Sandbox Safety

This may be one of those “I’d rather not know what’s really in there” moments. But despite the appeal of sandboxes, those communal gathering spots of the 4-year-old set may not be as innocent as they appear.

Like swimming pools – which we enter with a certain amount of forcing ourselves not to think about what’s really in that water – the shared sand space contains the residue of all who have entered it. That includes bacteria, parasites and other infectious germs carried by kids and – depending on the location of the sand – animals. The difference is that the sandboxes don’t have chlorine or other agents to help kill off some of the germs.

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Bug off!

Is it just me, or are the bugs way worse this summer than they have been in previous years?  Well, it’s not just me.  Warmer winters have led to an increased tick and mosquito population, so experts predict rising tick- and mosquito-borne infections of many types. And with all this rain we’ve had recently, you know the mosquito population is only going to get worse…

In Wisconsin (and many other places in the United States), the disease we most associate with ticks is Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease can range from common (including the target rash with central clearing, headaches, fatigue) to more rare (vaginal ulcers, inflammation of joints or the heart, or neurological conditions, including seizures).

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Worried about phthalates in macaroni and cheese powder?

Recent news articles including those in the New York Times, and CNN reported that chemicals known as phthalates are found in the cheese powder in boxed macaroni and cheese mixes.  What should parents do?  There’s no need to panic, but do take this chance to think about the invisible chemicals in your food (and home) and how you can be a smart shopper to limit your exposure. Read more

A Breakdown of Healthcare Proposed Changes

This week, the US Senate announced that they are going to postpone their recess in order to spend time reworking their healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.  Their goal is to reveal their updated bill Thursday (7/13/17), get a new score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a few days later, and vote on it next week.  Wow – those are some lofty goals.  It can be difficult to decipher the specifics of the bill without getting opinions from people on both ends of the political spectrum.  Since I haven’t seen the new proposal yet, here’s a breakdown of what’s potentially on the chopping block that matters for children, teens, and young adults (and other people too, obviously).

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How to prevent Little League elbow

Your young baseball player might have an incredible fastball, but if he or she starts to complain about elbow pain after a game, don’t ignore it. Your child could be developing an overuse injury known as “Little League elbow.”

“The most mild form of the condition is a tendon injury, but it can also be associated with bony problems in the joint itself, and in the most severe cases, it could be caused by a tear in the ligament that provides significant stability in the elbow of a pitcher,” explains David T. Bernhardt, MD, a UW Health primary care sports medicine physician.

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