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Health Q&A

Posted August 15, 2012 in Advice Column, Winterset

Q: What should I do if I knock out my tooth?

A: It is critical to get to your dentist as quickly as possible after a tooth has been knocked out. A knocked-out, or avulsed, tooth is one of the most serious dental emergencies associated with permanent teeth. By acting quickly, there is a good possibility the tooth can be saved.

When a tooth has been avulsed, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are all affected. The tooth will likely need root canal therapy. The bone can reattach to the root of the tooth once it’s put back into proper place.

Follow these suggestions to improve the chances of saving your tooth:
• Handle the tooth carefully; avoid touching the root.
• If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the crown (the part of the tooth you normally see when looking in the mirror) and rinse it with cool milk. Do not wipe or scrub the tooth, as this could damage it.
• Keep the tooth moist. Put it in a glass of cool milk. If you cannot do this, place the tooth in your cheek, and be careful not to swallow it.
• Try gently slipping the tooth back into the socket. Do not force it into place. If the tooth will not go back into place easily, then keep it moist in cool milk. Get to the dentist as soon as you can.

It is critical to re-implant the tooth as soon as possible. Ideally, this should occur within one hour of the accident.

Information provided by Dr. Christopher W. Blanchard, Blanchard Family Dental, 820 West Summit St., 462-4474

Q. What are the benefits of pet ownership for older adults?

A: The benefits of pet ownership for an elderly persons (versus non-pet owners) are many.
• Pets lower blood pressure and pulse rate.
• Less depression.
• Easier to make friends (enhanced social opportunities).
• Pets offer affection and unconditional love.
• Pets ease loss of a loved one.
• Seniors take better care of themselves.
• Sense of security.

A clinical research project at Brooklyn College studied heart disease patients after their discharge from the hospital. Dr. Erika Friedmann tracked each survivor, studying their medical histories, lifestyles, relationships — every documentable detail. She reported: “The presence of a pet was the strongest social predictor of survival… not for just the lonely, but everyone.”

The National Health Call Center performed a “Survey of Attitudes of the Elderly Regarding the Benefits of Pets.” The results follow.
• 95 percent talk to their pet.
• 82 percent said a pet helps with sad feelings.
• 71 percent said their pet helps when they physically feel bad.
• 57 percent confide in their pet.

Conclusion: Pets are an integral component of the social support network for many individuals and therefore probably contribute to public health and well-being.

Information from petsforthelderly.org, provided by Winterset Care Center North, 411 E. Lane St., 462-1571 and Winterset Care Center South, 715 S. Second Ave. 462-4040.

Q: It’s almost time for back to school. How can I keep my kids healthy during the hectic school year?

A: That is a great question for parents to ask, since all parents want their children to be healthy year-round. Unfortunately, during the busy school year kids tend to be less physically active, eat a less-healthy diet and sleep less. However, these and other bad habits can easily be resolved. Here are a few ways that you can ensure a healthy school year for your child:

    • Monitor your child’s diet. With childhood obesity on the rise, it is extremely important for kids to eat healthy foods. Make sure your child has a good breakfast. Studies show that kids who eat a nutritious breakfast concentrate better than those who don’t. Talk to your child about the importance of a healthy diet and making healthy choices.

 • Make sure your kids are physically active. As the days get shorter, the call of video games, electronics and TV shows can be hard for kids to ignore. Children should be active for at least 30 minutes every day. To achieve this, go for a family bike ride, play catch, walk the dog or do anything that is fun and active. (Exercise is good for Mom and Dad, too.) Encouraging kids to be active in childhood will decrease the likelihood that they will become inactive and overweight as adults.

   • Set a regular sleep schedule for your children. Summer sleep schedules can be more flexible, but it’s important that kids get adequate sleep during the school year. Grade school-age children should get at least eight hours nightly, and teens should get even more. Research indicates that sleeping problems in children, such as sleep apnea, are very closely tied to obesity, poor academic performance and behavior problems. Forming healthy sleep habits will help your child be happy and successful.

The No. 1 key to remaining healthy? Wash your hands. Remind your children to wash their hands during the school day, and a good wash when they get home would be advised as well. It’s part of the three “C’s.” Cover your cough or sneeze, Contain illness (if your child is ill keep him or her home) and Clean (wash) your hands. We could prevent much of the illness that gets passed around if we’d all follow the three C’s.

With the right guidelines and a little conscientiousness, it should be easy to combat illness and keep your child healthy and successful during this school year. If you have more questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your family health provider. Have a great school year!

Information provided by Madison County Health Care Systems, 300 West Hutchings, Winterset, 515-462-2373.





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