers of young children if they suck their thumbs or fingers.

The next morning, bathe or shower the child to remove the insecticide, and then launder the child’s sheets, towels and all clothing worn recently. One permethrin treatment is all that is needed in most cases. Even though the insecticide kills the mites, itching can remain for a few days or even weeks because the remaining insect products cause inflammation. Twice daily application of 0.5-percent hydrocortisone cream (available over the counter) to the itchiest skin can ease the inflammation, and oral diphenhydramine (Benadryl and other over-the-counter products) reduces the itching.

As an alternative, you can apply 1-percent gamma benzene hexachloride (Lindane) lotion, but there is concern that the skin of young children may absorb this product, which can be toxic to the nervous system.

Crotamiton (Eurax), a non-insecticide, is sometimes prescribed but is less effective than either permethrin or gamma benzene hexachloride.

Scabies are spread by contact with others, especially when children sleep in the same bed or play closely together. If one child in the family is diagnosed with scabies, it is wise to treat others in the family (including adults) who are very itchy or have a similar rash. Your pediatrician will have other suggestions for you and your family if the scabies seems particularly troublesome or recurs.

Dr. Carole A. Stashwick is a pediatrician and an associate professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School, where she also director of the pediatric residency program.

Contraception. Part 2

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Intrauterine devices are small plastic devices that a healthcare provider places in the uterus. IUDs work by preventing implantation. Once in place, they are good for anywhere from one year to eight, depending on the type of IUD you choose. (more…)

Contraception. Part 1

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

If you are sexually active, you and your partner should discuss contraception. Do not assume your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife will take care of it. It is a false assumption that could change your life. (more…)

Take It Easy

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

For mothers of multiples, in utero activity can feel like a playful litter of piglets or even an amusement park inside of you. Needless to say, this can be very draining. Demands on your body’s energy and nutrition sources are at a premium. It’s a virtual guarantee that you’ll feel completely sapped at times, and it’s imperative that you listen to your body and get the rest you need, since you want to avoid cumulative fatigue at all costs. (more…)

How to Grow Your Children Healthy

Friday, February 24th, 2012

The health habits of early childhood become the good health — or poor health — habits of adulthood. Children’s earliest experiences formulate these habits, and by their early teens, they know the rules.

But some kids learn the wrong rules, and still others choose to ignore the rules. Kids do not fail to eat vegetables because they don’t realize they should. They don’t eat vegetables because (a) the cook doesn’t serve them, or (b) the cook doesn’t see to it the kids eat them. (more…)

Coping With the Questions

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The other day I was talking to a medical professional — I think it was a physical therapist who was changing the dressing on a problematic surgical wound — and we were discussing various aspects of my arthritis. Out of the blue, she asked me, “So, are you, like, in pain all the time?”

(more…)

Healthy Brown Bag Lunches

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Sending your child to school with a home-packed lunch gives you the opportunity to make sure he or she eats a healthy meal. You also get to control the fat, salt and sugar your child consumes. Involve your children in the planning process — together make a list of the healthy foods they would like in their lunches. Let your child choose one of the “cool” insulated lunch boxes now available, and let him or her help with some of the food preparation.
To provide a healthy, safe lunch, keep these basic rules in mind: (more…)