Do You Know What Your College Student is Using to Stay Awake?


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Many teenagers and college students feel the stress of striving to achieve good grades. They have pressures of living up to their parents standards and expectations or even getting or maintaining a scholarship.  As a result, misuse of the drug Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), a Schedule II Controlled Substance, is on the rise, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Due to its reputation as “a study drug”, to which many students attribute their educational success, it is being misused and abused.


Adderall is a stimulant drug (an “upper” drug) known to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


Those who have ADHD have problems focusing on school work,  completing assignments, restlessness, overly talkative, etc. Adderall has been known to be effective in treating this disorder. With people who have been diagnosed with ADHD,  Adderall affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. However, for those who do not have ADHD,  taking this stimulant drug has different outcomes and can be highly addictive and dangerous.  “If someone has an underlying medical condition, whether they know about it or not, taking these drugs could potentially exacerbate that problem,” said Edward Bell, professor of clinical sciences at Drake University College of Pharmacy. Emergency Department visits from the misuse of Adderall and in combination with other drugs or stimulants like caffeine have almost doubled from 2006 to 2011 (Drug Abuse Warning Network).


Some of the side effects are:
  *Unable to fall asleep at night

Rare events may include racing of the heart, chest pain, elevated blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.


●1 in 4 college students have used prescription drugs 
●About 2,500 12-17 year ilda per day start experimenting with opiates
●Full-Time college students aged 18-22 are twice as likely to abuse Adderall than their peers who aren’t in college
●90% of college students who abuse Adderall also report binge drinking and over 50% were regular heavy  alcohol users
●Some researchers estimate about 30% of students     abuse stimulants, including Adderall

It is important for parents to communicate with their children.  Encourage a more holistic approach to academic success.

Some helpful tips for a successful school and college experience:
*Create a study plan before the exam in order to       
    prevent cramming


  *Achieve optimal hours of sleep


  *Get plenty of exercise and eat a well-balanced diet



  *Use resources at school to help you achieve realistic


We as parents, guardians and adults need to encourage students to always try their best in school and be proud of their accomplishments. Remember that they are ultimately more than the measure of their GPA, SAT, ACT, or any other test score.

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves at hand.” Vince Lombardi       



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Football, like no other game, is a clearly a great part of American culture. And with all the excitement and cheers for tge game also comes the possibility of injuries such as concussions. As we are all aware, Will Smith stars in a movie called “Concussion”. If you’re not familiar,  it’s about forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who while conducting an autopsy on former football player Mike Webster, discovers neurological deterioration that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease. He attributes this disease to football-related head trauma.


Whenever a concussion is mentioned most people think of it happening during football because it is such a hard hitting contact sport. But as you will read in this post, concussions can occur through other means as well.


What is a concussion?

A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to either the head or the body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. A concussion changes how the brain normally functions. Concussions can have serious and long-term health effects, and even a seemingly mild ‘ding’ or a bump on the head can be serious.


Head impacts and concussions caused by contact sports are a quickly growing epidemic among young athletes. When left undetected, concussions can result in long-term brain damage and may even prove fatal.

Concussions are fairly common. Some estimates say a mild brain trauma is sustained every 21 seconds in the U.S.

CDC reports show that the amount of reported concussions has doubled in the last 10 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that emergency room visits for concussions in kids ages 8 to 13 years old has doubled, and concussions have risen 200 percent among teens ages 14 to 19 in the last decade.


While the first hit can prove problematic, the second or third head impact can cause permanent long-term brain damage. Cumulative sports concussions are shown to increase the likelihood of catastrophic head injury leading to permanent neurologic disability by 39 percent.

But it’s important to recognize the signs of a concussion so you can take the proper steps to treat the injury.

There are some common physical, mental, and emotional symptoms a person may display following a concussion such as headache, nausea, fatigue, or memory problems, sleep disturbances, or mood changes; some other symptoms are confusion or feeling dazed, clumsiness, slurred speech nausea or vomiting, balance problems or dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, sluggishness, ringing in ears, behavior or personality changes, concentration difficulties, or memory loss
symptoms are typically noticed right after the injury, but some might not be recognized until days or weeks later. Any of these could be a sign of traumatic brain injury.

In what sports are concussions most often reported?

Among high school athletes, concussions are most often caused by contact with an opponent, a team mate, the ground, or a piece of equipment or object in the playing area. In organized high school sports, concussions occur more often in competitive sports, with football accounting for more than 60% of concussions.

For males, the leading cause of high school sports concussion is football; for females the leading cause of high school sports concussion is soccer. Among children and youth ages 5-18 years, the five leading sports or recreational activities which account for concussions include: bicycling, football, basketball, playground activities, and soccer.

High school football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions, with 33 percent of concussions occurring during practice. After football, ice hockey and soccer pose the most significant head health risk.


Sports concussions are on a dramatic rise – 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a concussion this year. More than 33% of sports-related concussions happen during practice.

To preserve the young athlete’s head health, mental cognition and ability to succeed, it is critical that coaches, players and parents are aware of the inherent dangers and how to properly perform a concussion evaluation.

The Head Health Management System is the only multi-platform head health management system that is designed to measure hits and help identify concussion symptoms. The system uses the Head Case Impact Sensor, a small device that is inserted into a helmet to monitor and measure head impacts.

By reviewing the athlete’s normal impact history and comparing to national averages based on impact data collected by other users, the Head Case Impact Sensor can detect head impacts of concern and alert coaches, trainers and parents when statistically significant thresholds are exceeded.  The Head Case Mobile App can help you perform a proper concussion test and concussion evaluation.

Without medical professionals present to assess the head impact or impact measurement data to review, head health management standards decline. Athletes are left vulnerable and ill-equipped without information readily available about their own health.

It is everyone’s responsibility when it comes to the brain health of athletes.  In all levels of athletics, the parents, coaches, staff, spectators and the athletes themselves need to be vigilant when it comes to head injuries. We must get baseline evaluations and use those when we evaluate the athletes for possible concussions. When an athlete’s brain health is in question,  err on the side of caution and take them out of play until properly evaluated and released by a physician. It is not worth jeopardizing one’s life (brain health) for a game.

*Disclaimer: The information in this post is for informational purposes only. Seek medical advice,  diagnosis and treatment from your own medical professionals.

Oh Sugar!


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It’s that time of the year.  You know what I’m talking about. That stretch of days that run from the over-consumption of food period from Thanksgiving through Christmas and then into the New Year. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the extended football season that runs through the first week of January with all the Bowl Games. And of course, the NFL playoffs and then the Super Bowl in February. That’s over two months of food consumption. We all celebrate by entertaining and having parties with all kinds of food and sweet treats. I’ll admit it is a great time of the year: holidays with family and friends and championship football. I can get into the calorie hoarding aspect of it all (I’ll save that for another day) but we’re only going to talk about the sugar consumption right now.

