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March-April 2011




  • Kid’s Corner -

    How do I deal with anxiety?

    Mom’s Corner -

  • Medication Safety

  • Dad’s Corner -

    Naps Are Good For You!

  • Planet Earth -

    How to stop epidemics

  • News -                                                                                                        

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for March-April 2011.

The weather has started to change from Winter to Spring and we’re beginning to have warmer days with not as cold nights. This is an important newsletter because I’m talking about several very timely topics, such as how can a child deal with anxiety; medication safety and how we can rid the world of infectious diseases such as smallpox (a success story) and Polio.

              Several children are known have severe anxiety, in fact, one of the few psychiatric emergency is when a child refuses to go to school. This month’s kid section should help your children learn more about anxiety and what they can do so they aren’t as scared.

A real problem for children is accidently taking the wrong medication. Many years ago Flintstones Vitamins had a huge problem because children would take them thinking they were candy.

Most people now are chronically sleep deprived (especially me) so I thought you might like to hear how naps are good for us. I know for myself, I look forward to the weekends when I can lay down and take a nap in the afternoon. It really helps me to recharge my batteries.

The flu epidemic is a big issue each year, but only part of the whole issue of what diseases cause major problems for children and adults. I’ve written about epidemics this month so you are aware of how important it is to make a decision whether or not to vaccinate your children.

Lastly, in the kid’s section this month I’m talking about how they can deal with anxiety. I thought that it would be nice to talk about another disease which has a large influence from anxiety…irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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How do I deal with anxiety?

In my private psychiatric practice I see many, many children and adults who are struggling with feelings of anxiety. Everyone, kids and even the oldest adult, experience fears and anxieties. Most people get nervous in situations that are new, like talking in front of strangers, but for kids, a very common anxiety is about going to school. That type of feeling is normal, but when you have anxiety you may feel like you have no control over your life and the activities you normally participate in. If anxious feelings persist, they can make you feel sick and afraid to go out.

People have anxiety because anxiety is like a flashing red light that tells you “danger…danger.” Anxiety feels just the same as if you are really in danger. But anxiety seems to come from nowhere and usually occurs when there's no immediate threat to your safety. Your heart beats fast and your stomach may hurt. What you fear or get anxious about usually change as you get older. Typical fears include strangers, heights, dark rooms, animals, blood, insects, and being left alone. Kids often fear a specific thing or situation such as being bitten by a dog or for several kids I know going to a bathroom that isn’t in their house.

For many kids, starting school can be really scary…you’re leaving home for the first time, you have a new teacher, and for older kids you have to change classrooms and learn how to open a locker. Ooooh, I’m still bothered by that one. If you’re a teenager your fears are different, for example, you’re dealing with the changes in your body and you’re very worried how others see you and your grades.

Some signs that you may be getting anxious can include:

  • temporary twitches in your hands or legs
  • problems getting to sleep and/or staying asleep longer than usual
  • sweaty hands
  • your heart beats fast and you start breathing quickly
  • your stomach feels upset
  • you have a headache

If you’re scared or anxious…TELL YOUR PARENTS that you’re worried. Your feelings of fear are real to you. It really helps to talk about your fears. Words can take some of the power out of your anxiety.

It’s important to learn how to deal with fears and anxieties. Rate your fear on a scale of 1 to 10. Most people find that you will rate your fear much higher than it is in reality. For example you might think that going to school is a 10 but when you go to school it’s a 3. If you are feeling anxious, take deep breaths or think of something pleasant. If you are facing a big fear like doing a presentation, try to take your fears in “chunks.” Practice the presentation in front of a mirror or have your parents tape you. You will quickly find that the anxiety will get less and less the more you practice. Say positive self-statements to deal with your anxiety. Say "I can do this" and "I will be OK" to say to yourself when you feel anxious. I’ll tell you a secret…I do this ALL the time!

Later on in this newsletter, I’m going to talk about a disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is definitely made worse if you have anxiety.


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                                 Medication Safety

YOU are the gatekeeper of your family's health and play the most important role in the family using medications safely. With the multiple medicines most people take, it is hard to keep track of who in the family is taking what medication and the dangers of drug reactions, interactions and side effects are constantly increasing. I’m a doctor and it's even hard for me to keep up with new drug safety information coming out nearly every day.

Here Are Some Actions You Can Take Right Now to Keep Medications Safer:

  • Keep a list of all your current medications at home and in your wallet or purse. It will help enormously when you go to the doctor/or if you are in an emergency.
  • Keep all medications in the original container. If you use a pill box/dispenser put everything in at one time.
  • Do not keep medications in the car or bathroom where heat and humidity can affect the medicine
  • Read education material available from the pharmacist and your doctor and look at the web.

