Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Caution: Recreational activities could damage your hearing

In July, people across the nation celebrated America’s independence with cookouts, parties, and, most of all, fireworks. And although setting off your own fireworks can be visually stimulating and exciting, it’s important to remember that it can also be dangerous to your hearing.

At a distance of 10 feet, fireworks can produce up to 155 decibels of noise – well over the 85 decibels thought to cause hearing loss after repeated exposure. The Better Hearing Institute suggests that people use caution by wearing ear plugs or ear muffs during not only firework presentations, but also the following recreational activities:
  • Snowmobiling – 99 decibels 
  • Video arcades – 110 decibels 
  • Movie theaters – 118 decibels 
  • Motor-boating – up to 115 decibels 
  • Motorcycling – up to 120 decibels 
  • Live concerts – 120 decibels + 
  • Health clubs – 120 decibels 
  • Shooting range (gunshots) – up to 167 decibels

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Monday, June 16, 2014

How can I protect my hearing?

According to the Better Hearing Institute, one-third of hearing loss is preventable. So what measures can you take to protect your own hearing? For starters, it’s important to limit the amount of time you spend doing noisy activities. This seems obvious, but many people don’t realize that repeated exposures to loud noises can add up to cause damage later. Second, if you must participate in a noisy activity (such as mowing the lawn), wear proper protection.

By wearing ear plugs or muffs, people can limit the amount of noise that enters the ear canal. These devices can be purchased at most sporting goods stores or a basic drug store. Third, turn down the noise that you can control. It’s easy to leave the TV on too loud or be tempted to crank up the stereo in the car, but even these small choices can have negative consequences on your hearing. Instead, make a conscious effort to keep the volume down low when you’re watching TV and listening to the radio.

This goes for all handheld devices, as well. Personal music players with ear bud-style headphones allow the music to have direct access to your ear canal, so listeners must use extra caution when using these types of players. Finally, the Better Hearing Institute recommends that patients ask their ear doctor about possible negative side effects of their medications. Some medicines can actually be dangerous to a person’s hearing, so do some research and talk to your doctor about your concerns. When it comes to hearing, prevention is the key to preservation.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Measuring prescription medication for your child

Nearly all small children are prescribed liquid medication until they are old enough to swallow capsules. As a result, it’s important that adults be informed about the proper way to dispense the medication and protect their children’s health. According to the FDA, some of the most common types of dosing instruments include:
  • Dosage cups: These cups are designed for children who are old enough to drink from a cup without spilling. Adults should be sure to look carefully at the small numbers printed on the side of the cup to determine the correct fill level. Medicine should then be poured to that exact level when the cup is sitting on a flat surface.
  • Droppers: These are geared toward children who cannot drink from a cup, and require the adult to squeeze the proper amount of medication into the child’s mouth. Like the dosage cups, medicine must be brought to the exact line on the side of the dropper that was recommended by a doctor. Adults should squeeze the liquid quickly out of the dropper so it cannot fall on the floor before it gets into the child’s mouth.
  • Cylindrical dosage spoons: These spoons look like a large straw with a spoon at one end and are used for children who can drink from a cup, but are likely to spill. In this case, adults should again fill the liquid to the appropriate marked line and be sure it is even at eye level. Children then drink the medicine from the spoon.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your child’s prescription medication. It’s important to be educated so you can protect the health of your young child.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dry eyes? Try a humidifier

When allergy season rolls around, many people begin to suffer from dry, irritated eyes. One simple solution to this problem is to alter the humidity levels in your home. According to The Dry Eye Company, patients with chronic dry eyes can benefit from purchasing a humidifier. Humidifiers work by releasing moisture into the air and can be used in any enclosed room to help control humidity levels.

Watch out, though: Too much humidity can increase the amount of dust and mold in a room, so be sure to keep your levels around 40 to 50 percent. Any lower than approximately 30 percent, and people will likely notice a change in their eyes. Many people suffer from dry eyes year-round, so be sure to ask your eye doctor about any irritation you experience in your eyes. He or she can help diagnose the cause and talk to you about potential solutions, such as a humidifier.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Preventing and recognizing a lazy eye

Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change for the entire body, particularly for the eyes. A person’s sight undergoes critical developments in the early years, meaning parents must be extra-vigilant about their child’s eyesight during this time. One issue that can arise in young children is known as amblyopia – or “lazy eye.” In this case, one eye is strong while the other is weak, creating a harmful imbalance.

EyeCare America recommends that parents get their child’s eyes checked by age four because early treatment is the most effective. Children who are treated before the age of nine are generally able to have better-restored vision than those who wait until their teenage years. It’s important to get the opinion of an ophthalmologist because it’s hard to detect a lazy eye (even the child may be unaware she has a problem). If an imbalance is detected, the eye doctor may recommend one of several treatments, most of which are geared toward building strength in the weak eye.

This may be done by having the child wear an eye patch over her good eye or even using drops to blur vision in her good eye. Both of these methods force the child to use her weak eye in order to regain strength and balance. While perhaps difficult at first, the payoff will be a lifetime of good vision. If you suspect your child may have a lazy eye, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your eye doctor. It’s always a good idea to get regular check-ups, and in case of a problem, your doctor can begin treatments early and effectively.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pregnancy and your gums

When you find out you’re pregnant, your gums are probably one of the last things on your mind. Yet, research suggests that taking care of your teeth and gums should be at the top of your list, along with picking out a name and buying diapers. The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that about half of pregnant women experience gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis range from swelling and redness to bleeding and tissue tenderness. This may seem like a small concern in relation to having a baby, but researchers have discovered a link between periodontal disease and pre-term births.

According to the AAP, pregnant women with periodontal disease are up to seven times more likely to give birth early, meaning they are at risk of having an underdeveloped or low-weight baby. The cause of this link is thought to be a chemical called prostaglandin, which, in high levels, can cause labor to be induced. Fortunately, women who receive treatment for their gingivitis and periodontal disease can reduce their chances of having a pre-term birth. If you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your dentist so you can clear up any problems right away. Dentists can remove plaque and tartar from the gums and help you get rid of any signs of gingivitis, leaving you with a healthy and low-risk pregnancy.

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