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Cary Doctor named NC's Childhood Immunization Champion

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Generations Family Practice of Cary is pleased to announce that pediatrician Christine Macomber, MD, is the 2015 recipient of the Centers for Disease Control’s Childhood Immunization Champion Award for the state of North Carolina. The CDC has chosen National Infant Immunization Week, April 18-25, to announce the award winners.

The CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award is an annual award that recognizes individuals who make a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in childhood immunization. Each year, up to one CDC Immunization Champion from each of the 50 U.S. states, 8 U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, and the District of Columbia are honored.

“I am honored to be named the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award winner for North Carolina and remain committed to educating parents on the importance of vaccination in our community,” Macomber said. “The importance of childhood immunizations cannot be emphasized enough. In spite of many years of progress, we still must work to increase vaccination rates in order to protect children against disease.“

Dedication to Childhood Immunization 

Her dedication to immunization began when she was a medical pediatric resident at University of Massachusetts Medical Health Center. She cared for a child with significant complications from varicella, also known commonly as Chicken Pox. Dr. Macomber felt that the child’s outcome might have been better if she had received the varicella vaccine. This experience inspired her to dedicate her career to helping reduce unnecessary pain and suffering in children by encouraging parents to vaccinate their children in order to protect against serious, preventable diseases.

Dr. Macomber often engages parents in conversations about vaccination by posting and sharing immunization messages on her social media networks. She provides reading materials for parents and has immunization signage displayed throughout her office. She also takes time to talk with parents about the benefits of vaccination and listen to their concerns, so that she can address them.

The Champion Award recognizes individuals who are working at the local level. It honors those who are doing an exemplary job or going above and beyond to promote childhood immunizations in their communities.

Macomber, a mother of four children, joined Generations in 2013 where she sees pediatric patients. She earned her board certification from the American Board of Pediatrics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Generations Family Practice offers comprehensive primary medical care, from 'cradle to rocker'--from Well-Baby care to Geriatrics, and everything in between. Generations is located at 110 Preston Executive Dr, Suite 100, in Cary.

[Released - CARY, NC – APRIL 22, 2015]

* Read more about this honor at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/champions/index.html

Early Diagnosis of Autism Improves Outcomes

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

April is National Autism Awareness Month. The prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye bye" are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). If a child is 'missing' these milestones, parents need to consider evaluation by their pediatrician.

But how does one know if a child is, or is not, meeting developmental milestones? The following is a Developmental Milestones Quiz developed by the CDC to help. If, after taking this quiz, you have concerns about a child in your life, call our office and arrange a time to speak with our pediatrician. We are here to help!

 

Top Tips for Medicine Safety in Your Home

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
medicine safety, children, pediatrics

Top Tips for Medicine Safety in Your Home

Moms, do you keep medicine in your purse? Parents, do you have diaper rash cream within arm’s reach of the changing table? Have you ever shared medicine with a friend, like painkillers? Or missed a dose of a medicine so you took two to make up for it?

It’s instances like these that result in 1.34 million calls to poison centers for children each year. Watch the following video and read the below tips to help keep you and your children from being a statistic:

Top Tips for Parents of Little Kids Ages 5 and Under

  • Put all medicine up and away and out of sight, including your own. Make sure that all medicine and vitamins are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. Consider places where kids get into medicine, like in purses, counters and nightstands.
  • Consider products you might not think about as medicine. Most parents store medicine up and away - or at least the products they consider to be medicine. You may not think about products such as diaper rash remedies, vitamins or eye drops as medicine, but they actually are and need to be stored safely.
  • Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Proper dosing is important. Kitchen spoons aren't all the same, and a teaspoon or tablespoon used for cooking won't measure the same amount as the dosing device.
  • Write clear instructions for caregivers about your child’s medicine. When other caregivers are giving your child medicine, write clear instructions about what medicine to give, when to give it and how much to give.

Top Tips for Parents of Big Kids Ages 6 to 10

  • Teach your child that medicine should always be given by an adult. It’s important for kids to know that they should not take medicine on their own. Parents and caregivers can help make sure they are taking it correctly.
  • Don’t refer to medicine as candy. While saying medicine is candy may make it easier to get your child to take medicine, it may encourage them to try it on their own.
  • Take the time to read the drug facts or prescription label with your child, even for over-the-counter (OTC) medicine. As your kids get older, it’s important to teach them how to read and understand the label before taking medicine.
  • Model responsible medication behavior. What kids see us doing is a much stronger message than what we tell them to do. Make sure to store medicine out of the reach of children, read drug facts and prescription labels before taking medicine and follow the recommended dose.

