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Is There Actually a Doctor in the House?

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It’s a stock situation in movies and TV shows: Someone collapses, and a crowd gathers around them trying to help or wondering what to do. Inevitably, two things will happen. Someone will tell everyone to step back and give the victim some room to breathe, and someone will shout out to no one in particular, “Is there a doctor in the house!?”

Usually there is, and they save the day. If this ever happened to you in real life, though, how likely is it that there would be someone around who could save you?

Well, if you’re in an airplane, you should be OK. Christian Martin-Gill, a physician and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, recently combed through the in-flight communications of five different airlines covering a period of almost three years. In them, he found almost 12,000 calls to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s STAT-MD Communications Center, an always-open medical command center that some airlines use to consult with doctors during flight emergencies. 

Going through these calls, Martin-Gill found that a medical emergency happens on one out of every 604 commercial flights. The most common problems are people fainting, experiencing severe air or motion sickness, or experiencing respiratory or cardiac distress.

Physicians who happened to be passengers on the flight were able to treat the victims in about half of the emergencies that Martin-Gill examined. In more than a quarter of the other instances, a nurse or EMT who was on the plane stepped in to help. 

So, the next time you get sick midair, there’s a good chance that shouting “Is there a doctor on the plane?” will actually get you some help.

Martin-Gill also discovered that the passengers treated in these emergencies generally came out of things OK. Of the almost 12,000 cases covered in the study, only 36 deaths occurred, 30 of those during the flight. Of the patients who made it to their original destinations (only 7 percent of the flights had to be diverted because of medical emergency), only a quarter had to be taken to the hospital upon landing, and only 8 percent of those actually had to be admitted. 

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Knock-Off Versions of Nerf Ammo Can Cause Serious Eye Injuries
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Nerf toy guns and their foam projectiles, as marketed and manufactured by Hasbro, are virtually harmless when used as instructed. But, as reported by CNN, a recent paper in the UK medical journal BMJ Case Reports is providing a reality check when it comes to using the mock weapons and off-brand ammo improperly.

Three unrelated patients were treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London with ocular injuries that were sustained as a result of being "shot" with Nerf guns. Two adults had bleeding and inflammation in the eye; one 11-year-old had bleeding, inflammation, and damage to the outer retinal layer. All three suffered what the paper described as "significant ocular trauma." Attending doctors treated their swelling, and all symptoms resolved within a few weeks.

So what happened? In the case of one patient, a Nerf play session went awry as a result of using non-licensed ammo that isn't subject to Hasbro's quality control measures and may be made of harder materials as a result. On their Nerf landing page, Hasbro cautions users to "never modify any Nerf blasters or other Nerf products. Use only the darts, water, rounds, and discs designed for specific Nerf blasters."

Pediatric ophthalmologists interviewed by CNN recommend that protective eyewear be used whenever anyone is playing with Nerf weapons. It's also advisable never to aim for the face when shooting and to avoid attempting to modify the weapons to shoot faster or farther.

[h/t CNN]

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Here's What You Need to Know Before Getting Inked or Pierced, According to Doctors
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Getting inked or pierced is a rite of passage for many teens and young adults. But before getting that belly ring or butterfly on your back, experts want you to be aware of the risks, which are reviewed in a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to NPR, it's the first set of recommendations the professional association has ever released on the practices.

Forthcoming in the October 2017 issue of Pediatrics and available online, the report provides a general assessment of the types and methods used to perform body modifications, along with potential health and social consequences. Here are a few main takeaways:

—It's unclear how often tattoos cause health complications, but they're generally believed to be rare, with the greatest risk being infection. One recent study found that nanoparticles in ink can travel to and linger in lymph nodes for an extended period. That said, you should check with your doctor to make sure all of your immunizations are up to date before getting either a tattoo or piercing, and that you're not taking any immunity-compromising medicines.

—Before shelling out your hard-earned cash on a tattoo, make sure it's something you'll likely still appreciate in five to 10 years, as it costs anywhere from $49 to $300 per square inch to remove a tattoo with lasers. (This might provide all the more incentive to opt for a small design instead of a full sleeve.)

—About half of people 18 to 29 years of age have some kind of piercing or tattoo, according to Dr. Cora Breuner, who is chair of the AAP committee on adolescence. Many individuals don't regret getting one, with some reporting that tattoos make them feel sexier. But while millennials appear to be cool with metal and ink, hiring managers might not be too pleased: In a 2014 survey of 2700 people, 76 percent said they thought a tattoo or piercing had hindered their chances of getting hired, and nearly 40 percent thought tattooed employees reflected poorly on their employers.

—Not all tattoo parlors are created equal, as each state has different regulations. Keep a close eye on whether your artist uses fresh disposable gloves, fresh needles, and unused ink poured into a new container. This helps prevent infection.

—The advice is similar for getting pierced: Make sure the piercer puts on new, disposable gloves and uses new equipment from a sterile container. Tongue piercings can cause tooth chippings, so be careful of that—and remove any piercings before you play contacts sports.

The full report is available online.

[h/t NPR]

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