Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Vitamin K: Drops Versus Shot?

In recent years there's been a resurgence of critics of the Vitamin K shot given infants (neonates) at birth. Most of the controversy revolves around the aluminum in the injection. 

Infants don't receive enough Vitamin K from their mothers, and without enough of the vitamin, their clotting mechanisms are insufficient to prevent brain bleeds and other loss of blood. Parents should have the ultimate say in their child's medical treatments, but they should also be making informed decisions. For those who don't want the shot, oral drops are available. This treatment is administered immediately after birth, with a second dosage in five days and a third in 30 days. There are studies which show the oral treatment is not as effective.

Speak to your physician about this treatment if you feel this is better for your child. He or she should be happy to discuss it with you and honor your request.

Now, as to the aluminum in the shot? The medication contains .05 microgram of the metal. A microgram is 1/1000 of a milligram. Think about that.

Next we'll be looking at aluminum in various vaccines. If you truly have a problem with vaccines and how they can adversely affect your child, do some informed reading.

Until next time...

I'm Nurse Nan wishing your infants a happy childhood.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Which Cold Therapy Pain Gel?

Several years ago, a friend offered us a roll-on version of Biofreeze pain reliever. Biofreeze, as its name indicates, uses cold to relieve joint and muscle pain. Some individuals use the medication for migraines, messaging it into the neck or even the forehead. Does Biofreeze work and is it economical?

Yes and no. Yes, it does work for some pain. While it might work for migraine pain for you, it doesn’t for everyone. Economical? Pain relief is worth every penny, but Biofreeze isn’t cheap. So is there an alternative?

This is where convenience comes into play. Biofreeze offers its gel form in a pump bottle. You can find it at Walmart in 8 oz. bottles for just under 25.00, tax not included. If you don’t mind a less convenient form of cold therapy, Dollar General offers the Rexall brand in a 12 oz. jar for only 2.25.

We’ve tried the Rexall version ourselves on hands, feet, and ankles and have been surprised at the degree of pain relief we received during recent cold and wet weather. Obviously the price takes away some of the pain as well. Rexall is an old and trusted brand, and we give it the two thumbs up over Biofreeze.

Nurse Nan

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I Have What? Are You Sure About That?

In a physician's exam room in a universe that may be closer to home than you would like to think:

Doctor: Good afternoon, Mr. More, what seems to be the problem today?

Patient: It's very odd. I have a fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, and I'm hearing Barry White on a loop pounding against my eardrums.

Doctor: Ah, yes, BeeGees fever; it's going around right now. I'll give you just the thing to clear that up in no time.

Patient: Uh, no, Dr. Robertson Justice, it's not Barry Gibb. It's Barry White...completely different.

Doctor: Well, nevertheless, these pills for BeeGees fever should clear it up in no time. If you're still sick in a week, come back and I'll redo your meds.

What just happened here? Number One, the physician was thinking if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it's a duck. Number Two, the patient was thinking that he knew his body better than the doctor did, and that the physician obviously wasn't paying attention to him.

About ten years ago, a local physician was treating scores of children with a common respiratory complaint. He had no qualms about diagnosing a two year-old girl with the same malady. Unfortunately, the child had something much more serious and quickly passed away when it was untreated.

Right now, we're seeing several of our friends who have been treated for a cold-like lower respiratory illness only to discover they actually have bronchitis. You know your body better than anyone. Unless you're a card-carrying hypochondriac, you're not making up symptoms or turning freckles into the plague.

If you have the money or the insurance, get a second opinion if you're not totally satisfied with the first. It's your body, your health, and your right to know what's wrong.

Here's hoping everyone enjoys a healthy late fall and a robust winter...

 Nurse Nan

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Vaccinations & Circumcision? A No Brainer…

A traveler walked down a country road in India. After traversing a few miles, he came to a fork in the road. The traveler knew that the two roads reunited after another mile or so, but he also knew that man-eating tigers roamed the woods.

An old man sat at the fork in the road, and the wise traveler decided to ask him what to do. The old man replied, “I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you this. During the past month, 100 men ventured down each road. Of the 100 who traveled the right road, five were eaten by tigers; of the 100 who traveled the left road, only four were eaten by tigers. It has been this way for as long as I can remember.”