Top Tips for Parents of Pre-Teens and Teens 11 and Up

  • Educate pre-teens and teens on how to read an over-the-counter drug facts or prescription label. Take the time to teach your child about each section of a drug facts label and its purpose. For a great resource on this topic, visit: http://bit.ly/18xpWLB.
  • Communicate to pre-teens and teens the importance of only taking medicine that is meant for them. Taking medicine that belongs to someone else or misusing medicines (even OTCs) can cause harm.
  • Teach pre-teens and teens that medicine labels are rules, not guidelines. Be sure they knows that taking more than the recommended dose will not help them get relief any faster, and it could hurt them.
  • Check in with then and talk about medicine they are taking regularly. Even pre-teens and teens who need to take medicine daily may make errors in dose or dosing frequency, so it is important to communicate with them regularly about taking medicine responsibly.

Top Tip for Everyone

  • Save the toll-free Poison Help line number in your home and cell phones: 1-800-222-1222. You can also put the number on your refrigerator or another place in your home where babysitters and caregivers can see it. And remember, the Poison Help line is not just for emergencies, you can call with questions about how to take or give medicine and concerns about other potential dangers, including reactions to plants and mushrooms, bites and stings, chemicals, carbon monoxide, pesticides, and more.

 

[Courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide. www.safekids.org]

Menopause and your health

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, hot flashes, which afflict up to 80% of middle-aged women, can last much longer than just a few years. In fact, they can last as long as 14 years, with a median length of seven years. Learn more about this study by reading the following NY Times article. To learn more about Menopause and Your health, take a look at our infographic below.

What you should know about yearly pap smears and cervical cancer

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. This form of cancer can be a silent killer, showing few symptoms till the damage is done. Knowing some facts about cervical cancer, however, can help you keep you or a loved one safer.

What is Cervical Cancer?

The cervix is the lower part of a woman’s uterus. Cervical cancer happens when abnormal cells grow out of control on the cervix. These cells usually stem from the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. Many woman have HPV for years without realizing it. It can take years to develop into cancer. This is why regular testing is so important.

What are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

HPV has few symptoms. If it develops into cancer, however, you may notice some of these symptoms.

  • abnormal bleeding unrelated to your menstrual cycle.
  • abnormal or bloody discharge

If cervical cancer spreads to other organs such as the bladder, lungs, liver, or intestines, more symptoms can develop. Some of these symptoms include:

  • back pain
  • bone fractures
  • tiredness
  • achiness
  • leaking urine or feces
  • pelvic pain
  • weight loss
  • no appetite

How is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?

With regular pap smears, your doctor may be able to diagnose cervical cancer before it even becomes cancerous. Pap smears will let you know if you have HPV. If you do, your doctor will look for cervical cancer or precancerous cells. If you’re showing symptoms of cervical cancer, your doctor may also request a biopsy.

How is Cervical Cancer Treated?

If you have HPV but don’t have cancerous cells, your doctor may simply keep an eye on it. HPV often clears up on its own. If it doesn’t, he or she will discuss treatment options with you. If you have cervical cancer, the treatment depends on a few factors: how advanced it is, what kind of cervical cancer it is, and how old you are or what your overall state of health is. Treatment can range from chemotherapy to radiation to surgery.

What Can You Do?

An early diagnosis can make all the difference when it comes to cervical cancer. Get regular pap smears and pelvic exams. HPV and cervical cancer generally develop through unsafe sexual intercourse. Practice common sense. And don’t forget to spread the word. Raise awareness among friends and family about the dangers of cervical cancer and what they can do to avoid it as well.

Dr. Melanie Mintzer Wins Best Doctor Award!

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Best Doctor Award

In her first-ever Maggy win, Dr. Melanie Mintzer knocked a longtime Best Doctor favorite to second place!

Mintzer is a second-generation family doc who opened her Generations Family Practice in Cary in 2005; it serves children, adults and seniors.

Prior to private practice, the Chicago native worked in public and women’s health care for 20 years, including a stint as medical director of the Orange County Health Department, and taught at the UNC-CH School of Medicine.

