Buzz Your Way Out of Pain

As adults, we know that going to the doctor’s office can be a pain-in-the-you know what, even under the best of circumstances. But we tend to rationalize our way to our physician’s office anyway, knowing that it is in our best interest to go. Then once we arrive, we will take the visit with a grain of salt.  However, imagine if the patient is a kid.

We’ve all seen the scenario, right? Have you ever seen a child jump for joy, when they are told they are going to see their pediatrician? Of course, not. Don’t be ridiculous. Now, add to that, the child needs a shot. As parents, we have all had to come up with some type of bribe, mixed with a little extortion, for the child to allow the doctor exposure to that bicep or thigh or some other part of their anatomy.  Then after the deed is done, we have fed them candy time and time again, to alleviate that shrieking and hyperventilation, accompanied by many tears. What’s a parent to do, right?

Well, there is a Pediatric Emergency Room Physician named Amy Baxter, who believes she might have the solution we have all been waiting for. Not only is she a doctor, she is a parent as well. What other motivation do you need to start thinking about a solution. Dr. Baxter has invented a device that she has named “Buzzy.” Once you hear about the technology behind this invention, you will wonder and ask the question, “why didn’t someone invent this device a long time ago?”

So, what is this device known as “Buzzy?” It is a palm-sized unit that the caregiver presses against the skin to reduce pain. This device uses a very high frequency, low amplitude vibration along with a freeze-solid ice pack. The combination of the high frequency motion and intense cold activate nerves that run parallel with the pain nerve, and consequently jams the pain signal to the brain.

You might be asking the question, “Why haven’t we heard of this device before?” There are several reasons you might not have heard of this device. The first reason is that this device is relatively new. Secondly, something you might not know exist but there are barriers to innovation in the healthcare world. I will touch on some of them in this blog so that you will have a better understanding and appreciation of the skepticism of the medical community when it come to new / innovative devices.

Most practitioners continue to trust and practice what they learned in academia even though there is continuing education and lifelong learning. There is also the fact that it takes time for new science to permeate to practice. Not to mention that doctors and hospital systems inherently averse to taking risk largely attributed to the legal climate that exist in healthcare today. They find security in continuity to do what they know is right, what is ethical and what is sound practice. Fear of change perhaps? It makes you wonder.

At this point, you may ask the question, so why should we fall “in love” with this product? The main reason would be that the response from the patients has been overwhelmingly positive, i.e., “thumbs up.” In the interview with Dr. Baxter, she mentioned that parents are thanking her all of the time for introducing them to the devise. But don’t just take her word for it. Allow me to share with you what the research has shown.

There was a study in Italy which concluded that “Buzzy” demonstrated significant pain reduction in adolescents with severe cognitive impairment. What is the implication (importance?) of this study? It establishes the fact that this is not the result of psychological distraction. There were two studies conducted on adults in Turkey which concluded that it reduced pain from injections and blood draw about 10% more than in kids. This supports the physiological component of pain relief underlying its effectiveness. Matt, does this make sense or should I leave it off? However, the study that captivated my attention occurred at Children’s Healthcare of Philadelphia. This study concluded that “Buzzy” relieved pain from IV access as effectively as the leading topical anesthetic (Emla Cream or LMX4), but it worked 10 times faster. They were able to perform blood draws and IV starts in 3.5 minutes compared to 40 minutes with LMX4.

There are other studies which are promising and suggest that this technology may also be useful in other areas outside the injection / blood draw arena. Those areas are orthopedics, physical therapy, diabetes, chronic pain and sports medicine. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information on this product as it becomes available to us at and hopefully you will get to meet “Buzzy” if the situation calls for him.


Controlling Your Sugar Cravings


If your kids are like most kids, controlling their cravings for sweets is a never-ending battle. Whether they are playing at home, at school or hanging out with friends, it is a struggle that many children experience. Can I get a witness?

At this point, some of you might be asking the question, “Is that really a problem?” Well, yes, it can be. Did you know that too much sugar consumption can lead to an unbalanced blood sugar level? An unbalanced blood sugar level can significantly increase the risk of developing conditions later in life such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Conversely, maintaining a balanced blood glucose level can be a life-sustaining practice and possibly a life-saving practice. I’m not referring only to children with diabetes, but also to healthy children as well. 

