Health Watch: Broken bone? Take care of your cast

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Sunshine, vacations and outdoor celebrations -- for many people, summer is the perfect time to get outside and have fun with friends and family. Unfortunately, it's also a common time for injuries to occur.

From the first knee scrape at recess to broken arms on the jungle gym, and from do-it-yourself jobs gone awry to ankle injuries on the tennis court, few of us are immune to injuries.

It's estimated that up to half of all children will experience a fracture at some point, and many adults will have a surgery or other medical condition that necessitates the use of a bandage at one time or another.

It's important for patients to follow the doctor's advice in these situations. Doing so will speed healing and ensure a healthy return to normal functioning. If you happen to be one of the unlucky victims of a summertime bone break or surgery, take steps to make life more comfortable.

Your doctor can provide you with a list of dos and don'ts, but here are a few for the cast-wearing crowd, provided by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

- Keep your splint or cast dry.

- Do not walk on a "walking cast" until it is completely dry and hard.

- Keep dirt, sand and powder away from the inside of your splint or cast.

- Do not pull out the padding from your splint or cast.

- Do not stick objects such as coat hangers inside the splint or cast to scratch itching skin. Do not apply powders or deodorants to itching skin. If itching persists, contact your doctor.

- Do not break off rough edges of the cast or trim the cast before asking your doctor.

- Inspect the skin around the cast. If your skin becomes red or raw around the cast, contact your doctor.

- Inspect the cast regularly. If it becomes cracked or develops soft spots, contact your doctor's office.

In addition to following the tips above, consider ways to make life simpler while you recover.

Enlist the help of friends and family for errands, allow extra time if you have crutches or need to walk slower and consider a waterproof cast cover that allows you to bathe without worrying about keeping your cast dry.

-- ARA

In the News: Symptoms of whooping cough

Pertussis can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults.

The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing and maybe mild cough or fever. After 1–2 weeks, severe coughing begins.

Infants and children with the disease cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they're forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound.

Pertussis is most severe for babies; more than half of infants less than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized.

The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. In the U.S., the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. This vaccine that protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Did You Know?

A UCLA study found that Latinos, who currently represent about 15 percent of the U.S. population, have the lowest level of preventive care of all racial and ethnic groups in the nation.

Health Tip: Injury-free soccer

The World Cup is spurring interest in soccer. All athletes should keep their safety in mind, no matter the competition level.

- Always take time to warm up and stretch especially your hips, knees, thighs and calves.

- Hydrate adequately. Be sure not to wait until you are thirsty; it is imperative to properly hydrate at all times while training.

- Wear shin guards to help protect your lower legs.

- Wear proper shoes. Shoes with screw-in cleats are often associated with a higher risk of injury. However, screw-in cleats should be worn when traction is needed.

- Be prepared for emergency situations and have a plan to reach medical personnel to treat injuries.

-- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Number to Know: 3,466

U.S. adults consume an average of 3,466 milligrams of sodium per day, more than twice the current recommended limit for most Americans. Less than 10 percent of U.S. adults limit their daily sodium intake to recommended levels.

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Children’s Health: Kick your kid’s soda habit

Here are some suggestions that may help your child make healthier drink choices:

- Remind your kids about the importance of making good choices for their body.

- Try substituting milk. Flavored milks, such as chocolate milk, contain more sugar than white milk, but significantly less than soda.

- Encourage water, especially after sporting events.

- Choose an alternative. When eating out, opt for orange juice or milk, rather than soda.

- Just say no. You’re the parent. If you don’t buy it, they won’t drink it.

-- The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Senior Health: Lowering cataracts risk in women

Women who eat foods rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals may have a lower risk of developing the most common type of cataract that occurs in the United States, according to a new report.

Cataracts, which increase in prevalence with age, are a significant cause of visual impairment and blindness.

Researchers concluded that lifestyle improvements that include healthy diets, smoking cessation and avoiding obesity may “substantively lower the need for and economic burden of cataract surgery in aging American women."


GateHouse News Service