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.
Men seem especially prone to accidents, or unintentional injuries. This is the third leading cause of death among men. It's an issue for men that encompasses a variety of factors, including car accidents, falls, drug overdoses, safety problems at home and at the workplace and violence. Problems with the prostate, a gland located below the bladder in men that makes semen, can also occur. Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer are the three main problems that men can experience related to the prostate gland. Men can also experience sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction or low testosterone. Both men and women can become infected with HIV and develop AIDS, but gay men and black men have the highest rates of the disease. Let’s take a look at prostate problems as it related to diet. The prostate gland helps make semen, the fluid that contains sperm. Problems like an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer and prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, are common health problems for men as they grow older. One way that diet can affect the risk of prostate problems is through obesity. Several studies have shown that being obese increases the risk of prostate cancer and other prostate problems. Other studies have shown specific types of food to influence the overall risk for prostate cancer and other problems. For example, some research has shown that men who eat a lot of red meat and fatty dairy products, and not a lot of fruits and vegetables, increase their risk of getting prostate cancer. High calcium intake may also enhance risk, though it’s important to note that calcium has other health benefits for the body.
What to Eat and What to Avoid Eating for a healthy prostate is like maintaining a healthy diet overall. The focus should be on a variety of healthy foods, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. Some studies have shown that lycopene, a carotenoid found in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, apricots and watermelon, may help lower the risk of several cancers, including prostate cancer. Lycopene is easiest for the body to process when consumed through processed tomato products like tomato paste and puree. Unsaturated fats, such as those found in fish, nuts, olives and vegetable oils, should be emphasized over red meat. And it may also help to load up on spices that fight inflammation, like ginger, cinnamon and garlic.
Eating right may not be at the top of every young man's to-do list. But the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says by starting healthy eating habits in their 20s, young men can set themselves up for healthier adult lives. The academy offers this advice: Eat a nutritious breakfast each day. Have a healthy snack in the midmorning and midafternoon, which will boost energy and help avoid overeating at mealtimes. Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables daily. Opt for lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, pork and fish, over red meat. Include plant-based foods -- such as tofu, beans and lentils -- in your diet. Eat healthy fats, such as avocado, olive oil, walnuts, almonds and canola oil. Eat three servings of low-fat dairy each day to promote healthier bones. Get enough vitamin D by taking a supplement or by drinking fortified milk. Get enough iron by eating lots of leafy greens or by eating fortified cereal.
When the weather warms, we tend to spend more time outside with six-legged creatures that feast on our blood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests how to prevent bug bites by applying insect repellent: Use only repellent that contains ingredients registered with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Spray repellent on clothes or skin, but not directly on the face. Don't use repellent on babies. On children, only use repellent that contains no more than 10 percent DEET. You can use oil-of-eucalyptus products on children over age 3. Don't use repellent that's meant for people on your pets. Always follow the label's instructions. Avoid applying repellant to children's hands, around the eyes, or on a cut or irritated skin. Store repellent out of children's reach. Wash repellent off with soap and water. Contact a Poison Control Center if anyone has a reaction to repellent.
Avoiding pesky mosquitoes Mosquito bites may be more than just an itchy annoyance -- they also can transmit deadly germs that cause diseases such as Zika, West Nile or dengue, the U.S. National Institutes of Health warns. Mosquito-borne illnesses kill about 725,000 people worldwide each year, the agency says. Here are the NIH's suggestions for avoiding mosquito bites: Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or IR3535 on the skin or thin clothing. Wear long sleeves, pants and socks. Install or repair screens to keep insects out. Use air conditioning, if available, and keep windows and doors shut. Get rid of bug breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet dishes and birdbaths.
Millions of Americans sweat their way through the work week. Ask anyone from welders to road construction crews to factory workers during a sweltering summer: Extremely hot and humid working conditions are not confined to tropical countries. If you're one of those getting hot under the collar at work, you should be aware of the many health problems associated with laboring in extreme heat. Extreme heat can lead to on-the-job accidents. It can cause less serious ills like heat cramps, prickly heat, and heat exhaustion. In rare cases, heat can even be deadly. Heat stroke occurs when the body's regulatory system fails and body temperature rises too high and can cause brain damage or death. As summer weather heats up, it is important to recognize symptoms of heat stroke. Normally, you regulate your body temperature by sweating. But in some cases, the body's temperature-control system is overtaxed and your temperature rises too quickly. Very high body temperature can cause damage to the brain and to other organs. People at highest risk of heat-related illness include infants and children up to 4 years old, people over 65, those who are overweight and those on certain medications. The CDC says symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Body temperature above 103 degrees F.
- Red, hot and dry skin, and little or no sweating.
- Rapid, strong pulse.
- Throbbing headache.
- Loss of consciousness.
The U.S. suicide rate has jumped 35 percent in the past two decades, health officials reported recently. From 1999 to 2018, the suicide rate rose from 10.5 to 14 per 100,000, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers found the rate of suicide rose by about 1 percent a year from 1999 to 2006, then increased to 2 percent a year from 2006 through 2018. The report also shows that men are more likely to die by suicide than women, and people in rural areas are at greater risk than their urban counterparts. While the suicide rate rose for both men and women, it soared 55 percent among females compared with a 28 percent climb among males. Still, men are nearly four times more likely to take their own lives, researchers reported. In 2018, the male suicide rate was nearly 23 per 100,000, and for females it was slightly more than 6 per 100,000. The highest suicide rate among women was among those 45 to 64 years old. Among males, the rate was highest for those 75 and over. Researchers believe some of these suicides are what have been called deaths of despair -- including deaths due to drug and alcohol abuse. Many of these deaths of despair occur in rural areas where there are fewer economic opportunities. Poverty breeds hopelessness, loneliness and depression, all emotions that increase the risk for suicide, Singer said. The report noted some good news in the last few years of the study period. "After years of increase, the suicide rates for several demographic groups, including females aged 45 and over and males aged 45 to 64, have stabilized," researchers said. But suicide rates continued to increase for males and females aged 10 to 44, and men 65 and over, she said. In 2018, men and women in rural areas were more likely to die by suicide than city dwellers, the researchers found. Among males, for example, the rates ranged from 18 in cities to 31 in the most rural counties (per 100,000). For the study, CDC researchers used data from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System. The numbers beg the question, "Why?" There's no easy answer, researchers echoed. There is concern that job losses and isolation related to current COVID-19 stay-at-home orders might result in a spike in suicides. On the other hand, being in lockdown with family might also be protective, researchers said. It's important to recognize signs of impending suicide. For more on suicide, see the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.