Let’s be real – hidden sugar is omnipresent in the Standard American Diet (SAD). I think we can agree that most people don’t have a clue as to how much sugar we consume. How familiar does this sound to you: “I just had to have that cinnamon roll. I couldn’t resist it.” And you didn’t!  We may even be unaware of how much we crave sweets until the craving hits us. So why does the craving hits us at all? 

Let me introduce to you what we will call “The Sugar Crave Cycle.”

The Sugar Crave Cycle

Normal blood glucose levels remains even with a healthy diet. It can only take one indulgence in sugar and begins when:

  • Your child drinks that high carbohydrate drink or eats that sweet food (i.e., donut).
  • Their bloodstream becomes saturated with glucose (sugar).
  • Their body responds with a surge of insulin.
  • This surge of insulin causes the blood glucose levels to fall below the optimal level.
  • Since the brain depends on glucose for energy, it perceives a threat to its survival. The brain sends a signal to the adrenal glands to release cortisol. 
  • Cortisol, a steroid hormone, is released in response to stress and/or a low blood glucose level. Cortisol functions to increase blood glucose levels by increasing cravings for more sugar.
  • Your child reacts to these cravings and demands more sweets. After you give in, the cycle starts over again.

You may feel guilt about giving in to your child’s demands, and quite possibly the child is feeling guilty, too. Even though we know the sweets are bad for them, we give in anyway. Then, we start saying to ourselves, “I am a bad parent (or grandparent). I am weak and have no discipline”.

Let me tell you parents – there is nothing more counter-productive than negative self-talk.   What if I was to tell you, it is not all your fault? It’s not just an idea you’re battling—“I shouldn’t eat this”. It’s much more powerful. This is pure autonomic nervous system (ANS) business. You can’t override it, you can’t tell it what to do. It tells you what to do. In contrast to a computer, which you can override sometimes, the ANS cannot be overridden.

However, the situation isn’t hopeless. I believe that knowing why the sugar crave cycle happens (and knowing it is a false alarm) can be a deterrent to giving in. In fact, it can be a powerful deterrent. Intellectually, you know they don’t need that high sugar item. We also know that if you allow your child to indulge, you will place that child right back on the sugar craving cycle. We can say “no”.  

[Doesn’t that remind you of the anti-drug campaign?]

Parents, there is no reason to beat yourselves up. Did you know that imbalances in the chemicals in the brain (responsible for managing your moods) are to blame for at least 70-80% of the cravings.

So, what is a parent to do? We know we can just say “no.” But now, we also know that it doesn’t take just good old-fashion willpower. It also takes good health-sense.

Several decades ago, a rock band by the name of The Beatles wrote a song entitled, “With A Little Help From My Friends.” These three ‘friends’ will help you overcome those unhealthy sugar cravings.

Our first friend is named Gymnema Sylvestre. This product has been used in India and Asia for thousands of years to balance blood sugar levels and reduce the sugar craving. In fact, this product works so well, in Hindu its name (gurmar) means “destroyer of sugar”. Naturally, it derives from a plant leaf. Research has shown that, in its supplemental form, it contains an acid which has a molecular structure that is similar to sugar. It is strongly believed that these molecular structure attaches to the same taste receptors that glucose (sugar) uses. This attachment occurs not only in the mouth but also in the intestines. Consequently, sugar absorption in the intestines also decreases. Talk about a little help from our friends… this is enormous! 

But there is more to this product. It has also demonstrated an ability to increase the amount of insulin in the body by aiding the regrowth of pancreatic beta cells. These are the cells that produce insulin. What a huge bonus! For those who may be interested in trying the supplement, the recommended dosage is 400 milligrams per day.

Our second friend is an alkaloid extracted from plants by the name of Berberine. This product was utilized before the discovery of insulin and was recognized for its anti-diabetes effect. Berberine works by stimulating the uptake of glucose into your cells. This results in lower blood glucose levels. And, if this wasn’t enough, it also possesses extra beneficial effects. Those benefits include an increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in glucose production in the liver. Some experts say Berberine is as effective as Metformin but without the unwanted side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach) associated with that drug. The recommended dosage for this supplement is 1000 milligrams per day.

