Thursday, September 13, 2012
Opportunities for good parenting By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Over the Labor Day weekend, I was out taking my morning walk in Fenwick Island. As a pediatrician, I spend my time observing the children that I see. I made two observations during my walk that were interesting. The first was related to bicycle riders. I saw several families out riding their bicycles together. What was interesting was that some of the children were wearing helmets and some were not. The parents of the children were similarly attired. Those whose children wore helmets had helmets of their own. Those whose children were not wearing helmets also were without helmets. Two different lessons were being taught. One group of parents was teaching their children a lesson about bicycle safety. They not only taught that lesson but also demonstrated it. They wore helmets too. The other group of parents was teaching their children to not ride safely. Since they were in Delaware, they were also teaching their children to break the law. They were doing this with their actions. Both behaviors suggested the opportunity to improve their parenting skills. The second observation involved a mother who had her son in a stroller. While I was walking toward her she stopped the stroller and took out her 23 month old child to go see a wind driven propeller in front of a nearby house. She brought him over to the propeller where he was able to watch it turn. He was also able to spin the propeller with his hand and feel the breeze from the propeller. The mother allowed him to have visual stimulation. She also allowed him to have kinesthetic (sense of moving with his hand) stimulation and the sense of touch from the stimulated wind. Thus, by this small action, she was stimulating three different sensations. I stopped when I got to her and I told her I was a pediatrician. I told her that this was an excellent example of a great parenting technique. It was a very small thing to do, however, it provided the child with multiple experiences. Her response was interesting. In her Eastern European accent, she humbly told me that she was doing this because she was a stay at home mother. I proceeded to tell her that this type of behavior was something that went with good parenting in general. There were probably many stay at home mothers who would have just pushed the stroller right past the propeller. The real point to be made here is that being a good parent often does not take much effort or much time. Children learn a lot of different ways. That might be learning to ride a bicycle safely or to obey the laws. That also might mean nothing more than getting a chance to watch a propeller spin. As parents we need to be aware and take advantage of learning opportunities. You never know when a pediatrician is going to be skulking about.

Breast cancer support program The Cancer Support Group of Kent and Sussex Delaware, through a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, will present an informative program on breast health issues for uninsured or under insured county residents at the Laurel Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the Carpenter Community Room. Nanticoke Cancer Screening Nurse Navigator Melinda Huffman will speak on how low or no cost preventative cancer screening can be obtained for those without insurance. A free, nutritious dinner and other giveaways will be offered after the presentation. All women at high risk of developing breast cancer and who are without adequate medical insurance are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required. Only women who register in advance will be able to attend. Tell the women you love about this program. For more information, contact Latrinka Lee at 645-9150, ext. 107 or leave your name with library staff.

Self Hypnosis for Relaxation' On Saturday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m., the Cancer Support Community, formerly The Wellness Community, will offer Self Hypnosis For Relaxation. Hypnosis is a tool that can be effectively used when recovering from cancer. Join Shannon Smith from Advanced Hypnosis Associates to learn how to use self hypnosis for relaxation. All programs at the Cancer Support Community are offered to people affected by cancer and their loved ones free of charge. Cancer Support Community is located at 18947 John J. Williams Hwy., Ste. 312, Rehoboth. Register in advance by calling 645-9150. More information about the Cancer Support Community is available online at

Diabetes screening event Bayhealth Milford Memorial and Walmart of Milford will offer a free Community Diabetes Screening event at the Milford Walmart on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bayhealth Diabetes educators will be on-site to provide free finger sticks for assessing random blood sugar, educational materials and more. For more information, call Bayhealth's Education Department toll-free at 1-877-453-7107.

Dr. Subramanyam retires Rajeshwari (Dr. Raji) Subramanyam, PhD, recently retired after 18 years of service at Bayhealth Kent General and Milford Memorial. Dr. Raji provided top notch physics services for Bayhealth and trained innumerable colleagues in radiation safety. She helped to select the radiation equipment in the new Bayhealth Cancer Center/Kent General, and always assured that countless patients received highly accurate radiation treatments. Dr. Raji represented Bayhealth on the Delaware Authority on Radiation Protection. She was also instrumental in setting up Bayhealth's first computerized treatment planning system, establishing the first prostate seed implant program in Delaware, and delivering Delaware's first Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) treatment.

