Health Talk

The NUS Health Blog for Undergraduate Articles

Month: December 2017

Public Health and Safety in Home Swimming Pools

For some of us, swimming is more than a recreational sport. It holds memories from our childhood. As a toddler, I loved splashing in the water. But watching the “big” boys and girls playing pool games was extra exciting. I wanted to join them. It didn’t matter I was too young and couldn’t swim. I wanted to be part of the fun. Fortunately, there was always someone to hold me back. As I grew older, I was allowed to swim. Diving into the pool and playing with other children was the ultimate summer fun.

Swimming in the pool can be fun and rewarding. However, one cannot ignore the dangers pool fun might have, especially for children. Recently, a 5-year-old almost drowned in the pool, unnoticed by others in the same pool. Thankfully, he was rescued before the worst happened, but other children in other pools weren’t as lucky as he was. In May of this year (2017), a 3-year-old British boy was reported to have died after an accident in a home swimming pool in Spain. Before visiting an auction website for your next home, make sure its swimming pool is safe.

Does it mean we have to deprive our children of the joys of swimming? That won’t be necessary if we pay close attention to swimming pool safety measures.

Here are a few ideas to make pool fun safe and enjoyable for our children.

Create pool fences

It’s common sense to have adults around when children are in the pool. But what happens when the little ones get out of sight and find their way to the pool when no one is around? Their brains aren’t wired to see the danger before them—all they want to do is jump in the water.

“When our children somehow find their way to the pool in our absence, we need to make it difficult for them to get in,” says Michael Corkery, President of Pool Guard USA.  “Well-built four-sided pool fences that are, at least, 1.2 m high, with vertical bars no more than 100mm apart and horizontal bars at least 900mm will do just that. These fences are even more effective than human presence because they will always be there,” says Michael.

Pool alarms

You may instruct your children not to go close to the pool in your absence, but chances are they’ll forget it and do just the opposite. It’s important you have a system in place to notify you when your instructions are being ignored.

Pool alarms are very effective tools to let you know when someone gets close to the pool. They’ll give you a chance to get there before your child will even have a chance to get in. The variety of pool alarms in the market gives you options to choose from, ensuring maximum safety for your children.

Teach children how to swim

According to the 2010 report from the National Water Safety Forum that looked at water-related deaths, there is a need to ensure more people can swim.

When is a good time to teach your child to swim? Jon Glenn, Head of Learn to Swim at the national governing body for swimming, ASA, explains that “as long as they feel safe, babies are comfortable in the water almost from the minute they are born.” Bear in mind children develop at different paces, so don’t rush it.

It’s great to want to bond with your child over swimming lessons, but consider enrolling them in professional swimming classes so they learn the necessary skills from the experts. In this case, they’ll be better prepared for a swimming emergency if they ever encounter one.

Children love being in the pool as much as they love to play. Taking that privilege away from them is a killjoy. Our children can still have all the fun in the pool without getting a scratch, let alone losing their lives, if we set our priorities straight. Whether it’s getting a fence, installing an alarm, teaching them how to swim or all of the above, you have the tools to make pool swimming fun and safe.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

Overcoming Addiction

According to a report titled “Facing Addiction in America”, issued by the Surgeon General of the United States in 2016, one out of every twelve Americans are prone to substance abuse. The gravity of the situation recently prompted President Trump to describe the problem as a national public health emergency.

Fortunately, drug addiction can be overcome with a combination of treatment, medication and therapy. No less than 23.5 million Americans said that they had recovered from problems relating to drug or alcohol abuse, according to a poll conducted in 2012. For those who wish to help others overcome the scourge of substance abuse, here are a few guidelines.

  • Medication: Medical treatment for detoxification is usually the first step of the treatment process. Recent research has established that long acting medicines can be just as effective as short acting ones like buprenorphine or methadone, which have been in use since several years now. It is important to remember that medication is only the starting point, not a one-stop shop for treating substance abuse.
  • Drug Rehabilitation: Medication needs to be supplemented by course at a rehabilitation center. Good drug rehabs are known for successfully helping sufferers overcome substance abuse. Admittedly, the choice of rehab center is not an easy one to make. However, one reliable indicator is the nature of the treatment, since there cannot be a one size fits all approach for drug rehabilitation. The more personalised the approach, the greater the chances of success. 
  • Behavioral Therapy: The ill effects of drugs are not limited to the body alone. Substance abuse is known to cause changes in the functioning of the brain. Therefore, behavioral therapy is an important component of the treatment plan. These therapies usually focus on weaning addicts away from drugs through a combination of motivation, skill development to help overcome temptation and designing alternate activities to replace drug use.It is important to note that behavioral therapy need to be confined to the patient alone, it can even extend to the people in his immediate vicinity, such as family members or the community in which he or she lives. In fact, recent research suggests that treatment in a community based facility has a greater probability of success.
  • Constant Monitoring: Patient needs keep evolving. Consequently, it becomes imperative to continuously assess the treatment plan and make necessary changes based on changing requirements. The people close to the patient should be mindful of the fact that monitoring is an on-going activity that never ends, because a relapse can occur anytime. According to statistics released by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the probability of it is in the range of 40 to 60 per cent, which means a relapse is by no means a sign of failure.
  • Patience: Last, but not the least, patients and their near and dear ones need to realise that recovery from substance abuse is a long-drawn process with several challenges and possible frustrations along the way. Therefore, it is important never to lose hope. After all, there are 23.5 million people in the US who have successfully overcome addiction.
This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

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