Mom on Fire
Brave mother Ashley Brown made the terrifying decision to drop her 2-month-old son, James, and 3-year-old daughter, Jayda, out a third-story window to escape a fire.
While Ashley considered lowering James out the window with a rope, she thought it too dangerous for an infant, and decided to release him 20 feet in the air into a neighbor’s arms.
Ashley then utilized the rope to lower Jayda down to safety.
“I’m feeling blessed that our kids came through, and that’s all that matters,” Ashley says.
E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork puts the 20-foot drop in perspective, and shares vital fire-safety tips.
Sleep Aids for Kids?
Parenting.com recently conducted a poll that found one in five mothers have admitted to giving children medicine to help them sleep.
Debb, a mother of three, acknowledges giving her children medication before bedtime.
“When my oldest was young, a friend of mine told me to try an over-the-counter allergy medication,” Debb says. “It didn’t work and had the complete opposite effect.
“However, my doctor suggested [giving my kids] melatonin, and that works like a charm,” Debb adds.
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains that melatonin is a hormone in the body that’s produced during sleep. Children and adults may take a supplement to help them sleep on a short-term basis; however, studies have not been conducted on long-term use of the hormone, so it is not recommended.
“Do we think it’s safe?” Dr. Sears asks. “It probably is, but we don’t know for sure. The problem is if the child is taking a blood pressure medication or has disorders such as high blood pressure, seizures or depression, he or she should not be taking melatonin."
Doctor of psychology Wendy Walsh Ph.D. says that while moms need their rest, too, and people in general don’t appreciate crying babies on planes, medicating them is not the answer.
“If we start medicating babies when they’re young and then when they have behavioral problems in elementary school, then what are we teaching them as teenagers?” she says. “We’re medicating behavior.”
“I think, starting in medical school, this [pill] culture is built into our brains and we have to move away from that,” Dr. Travis adds. “As a medical professional, only when pills are necessary should they be prescribed.”
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Diabetes: Strength Over Weakness
At 7 months old, Phil Southerland was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and doctors said if he made it to the age of 25, he’d be confronted with serious health problems such as blindness and renal failure.
Dr. Travis explains that type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, making the body unable to control glucose levels. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and, unlike type 2 diabetes, is not caused by diet, obesity and lifestyle.
“I started managing my diabetes on my own,” Phil says. “I started riding a bike when I was 12 years old; a liberating experience for me. The exercise I’ve done through my life is the reason I can still see.
“Diabetes is not your crutch,” Phil continues. “It can be your biggest strength.”
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Scented Candle Dangers
Scented candles and air fresheners may fill your home with pleasant aromas, but 20 percent of people report sensitivities to inhaling these products, especially those with asthma.
Dr. Sears cautions that children’s lungs are still developing, making them even more sensitive to the fumes.
“As [scented candles] are burning,” ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Drew Ordon says, “they can emit soot, tar and benzene, which are known irritants to the lungs and upper airway.”
Soy and beeswax candles are known to emit less soot, and checking the ingredients on air freshener labels for words like fragrances, perfumes and thalates can help to avoid irritants.
“Another natural way to get fragrance is to bake some cookies,” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson “Dried flowers and pine needles are also natural ways to put a nice, fresh scent in the air.”
• Halting halitosis: Dr. Travis shares tips for banishing bad breath.
Finish Your Antibiotics
Amber writes via Facebook:
I recently got over pneumonia, my fever went away and I thought I was better, but now I am experiencing sharp pains in my chest when I take a deep breath or cough. Do I have to go back to the doctor or should I just finish the antibiotics he prescribed me the first time?
Dr. Travis explains that Amber’s first mistake was probably not finishing her antibiotics, which may have lead to pleurisy. Pleurisy is the inflammation of the lining of the chest that leads to chest pain and can be caused by bacterial infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
To help prevent pleurisy, always be sure to finish prescribed antibiotics even if your symptoms seem to subside.