Spring is in the air, and for allergy sufferers, that is not necessarily good news. It does not matter where one goes. Allergens are found in every climate. Nearly 50 millions people suffer from seasonal allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). Seasonal rhinitis, or “hay fever” (even though it does not often involve hay or a fever), is the body’s abnormal reaction to pollen. Seen as an unwanted invader, the body produces antibodies, which attach to certain white blood cells. Future exposure means that those antibodies are ready to fight. The cells burst, releasing huge amounts of histamine into the system and — allergy symptoms go wild. Two area doctors spoke with The Newtown Bee about this seasonal challenge, offering different options for attending to the debilitating symptoms of seasonal allergies.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc is soliciting proposals from qualified groups to support the expansion of public education and training to help those that come into contact with adults and young people in the Newtown community. The foundation is seeking to identify, understand, and respond to signs of trauma, mental health concerns, and/or address barriers that keep those who need mental health services from accessing them. Proposals are also sought to develop, strengthen, or expand therapeutic programs/interventions that assist with the recovery from those impacted by 12/14. The deadline for proposal submission is May 9.
The Arthritis Foundation New England Region has named 8-year-old Ashley Guerrera of Newtown the Youth Ambassador for the 2014 Danbury Walk to Cure Arthritis. As an ambassador, Ashley will be a large part in helping the Danbury Walk to Cure Arthritis reach its fundraising goal of $57,550.
Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event, with local events hosted in Danbury on April 27, in Hartford May 5, and in New Haven October 5. Funds raised through the event support Arthritis Foundation programs, research and advocacy initiatives to help people live better today while finding a cure for the number one cause of disability in the United States tomorrow. Ashley has been living with juvenile arthritis, but she sees herself as a very lucky girl.
While some of the statistical improvements are incremental, Newtown Prevention Council Co-Chair Judy Blanchard took the opportunity during National Alcohol Awareness Month to review specific results from the latest local survey of youth related to alcohol consumption, availability, and prevailing attitudes toward drinking. Alcohol Awareness Month was founded by and has been sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma associated with alcoholism that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help. Locally, a Youth Survey Report sponsored by Newtown Prevention Council and Newtown Public Schools was conducted under the Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. It was designed to ascertain prevalence, attitudes, and behaviors related to use of substances (tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs).
The Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS) West Region, Newtown Public Schools and the Connecticut Family Support Network (CTFSN) are partnering to sponsor a Spring Resource Fair on Tuesday, April 29. The event will be held at Newtown High School from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Individuals and families will have an opportunity to meet and gather information about disability related support and services from community vendors and state agencies. After the resource fair, a presentation titled “Meeting Halfway for Parents,” to be presented by CTFSN, will start at 6:45 pm.
Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert and a small group of town employees laced up their sneakers April 2 to take a brisk spin around the Fairfield Hills to mark National Start Walking Day. Since statistics show that one in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart disease, and research shows that poor lifestyle is a major contributor, Ms Culbert wanted to help her colleagues improve or maintain their good health by factoring in a daily or even occasional walk into their workdays. On April 2 as in years past, Ms Culbert encouraged her fellow town employees to take at least 30 minutes to get up and walk. At the same time, school district Health Coordinator Judy Blanchard, who also participated April 2, was thinking about a recent letter she read in The Newtown Bee, which made note of a group of parents she passes each day on her way to work, who wait at their children’s bus stop each morning with their children inside their idling vehicles.
On Thursday, April 17, at Masonicare at Newtown, Robert LaRosa, DDS, and Michele Federico will present a Lunch & Learn program titled “Dental Care & Concerns as You Age.” Dr LaRosa and Ms Federico will discuss many dental care issues that are common with aging, such as preventive oral hygiene, periodontal disease, medication-related dry mouth, tooth loss and dentures, and the effects of dental health on the body. The free program will begin at 11:30 am and will be followed by a complimentary lunch.
The month of March was a busy one for legislators concerned about the proliferation of e-cigarette use among the country’s youth, the lack of regulation for sales of e-cigarettes to minors at state and federal levels, and advertising directed at young people that glamorizes “vaping” in much the same way that conventional cigarettes were once marketed. On March 12, Governor Dannel P. Malloy introduced legislation to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, electronic delivery systems, and other vapor products to those under the age of 18. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vape pens, are currently not regulated in the state. Local health officials and school leaders have concerns about the marketing of these products, which have not been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval.
Fabian Cousteau, a third generation ocean explorer and filmmaker, will be appearing in person as the keynote speaker at the Fourth Annual Danbury Hospital Dive Medicine Conference on Saturday, April 5. The annual conference, organized by physician, diver, and Newtown resident David Charash, DO, will be held at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury, from 8 am to 12:30 pm. Mr Cousteau will be speaking about saturation diving and the upcoming Mission 31. Mission 31 will be located at the Aquarius Reef Base, a seafloor habitat roughly 63 feet (20 meters) underwater in the Florida Keys.
One day every year, local parents and people who care about Newtown’s children go back to school to learn about the latest trends, issues and concerns facing families and the community at the Parent Connection’s Parent Empowerment University. This year’s event, presented on march 22 in partnership with Brookfield CARES, was by far the best attended in its history according to Parent Connection Co-Founder Dorrie Carolan. She said she saw more than 220 registered attendees on hand, and at least 100 children tagging along for fun activities.