The epidemic of diabetes on Guam is truly frightening. Every day I see patients whose disease is newly diagnosed, sometimes because they have a serious bacterial or fungal infection as a result. Every day too, I see people whose diabetes is wildly out of control, because of poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity. So, day by day, we at the clinic make the effort to educate, encourage and empower our patients....so that they may "turn the ship around" and avoid the tragic pathway to dialysis, heart disease, stroke , blindness or amputation.
Learn more about diabetes here, on Healthy Living's Double Feature:
summer months fly by, and soon it is time to get everyone back in
school mode. Use this handy checklist to ensure that your child has a
happy HEALTHY school year. Watch these videos for more info, or just look at the checklist below for some great tips!
More answers to your questions:
BACK TO SCHOOL HEALTH CHECKLIST
Shots and TB test. Get them done and out of the way. Kindergartners
need the most. Help by putting an ice pack on the arm just before the
shot is given, and plan a nice reward for after. Other than the TB skin
test, the next shots are not due until your child is 14. Teenagers
need a tetanus booster, HPV, and meningitis vaccine.
Test. Get the kids checked once a year, especially if they are
squinting, sitting really close to the TV, or complaining of headaches.
They may be needing glasses.
If you think it’s more than “selective” hearing, have your child’s
ear’s checked for wax buildup. Hearing loss is a significant cause of
poor school performance.
problems, warts and acne. Young children need to clean up their “Guam
sores” before returning to school, as the staph infection is contagious.
Warts can be removed so there is less chance of their spreading.
Don’t underestimate how ashamed kids can get if they have acne. Help
your youngster’s self esteem and prevent scarring by getting medical
treatment for their pimples.
and allergies. If your child has asthma, make sure they have an extra
inhaler to take to school , to be used just before PE class. Allergy
symptoms such as runny nose and sneezing can be really distracting in
the classroom. Give your child over-the-counter anti-histamines such
as Claritin or Allegra. These can be taken safely every day if
necessary, to settle down the symptoms. If your child has a strong food
allergy, such as to peanuts, get an Epipen to be used at school in case
of an emergency, and make sure the teachers are aware.
and Hand Sanitizer. Teach your child to wash their hands. Hand
sanitizer can be used in emergencies, but remember, washing off the
germs is best, particularly before eating and after using the restroom.
and snacks. Talk to your child about eating properly and choosing
healthy snacks. Choose fruits, carrot sticks, celery, raisins, a
sandwich, or applesauce rather than chips and candy.
Choose water. Add lemon or calamansi for flavor. Avoid sodas. Fruit
juices, even the unsweetened ones, are full of sugars and it is best to
avoid or dilute them. Get a refillable aluminum container and send
water with your child, rather than buying plastic bottled drinks.
Definitely avoid caffeine in the form of King Car, tea, Colas , and
Supplements. Give your child a multivitamin every day. Add a flavored fish oil tablet if possible.
Medicine. If your child takes medication for a chronic condition, make
sure the school is aware. Talk to the school nurse to help you
administer it, if necessary.
Talk to your child about physical activity after school. Choose a
sport or dance class to participate in several times a week. If you are
not able to find a formal activity, let your child run around outside
and play tag or catch. Teach your children how to swim, or sign up for
classes at the pool.
Find out what your child’s ideal weight is. Face it if your child is
overweight and make a plan to reduce the amount of food he/she eats,
especially junk food. Increase their exercise level. Make getting to a
healthy weight a priority by setting a good example yourself.
Talk to your child about your expectations regarding homework. Create
a quiet space for study, and decide on the best time for homework to be
done. Talk about what grades are realistic for them, and set the
expectation and consequences for good and bad performance.
Make a rule about how much “screen time” is allowed. The American
Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends limiting exposure to violent
video games and TV shows, because studies show they make children more
aggressive and emotionally desensitized.
Disabilities, ADHD. If you suspect your child has a learning
disability or attention problem, talk to the teacher early in the year.
Free testing is available. You can also talk to your doctor or call a
psychologist for testing. Early detection is key, and many
interventions will help not just the child, but your whole family.
Heavy loads hurt kid’s backs long term, causing deformity and pain in
adult life. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that
your child carries no more than 10%-15% of their body weight on their
back. SO, a third grader that weights 80 lbs, should carry no more than
8-12 lbs. Weigh your kids’ books! Consider getting a roller bag.
Encourage kids to put both straps on if they are carrying a backpack to
avoid favoring one side.
Talk to your kids about bedtimes. Teens need 9 hours of sleep a
night. Young children may need even more rest to do well in school and
make mornings easier.
and stress. Starting the school year, especially in a new school, is
very stressful. Talk to your kids about their fears. Are they worried
about making new friends, their grades, a “mean” teacher? Help them
make a plan so they feel more empowered and confident starting out. If
possible, take a tour of the new environment and meet the teachers in
, cyberbullying and peer pressure. Talk to your kids about how to
handle potential bullies. Also make sure that they know how to limit
their own aggression, and what the consequences of bullying behaviors
are. Talk to them about peer pressure and what your family values are
regarding drugs, alcohol, smoking and teenage pregnancy. Seriously
consider birth control for your teenage daughters if they are involved
Fun Stuff. Talk to your kids about what their hopes and dreams are for
the school year. Communicate your expectations for them, and
brainstorm together about how to make this year the most fun-filled,
educational school year ever!~
Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis affecting people on Guam. Yes, it is arthritis: inflammation of the joint causing redness, swelling and PAIN. Often the foot or ankle is affected, but sometimes it can be knees, wrists or the hand.
To learn more about what causes gout, watch this week's video: