Summer is a great time for fun outdoor adventures in Lake County. Like anywhere else, there are occasional dangers to consider- one of those is venomous Coral snakes. Although bites are infrequent, the strength of a coral snake's venom is the second deadliest after the black mamba.
Coral snake habitats can be found in most places in Lake County with rotting wood, decaying plants, and piles of leaves. The best precautions are to avoid these hiding places and to wear pants and tall boots when in any of these environments
Having the ability to identify a coral snake is the next best precaution to avoid a fatal encounter with one. "Red touch black, safe for Jack. Red touch yellow kills a fellow" is a simple rhyme that serves as an accurate way to identify local coral snakes.
Due to the small mouths and fangs of coral snakes, it is difficult for them to puncture human skin. However, since their venom is extremely poisonous, any bite should be treated as an emergency with a call to 911. Coral snakes have a powerful neurotoxin that paralyzes the victim’s breathing muscles. Mechanical or artificial respiration, along with large doses of expensive antivenom, are often required to save a life.
Symptoms can take several hours to appear and include color changing or bruising at the wound site, swelling. slurred speech, double vision, muscular paralysis, severe burning, nausea, weakness, and an odd taste in the mouth.
Summer fun in the sun often means fun in the water, too. Whether you’ll be hitting the pool, lake, or beach this season, there are some crucial safety tips your family should know.
When the perceived level of danger is low, it results in lower levels of vigilance. For example, a child may be in relatively shallow water in the ocean, but if knocked to the ground by a wave and struck in the head, a drowning can occur in only inches of water. It’s especially important to keep water safety tips top of mind when your family is going on a vacation that will put children in a new, unfamiliar environment.
Here are the top water-safety tips to remember:
1. Don’t Leave Children Unattended. You might be tempted to quickly step away or do a few chores while your little one is playing, but it’s so important to never leave small children alone or in the care of another child in pools, spas, or even the bathtub. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, an adult should be only an arm’s length away when infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers are in or around water. Swimmers of all ages should never swim alone; always use the buddy system, even at a public pool or lifeguarded beach.
2. Be extra vigilant during gatherings with lots of adults. Dr. Timothy Cheslock, emergency medicine specialist at Florida Hospital Waterman, explained why even social gatherings with lots of adults around to supervise can be dangerous. “When supervising children in the water, the following anecdote holds true: if it’s everyone’s job, it’s no one’s job,” he said.
“At social gatherings, assign specific adult(s) to do nothing but supervise children in the water. Wearing a laminated card on a lanyard around the neck easily identifies who is responsible, and the card may be passed off to another adult if it breaks or shift changes are needed,” said Cheslock.
3. Don’t rely on pool floats or water wings. It’s important to remember that while pool floats can be helpful and fun, they are not considered life-saving devices. “Never rely on water wings, flotation devices, or even lifejackets to save a child,” says Dr. Cheslock. “These aids are considered to be just that — aids — not replacements for supervising adults.” But when boating, ensure everyone on the watercraft has an appropriately-sized lifejacket in case someone should fall overboard.
4. Swim Near the Lifeguard Even if you feel they are strong swimmers, children should always stay within sight of you and a lifeguard. Give them boundaries within the pool limits to keep them from swimming too far away or toward the deep end. When at the beach, stay near the guard station. Older swimmers should know what to do in case of rip currents — swim parallel to the shore until out of the current, then swim back to the shore. Young children should only enter the ocean with an adult to avoid being overtaken by unpredictable waves.
5. Prepare the pool for kids If you have a pool and are hosting family, or will be visiting a relative who has a pool, you should take extra precautions to protect children from the water. Using a pool alarm, secured fence or barricades is a good start.
6. Make time for Swim Lessons Golden Triangle YMCA offers swim lessons for children of all ages. Remember that regardless of how many lessons your kids have had, being in water can challenge their skills and become overwhelming at a moment’s notice. It’s important to always stay nearby. As young swimmers get more confident, they may be excited to jump in the pool. Teach kids to ask permission before entering any water so you are always ready to supervise when they do.
7. Learn CPR. In the event of an emergency, call 911 immediately. But performing CPR when someone is pulled from the water can save their life in the time it takes for EMS to arrive. Read up on hands-only CPR here, or take time to attend a training class especially for pediatric CPR.
“When drowning occurs, the time to initiation of CPR is a key determinant of clinical outcome,” stressed Dr. Cheslock. “The sooner the drowning is interrupted, the more timely and effective the resuscitative efforts are, and the more likely the person is to do well. Pre-hospital and bystander CPR are critical to saving lives.”
8. Be attentive. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by an upcoming trip to the pool or beach, remember that preparation and attentiveness are key to keeping the kids safe and healthy while they’re having fun. Relax, don’t multitask, and focus on making fun summer memories with the family.
