Thursday, June 28, 2018
Doctor's Perspective The dangers of home made toys

By Dr. Anthony Policastro Sometimes it is easier to make things at home than to spend money on them at the store. This is true with things that children use as toys. What we sometimes do not realize is that store bought things are regulated to not be harmful. That is not true for things we make at home. One of the more common things made at home for children is slime. Many of the ingredients used for slime at home are known to cause skin irritation. Thus if a child starts using homemade slime and gets a rash, it is probably due to the slime ingredients. A common ingredient in homemade slime is boric acid. Low levels of boric acid are not a problem in the short run. However, repeated use over time increases exposure. Children and pregnant women should not be exposed to boric acid over an extended period of time. As an alternative, you can use just cornstarch and water. A little green food coloring will make it look like Ghostbusters slime. Some people like to make a homemade version of Play-doh. The problem here is that these versions contain very high levels of salt that can cause salt poisoning if the child ingests it. The homemade Play-doh also represents a danger to pets. Salt poisoning can lead to serious neurologic symptoms. This led to a 2014 poison control center warning about homemade Play-doh. A safer alternative is to mix 1/2 cup of oil with 2 cups of flour followed by food coloring. Water is then added slowly until the consistency reaches a desired level. Some recipes for moon sand, play-doh and slime suggest adding essential oil to make the mixture smell nice. What they are actually doing is adding poison to the mixture. For example, a half teaspoon of eucalyptus oil ingestion can cause seizures. Too much oil of wintergreen can be fatal. If the scent is really important, there are safer things to add. These include cocoa, orange or grapefruit juice and vanilla flavoring. One of the basic tenets of medicine is premum non nocere, which means "first do no harm." That same tenet should apply to making potentially harmful substances at home. It may be cheaper in the long run to just spend the money to purchase the regulated product.

Bariatric Support Groups Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery hosts free bariatric support groups three times a month at the Nanticoke Training Center located within the Miller Building at 121 S. Front St., Seaford. These support groups provide education and support to patients before and after their bariatric weight loss surgery and are open to the public. Support group meetings consist of guest speakers and presentations to provide information about nutrition, supplements, exercise and behavior modifications. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is not required. The general bariatric support group is open to all bariatric patients before and after their surgery and is held monthly the first Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and the fourth Monday from 6 to 7 p.m. (Note: Due to the holiday, this group will not meet the first Monday in July.) The post-op bariatric support group is designed for post-op bariatric patients and is held on the second Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m. For more information about these support groups or other services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery, visit or call 302-536-5395.

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, July 17 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center. This support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families, friends, and caregivers. This free support group provides education, community resources, and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. Meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions for caregivers and stroke survivors to discuss concerns, providing support and networking. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 302-629-6224.

Weight loss seminars Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host free weight loss seminars on Monday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the Nanticoke Training Center, 121 S. Front St., Seaford. These 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. The seminars will consist of educational presentations by Dr. Tarek Waked to inform individuals about the many benefits of weight loss surgery. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is required. To register for one of these free seminars, call 302-536-5395. To learn more about services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery, visit

Diabetes support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts free diabetes support groups on Mondays four times a year from 5 to 6 p.m., in the Medical Staff Conference Room. Pre-registration is required. 2018 schedule-Sept. 17 – “Move with Jonathan” with Jonathan Souder, MS, fitness director, Manor House Dec. 3 – “The Dish on Diabetes” - Learn food preparation skills for simple, savory diabetic dishes. For more information or to register, contact Nanticoke’s Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2288.

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital offers childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts childbirth classes on Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the Ground Floor Conference Room. The class will meet for a total of five weeks – four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week will be a breastfeeding class. 2018 dates: July 5, 12, 19, 26; Aug. 2, 30; Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov. 1: *Nov. 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4, 11 (*Tuesdays) The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke’s Mother & Baby Care Center. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The refresher class covers breathing techniques, signs, symptoms, and stages of labor, birthing options, and a tour of Nanticoke’s Mother & Baby Care Center. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Pre-registration is required for either class. To register or for more information, contact Nanticoke’s Maternal Child Health Clinical Educator at 302-629-6611, extension 2540. To learn more about women’s health services provided by Nanticoke, visit Nanticoke Health Services includes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, the Nanticoke Physician Network and the Nanticoke Health Foundation. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital was the first hospital on Delmarva to receive a 4-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is the only hospital in Delaware and Maryland to be nationally recognized by Healthgrades with both the Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ and the Patient Safety Excellence Award™. Nanticoke holds a Level III Trauma Center certification, is nationally certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center, and is a Gold Plus Award performer according to the American Heart/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® program. Nanticoke’s Cancer Care Services holds Accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and is a member of the Association of Community Cancer Centers. Nanticoke’s medical staff includes over 160 health care providers practicing in 40 different specialties including the 55 providers employed within the Nanticoke Physician Network.