HEALTH

National Pediculosis Association launches head lice info campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

NEWTON, Mass. The National Pediculosis Association on Thursday launched its 2009-2010 back-to-school campaign “Precaution, Preparedness & Peace of Mind” to equip parents, teachers and children with educational resources around treating lice.

“We must empower everyone with clear and up-to-date information so they make informed decisions,” stated Deborah Altschuler, president and co-founder of the NPA. “There is no need to panic and subject children to harmful chemicals with life-threatening side effects.”

As part of its campaign, NPA promotes routine screening, early detection and thorough removal of head lice and nits without the use of harmful chemicals or pesticides.

“For most of us the thought of pesticides on our fruits and vegetables is unacceptable. Yet, putting pesticides on our children has become acceptable. This makes no sense,” Altschuler said. “We want parents to know they have options, feel confident about their decisions, and be careful about the information they take off of the Internet.”

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Study: Birth control pill use may decreases risk of urinary incontinence

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A new study from Sweden published Wednesday found that users of oral contraception have significantly reduced rates of urinary incontinence compared with women who used other forms of contraception.

Researchers at the Karoliska Institute and at Gothenburg University used the Swedish Twin Registry to examine the relationship between the use of oral contraceptives and urinary incontinence. After using statistical methods to control for factors such as age, Body Mass Index and ever having been pregnant, the data showed that the women who had used oral contraceptives had lower rates of lower urinary tract symptoms than non-users.

“With so many women using oral contraceptives, it is vital that we continue to fully understand their non-contraceptive effects, both positive and negative,” stated Dale McClure, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “This kind of research will help us better advise our patients as they make decisions about contraception, or possibly seek to avoid urinary tract problems.”

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The Partnership for a Drug-Free America kicks off its third annual Time To Talk Month

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The Partnership for a Drug-Free America on Monday kicked off its third annual Time To Talk Month with a new online guide to help parents guide their teens through tough transition times, including back-to-school, when added social and academic pressures make teens more vulnerable to trying drugs and alcohol. Time To Talk is the Partnership’s movement designed to help parents and caregivers start and maintain open, honest dialogue and help them talk with their kids about the risks of drugs and alcohol.

“The beginning of the school year is an especially vulnerable time for most kids, especially for teens making the move from middle school to high school, or any child who is starting a new school,” stated Sandi Delack, president of the National Association of School Nurses. “The good news is that there’s a lot of support available for parents to help their kids make a smoother, safer transition. One significant resource for parents is the school nurse, who has experience working with children and adolescents and an understanding of the stress students experience in school.”

A recent online survey of more than 2,500 moms conducted by Vocalpoint.com in collaboration with the Partnership revealed that their No. 1 concern about back-to-school time is that their child “might be exposed to kids who drink or use drugs” (29%), followed closely by worries that their teens “will feel pressure to do well academically or pressure from tests” (22%).

A 2007 Partnership study of 6,500 teens indicated that the no. 1 reason teens use drugs is to cope with school stress, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the key risk periods for adolescent drug abuse are during major transitions, such as entering middle or high school or leaving home for college.

“These survey results are a powerful reminder that the risks of drugs and alcohol remain top of mind for moms, and it’s no surprise that these concerns are heightened at back to school,” stated Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership. “This year, we’ve dedicated our annual Time To Talk Month to helping parents understand teen transitions and identify when their kids need more encouragement to make healthy choices by giving parents a guide to make the conversation easier.”

The research-based guide “Transitions & Teens: A Guide for Parents” is available as a free download at TimeToTalk.org, and was created in consultation with parenting experts, psychologists and family therapists. The guide helps parents understand how transition periods (i.e.back-to-school, starting a new school, divorce, and even financial trouble at home can impact a child’s vulnerability to risky behaviors, including drugs and alcohol.

Time To Talk reaches parents and caregivers through the support of 2009 sponsors A&E Network, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Comcast, The Hershey Company, King Pharmaceuticals, Major League Baseball Charities, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Yahoo!

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