First West Nile Virus death Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) confirmed two additional West Nile virus cases, including the state's first death from the disease. A 76-year-old New Castle woman with West Nile virus infection and several underlying medical conditions died Sept. 6. An 80-year-old Wilmington woman with West Nile virus was treated and released from the hospital recently. Tests conducted by the DPH Laboratory confirmed both West Nile virus cases on Sept. 4. Although almost 2,000 cases have been reported so far this year in the U.S., Delaware now has three human cases. DPH reminds community members to protect themselves against West Nile virus which is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally from spring to fall. Although nearly 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will not become ill and only a little less than 20 percent of those infected will develop West Nile fever, with mild symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands), one in 150 people infected develop severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis). For more information on Mosquito Control, call 302-739-9917 or visit For more general information on West Nile Virus, go to

Get vaccinated for whooping cough Whooping cough, or pertussis, is making a comeback across the United States and Delaware cases are on the rise. Twenty cases were reported from Jan. 1 - July 31 compared to 12 this same time last year. Reported cases represent the tip of the iceberg. Delaware's Division of Public Health reminds community members that vaccination is the best protection against whooping cough. Children who never received any doses of the vaccine are at least eight times more likely to get pertussis than children who got all five doses of the vaccine before 7 years of age. Whooping cough spreads easily by coughing and sneezing. It is a very serious illness for babies and children. Children less than 1 year of age, some who may be too young to have received the vaccine, are at greatest risk of serious complications of whooping cough. Adults should be vaccinated with Tdap at least two weeks before coming into close contact with an infant. A single booster dose of Tdap is recommended for all teens and adults 11- 64 years who have not previously received a dose (including those who had previously received DTP/ DTaP). Adults 65 and over who anticipate close contact with children less than 12 months and who have not previously received Tdap should also get a single dose. Multiple vaccines are recommended for children depending upon their age. Since 2011, a booster Tdap vaccination is also recommended for all pregnant women who have not received a dose in the past, preferably in the third or late second trimester, to protect newborn infants from severe pertussis. For information on your vaccination needs, contact your doctor or call the DPH Immunization program at 302-744-1060. Delaware offers free and low cost vaccines for children who qualify. For more information, visit

Celebrate Healthy Aging Month Monitoring your blood pressure regularly could keep you out of the danger zone. High blood pressure can put you at risk for heart attack and stroke. Many times, early stage cancers typically do not cause any physical symptoms. Routine screenings for breast, prostate, colon and cervical cancer can help identify problems early and increase chances of survival. During Healthy Aging Month this September, Bayhealth is emphasizing the importance of health screenings and preventative health care to help prevent serious illnesses. Healthy Aging Month is recognized annually to draw attention to health issues which arise from aging. You can take charge of your own health by taking a few simple but important steps: See your doctor.

Whether you are trying to resolve that ache in your abdomen or just have an important question, maintaining a relationship with your doctor allows your physician to help you manage existing health issues and prevent future health problems. Get your screenings. Screenings help detect potential health issues in the earliest, most treatable stages. Whether it's a mammogram for women over 40, or a prostate screening for a man over 50, these screenings can literally be lifesavers. Educate yourself about your health. In today's cyber age, health information is only a click away. Pick up a book at the library or attend a free health seminar in your community. Another valuable resource is Bayhealth's Steps to Healthy Aging Program, a free membership program for anyone age 50+ in the Bayhealth service area. Steps to Healthy Aging provides members with the latest health information, weekly blood pressure clinics and monthly education seminars. For more information or to register your membership with the Bayhealth Steps to Healthy Aging Program, visit or call 302-744-7135 or 1-877-453-7107.

