Summer Hazards
20090706

Energy Drink Dangers

When you need a mid-day pick-me-up, an energy drink is often a quick, convenient solution. But it may not be as harmless as you think.

 

“This is a huge pet peeve of mine,” Dr. Jim says. “I see a lot of my student athletes, their coaches are telling them to drink these drinks before a game, to think it’s going to boost their performance. But it really doesn’t. The ingredients of these things -- the high-fructose corn syrup is probably the worst sugar to be taking before a game. And the caffeine can dehydrate you.”

Nightmare at the Pool


One of the worst nightmares for any parent is having a child drown. For one mother, it became a reality. Read her story.

 

While the drinks may actually do more harm than good in some instances, Dr. Lisa says that in moderation, they can be safe for adults.

 

“I deliver babies,” she says. “At 2 a.m., when I have to drive to the hospital and it’s dark out at night, you know, sometimes that’s the reality when you have to stay up late at night. You guys went to residency, you pulled the 24-hour shifts. You know you need that caffeine. I think we know it’s all not healthy, but you need that caffeine every once in a while. But, especially for kids, you should try to [stay away] from that and try to do healthier things."



Fearful of a Check-Up

Going to the OB/GYN can be an intimidating experience for many women, but for 28-year-old Shelby, it is a terrifying event.

 

“What scares me most about going to the OB/GYN is I did grow up thinking that my privates were private,” Shelby says. “It’s a scary thing to be that vulnerable in front of someone that you don’t know, nor trust.”

 

Shelby, who has had just one OB/GYN exam in her life, says her fear of visiting the gynecologist is “as strong as if someone had a gun to my head and is about to shoot.”

 

As a child, Shelby recalls equating doctors with needles and pain, and the memories are still with her. Before going to college, she had to have vaccinations for the measles and mumps, and even after being given two-and-a-half Valium, she was still terrified of the needles. She almost didn't attend college so she could avoid the shots.

 

“I guess I fear that I’ll never get over this,” she says. “Having a shot, having a blood test, are normal parts of life. Just having to experience that panic over and over and over again for the rest of my life is tough. Desperation is the one word I would use to describe where I’m at. I am desperate.”

 

To try to overcome her fears, Shelby sits down with Dr. Lisa and Dr. Travis.

 

“You know what? You’re not alone,” Dr. Lisa says. “As an OB/GYN, I see this all the time. Everyone who’s watching, every woman at home has dealt with this. Every woman is afraid of going to the gynecologist. And we’re here to help you get through this.”

 

After having her first OB/GYN exam in three years – performed by Dr. Lisa – watch how Shelby begins to overcome her fear!

 

The Dangerous Side of Sun Damage

The summer sun means it’s time to get a tan. But getting too many rays can put your life at risk.

 

Shelly, a nurse who has worked in a dermatologist’s office, is a self-proclaimed tanning addict. She tells people she has an allergy to sunscreen, even though she doesn’t, to keep the lotion away from her body. Shelly even goes so far as to put Crisco and butter on her face for a deeper tan. “That’s because I know the dermatologists can cure it,” she says. “I’m laying on the foil, and I’m rubbing the stick of butter on my legs.”

 

“The biggest thing, as a plastic surgeon, when I hear that your attitude is, ‘I’m going to go through the summer, I’m going to tan, I’m going to burn. Fall comes, if there’s something going on on my face, if I have a potential skin cancer, I’m just going to go to the dermatologist, and he’s going to shave it off for me,’ -- you look at it like it’s brushing your teeth. This is surgery, and you should know better.”

 

Shelly doesn’t believe she will get the skin cancer known as melanoma. “That’s my thinking,” she says. “I don’t know that for sure, but the past four years, I’ve got [forms of cancers] Squamaous cell and Basal cell cut off. They cut it off. Once I had to go back to have a little more taken around the edges and little stitches, but it’s covered up. Now, if you take a piece out of my nose, and I have to have a skin graft, different story.”

 

Shelly also encourages her young daughter to tan, as well. While she puts sunscreen on her daughter, Shelly does admit she probably does not apply it as much or as often as she should.

 

“When it comes to your daughter, that’s where we have to set the limits,” Dr. Ordon says. “You’re taking her out with you tanning, putting on sunscreen, probably [not enough]. It has to be at least a 30 [SPF]. She’s saying, ‘Hey, Mommy, Mommy, I have a tan line just like you do now.’  You’re really sending the wrong message there.”

 

Jaime, on the other hand, tries to avoid the sun, and takes as many precautions as she can, to keep her skin smooth and clear. “I try to keep everything covered at all times,” she says. “If I do [go in the sun], I’m under an umbrella, I’m covered up, I have SPF 45 at least. I have sunglasses, hats, whatever it takes. I don’t want to burn.”

 

Both Shelly and Jaime have their pictures taken by the Coppertone DermaPhoto booth, a UV camera that reveals sun damage under the skin. Shelly’s picture shows excessive damage, including a large amount of pre-cancerous spots on the tip of her nose. Jaime’s picture, however, shows very little damage, because of how careful she is when going into the sun.

 

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OAD 7/6/08

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