Health Notes For May

Batter Up, Not Out
Spring and summer means more kids are playing youth sports. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the most frequent sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) and strains (injuries to muscles), caused when an abnormal stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. As always, contact your pediatrician if you have additional questions or concerns.

To reduce injury:
• Wear the right gear. Players should wear appropriate and properly fitted protective equipment, such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups and/or eyewear. Young athletes should not assume protective gear will protect them from performing more dangerous or risky activities.
• Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
• Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises before and after games or practice can increase flexibility.
• Use the proper technique. This should be reinforced during the playing season.
• Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
• Play safe. Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football) and body checking (ice hockey) should be enforced.
• Stop the activity. If pain is present, stop all activity immediately.
• Avoid heat injury. Always drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.

Little Swimmers Safe to Splish Splash!
Providing very young children with swimming lessons appears to have a protective effect against drowning and does not increase children’s risk of drowning, according to researchers with the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers state that the findings should ease concerns among health professionals that giving swimming lessons to children from ages 1 to 4 years might indirectly increase drowning risk by making parents and caregivers less vigilant when children are near bodies of water.

“Swimming lessons are appropriate for consideration as part of a comprehensive drowning prevention strategy,” says Dr. Duane Alexander, the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). “Because even the best swimmers can drown, swimming lessons are only one component of a comprehensive drowning prevention strategy that should include pool fencing, adult supervision, and training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”
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Benefits of Circumcision
Heterosexual men who undergo medical circumcision can significantly reduce their risk of acquiring two common sexually transmitted infections — herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the cause of genital herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cancer and genital warts, according to a recent report that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). In the study, circumcision had no effect on their risk of becoming infected with the bacterium that causes syphilis, however.

The findings build upon earlier clinical research funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), part of the NIH, which found that circumcision decreases a man’s risk of acquiring HIV infection through heterosexual intercourse by more than 50 percent.
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Healthy But Not Necessarily Happy?
A new book seeks to change the perception that being physically fit automatically brings personal happiness. According to the authors of “Fit Soul, Fit Body,” Brant Secunda, a shaman, and Mark Allen, a six-time Ironman triathlon world champion, fitness needs a makeover. It’s not about the size of your muscles, how fast you can run or how much you weigh. They say that there are plenty of physically fit people who are unhappy, eternally pessimistic and drained of spirit, and their book employs the message that true fitness starts with emotional and spiritual well-being, which provides the foundation for attaining a fit body.

“Fit Soul, Fit Body” offers nine ways to achieve a healthier and happier life through strategies and advice on how to test wellness, manage stress, overcome emotional barriers, beat boredom, slow down to get faster, choose the right eating and exercise plan, employ the power of nature, quiet your mind and set realistic goals and secure a fit vision for life.
The book retails for $24.95. For more information, visit

Peaceful Pregnancy Poses
Many fitness experts agree yoga is an ideal way to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy. The DVD “Prenatal Yoga With Desi Bartlett,” scheduled for release on May 5, is designed for use throughout pregnancy. The program’s goal is to build strength and stamina, reduce stress and fatigue and help pregnant women connect with their babies and changing bodies.

The DVD is segmented into one 20-minute and two 10-minute practices. Instructor Desi Bartlett filmed the DVD while she was six months pregnant. She teaches weekly yoga classes in Los Angeles.
The DVD retails for $14.99. For more information, visit

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