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For more than 50 years, it has been clear that sugar is a major culprit in the development of dental decay (cavities). Restriction of sugar consumption to 10 percent or less of daily food intake could markedly reduce the incidence of tooth decay, which is the most prevalent noncommunicable disease worldwide.

However, reducing sugar intake is not a simple as cutting back on foods that obviously contain sugars, such as candy, soda and baked goods. This is because sugars are added to many foods that may not taste especially sweet. Sugars in the forms of fructose and corn syrup may be found in the ingredient listings for foods such as crackers, pastas, sauces, soups and more.

Becoming more aware of the presence of sugar in foods can make it easier to lower sugar consumption. In addition to decreasing the chances of developing dental decay, reduced sugar intake can lead to additional health benefits, including weight loss and lowered risk of developing chronic diseases. Removing sugar-laden foods from the diet also makes room for the addition of healthier and more nutritious foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Some of you may say that fruit has sugar in it, naturally. There is little evidence that fruit is an important factor in development of decay unless consumed excessively. Dried fruit, on the other hand, may be more cariogenic (decay causing) since the drying process releases free sugars. Fresh fruit appears to have a low ability to promote decay and even citrus fruits have not been found to cause tooth decay but may cause dental erosion, we’ll cover that another time). It’s important for us all to know that the more fresh fruit we consume instead of free sugars is likely to have a positive impact on decreasing dental decay.

fresh fruit

Recommendations to Promote Good Oral and General Health

  • Eat a healthy diet and follow the recommendations of the USDA.
  • Eat sugars in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit free sugar intake to a maximum equivalent of 10 teaspoons per day (a can of soda contains over 6 teaspoons!).

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  • Free sugars should be limited to a maximum of 4 times a day.
  • Don’t snack on sugars between meals.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or chew a piece of sugarless gum after eating if unable to brush (Gums, mints, sprays, etc. containing Xylitol; Xylitol actually stops the production of tooth-decay causing acid)
  • Ensure optimal fluoride levels in your drinking water.
  • Promote adequate fluoride exposure via toothpaste, tablets or dentist recommended application.
  •  Brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least 2x day.

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  • Do not eat for at least one hour before bedtime especially foods containing free sugars because low salivary flow rates during sleep reduce the ability to neutralize acid.

There are some other factors that protect against tooth decay. Consuming cheese following a sugary snack virtually abolishes the increase in acidity. Cheese stimulates saliva and is rich in calcium influencing the balance of recalcifying teeth and protecting against loss of calcium from the teeth. Cow’s milk contains lactose which is less acid producing the other sugars and therefore doesn’t promote decay as readily. In addition, cow’s milk also contains calcium, phosphorus and casein, all of which help stop decay. However, allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle of milk at night has been known to cause Baby Bottle Decay. Human breast milk contains 7% lactose and is lower in calcium and phosphate. It can also, sometimes more readily, initiate decay especially in cases of very high frequency nighttime feeding and prolonged on demand feeding. Plant foods are fibrous and protect teeth by mechanically stimulating saliva. Peanuts and hard cheeses can also act the same way. Teas have been shown to have many health benefits (check out this post). The fluoride in black tea may also protect against decay.

Taking care of your teeth is essential if you want them to last a lifetime! And they should. Many people believe that as we age, it is normal to lose teeth. That is not true! Our teeth can remain with us until the day we depart this Earth if we take care of them. Limiting our intake of starchy, sugary foods and drinks can help us maintain optimal oral health and overall health. Remember, it is important to visit your dentist for preventive care.


*Disclaimer: The information in this post is for informational purposes only. Please seek advice from your own personal medical and/or dental professional.


New and Notable Apps


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Almost everyone has some type of electronic device and for the majority of us it’s our phones that are literally attached to us as if it were another appendage. A lot of us do not go anywhere without them and are constantly on our phones. Many of us have become so reliant on our smartphones, we use them to carry out a whopping 221 tasks every day. With that being said, here are a few apps that you might find helpful if not for yourself, maybe for someone else you know.


Google Wallet (New)

Even though Google has Pay, a new app, Wallet is still around, relegated to Google’s payment sending and receiving service. At this point it’s an extremely stripped-down version of PayPal, and this rejuvenated Wallet app (package name: G Money) is just for managing and sending money.

The new Google Wallet makes it easy to send money to anyone in the US with an email address, even if they don’t have an existing Wallet account. It’s fast, easy, and free to send money directly from your debit card, bank account, or Wallet Balance. The Google Wallet Card lets you instantly spend money you receive through Google Wallet. You can use it to pay at millions of locations in the US, wherever Debit MasterCard® is accepted, or use it to withdraw cash from the ATM. 


Oink is a popular app that allows parents to manage allowances for their kids. Basically the system is a super-simple bank for children that can only get funds from parents, and it includes tracking options to see what the kids spend that money on. Oink features multiple profiles for families with more than one child, and tools allow you to freeze accounts (for when they’re grounded, I suppose?) or unfreeze them at any time.

The Oink app is a free to use app that allows families to setup and manage payments for all family members. Teens and tweens can manage their funds using the COPPA compliant Oink app. The new Android app allows parents to monitor their children’s spending, and deliver emergency funds instantly. Parents can also freeze and unfreeze the account instantly using the new app.



If you’ve watched any college or pro football in the last three weeks, you know that FanDuel is inescapable. The ads are everywhere, and now they’ve even convinced ESPN to feature fantasy picks during actual broadcasts. This is an official app for the betting service.

FanDuel brings you one-day fantasy sports leagues for real money. Winners get immediate cash payouts. No season-long commitment. Join public leagues or play with friends. Over $10 million paid out every week. Entry fees start from $1. Featured on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo. Sports. Unlike traditional fantasy leagues that run for the entire season, FanDuel leagues last for just one day or one week, so you’ll get to pick new teams on a weekly or daily basis.

Opera Max 

Unless you’re lucky enough to have unlimited data on your phone, or a bottomless wallet, you’ll want to get the most out of your data package.

This is where Opera Max comes in. It crunches down the size of images and videos, speeds up website load times, and typically saves you from around a third to almost half of your general data use. You can restrict some apps to only ever connect via Wi-Fi, and temporarily turn off connections if you want to save some data for the end of the month.

The downside? You have to remember to “top up” your charge every week. While that’s completely free to do, it is a little bit of an inconvenience.

Pocket (free)

Found an article you like but want to read it later, when you may not have an internet connection? Pocket is the solution to your problem.

Allowing you to save articles and videos to read and watch later across any Pocket-enabled device, you’ll never be short of something to read or share again.

It’s the perfect distraction for Tube journeys, flights and those long train trips in signal black holes.

Unclouded (free; with in-app purchases)

Juggling two, three or even four online storage accounts can become an absolute headache. Thankfully, Unclouded is here to alleviate your concerns.

Pulling all your connected accounts into one uncluttered interface, Unclouded lets you access your files from one location, no matter where they’re stored. Unclouded currently supports Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box and Mega, so it’s really only iCloud users who are left out.

