For Parents

Solar Eclipse Safety: How to Protect the Eyes of Your Budding Astronomers

Boy watching sunset with fatherA solar eclipse is coming on August 21st. Are you ready?

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8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening

Little Girl Gardening

According to the World Health Organization, good health means more than just the absence of bad health symptoms. It means the presence of positive emotions, quality of life, sense of community and happiness.  (WHO 1948)

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UNC REX’s Pregnancy & Baby App Is Now Available in the App Store

032017_facebook_ad_withlogo_and_titleThe brand new Pregnancy & Baby app from UNC REX has all the engaging information about your baby’s development that the most popular pregnancy apps have, but ours also connects you to your community hospital.

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Cute Photos of REX Newborns in Little Red Knit Hats

On February 3, REX Women’s Center distributed 200 red knitted caps to babies and new parents for National Wear Red Day. The knit hats were contributed to the REX Women’s Center courtesy of Little Hats Big Hearts, an American Heart Association organization.

We couldn’t resist stopping by to snap some photos.

red hard lil c

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Improving Care for Patients with PAD through Research


Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects an estimated 8 million people in the U.S. However, severity of symptoms can vary widely.

Patients with relatively mild PAD may experience cramping in their limbs during exercise—known as claudication. Patients with the most severe PAD are afflicted with ischemic ulcers and gangrene as cells and tissues that are deprived of oxygen-rich blood begin to die.

Several devices, like stents or balloons, are available to help relieve the blockages that cause PAD. But because most of the data on their use comes from clinical trials aimed at regulatory approval, and because such trials utilize patients with a relatively standardized severity of symptoms, there is often little guidance for clinicians whose patients have milder or more severe PAD.

One UNC REX Healthcare doctor is leading the effort to change that.

George L. Adams, MD, MHS, FACC

George L. Adams, MD, MHS, FACC

George Adams, MD, MHS, Director of Cardiovascular and Peripheral Vascular Research at UNC REX Hospital, is leading a prospective, observational, multicenter study called LIBERTY 360. In February 2016, the study completed enrollment 1,204 patients at 51 sites across the U.S. The enrolled patients had symptoms that ranged from mild to severe (physicians use the Rutherford scale to rate severity) requiring endovascular treatment for an arterial blockage located within the target area beginning slightly above the knee, through the foot.

“In the guidelines currently, you are supposed to manage the symptoms of patients with mild PAD and amputate in the most severe cases,” said Adams. “So the question we’re trying to answer is if we accept all classes of patients, what can we do for them and what is the outcome?”

The study hopes to gather data on the clinical and economic impact of endovascular device interventions – like stents or balloons – by following patients for up to five years. During that time, patient risk scores will be developed as a clinical predictor of outcomes to provide guidance for future interventions.

Initial 30-day results, which Adams recently presented in a late-breaking presentation at the Amputation Prevention Symposium in Chicago, have already suggested a new way of looking at treatment.

The results saw quality of life improvements in patients from across the Rutherford scale. “The take home message is maybe we should be intervening earlier and trying to intervene in more severe cases,” said Adams.

Ideally, intervening with endovascular devices among a wider range of patients will improve outcomes all around, including reducing the number of amputations required in patients with the most severe PAD. But for now more data need to be gathered.

To find out if you are at risk for PAD, please take our free online health risk assessment. To learn more visit

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Do’s of Safe Grilling

Summer is the most popular time of the year to host outside grilling parties; in fact, two of the busiest holidays for grilling occasions are Memorial Day and Fourth of July! Three out of four households in the U.S. own grills, which means there are lots of tasty meals to go around. At the same time, the growing number of grilling use leads to an increased risk for home fires and injuries. Before firing up your grill this summer, read these recommendations on safe, healthy, and tasty ways to prepare your food this cookout season!


Choice Grilling Foods
Start grilling lean cut meats with a limited amount of visible fat and skin. When buying meats with the least amount of fat, try looking for loin and round cuts of red meat and pork at the grocery store. Different types of fish such as salmon, trout, and herring are a great source for heart-healthy omega- 3 fatty acids and are low in saturated fat. And almost any vegetables can be grilled to add natural flavor to your meal!