Thirdly, we can get by with a little help from our friend Chromium. Many of us know that chromium is an essential trace mineral. However, few of us know that it plays a role in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level. Chromium is essential in the transportation of blood glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells throughout your body. Once within the cells, the glucose converts proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy. There are studies that have proven that a chromium-deficient diet can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels.

Like our two other friends, there is a bonus involved for chromium. Studies have revealed that chromium can help manage diabetes by assisting people with weight loss. If you are interested in this supplement, it comes in two forms: chromium dinicocysteinate and chromium picolinate. The recommended dosage for chromium is 400 milligrams per day.

In conclusion, I don’t want you to be misguided. No supplement can overcome a diet filled with pastries, ice cream and pasta. These supplements may suppress that craving, but nothing can take the place of a nutrient-heavy diet and moderate exercise. And your health-care professionals at always recommend that you consult your doctor before starting any of the supplements featured in this blog.


Ware, Megan. “Chromium: health benefits, sourses, and potential risks” Medical News Today. Updated May 22, 2017. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

“Chromium—Topic Overview” WebMD. Published NA. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

“Gymnema” Published NA. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

Passero, Kevin. “Gymnema Sylvestre: Reduce Sugar Cravings and Balance Blood Sugar!” GREEN HEALING WELLNESS. Published May 9, 2016. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

Can Sugar in a Child’s Diet Trigger Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

One of the things, I truly love about becoming a nurse and working in the healthcare profession, is that it is constantly evolving and researching ways to improve the health of people like you and me.  We that are your healthcare professionals are constantly challenging conventional wisdom and thinking, as well as, reevaluating traditional treatment modalities.

This type of thinking can result in some fantastic discoveries, which can alter how diseases are treated and managed. A recent example to this is the research that has taken place with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as, GERD. For years (approximately 80 to be exact) the healthcare community have been lead to believe that this digestive disorder was caused by stomach acids backing up into the esophagus. This can result in burning, irritation and even damage to your esophagus. However, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) appears to be questioning this line of thinking. The research from this study seems to suggest that the damage caused by GERD is not the result of stomach acid entering the esophagus. The study proposes that the damage caused by GERD is a result of an inflammatory response prompted by cytokines, which are inflammatory messenger proteins.

The researchers took a group of 12 men who were on proton pump inhibitors to use as their sample group. Proton Pump inhibitors, otherwise known as PPI’s, is a medication that reduces the amount of acids produced in the stomach.  When you have less acids produced in the stomach you diminish the harmful effects (the burning, the irritation, and the damage). 

The men were asked to stop taking their PPI’s for 2 weeks. The researchers expected to see a resumption in the symptoms.  What the researchers did find, however, is that in 11 of the 12 men, there was changes in the esophagus. The change in the lining of the esophagus was not indicative of burns (which is what the researchers expected).  What they discovered is that the esophagus was stimulated by the stomach acid, to produce cytokines. This led to the beginning of a cascade of inflammatory processes which led back to the disease.

Their research concluded that it is not the stomach acid that is causing the problem but rather it is the cytokine messengers. They believe that the development of GERD is cytokine-mediated and not the result of chemical injury.

So now, you might be asking the question, “why is this finding and change in thinking so important?” Well, the answer is that it tells the medical community that we might be placing our focus in the wrong area.  When you consider that this is a disease that affects millions of people, this could be huge.  Perhaps, we need to place our focus on cytokine blockers and inflammation since this appears to be the catalyst to the development of this disease.

Why should we reduce cytokines?

The problem with cytokines is that when activated, they drives chronic, low-grade inflammation process. This type of inflammation is linked to certain diseases such as Diabetes,

Cancer ‘and Heart Disease.  In regards to the link between cytokines and GE Reflux Disease, we certainly need to see more research, to justify changing our treatment modalities but it does sound promising.

