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Health Q&A

Posted August 08, 2012 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Q: Does pregnancy affect the eyes?

A: Eyes may change somewhat during pregnancy due to fluid retention, increased blood volume, hormonal fluctuations and other physical shifts that are a part of pregnancy. Usually these changes are temporary and resolve after the baby is born, or after weaning a breast-fed child. Vision changes tend to be minor and don’t require a new eyeglass prescription.  LASIK surgery should not be done when a women is pregnant or breast feeding.

A fairly common condition that can occur with pregnancy is dry eye. This condition may result from hormonal fluctuations. Talk to your optometrist about lubricating drops and other treatments that are safe during pregnancy. Wearing contact lensese may be less comfortable  when dry eye is present. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, flax seed and certain nuts may help resolve dry eye and also supports general good health. If vision becomes blurry, it may signal high blood pressure or pregnancy related diabetes. Contact your doctor right away.

Information provided by Dr. Michael O’Meara, Optometric Associates of Warren County, P.C. 1228 Sunset Drive, Suite A, Norwalk, 515-981-0224

Q: How can senior citizens stay safe in the heat?

A: When it is this hot, seniors are at risk, so here are some ways to stay protected in this heat.
Stay hydrated. Water is always important but specifically when it becomes warm; our bodies tend to need more of this life-sustaining liquid because of the increased sweating we experience. Your doctor might also suggest drinks that contain electrolytes, like Pedialyte.

Seniors and people taking certain medications are particularly at risk for dehydration. Subsequently, always take precautions.

Wear sunscreen. If you plan to be outdoors for longer than 10 to 15 minutes, then you should use a water-resistant sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. At the same time, make sure the product you choose shields against both UVA and UVB rays.

Where should you apply the product? On facial skin, hands, arms, legs, bald spots and any other area exposed to the sun. Sunscreen helps to stave off dangerous skin diseases like melanoma, and that, undoubtedly is a good thing.

Dress properly. Light colors are preferred over dark because they better reflect the heat: dark colors attract the heat. A wide-brim hat and sun umbrella are wise if you will be out in the sun for long periods.

Lastly, always remember to listen to your body. If you begin to feel light headed or uncomfortable, go inside or stay inside during extreme temperatures. It’s always better to be safe then sorry.

Information provided by Kris Baker, Norwalk Nursing and Rehab, 921 Sunset Drive, Norwalk, 515-981-0604.

Q:What’s the best sunscreen for my child?

A: Many different types of sunscreens are available for children, but what matters most is the degree of protection from UV rays it provides. So when focusing on selecting the right sunscreen, concentrate on the SPF (sun protection factor).
• For children age  6months and older, select a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This will prevent both sunburn and tanning.
• Choose a sunscreen that states it protects from both UVA and UVB rays. These can be referred to as “broad-spectrum” sunscreens.

Sunscreen application
• Always apply sunscreen generously when your children will be in the sun.
• In order to form a layer of protection, apply sunscreen to your child 15 to 30 minutes before he or she will be out in the sun.
• Reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, or after a child has been sweating or swimming.
• Apply waterproof sunscreen if your child will be swimming or around water. As the water intensifies the sun’s rays, make sure to reapply when your child comes out of the water. Most waterproof sunscreens will last around 80 minutes in the water.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all kids, regardless of their skin tone, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Information provided by Ronda Montgomery, Norwalk Family Physicians, 801 Colonial Circle, 285-3200.
Q: How can chiropractic care help an older child who is not “sick”?

A: Chiropractors have been providing safe and effective care for children for more than 103 years. A 1992 survey showed that the most common conditions for which children visit a chiropractor are earaches, neck pain, check-up, headache, upper respiratory, low back pain, allergies, asthma, enuresis and thoracic pain. Other reasons are ADD and ADHD, colic, torticollis, insomnia, growing pains and persistent crying in infants.

Chiropractors do not treat diseases; they help to correct spinal misalignments that can cause health problems. Through regular adjustments, counseling on proper nutrition, exercise and posture, the chiropractor can help you raise a child who is structurally and functionally sound.

The number one “illness” in children is accidents. You may not realize it, but youngsters take numerous tumbles — learning to ride a bike or even just jumping and running around. If your child takes part in athletic activities, the “sack” of a quarterback could twist a young spine, pitching a ball can throw a vertebra out of alignment. These underlying injuries, if left uncorrected, can cause serious problems as the child grows into adulthood.

Doctors of chiropractic can do more than correct these problems. They can also help improve performance on and off the field by helping the body to function at its optimum level, naturally, and without drugs.

Information from ICA – Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics, provided by Norwalk Chiropractic, 1228 Sunset, Suite B, 981-9208,
Q: What is an oral pathologist?

A: An oral pathologist is a dentist who has gone on for further education and specializes in studying tissue from the mouth and teeth to diagnose disease and prescribe treatment. Oral pathology is one of numerous areas of specialty that some dentists choose to enter after completing their basic dental education. An oral pathologist is also called an oral maxillofacial pathologist.

When a general dentist comes across a condition in your mouth, he or she may choose to remove a piece of tissue — called taking a biopsy — and send it to an oral pathologist for examination. It is the job of the oral pathologist to determine if the tissue sample is cancerous or infectious.

All dentists go through four years of dental school, earning a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM). There is no difference in the degrees. Most dentists then go on for post-graduate training, either in a residency program at a hospital or in further education to become a dental specialist. Talk with your dentist about the various areas of specialty that are available to you if you need them.

Information provided by Norwalk Family Dentistry, 1101 Chatham Ave.,     256-9000.

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