Saving Someone From Choking

ssfcWhen Jim first noticed the man sitting at the next table in the fast-food restaurant, he thought the man was having a heart attack. His hand was on his chest, and he looked scared. As the man’s lips darkened in color, Jim knew he should do someting. Jim got up, walked over to the man, and asked, “Are you choking?”

As he looked back on the incident, Jim was amazed. “I was thinking it was a heart attack, but the word ‘choking’ came out, because in my health class last year, that was what I was taught to ask.”

To Jim’s surprise, the man nodded, and Jim went into action. He called out “Help!” loudly, then turned to the man and said, “I can help you.” As he stepped behind the man, Jim turned to the manager of the restaurant, who had appeared at his side, and said, “He’s choking. Call an ambulance.”

Once behind the victim, Jim wrapped his arms around him and made a fist with one hand. He placed it in the middle of the man’s abdomen, below his breastbone but above his navel. He remembered to place the thumb side of his fist against the man and then covered it with his other hand. Keeping his elbows out, he pressed his fist into the man’s abdomen with a quick upward thrust.

It took three thrusts before he heard the food coughed from the man’s throat and onto the floor. Jim heard the ambulance siren as he helped the man sit down. …

Rheumatic Fever – Still A Threat, Believe It Or Not

A funny thing happened on the way to adding rheumatic fever to the list of disappearing diseases – not funny as in “ha-ha,” but funny as in strange and troubling.

rmfThe hospital wards once set up to care for children with this dangerous disease (it can cripple the heart) had closed. To most young people, the image of the sad-eyed rheumatic fever victim watching from a window while friends romped and played outside was just a scene from some old melodrama, an artistic idea from the past. A dramatic 90 percent drop in the annual rate of new cases since the 1960s seemed to show rheumatic fever was going out with bell bottoms and love beads. Then–like Jason and Freddie and those other indestructible horror movie villains–it was back.

Unwelcome and unexplainable outbreaks of rheumatic fever in places as far apart as Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, and Boston began in the mid-1980s and caused medical experts to take a new look at an old disease. This disease, that usually strikes first among young people between the ages of 5 and 15, can lead to a lifetime with a damaged heart.

In the Begiining — Bacteria

If rheumatic fever is an unfamiliar term to you, how about group A hemolytic streptoccocci? You probably know that better as the bacteria that cause strep throat — and in the beginning, there is strep throat. Though rheumatic fever is not contagious (you cannot “catch” the disease), its potential parents, the strep germs, are. Because these bacteria are easily …

The Drug War And Drugs. What Do You Know About It?

dwadsThe lure of drugs is strong. For dealers, money motivates. For users, the desire for pleasure or escape usually prompts the entry into drugs. The quest to repeat the experience drives addiction.

Unwittingly, each user fuels an international drug economy that is built on violence, greed, and a callous disregard for human life.

The drug business is an ugly one, full of exploitation, wrecked health, and wasted lives. It also is a big business, the biggest in the world, with an annual volume exceeding $300 billion (some estimates go as high as $500 billion). But it is a big business that law enforcement agencies, national governments, and many small but powerful local initiatives are working to destroy. What are the chances of their doing this in the ’90s?

There are more than 40 million illegal drug users throughout the world — more than half of them in the United States alone. In fact, the United States is the single biggest market for the illegal drug trade.

Once thought of as merely a health or a social problem for drug users and their families, drug abuse in the United States during the last five to 10 years has created a set of problems so destructive and far-reaching that solving them has become one of our country’s top priorities. Why? Consider:

* Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court reports tfhat the number of drug-related cases in the federal courts has risen 85 percent in the last four years.

* The U.S. Department of Justice …

Lead: A Heavy, Dangerous Metal For Everyone

lahdLead is a useful metal. It doesn’t rust, it bonds with organic materials like wood, it is strong, heavy, and easy to mold. The ancient Romans hammered it into cups and plates and water pipes. In fact, our word plumbing comes from the Latin word plumbus, meaning lead.

In the Middle Ages, lead played a role in the great explosion of learning. It was used in making type for the newly invented printing press. With the Industrial Revolution, lead became an important part of many manufacturing processes and products. In the early 20th century, it found a new application as a gasoline additive, greatly improving engine performance. Today, lead is used in thousands of manufactured products, as well as in construction. Americans use more than a million tons of it every year.

Lead Poisoning

As useful as lead is in human technology, the human body does not need even a minute amount of it. In fact, it’s a poison. Ingesting a piece of lead the size of a person’s fingernail can kill. Nausea and vomiting are followed by convulsions, coma, and finally, death.

Even in small amounts, lead can cause big trouble. The body takes four to six weeks to rid soft tissues of the metal after it is ingested. It can take up to 30 years for lead to leave the bones. Meanwhile, there may be temporary illness or even permanent harm.

Lead can damage the brain, liver, and kidneys. The symptoms of lead poisoning are many and varied. Lead interferes with the …

Travel: Don’t Get Sick. Disease Is Everywhere

tdgsAt this time of the year, it’s tantalizing to imagine lounging in the shade of a tall palm tree, looking over the shimmering waters of a tropical ocean. You watch gulls swooping down over the waves and porpoises leaping playfully in rhythmic patterns. As you slowly sip on an ice-cold lemonade, you think, “This is paradise!”

