Health and psychology
My first daughter is three years old. I have been taking care of her at home since she was born and now have enrolled her in a municipal kindergarten. I have no experience with such facilities and would like to know what to look for to make sure the place observes safety rules. N.S., Ra’anana
The Israel Standards Institute comments: One of the most important indicators for choosing a kindergarten is the safety of children. Our experts have collected a number of tips that can help parents choose the safest kindergarten, and we issue certificates to those that have met our standards.
Make sure that there are no toys in the building or garden that contain small parts that can be swallowed or cause choking. Notice whether the toys are clean looking and not broken or torn. Make sure that the yard play equipment is located in a shaded area and not near an external fence that can be climbed on.
Ensure that all door hinges are shielded so children’s fingers will not be caught in them. Check whether all electrical outlets are hidden or inaccessible to children. There should be a fire extinguisher or automatic fire detection and extinguishing system as well as a first-aid kit.
Make sure that there is a separation or a blocked passage between the parking area and the garden area and that the entrance gate to the garden has at least one locking mechanism. Note that the beds are appropriate for the child’s age and that a locking mechanism prevents the folding of the bed on the child’s fingers. The garden fence should be built of vertical bars to prevent climbing and the steps should be no higher than 10 centimeters.
I’m an 85-year-old woman who looks a decade younger. I swim two or three times a week. I am healthy, except for daily, chronic nausea and migraine headaches, for which I often take Excedrin. My blood, urine and stool tests are all good. I’ve been to a gastroenterologist who couldn’t find anything wrong except a small spot in my stomach that was indicative of overuse of aspirin. The doctor told me to stop taking Excedrin. When I explained that I’ve been a migraine headache sufferer for many years and that I suspected I also had a stomach migraine, he only replied “maybe.” My neurologist, an expert in headaches, treated me for more than four years with “medical acupuncture,” which he learned in the US. This included more emphasis on the nausea/stomach migraine than the headache. He showed me a couple of studies that found that older migraine sufferers of many years show a change more to the stomach than the head migraine. But neither of us is sure whether the acupuncture really did any good. In short, I find my life severely impacted by this constant nausea if I don’t take aspirin. I take medication but can’t live on domperidone (Motilium) indefinitely. I think I will go back to the neurologist and start the acupuncture again, but don’t know if it will help. Doctors look at me and see a healthy, young-looking, energetic woman and they don’t seem to take me seriously – or else they don’t want to try or do much given my age. In the meantime, I’m really sick and I don’t know where to turn for an accurate diagnosis. J.G., Netanya
Dr. Menachem Oberbaum, director of the Center for Integrative Complementary Medicine at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, replies:
If all the conventional possibilities have been exhausted, some complementary and alternative methods can be used.
The indications in which complementary and alternative medical methods had been tested as possible solution of nausea and vomiting were when these problems appeared in pregnant women and after surgery and chemotherapy.
The methods that provide the most substantiated proof of efficacy are acupuncture and acupressure. The Consensus Development Conference State- ment organized by the US National Institutes of Health in 1997 concluded that “promising results have emerged, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting.” A number of clinical trials have since then supported this conclusion and confirmed that they can be effective.
A few plants have been used for treating nausea and vomiting, especially, in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, but also for such problems not connected with cancer. Orange blossom ( Citrus aurantium). hypericum ( Hypericum perforatum L.), achillea ( Achillea millefolium L.) and ginger ( Zingiber officinale) are the only plants that induced successful results. In addition, ginger is among the herbal plants effective in treating nausea and vomiting without any side effects; in German pharmacopoeia, it is used to develop anti-nausea drugs.
The positive effect of acupuncture on head and stomach migraines (the latter consisting of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting) and tension headaches is well established. The benefit of acupuncture is the fact that its effect can be evaluated very fast. If there is no effect after eight to 10 treatments, it will most probably not help. Nevertheless, I would recommend that you switch to a well-trained acupuncturist before deciding that it won’t work in your case.
Based on clinical studies published in conventional literature, it can be said that among the relaxation methods for alleviating nausea and vomiting is massage therapy that brings the best results without any side effects. It also has desirable mental effects on patients’ health.
But remember that none of these suggestions should be followed before a thorough medical examination is performed. Nausea could hide a serious medical problem, and this should be considered and ruled out. ■