Medical tidbits to ponder about summer safety

‘It’s summertime and the living is easy,’ is a favourite expression at this time of year. But health hazards don’t care what month it is.

You can stub your toe at any time. And, for instance, how many parents worry that their children face a hazard simply by brushing their teeth, summer or winter?

Can a roller coaster ride cause more than thrills? Can binge drinking result in more than a hangover? And, in summer, never mess around with 300,000,000 volts.

Dr. Jurgen Kuschyk, a cardiologist at University Hospital in Mannheim, Germany, reports that anyone over 14 years of age should get a physical checkup before taking a roller coaster ride. This should include an electrocardiogram and, even better, an echocardiogram.

Kuschyk’s study involved 57 volunteers ranging from 18 to 79 years of age. Electrocardiograms monitored their heart rhythm before, during and after a ride. Doctors were surprised to find that 44% of participants had irregular rhythms lasting up to five minutes.

Most rides generated 4 Gs (gravitational force), super rides 4 to 5 Gs. Fighter pilots pass out when subjected to 6 to 9 Gs!

If you’re worried about the economy or continued Middle East unrest and need an alcoholic drink to relax, remember that moderate drinking is prudent at all times. A report in the British Medical Journal makes alarming reading for those who have a habit of binge drinking.

Dr. Mohantha Dooldeniya, a urologist at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, England, reports that three women arrived at the hospital after a bender. They all complained of lower abdominal pain. Doctors initially diagnosed cystitis, a bladder infection. Later, when they used abdominal scans and laparoscopy to peek into the abdomen, they were shocked to find that their urinary bladders had ruptured.

How could this happen? Alcohol is a diuretic that causes more frequent urination. But it’s also an anesthetic and dulls the urge to go.

This is a bad combination. Often the intoxicated person falls asleep and urinates in bed. But in some cases bladder pressure is so strong and the senses so dulled that the bladder ruptures.

And if a person falls with a distended bladder, rupture is even more likely.

Eggs and the microwave ovens don’t mix. Eggs cooked in a microwave reach a higher temperature than if they were boiled.

One nine-year-old girl reheated a previously boiled egg and placed it in a bowl. Thirty minutes later as she was taking it to the dining room, it exploded, eggshells striking her right eye and face.

The explosion perforated the cornea of the eye and ruptured the anterior lens capsule. Following the injury she could only see hand movements. Her vision was restored after several operations and the insertion of a plastic lens.

“Go brush your teeth before bed,” is a familiar cry from parents. But a report from the Public Health Agency of Canada says the lowly toothbrush can cause a life-threatening injury.

A few injuries have occurred while children brushed their teeth.

The problem is fooling around with the toothbrush in their mouths and bumping into something. In a few cases the entire toothbrush has been swallowed. And if a toothbrush contains batteries, this is a medical emergency.

Readers must be reminded that every year lightning kills more people in North America than hurricanes and tornados. Lightning strikes this planet 3.6 million times every year. It’s 50,000 times hotter than the sun and has the power of up to 300,000,000 volts.

This voltage has destroyed an ammunition depot, a Pan Am 707, two English women wearing wired bras, and many engaged in outdoor sports. Remember, if you can count 30 seconds or less between a lightning flash and thunder, seek protection immediately.

So, even if you’re playing the best round of golf in your life, stop playing.

Swimmers should get out of the water. If your hair stands on end, you’re about to be hit and your only hope is to drop immediately to the ground. And many people have been killed by 300,000,000 volts after the storm has ended!

The safest place in an electrical storm is in your home. But stay away from open doors, metal sinks, telephones and fire places.

See the web site at www.doggiff.com. Email info@docgiff.com.

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