Friday, July 20, 2007
Travel games fascilitate learning

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

Summer is a time to travel by car. It sometimes means many hours spent with the family in the car together. "Are we there yet" might become the repeated phrase. The good news is that family travel presents a great opportunity for learning. There are many games that can make this happen. For younger children, car rides can be used to work on letters and numbers. The child can pick a letter or number. He/she can then look at signs for the chosen letter. He/she can look at license plates for the chosen number. If there is more than one child, it offers a chance for some competition. This will usually mean that one parent will need to be a referee. Otherwise the learning may turn into an argument. As children get older, they can use their reading skills to good advantage. Parents can get a map of the United States. Then they can ask their children to color in the map. They might color the map by states that they have traveled through. They might trace the route on the map. They might color in states when they see a license plate for that state. This is a good game to play on interstate highways. There are usually cars from many states. Trucks and RV's in particular tend to have licenses from other states. This type of game can provide geographical education. It can provide map reading education. There is a spelling game for older children called "Ghost". One individual gives the first letter of a word. The next individual gives the second letter. The object of the game is to not spell a complete word. Whoever completes a word loses that turn. That individual will get one letter of the word "ghost". If someone knows that they cannot add a letter without completing a word, they can try to bluff. They may give a letter that spells no word at all. It is up to the next person to call that bluff. When someone loses five turns and gets five letters, they spell the word "ghost". The remaining players continue until only one is left. That individual wins the game. The game of 20 questions can be played. One person picks an object. The other individuals can try to narrow down what the object is by asking yes or no questions. They can ask up to 20 questions and then must make a guess at the object. None of these games cost money. There are some travel games that may cost some money but also are useful. For example there is one that has bingo cards with road signs on it. Everyone gets a different card. They then try and get bingo by matching types of road signs (like stop signs or railroad crossing) to what is on their cards. The goal of any of these is to make the time pass. It sometimes pays to bounce back and forth between them. There are other games to play. However, the goal should be to use the time for educational purposes.

Safe Sitter classes at NMH

Safe Sitter classes for girls and boys aged 11 to 13 will be offered at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, July 25 and 27. A second course will be held Aug. 7 and 9. Cost for the classes is $50. Participants are to bring a bag lunch. To register your son or daughter or your child's babysitter, call 629-6611 ext. 2540. The Safe Sitter program is a medically-accurate instructional series that teaches youngsters how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children. The goal of Safe Sitter is to reduce the number of accidental and preventable deaths among children being cared for by babysitters. Thousands of young adolescents across the country have been trained by Safe Sitter to handle life-threatening emergencies. All medical information will be taught by a certified professional. During the course, students get hands-on practice in basic life-saving techniques so they are prepared to act in a crisis. Instructors also provide tips to make sitters more confident caregivers. For more information, contact the hospital at 629-6611 extension 2540.

Boyer returns to EMS
Sussex County EMS welcomes the return of Chris Boyer, who was previously employed as a Sussex County paramedic in 2003. Prior to his return to Sussex County, he worked as a paramedic for STAT MedEvac, a helicopter service located in Pittsburgh, Pa. Boyer has an associate's degree in paramedic technology and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree from the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pa. Boyer, who is engaged to be married in 2008, resides in Milton and enjoys spending time with his animals and golfing.

CPR courses offered at Del Tech
Learn how to save a life through a pair of "heartsaver" courses being offered at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus. Heartsaver/Adult and Heartsaver/Infant & Child will teach participants about CPR and relief of body airway obstruction. One course will focus on adults and the other on children. Classes include video, discussion, demonstration, skills practice, and scenarios. After successfully passing the course, participants will receive a two-year completion card. Courses start in early August. For complete information on dates, times, fees, or to register, call 854-6966.

Nanticoke plans golf tournament
The 21st annual Nanticoke Health Services Golf Tournament is Friday, Sept. 7 at the Seaford Golf and Country Club. The tournament, which is a scramble format, begins at Noon with a shotgun start. The day consists of practice, lunch, 18-holes of golf, dinner and door prizes. With the help of individuals and corporate sponsors, the tournament's goal is to raise over $35,000 for Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Proceeds will be used for the hospital's charity endowment prescription fund, a special indigent fund for patients in need of assistance with prescription costs. In addition to the Prescription Drug Fund, this year's tournament will also benefit the establishment of a Stroke Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The Emergency Room sees over 600 stroke patients a year.

