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Eye protection

About 100,000 sports-related eye injuries occur each year, mostly in basketball, baseball, court sports and swimming. Although most eye injuries are minor, quick medical exams and treatment are essential to prevent possible vision loss. Protective eyewear made of polycarbonate could prevent up to 90 percent of all injuries.

Child choking

Accidents are the leading cause of death in children. Choking on a swallowed object is common. If a choking child is coughing, crying or speaking, leave her alone so her coughing reflex can bring up the object. If the child (age 1 to 8) can't make sounds, give up to five abdominal thrusts (Heimlich thrusts). Recheck the victim's mouth for any object and your techniques if the child is still choking. If the child is unconscious, kneel and straddle the thighs and give up to five abdominal thrusts. If this fails to help, check the victim's mouth for an object and only if seen, sweep it out of the mouth with your finger. If still choking, try giving two breaths, and if unsuccessful, retilt the head and give two more breaths. Repeat the cycle of abdominal thrusts, mouth check, and breaths until successful or relieved by the emergency medical services (EMS) system.

Mechanical choking

Serious brain damage happened to a 10-year-old boy who accidentally activated a "one-touch" electrically operated automobile window that closed on his neck. These automatic windows don't have safety release sensors. In another accident, a 3-year-old stood on a bucket to reach the strings of an "I Can Do It" light switch. When he fell, the strings wrapped around his neck and strangled him.


At many ski resorts, up to half of all slope users now ride snowboards instead of skis. In a survey of ski resorts in the Austrian Alps, snowboarders suffered more than twice as many fractures as skiers. Novice snowboarders had the most injuries. Ankle fractures were common among snow-boarders who wore soft-shell boots. Knee injuries and shin fractures were more common among those who wore hard-shell boots. To prevent broken bones, beginners should take lessons on board technique and slope safety and should use a "hybrid" of soft-shell boots with stiff inner support for the ankles. Any rented equipment should be properly fitted.

Knee problems

The posterior cruciate ligament is thought to be the strongest ligament in the knee, but injury to this ligament is more common than people realize. Most of these injuries occur from hyperflexion - when the heel is brought back or slightly sideways past the buttock during a squat. Injury can also occur during hyperextension, when the leg is straight but the knee is pushed back. Often, athletes don't realize that an injury has occurred, but soon notice that the knee is swollen and unstable. A sports physician can diagnose the posterior cruciate injury by manipulating the knee. The best prevention is exercise (mini-squats, wall-slides, step-ups, etc.) to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. In some cases, surgery is needed to reconstruct the ligament.

Working children

The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act was designed to protect children from hazardous work. Today, more children are working but the act isn't. In a North Carolina study of 71 work-related deaths in children ages 11 to 19, a high percentage of victims were male (80 percent), white (80 percent), under age 17 (41 percent) and employed in farm work (27 percent), often using machinery. More than 85 percent of victims under age 18 were performing activities that appeared to violate the Fair Labor laws. Ten victims (five boys, five girls) were killed while working high-risk nighttime hours in convenience stores and other shops.

Ankle sprains

Ankle injuries - usually the tearing or straining of a ligament, called a sprain - are the most common of all joint injuries. Everybody is susceptible to them, from a basketball pro to a runner on an uneven road or a woman in high heels stepping off a curb.

The majority (85 percent) of sprains are inversion sprains. This happens when the sole of the foot turns inward, injuring the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Eversion injuries occur when the foot turns outward, affecting ligaments on the inner side. Some sprains are minor and can be successfully treated at home, but many do need medical attention. Improperly treated sprains will make the ankle susceptible to future injuries. If the victim refuses to put any weight on the ankle and is unable to take four steps, suspect a broken ankle.

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The acronym RICE is the key to treating a sprain: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Icing the ankle as soon as you can is essential. Ice applied for 20 minutes four times a day for the first 24 to 72 hours will reduce the pain, inflammation and any bleeding into the ankle joint. Make sure your foot is elevated slightly higher than your hips. Protect the skin by using a wet cloth between the ice and skin. Stay off your feet. Between the times ice is applied, place compression with an elastic bandage that has a "horseshoe-shaped" pad or sock around the ankle knob (bone). Aspirin or ibuprofen will also relieve pain and inflammation. It takes a mild sprain about 10 days to heal and longer for full range of motion to return. Once the swelling has subsided, you can start gentle exercises to rehabilitate the ankle.

Aloe vera for burns and wounds?

Some studies have found that pure aloe helps, some that it has no effect, and a few that it may even delay healing or promote irritation. Many of these studies were poorly conducted. Even if pure aloe is used, there are more than 300 species, with different chemical compositions and thus possibly different effects.

Some chemicals in aloe vera have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The best thing to put on a burn is cold water, not an ointment or cream.

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