Posted in Health, news

Tips to Prevent Childhood Drowning

The leading cause of death in children are “unintentional injuries” including drownings.  According to the CDC, 20% of drowning victims are under the age of 14.  And non-fatal drowning victims could sustain brain damage and long term disability.

Pools, bathtubs and any body of water pose risks, however this time of year is especially dangerous, because activities surrounding pools, such as BBQs and alcohol use, become distractions to the adults supervising.

When it comes to drowning prevention, the following is necessary:

All pools should be enclosed

Fence height should be at least 4-5 feet high and the entry gate should self-close and self-latch.

Even if your pool has a fence, be aware that the house who’s hosting the BBQ, play date, or sleep-over may not.

And any kiddy pools or ice buckets used for drinks should be dumped out after use and flipped over so they do not become a future threat.

All young children should be within arm’s reach of an adult when swimming

The farther you are away from the child you’re supervising, the longer it takes to rescue. With distance between you and the victim, other children may swim in your path and you may lose sight of where the victim submerged.  And seconds count.  A panicked child under water may also aspirate water into the lungs becoming hypoxic quicker.  Moreover they could be at risk of “secondary drowning” in which water in the larynx triggers a spasm closing up the airway, or water falling into the lungs causes pulmonary edema and respiratory failure days after the water incident.

Do not get distracted

Put the phones away.  Adults supervising kids in a pool should not be answering a phone call or on social media.  Moreover, adults should not be drinking alcohol while supervising a child. Reaction time is key, and a drunk adult could become a drowning victim as well.

Remember that drowning is silent

Many drownings occur while others are feet away from the victim. Why? Because a submerged victim makes little sound and nearby splashing visually and auditorily obscures the victim’s splashes.

Parents have long learned that when children get quiet during playtime, something could be going wrong.  Use that same Spidey-sense when they are in the pool.


Learn CPR and water rescue skills

Most CPR classes teach adult, child, and infant CPR.  Having this knowledge and becoming certified could save a life one day.

If swimming in open waters, know the weather and sea conditions prior to jumping in.  Life jackets/vests, appropriate for the child’s size, should be worn, even if the child is out of the water, such as in a boat.


What is “Dry Drowning” and “Secondary Drowning”?

Dry Drowning occurs when water touches the first pass of the respiratory tree, one’s vocal cords, larynx.  When water touches this area a reflex is triggered, causing a spasm (laryngospasm) such that the vocal cords constrict and close up the airway.  It’s a defense mechanism designed to prevent water from falling into the lungs. However, laryngospasm causes immediate hypoxia, lack of oxygen, and if not reversed, the victim will die.  In dry drowning, water never officially reaches the lungs.





In Secondary Drowning, water gets inhaled and sits in the respiratory tree and if uncleared through coughing, will sit and prevent proper oxygenation.  Moreover the water will irritate the lung linings causing more fluid and inflammation, resulting in pulmonary edema.  This could occur hours to days after the water activity.

According to Florida Hospital Tampa pediatrician, Dr. James Orlowski, these events are very rare, comprising only 1-2% of drowning incidents.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms for both “Dry” and “Secondary Drowning” are similar in which the victim could have any of the following:

  • Cough
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Behavior Changes
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty speaking
  • to name a few…


Horse play in water should be avoided. This includes bathtubs, plastic pools, hot tubs, pools, lakes, ocean, etc.

Never swim alone.

Swim in areas staffed with lifeguards and/or appropriate supervision.

If water does get inhaled watch the child or adult to look for any of the above symptoms. If concerned seek medical help immediately.

Have a safe and healthy summer!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in cell phones, Health, news, smart devices

Skulls May Change Due to Cell Phone Use

Image above from Science Alert


Reports of “horns” growing on the heads of cell phone users is an over-dramatization. However, skull bone growths have been documented on those with “text” or “surf” neck.

A study published in the journal, Scientific Reports, found benign bone growths, known as exostosis, on the skulls of cell phone users.

Study authors looked at 1200 skull xrays (lateral view) and found more prominent bone spurs in younger cell phone users.  Researchers postulate that the growths are adaptive as a result of frequent neck bending when viewing cell phones.