Make sure frozen meat, poultry or seafood is thawed before grilling so that it cooks evenly. The refrigerator works best for slow, safe defrosting. You may also place sealed packages of frozen meat in cold water to thaw. Never defrost meat at room temperature, as this can promote bacteria growth and foodborne illness.

shutterstock_404044714A Boost of Flavor
Marinades can boost the flavor of meat and help keep it moist. You can marinate meat for several hours or a day or two in the refrigerator. As with defrosting, the kitchen counter is no place to marinate meat. If you plan to use a portion of the marinade for cooked food, make sure to boil the marinade for at least three minutes to kill any bacteria.

Marinade bonus: Not only can marinades enhance flavor, they may provide health benefits. Marinating meats before grilling may reduce cancer-causing substances that occur when meat is charred over high heat. In addition, some marinades contain antioxidants and vitamins that may offer protection against heart disease and cell and tissue damage.

052814_grill3Be Clean
Scrub the grilling surface with a wire grill brush to remove any charred food. Have plenty of clean grilling utensils and platters on hand, and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria by using different platters and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat. Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water after handling raw meat.

Prepare Your Grilling Zone
Instruct children to stay away from the grill, and keep pets away from the grilling area. Set up your barbecuing station in a well-ventilated area and only use approved fire starters with a charcoal grill. Let the starter fluid burn off before putting food on the grill, and keep a squirt bottle of water nearby to douse any flare-ups. When heating up the grill and flipping food, wear flameproof mitts and use cooking utensils with long handles.

Reach the Right Temperature
Heat meat to a safe internal temperature to kill bacteria. Use a food thermometer and place it in the deepest part of the meat to determine if it’s done (see chart). Turn meat at least once during the cooking process, and make sure it’s no longer pink inside.

052814_grill1When food has reached a safe temperature, remove the meat with clean tongs and place it on a clean platter. Serve food as soon as possible after cooking. In hot weather, food should never sit out for more than one hour. Immediately refrigerate any leftovers in shallow containers.

Now you’re ready to make grilling season a breeze! By following these health and safety tips, you’ll know your grill has the sweet smell of success.

Ready to Serve?

Food Cook to at least…
Whole poultry and thighs 180°F
Poultry breasts 170°F
Ground poultry 165°F
Pork (all cuts), ground beef hamburgers 165°F
Beef, veal, lamb steaks, roasts and chops, fish and seafood 145°F



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Exercising Safely with Asthma

More than 20 million people in the United States suffer from asthma, the lung disease caused by narrow or blocked airways. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that 80 to 90 percent of people with allergic asthma also experience symptoms of exercise-induced asthma, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath during physical activity. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid exercise—quite the opposite!


Regular activity can help strengthen your heart and lungs, relieving asthma symptoms. Follow these steps to exercise safely:

1. Take your medication. Your doctor may prescribe two types of inhalers: one that’s used just before exercise and one for long-term asthma control. Medication is one of the best ways to treat an asthma attack. Long-term-control medicines control asthma by reducing inflammation that are taken every day. The quick-relief medicines relax and open your airways at the first sign of an attack. Discuss treatment options with your doctor to keep your asthma under control.


2. Warm up. Take about 10 minutes to warm up before working out.

3. Exercise in moist air. Breathe through your nose to humidify air before it enters your lungs. If it’s cold and dry, wear a mask or scarf over your nose and mouth.

4. Avoid allergy triggers. For instance, exercise indoors when pollen counts are high. Find out what things make your asthma worse and do your best to avoid them. Asthma cannot be cured, but is manageable with the right treatment. Knowing what triggers your asthma can help keep your symptoms under control.
Common triggers include:

  • Cold air
  • Perfumes and other strong smells
  • Smoke
  • Pet dander
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Pollution

To learn more about treatment options for your asthma symptoms or other pulmonary conditions, visit:

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Tips to Keep Kids Healthy in Childcare

Do children in day care get sick more often than those who stay home? Yes, according to research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. But there’s good news! Research suggests that the rate of illness evens out by the time the children enter school — and day care children may have fewer illnesses in elementary school compared with peers who were at home.


Here are some quick stay-healthy tips:

  1. Wash hands frequently. Prevent the spread of germs by washing hands before and after your child attends day care or school. Remind your child to follow all of the steps of washing hands properly.
  2. Stay up-to-date on shots. Protect your child and others by getting recommended vaccinations including an annual flu shot (for you and your child!).
  3. Keep children at home when sick. Staying at home prevents the spread of illness to other children, and may also help your child get rest and recover faster.
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How Obesity Hurts Young Hearts

With school still in session, often times our attention towards outdoor activities and healthy eating tends to shift to a less active lifestyle for children. According to the American Heart Association, one in three American children are overweight or obese.

