General Health Tips
Help for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
About 1 in 6,000 live births result in spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, a genetic disease that affects the muscles used for crawling, walking, controlling your head and neck and swallowing. One out of every 40 people is a carrier of SMA. If both parents of a child are carriers, the child has a 1 in four chance of having the disease.
There are several types—severe, chronic, mild and “adult onset.” If you have a child with the severe form of SMA, there’s a lot to learn about giving the best care. Even if your child has a milder form of the disease, there are many things you’ll to need to know in terms of best treatment therapies.
No matter what form of SMA has affected you and your family, be sure to stay in frequent contact with your doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist and any other healthcare provider who has been recommended to you.
It’s helpful to visit the Web site for Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
. You’ll find information about the latest news, medical information, dealing with grief and loss, how to get in touch with your local chapter and whom to contact if you’re interested in starting a chapter for your state.
Source: Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Blood Donor Awareness
Don’t forget—summer is blood shortage time. According the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. Visits to emergency rooms deplete the blood supply that we all rely on when accidents happen. But it’s not just accident victims who need blood. People who are sick with cancer, blood disorders, sickle cell anemia and other illnesses often need blood transfusions to stay alive.
Nobody has discovered how to make a blood substitute. The Red Cross counts on all of us to replenish the blood supply. The donation process takes about one hour, from the time you walk into the donation room until the time you leave. The actual blood donation takes only about 10 minutes.
Visit the Web site of the American Red Cross to find out more.
Source: American Red Cross
Kids and Driving
If your child drives to school, or is a passenger in the car of a teenage driver, here’s what you should know:
The Sleep Foundation says that teenagers need 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep per night. Most teens don’t reach this quota. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, falling asleep at the wheel causes a yearly rate of about
- 100,000 car crashes
- 71,000 injuries
- 1,500 deaths
The Sleep Foundation estimates that half of those accidents involve young drivers.
You also may want to limit the amount of kids your child is allowed to drive to and from school. The more teens there are in the car, the higher the likelihood of an accident.
Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; The National Sleep Foundation
Easing into School Routine
Getting back into a school routine can be hard on everyone in the family. To get things rolling without a lot of stress:
- Shift to earlier bed times a week before school begins.
- Decide what your child will be wearing the night before
- Talk with your child about how the school day will begin and end (taking the school bus, etc.)
- Before school starts, make sure there’s nothing your child is worried about—a kid who’s a bully, a new teacher, difficult school work,
etc. Talking about these anxieties is important. It makes it clear that you want to listen, and it can help you learn what’s going on in time to nip any problems in the bud.
- Get up early enough to eat a healthy breakfast. Studies have shown that children learn better when they’ve had a good breakfast.
Source: National Parents Information Network.