Mintzer believes this Maggy Award recognition speaks well of the entire Generations team.
“Getting patients in, making them feel comfortable, is the really important thing; we want people to feel better when they leave,” she said. Some of her patients are literally lifelong — she helped birth them, and now cares for them as adults.

“It’s an honor to take care of them, and to see my former students now in practice,” Mintzer said. “I love what I do and I love my patients. This doesn’t feel like work.”

Outside the office, Mintzer knits, sews, exercises at Rex Wellness, and takes online classes in Hebrew. She’s also the proud owner of three at-home looms, which she uses to weave cloth for items such as jackets and rugs.

[article in Cary Magazine, January 2015 Issue]

Change is in the Air - 2015 Health Insurance Change That Is

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Do you know how the new 2015 insurance changes will affect your healthcare and what steps you can take to be better prepared? Generations Family Practice has received numerous calls and question from our patients on this topic. So many in fact, that we decided it would be beneficial to put together the below graphic in an attempt to help. If you still find yourself with questions, please call us. We will do our very best to answer them or direct you to the right person to help.

After the toys come home, how do I keep my kids safe?

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

After you've bought safe toys, it's also important to make sure kids know how to use them. The best way to do this is by supervising play. Playing with your kids teaches them how to play safely while having fun.

Parents should:

  • Teach kids to put toys away.
  • Throw away broken toys or repair them right away. Christine Macomber, MD, a pediatrician at Generations Family Practice says. "I recommend periodically checking your toys for wear and tear. Broken down plastic can make for sharp edges and small attachments can loosen creating choking hazards."
  • Check toys regularly to make sure that they aren't broken or unusable:
    • Wooden toys shouldn't have splinters.
    • Bikes and outdoor toys shouldn't have rust.
    • Stuffed toys shouldn't have broken seams or exposed removable parts.
  • Store outdoor toys when they're not in use so that they are not exposed to rain or snow.

And be sure to keep toys clean. Some plastic toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but read the manufacturer's directions first. Another option is to mix antibacterial soap or a mild dishwashing detergent with hot water in a spray bottle and use it to clean toys, rinsing them afterward.

Dangerous Objects
Many non-toys also can tempt kids. It's important to keep them away from:

  • fireworks
  • matches
  • sharp scissors
  • balloons (un-inflated or broken balloons can be choking hazards)

Reporting Unsafe Toys
Check the CPSC website for the latest information about toy recalls or call their hotline at (800) 638-CPSC to report a toy you think is unsafe. If you have any doubt about a toy's safety, err on the side of caution and do not allow your child to play with it.

[source http://kidshealth.org/]

Are the toys that your kids play with safe?

Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Did you know that toys send more than 26,000 children to the emergency room every year? In fact, toy-related injuries involving American children has jumped about 40 percent according to an analysis by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. That can be very scary information for parents - however, many of these injuries can be prevented. As parents, we must arm ourselves with information and awareness of the toys on the markets and what to look for in toy safety.

“Purchasing age appropriate toys is one easy first step to ensure that the toys are more safe for your child.” Says Dr. Christine Macomber, pediatrician at Generations Family Practice. “Also, keep in mind that siblings like to play with each other and their toys. In our home, the Legos would come out during our baby's naptime or after bed - that way, choking on a small toy was one less thing for me to worry about!”

Below is a graphic that we put together discussing other safety features to be aware of. We hope that you find it informative. Keeping your whole family safe and healthy is Generations Family Practice's top priority!

[Coming up -- Part Three: After the toys come home, how do I keep my kids safe?]

Evolution of Toy Safety

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Evolution of Toy Safety

As the excitement and festivities of the holidays fade away, many households will be left with a small avalanche of new toys bestowed upon its children. These new items of fascination and joy will be loved upon and played with by the ones we cherish most. But what do you know about these toys? Are they safe?

New toys are meant to bring enjoyment. But sometimes there are products that are released to consumers that could cause our children harm. This is the FIRST PART in a THREE PART SERIES regarding TOY SAFETY. It is intended to educate and better enable you to protect your kids. Because toys should not bring tears, only smiles!

Part One: Evolution of Toys and Toy Safety Standards

For centuries, children of all ages have sought out ways to entertain themselves. As civilizations grew more complex, so have the toys and games available. Below is a historical overview of the evolution of toys, as well as toy safety standards imposed due to harmful products.

