Thursday, September 17, 2015
Doctor's Perspective
Rules for introducing foods

By Dr. Anthony Policastro One of the things I find interesting about medicine is how it changes over time. A good example is the most recent information on food allergy. When I was trained as a pediatrician, I learned about introducing new foods to infants. That meant waiting until the infant was about 4-6 months old or weighed about 14 pounds. It meant starting with low allergenic foods like bananas and applesauce. It also meant holding off on allergic type foods until well over a year of age. I gave many parents information on feeding. It usually meant that by 9 months of age, the infant was on a variety of baby foods. At that point, I told them that they could begin table foods cut into small amounts. The one caution that I gave them was to avoid allergenic type foods until well after a year of age. The foods I put into that category included nuts, fish, strawberries, oranges and chocolate. Over the years peanut allergy became more prominent. In some places it actually tripled over time. The result was that we became even more cautious. We recommended starting peanuts later and later. Now comes a new study. They compared infants who had peanuts introduced prior to a year of age to those who were held off until 5 years of age. The results were surprising. The infants who had the early introduction of peanuts had a lower incidence of peanut allergy. That being said, there are a couple of key points to remember. The first is that the study only looked at infants at high risk of allergic disease. This meant that they either had documented egg allergy (by skin testing) or a severe case of eczema prior to 6 months of age. That means that we have no idea what this means for non-allergic infants. They might react exactly the same. Or then again, they might not. More information is needed before everyone rushes out to give their infants food that contains peanuts. The second point is that the peanuts were in the form of peanut butter or ground peanuts in yogurt. Whole peanuts are a huge choking hazard for children under three years of age. I have had many young patients inhale peanuts into their lungs. The general rule is that small hard foods are easily inhaled. Peanuts are an example. Raw carrots also fall into this category. Chips of various sorts can be inhaled. Bacon is another offender. Hot dogs are one of the most common food inhaled. In most cases, these are foods that children eat while running around. The result is that they inhale the food. If you are going to give a young toddler these foods, it should be when they are seated. It should not take place when they are running around playing. There clearly is a need for more information about the introduction of allergic foods. That information will be coming in the next few years. We may ultimately change the recommendations that we have had for years.

CHF Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) support group from 3-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, in the Medical Staff Conference Room at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The support group is designed for individuals who have congestive heart failure as well as their families and caregivers. Meetings will consist of guest speaker presentations and opportunities to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Attendees can receive free pharmacy consultations for medications that they bring in for review. Refreshments will be provided. For more information or to RSVP, call Melissa Williamson at 629-6611, ext. 2508.

'Alive Inside' documentary Join the viewing and discussion of the documentary, Alive Inside, at Delaware Hospice Center, Milford, from 2-4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. The documentary is about the power of music and the social worker who uses it to "awaken" patients with dementia and Alzheimer's. Watch as headphones and iPods change the lives of those who appear lost to dementia. A viral clip from the documentary, that shows a man who is largely non-response comes to life listening to music by Cab Calloway, has been seen over 10 million times. This stirring film is deeply inspiring. Registration is required as seating capacity is limited. Register by Thursday, Oct. 1, by contacting Michele August at 302-746-4503 or

Lymphedema Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a Lymphedema Support Group on the third Thursday of each month at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center from 1:30-3 p.m. This free support group is open to anyone affected by lymphedema including patients, caregivers, and relatives. Meetings will consist of a lecture by health care professionals and medical equipment providers followed by refreshments and an open question and answer session or discussion among participants. Registration is required. Meeting dates and topics include: Sept. 17 – wound care; Oct. 15 – OT self care; Nov. 19 – dietary; Dec. 17 – pharmacy. For more information or to register, contact Robert Donati at 629-6224 or

Joe Hall Memorial Golf Outing The Joe Hall Memorial Golf Outing to benefit Delaware Hospice will be held at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club in Dagsboro on Monday, Oct. 5. Registration is at 10 a.m. followed by lunch at 11. The shotgun start is at noon. An awards reception will be held at 5:30 p.m Foursomes and sponsorship opportunities are available. To register or for more information, visit or contact Peggy Dolby at 302-746-4666.

Breastfeeding Support Group On Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 10 a.m., Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold The Mom's Circle, a free breastfeeding support group. The Mom's Circle is a safe place for moms to come for support, advice and friendship from experienced nursing moms and new moms. Registration is not required. Activities will include: interaction with other nursing moms and babies to promote confidence; mom-to-mom conversations; opportunities to share parenting advice and information; assistance with breastfeeding issues or concerns by an internationally board-certified lactation consultant; and new topics at each meeting geared toward the group, such as the first two weeks, night feedings, and returning to work. For more information, contact Jacalyn Bradley, lactation consultant, at 629-6611, ext. 2234.

Nerses named 'Outstanding PT' In honor of World Physical Therapy Day on Sept. 8, Peninsula Home Care is recognizing Scott Nerses of the Seaford branch as "Outstanding Physical Therapist of the Year." This individual was nominated by other staff members and all nominations were voted on by a team of PHC leaders and third party volunteers. Scott has been a physical therapist for 21 years, 17 of which have been with Peninsula Home Care. His favorite part of home care is being able to work with his patients on a more personal level in the place they feel most comfortable. Before coming to PHC, he worked as part of the physical therapy staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and White Horse Rehabilitation. Scott earned his bachelor's degree in physical therapy from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Annual Nanticoke benefit is this week On Thursday, Sept. 17 and Friday, Sept. 18 over 200 golfers will take to the course at Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville to show their support for The Campaign for Nanticoke - Emergency Department. Learn more, visit, call the Nanticoke Health Services Foundation at 536-5393, or email

Bariatric Support Group Nanticoke Physician Network General & Bariatric Surgery will host bariatric support groups on the first Tuesday and third Thursday of each month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in the Medical Staff Conference Room. This free group is designed to provide education and support to patients before and after their bariatric weight loss surgery. Meetings will consist of guest speakers and presentations to provide information about nutrition, supplements, exercise and behavior modifications. Patients and their spouses, family members and friends are welcome to attend. Registration is not required. For more information, contact Shelly Geis at 629-6611, ext. 8810.

Weight loss seminars Nanticoke Physician Network General and Bariatric Surgery will host weight loss seminars on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and the third Saturday of each month from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. These free seminars are designed to provide education to individuals considering weight loss surgery to help them make informed decisions on whether surgery is an appropriate option. Dr. Tarek Waked will make presentations about the many benefits of weight loss surgery. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is not required. For more information about this seminar or about weight loss surgery, contact Shelly Geis at 629-6611, ext. 8810.

Basket Bingo The Employee Activity Committee (EAC) of Nanticoke Health Services will hold a Longaberger Basket Bingo at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Seaford Moose Lodge, Rt. 13A, Seaford. The filled basket bingo will consist of 20 games and feature several Longaberger baskets as prizes. Advance tickets are $20 per person, $25 at the door. Advance ticket includes a chance to win the Longaberger Hamper basket and Longaberger Wine & Cheese basket. Nearly 30 chances to win. In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness month attendees wearing pink will receive a ticket for an exclusive drawing. Refreshments will be available. For ticket information, contact the EAC at 629-6611, ext. 8944 or