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Nevada County Picayune-Times - Prescott, AR
  • Dr. Murray Feingold: Summer messages from the doctor

  • Summer has arrived, so it’s time for me to share with you some “random summer health messages.” Here is my annual message concerning poison ivy –– I say it annually because many people continue to have a misconception of how poison ivy spreads.

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  • Summer has arrived, so it’s time for me to share with you some “random summer health messages.”
    Here is my annual message concerning poison ivy –– I say it annually because many people continue to have a misconception of how poison ivy spreads.
    Question: If you scratch your poison ivy, and the fluid in the blisters goes to another area, does the poison ivy then spread to that area?
    The answer is no. The way you get poison ivy is when your skin comes in contact with the oil on the poison ivy plant. The fluid does not contain the oil, so it does not spread in that manner.
    A message about sunscreens. Although many people use sunscreens, one report showed that 25 percent of those using sunscreens applied them incorrectly.
    Sunscreens should be applied evenly, and not sparingly. The study showed that when doing it correctly, the protection was 17 times greater than not using a sunscreen. However, when applied incorrectly, the sunscreen protection was only two times greater than not using a sunscreen. And don’t forget: You need to reapply it every few hours.
    Emotionally, it is much easier to enjoy a summer day when the sun is brightly shining. However, realistically, there are also cloudy summer days. Therefore, it is psychologically important that you don’t let cloudy days cast a pall over you, especially if you are on vacation. Remember, there are many fun activities that you and your family can participate in that have nothing to do with the sun.
    My final message deals with children and summertime. The message is not about the increase in the number of accidents during the summer, mainly because children are usually more active. It is about the importance of keeping them busy. Even on the sunniest days, many youngsters would prefer to stay indoors, watching television or playing computer games instead of playing outdoors.
    During the school year, children are on a schedule, and they should continue to be on some type of schedule during their summer vacation. It certainly does not have to be as rigid as a school schedule. Having some freedom to do what they want to do is part of the fun of a summer vacation.
    The child’s schedule depends upon the family situation, the child’s interests and what is available. But they should have some type of structure to their summer activities.
    So have a happy, healthy and enjoyable summer filled with great memories.
    Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio in Massachusetts, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.
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