Summer’s here, so dust off the picnic basket and head to your favorite Lake County park. Before spreading your blanket at Wooton Park, Trimble Park, Gilbert Park or any other lakefront gem, here’s some tips to help pack a healthier basket. 1. Tap into summer’s bounty. Take plenty of chopped veggies as a crunchy alternative to chips and pack berries, watermelon slices and frozen grapes for a refreshing. Try broccoli slaw, tossed with a low-fat poppy seed dressing, instead of traditional slaw.
2. Salad alternatives Using oil and vinegar dressings (less oil, more vinegar) not only cuts back on fat, but the acid keeps food safer. Try a light and refreshing English cucumber salad.
3. Healthier indulgences for your sweet tooth If fresh fruit doesn’t satisfy your cravings, keep bite-sized desserts or angel food cake topped with fresh berries and a bit of light whipped cream on ice.
4. Grill safely Marinating meats before grilling using thyme, sage, garlic, or rosemary minimizes the production of compounds that pose a cancer risk. Heat and fat are the real culprits, so trim all visible fat, flip the meat, poultry, or fish often, and grill at a lower temperature (below 325º F), but don’t undercook.
5. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold Cold foods should be kept on ice in a cooler and hot foods (like chicken or hot dogs) should be covered in foil to retain the heat.
6. Stay well hydrated Have plenty of cool water on hand and encourage everyone, especially kids, to drink liberally. Contributions by Peter Weiss, Chief Clinical Dietician, Florida Hospital Waterman For a list of picnic parks, click here. For some easy and healthy summer recipes by professional dieticians visit www.WatermanWellness.com.
Picnics, boating, swimming pools, and being on the opposite end of the calendar from the frigid bite of winter… what’s not to love about the summer season? However, as thermostats begin to rise this summer, so does the risk of serious heat-related illnesses and injuries.
National Heat Safety Awareness day is on May 23, providing a reminder to stay safe while enjoying the summer sunshine and activities.
Dr. Devlin O’Connor, DO, a family medicine physician with Florida Hospital Medical Group, shares tips on how to be safe and sun-smart this summer.
STAY A STEP AHEAD OF HEAT STROKE Anyone who enjoys being active outdoors should also be aware of how to identify indicators of heat stroke. Typically, a result of not consuming enough fluids, heat stroke occurs when the body temperature gets too hot.
Protect from heat stroke by being mindful of the following symptoms: • Body temperature of 104°F or higher • Headaches, confusion or trouble thinking clearly • Hallucinations • Skin redness and warmth • Vomiting or diarrhea • Muscle cramps or weakness
If you begin to experience these heat stroke warning signs, seek out an area that will cool your body temperature down, drink fluids, and seek medical advice immediately.
EXERCISE SMART This is no reason to be inactive during the summer, but it’s important to heed the following advice when exercising outside: • Stick to water and sports drinks and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. • Wear loose, lightweight clothes. • Exercise in the morning while it’s cooler. • Try to take breaks when you exercise. • Drink plenty of fluids. ENJOY SUMMER WHILE IT LASTS As always, be sure to apply and reapply plenty of sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
. In just 10 minutes, a parked car's internal temperature can rise 20 degrees, despite leaving windows cracked open. This can become deadly very quickly – so be cautious when leaving your car unattended and do not leave pets or family members in a parked car. Finally, keep snacks on hand that provide the body with essential fluids such as watermelon, celery or other items that can help a body stay hydrated, all while enjoying some fun in the sun.
It's rapidly becoming a favorite season of the year. This year’s blueberry season kicked off the first week in April and is expected to continue through May.
The growing number of local u-pick farms currently has prices that range from $4 to $8 per pound for the sweet and nutritious treat. Eager blueberry lovers should pick to their heart’s content since blueberries are widely considered a ‘super food’ that’s low in calories and high in nutrients and antioxidants. Here's the list of local U-Pick blueberry farms and their current price per pound and u-pick hours:
Atwood Family Farm 25079 SE Hwy 450, Umatilla, 352-630-0145 $4 per pound u-pick, $5 per pound pre-picked. U-pick hours: Weekends 8:30-4. Weekdays as available.
Blue Bayou Farms (organic) 8222 CR 48, Yalaha, 352-267-5277 $5 per pound u-pick or $7 per pound pre-picked. U-pick Hours: 9-5pm daily, except Monday.
Far Reach Ranch Heavenly Blueberries 1255 South Dora Blvd., Tavares, 352-343-7389 $4 per pound u-pick, $5.50 per pound pre-picked. U-pick hours: Wed.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 10-4. Other offerings: A variety of blueberry jams, blueberry salsa and local honey.
King Grove Organic Farm 19741 CR 44A, Eustis, 352-589-2469 $8 per pound u-pick. U-pick hours are very limited, so call ahead.
Promise Farms 36777 CR 44A, Eustis, 352-408-1988 $5 per pound u-pick or $7 per pound pre-picked. U-pick hours: Mon.-Sat. 9-3. Closed on Sunday.
Sand Hill Blueberries 31614 Bottany Woods Dr., Eustis, 352-636-8204 $4 per pound u-pick or $6 per pound pre-picked. Other offerings: Picnic area, hamburgers and hotdogs on weekends, swings, horseshoes.
