Weekly Health Watch with items on kids and summer swimming safety, what to look for in treadmills, dental care and low-income families and more.
Each year, more than 3,400 people drown in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 1 in 5 fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14. For every child who dies from drowning, another four are injured in a nonfatal drowning, CDC statistics show.
Seven out of every 10 African-American and Hispanic children cannot swim, according to a national research study by USA Swimming and the University of Memphis. African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports.
Here are five tips for keeping children safe in and around water this summer:
1. Teach children to swim. Research shows that parents are the most influential factors in whether or not a child learns to swim. Only 13 percent of children from non-swimming households will ever learn to swim, according to the University of Memphis.
2. Make sure a responsible adult is watching the water at all times. Drowning can be completely silent, and typically, when a child drowns, the parent or caregiver has been away from the child for less than five minutes, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
3. Remind kids to always obey the rules of the pool, not to jump on or dunk other swimmers and not to jump or dive unless they know how deep the water is.
4. Require kids to always swim with a buddy.
5. Remember, you don't have to be at a pool to drown. Lakes, rivers, large puddles and any other bodies of water also require caution. Make sure your child knows how to swim, whether or not they'll be around a pool this summer.
To learn about USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a Splash” campaign, visit www.makeasplash.org.
New Research: Social distancing during outbreaks
Eighteen-day periods of mandatory school closures and other social distancing measures were associated with a 29 to 37 percent reduction in influenza transmission rates in Mexico during the 2009 pandemic. Social distancing interventions can be implemented during unusual infectious-disease outbreaks and can include school closings, closure of movie theaters and restaurants and the cancellation of large public gatherings.
-- National Institutes of Health
Did You Know?
Use bug repellent with 20 percent DEET or more, and use 30 percent for children. Spray on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
Health Tip: What to look for in treadmills
Ergonomically correct: When using a gym treadmill, make sure the console doesn't place your body in an awkward position. It's important that the console slants at a more vertical than horizontal level, keeping your body in an upright position.
Shock absorbers: Running on hard surfaces can negatively affect the joints and back. Having a more cushioned platform can help prevent injury and will put less stress on the knees and ankles.
Longer handrails: Extended rails expand the running space and allow for more freedom to move. Longer handrails will give you more room to swing your arms naturally, as well as the additional safety of extended support.
-- Life Fitness
Number to Know
8.1 million: Mortality among children under 5 fell from 12.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009.
-- World Health Organization
Children’s Health: Dental care and low-income kids
A study using research assistants who posed as mothers of a 10-year-old boy with a fractured front tooth seeking an urgent dental appointment measured dentists’ willingness to provide treatment to children with Medicaid/CHIP versus private insurance.
The study found that even when calling Medicaid-enrolled dentists, only 68 percent of children with Medicaid/CHIP were given an appointment, compared with 100 percent of privately-insured children with the same injury. Non-enrolled dentists only gave an appointment to 7 percent of children with public insurance, even though the Medicaid program reimburses all emergency dental care. The authors say finding dental providers willing to accept public insurance and serve children from low-income families is a first vital step toward improving oral health for children.
-- American Academy of Pediatrics
Senior Health: Orthopaedic trauma and stress disorders
Although most commonly associated with military combat, post-traumatic stress disorder can occur in civilians, according to a new study. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that occurs after a person experiences a traumatic event involving physical injury, and it also occurs in 20 to 51 percent of patients with an orthopaedic injury.
“PTSD occurs with a significant frequency in civilian patients who have sustained an orthopaedic trauma, and it can hinder their emotional, physical and functional recovery following orthopaedic treatment,” said Dr. Daniel Aaron, a clinical instructor in the department of orthopaedics at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
-- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
GateHouse News Service