Health
Thursday, June 22, 2006
 
Adequate safety measures not always required by law

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital,
Medical director

The sports news this week had an interesting safety-related item. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers was in a motorcycle accident and and was not wearing a helmet. He was in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania does not have a requirement to wear a helmet. Just because it is not required, does not mean it is safe to ride without one. Wearing helmets on motorized vehicles is not the only safety related item. Between the years of 2001-2004, there were 23,800 non-fatal injuries in riders under age 19 on off-road two-wheel vehicles. This did not include riders of all terrain vehicles (ATV's). Almost half of those riders were between the ages of 12 and 15 years. About one-third were between 16-19. An additional 20 percent were between 8 and 11. There were even more than 1,000 injured riders under age 7. Almost all injuries occurred in drivers. Less than 4 percent occurred in additional passengers. As expected, most of the injured riders were male. Over 70 percent of the injuries occurred on dirt bikes. About 20 percent of the injuries occurred at a Motocross track. The injuries at the Motocross location tended to be more serious. Three times as many of those patients required hospitalization as did other riders. The most common injury was a fracture. Upper extremities were the most common body part fractures. Lower extremities and shoulder were tied for second most fractures. About 17 percent of the injuries were to the head. Half of those were concussions. These could have been lower if all riders wore helmets. It is interesting that bicycle riders have helmet regulations in many states. The same is not true for motorized vehicles. For example, only 19 states require off-road vehicle riders under 18 to wear helmets. In addition, only eight states have set lower age limits for operators of off-road vehicles. The result is that there are relatively few formally set standards. This means that the requirement to make sure a child rides safely falls with the parents. Parents must be involved in each stage of this. Parents need to insure that their child is old enough to properly operate the vehicle. We know that children under age 16 do not have the same level of judgment as older children. That is one of the reasons that automobile licenses are not issues at younger ages. However, when we look at the ages of the injured riders, most are under 16 years of age. What this means to parents is that the younger the age of the rider, the more precautions they need to take. They need to insure proper training. They need to insure proper understanding of emergency procedures. They need to insure their presence when the child is riding. Parents also become responsible for safety equipment. The number one piece of safety equipment needs to be a helmet. Even if there is no law about its use, parents need to make sure that helmets are standard for any ride. The same thing is true about long sleeves and shirts. These help decrease road burn in a fall. Goggles are a good idea to provide eye protection. Adults need to be accountable for their own actions. That is true no matter what role they play in life. That is even true if they are Super Bowl quarterbacks. Adults also need to be accountable for their children's safety. There are not many rules for off-road vehicles. Parents need to make sure they create the right rules for their children who are riders.

Marathon will benefit center for those with cancer, families
The Wellness Community-Delaware will hold an informational meeting on Thursday, June 29, at 7 p.m. for anyone interested in joining the Sussex County "Strides for Hope" team that will participate in The Reggae Marathon and Half Marathon in Negril, Jamaica, on Dec. 2. The meeting will be held at the Wellness Community-Delaware, Sussex Facility, in Century Plaza behind the Wahoo Restaurant off Rt. 1. The address is 19633 Blue Bird Lane, Suite 5, Rehoboth. This meeting will be open to anyone interested in learning more about joining the second Sussex Strides For Hope Team. For more information, contact 227-1155. The Strides for Hope charity marathon and half-marathon team raises money for the Wellness Community-Delaware, a nonprofit agency that provides free emotional support services and educational programs for people with cancer and their families. The Strides team is open to walkers and runners of all levels. Some team members run or walk in memory of a loved one. Some team members are cancer survivors. "The Strides for Hope event provides a wonderful opportunity for people to attain their personal fitness goals while making a profound difference in the lives of people with cancer," said Cynthia Dwyer, executive director of The Wellness Community of Delaware. Team members will receive a comprehensive training program to help them prepare to participate in the marathon/half marathon. Maggie Kniele, co- owner of Body Works and a physical therapist, will be the Sussex County trainer. In addition to a personalized training program, team members also receive a complimentary trip package and team apparel. Workshops on choosing running shoes, nutrition, fund-raising ideas and other related topics will be scheduled in Sussex. The Wellness Community-Delaware is part of a national nonprofit organization that provides support, education and hope to people with cancer and their loved ones. Through participation in professionally led support groups, educational workshops and mind/body classes, people affected by cancer learn vital skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and restore hope regardless of the stage of disease. At the Wellness Community-Delaware, all programs are free of charge. More information about the Wellness Community is available on the Web site at www.wellnessdelaware.org.

Health fair set for June 29
The Long Neck CHEER Center's annual health and informational fair will be Thursday, June 29. The center location is at 26089 Long Neck Road, Millsboro. The health fair will begin at 10 a.m. and run through to 2 p.m. Some of the vendors that will be present are: Hospice, Beebe Hospital, The Good Feet Store, Dart, AARP, Delaware Electric Cooperative and CHEER Nutrition. For more information call 302-945-3551.

Hospice looking for volunteers
Compassionate Care Hospice, a non -profit foundation, is looking for volunteers to provide support for patients and families. A training class will be forming mid-to-late summer. Numerous volunteer positions are available, including visiting with hospice patients, providing telephone reassurance to caregivers, "Songs for the Soul" music therapy and office assistance. To register, call Maureen Fitzsimmons, volunteer coordinator, at 302-430-8825.

Shamburek is new CEO
Hudson Health Services Inc., an alcohol and substance abuse treatment provider on the Eastern Shore, announces the appointment of Michael Shamburek to chief executive officer and president. Shamburek spent the last 12 years in the poultry industry on the Eastern Shore. Prior to working in the poultry industry, he was with Phillip Morris for 11 years serving in various financial capacities including controller of marketing services. For the past eight years, Shamburek served on the board of directors at Hudson Health Services. He is also active in many community organizations including Healthy U of Delmarva, Joseph House, Lower Shore Enterprises, Salisbury Community Center and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. Shamburek received his BA in accounting from the University of Wisconsin and is a certified public accountant. Since 1980 the Willis W. Hudson Center has been providing men and women affordable substance abuse treatment in a safe and supportive recovery environment. Hudson Health Services has locations in Salisbury, Md., and Georgetown. For more information call (410) 219-9000, or visit the Web site at www.hudsonhealth.org.

Beebe to offer foot checks for diabetics
Beebe Medical Center's wound care services/diabetes management department will sponsor a series of foot screenings for people who live with diabetes. The screenings are designed for those who are not under the care of a podiatrist. Participants will receive a foot screening, as well as education on daily foot care, proper footwear and problems that require treatment. While the screenings are free of charge, participants must register ahead of time. Daily foot care and the wearing of proper shoes are critical for those with diabetes because of the effects of the disease on blood circulation and the immune system. A loss of feeling in the feet leading to a cut or a wound going unnoticed can occur, as well as overall problems with the skin's sweat glands that can lead to dry, cracked skin. These symptoms can lead to serious skin ulcers, fungal infections and bacterial infections that may not heal without medical care. "Our goal as health care providers is to educate people with diabetes about foot care in order to prevent long-term complications and amputations," says Bonnie Cunningham, department director. "We want everyone in our community to have access to the care they need." These screenings will take place between 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., June 28, Sept. 6, and Nov. 1 at the Beebe Long Neck Health Center on Long Neck Road in Millsboro. To register, or to learn more about the programs, call 947-2500.