So, the question you might ask at this point is, what if additional research does prove that cytokines are the cause of the damaging effects of GERD?  What would be the next step? The next step would probably be to find ways to lower their presence in your body. And that would not be hard to do, considering there are cytokine blockers currently in use to treat some of our most formidable inflammatory diseases, such as, Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s) and Psoriasis. Some clinical trial leaning in that direction might prove them to be effective against GERD. To the medical community and sufferers of this disease, this is exciting news! 

So, what could you do in the meantime? Well, your healthcare professionals at have several suggestions to offer. One way you can help your child is by lowering their intake of sugar.  It is sugar that triggers the release of cytokines.  You can also increase your intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. If taking omega-3 supplements aggravates your child’s reflux (which has been known to happen in some cases) you can always eat foods rich in omega-3. Meals containing salmon, mackerel, trout, albacore tuna, and sardines two or three times a week would be adequate. And, of course, with GERD you want to avoid highly acid foods (oranges, lemons, tomatoes, etc.) and spicy foods.


Dunbar KB, et al. JAMA. 2016;315(19):2104-112.

When is Diagnostic Radiation Unsafe?

When it comes to modern medicine, many of the decisions that you make concerning your child’s health, involves a risk verses benefit factor.

The healthcare profession is extremely fortunate to have the diagnostics tools that are available for us to use. These powerful diagnostic tools have truly revolutionized our ability to accurately diagnose our patient’s condition. Consequently, this leads to prescribing the proper treatment modalities which results in successful outcomes for our patient’s. This is beneficial to the patient, am I right? However, these broadly used diagnostic tools also pose a danger to your child, thus we have our risk. What are the tools I am talking about? I’m talking about diagnostic tools such as CT scanners, X-ray machines, PET scanners, etc.  Although, these tools have revolutionized health care, your exposure to the high levels of radiation they emit can be hazardous to your health.  We’re talking about diagnostic medical radiation.

So, what exactly is diagnostic medical radiation? It is radiation that simply goes under our skin and reveals what a doctor’s skilled hands can’t palpate and what can’t be seen by the naked eye. Diagnostic radiation comes in different amounts and forms. Now, to address the amounts of radiation, an example of a small amount is the amount used for dental x-rays.  An example of a very large amount, is the amount your child could be expose to while undergoing a CT scan or PET scan procedure. Can you believe these scans can deliver the equivalent of up to 1000 or more chest x-rays?  Well, believe it.

But these tools are so valuable. They can spot precursors to certain disease processes and the early presence of so many others, such as, appendicitis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, traumas, kidney stones and musculoskeletal disorders.  And because of their accuracy and speed, the need for some of the procedure once done routinely (exploratory surgeries, biopsies and other invasive procedures) has been curtailed.

Now the question you are probably asking at this point is, what is the down side to diagnostic radiation?  When it comes to radiation, all radiation creates what science calls “free radical.” Free radicals can cause damage to your child’s DNA. This can occur immediately but sometimes the damage can occur in the future. What becomes concerning is that the damage DNA is dangerous. What parents need to know is that radiation accumulates in the body. When your child is exposed to radiation, it doesn’t pass through them completely. A percentage of it will stay in their body and build up over time.

The question you may be asking right now is, how much radiation is too much? Well, there are two schools of thought involved with this question.  Some health care professionals believe that all diagnostic radiation is somewhat harmful, regardless of the amount.  But there is not any evidence to back this assumption.  When you look at this from a risk versus benefit perspective, particularly in the areas where radiation exposure is the highest, (i.e., CT scans, PET scans, etc.) the benefits outweigh the risk tremendously.  However, the other school of thought, is in complete contrast to the one, mentioned previously. Proponents of this school of thought believe that diagnostic radiation is extremely risky and have studies to back their claim.  There was a study involving CAT scans which concluded that the scan alone will increase the number of cancer cases in our nation by 2 percent (nearly 30, 000 cases). This could also result in, they concluded, about 14,500 deaths.  There was another study which concluded that the overuse of CT scans could lead to an estimated 3 million radiation-caused cancers over the next 20 to 30 years.

How is radiation measured?