Teams of four players will compete for various donated prizes. During the course of day, golfers will have numerous chances to test their skills by competing in contests for longest drive, closest-to-the-pin, hit-the-green and a hole-in-one. The entry fee is $125 for a player and $500 for a foursome. Sponsorships packages are available. New to this year's tournament is a putting contest. All participants will have the opportunity to putt through a three-step qualifying round. Following dinner, three people putt for $2,500 each. Anyone interested in individual reservations or sponsorship opportunities, should contact Renee' Morris at 629-6611, ext.2404 or

La Red holds family health fair
La Red Health Center held a day of wellness and family fun at its health center in Georgetown on June 23 with their first annual family health fair. Families took advantage of free health screenings, activities, and games while enjoying food and giveaways from area sponsors and vendors. The health fair gave the community an opportunity to increase community awareness about potential health risks and empower individuals to get treatment if they did not pass the screening tests. Sixty-six people completed a bone density test, 45 had their blood pressure checked, 100 had their glucose levels checked to be screened for diabetes, and many people took advantage of the free eye screenings provided by Dr. Rios with Atlantic Eye Care. The health fair was made possible by donations from community businesses and organizations. La Red Health Center provides healthcare centered around you, with convenient hours (evening and weekends also), walk-in medical care, and primary care services. La Red Health Center is accepting new patients of all ages. To make an appointment, call 855-1233.

Mosquitoes and tick prevention tips
Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds Delawareans that simple precautions can reduce the chance of getting serious tickborne or mosquitoborne illnesses this summer. You do not need to be an avid outdoorsperson to come into contact with infected ticks. Ticks prefer moist shade in wooded, brushy or overgrown grassy areas, and are active all year. To be safe, remove the tick promptly, since risk of infection increases 24-72 hours after it attaches to the skin. Don't use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick. Use fine-tipped tweezers or shield your fingers with a tissue, paper towel or rubber gloves. Grasp the tick close to the skin's surface and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick since its saliva, body fluids or gut contents may contain infectious germs. After removing the tick, cleanse the site with antiseptic or soap and water, and wash your hands. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to appropriate treatment and improved health outcomes. People who have been bitten by a tick should contact a physician if symptoms develop. Individuals infected with tickborne diseases may be treated with antibiotics.
Tick Prevention
DPH recommends the following protective measures to avoid tick and mosquito bites: Wear light colored clothing to better see ticks. Wear long sleeves and long pants. Tuck pants into socks. Apply tick repellants. Repellents containing permethrin can be sprayed on boots and clothing. Repellents containing DEET can be applied to the skin. Reapply every few hours. Use 50% DEET for adults. Use 30% DEET on children. Repellents with DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old. Search your body for ticks when coming indoors. Check children for ticks, especially in the hair. Ticks may also be carried on clothing and pets.
Mosquito Prevention
Limit outdoor activities when mosquitoes are active, such as at dusk. Wear protective clothing such as shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Use mosquito netting to protect the face and neck or cover infant carriages, strollers and playpens. Apply repellents. Keep windows and doorways tightly sealed and maintain window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house. Electronic repellents that emit high frequency sounds and electronic bug zappers do not repel mosquitoes. Remove standing water to prevent mosquito breeding: Regularly drain plastic covers, tarps, pool and Jacuzzi covers, and garbage can lids. Store water-trapping containers such as wading pools, wheelbarrows, and buckets upside down or inside shelters. Change water in birdbaths, pet dishes, and plant pot saucers. Regularly clean and repair gutters, drains, ditches, and culverts to prevent them from retaining water. Manage weeds. Adult mosquitoes are attracted to dense, tall vegetation around water. Shape pond edges to a shelf or steep slope. Mosquitoes prefer shallow water. Introduce mosquito-eating fish. Diseases spread by ticks include Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis. In 2006, 478 cases of Lyme Disease were reported statewide. Symptoms can include a "bull's-eye" rash (in nearly half of cases), fever, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches. Diseases spread by mosquitoes include West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis or EEE. In 2003, 17 cases and two deaths of West Nile Virus were reported statewide. Nearly 80% of human infections cause no symptoms. Nearly 20% of those infected develop a mild illness which includes fever, body and muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting and rash. EEE is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States and Delaware has not had a confirmed case of EEE since 1979.