Dr. Rubino completes residency Dr. Matthew Rubino graduated from the Christiana Care General Surgical Residency Program on June 15, 2012. The annual residency graduation dinner was held at White Clay Creek Country Club in Newark. Attending the ceremony were Dr. Rubino's wife, Kristi, daughter, Emma Grace, parents, Mark and Brenda Rubino, sister, Julie Jacko and in-laws John and Linda Bennett. Also in attendance were Christiana Care surgeons, faculty, staff and surgical residents. After graduating from Laurel High School in 1999, Dr. Rubino received his bachelor of science degree from Pennsylvania State University in 2003 and his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson Medical College in 2007. Dr. Rubino was accepted into the 5 year surgical residency program at Christiana Care where he served as chief surgical resident from July 2011 through June 2012. Dr. Rubino accepted a position as a general surgeon with Surgical Associates of New Castle located at 324 East Main St., Newark. He will be specializing in general and trauma surgery including advanced laparoscopic surgery, hernia Surgery, colon and breast surgery, and colonoscopy/endoscopy. Dr. Rubino is a member of the medical staff at both Christiana and Wilmington hospitals. He will also be involved as a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Rubino lives in Middletown with his wife Kristi and their one-year-old daughter Emma.

Bill requires training for sleep techs Senate Bill 194 (SB 194), which establishes licensure for polysomnographic (sleep) technologists, recently passed by both legislative chambers was signed by Governor Markell on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D) and co-sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Walker (D). Historically there have been no state requirements that individuals working in sleep disorders centers in Delaware have any education or training, including CPR - it was up to each employer to set their own requirements. This bill will require that on July 1, 2014, any person who is engaged in the practice of polysomnography in the state of Delaware must be properly trained and licensed. Sleep disorders are among the most common complaints by patients seen by general practitioners. Insomnia, sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome are of major public health importance. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a commonly under-diagnosed condition that occurs in 4 percent of middle aged men and 2 percent of middle aged women. The prevalence increases with age (up to 10 percent in persons 65 and older), as well as with increased weight. Most individuals with sleep disorders are undiagnosed. The test used to evaluate sleep disorders is called polysomnography which includes monitoring of a patient's brain wave patterns, breathing, EKG, blood oxygen level, eye movements, chin muscle activity and the movement of limbs. Sleep technologists, also known as polysomnographic technologists, are the individuals who perform these tests. Eleven states plus the District of Columbia currently have a Polysomnography Practice Act, which provides sleep technologists a specific licensure/certification pathway. These states include: California, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings Residents living in and around Laurel and Blades can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. Life Line Screening will visit Laurel Wesleyan Church located at 30186 Seaford Rd., Laurel, on Thursday, Sept. 27. Screenings will be held in Blades at Town Hall located at 20 W. Fourth St., Blades, on Thursday, Oct. 4. Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms and hardening of the arteries in the legs which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Packages start at $149. All five screenings take 60 to 90 minutes to complete. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 877-237-1287 or visit Pre-registration is required.

Plan for aging population By some accounts, Sussex County is the Florida of the mid-Atlantic region, attracting thousands of retirees as new residents each year with a low cost of living, temperate weather and easy access to major metropolitan areas. With an expected 44 percent increase in the senior population between 2010 and 2020, that growth will prompt new or expanded programs and services. Denise L. Weeks-Tappan, planning supervisor for the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, will be the featured guest speaker at the September meeting of the Sussex County Advisory Committee on Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. Weeks-Tappan will present "The Delaware State Plan on Aging, 2012-2015," focusing on how the state plans to meet the needs of a growing population in the years ahead. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at the County Administrative Offices West Complex, 22215 N. DuPont Blvd., Georgetown. The Sussex County Advisory Committee on Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities is an 11-member panel established by the Sussex County Council to be an advocate for programs and policies that benefit older and disabled residents. All meetings are open to the public. For more information, visit the committee's page at

Entertainment sale at Look-In Glass The Look In-Glass Shoppe at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is holding an "Infinite Entertainment Sale" on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, Sept. 14 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop by the lobby at Nanticoke and shop for tablets, televisions, laptops, cameras, GPS, gaming consoles and other consumer electronics. Payroll deductions are available for eligible NHS employees. All proceeds go to Nanticoke Health Services to support patient care services.

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

HIV/AIDS Support Group A new support group for HIV/AIDS will meet every other Wednesday, at 7 p.m., in the Branford Lounge at Epworth United Methodist Church at 19285 Holland Glade Rd., Rehoboth Beach. The group is sponsored by Epworth UMC, CAMP Rehoboth, the AIDs Delaware and Delaware HIV Consortium. For more information, contact David at

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.