Radiation can be measured by comparing radiation received from a medical procedure with natural background radiation. Background radiation is the radiation one receives simply from living on this planet. It has several sources. Cosmic rays (radiation from the Sun and stars), radiation from the earth (from the rocks and the soil), and radiation from Radon (odorless, colorless gas that is formed from the breakdown of radioactive elements in the ground).

Below, you will find profiles of some of the most common radiological procedures and how they compare to your child’s natural background radiation exposure:

Procedure                                                                                                                        Days of Natural Background Radiation                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

CAT scan (this procedure consists of hundreds of X-rays at different angles, which are   combined by a computer to produce a 3-d image)

 up to 2000

(5.5 years)


Chest X-ray


Dental X-ray
   Screening mammogram
Routine preventive screening/Diagnostic mammogram
(these are additional X-rays examining specific problem areas)PET Scan with this procedure, a tracer, that is radioactive, will be injected into the bloodstream or it is swallowed. As it moves through the body, radiation is emitted.
PET Scan

(with this procedure a tracer that is radioactive, will be injected into the bloodstream or it is swallowed. As it moves through the body, radiation is emitted.

  2500 (6.8 years)

In view of these facts, your next question is probably, “when should I say no and what are my alternatives?” Good question. The answer to this question should be discussed with your doctor.  Your doctor would be aware of the risk involved in radiation-based diagnoses.  The doctor would be able to advise you as to when to say no. 

Sometimes, it just takes using some common sense.  For example, we all know that dental visits often require taking an x-ray of your teeth and jaw. From my experience, it is rare for the Dental Tech to ask you for permission.  Even though, it is a small amount of radiation, there is no such thing as a “small” amount of DNA damage. 

So, what about the procedures that emit a large amount of radiation, i.e., your CT scans, PET scans, etc.  Those in the medical community are aware of the fact, that many children who presents to the emergency room with abdominal pain or headache, have automatically bought themselves a CAT scan. The technology is so good that it has often been overused. It is estimated that 85 million CAT scans are performed every year.  So, what can a parent do to avoid the radiation based diagnostic tools?  There are a couple of alternatives that are as effective, if not more effective. The alternatives are ultrasounds and MRI’s. I need to point out that there are exceptions, where radiation-based procedures are required. My recommendation is that you mention your preference to avoid radiation based procedures to your child’s Pediatrician and allow the physician to advise you.

However, there are times when radiation based diagnostics are unavoidable. Fortunately, God has provided us ways to protect against radiation damage and some of them are delicious. What I am about to share with you are items that have high concentrations of antioxidants.  These antioxidants protect against DNA damage. These antioxidants can be found in teas made from the Chaga mushroom extract.

Blueberries is another natural food item that contains protective antioxidants and specialized anti-cancer compounds.  It is recommended that your child eats 45 berries a day or try a supplement containing the extract. If your child doesn’t like the taste of plain blueberries, you can always add it to pancake or muffin mixes. Have you ever added them to a homemade smoothie? Very delicious. Foods that contain vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin D will have antioxidants, as well.  Or you can give them the supplemental equivalent. For Vitamin A, the recommended daily intake is 5,000 IU, for Vitamin C it is 1,000 mg and for Vitamin D, it is 5,000 mg. Lastly, the product, Curcumin is a powerful tumor-inhibiting product. If you get Curcumin in a supplemental form, 500 mg. should be suffice, just be sure it is in a “bioavailable” formulation.   And always, consult with your Pediatrician before considering any behavioral, dietary or supplemental changes.


Is Too Much Screen Time Doing Damage To Your Child?

 We live in some interesting times, don’t we? With all the advances in technology, life has become so convenient, hasn’t it? Think about it, with just the click of a button, you can reach someone on the other side of the planet in a minutes notice.  It is uncommon not to find our children staring into a cell phone, or a laptop computer or a tablet. But how much screen time is too much screen time?

 The American Optometric Association (or AOA) tells us that the average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer. I wonder how much time the average American kid spends. Perhaps about the same; maybe even more? It also may surprise you to find out that the technology advances has brought along with it some health problems. One particular problem, I read about recently is called the Computer Vision Syndrome.

The AOA defines Computer Vision Syndrome as a group of eye and vision related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone use. Another name for this disorder is Digital Eye Strain.

