High school cheerleader injury rates rise
Modern cheerleading is far more dangerous than it was
in the days of pompoms and megaphones. Today, it's a year-round pursuit
that requires a significant gymnastics capability.
A study in the journal Pediatrics shows that 208,800
cheerleaders aged 5 to 18 were treated in emergency rooms during the
last 13 years. Most were 12- to 17-year-olds who had leg, foot, and
Dr. Andrew Gregory of Vanderbilt University School of
Medicine, recently said, “We really worry about the catastrophic injury
that involves falling on the head or breaking the neck." He says parents
should understand the risks. They should go to the practices to see that
cheerleaders are working out on padding, Anytime someone is going up in
the air, there should be an adult spotter. Stunts must not be beyond the
cheerleader's skill level.
Plants can improve health and mood
If you have a small patch of earth, a patio or balcony where a flower
pot can stand, or a windowsill, you have an opportunity to improve your
The American Horticultural Therapy Association tells of such benefits as
lower blood pressure, lifting of depression or mood, faster wound
healing, and increased bone density that tending plants or a garden can
They say human beings have a genetic-based evolutionary need for plants
being around them. Increasingly, health care centers and hospitals have
incorporated green spaces, gardens, and indoor plants into their
But you don't have to go to a hospital to reap the benefits. Working
with flowers and plants can be more attractive to people than walking on
a treadmill or doing therapy.
At Gardening for Good in Westport, Mass., they recommend focusing on the
smells, colors, and textures of leaves and flowers. Specific plants have
specific benefits. Peppermint is energizing and reviving. Lavender is
calming. Pansies bring brightness after the winter.
Coleus has foliage of brilliant green, magenta, and purple. Touching its
leaves is calming. Rosemary does well on a windowsill, and you can enjoy
the fragrance that stays on your hands.
Experts recommend starting small if you haven't had a garden before. A
container garden can keep you engaged while tending it, and you won't be
overwhelmed with the work a large vegetable garden will bring.
Some say just the rhythm of seasonal plants and knowing when they will
bloom is very satisfying.
Be ready for the sunny days of summer
After a chilly spring, we welcome summer and the warming rays of the
sun. They put us in an upbeat frame of mind. But like many things we
enjoy, too much can be harmful.
When it comes to the sun, it doesn't take much to qualify as too much.
The sun's ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can lead to
wrinkles and skin cancer.
If you have fair skin, red hair, or blonde hair, you are particularly
susceptible to sun damage. And if you work or play outside, you have to
be very careful to avoid overexposure.
The best plan is to set a time for your outdoor activities in the
morning before 10 a.m. or in the late afternoon after 4 p.m. when the
sun's rays are not as strong as they are at mid-day.
Do what you can to shade your skin. Sit under an umbrella, or wear a big
hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants.
Whenever you will be outdoors for more than a few minutes, whether the
day is sunny or cloudy, be sure to protect your skin with sunscreen.
Most products have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 to 25. The
lighter your skin is, the higher your protection factor should be. When
shopping for a sunscreen, look for one that protects against both UVA
and UVB rays.
Tanning booths often claim they use "harmless" UVA rays. While UVA rays
take longer to damage the skin, they go deeper into the skin than UVBs
and cause significant damage over time.
If you want the look of a suntan, check out the wide array of skin
bronzers and tanning creams available in drug stores and supermarkets.