Every year, on the last week of April, Action for Healthy Kids launches Every Kid Healthy Week to emphasize the link between nutrition, physical activity, and learning. When kids are healthier, they learn better!

Children who are 100 pounds or more overweight may face greater heart disease risks than previously thought, says new research. While obesity has been increasing among U.S. adolescents, there’s been some research previously done for heart disease risk factors in this group.

In the study of more than 240 very obese teens, 95 percent had a least one risk factor for heart disease. Half had high blood pressure, half had high cholesterol and almost 15 percent had diabetes. Boys were more likely than girls to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


Keep your family on track to a healthier life with these four tips:

  1. Make healthy eating a family focus. No one wants to put his or her child on a diet. Instead, focus on nutritious meals as a family.
  2. Include protein in meals and snacks. Lean protein, like eggs, chicken and beans, helps promote satiety.
  3. Encourage activity. Limit screen time and put the “active” back in family activities. Think bowling on the weekend, riding bikes after dinner or a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood.
  4. Get cooking! Kids are more likely to try new foods if they’ve had a hand in making them. Teach your kids how to make healthy meals and ways to reduce the amount of fat, salt, and sugar in everyday recipes.

If you’re concerned about your child’s weight or general health, visit Find a Doctor to choose a pediatrician.

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Child Safety Seats: Are They Used Correctly?

Robin DealRobin Deal, BSN, RN, CCE is the Perinatal Services Manager for Rex Healthcare. She has been a Child Passenger Safety Technician for over 15 years.

September 13-19 is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Safe Kids coalitions and other organizations are holding child safety seat inspections to emphasize the importance of proper car seat installation and use.

Do most parents and caregivers use child safety seats correctly?

091615_carseat2According to researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital led by Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, the answer is no!  In an ongoing study, new mothers who were asked to install a child safety seat in their vehicle and position their newborn in the seat under the supervision of a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) did not do it correctly. 93% made at least one critical error in positioning their child in the car seat or installing the seat in their vehicle.*

Additionally, the study showed 68% made a harness error, 33% positioned the retainer clip too low, 28% used the incorrect harness slot, and 14% did not know how to adjust the harness.  The most common installation errors were a seat that was too loose (43%), incorrect angle (36%), and an unlocked safety belt (23%), There was an average of 2.3 positioning errors per family and an average of 1.9 installation errors per family.

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years.  Proper usage of a child safety seat requires a combination of reading and following the car seat manufacturer’s instructions along with the vehicle owner’s manual that includes a section child seat safety.

Here are a few tips to help you install and use your child safety seat correctly.

  • 091615_carseat4Read all directions carefully in both manuals – vehicle owner’s and car seat
  • Know and understand the locking system of your seat belt.
  • Install the seat with less than one inch of movement – it does not have to be immoveable!
  • For a rear-facing seat, use the correct angle as noted by the indicator on the seat.
  • Position the harness retainer clip at armpit level.
  • Choose the harness slots that are at or below the child’s shoulders for a rear-facing seat.
  • Snug the harness so you are not able to “pinch up” the material.
  • Know how the LATCH system works if you have it in your vehicle (hint: owner’s manual!).
  • Avoid the use of products that did not come with your child safety seat.

There is no substitution for reading all instructions thoroughly before installing and using your seat.  Additional assurance that you are correctly using your child seat can be provided by having your seat inspected by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST).

091615_carseat5If your baby is premature, make sure you choose a seat appropriate for the weight and length of your baby.  Select a seat that has a lower weight limit of 4 pounds and low harness slots.  Most premature babies are tested in their seat before discharge from the NICU to make sure they can ride safely in their seat.

Rex is proud to offer car seat inspections and classes for caregivers.  A certified CPST is available from 8:30 AM- 12:30 PM Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to inspect your car seat installation for free.  Please note:  We ask that you have read your instructions and installed your seat prior to coming to the inspection area in front of the Rex Women’s Center.  You may contact our technician, Chris Morris, at 919-784-1802 or Robin Deal at 919-784-3340.


*Hoffman B. Abstract #25919.  Presented at the 2014 AAP National Conference and Exhibition, “Majority of Parents with Newborns Misused Car Safety Seats.”

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