Thursday, October 04, 2012
No medicine can cure the many different things that cause cough By Dr. Anthony Policastro
One of the frequent requests that parents make is for "cough medicine." The interesting thing about this request is that there is no such thing. What they want is something to make their child stop coughing. That might be a reasonable request if there was only one thing that caused a cough. However, there are many causes of coughing. For that reason, there is no single approach to treating a cough. One of the things that people fail to realize is that coughing is a physiologic reaction. Something happens in the body. The response is to create a cough reflex. It is not a lot different than the body producing a sneeze. I never get asked for "sneeze medicine." Coughing can occur as the result of different kinds of stimulation. The stimulation might be in the upper airway. There might be a post nasal drip irritating the back of the throat. That drip might be caused by a cold. In that case the approach is to use a decongestant to stop the secretions. That drip might also be caused by allergies. In that case the approach is to use an antihistamine to stop the secretions. A foreign body might get stuck anywhere along the breathing passageway. The cough reflex is the strongest one that we have to get foreign bodies out. We have all experienced that when "something goes down the wrong pipe." The treatment for that is to remove the foreign body. That is why the cough is so strong in those situations. Since I had my Bell's palsy, I occasionally have saliva pool in my mouth and then go down the wrong pipe unexpectedly. It results in an over the top coughing reaction. It can occur at the strangest time. I was once at a wedding. The priest asked if anyone objected to the marriage. I started choking and coughing and sputtering. It was quite the sight. And everyone in the church wanted to see the sight. Children often get croup or laryngitis. The result is an irritation of the vocal cord area. The body's response to that irritation is coughing. This is the kind of illness that a short course of cough suppressant medication may be needed. There can be inflammation of the middle airways of the lungs. This is what happens in asthma. It causes wheezing because the breathing passageways have become narrow from the inflammation. The only way the body has of opening the breathing passages is to cough up the secretions that are blocking the passageways. Thus cough is an important part of asthma. It is the body's way of treating the airway blockage. Any kind of cough suppression in this instance will make things worse. The treatment is to use asthma medications. That will help open up the breathing passageways. It will result in less coughing when that happens. Thus a decrease in cough is evidence that the medication is working. Pneumonia is an infection of the lung itself. The body uses the cough to get the infected secretions out of the lung. The treatment of the cough is to treat the pneumonia. The cough often continues for several weeks after the pneumonia improves. That allows the lungs to finish clearing infected secretions. Sometimes parents will get concerned that children cough but do not cough anything out. Actually, this is what we expect. When we cough, the infected secretions move out of the lungs and are swallowed down into the stomach and removed through the intestine. We don't cough them out. Coughing can be due to a variety of causes. In most cases, it represents a bodily protective mechanism. The treatment depends on the cause. There really is no such thing as "cough medicine."

Summer Blood Challenge Awards Blood Bank of Delmarva held a Summer Blood Challenge Awards Party on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. "Our 10th Annual Summer Blood Challenge was a record breaking year and we are grateful to the 226 companies who were committed to saving lives this summer," said Roy Roper, Blood Bank of Delmarva CEO. "We saw a 30 percent increase in our numbers across the board with 11,790 blood donations and 1,985 new Blood Bank members." During the Summer Blood Challenge Awards Party, the Top Lifesaving Companies were named. They include Artesian Water Company, Barclaycard US, Bayhealth Medical Center, Christiana Care Health System, Friends of Gage, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, Terumo Medical Corporation, and Town of Middletown. This year, there was a tie for the Top Blood Donor of the Summer Blood Challenge. Tom Saporito of Bank of America and John David Myers of the Wilmington Yard at Amtrak were both recognized for being the top blood donors during the summer. Every year a special award, the B+ Award, is given to an individual, individuals, or a company who has demonstrated exemplary support of the Blood Bank of Delmarva and has been a positive example in the community. The 2012 B+ Award winner is Friends of Gage. The group formed to support Jonathan and Molly Waddell whose son Gage requires regular platelet transfusions since his diagnosis with portal hypertension. For more information about the Blood Bank or to request an appointment to give blood, visit or call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.

