Children And Adolescents Struggling With Pandemic’s Mental Health Fallout

One day in early March 2020, just as the pandemic was gaining momentum, sixth-grader Carolina Martinez-Nava was heading to the school cafeteria when she saw her sister coming down the stairs, looking for her. Arlene, an eighth grader, was crying. “She came and hugged me,” Carolina said. Students had been peering out windows all morning at the black smoke rising a few blocks from the school, in Bridgeport. But that still couldn’t prepare Carolina for her sister’s news that it was their family’s house that was burning.

Targeting Disparities In Colorectal Cancer Screening

Wilfredo Estrada, a 71-year-old New Haven resident and native of Peru, says getting colonoscopies is “muy necesario.” His father died from colon cancer at age 65, and he knows family history plays a role in cancer risk. Estrada described his odyssey fighting polyps detected by preventive colonoscopy screenings, which he has been getting since 2018. During the most recent procedure, Estrada says, the doctor found and extracted 29 polyps, all noncancerous. When asked if he tells people he knows how important it is to get screened, Estrada responded through his interpreter, “No. It’s not something I like to share with others.”

By staying current with colonoscopies, Estrada is doing his part to avoid becoming a cancer statistic.

Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana Brings Worries About Risks Of Child Poisoning

Each day at the Connecticut Poison Control Center (CPCC) brings calls about someone suffering the adverse effects of cannabis poisoning. Most often, those calls involve children, said Dr. Suzanne Doyon, medical director of the CPCC. “We get calls about this daily. Absolutely,” Doyon said. “There was even a day two weeks ago, where we had five children in different hospitals in the state of Connecticut, all with edible marijuana exposures.

Sunscreen: Learn What’s In It Before You Slather It On

As Connecticut pools and shoreline beaches open up and hot summer days start to set in, you may be reaching for a bottle of SPF to protect against UVA and UVB rays, but before you slather on the lotion, do you really know what’s inside that bottle? According to a new study, a cancer-causing chemical may be lurking in your go-to brand of sunblock. Valisure, a New Haven pharmaceutical testing lab, found concentrations of benzene, designated a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 27% of the nearly 300 sunscreen and after-sun products tested. Those findings have prompted U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to demand more Food and Drug Administration oversight of sunscreens, calling for the FDA to issue an administrative order before September to address the issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene is formed in nature and manufactured by humans.

Medical Providers Are Taking Nature Therapy Seriously

Schools were closed and online learning was in full swing last March when a teenager and her mom arrived at Fair Haven Community Health Care in New Haven. The girl had been experiencing chest pains and her worried mother thought she should go to the emergency room, recalled Amanda E. DeCew, a Fair Haven clinic director and pediatric nurse. The girl “was spending her entire day inside and had been inside for like two weeks,” DeCew said. “But the more we got into her symptoms, the more I really felt like this was anxiety and nothing that she needed to go the emergency room for.”

But DeCew also knew that some kind of medical intervention was needed. “I’m going to write a park prescription for you,” she told the girl.

Education, Across All Demographics, Is An Effective Prescription To Combat Diabetes

Since Nydia Rodriguez met Wanda Santiago about a year ago, the New London resident has lost 20 pounds and gotten her Type 2 diabetes under control. That’s because Santiago, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital’s bilingual diabetes educator, has taught Rodriguez, a former nurse from Puerto Rico, about portion control, sugar substitutes and how to cut back on bread and pasta. Santiago, who was also a nurse in Puerto Rico, has even connected Rodriguez with food banks that offer fresh fruit and vegetables. “I talk to her almost every day,” Rodriguez, 64, said in Spanish, with her daughter Yolanda Mejias translating. “If I need anything, I’ll call her.”

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and the main cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult blindness.

A Dangerous Mix: High Ozone Levels And Obesity

For the 29% of Connecticut adults who live with obesity, summer brings a difficult form of air pollution. Ground-level ozone is the colorless, odorless gas formed when auto exhaust reacts with sunlight at temperatures above 80 degrees. Ozone can be dangerous for people who have higher body mass indexes. If the pandemic shutdown were now, those with obesity and others who suffer from the adverse effects of ground-level ozone might have caught a break. Officials know that other forms of pollution dropped significantly during the early spring.

Vape Marketing Linked To COVID-19 Draws Critics

Vape manufacturers have long been accused of marketing to teens with flavors like mango and cotton candy. Now vaping opponents say vape manufacturers are exploiting the coronavirus with face mask and hand sanitizer giveaways and #COVID-19 discounts. One maker of disposable vapes, Bidi Vapor, declared on Instagram: “A Bidi Stick a day keeps the pulmonologist away.”

The national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says the tactics are hypocritical. Its president, Matthew L. Myers, said it’s imperative that young people quit vaping to avoid being susceptible to COVID-19. “Never before in our history has it been more important for young people to have healthy lungs,’’ Myers said.

Nursing Homes Prove To Be Ideal Breeding Ground For The Coronavirus Pandemic

As cases of COVID-19 surged throughout Connecticut and the nation, “a perfect storm” of circumstances rendered nursing homes unable to handle the crisis, hastening the virus’ spread and deaths, experts say. “It’s just kind of this perfect storm. It’s just the nature of the beast. This is the worst situation for a virus like this,” said Dr. David Hill, professor of medical science and director of global public health at Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine. Indeed, nursing homes care for an extremely frail population, many with underlying health conditions.

COVID-19 Risks Could Speed Transitions To At-Home Dialysis

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely result in a “huge paradigm shift” toward in-home dialysis treatments in the future, experts predict. Home “is the safest place for them to be,” said Dr. Holly Kramer, president of the National Kidney Foundation and a practicing nephrologist. In times like this, immunocompromised individuals are at increased risk of becoming ill. Roughly 85% of dialysis patients get their treatments in centers—often three days a week, and typically for several hours at a time—where other dialysis patients also are being treated, she said. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, nephrologists nationwide were urging a growing number of patients to consider at-home care, she said, and the pandemic “will push things much, much faster” in that direction.