So, as a parent, I found myself asking the question, how do I know if my child is experiencing CVS?

Well, here are some of the common symptoms associated with this disorder.

Your child may experience headache, dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain. Surprisingly, neck and/or shoulder pain is also a symptom of this disorder.

You might see a retreat in many of the visual symptoms once you separate from the screen. However, some of the symptoms might hang on, and some can recur or worsen if you don’t address the cause.

So, what are the causes of CVS?

Let me preface the answer by stating a fact: A digital page on a screen is very different from a printed page.

The characters on screen will not appear as sharply defined as the characters you see on paper. There tends to be less contrast between the characters and the screen background.  The glare that is present from inside the devices tends to make your eyes work harder. Also, the reflections of light sources outside the device, such as lamps, natural light through the windows or overhead light sources can also contribute to work increase on your eyes.  These two factors can increase your risk of CVS.

There is also a momentous, difference in how far or near you are to a printed page versus a screen, as well as, in the angle at which you’re viewing your source. This can challenge your eyes in terms of movement and focus.

Uncorrected or under-corrected vision problems—even minor ones can contribute to the development of CVS. Another challenge that will facilitate the development of this disorder is poor posture. You’ve seen it and are likely guilty yourself. Ask yourself as you read this blog, are you sitting with your back curved and shoulders hunched?   Are you leaning in toward the screen? This is where neck and shoulder pain obtains its origin as a symptom of CVS.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or minimize these symptoms and your health care professionals at encourage you to implement some of these interventions.

Here are some prevention and reduction interventions that you and your child can do.

First of all, CVS symptoms can be caused by many non-CVS conditions. So a proper eye exam is, of course, necessary to determine whether your child has it.  If your child does have it, then the question becomes, to what extent and what can you do about it. If your child wear corrective lenses, make sure they’re up to date.

Here are some more clues you need to be looking at.

The more time in front of your screen seems to correlate with more CVS discomfort.

Research has shown that spending two or more nonstop hours onscreen puts you in the highest CVS risk group.

You think?

We know what you’re saying. Their school work requires a lot more than two hours onscreen.

We also know how many of us are coaxed by “recreational surfing.” How many times have you found your child, or yourself, on the internet wandering from emails to news, and sports, then to games, and eventually to movies?  The answer is probably, often. The internet just draws us in and makes it all easy to wander.  Perhaps having the knowledge of the CVS risks lurking in your mind, will be the impetus for making your child cut back?  Could it be the catalyst? Hopefully, it will be.

During my research, I also stumbled upon a concept known as the 20-20-20 rule.

What the rule encourages is that for every 20 minutes you’re onscreen, you should take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This allows your eye muscles to remain limber.

Another, do-it-yourself technique that is simple and immediately effective speaks to positioning and posture.  And not only is it effective and easy to implement, it also delivers good health benefits, as well. Unfortunately it is dreadfully easy to forget to do. This is assuming your child is at a desk, with a desktop computer, not a laptop.

Body position: remember what your parents and teachers told you? Sit up straight, shoulders back.  Stress this to your kids. This is important because hunching over and forward can lead to muscle pain and spasms.

Chair: the chair they sit in should be padded, comfortable, and placed at the proper height to allow their feet to rest flat on the floor. If it has adjustable arms, set them to provide arm support while they type. They should never rest their wrists on the keyboard or desktop when typing.

Screen position: most people prefer looking downward 4–5 inches, in contrast to looking straight ahead, at the screen 20–28 inches from the eyes. Your child should avoid any position where light comes in from behind the screen. An example of that scenario would be from a window. You should adjust the blinds or shades for your child, if you need to.

Lighting:  You will also need to adjust the screen for your child in order to accomplish the least reflected glare from windows or overhead lighting. Also, use low-wattage bulbs in any desk lamps.

Anti-glare, anti-reflective screens can also be helpful.

Breaks: Monitor your child’s use and prompt them to rest their eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous time onscreen.

Blink. Encourage your child to blink frequently, which will keep their eyes moist and minimize the risk of dry eyes.