Due to weather, field and berry conditions, u-pick hours and pricing can change, so it's recommended pickers call the farm prior to visiting.
When professional anglers descended on the Harris Chain of Lakes on February 22 through 25 as part of the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Tour, they made a little pit stop. Patients at Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares were surprised with visits from some of the nation’s top FLW anglers, including Cody Kelley, Jimmy Reese, Joe Long, Billy Hines, and anesthesiologist Jay Kendrick, M.D., who was the 2015 Rayovac Champion.
The competitive fishermen towed their boats to the 269-bed Florida Hospital Waterman parking lot and signed autographs in the lobby during a public meet and greet.
“Lake County is world renowned for its gorgeous lakes and waterways,” says Florida Hospital Waterman CEO, Abel Biri. “We are proud to be located in this beautiful region and are happy to be involved in this community event in support of sports, health and nature. It was a blessing to our team members and patients to meet the FLW anglers and an honor to show them our campus.”
FLW conducts 274 bass-fishing tournaments throughout the country and gives anglers the chance to compete for millions in prize money. The competition can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show.
When Joanne Phillipp, of Mount Dora, went for her regular check-up with her primary care physician, she felt good with the exception of chronic acid reflux symptoms.
“My physician had been treating my GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux disease) for a while with medication,” explains Phillipp. “All of my lab tests were coming back normal and my blood pressure was perfect, but he referred me to a cardiologist to schedule a heart catheterization as the definitive test. A few days before my scheduled cath, I started to feel a little off. I was worried and felt like I should go to the ER.”
Phillipp listened to her instincts and went to the emergency department at Florida Hospital Waterman. An emergency heart catheterization showed multiple blockages in her coronary arteries and immediate surgery was recommended by cardiothoracic surgeon, Gary Allen, MD.
“Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical option for people who have severe coronary artery disease, a condition in which plaque builds up in the coronary arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart muscle,” explained Allen.
Bypass surgery typically requires the chest to be opened surgically, and a heart-lung bypass machine is used to circulate the blood and add oxygen while the heart is stopped during the grafting procedure. For some patients, off pump surgery may be an option. With this less invasive technique, the heart muscle is slowed with medication but is still beating during the procedure, circulating blood and oxygen on its own without the need for a heart-lung bypass machine. Phillipp had off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting surgery in early October and today she is back to playing catch with her grandson and planning to run in an Easter 5K sponsored by her church every year.
“I feel fantastic and I am very grateful,” says Phillipp. “I now know that women experience very different symptoms of heart attacks. The sharp pains and discomfort that I was attributing to my GERD were in fact symptoms of an impending attack. I don’t care how foolish you think you are being, if you feel like things aren’t right then mention it to your doctor right away. My doctors saved my life.”
Sharon Simmons, of Tangerine, doesn’t remember the day she was rushed to the Emergency Department at Florida Hospital Waterman, but her family will never forget it. “Two days prior to my hospitalization, I had developed a fever and severe pain in both of my legs. I began throwing up and talking gibberish to my boyfriend,” explains Simmons. “What I thought was the flu or a stomach virus was obviously something much worse.”
By the time Simmons arrived at the emergency department, her legs were changing colors to varying degrees of red, black and blue. The medical staff immediately knew her condition was life-threatening. “The physicians put me in a medically induced coma and immediately took me to surgery,” says Simmons. “The physicians told my boyfriend to call my children because I had a 5% chance of living. My body had become septic and was shutting down.”
“Sepsis is the body’s over active and toxic response to an infection. Any bacterial or viral condition such as bronchitis, urinary tract infection or tonsillitis is considered a form of sepsis,” explains Simmons’ physician and Director of Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Louis Guzzi, M.D. “Early treatment of these conditions is important so that the infection does not progress to a life-threatening state.”
When Simmons woke up in the Intensive Care Unit, she couldn’t move her legs or arms and had what appeared to be burns on her hands and covering her lower legs.
Above: Dr. Louis Guzzi
“I was in the hospital a total of seven weeks and most of that time was spent doing physical therapy and healing my wounds,” says Simmons. “The discoloring of my legs that the physicians noticed was actually the infection spreading through my bloodstream. I was left with nerve damage in my legs and feet from the lack of oxygen to my extremities during the infection. At one point I was facing possibly amputation of several limbs but thankfully it never came to that point.” Today, she is passionate about sharing her story and educating others on the importance of recognizing early signs of sepsis. Until her diagnosis, Simmons had never heard of the condition. “I shouldn’t be here today. I was given a 5% chance of living and yet by the grace of God I am alive,” says Simmons. “I view life each day as a gift.” SYMPTOMS OF SEPSIS S Shivering, fever, or very cold E Extreme pain or general discomfort ("worst ever") P Pale or discolored skin S Sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused I "I feel like I might die." S Short of breath
Watch for a combination of these symptoms. If you suspect sepsis, see a doctor urgently, Call 911 or go to the hospital and say "I'm concerned about sepsis." Find a physician here.