For one or two accounts it’s free to use, but if you want to manage the content of any others, you’ll need to pay. Thankfully Unclouded lets you pick and choose services you’d like, so you’re never paying for something you don’t use.


Google Play Books (Free)

Like to use your Android device to read? While there are plenty of ebook apps out there, Google’s own Play Books is fantastic.

Usually coming preinstalled on vanilla Android devices, Google’s ebook reader packs in features other free apps lack. And while the capability may not be initially apparent, you can upload your own ebooks and PDF files to Play Books and access them on any Android device associated with your login, with your progress synced across devices. This means you can read on your tablet when at home, then pick up your phone and carry on reading when out and about. Not bad for a free app.

Mood Trek (Free for Android)

Depression affects roughly 16 million adults in the United States alone, yet many patients see a psychiatrist only once every 2 to 3 months. Between visits, patients may not remember how their mood has varied, a fact that led to development of the MoodTrek app. This app helps track mood, activity, and sleep in depressed patients so that these patients can receive optimum treatment.

What’s different about this app compared to others is that it combines voth active input (mood logging) and passive input (Fitbit activity records). Also,  the app includes a helpline that can connect the user with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline(1-800-273-TALK).


MoneySmart’s Track My Spend

This app is great to use over a set period of time (i.e. a pay check period or if you’re following a set budget as a way to know exactly where every cent of your money is spent). It allows you to categorize your purchases into things like transportation, entertainment, dining out, personal and medical and choose whether the purchase is a need or a want.  

Being accountable for your spending and seeing where your money goes can make a big difference in how you create a budget moving forward, so the potential for savings from this app could be huge.   


This allows you to make payments to friends and family who use PayPal via text, email, post or web page, without having to enter your details. You can also choose how you pay (i.e. via a bank account, credit card or PayPal balance). Plus you can use this app to execute multiple payments or split payments.

The next few apps I discovered while watching Jeff Rossen, a journalist known for his famous, very informative and insightful, “Rossen Reports”. He works for NBC News and does a segment on The Today Show. If you haven’t caught any of his reports you are missing some great reporting. Personally, I have learned and become aware of so many things because of his reporting. You have to check him out! His social media accounts are: and on Twitter @jeffrossen.


Imagine virtually walking a friend home at night without ever having to leave your house, or remotely accompanying your son or daughter on a trip while they’re away at college.

Thanks to a new app called Companion, friends can virtually walk friends home by following their GPS coordinates on a map displayed on their cell phone. The app taps into the phone’s built-in sensors to also detect changes in movement. For example, if the walker stops moving or pulls out his or her headphones, the app will alert the companion.

For extra safety, the app also lets companions call the police if they don’t receive confirmation that the walker is okay within 15 seconds of a change in movement. The app will also signal an alert on the walker’s phone, displaying siren-like sounds and displaying a button for the walker to call the police.

The app connects walkers to companions when the walker texts a link to the person among his contact list that he’s chosen to walk him home virtually. Walkers can also select to send an “I feel nervous” alert to a companion on their list, prompting the companion to follow a route remotely.

Students at the University of Michigan created the app when searching for a way to feel safer during late-night walks back to their apartments or dorms.

The app, which was launched to the public just two weeks ago, already has more than 500,000 new users. The app’s founders plan to roll out more features in the future, including touch-ID technology so that only the walker could hit the “I’m OK” button.

The app has the potential to bring an extra layer of safety to pedestrians in cities and campuses around the world.

Circle of 6

With Circle of 6, you can connect with your friends to stay close, stay safe and prevent violence before it happens.

The Circle of 6 app for iPhone and Android makes it quick and easy to reach the 6 friends you choose.

Need help getting home? Need an interruption? Two touches lets your circle know where you are and how they can help.

Icons represent actions; so that no one can tell what you’re up to.

Designed for college students, it’s fast, easy-to-use and private.

It’s the mobile way to look out for your friends, on campus or when you’re out for the night.


LifeLine Response 

An app to prevent assaults before they happen using your own natural response. It’s an advanced panic button. It’s like having a personal burgular alarm with a fully staffed 24/7 professional monitoring service. Set up with information to identify you to 911 in case of an emergency is required. 911 is called and responders are dispatches on your behalf during critical safety situations.

Two modes are available: thumb mode which is perfect for short distances or when you’re feeling vulnerable or timer mode for longer distances like going for a run. This app not only tracks a phone user, but will even call the police instantly if the user’s thumb is removed from the screen.


This app is good for cash back coupons. It’s similar to ebates. Some work is required to do it but you do get cash back in minutes. Cash back or a gift card is on everything you buy. There are exclusive deals on leading brands at some of your favorite stores. Choose any brand for a particular item and began to get money back. Manufacturers’ coupons can also be used in conjunction.

There are so many useful apps out there. This is only a little tip of the iceberg. I hope you find these helpful in your life, if not pass them on to someone else. I know for a fact that eceryone knows someone who would benefit from on of those tracking apps. With some much crime out in the world today, the tracking apps may help save someone’s life.

*This blog post is for informational purposes only. Always do your own research before deciding to use any products for personal use.



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Vitiligo (vit-ill-EYE-go) is a disorder in which white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body.
Patches of lighter skin appear. Some people develop a few patches. Others lose much more skin color.


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This happens because the cells that make pigment (color) in the skin are destroyed, die or stop functioning. . These cells are called melanocytes (ma-LAN-o-sites). Vitiligo can also affect the mucous membranes (such as the tissue inside the mouth and nose) and the eye.

Vitiligo usually affects the skin, but it can develop anywhere we have pigment. Patches of hair can turn white. Some people lose color inside their mouths. Even an eye can lose some of its color.

There is no way to predict how much color a person will lose. Color loss can remain unchanged for years. Some people see patches enlarge and new patches appear. On a rare occasion, the skin regains its lost color. Vitiligo is chronic and can last for years or be lifelong.

Signs and Symptoms

White patches on the skin are the main sign of vitiligo. These patches are more common in areas where the skin is exposed to the sun. The patches may be on the hands, feet, arms, face, and lips. Other common areas for white patches are:

The armpits and groin (where the leg meets the body). Around the mouth, in the mouth (especially people with darker skin), eyes, nostrils, navel, genitals, and rectal area. Your dermatologist may call this “loss of pigment” or “depigmentation.” We can lose pigment anywhere on our bodies, including our hair (scalp, eyebrow, eyelash, beard). People with vitiligo often have hair that turns gray early (premature hair whitening).


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The affected skin can lighten or turn completely white. Many people do not have any other signs or symptoms; they feel healthy.

A few people say that the skin affected by vitiligo itches or feels painful.

Will the white patches spread? There is no way to tell if vitiligo will spread. For some people, the white patches do not spread. But often the white patches will spread to other areas of the body. For some people, vitiligo spreads slowly, over many years. For other people, spreading occurs quickly. Vitiligo can progress. With time, some people see their vitiligo cover a large area.
Some people have reported more white patches after physical or emotional stress.

