In hectic holidays, don’t ignore cautions on food, teething toys, antibiotics

chickenwash-300x107Here’s hoping the season stays merry for all and that holidays are relaxing, restful, and healthful. A few tips to stay on the right side of health and safety:

  • Be sure to follow best practices when it comes to food hygiene and safety. Do wash fruits and vegetables to rid them of surface contaminants, including dirt and pesticides. This isn’t foolproof and doesn’t clear these products of all bacteria that can cause foodborne illness — far from it. But washing does help. As for raw meat and poultry, don’t for cleanliness’ sake rinse it, then pat it dry. This just spreads contaminants all around the kitchen, food scientists have found. And, tempting though it may be, don’t eat that cookie or cake dough, and don’t think that baking recalled products might make them safe.
  • Don’t give necklaces, bracelets, or anklets to ease the tooth discomfort experienced by babies or children with special needs: The federal Food and Drug Administration has warned this jewelry can be risky for the vulnerable, noting instances in which they have experienced “choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth and infection.” The agency also cautioned that amber teething necklaces contain “succinic acid, which allegedly may be released into an infant’s blood stream in unknown quantities. Manufacturers of these products often claim succinic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and relieves teething and joint pain. The FDA has not evaluated these claims for safety or effectiveness and recommends parents not use these products.” The agency issued its warning after a 7-month old choked to death on a wooden teething bracelet while under parental supervision, and an 18-month old was fatally strangled by his amber teething necklace during a nap. The FDA also reminded that it urges caregivers to “avoid using teething creams, benzocaine gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges for mouth and gum pain. Benzocaine and other local anesthetics can cause methemoglobinemia, a serious condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is reduced. This condition is life-threatening and can result in death.” Pediatricians say that discomfort to teething can be eased with adults offering a gentle gum massage with a clean finger or by giving babies a hard rubber ring to chew.
  • If you have high blood pressure and a history of vascular disorder or disease, especially issues with aortic aneurysms or their risk, be wary if your doctor prescribes for your upper respiratory or urinary tract infection some common fluoroquinolone antibiotics. These include: ciprofloxacin, also known as Cipro; levofloxacin, or Levaquin; gemifloxacin, or Factive; and moxifloxacin, or Avelox. The FDA has cautioned that these antibiotics can cause painful and sometimes fatal damage to the body’s main artery, increasing the risk it may dissect, rupture, or tear. NBC reported that, “Patients should call 911 or get to an emergency room if they feel symptoms of an aortic dissection, which include sudden, severe, and constant pain in the stomach, chest or back. … People who have high blood pressure, who know they have an aneurysm — a thinning of the artery walls — or heart disease should tell their doctors before taking antibiotics.” The FDA also noted that it had offered safety guidance about fluoroquinolones “in July 2018 (significant decreases in blood sugar and certain mental health side effects), July 2016 (disabling side effects of the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system), May 2016 (restricting use for certain uncomplicated infections), August 2013 (peripheral neuropathy), and July 2008 (tendinitis and tendon rupture).”

In my practice, I see not only the harms that patients suffer while seeking medical services, but also the damage that can be inflicted on them by dangerous drugs and defective and dangerous products. My colleagues and I in the firm also assist families who have seen the nightmares due to injuries to babies and children. Please don’t let any of these advisories and common sense and moderation be ignored, making your holidays anything less than the best. Here’s also best season’s greetings and thanks to all the medical staff, first-responders, military personnel, and individual caregivers who will toil through times when most of us have holidays to keep us all safer and well!

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
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