There's been a nearly 60 percent drop in broken bones among U.S. children during the coronavirus pandemic, but the rate of fractures that occur at home has climbed, a new study finds. The researchers analyzed data on 1,735 youngsters treated for acute fractures at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) between March 15 and April 15, and compared that data with the same time period in 2018 and 2019. There was a nearly 2.5-fold decline in the number of daily fracture cases during the coronavirus pandemic, compared with the two previous years, the investigators found. There was a particularly sharp fall in sports-related fractures. They accounted for just 7.2 percent of all fractures during the recent time period, compared with 26 percent of all fractures in the same time period in 2018 and 2019. However, there was a more than 25 percent increase in fractures that occurred at home this year, and a 12 percent increase in fractures caused by high-energy falls, such as fractures from trampoline and bicycle falls. Due to social distancing measures -- including the closure of schools and parks and the cancellation of team sports during the coronavirus pandemic -- families are spending more time at home. The shift in causes of fractures is due to parents seeking other recreational activities for their children, said the authors of the study published online in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics. It is important to remind parents about the importance of basic safety precautions with bicycles and trampolines, as many children are substituting these activities in place of organized sports and school activities, the release reported.
An average of two children die from burns and more than 300 are treated for such injuries in U.S. emergency departments every day, a burn expert says. Burns are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States, and children are particularly vulnerable. Young children are at increased risk for accidental burns because their mental and physical abilities are not fully developed. Also, they have thinner skin layers than adults, which means they suffer deeper burns at lower temperatures and more quickly, the experts explained. tips on preventing burns in children. Make sure coffee cups and tea mugs have lids, and never carry hot liquids while holding a child. Never place hot liquids on low coffee tables or end tables that can be reached by young children, and don't use table cloths or place mats that a child can pull down. Keep clothes irons, curling irons, etc., unplugged and out of reach of children. When cooking, never leave the stove unattended, turn handles of pots and pans toward the rear of the stove, and use back burners when possible. Water heaters should be set at a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or just below the medium setting. A safe bathing temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Test the temperature at the faucet with a meat thermometer after running hot water for 1 to 3 minutes. If you have to leave the bathroom while bathing a child, take the child with you. Don't give children tasks that are beyond their capabilities, such as bathing, caring for a younger sibling, cooking, or using a microwave.
Preventing Child Burns Every day, more than 300 children are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To help prevent your child from being burned, the CDC suggests:
- Install and maintain smoke alarms at home.
- Supervise children's use of stoves, ovens and microwaves.
- Set your water heater's thermostat to under 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never leave food unattended on the stove.
- Have a fire escape plan.
Getting too little sleep at night? If so, your odds for a car crash are rising, research suggests. Crash risk is highest if you get fewer than four hours of shuteye a night, scientists found. That's like driving with a blood alcohol concentration roughly 1.5 times the legal limit, the researchers explained. But even those who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are more likely to be in a crash -- and to cause it, the study found. Experts advise adults to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. But surveys reveal that 20 percent of Americans fall short of this recommendation, usually sleeping less than seven hours, the study authors said. They noted that an estimated 7 percent of all U.S. car crashes and 16 percent of fatal collisions involve sleepy drivers. The researchers examined data on 5,470 crashes, including driver interviews, from a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The results were published recently in the journal Sleep. Drivers who reported sleeping less than four hours were more than 15 times likelier to be responsible for the car accident than those who got at least seven hours of sleep, the study found. The sleep deprived were also at high risk for a single-car crash, which is more likely to result in injury or death. The researchers noted these drowsy drivers had about the same odds of crashing as a driver with a blood alcohol concentration roughly 1.5 times the legal limit. Drivers who'd had four to six hours of sleep the night before were up to 2.9 times more likely to cause their accident than those who sacked out for seven to nine hours. Folks who had changed their sleep or work schedule within the past week and those who had been driving three hours or more without stopping were also at higher risk for crashing, the study found.
Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving Drowsy driving was responsible for more than 72,000 vehicle crashes in 2013, according to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drowsiness slows your reaction time, affects your ability to make good decisions and distracts from the road. The CDC mentions these possible warning signs of drowsy driving:
- Yawning or blinking frequently.
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven.
- Missing your exit.
- Drifting from your lane.
- Going over a rumble strip on the side of the road.
If you're working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic and expect to keep doing so, you need to be sure your work station is set up properly, orthopedic specialists recommend. You also need to take regular breaks to move around, according to a physical therapist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. In an office, many people have ergonomic support and opportunities for physical breaks. You might have walked to the water cooler or coffee machine, attended meetings or walked to co-workers' desks, researchers noted in a news release. To help you adapt to working at home, specialists offer some suggestions to improve the safety and comfort of your workspace. When sitting at your desk, rest your feet flat on the floor. Use a foot rest if the desk height can't be adjusted. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground, with a two-finger space between the back of the knees and the chair, and 3 to 6 inches of space between your thighs and the desk/keyboard. Place a small pillow or towel roll behind you for lower back support, specialists suggest. Your head should be level, facing forward, and in line with your torso. The top of your computer screen should be at or slightly below eye level. The screen itself should be 18 to 28 inches from your eyes, or at arm's length. If you feel you need to bring your eyes closer to your screen, consider seeing an eye doctor for an eyeglass prescription, or make your screen's text larger. If you use a dual monitor, swivel your body in your chair rather than constantly turn your head to view the monitors. If you can't adjust your chair, consider changing the orientation of the monitor from landscape to portrait. When using the keyboard and mouse, relax your shoulders and place your forearms parallel to floor. Your wrists should rest in a neutral position (hand in line with wrist and forearm). Use soft pads or a wrist rest as needed, and keep the mouse within easy reach and next to the keyboard. Adjust mouse sensitivity for light touch. A cordless mouse is the best option. Also, use a hands-free headset if you're on the phone for more than two hours a day, and use a document holder to secure papers when typing. It's not good for your physical or mental health to stay seated all day. Stand and move from your chair at least once an hour, specialists advised. Also, perform desk stretches or chair yoga in between work tasks.
While most people are purchasing over-the-counter pain relief, a new U.S. government report shows that 1 in 10 people are using some type of prescription painkiller. But use of prescription opioid painkillers leveled off from 2015 to 2018, while prescriptions for nonopioid pain medicine rose, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This survey and other research is showing that pain management is becoming safer, reported the president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Between 2015 and 2018, nearly 11 percent of American adults aged 20 and over used at least one prescription opioid like oxycodone or a nonopioid like Celebrex, investigators found. Breaking that down, they found that nearly 6 percent of American adults used one or more prescription opioid painkillers, while 5 percent used a nonopioid prescription pain medication to quell their aches and pains. For the study, researchers used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Other findings:
- More women than men used prescription opioids in the past 30 days, and use increased with age.
- Use of any prescription pain medication was highest among whites (nearly 12 percent), compared to Blacks (about 10 percent) and Hispanics (8.5 percent). Use was lowest among Asians (4.5 percent).
- Between 2009 and 2010 and between 2017 and 2018, there was no significant change in the use of prescription opioids, while the use of prescription nonopioids rose.