MEDICAL NEWS TIPS

December 1994
Media Contact: To pursue any of these stories, call the contact person listed.
Media Contact:Debbie Bangledorf
Phone: (410) 223-1731
E-mail: DBangledorf@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Listed below are holiday story ideas from The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. To pursue any of these stories, call the contact person listed.

WHEN THE PARTY'S OVER, MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD'S NOT SIPPING THE EGGNOG

Cleaning up after a holiday party is the most important part of the festivities because when you have children leaving out the leftover eggnog could result in "cocktail party syndrome."

According to Allen Walker, M.D., director of pediatric emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, children often wake up before their parents the morning after a party and are curious about the half-empty glasses of holiday cheer. "We've seen children from age 3 through adolescence who've consumed alcohol above the legal limit. These kids are falling down drunk."

If parents cannot clean up until the morning after the party, Walker advises them to collect empty glasses, rinse them out and stack them in the sink. He also cautions parents about leaving out open liquor bottles and urges that they be stored out of a child's reach.

For media inquiries only, contact Debbie Bangledorf at (410) 223-1731.

DIETARY SCROOGES SHOULD GET INTO THE SPIRIT, MODERATELY

Three primary concerns occupy the bulk of many people's thoughts during the holiday season: presents, parties, and potential changes in their waistline.

Extra treats and holiday feasts can add up to quite a burden on a person's nutritional conscience, "but people shouldn't let consuming a few extra calories over the holidays bother them too much," according to Lawrence Cheskin, M.D., director of Johns Hopkins' Weight Management Center.

"Choose the treats that you really enjoy eating, eat them in moderation and savor them while you're eating them," advises Cheskin. "After all, you don't want to feel too deprived during the holidays-that might lead to depression, and that in turn can lead to overeating."

For media inquiries only, contact Michael Purdy at (410) 9554725.

CHRISTMAS TREE'S BEAUTY CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO TODDLERS

Glass ornaments, electrical cords and even the Christmas tree can be dangerous, says Allen Walker, M.D., director of pediatric emergency medicine at the Children's Center. Glass ornaments can shatter, leaving shards of glass which could harm children. Walker suggests choosing wooden or handmade ornaments without projections.

Electrical cords, at Christmas and throughout the year, pose a hazard. Toddlers often chew a live extension cord or exposed wiring causing lip burns, major bleeding and potential scarring. Walker suggests covering extension cords while the tree is lit and unplugging the cords and placing them out of a child's reach when the tree is unlit. Plastic outlet covers also help prevent children from inserting small objects into the sockets.

Walker recommends that Christmas trees be properly secured to avoid the tree's tumbling over onto a child.

For media inquiries only, contact Debbie Bangledorf at (410) 223-1731.

HELP FOR PARENTS WHO CANNOT COPE WITH THE HOLIDAYS

Even though the holidays are a joyous time for most people, there are some who suffer from stress, loneliness and depression. "It's hard for some families to get through the holidays, and child abuse is widespread," says Sue Barker, MSW, a social worker in pediatric emergency medicine at the Children's Center.

The most important theme in identifying child abuse is "eyes, ears, and minds open." Children suffering from abuse or neglect at home may exhibit such signs as bruises, unexplainable burns, bizarre behavior or negative self-esteem. If there is concern, these symptoms should be discussed with a child's pediatrician or child- protective services agency.

For parents who are having difficulty, Barker suggests contacting Parents Anonymous at (410) 243-7337 or the Youth Crisis Hotline at (800) 422-0009.

For media inquiries only, contact Debbie Bangledorf at (410) 223-1731.

MEDICAL GIFT LIST

Here is a selection of health and medical items, including specialty books and home monitoring tests, suggested by Johns Hopkins physicians as gifts for a healthier New Year.

-Home Glucose Tests are primarily for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar level. Kits range in price from $50 to $200, depending on the level of sophistication. For further information, call the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Center at (410) 955-7139.

- Home Pregnancy Tests are accurate at the time of the missed period, but any reading taken before then can result in a false negative. The longer you wait, the more accurate the measurement. Test kits range from $10 to $20, and most have a 1- 800 number for advice and information on the product.

-Home Blood Pressure Cuffs are a useful tool for patients with borderline, elevated blood pressure. Some produce digital readouts, while in others a stethoscope is required. Arm cuffs produce the most accurate results. Prices range from $20 to $40.

-The Johns Hopkins Medical Handbook is a guide to the 100 major medical disorders of people over the age of 50, as well as a directory of leading teaching hospitals, treatment centers and support groups. Copies are $32.90 each (includes shipping and handling). To order, please send check or money order to Lisa Natoli at Rebus Publications, 632 Broadway, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10012-2619. Checks should be made payable to Johns Hopkins Health After 50.

-Health After 50, The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter has more than 500,000 subscribers and contains valuable medical information. The monthly newsletter has a subscription rate of $24. To order, call (800) 829-9170.

-Estrogen Replacement Therapy: The Johns Hopkins Guide to Making an Informed Decision. For every woman, menopause is different. This book addresses some of the key issues and answers many questions about menopause, helping women to weigh the risks and benefits of seeking medical therapy. Copies are $4.95 each. To order, please send check or money order to Estrogen Replacement Therapy, The Johns Hopkins Women's Health Center, 550 North Broadway, Suite 1100, Baltimore, MD 21205. Checks should be made payable to The Johns Hopkins University.

Physicians and local pharmacists can serve as valuable sources of information on such devices as home testing kits. Most of the tests are fairly simple and accurate if instructions are followed. However, training for all the home testing kits at the point of purchase, either by a doctor or nurse educator, is highly recommended. Johns Hopkins physicians stress the importance of validating results with your doctor.

For media inquiries only, please call Ina Brown at (410) 955-1077.


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