Diabetes Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a free diabetes support group on Monday, Oct. 15, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the hospital. As a person with diabetes, are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would just like to share with others coping with diabetes? Come join our free support group for individuals with diabetes. The October 15th group will feature Dr. Bradley Lemon, podiatrist, speaking on the topic of "Nail and Foot Care." There will also be a question and answer period. Registration is required. To register and obtain additional information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Bayhealth hiring RNs in Smyrna Bayhealth, one of Delaware's largest employers, is now hiring experienced registered nurses to staff a new, state-of-the-art freestanding Emergency Center in Smyrna which opens in November. If you're a registered nurse with a minimum of two years Emergency Department experience, BLS/ACLS/PALS certified (BSN, CEN and TNCC preferred), join us for an open house at the new Emergency Center, 401 N. Carter Rd. in Smyrna, on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. On-site interviews will be available. You may also apply online at or call 302-744-6981.

NMH offers first aid classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Nanticoke Training Center on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants ages 13 and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing, and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for more information, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Community Health Fair in Millsboro Indian River Senior Center will host its First Annual Member/Community Health Fair in partnership with Delaware Hospice on Friday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Indian River Senior Center, 214 Irons Ave., Millsboro. The event is open to the community. A variety of screenings and activities will be available to visitors, including cholesterol, blood pressure, eye exams, flu shots, spine screening, and a chair massage. Several healthcare organizations will set up information tables. Goodie bags will be provided to the first 100 people registered. Lunch will be available for a small fee. For more information, call the Indian River Senior Center at 302-934-8839.

Pain management certification A new training class will ensure that clinical staff has additional expertise in pain management while also ensuring patients have a more comfortable hospitalization. Recently, approximately 20 Bayhealth nurses and pharmacists completed a two-day training session in pain management and became Pain Resource Professionals (PRP) at Bayhealth. "We'll continue to offer this class every six months to train additional nursing and pharmacy staff. Our goal is to have at least one nurse trained in pain management on every shift in every nursing unit in the hospital," said Bayhealth Pain Management Coordinator Arthur Aduma, PharmD. "Everybody is working together so that patients get the most appropriate medication for pain and remain as comfortable as possible during their stay in the hospital," said Aduma. Sports memorabilia sale Bayhealth Kent General will host J & M Stern Sports Memorabilia for a special sports-themed sale from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, in the hospital lobby. J & M Stern will offer sports plaques, autographs, t-shirts, switch plates and sports clothing. The sale is sponsored by the Kent General Junior Board.

Hospice presents suicide conference Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will hold a professional conference, "The Aftermath of Suicide," with keynote speaker, Dr. David Jobes, PhD, ABPP, on Friday, Oct. 26, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. School guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, clergy, counselors, funeral service staff, bereaved and others, who provide grief support to the community, will benefit from this conference. Speakers will explore the top three "Why's" asked by survivors following a suicide death, effects of vicarious trauma on survivors, and the integration of the new life story. Contact hours (6.25) have been approved for social workers, mental health counselors, chemical dependency professionals, funeral services, nurses, and nursing home administrators. Cost of the workshop is $99 per person or $75 per student, which includes breakfast and lunch. Deadline for registration is Wednesday, Oct. 24. Register or learn more by contacting Vicki Costa, LCSW, associate director of Family Support Services, at 856-7717 or 800-838-9800, x1129, or

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 16, 1:30 p.m., at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For additional information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Twilight Breast Cancer Walk The Heritage Shores Active Adult Community in Bridgeville is hosting the First Annual Twilight Breast Cancer Walk on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. The event will include a walk on the golf course, a silent auction and bake sale. The silent auction and bake sale will open at 4 p.m. with the walk registration beginning at 4:30 p.m. Sponsorship opportunities are available. There is no cost to register and the event is open to the public. Donations are encouraged and all proceeds will benefit the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. The Women's Mobile Health Screening Van will be on site to provide screening mammograms. Call 1-888-672-9647 for more information about scheduling a mammogram. A prescription is required. For more information about the event and to register, visit or call 302-644-6844.