Special lenses: There are special lenses available for those who don’t otherwise need eyeglasses. This eyewear is specifically designed for computer use. They comprise of special lens design, tint /coatings and power that can magnify visual   abilities, as well as, provide comfort to the eyes.

Vision therapy: There are special exercises that can improve eye-brain coordination and function. Ask an optometrist about this.


How to Keep Your Kids Safe from the Zika Virus US Outbreak!

Zika virus!  Zika virus! All this fuss about the Zika virus.  You hear it on the news shows, hospitals are screening incoming patients about their recent travel destinations and on and on.  So, this blog is an attempt to inform you of what you need to know about this virus.  Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae and is transmitted by a daytime- active mosquitos.  It originated from the Zika Forest of Uganda were the virus was first isolated in 1947. Since the 1950’s, there had been evidence of its presence along a narrow equatorial belt stretching from Africa to Asia. Sometime between 2013 and 2014, the virus spread across the Pacific Ocean. In 2015, Zika outbreaks had reached pandemic proportions in South America, Central America and Mexico.

Zika fever, which is the disease caused by this virus, is primarily contracted through the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito that spread this virus will bite either daytime or night.  They will typically bite someone who is infected with the virus and then bite someone who has not been infected.  The virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy.

Fever, rash, conjunctivitis (redness to the eyes) and joint pain are the common symptoms. These symptoms can last up to a week in duration and are mild in severity. Statistically, 1 in 5 persons infected with this virus will become sick. And because the symptoms are so mild, many that are infected will not realize they have been infected. Most recently, however (February 2016), there appears to be evidence that this virus in pregnant mothers can cause abnormal brain development in their fetuses which can result in miscarriages and microcephaly (small, underdeveloped brain).

As of 2016, there are no drugs or vaccine to treat this disease. Treating the symptoms and rest is the course of action you should take if you find yourself infected by this virus. Since there are no drugs or vaccines to treat this disease, prevention is the best defense and there are several steps that can be implemented.  

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. This spray can be applied on the clothing, as well as, the skin.  However, do not place the repellent on the skin and cover it with clothing.  Always follow the product’s label instructions.

Wear long sleeve shirts and pants.

If you are wearing a sunscreen, apply it first, and then the repellent.

  • Stay in areas that have air conditioning, windows and door screens.
  • If you have a baby or child, do not use insect repellent on babies less than 2 months of age.
  • Cover cribs, baby carriers and strollers with mosquito netting.
  • Repellent should not be applied onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
  • The repellent can be sprayed into an adult’s hands and then applied to the child’s face.
  • Wear permethrin treated clothing, which offers protection even after several washings.
  • Avoid traveling to areas that has a Zika virus outbreak.

In January 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel guidance and enhanced precautions for those considering a trip to affected countries. Your healthcare professionals at  are recommending that you visit their website if you are considering a trip to one of these countries in the near future.



Health Risks from buying goods from China?

I have always been a proponent of purchasing products that are “Made in the U.S.A.” The rationale behind that advocacy is that it provides jobs for Americans, it stimulates the economy, and it facilitates the industrious “American Way of Life.”  With that thought in mind, I was not surprise to discover another reason to be wary of purchasing imported products.

What I discovered is that certain imported products may be hazardous to your health. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has released a consumer warning against certain hair ties that were manufactured in China. It has been discovered that these hair bands are being produced with (get this) used condoms.  Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous and not to mention, so unsanitary.

The warning issued by the CDC read:

“The amount of bacteria and potential viruses on these hair ties and rubber bands, which are made from used unsanitary condoms, has 4 times the bacteria found on a public restroom toilet.  Consumers could potentially be infected with AIDS, warts, herpes and other venereal diseases if they hold the rubber bands on hair ties in their mouths while setting their hair.  We warn against consumers purchasing these products if they were made in China.”

Your healthcare professionals at “” strongly suggest that you heed this warning to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Can you imagine your teen-age daughter or son (male buns are in vogue these days) contracting a venereal disease when there is evidence to support abstinence from sexual activity?   Try explaining that one to your church friends. The moral to this story, “don’t buy hair bands made in China.”


Tony L. Wallace, RN, BSN