What Causes Vitiligo?

The cause is not known. In vitiligo, the immune system may destroy the melanocytes in the skin. It is also possible that one or more genes may make a person more likely to get the disorder.

Scientists do not completely understand why these cells die. One type of vitiligo, non-segmental vitiligo, may be an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease develops when the body mistakes a part of itself as foreign. If the body mistakes these cells as foreigners, it will attack and kill these cells.


Studies suggest that the other type of vitiligo, segmental vitiligo, has a different cause. This type seems to develop when something in the body’s nervous system goes awry.

Some researchers think that the melanocytes destroy themselves. Others think that a single event such as sunburn or emotional distress can cause vitiligo. But these events have not been proven to cause vitiligo.

Who Is Affected by Vitiligo?

Many people develop it in their twenties, but it can occur at any age. The disorder affects all races, ethnicities and both sexes equally, however, it is more noticeable in people with dark skin. e


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People with certain autoimmune diseases (such as hyperthyroidism) are more likely to get vitiligo than people who don’t have any autoimmune diseases. Scientists do not know why vitiligo is connected with these diseases. However, most people with vitiligo have no other autoimmune disease.

Vitiligo may also run in families. Children whose parents have the disorder are more likely to develop vitiligo. However, most children will not get vitiligo even if a parent has it. y


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How Is Vitiligo Diagnosed?

The doctor will use a family and medical history, physical exam, and tests to diagnose vitiligo. The doctor may ask questions such as:

Do you have family members with vitiligo?
Do you or family members have any autoimmune diseases? Did you have a rash, sunburn, or other skin problem before the white patches appeared? Did you have some type of stress or physical illness? Did your hair turn gray before age 35? Are you sensitive to the sun?

The doctor will do a physical exam to rule out other medical problems.

Tests might include:

Taking a small sample (biopsy) of the affected skin to be examined, blood tests and an eye exam.

How do dermatologists diagnose vitiligo?

If your dermatologist suspects that you have vitiligo, your dermatologist will:

Review your medical history, and may ask specific questions such as whether anyone in your family has vitiligo. Perform a physical exam, looking carefully at the affected skin. You also may need a blood test to check the health of your thyroid gland. People who have vitiligo often have an autoimmune thyroid disease. A blood test will tell whether your thyroid is healthy. If you have thyroid disease, treatment can successfully control it.


Treatment may help make the skin look more even. Treatment may improve the appearance of the skin but doesn’t cure the disease. The choice of treatment depends on the number of white patches, how widespread the patches are and the treatment the person prefers to use.

Some treatments are not right for everyone. Many treatments can have unwanted side effects. Treatments can take a long time, and sometimes they don’t work.

Current treatment options for vitiligo include medical, surgical, and other treatments. Most treatments are aimed at restoring color to the white patches of skin.

Medical treatments include:

Medicines (such as creams) that you put on the skin. Medicines that you take by mouth. A treatment that uses medicine plus ultraviolet A (UVA) light (PUVA). Removing the color from other areas so they match the white patches.

Surgical treatments include:

Skin grafts from a person’s own tissues. The doctor takes skin from one area of a patient’s body and attaches it to another area. This is sometimes used for people with small patches of vitiligo.Tattooing small areas of skin.

Other treatments include:

Sunscreens, cosmetics, such as makeup or dye, to cover the


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white patches.  A person may need to try several brands of concealing cosmetics before finding the product that works best.

Steroids to the affected area: Clobetasol (Clobex), Mometasone (Elocon), Fluocinolone acetonide (Synalar), Betamethasone (Luxiq)
Other treatments: Tacrolimus to the affected area (Protopic), Pimecrolimus to the affected area (Elidel)
Hydroquinone to the affected area (Topiclear)
Lifestyle: Sunscreen and reapply often
Procedures: Photodynamic therapy
Therapies: Ultraviolet light therapy

What Can People Do to Cope With Vitiligo?

Living with vitiligo can cause other symptoms such as low self-esteem and depression that is hard to beat. This can happen regardless of the amount of color loss or type of vitiligo.

When you have vitiligo, you may be upset or depressed about the change in your appearance. There are several things you can do to cope with the disorder:

Find a doctor who knows how to treat vitiligo. The doctor should also be a good listener and be able to provide emotional support. Learn about the disorder and treatment choices. This can help you make decisions about your treatment.  Knowledge often improves a person’s quality of life. It helps to know about treatment options so that you know what is possible.

Learning more about vitiligo can help you decide what feels right for you. You may want to treat it, camouflage with cosmetics, or just let it be. Some people with vitiligo have found that cosmetics that cover the white patches improve their appearance and help them feel better about themselves. Only you can decide what’s right for you.

Connect with other people who have vitiligo. Family and friends are another source of support.
Connecting with others who have vitiligo can help. A vitiligo group can help you find a support group (also check your local listings ans social media).

You will find links to support groups below:

Support groups
Vitiligo Support International
Message boards for major cities, local support groups that meet monthly giving you the opportunity to meet others living with vitiligo, and the chance to share support and experiences in person.

Vitiligo Friends
An online community where people living with vitiligo, their family, and their friends can share information and stay in touch. Can meet people worldwide.

Celebrities with Vitiligo



Big Krizz Kaliko


Tamar Braxton


Sammy Sosa




Michael Jackson

Vitiligo Support Group
Discussions and articles on websites.

What Research Is Being Done on Vitiligo?

Scientists have gained a better understanding of vitiligo in recent years, especially through gene research. Current research includes studies to investigate:

How trauma or stress to the skin can trigger vitiligo or the development of new white patches. New treatments and better understanding of vitiligo using a mouse model. Genes that may cause or contribute to having vitiligo. Analysis of genes already known to be linked to vitiligo. They are studying the genes involved in vitiligo. Researchers believe that by identifying all of the genes involved in vitiligo, they will learn what destroys the cells that give skin its color. With this knowledge, it should be possible to develop better treatments. One of the key goals of this research is to develop a treatment that will permanently stop the skin from losing color.


Millions of people worldwide have vitiligo.,


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200,000 to 3 million US cases per year.
Nearly half get it before they reach 21 years of age. Most will have vitiligo for the rest of their lives.
It is very rare for vitiligo to disappear.
Vitiligo occurs about equally in people of all skin colors and races.

About half the people who get vitiligo are male and half are female.

The risk of getting vitiligo increases if a person has a close blood relative who has vitiligo or an autoimmune disease, especially Hashimoto’s disease (a thyroid disease) or alopecia areata (causes hair loss).

Vitiligo is not contagious. If you decide not to treat vitiligo, it’s still important to see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and physical. Vitiligo is a medical condition, not just a cosmetic concern. It is not life-threatening. But, vitiligo can be life-altering. Some people develop low self-esteem. They may no longer want to hang out with friends or develop serious depression. The emotional aspects of having vitiligo are often overlooked, but they are real. If a child has vitiligo, other children may tease and bully. People can stare. Studies conclude that many people who have vitiligo have a decreased quality of life. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies. And for those of us who do not have vitiligo, we need to learn about the condition and be more compassionate to those who are living with it. It’s ok to be curious and ask questions (per an acquaintance who has vitiligo) but the rudeness,  stares and unkind remarks and treatment is mean- spirited and unnecessary. Put yourself in that person’s position. This is not anything they did or asked for and they have enough going on without ignorant people treating them less than who they are. “Treat others how you want to be treated!”