National Depression Screening Day With soaring gas prices, rising mortgages, and a recession possibly looming, no one can blame you for feeling anxious or overwhelmed. These days it is common and understandable to be angry, worried and even gloomy, especially if you lost your job, your house, or are stressed about paying bills.

Worry, anger, and stress are normal, appropriate and even necessary during life's difficult moments. But when negative feelings prevent you from doing your daily activities or interacting with friends and loved ones, it might be time to seek help. Attend Mental Health Association in Delaware's National Depression Screening Day event on Thursday, Oct. 11, at several locations in Delaware. Locally, visit Easter Seals or the Thurman Adams State Service Center in Georgetown. As part of the program, you will have the opportunity to complete a brief, written questionnaire, learn about the symptoms of depression, and how to help a friend or family member who may be at risk. You will also have the option of talking to a health care professional about any concerns you may have. For more information about National Depression Screening Day, including times and locations, or MHA in DE visit or call 800-287-6423.

Free life-saving reports available ICU Tek (, a safety and security firm, is making two vital life-saving reports freely available to the public with the intent of deterring violent crime. Although the reports' information is applicable to males, this information has been specially created for the safety and protection of females and children, which are the two most 'at risk' demographic groups as victims of deadly violent crime. These free/no-cost reports are immediately accessible from ICU Tek's website. Written by Dr. Kenneth Love, these safety/security reports present a myriad of proactive instructions, measures, and steps to implement for self-defense and protection, as well as provide startling statistics regarding violent crimes perpetrated against females and children. Additionally, Dr. Love hosts a public service video on the ICU Tek website that is viewable free of charge, and a public service flyer is also freely available on the site for download to individuals and organizations interested in preventing or dramatically reducing violent crime in their neighborhoods and communities. Dr. Love is a former city police officer, state correctional officer, state youth commission sergeant, U. S. Army sergeant, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Director, and father of five children. To get your copies of Saving Women's Lives, Protect Your Child from Kidnappers, watch the child abduction prevention video, or download the violent crime prevention flyer, visit

New housing program in Seaford With its broad range of services readily available at FHR (Fellowship Health Resources) in Seaford, "Haven at the Peer" is just the latest example of FHR's innovative approach to help those recovering from mental health and substance abuse disorders. While FHR provides behavioral healthcare services in seven states from Maine to North Carolina, "Haven at the Peer" is the agency's first peer-run residence for the homeless. The program is designed to provide safety and security to those transitioning back into the community who may otherwise have no place to live. "Although this particular housing program is new, Peer Recovery Services is not something new at FHR," says Director of Clinical Services Pam Daisey. "Literally right next door to Haven at the Peer is FHR's Acceptance, Change, Empowerment (ACE) Center. Most of FHR's peer-run activities in Delaware funnel through this center. The proximity of the programs will make it easy to assist those transitioning back into the community." Residents of Haven at the Peer, which accommodates six, will pay $100 a week in rent. Following the peer-initiated, peer-run model, residents will cook meals, draft resumes, socialize, and attend groups or counseling at the ACE Center next door. For more information about this program and other programs at Fellowship Health Resources, visit the website

Milford Memorial hosts BBQ/Auction The Bayhealth Milford Memorial Auxiliary will sponsor a Country Barbecue and Auction from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Dover Building at Harrington Raceway. The Milford Auxiliary will donate proceeds to the capital campaign for the replacement facility at Milford Memorial. Tickets, which are available until Oct. 15, are $25 each. For tickets and more information, email Tiffany Walter at

Nanticoke offers flu shots It's time to get your seasonal flu shot. Influenza is a serious disease that affects many people, including the elderly and those with serious, long-term health problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone get a seasonal flu vaccine every year. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will be offering seasonal flu shots to individuals 18 years of age and older at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mears Health Campus (300 Rawlins Dr., Seaford, Rehabilitation Services Building) on the following dates: Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 7 to 10 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25 from 3 to 6 p.m. There is no charge but a donation of $10 per vaccination is requested. Pre-registration is not required. For more information regarding seasonal flu shots, call 629-6611, ext. 8948. For information on vaccinations for those under 18 years of age, contact Nanticoke Pediatrics at 629-6525.