Thus, enthesophyte development may be an adaptive mechanism to further increase the surface area at the tendon/bone interface at sites enduring frequent tensile stress, with bone growth progression taking place in the direction of tensile stress acting on the bone at the point of insertion.

Neck discomfort frequently follows avid cell phone use and many people complain of muscle strain. This study demonstrates how the body tried to adjust for the increase strain on our neck.

These bone spurs should not be confused with “cutaneous horns” which are growths on the face and scalp.



Doctors recommend avoiding excessive time on a cell phone or position it to avoid excessive flexion of one’s neck.


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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news

Hepatitis A Outbreak Declared in Clark County

A Hepatitis A outbreak continues to expand in Clark County, Nevada.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, 83 cases (up from 37 reported in June) have been reported since the start of this year.

Drugs and homelessness have contributed to the outbreak but it can be spread by eating contaminated food.

Per the CDC, 23,978 cases, with 14,300 hospitalizations have been reported in multiple states including Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida and Arizona to name a few. According to the CDC, California and Utah have declared their outbreaks’ over.  236 deaths have been reported since the outbreak began in 2016.


What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits.  It’s transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract.  Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.


What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Fever
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dark Urine
  • Joint Pain
  • Clay – looking stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite



What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in 4th of July, fires, fireworks, Health, news

Avoiding Firework Injuries this Independence Day

The most sparkly and spectacular holiday of the year is unfortunately one of the most dangerous when it comes to fireworks.  As more Americans shoot off fireworks themselves, injuries are rising exponentially.  Let’s break this down.


When were fireworks first invented?

Many historians believe fireworks have their origins dating back to 200 BC in China.

According to, They would roast bamboo, which explodes with a bang when heated due to its hollow air pockets, in order to ward off evil spirits. At some point between 600 and 900 A.D., Chinese alchemists—perhaps hoping to discover an elixir for immortality—mixed together saltpeter (potassium nitrate, then a common kitchen seasoning), charcoal, sulfur and other ingredients, unwittingly yielding an early form of gunpowder. The Chinese began stuffing the volatile substance into bamboo shoots that were then thrown into the fire to produce a loud blast. The first fireworks were born.


When were fireworks first used to celebrate Independence Day?

On July 3, 1776, John Adams penned a letter to his wife suggesting fireworks, “illuminations” be used to celebrate the upcoming Independence Day (the next day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence).  The following year, fireworks were used in Philadelphia’s celebration of Independence Day along with a parade.


What types of fireworks are legal/illegal?

Currently, Massachusetts is the only state that bans any individual from owning or setting off fireworks.  As for the other states, laws vary.  For most states, party poppers, smokers, hand-held sparklers, wheel and ground spinners and those approved by the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) are approved.  Illegal fireworks most commonly include rockets, Roman Candles, wire and wooden sparklers, projectile fireworks, those using  arsenic, phosphorus, thiocyanates, and gunpowder.

Each state’s laws can be viewed here.


How many people get injured each year during Fourth of July?

Statistics vary but according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) :

  • Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 54% of those injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2017 injuries.


Which fireworks appear to be the most dangerous?

Many fireworks range in potential for injury, and fire hazards appear to be the most worrisome. However, sparklers appear to be the culprit in the majority of cases sending kids and adults to the emergency room.


What types of injuries can be incurred from fireworks?

Keep in mind some sparklers can reach up to 2000 degrees.  Not only is direct contact with fireworks dangerous but secondary injuries may occur trying to avoid the firework.  These include:

  • Burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Hearing Loss
  • Lacerations
  • Broken Bones
  • Sprains
  • Car accidents

Burns comprise the majority of injuries, however many other tragic ones can occur.  One of my in-laws was a bystander when he lost his cornea (outer layer of the eye) from a popper that jumped towards his face, blinding him.



How can we protect ourselves from firework injuries?

  • Avoid purchasing and using illegal fireworks.
  • Do not allow young children to handle the fireworks.
  • Use neighborhood areas that are not in the flow of traffic.
  • Have buckets of water and fire extinguishers nearby.
  • Have bystanders back up and remember that they can be in the line of danger as those handling the fireworks.
  • Never relight a firework.
  • Dispose of fireworks only after thoroughly doused with water by a bucket or hose.
  • Don’t carry fireworks in pockets.
  • Don’t shoot fireworks out of metal or glass casings.
  • Opt for watching professional fireworks shows.  They are true fireworks, created by pros, and much more spectacular and beautiful than what we can do on our own.