*The information in this post is for informational purposes only. Seek medical advice/ treatment from your own physician and/or medical professional.

Back To School


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Goodbye Summer–a new school year is here! Well, technically Summer isn’t over yet, but the start of school signals the end of Summer as we know it (no school, vacations, trips to the beach, etc.). Starting a new school year can be a time of excitement and anxiety. But with all that excitement and anxiety families face a new set of challenges. Shorter Autumn days bring hectic schedules of sports, activities and events…and full calendars. In this post you will find tips, advice and ideas to help you make a smooth transition from the lazy days of Summer to a healthy, exciting and successful school year.

Avoiding the Madness

Want to avoid crazy, chaotic mornings in your house? Plan ahead to send your kids out the door in a happy frame of mind. While also maintaining your sanity.

The night before, think ahead to the morning to see where you can lighten your load. Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes. Make sure breakfast foods are easy to reach if your child is old enough and wants to get there own breakfast. Lay out your children’s clothing the night before. To make things really easy, I used to get my children’s clothes out for the entire week, iron them all and lay them out, on Sunday. That way I didn’t have to worry about doing it every night. It also avoids having to debate with your child about what to wear in the morning when time is of the essence. Your child can also collaborate with you on the outfit choices if they so desire. This even works if your child wears uniforms. My motto is always, “Work smarter, not harder”. Make sure all homework papers, books, papers requiring parent signatures, projects, musical instruments, backpacks, sports bags, or anything else your child will need, are in a central location and ready to go in the morning.

If your kids share a bathroom, you probably experience some bathroom wars. To help quell this, try using a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time and you won’t have to play referee in the morning.

Sleep Schedules

Going back to school means an end to staying up late. To help your child transition back to waking up early, Dr. Warren Seigel, Chairman of Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital in New York, says it’s important to establish a new sleep routine. “Start with going to bed one hour earlier every night and waking up early until the new routine is established,” he told CBS News. “It needs to be done a week or two before going back to school, not the night before school starts.” The first day of school is not time for drastic adjustments of sleep schedules.

The National Sleep Foundation provides guidelines for the amount of sleep children should get at different ages. They suggest kids between the ages of 3 and 5 get 10-13 hours of sleep a night; ages 6 to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep; and teens 14 and older should get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

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Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director Duke’s Healthy Lifestyles Clinic and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Community and Family Medicine, also offered some advice to help kids fall asleep easier. “Taking a hot bath cools the body down and triggers the central nervous system to induce sleep,” she said. “Also turning the lights down an hour or two before bedtime.”

Studies have shown that the glowing light from cellphone or tablet screens can disrupt sleep cycles, so make sure your kids put their electronic device away before bedtime.

Homework and Study Time

It’s a good idea to schedule a regular time for homework so that the child gets into a good routine. Make sure that homework time is free from distractions like TV or other electronic devices. It’s especially very important to establish regular homework/study time when your child participates in extra curricular activities and/or sports. These things can be very time consuming and can get in the way of your child’s school work if an appropriate routine is not set and prioritized.

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If your child is struggling with a particular subject or can’t focus, discuss this with a teacher or school counselor to determine the best solution.

Organizing the Chaos

With a new school year comes a whole lot of schedules. Sporting events, school functions, lunch menus, music lessons, dance recitals, and an array of other activities. To help calm the chaos, keep one centralized calendar for the whole family. You”ll need a family event calendar to track all activities pertaining to the children and even the parents. This calendar will help with time management so that no activity or event is missed due to being overlooked or overbooked.

Form is less important than function. If you are traditional and still like to use paper and see things handwritten, then opt for a paper calendar. You could also use a white board calendar that will be easy to revise when necessary. But if your tech savvy, your tablet, smartphone or home computer/laptop can be used to sync all of your dates/events. Choose whatever works best for you and your family. Posting this calendar in a central location will help ensure that all family members have access to it and can see what’s going on and when.


Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy. Eating a healthy diet is key to a child’s development, school performance and overall health, research shows.

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Here are a few tips to help keep your kids properly fueled without taking a lot of extra time out of your day:

  • Prep Meals to Save Time– shop for breakfast and lunch essentials in advance; chop fruits and veggies in advance, to have them ready to go when you need them (research shows kids are more likely to eat fruits/veggies when they are cut up)
  • Focus on Quality Carbs– Studies show that school-aged kids perform better on tests and have improved concentration when they eat a balanced breakfast. Include whole grain or enriched grains that are low in added sugars like breads and cereals (aim for less than 10 grams of sugar per serving of cereal). Quality carbs from grain-based foods and fruit are nutrient-rich and provide the brain with a steady supply of energy to facilitate learning. Example of a balanced breakfast for kids is eggs, toast and fruit. If your child  has allergies or food intolerances, provide whatever is appropriate.
  • Keep Your Kids Properly Hydrated– Staying well hydrated is extremely important to prevent fatigue and keep concentration levels going strong. Proper hydration also helps them maintain a healthy weight as dehydration often masks itself as hunger and can cause children (and adults) to overeat. Skip sugary energy drinks and sodas and give kids a bottle of water instead (add fruit slices if kids get bored with just plain water) or a bit of 100% fruit juice to the water.


After months of staying up late, zoning out in front of the TV or video game, playing outside all day, swimming and eating all kinds of snacks throughout the day, kids have a lot of adjustments to make as they head back to school. This is a good time for your children to visit the pediatrician, the dentist and the eye doctor to make sure their health is up to par.

Annual checkups should be done by a pediatrician before each new school year to ensure that your child’s medical records and vaccinations are up to date. You might need to prove this to the school. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a complete list of vaccination schedules, by age group, posted on its website.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to schedule your child for a sports physical so they can participate in athletics. Sports physicals are valid for one year and your child won’t be able to participate in sports if that is not done.

Vision screenings are typically done as part of of a child’s physical exam, so parents should ask pediatricians about checking your child’s eyesight before school starts. “Having poor vision can sometimes go unnoticed,” Armstrong says. Kids might not say anything or know that something is amiss with their vision. If your child has to squint or strain to see to the front of the classroom, it could show up as headaches during the day, poor school performance or even behavioral problems. Pediatricians can advise when a visit to an optometrist or opthalmologist in needed.

Hearing tests should also be done if you have concerns. Armstrong said that hearing screens are done regularly until about age 6 or 7 and then every two to three years thereafter. “Hearing is less likely to go bad at a later age (in adolescence),” Armstrong said.

