ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
CAREGIVING
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Keep Fire Safety in Mind as You Celebrate
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
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Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings

TUESDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The leading cause of accidental poisonings among American children can be found in the family medicine cabinet, a new government report shows.

Each year in the United States, more than 71,000 children aged 18 and younger are seen in emergency rooms for unintentional overdoses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, the researchers found.

In fact, more than two-thirds of emergency department visits are due to poisoning from prescription and over-the-counter medications -- that's more than double the rate of childhood poisonings caused by household cleaning products, plants and the like, the team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"Medication overdoses are most common among 2-year-olds," added lead researcher Dr. Daniel Budnitz, director of the CDC's Medication Safety Program in the division of health-care quality promotion. "About one out of every 180 2-year-olds visits an emergency department for a medication overdose each year."

Dr. Robert Geller, a professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and medical director of the Georgia Poison Center, said that "the number children seen in the emergency room due to overdoses that are unintentional or medication errors is remarkable."

Geller noted that many more people reach out to poison control centers for help than show up at the hospital. "Right now, poison centers are having their funding cut," he noted. "If poison centers are less available, the number of children going to emergency rooms will rise."

More than 80 percent of these overdoses are due to unsupervised ingestion, Budnitz noted. "Basically, it's young children finding and eating medicine without adult supervision," he said. "They are found with an empty bottle or pills in their mouth or something, and they are taken to the emergency department."

In addition, medication errors by caregivers or adults and misuse of drugs by preteens and teens cause about 14 percent of accidental poisonings, Budnitz said. "Basically, that's not following directions," he said.

The report appears online Aug. 4 in advance of publication in the September print edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

For the study, Budnitz's team used 2004 and 2005 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to estimate the number of emergency department visits resulting from unintentional medication overdoses for children aged 18 and younger.

The most common medications accidentally taken by children are acetaminophen, opioids or benzodiazepines, cough and cold medicines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antidepressants, Budnitz said.

To help reduce the number of incidents of unintentional poisonings, especially in younger children, Budnitz believes drug manufacturers must create better child safety caps, including caps that limit the dose that can be dispensed.

Currently, the CDC is working with over-the-counter drug manufacturers to encourage the implementation of new "passive" safety caps, Budnitz said. These caps do not require that the user to do anything but close it to work, or they allow only a measured dose to be dispensed at one time.

There is a need to improve packaging to cut the number of cases of unintended ingestion, Geller said. "If you could make it harder for a kid who came upon a package to get the contents of the package, it would make it more likely they would never need to go to the emergency room," he noted.

Of course, there are things that can be done right now by parents and caregivers, Budnitz said. These include making sure the cap is tightly secured after taking medication and placing the bottle well out of the reach of toddlers.

While many overdoses are accidental, the dangers of opioid use among teens is the subject of a new study in this month's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. That study, from University of Michigan researchers, found that pain relief is not the main reason that one in 10 high school seniors have tried opioid drugs. The most common reasons included relaxation, feeling good or getting high, experimentation and then pain relief. Students used drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydromorphone, meperidine, morphine and codeine without a prescription, the researchers found.

The dangers of misused cold medications for infants and young children has also been a topic of recent debate among experts. Following concerns raised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, leading drug makers in October voluntarily withdrew oral cough and cold medicines marketed for use in infants.

The move affects only "infant" oral medicines, not those intended and labeled for use in children aged 2 and older. And it comes as U.S. regulators review the products' safety, following reports of dozens of deaths since 1969.

"The reason the makers of over-the-counter oral cough and cold medicines for infants are voluntarily withdrawing these medicines is that there have been rare patterns of misuse leading to overdose recently identified, particularly in infants, and safety is our top priority," Linda A. Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, said in a statement at the time.

SOURCES: Daniel Budnitz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Medication Safety Program, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Robert Geller, M.D., professor, pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, medical director, Georgia Poison Center, and chief, Emory Pediatric Staff, Grady Health System; Aug. 4, 2009, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, online