Happy 4th of July!!





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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news, Social Media

Social Media Posts Can Indicate Medical Conditions

For years we’ve been hearing stories of children being diagnosed with brain tumors or liver disorders based on followers viewing their picture on social media and alerting parents to suspicious findings.  Now a study, published in PLOS One, finds 21 different medical conditions to be revealed based on the vocabulary people use when posting on their timeline.


Penn State and Stony Brook medical researchers reviewed thousands of Facebook status updates and found certain key words surface more often with those having specific conditions.



image from:


For Diabetes, for examples, key words included: pray, family, blessed, very, thank, thankful, doctor, blood, hospital

For Sexually Transmitted Illnesses, there were many expletives as well as the terms cry, scream, away, guess, wow and babe

For Drug Abuse, there were many expletives as well as well as the terms nobody, everybody, stop, call, text and bored

For High Blood Pressure, terms that commonly surfaced included doctor, blood, hospital, mother, good, peace, rip. 

MedicalXpress reports:

Some of the Facebook data that was found to be more predictive than demographic data seemed intuitive. For example, “drink” and “bottle” were shown to be more predictive of alcohol abuse. However, others weren’t as easy. For example, the people that most often mentioned religious language like “God” or “pray” in their posts were 15 times more likely to have diabetes than those who used these terms the least. Additionally, words expressing hostility—like “dumb” and some expletives— served as indicators of drug abuse and psychoses.
“Our digital language captures powerful aspects of our lives that are likely quite different from what is captured through traditional medical data,” said the study’s senior author Andrew Schwartz, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor at Penn in Computer and Information Science, and an assistant professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University. “Many studies have now shown a link between language patterns and specific disease, such as language predictive of depression or  that gives insights into whether someone is living with cancer. However, by looking across many medical conditions, we get a view of how conditions relate to each other, which can enable new applications of AI for medicine.”

The concept of using a “digital language” to help identify certain risk factors is nothing new when it comes to mental illness but is virgin territory when we discuss endocrinology conditions such as diabetes.

More research obviously needs to be done, however, this study demonstrates that not only can our physical actions tune a medical provider into our pathology but so can our social media behavior.


spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.




Posted in Father's Day, Health, news

Father’s Day- Do’s and Don’ts

This Sunday is Father’s Day and millions of Americans celebrate it the wrong way.  Why? Because no one asks Dad what he wants, and Dad is too nice to say.

Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday of every June.  Although first celebrated in 1910 when Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her veteran father like mothers are on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day became an official holiday in 1972 by  President Richard Nixon.

Although Father’s Day is supposed to honor Dads, retailers and even families seem to miss the mark.  Here’s some Do’s and Don’ts for this Father’s Day.

Rethink the BBQ celebration

Whenever a BBQ gets planned, someone needs to prepare the backyard, clean the grill, bring out the furniture, work the grill, serve the food, clean up the grill, clean up the backyard……and guess who that is…Dad.  And its hot, super hot outside. Not the most fun way to celebrate one’s day.  Go out to eat instead. Retailers like it and no one has to do the lifting.

The extended family is coming

Many households this Sunday will see Dad and the in-laws in the same room at the same time. For some this could be a pleasant occasion.  For others, uncomfortable and stressful.  Wives feel conflicted as they want to celebrate with their Father, but make the day spectacular for hubby.  If an issue, I recommend splitting up the day where Grandpa has a Father’s Day brunch and Dad celebrates a Father’s Day dinner.  Or designate a different day to celebrate each.

Buying Dad the wrong gift

Avoid the following gifts for Dad:

Grill tools or BBQ Apron– remember the BBQ is a lot of work, don’t remind him of it



Cologne –  most men don’t like “parfuming” up….. they wear it for others but it’s not for them



Lawn Mowers – unless its a ride-on, lawn mowers remind Dad of lawn work.




Dress/ Suit Shirts – button-up neck-constricting linens are not one’s most cherished gift. Unless they save him a trip to the department store, buy him something more comfortable.




Funny Underwear – underwear should never be a gift, its underwear….