Paradise it may well be, but even paradise has its hazards. One of them is the possibility of contracting a travel disease. Such diseases range from mild malaise due to jet lag to disabling dengue fever. However, smart travelers can usually avoid illness by finding out before they go what diseases they may be exposed to while traveling.

Jet Lag

Going to places like Canada, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand poses very few health risks for most travelers. Nevertheless, people traveling by plane across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean may suffer from jet lag. This condition occurs when the body’s internal clock is out of sync with local time.

A simple example will show how a long plane ride can wreak havoc with the body. Pretend you are traveling to Rome. The plane ride from New York City to Rome is 8 1/2 hours long. Rome is six hours ahead of New York timewise. That means if you take off from New York at 5 p.m., you will land in Rome at 7:30 a.m. the next morning (Roman time). The city will be busy and noisy. If you were on a Roman schedule, you would probably be …

Don’t Get Sucked In By False Health Products

fhpeye, have a look at this: the space-age diet that lets you “eat all day, and still lose weight.” Or, the one that promises results “within hours.” Or, the potion that will “add inches to your height in just 10 weeks.” Or, that beauty cream that guarantees “a gorgeous, proportioned figure.” Or, the ancient nutrient from the Far East that will “optimize your life force.”

The modern-day health quack is ready to give you–for a price–any or all of these pie-in-the-sky “miracles.”

The health hucksters and frauds are out to get you if you don’t watch out. They are ready with the remedy-of-the-month. Their scams offer you miracle drugs, super-pills, revolutionary formulas, dramatic results. They know secrets that will help you grow hair, lose pounds overnight, get rid of skin blemishes, melt away fat. They can cure whatever ails you, with “newly-discovered” foods, drugs, potions, devices–all with a money-back guarantee that’s as phony as the products they sell and the claims they make.

In the past, the huckster was a snake-oil salesman. Today he, or she, can be almost indistinguishable from a legitimate business person. The modern-day quack doesn’t do business from the back of a wagon or in front of a tent. The quack’s messages now come to you in sophisticated newspaper and magazine ads, on radio and TV, in books and lectures.

The United States Constitution bars censorship, so the government can’t stop quacks from making exaggerated or false claims in books, newsletters, lectures, or radio and TV interviews.

Many teenagers–and …

Risks: Can You Handle Them?

Rappeling down a cliff, creating a science project, or dialing the number of that special someone you’ve wanted to call for weeks now may seem like very diverse experiences with nothing in common. But actually, these scenes all involve one decision: the decision to take a risk.

Some risk-taking has the potential for dangerous consequences. Consider aviators Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, who successfully flew nonstop around the world in 1987 in a feather-light aircraft without refueling, risking their lives.

Domino’s Pizza founder and Detroit Tigers owner Tom Monaghan, whose father died when he was 4 years old and who spent his childhood in foster homes and orphanages, became a multimillionaire in spite of the odds. He risked losing lots of other people’s money and the possibility of financial ruin instead of financial success.

While these risk-takers succeeded, others do not see such happy endings. How about that friend of a friend of your, who risked ignoring the speed limit and didn’t live to tell the story of how he skidded on the highway?

An “Epidemic”

rcuhtExperts agree that risk-taking behavior accounts for much of the high death rates of adolescents by violence, accidents, suicides, and homicides. But risk-taking isn’t an adolescents-only problem. Scientists at a conference on risk-taking behavior, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, concluded that “although some degree of fearlessness is admirable, the U.S. culture as a whole is in the midst of an ‘epidemic’ of violent and destructive risk-taking behavior.”

Risk-taking behavior may be partially explainable, say scientists, …

Fighting For Her Disabled Son Gave Her New Purpose

ffhdWhen Ginny Judson met Dick Thornburgh at the 1963 wedding of a college classmate in Pittsburgh, she knew instantly he was the one for her. “I found out he was a man of full disclosure,” she says. “On our second date – before he’d even kissed me – he took me to his house and showed me his three little boys asleep in their beds.”

Their mother (also named Ginny) had been killed in a car accident three years earlier when the children were 3, 2, and 4 months old. Peter, the baby, had sustained a serious brain injury in the crash.

Ginny and Dick were married just six months after they met. At the time, he was a 31 -year-old lawyer starting a career that would lead to such top-echelon posts as governor of Pennsylvania, U.S. attorney general, and undersecretary general of the United Nations. “One of his most attractive qualities was that he was a wonderful father,” Ginny says now. “He even asked if our wedding could be postponed a week so he could be with his son David on his fifth birthday.”

Ginny gave up her job as a grade-school teacher to become the boys’ second mother (she hates the word stepmother) but got more than she’d bargained for: “I was a naive twenty-three-year-old; I cried a lot during those first few months because I felt so inadequate. Peter was almost four and couldn’t walk or talk – a large section of his skull had been removed to prevent additional …