Tag Archives: public health

Child Car Seat Safety

As a chiropractor public safety is very important to me.  I relate to and understand what car accidents can do to people.  Seat belts are a major cause of whiplash in my opinion, but I’d rather treat a person for whiplash than have to attend their funeral, and so I support the use of seat belts.  Our cars have many safety features designed into them.  It is important that we use them properly so that we are safer for using them.

A few summers ago Utah’s legislature updated it’s car seat laws.  My daughter was very disappointed.  She was getting ready to move out of her booster seat to a regular seat belt.  She was so excited.  But then she had to grow an extra inch or two or wait a few more months.

The basics of the new law are this; any child under the age of 8 unless 4’9″ or taller must be in a child safety seat appropriate for their age/size.  I wish that this kind of thing didn’t require a law.  Every child is precious and should be protected.  I know that every person is different, and some children might not need the seat, but if you have to make a rule then the line has to be drawn somewhere.  Sometimes these lines are arbitrary and sometimes they are based on actual research.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the USA.  Proper restraints cut that risk by 60%.  To make sure you are using them properly, there are many resources; this IIHS site even has video, or the Utah Safety Council.  If you’re not sure how to buckle your kids properly bring them in.  I’d be happy to go over the manufacturers recommendations and walk you through a checklist.  Also, I know that most police stations will have an officer that will check your installation.  The Orem Police Station had an officer check our car seats and explain how to properly buckle up our children.  Call your local police station to find out if they have a similar program.

For adults it is important to use the safety features designed into your car as well.  Adjusting your headrest properly will reduce the effect of whiplash if you get in an accident.  Also, wearing your seat belt at your hips rather than your waist reduces abdominal or back injury.

Make sure that you and your children are as safe as can be in your cars.  Please buckle up.

Real Preventative Health Care Means Teaching Children

Public Health Nerd Alert: National Public Health Week 2014.

This week is National Public Health Week!  I am a huge supporter of Public/Preventative Health even though I disagree with the way it is usually presented (in the form of vaccinations, screenings, and government legislation or mandates).  I strive daily in my practice to improve the health of the public.  

How do you prevent or reduce obesity, diabetes, the flu, high blood pressure, cavities, STDs, low back pain, cancer, etc…?  The answer is not a vaccine, or early screening.  The real way to prevent most disease, injury and illness is by teaching our children how to live well.  Their bad habits are not as deeply ingrained as adults.  We’ve all tried to change our eating habits or get into shape, quit smoking, strengthen our posture or any number of other bad habits that affect our health.  Most of us have failed more often than succeeded.  I’m not encouraging giving up as adults.  Don’t stop trying to improve your health, but teaching children will also help you.

We may not be able to change the world instantly, but teaching a few children can change the world  in a generation.  Every generation wants to improve life for the next generation.  We want our children to have it better and to be better than we were.  If we worked hard to teach our children behaviors that help reduce health risks, in a few generations obesity and high blood pressure could be rare conditions.  This week I will present some small ideas to teach children that can have a huge impact.  Teach one child and see the difference.

adults-like-childrenGet kids off of the couch.  One way to do this that is beneficial for you is to invite them to play with you.  That means that you have to get off of the couch or out of the computer chair and go show the children how you played as a child.  Build a blanket fort, dig in the sandbox, chase a ball, wrestle in the grass, climb a tree, pull out your old skateboard or bike.  Being active will help prevent everything from obesity and high blood pressure to diabetes and low back pain. Our bodies are designed to move.   We develop painful, and at times, life threatening conditions when that design is inhibited. When you improve your function, your symptoms also improve. Chiropractic is here to facilitate and support that design.  Teach children to move.  Ask your chiropractor for help.

Hot or Cold Water?

My brother was doing dishes with me when he asked why we used hot water to wash dishes and our hands rather than cold water.  I had never really thought about it.  The answer that every Mom I know of has given is that you use hot water to kill germs.  But that’s not true.  Water hot enough to kill the majority of germs would also give you massive burns.