According to the CDC, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions among children and results in a staggering number of missed school days. Good oral hygiene is an important part of your child’s overall health. We recommend that your child go to the dentist two times a year for routine cleanings and checkups. It is also recommended that your child brush their teeth 2x day with a fluoride toothpaste. Flossing is also recommended at least 1x a day. This can be challenging for some children so it is ok if the child uses the floss sticks.

Safety Tips

With the new school year starting now is the perfect time to remind motorists and families of the importance of keeping our children safe as they travel to and from school. Whether you have a teen driver on the road or a child waiting for a school bus, it is very important for everyone to be on heightened alert as the new school year begins.

According to the National Safety Council, half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. With the new year starting, there will be more buses, bicyclists, cars and pedestrians which is why it is important to slow down and share the road.


  • Be sure to know your school’s drop off procedures if you’re dropping off your child
  • Be aware of school buses stopping frequently
  • DO NOT PASS A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS if their stopping gear is out! Proceed carefully when appropriate!
  • Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb
  • Make sure your child walks where they can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see the child too)
  • Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required
  • If your child’s bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when on the bus (if your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school system to buy or lease buses with them)
  • Be extra cautious of pedestrians
  • Slow down in school zones

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A new school year is the start of new and exciting times. We can manage the chaos and ensure that our children have happy, healthy and successful school years.

*This blog post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give medical, dental, nutrition, health or safety advice. Please contact your own professional in these areas for advice or treatment.

Did You Know That You Could Be Paying Your Employer To Be At Work?


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It’s Summer time! The kids are out of school and some of us just want to take some time off from work and enjoy our families and the weather. But according to a few surveys, many people don’t even use their paid vacation days.

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Paid leave, whether in the form of vacation and sick days or as paid time off hours, makes up nearly 7% of total compensation in private industry, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees rarely use all of their allotted time. Workers, on average, fail to use nearly five vacation days per year (U.S. Travel Association). Four percent (4%) of Americans don’t take their paid time off. On those days that you don’t take the time off, you are basically paying your employer to be at work. (If that doesn’t get you to use your time I don’t know what will). But anyway, let’s see if I can motivate you some more.

“It’s an epidemic of overwork”, says Cheryl Rosner, CEO of, a hotel bidding and booking site. Other countries don’t have this same issue. Germany, France and Scandinavia routinely take as much as 6 weeks off annually. U.S. employees typically leave about 429 million paid vacation days on the table every year. That’s unbelievable!

Potential Consequences of Not Taking Time Off

Productivity, quality of creativity and a drop in safety is affected when employees not using their time of and began to feel stressed and overworked. Chronic workaholics eventually crash and that has the potential to cost the company because the recovery time will probably be longer than the vacation would have been. Stressed out employees cost $600 more than average in healthcare each year, adding up to $300 billion annually. As a result of unused days off, one study puts the liability taken on by U.S. businesses at $224 billion, due to workers rolling over unused paid time off. This doesn’t take into account that when people don’t take off to recharge, their resulting stress and burnout can be detrimental to both the workers and their employees. A survey by staffing firm The Creative Group reported that about 40% of executives think employees would be more productive if they took more vacations, while only 1% think productivity would “decrease significantly”. Yet among the same senior managers, 72% say that if their companies offered unlimited vacation days, they still wouldn’t use any more than they already do. Actually, more than half of the employees said they wouldn’t either.

So why don’t Americans take time off from work? There are several reasons for this. Some say they will have too much of a mess waiting for them when they return to work. Work piles up and they get too far behind. They say they coming back to overloaded in boxes is stressful.  A poll by Creative Group parent company Robert Half International said that employees are “saving vacation time in case they need it” for some future purpose other than relaxing and unwinding. People also worry that they may need to use the time for family emergencies or some other unforeseeable event. Sometimes there’s a blurring of lines between vacation/sick days and all paid time off. People who had paid time off generally took more days off over the course of a year. The blurring of lines between vacation and sick days can have drawbacks when there is a limited amount of time allotted. The issue with “sick days” is that if you get sick, then all your days go towards that. And you also have to use that time for other things you may need to take off for such as doctor appointments. The thing is that workers are more likely to come to work sick rather than use up their vacation days or take unpaid time off. There was a case in New York City where a woman pushed herself to go to work even though she was sick and she died in the office. Apparently she didn’t have any more days left to use and could not afford to take unpaid time off.

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According to a survey by Virgin Pulse (a market leader in the rapidly-growing employee health engagement category):

  • 62% respondents say they feel at least “pretty good” about taking time off, but  are not taking full of advantage of the allotted PTO and many concerned about being out of the office
  • 44% say they take 76-100% PTO each year
  • 34% reported 50% or less taken
  • 41% say they “feel guilty” or “stressed” about taking time off

Employees today are frazzled and overwhelmed with responsibilities from work and home. They put their health on the back burner and don’t take time off to reset. The stress and burnout impact health. But the burnout, which is common, is easy to avoid.

The amount of unclaimed days may be rising depending on an employee’s seniority. The higher up the person was in the company, the more time that gets left on the table. The lower down, the more they took. Solution: Employers need to encourage employees to take off. Paid vacations are not only part of the employee’s compensation but is a proven way to ward of burnout and refresh creativity. Managers need to lead by example and take their time off. When employees take time off, it opens the door for valuable learning opportunities. The opportunity to cross-train others on tasks that the person usually handles. If the employer finds that things are falling apart when the employees take time off, the problem isn’t the employee’s time off, it’s failure to make sure others have the tools, processes and training to cover for the absent employee. It’s important to make sure the team is capable of carrying on without everyone in attendance. Employees may come up with new ideas, new concepts or a creative solution to a problem or ideas for improvements.

No matter what an employee chooses to do with their time off, whether it be a vacation abroad or a stay-cation, time at home with family or a spa day, most experience positive benefits. Sixty percent (60%) report feeling more completely recharged after vacation. Employees also return to work feeling more rested (48%), relaxed (36%) and productive (26%).

Stress and burnout can hinder an employee’s ability to be their best selves at work. Focus, drive, energy and productivity can decrease. The benefits of taking time off benefit both the employee and the employer. Time off is necessary to be happy, healthy and productive. “We need to help people shift their perspective,” said Rosner. “It’s not a perk.” And remember, it’s not a break if you are still plugged into work phones, voice mails, emails and the laptop while on vacation.

**Check out this research summary for more information on why Americans are not using paid time off.

Your Child’s Dental Visit


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A visit to the dentist can be a scary thing for children. The odors, the “tools”, the noises/sounds and many other things can upset them. One of the main reasons we see for children being afraid of the dentist may be attributed to them going to their PCP’s (Primary Care Physician) office for illnesses or even just for routine immunizations. The child can get a negative image of a doctor’s office and associate the dentist with that negative experience. They also are coming into a strange/unfamiliar place with strange/unfamiliar objects and strange/unfamiliar people wearing uniforms, masks, and glasses, who want to look into their mouths. This is sometimes the case during a 1st dental visit but as time goes on, the child may become more comfortable with their dental visits and will love to come to the dentist (which is what a lot of our parents tell us at Blue Diamond Dental). If the child’s apprehension persists and we are unable to treat them, we will refer them to a Pedodontist, a pediatric dentist who specializes in the care of infants and children. This is pretty rare in our office but does happen occasionally.