Bike-A-Thon for St. Jude's On Sunday, Oct. 14, Seaford area residents will team up with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the fight against childhood cancer. The 25th annual Bike-A-Thon is an event to give area residents the opportunity to help support the lifesaving mission of one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers. This event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14 at West Seaford Elementary School. For information about this event and to pick up your fundraising packet, contact Ron Breeding, event coordinator, at or 396-0117.

Prepared childbirth classes at PRMC Peninsula Regional Medical Center is offering a series of "Prepared Childbirth" classes in the fourth quarter of 2012. A traditional four week series of classes, which meet only on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m., will begin on Oct. 15 and again on Nov. 19. A four week series that meets only on Tuesday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. will begin on Nov. 20. Parents also have the option of a weekend series on Oct. 27 and 28 or Dec. 15 and 16 that will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both days. All classes will be taught in the Avery W. Hall Educational Center on the PRMC campus. Meet other expectant parents at this interactive course that includes information about prenatal care, labor and delivery, post partum care and infant safety. Classes should be taken during the 6th to 8th month of pregnancy. The fee is $75 for the mom to be and her coach. Pre-registration is required. Participants are asked to bring a blanket and two pillows to each class. For more information, call 410-543-7126 or visit the Classes and Events section of the Peninsula Regional Medical Center website at for online registration.

Vitiligo Support Group The last meeting for 2012 of the Vitiligo Support and Awareness group will be held on Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in Bayhealth's Education Building, 208 W. Water St., Dover. For more information, call Bayhealth's Education Department toll-free at 1-877-453-7107.

Annual Go Pink! Health Fair Oct. 5 October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Bayhealth will host the 7th Annual Go Pink! Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 at the Dover Women's Center, located at 540 South Governors Ave., Dover. There will be free clinical breast exams; free blood pressure screenings; information on available cancer screening, treatment and survivorship programs; eye health education; health education opportunities and a bake sale. Bake sale proceeds will be donated to Bayhealth's Cancer Screening Assistance Fund to provide imaging services to uninsured patients in lower Delaware. Go Pink! T-shirts will be available to purchase for a donation of $10 or more. Sale proceeds after expenses will be divided between the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and breast screenings and education programs available through Bayhealth's Cancer Institute. To order Go Pink T-shirts in advance go to They may also be purchased at one of the hospital gift shops at Kent General or Milford Memorial during normal operating hours.

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

HIV/AIDS Support Group A new support group for HIV/AIDS will meet every other Wednesday, at 7 p.m., in the Branford Lounge at Epworth United Methodist Church at 19285 Holland Glade Rd., Rehoboth Beach. The group is sponsored by Epworth UMC, CAMP Rehoboth, the AIDs Delaware and Delaware HIV Consortium. For more information, contact David at

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Sussex County Heart Walk 2012 Join Delaware residents for the signature fundraising event of the American Heart Association. Walk to save lives at the 21st annual Sussex County Heart Walk (5K) on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Delaware Tech University, Georgetown campus. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk kicks off at 10. For more information or to register, call 302-286-5723, email or register online at

Parkinson's Support Group A Parkinson's Support Group is being held in Seaford on the third Monday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Nanticoke Senior Center. The group focuses on educating members about Parkinson's through guest speakers and small group discussions. Persons with other movement disorders are welcome to join the group as much of what is discussed is not limited to Parkinson's. The value of exercise is continually stressed and an exercise class for the group will be started in the near future. New members are encouraged to attend. Reservations or advance notification is not required. For more information, call Dennis Leebel at 302-644-3465.