Allergies or a Cold?
It can be hard to tell the difference between a cold and an allergic response. Here are some distinctions:
Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, April 2002
Not Always a Bull's Eye
- A cold usually disappears after seven to 10 days; an allergy can linger on for weeks or more.
- Colds typically produce a thick yellow mucus from the nose; mucus from an allergy is usually watery and clear.
- A person with a cold usually produces mucus when coughing; someone with an allergy does not.
- It's common to have a slight fever with a cold; people with seasonal allergies don't have fevers.
You may have heard that a rash that looks like a bull's eye could be the first indication that you have Lyme disease, the infection that deer ticks can pass on when they bite humans.
You need to know that the rash can actually have a variety of appearances. Any kind of rash-circular, oval-that grows in size over a few days could be an early sign of Lyme disease. Mild fever, headache or flu-like symptoms can also be indicators of the disease.
The majority of Lyme disease cases are detected in June and July. The north central and northeastern states have the highest incidence of the disease, and the western region has the least.
Source: The Annals of Internal Medicine, 19 March 2002.
Teens and Smoking
If you're a parent and you don't want your kids to smoke, know this: you have more influence than you probably give yourself credit for.
The key to preventing teen smoking is involvement. Be involved in community- and school-based programs that encourage kids not to smoke. States that have adopted aggressive anti-smoking programs for teens have had the most success in getting kids to refrain from smoking. If there's not a program in your community, consider starting one with other parents.
Talk with your children about the hazards of smoking-before they're teenagers. Get the message across from the time they're very young.
Your kids care what you think, even if they pretend otherwise.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 2002
Is your Child Stuttering?
There's a good chance your child needs a speech therapist if you notice:
- Stuttering in more than 10 percent of speech
- Obvious effort and tension during the stuttering
- Avoidance of stuttering by switching words
Light stuttering between the ages of 1 and 5 is common and is called disfluency. This typically does not need treatment and clears up in time.
If you believe your child has a stuttering problem that may need treatment, talk to your doctor. You may get the name of a speech therapist from your doctor, or you can call the Stuttering Foundation's hotline at 1-800-992-9392 for information and advice.
Source: The Stuttering Foundation of America, April 2002
What's a Stroke, Exactly?
A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. The brain cells in the affected area die, and they release chemicals that can cause even more cells to die, in a larger area, within hours. Without immediate treatment, a person may lose the ability to speak, walk or move. Extreme cases can be fatal.
That's why it's so important to get emergency treatment immediately.
The most common stroke symptoms include
- Sudden weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, call 911 right away.
Source: The National Stroke Association, April 2002