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There are several things you can do to prepare your child for his/her dental visit:

  • Talk to your child about the visit; explain what will happen (in simple terms); dentist will “count” your teeth and “take pictures” of your teeth
  • Don’t communicate any fear you may have to your child; don’t use words like “shots”, “drills” or “needles”;let the staff introduce their own vocabulary to the child to help them get through the visit
  • Have a positive attitude when discussing the dentist and use positive phrases like “clean, strong, healthy teeth” to make the visit seem fund and good rather than scary (let the child know that they will be rewarded with prizes, stickers, a new toothbrush, etc.)
  • Talk to the dentist about any worries your child may have; work together to limit them
  • Look for books that explain what it is like to go to the dentist; these books usually contain pictures to explain what happens; they also let the child see what the inside of the dentist office looks like
  • Don’t use going to the dentist as a punishment; Children will associate going to the dentist as negative

Be Prepared for Fussing

It is normal and age-appropriate for young children to cry, whine, wiggle and not want to be examined by a stranger. Sometimes they just outright refuse to even get into the dental chair. The dentist and staff are prepared and experienced to handle this situation. What we don’t want to do is traumatize the child by “forcing” them to be examined or treated. If the visit is just for a routine cleaning and examination, we may need to reschedule the child and try again at a later visit. If notice that the child will not cooperate no matter what or if the child needs immediate dental treatment, we will refer the child to that pediatric dentist. Sometimes it helps to bring your child in to watch an older sibling or a parent getting routine preventative care/checkup (not anything else) before they are seen for their own visit.

Dental visits are necessary to keep your child’s teeth healthy and promote good oral hygiene habits and overall health. Routine visits to the dentist is a necessity, not a choice. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it is recommended the a child visits a dentist within 6 months of the 1st tooth erupting or by age 1. It is important to keep primary teeth (“baby teeth”) in place until they are lost naturally. Strong healthy teeth are necessary to chew properly in order to maintain good nutrition. The teeth are also involved in speech development. Without teeth, the child may develop speech impediments that will require a specialist in order to correct. Primary teeth also save space for permanent teeth that the child will have throughout their lifespan. Healthy teeth also promote a healthy smile that helps children feel good about the way they look.

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“Many people don’t understand how important their child’s baby teeth are to lifelong health”, says Ken Sutherland, DDS, senior dental consultant at Delta Dental. “The 1st dental visit is a great opportunity for parents to learn how best to care for their children’s teeth”. If taken early (usually before age 2), the child is probably too young to be nervous. Older children may have anxiety at the time of a 1st. It’s also better if you make sure the child is well rested before their visit so that they feel relaxed and comfortable (not around nap time or meal time). Also, if you child has any special/exceptional needs, please let the dentist and staff know ahead of time so that together with you, we can best plan your child’s visit. Let us know what we can do to help your child have a successful dental visit. We don’t know if you don’t tell us.

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Let’s make your child’s trip to the dentist a pleasant and enjoyable visit. The dentist office doesn’t have to be a scary place. With your help your child will love coming to visit us for their treatment twice a year. So start them early and continue with their routine care as recommended. And remember, if you are apprehensive about the dentist, don’t let your child know that. Your child can go into adulthood without having a dislike or fear of the dentist.

Children’s Resources on Dental Visits:

Delta Dental’s Children’s Website: (stories and fun activities to help children learn about their teeth)

Books: “Spongebob Squarepants’ Behold No Cavities: A Visit to the Dentist”; Scholastic Books

*The information in this post is for informational purposes only. Contact your own personal dentist for advice or treatment.

Water Safety


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With Summer upon us, the rising mercury leads us to places of relaxation. Not only are we looking for a place for a little R&R,  but we’re looking to cool off by adding some water activities to our day. Hanging out by the pool or on the beach on a hot day is a great way to beat the heat. Swimming is the most popular Summer activity. Most of us don’t think much about water safety. There are so many distractions such as just having fun, reading or electronics that can sometimes interfere with us really paying attention to what’s going on around us. And this could be very dangerous.


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We need to make water safety our priority. Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages 5-21. Most accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe.

Safety Guidelines include:

Learning how to swim is essential (check in your area for local classes; YMCA and swim clubs are a great source); age appropriate swim lessons.

Buddy Up (no matter if your at a backyard pool or a lake; even experienced swimmers can become tired and get muscle cramps, which makes it difficult to get out of the water).

Learn life-saving skills such as CPR and rescue techniques (some organizations offer free classes; YMCA or YWCA, local hospitals, Red Cross).

Know your limits; only go as far as you can reach the bottom if you’re a beginner or not a good swimmer; don’t try to keep up with skilled swimmers; Good swimmers keep an eye on friends who aren’t as comfortable or as skilled as you are.

Swim in safe areas only; only places supervised by a lifeguard.


Be careful about diving; Diving injuries can cause a head injury, permanent spinal cord damage, paralysis and sometimes even death; only dive in areas known to be safe, such as the deep end of a supervised pool; “No Diving” or “No Swimming” signs, pay attention to them; the previous means water isn’t safe for head 1st entry.

Always maintain constant supervision. Actively supervise kids whenever they are around water,  even if lifeguards are present. Do not drop kids off at a public pool or leave them at the beach. Designate a responsible adult to supervise them. Do not trust a child’s life to another child. Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water. Teach children to always ask for permission to go near water.

Young children or inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets around water, but don’t rely on jackets alone. Also, make sure you wear a life jacket while boating. Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.


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Alcohol plays a role in a lot of water accidents. Avoid alcohol use because it impairs judgment, balance and coordination,  affecting swimming and driving skills. It also reduces the body’s ability to stay warm. Up to half of all water-relatd deaths involve alcohol. Half of all adolescent male drownings are tied to alcohol use.


Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are males.

Children ages 1-4 years have the highest drowning rates (most occur in home swimming


Among 1-14 year olds, fatal drowning remains the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicles crashes.

Between 2005 and 2009, data for unintentional drowning rates for African Americans was significantly higher than whites across all ages; the disparity was the widest among ages 5-14 year olds (fatal drowning rate for this age group was almost 3x that of white kids the same age).

*Factors such as access to swimming pools, the desire or lack of desire to learn how to swim and choosing water-related recreational activities may contribute to racial differences in drowning rates.


1. Lack of Swimming Ability
2. Lack of  Physical Barriers (such as fences)
3. Lack of Close Supervision
4. Location: people of different ages drown in different       locations
5. Failure to Wear Life Jackets
6. Alcohol Use
7. Seizure Disorders: drowning most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of the highest drowning risk

Summer and water activities can be enjoyed by all and everyone can remain safe by following these easy guidelines. Stay alert and undistracted. If you or your loved can’t swim, find a class and get some lessons. Always supervise your children around water. For more tips and information contact the Red Cross or another local organization in n your area.