Which road did the traveler take? Did he think he would be totally safe if he took the left road, or did he think only that he would be taking the safer bet?

Modern vaccinations and circumcision are choices facing parents every day. The bottom line of medical statistics tells us that, while vaccinations and circumcision may create problems with some patients, there is a better outcome for a higher percentage of children who receive these procedures.

It’s a no-brainer. Our new president can authorize all the studies he wants with our hard-earned tax dollars. They won’t change the facts.

Nurse Nan

Monday, May 30, 2016

Bottled Bug Sprays to Battle Zika

Zika virus is here. Each week seems to bring a new report of how it might be transmitted, but we know that mosquitoes are the prime carrier. Those pesky little buggers also carry other diseases, not to mention leaving ugly little whelps where they bite you. In short, if you’ve never thought too much about insect repellent, now is the time to start.

These over the counter repellents also protect from summer’s ubiquitous fleas and assorted biting flies. You can purchase them in various dispensers, with or without DEET, scented or unscented, and at various prices.

Which should you use? It's best to forego the do-it-yourself concoctions you’ll see showcased on various web sites. Now is not the time for hit or miss.

DEET? If a repellent works for you without that much maligned chemical, by all means go for it. If you’re major mosquito bait every summer, you may wish to stick with the formulas that contain DEET, at least until the Zika crisis has passed.

Remember to read the directions; basically don’t rub the spray into skin or don clothing while skin is still damp with the spray. Check after first use for any adverse skin reactions. Don’t let pets come in contact with anything damp from the spray.

What are your best choices? Here are six major brands packaged in atomizer type spray bottles:

Off - 4.99 for 6 ounces

Cutter - 4.99 for 6 ounces

Repel - 5.99 for 4 ounces 

Greenerways - 7.99 for 6 ounces

Coleman - 4.99 for 5 ounces

Eco-Defense - 9.99 for 4 ounces

Most of these sprays are fairly economical and last 12 hours or so. In extremely hot weather you’re more apt to perspire, so you may need to apply twice during a day spent outside, or in homes where fleas may be present.

Hoping nothing more than an attractive vampire bites any of you this summer!

Nurse Nan

Monday, February 15, 2016

The School Nurse as a Mother Figure?

Nurses who receive a Bachelor of Science degree are required to take a course in community nursing, a part of which involves a clinic with a school nurse. My one-day clinic was extremely memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. I came away knowing that I would seek a position as a school nurse only as a last resort and with one other piece of knowledge: High school students saw the school nurse as a kind of substitute mother.

The nurse with whom I trained was extremely free in telling me about each student who entered her office. I learned not only the student’s medical history, but their emotional and sexual history as well. I assume it was the nurse’s substitute for watching soap operas in the afternoon, but I left feeling that this woman was entirely too involved in the lives of these Madison County high school students.

Now a local school nurse has been arrested for having a sexual relationship with a female student. I’m hearing some say “how dumb is that?” More to the point is “how immoral is that?” This nurse was both licensed as an LPN and married in 1993, years before her victim was born. At one time the nursing profession was seen as the most moral and ethical in the United States. Now it’s second to firefighting, and may be falling fast in the estimation of the public.

The moral? Parents are entirely too trusting when it comes to their children’s mentors. A friend once told me she was leery of anyone outside her family paying a great deal of attention to her children. Each day that passes only proves how right she was in this. Is there an upside to this story? Yes, Florence will again make the Daily Mail.

Nurse Nan

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Positively No AIDS from Saliva

Recently the TimesDaily ran an article on Alabama Health Department official Tom Robertson who appeared at a local school for AIDS Day. The article, written by Lisa Singleton-Rickman was extremely similar to one she wrote on the same subject in 2013.

However, the 2013 article correctly stated that saliva does not transmit the HIV virus. The 2015 article incorrectly quoted Robertson as saying it did. Everyone should take precautions against the virus which is spread via contact with body fluids. I assume this misinformation was a misprint. One cannot acquire the virus through contact with either saliva or a mosquito bite.

Hoping everyone stays safe. You have a role to play in life!

Nurse Nan