Personal Hygiene/Shaving Products – this equates to getting a disposable razor for Mother’s Day.




Instead, opt for the following…

Let Dad Have a Real Day Off – Take the kids out and give Dad a day to himself.  Sure the kids could give Dad his gifts during brunch or dinner but allow Dad to spend the day how he wants to:  in his underwear, taking a much needed nap, going for a drive, fishing, etc.  Too bad there’s no skiing in June.

Ask Dad what He Wants – this doesn’t seem to get done all year round.  Why not start on Father’s Day?  Maybe he wants a Google Home or the next video game installment. Which brings us to….

Gift Cards Make the Best Gift – he can buy what he wants, and not feel awkward asking for it.

A Big Hug and Kiss Hits the Mark – despite any level of macho-ness, Daddies love this.  Make him feel special.

dad and me.jpg

MY DADDY, 1996

Happy Father’s Day!!!  Enjoy!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Is Drinking Urine Healthy?

A group in Colorado claims urine has multiple medicinal properties and drinks it regularly.

Urine Therapy Group meets and group members will either use urine topically for ailments or drink it.

For centuries, the application, or imbibing, of one’s urine has been touted for its health benefits. In fact, diabetes used to be diagnosed when one’s physician would taste their urine to determine its sweetness.

A previous case study published in the Journal Of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology had made headlines, reporting it found urine therapy to be potentially beneficial.  They report a 16-year-old boy, under the direction of his mother, applied urine to his face to help treat his acne. It apparently worked so he began to store some urine for future use, but did so in a way such that the urine became warm and contaminated and then subsequently inflamed the skin.

They report:


Studies however have not consistently found evidence that our notorious waste product can help fight ailments such as infections, cancer, rashes and allergies that so many claim.


What is urine?

Urine is a yellowish liquid, created by the kidneys, as a result of filtering toxins and unneeded substances from the blood.  From the kidneys, it travels through a ureter, into the bladder for storage, and then upon urination, travels through a urethra to the outside world… get AWAY from the body.


Why is urine yellow?

Urochrome is responsible for the yellow color of urine. It’s a byproduct from the degradation of heme when red blood cells are broken down.

Why do vitamins make urine brighter?

If one takes a multivitamin or B-Complex they may notice their urine turn neon yellow as the body is trying to eliminate the excess riboflavin (Vitamin B2).

What is urine composed of?

Urine is approximately 95% water with the remaining 5% consisting of:

  • urea
  • ammonia
  • salts such as sodium, chloride, and calcium
  • minerals
  • protein
  • creatinine
  • variety of cells
  • toxins

What causes urine to smell?

Healthy urine should hardly have an odor as its 95% water. However, dehydrated individuals may exhibit more of an ammonia smell.  Infections, food and medications can also alter the odor of urine.

Is urine a good source of vitamins?

No.  Vitamins leached out into the urine are the excess the body does not need and may  additionally be the byproducts of their original useful form.

Does drinking urine cure acne?

No, not by drinking.  Acne is caused by a multitude of factors ranging from hormones to bacteria infections, such as Propionibacterium acnes.  However, if one claims their consumption of it clears their complexion, the only thing I can fathom is hydration with water has proven beneficial for the skin….water.  This is not an approved traditional medicine treatment for acne.

Topical applications, however, have been suggested to help as some believe the urine has antibacterial properties against the P. acne bacteria….but I’d rather reach for the Clearasil.

Is it safe to drink your own urine?

This is debatable because in theory, urine is sterile and mostly composed of water.  But  realize this is in situations where one is healthy and hydrated.  If in a survival situation, chances are the urine is highly concentrated with salts and waste products, so drinking it could severely strain the kidneys and not give the hydration benefit desired.


Does urine cure anything?

Actually, in practice I’ve noticed that those who’ve peed in the shower, soaking their feet in the urine as it exits the drain, seemed to have the smoothest of feet.  Studies have shown, the urea in urine, applied topically, can help dry skin, feet and callouses.

Urotherapy, or the application of urine for medicinal purposes, is believed by some who practice alternative medicine, to cure cancer as it reintroduces antigens, that exited the body once, in hopes of stimulating the immune system.  In traditional medicine, however, this is not an approved cancer treatment.


spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.