The summer season is upon us and fireworks may be part of the festivities. But fireworks have a dark side.
But the Erie County Medical Society has these suggestions to help you enjoy safe summer festivities.
So, now you’re ready to light your fireworks … not quite. Remember:
“Surely,” you say, “there is an easier way.” There is!
Leave fireworks to the professionals. Fireworks are more impressive when seen from a distance at the large, super-illuminated, professionally planned, community displays. It is safer and you’ll have more fun!
When viewing professionally planned fireworks displays, all you need to keep in mind is:
The Erie County Medical Society hopes that by following these tips you will enjoy a safe and festive summer holiday season.
Thomas Falasca, DO
Every springtime 35-40 million Americans struggle with the problem of seasonal allergies. Allergies are one of the most common reasons that people miss or underperform at work or school. They are thought to be responsible for 10,000 school absences daily.
The incidence of allergy is 10% in children below 10 years of age, but doubles in the child’s next 10 years. So it may be wishful thinking to hope that the child will outgrow the problem. But, on a brighter note, studies show that allergic kids who are treated do better at school than those who are not.
Seasonal allergies are typically triggered by pollen, tree pollen in early spring, with grass pollen causing problems in late May or June. Here, in Erie, there is little problem with mold until later in the season. Finally, ragweed becomes the offender in August and September.
When a sensitized allergic individual comes in contact with pollen, an immunologic reaction occurs that releases mediators, which, in turn, cause symptoms.
The most common allergic symptoms are nasal stuffiness, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and nose, and dark under-eye circles. These symptoms interfere with restful sleep producing next-day tiredness and difficulty in thinking. Additionally, asthma patients who have allergies may experience an increase in their asthma symptoms during the allergy season
Allergic tendency runs in families. But specific symptoms and triggering allergens can vary among the family members depending on each individual’s exposure and other factors currently under investigation.
The three ways to address allergy are avoidance, medication, and immunotherapy (“allergy shots”).
Most importantly, don’t let the pollen get to you!
In general, pollen counts are highest on dry windy days and lowest on rainy days. Fortunately, you can learn the specific pollen count by listening to the local weather forecast or by consulting the website of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at www.aaaai.org. This website even has an “app” that you can download to your smart phone!
For mild cases of seasonal allergy, you may find it helpful to try nonsedating over-the-counter, known as “OTC,” antihistamines. But it is better to avoid those antihistamines that can cause drowsiness as well as oral decongestants that can cause tremors or aggravate hypertension and glaucoma. Be aware also that decongestant nasal sprays can cause rebound swelling of the nasal passages, especially if used improperly or for more than seven days. Of course, if symptoms persist, you should see your primary care doctor who can treat you with prescription nasal sprays and/or eye drops.
If even prescription medications fail to control symptoms or if these medications must be taken for an extended period of time, it may be time to consult a specialist physician called an allergist. If the allergist thinks that immunotherapy is appropriate, he or she can initiate skin and/or blood tests to identify the specific problematic allergen or allergens and begin the appropriate injections to help create immunization against them.
With the treatments now available people should enjoy the spring comfortably. So don’t suffer in silence. You can reduce the problem of seasonal allergies.
The Erie County Medical Society wishes you a pleasant welcome to the nicer weather and a springtime free of seasonal allergies.
Thomas Falasca, DO Philip Gallagher, MD
For further information please see
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America at http://aafa.org
Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics at http://www.aanma.org
Chuck Joy, MD on WJET-TV Addressing Toy Safety
The Erie County Medical Society wants you to enjoy winter without falling victim to snow shoveling perils.So here are some helpful tips.
First and foremost
Choose an appropriate snow shovel.
Be mindful of your shoveling actions.The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends
In addition, remember that
So follow these tips and avoid becoming a snow-shoveling casualty.
Thomas Falasca, DO
Since the season is upon us when children receive an increased number of toys, the Erie County Medical Society wants to keep you up to date on the following toy safety tips.
LEAD AND OTHER TOXICS
The Erie County Medical Society hopes that you find these tips useful in insuring that the children in your life enjoy their new toys safely and happily.
Thomas Falasca, DO
Dr. Tom Falasca on WJET-TV Speaking on Seasonal Affective Disorder
To many of us, winter brings thoughts of outdoor sports, indoor socializing, and holiday cheer. But to some it is a time of varying depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD occurs more frequently in women and in areas farther from the equator, where seasonal daylight changes are more extreme.
Symptom onset is usually gradual and frequently includes weight gain, increased sleep, hopelessness, social withdrawal, and irritability along with a loss of energy, interest, and ability to concentrate. It is occasionally a precursor to long-term depression.
There is no specific test for SAD. However, tests are available to help rule out physical conditions that can cause depression.
As with other forms of depression, medication and cognitive (talk) therapy can be most effective.
Light therapy with a very bright light made especially for the purpose may be helpful. This should be begun in early winter or late fall and sessions are usually 30 minutes every morning to mimic sunrise. It usually requires sitting a few feet from the lamp and keeping one’s eyes open, but without looking directly into the lamp.
Of course, before beginning light therapy, always check with your eye doctor and your family physician, as medications such as antibiotics and antipsychotic which some patients may be taking may make them more sensitive to light.
Most cases respond well to treatment or are self-limiting with the change of seasons.
So, please keep this advice in mind if you are afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder or know someone who is.
Thomas Falasca, DO
School days are upon us and that brings new concerns for our children’s health, concerns regarding backpacks, lunches, starting school, homework/study habits, and hygiene.Here are some helpful tips on how you can promote a healthier, happier school year.
For Children Starting School
So, with these tips in mind, the school year should bring peace of mind to the adults and new growth to the children.
Thomas Falasca, DO
Dr. Ferdinando Mirarchi on WJET-TV Speaking on Heat Stroke
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