Thursday, May 10, 2007
Hidden dangers with medications

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

I printed an article a few years back that I thought needed some updating. The main reason for that is related to the many new medications that have come onto the market with similar sounding names. For example we have Celebrex. We have Celexa. We have Cerebyx. A prescription for one of these could be misinterpreted. The patient might get the wrong medication. When things sound alike confusion can occur. When things look alike, confusion can occur. The dangers in this are not confined to the pharmacy and the doctor's office. Similar dangers lie in your home. Medications are often kept in similar containers. The containers are all kept in the same location. The result is that someone may take the wrong medication. You should check the locations of your medication. You should then take action to make sure no two medication bottles that look alike are next to each other in those locations. Household fluids can create the same kind of problem. I have seen a number of poisonings related to someone who grabbed the wrong bottle of something without looking. This is true when the items are kept in the same bottle they were originally packaged in. It is even more likely when these items have been poured into a different container. You should always think twice before pouring something into a different container. In addition, you should always label containers when you do this. Even labeling won't help if you put them within reach of a child who cannot read. Most school-aged children know enough to stay away from poisons. However, they still cannot read in the early grades. They may mistake a clearly labeled poison for something non-poisonous and drink it. It is best to have these items out of reach. Creams and lotions represent another potential hazard. Some are always safe to apply. Others should only be used in certain circumstances. These two categories of creams should not be kept near each other. I once read a story of someone that had suffered a burn. He went to get some cream to put on it. He accidentally grabbed a cream that contained lye. He made the burn even worse. Things that look alike can result in serious errors. These errors can be related to safety. They can also cause other problems. It is a good idea to look at your home and make sure that you do not have any of these potential problems lurking there.

Annual Domestic Violence Conference
The 11th Annual Advocates' Retreat for domestic violence professionals will be held on May 14 and 15 at Rehoboth Beach's Atlantic Sands Hotel. This year's focus will be on victim safety and batterer accountability. The two-day conference, organized by the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, will feature workshop presentations ranging from custody and visitation and PFA enforcement to effective collaboration with law enforcement and financial literacy. As keynote for the first day, Judge Jerry Bowles, a Circuit Court judge from Kentucky, will address custody and visitation matters in domestic violence cases, while Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins University will focus on assessing danger in relationships, on the second day. To learn more about registration and fees contact DCADV at 302-658-2958 or visit The event is open to the public.

Relay for Life Friendraiser
The Western Sussex Relay for Life committee members are busy making preparations for this year's Relay for Life. This year's event will be held on May 18, at the Mears Campus in Seaford. The Relay for Life is an overnight event that helps raise money for the American Cancer Society. If you are interested in receiving information on how to register a team or for further information, contact Mary Catherine Hopkins at 875-7308.

Rama Peri, M.D., Ph.D., joins La Red Health Center
La Red Health Center is pleased to announce the addition of Rama Peri, M.D., Ph.D., to its healthcare team. Dr. Peri is a Board-Certified Family Practice Physician and will see infants, adolescents, adults and some prenatal patients. Dr. Peri has been taking care of Sussex County Delawareans for over 15 years. Before joining La Red Health Center, she worked for ten years at Lewes Family Practice in Lewes, Delaware. Dr. Peri also practiced at the Sussex Technical High School Wellness Center and at the Beebe Millsboro Family Health Center. She received her B.A. in Chemistry from Douglass College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.; her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; and her M.D. from Rutgers Medical School, New Brunswick, N.J. Dr. Peri is affiliated with the American Academy of Family Practice, American Medical Association and Medical Society of Delaware. Serving Sussex County since 2001, La Red Health Center provides quality, reliable and convenient healthcare for every stage of life. La Red Health Center provides healthcare centered around you, with convenient hours (evening and weekend included), walk-in medical care and primary care services. La Red Health Center is located in Georgetown, and is accepting new patients from every town in Sussex County. For more information, visit www.laredhealthcenter.or or, call (302) 855-1233.

Networking Groups
The Wellness Community-Delaware offers networking groups for people with cancer. Networking groups give participants, support people and their caregivers an opportunity to connect with others coping with the same type of cancer or similar issues. We offer a Breast Cancer group that meets on the second Thursday of each month at 6pm. On the third Wednesday, we offer a Prostate group at 7 p.m. and on the fourth Thursday of each month we have a Head and Neck cancer group meeting at 6:30 p.m. On the third Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Nanticoke's Cancer Care Center we offer a General Cancer group. All of our facilitators are licensed mental health professionals. Our support groups are free of charge to those people affected by cancer and their loved ones. The Sussex facility is located in the Medical Arts Building, Suite 312 at the Beebe Health Campus on Rt. 24 in Rehoboth. Call Kaye or Lori at 645-9150 for information or to register

Call Before you dig
Staying away from utility lines while you dig is now as easy as 8-1-1. This new nationwide number now in effect replaces the 62 separate Miss Utility (underground utility locating services) phone numbers now in use across the country. The rules remain the same for homeowners or professionals who plan on digging. Whether it's a homeowner putting in a bush or building a fence or a contractor doing some major work, by law, the underground utility locating service must be called at least two-days in advance. "The only change is the phone number," says John Allen, Delmarva Power vice president. "This is a free service, and well worth it when a quick phone call to 811 will help you avoid hitting utility lines, including natural gas lines." Calling 811 before digging will help avoid fines and angry neighbors if a hit line cuts off electric or gas service. But, more importantly, knowing where it's safe to dig will avoid an accident that could result in injury or death. "Now calling before you dig is easy. There are no long phone numbers to track down or remember, and those numbers don't change when you move from one location to another," said Allen. "Simply dialing 811 will bring someone to your home or business to mark all underground utilities so you will be able to dig safely, because safe digging is everyone's responsibility."