The shock that I got when I did a search online was that people didn’t know this.  There were people saying you should wash with cold to kill germs, hot to kill germs, warm, not hot, because it kills better, etc…  Washing your hands with soap and water is the number one way to avoid disease transmission, but people don’t know why.

So why do we wash in hot water?  I thought about the idea for some time and came up with two reasons for my brother.  The first and probably most important is that the heat helps melt grease or fats and allows the soap to be more effective.  The second is comfort.  I’d rather put my hands in hot water than cold.  Washing has nothing to do with killing germs, but washing them off.  The point of washing your hands thoroughly is that you wash the germs off, not kill them, and if you don’t scrub every area with soap and rinse thoroughly they stay, especially in crevices like your nails.

As for antibacterial soap, just remember that the purpose of washing hands is to wash off bacteria not kill it.  Antibacterial soap is not any more effective at washing, and has to be left on for 2 min in order to be effective at killing. Also there is merit to the idea that using antibacterial soaps and detergents contribute to “super bugs.”

Proper hand washing is effective for disease control.  Practice it your self and teach it to your children.  If you do not have soap and water, the next best thing is an alcohol based hand sanitizer.  For tips on how to best wash your hands here is the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and another great site.

http://health.howstuffworks.com/question692.htm

Swine Flu Info

From some of the media coverage you might think the black plague was back.  As a public health advocate I thought I’d put out a little bit more rational information and provide anyone with greater interest with some links.  First of all this new illness is not new.  The USA has seen swine flu before, and has overcome it.  It has been found to be no worse than a regular flu.  While influenza can be serious most of the cases recover quickly and without complications, and many without treatment.  YOU CANNOT GET SWINE FLU BY EATING PORK OR OTHER PIG PRODUCTS.

Symptoms

Swine Flu symptoms are the same as a regular flu, coughing, sneezing, fever, tiredness, runny nose, etc.   Swine flu cannot be differentiated from regular flu by symptoms, if you suspect you may have swine flu because you have recently traveled to Mexico and now have the flu you should see your medical doctor and have them take a sample and have it tested.

Prevention

Prevention of swine flu is the same as any flu.  Avoid sick people and wash your hands regularly.  Always cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands afterward.  If you are showing signs of flu stay home to avoid passing it on to others.  As a chiropractor I must also tell you that a healthy body is less likely to get sick than a weakened one.  A good diet, exercise, Vitamin C, and yes even chiropractic adjustments have all been shown to boost the immune system or improve overall body function, and a well functioning body is much more able to fight off things like the flu.  There are also many great immune boosting products that you can purchase.  I don’t endorse any particular one, so I’ll let you comment on this post and tell people about your favorite.

Treatment

Though many of the cases of swine flu have gotten better without any medical treatment this particular strain is responding to prescription antiviral drugs.

Additional Information

For more info without the hype please visit the CDC’s website on this topic.

Public Health and Chiropractic

Next week is National Public Health Week, so today I’d like to talk a little about public health and how chiropractors can be a part of the solution.  Most people don’t know what public health is.  That’s understandable because it is such a vast topic.  Public health is everything from seat belt laws, to garbage collection, smoking cessation programs to workplace safety.  So where does a chiropractor fit in?  Chiropractors are in a prime position to promote public health. Chiropractors are physicians and accepted health care providers.  This places them in the public’s eye as experts in the field of health.

Here are some ways that Chiropractors can represent Public Health (that many already do):

  • Behavior modification counseling in areas such as; Physical Activity/ Fitness, Nutrition, Tobacco Use, and Alcohol & Drug Use
  • Identifying and giving proper referrals for; outbreaks of communicable diseases, eating disorders, family planning, suspected child abuse, abuse of any kind, proper prenatal care
  • Participate in or organize health fairs at schools, businesses, and community groups
  • Do public spinal screenings
  • Provide public lectures
  • Provide free blood pressure screening and education at your clinic or local public facilities
  • Chiropractors should lead Community Emergency Response Teams
  • Chiropractors should be involved in  public health policy making in their local government