*The information in this post is for informational purposes only. Contact a professional on the topic for advice.

Can Our Choice of Footwear Be Hazardous to Our Health?


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In the news, over the last few weeks, has been the topic of whether our footwear, namely flip flops and high heels, are hazardous to our health. But  before we go into that, let’s take a look at the history of both.

The particular type of flip flops that we are familiar with go back to the Ancient Egyptians 4000BC. They were also worn by the Masai of Africa, in India, China and Japan. Our style of flip flops were bought back to the United States after World War II by the soldiers.

Some historians suggest that high heels have been around as early as 3500 BC. There has been depictions of high heels that could be seen etched in murals on Egyptian temples and tombs. They were not only worn by women, but men also wore them. It is said that medical professionals have been warning high heel wearers about the dangers of such shoes for the same amount of time, according to Gerald McGwinn, epidemiology professor in the UAB School of Public Health.

Flip Flops

Flip flops are not designed for prolonged use or walking long distances. They should only be worn casually and for shorter periods of time. Flip flops lack the support that a walking or running shoe provides. And for those of you who keep bringing those same ones back out year after year, experts warn that you should replace them often, despite the fact that you believe them to be comfy and “broken in”. They actually say you should replace them every few months. For some of us who live in areas of seasonal changes, that means replace them when that Summer season re-emerges. And for those of you who enjoy “Summer” weather all year round, then listen to the experts.

Wearing flip flops can cause lower leg pain and changes in stride (according to research presented at the 55th annual meeting of American College of Sports Medicine). Statistics show a significant decrease in vertical (straight down) force in flip flops vs sneakers. This decreased force may explain anecdotal evidence that flip flop wearers alter their normal gait and may shed light into why some experience lower leg pain. Flip flops also make feet roll inward, stretching ligaments and tendons, which pull toes out of alignment and causes pain and bunions. Flip flops hurt feet as much as high heels because they offer no support or protection to the feet.

High Heels

New research  finds injuries related to heels nearly doubled in the U.S. in a recent 11 year period. U.S. emergency rooms treated 123,355 high-heeled related injuries between 2002 and 2012 say researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. More than 19,000 of those injuries occurred in 2011 alone.


What are some other injuries associated with high heels? When wearing high heels, in most cases, 80% of your weight is on the toes. The study also found that sprains and strains to the foot and ankle are the most common complaints (most of these were patients in their 20s and 30s). Discomfort in the lower leg, ankle and foot are common. Wearing heels inhibits the movement of the ankle muscles and reduces step length and overall range of motion. They can also cause people to lose their balance, which could lead to other injuries if they fall down.

A study published online recently by the Journal of Foot and Ankle Injuries reported that more than 80% injuries are to the ankle and foot. Slightly less than 20% involve the knee, trunk, shoulder or head and neck. About 1 in 5 of these accidents resulted in a broken bone, according to the study.

According to the American Osteopathic Association: 1 in 10 women wear heels at least 3 days a week and 1/3 have fallen while wearing them. Researchers estimate the average high heel can start to cause pain after just 1 hour 6 minutes 4 seconds of wearing it. Twenty percent start to feel pinching after only 10 minutes of slipping on a heel. Fifty-nine percent report toe pain as a result of uncomfortable shoes. Pain in the ball of the foot was reported by 54%. Studies show that women who wear high heels daily tend to be younger and are more likely to wear uncomfortable shoes. Younger women are more likely to experience blisters and pain in the arches of the feet than older women. Older women are more likely to experience corns, calluses and bunions. Statistics show high heels is one of the biggest factors leading to foot problems in women with up to 1/3 suffering permanent problems as a result of prolonged wear.

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  • Blisters 55%
  • Cracked Heels 45%
  • Corns 24%
  • Ingrown Toenails 20%
  • Joint Problems 11%
  • Bunions 13%

Frequent wearing of high heels sets one up for long-term issues. Extended wear and continuous bending of the toes into an unnatural position can cause a range of ailments from ingrown toenails to irreversible nerve damage to leg tendons. A narrow toe box that is present in high heels can lead to bunions and that above stated nerve damage. Extended wear is also linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fascititis and lower back pain. Also, over time, high heel wearing can shorten the muscles in the calves and in the back, leading to pain and muscle spasms. The shortened Achilles tendon happens once the heel is pointed upwards, it tightens up. Stretching it again or switching to flats can be very painful. With repetitive wear, you can develop unhealthy patterns that can persist even when you’re not wearing high heels.

What constitutes a “high heel”? A shoe with a heel height greater than 2 inches. When the heel is 2 inches or higher, the foot slides forward in the shoes, forcing the toes into that unnatural shape of the shoe and redistributing your weight incorrectly. Increased weight on the toes causes the body to tilt forward and to compensate, you lean backwards and over-arch your back. “The change to the position of the spine puts pressure on the nerves in the back and can cause sciatica, a condition where the nerves become trapped, triggering pain and numbness as far down as the feet, ” says Dr. Natalie A. Nevins, an osteopathic physician from Hollywood, California.


Image Credit: Simply Chiropractic Tampa

Some of you non-high heel wearers may be asking the question, so why do women wear high heels if they can do harm? Some of the reasons include: to have legs that appear longer, sex appeal and to add height. According to a survey, 72% of women wear high heels, with 34% wearing them daily. 82% of those surveyed prefer high heels, 73% wear them to complete their professional attire; 54% feel they look sexier and more attractive in heels; 48% say to enhance their legs and to appear taller 39%. One study says taller people make more money. The Australian study asserts that “taller people are perceived to be more intelligent and powerful”. Adding a fabulous pair of heels into the mix could be enough to help you climb the next rung of the career ladder.

Ok, ok, now the million dollar question. Do we have to give up wearing our high heel shoes? Of course not! But to avoid problems that develop over time we can follow these routines:

  • Choose sensible heels (low heels- 1 inch or less, with a wide heel base or a slightly thicker heel will help to spread the load more evenly; narrow stilettos provides very little support)
  • Wear soft insoles to reduce impact on the knees
  • Make sure the shoes are the right size (prevents foot from sliding forward, putting more pressure on the toes; pick a shoe with a wide enough toe box to allow the toes to wiggle)

foot forward

  • Wear heels on days that require limited walking or standing
  • Alternate shoe choices throughout the day or from one day to another (high heels one day, comfy flats the next day); Don’t wear the heels all day (carry comfy shoes to change into if feet start to hurt)
  • Do Stretches Daily

Don’t let style get in the way of your ability to stand or step pain-free. “Your feet are, quite literally, your base of support. If your feet aren’t happy, nothing above them will be,” says Dr. Nevins. “Take a closer look at your shoe selection and take small steps now to prevent big foot problems later”.

The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only. For medical advice you should contact your personal physician, podiatrist or other medical professional for advice and/or treatment.