  • 400 B.C.: A Babylonian board game is played that was probably an ancestor of chess and checkers.
  • 300 B.C.: The first game resembling backgammon is played in Ancient Samaria. Stone marbles are first used in Egypt.
  • Mid-18400’s: The first American doll maker is granted a patent and dolls begin to be mass-produced in America for the first time. Alphabet Blocks become favorites and help children learn their alphabet the old-fashioned way.
  • 1880’s: The first BB gun is created. The BB gun is a descendant of the cap gun, which was invented soon after the Civil War, when some shotgun manufacturers converted their factories to make toys.
  • Around 1900: Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith produce the first box of Crayola crayons.
  • 1930’s: Alfred M. Butts, an unemployed architect from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., invents a word game called the “Criss Cross Game.” In 1948, Butts sells rights to the game to entrepreneur James Brunot, who trademarks the game under the name Scrabble.
  • 1940’s: Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, the Slinky and Silly Putty are introduced.
  • 1950’s: Matchbox cars, Yahtzee and Play-doh are rolled out onto the market.
  • 1955: New York's director of safety advised the state's fire chiefs to seize fake Davy Crockett coonskin caps from stores. Made of shredded paper, the caps burst into flame "in seconds after the most casual exposure to a live cigarette or to any spark."
  • 1960’s: Kids now have Twister, the Easy Bake Oven and the Nerf ball as play options.
  • 1965: Toys”R”Us opens its doors.
  • 1966: Child Protection Act enlarges the scope of the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act to ban hazardous toys and other articles so hazardous that adequate label warnings could not be written.
  • Late 1960’s: The Zulu toy gun was popular with kids. Like a peashooter, the Zulu gun was mouth powered, shooting little plastic darts. Before long, emergency rooms around the country began seeing a surge in accidental ingestions of plastic darts, as children inhaled hard before blowing out.
  • 1969: President Nixon signed into law the Toy Safety Act, the first national safety standard for playthings. The act authorized the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to test and ban hazardous toys. The Zulu was one of eight toys the National Commission on Product Safety in 1969 recommended be banned. Others included the Empire Little Lady Stove, which had oven racks that could heat to 600 degrees, and the Bird of Paradise slingshot with razor-sharp missiles.
  • 1970’s: The card game Uno and Dungeons & Dragons hit the market.
  • 1973: Consumer Product Safety Commission created by Congress; takes over programs pioneered by FDA under 1927 Caustic Poison Act, 1960 Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, 1966 Child Protection Act, and PHS accident prevention activities for safety of toys, home appliances, etc.
  • 1983: The Cabbage Patch Kids doll comes into the toy world a huge hit and leaves frantic parents searching endlessly for the coveted Christmas gift.
  • 1983: Cute little stuffed critters, dubbed Beanie Babies, become all the rage.
  • 1988: A pointy metal stake that you throw into the area while a bunch of people stand around...What could possibly go wrong? More than 6,500 people reported lawn dart injuries before they were recalled and made illegal.
  • 2002: Mattel closes last U.S. factory and moves production to China.
  • 2007: Mattel recalls nearly one million toys in the U.S. because products are covered in lead paint. All toys were manufactured in China.
  • 2007: In early 2007, The Easy Bake Oven was found to cause children getting their fingers or hands caught in the oven’s opening. Hasbro offers a free retro-fit kit designed to eliminate the danger. However, injuries continued with another 250 reports received. Over 70 of those children received burns, many severe. One child required a partial finger amputation due to her injuries. Hasbro issues a full recall on all Easy Bake Ovens manufactured after 2006. Since then the design has been updated and is considered safe for children over the age of 8.
  • 2010: According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, toy-related deaths to children younger than 15 increased to 17 fatalities reported in 2010, up from 15 reported in 2009. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 250,000 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2010. Of those, about one third involved kids under 5.

As one can see, toys have come a long way over time. And, thankfully, their safety standards have evolved as well. “The advancement in toy safety allows us to be proactive in caring for the well being of our children-whether it be with their toys, car seats, cribs, etc.” states Dr. Christine Macomber, a pediatrician at Generations Family Practice. “When available, registering purchased items will allow the company to inform you of known hazards and take steps before injury occurs.”

[sources: http://www.toyinfo.org/ ; http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WhatWeDo/History/Milestones/ucm128305.htm ; http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/toys/4347051#slide-1 ]

[Coming up -- Part Two: How do I know if my children’s toys are safe?]
 

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