How to Keep Your Child Medications Safe

Only use medications made for kids. Children are not merely smaller adults. Medications are absorbed and metabolized much differently in children than adults. Children’s bodies are less developed, and an adult medication (which is formulated specifically for an adult body) could not only work very differently on them, but could also cause serious side effects to children’s health.

Read the directions carefully. Read the medication insert and/or label carefully and pay close attention to how much medicine to give, how frequently to give it, and under what conditions (with or without food, for instance).

Turn on the lights. Read package labels in good light. A night lite is NOT a good light.

Measure the medication. Dispense the medication in the cup that comes with it, or use a calibrated medicine spoon, dropper, or cup.

Don’t use expired meds. Look at the expiration date before you buy a drug to make sure it isn’t outdated or about to expire.

Never give your child a prescription medication intended for someone else. This is another reason to throw away medications that have expired.

Store meds safely. Keep medicines out of kids’ reach and in a cool, dry place. Don’t leave the drugs out and unattended after dispensing them. Put them away quickly so they don’t end up in the wrong hands. I take one medication, which is aspirin to help prevent a heart attack or stroke and I leave it where I will be sure to take it each morning. If I had young children I would have to put it somewhere the kids couldn’t reach it.

Learn About Your Children’s Medications. I always tell my patients to read up on the medications I prescribe and the web has photos of the medications. I have two programs on my computer which are great to answer questions I might have about medications and I use them every week.

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Naps Are Good For Your Health and Success!

Many famous people feel that taking a nap has been a very important part of their success. Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Johannes Brahms and Doc Grubb (that’s me) are just a few famous nappers.  Because of my work and family I routinely only get five or five and a half hours of sleep a night so I’m a strong believer in naps for recharging my batteries. In addition, sleep researcher have shown that no matter how long you sleep at night, the human body is programmed to become sleepy in the early afternoon. So you thought it was because of the big lunch you ate. You’ve probably heard of the famous “siesta” in Latin American and European countries where all the stores close and many people take a nap. But in America most people will reach for a coffee or soda that contains caffeine to give you a jolt of energy which doesn’t let your body relax as it should. Studies have shown that the brain is more active in people who nap than in those who don't sleep during the day. Naps really help us all to think clearer and better.

We are supposed to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night but most people are chronically sleep-deprived. One of the very real dangers of being chronically sleep-deprived is the number of accidents which are caused by people falling a sleep at the wheel of their car. When you are sleep deprived you have slips in performance and attentiveness and often involuntary lapse into sleep when accidents can occur. Some companies believe so strongly in naps that they give a small room in which people can take naps. Companies that encourage napping report that it reduces accidents and errors and increases productivity, even if it shortens the workday a bit.

There are two kinds of naps: brief ones taken to revive the brain and long ones taken to compensate for significant sleep loss. Long naps help when you've accumulated a considerable sleep debt or when you know you will have to be alert and awake considerably later than your usual bedtime. But long naps have a temporary disadvantage. Most people feel groggy and sleepy when they first get up. Also, long naps can affect the body's clock, making it more difficult to wake up at the proper time in the morning.

When you take a nap, try to lie down on a couch or bed, all the better. Winston Churchill would actually get undressed and get in bed! Make yourself as comfortable as possible. I like to cover up when I take a nap because your body temperature drops when you sleep. Try to keep the nap to about 30 or 45 minutes. This can be hard so for many people using a small timer or alarm clock, seems to work really well.

Finally, naps are especially important for people who have just experienced illness, injury or chemotherapy. When you are resting your body is generating new and repairing old cells so even if you get enough sleep at night a nap can still help you heal faster.

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How to stop epidemics

              Epidemics of infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause.  In the U.S. vaccines have reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. Vaccine-preventable diseases have many social and economic costs: sick children miss school and can cause parents to lose time from work. These diseases also result in doctor's visits, hospitalizations, and even premature deaths. Here are a few of the diseases for which we have vaccines. You will probably recognize the names of several of them.


Polio has been eradicated worldwide except for a few isolated areas. Before polio vaccine was available, 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported each year in the United States. I can still remember in the 1950s how scared people were of polio epidemics. They would close swimming pools in communities to prevent kids from catching polio.


Tetanus is a severe, often fatal disease. The bacteria that cause tetanus are widely distributed in soil and street dust, are found in the waste of many animals.  People who get tetanus suffer from stiffness and spasms of the muscles.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis can cause prolonged coughing spells that can last for many weeks. These spells can make it difficult for a person to eat, drink, and breathe. Because vomiting often occurs after a coughing spell, persons may lose weight and become dehydrated. In infants, it can also cause pneumonia and lead to brain damage, seizures, and mental retardation.


A highly contagious disease, chickenpox is usually mild but can be severe in some persons. Infants, adolescents and adults, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons are at particular risk for serious complications including secondary bacterial infections, loss of fluids (dehydration), pneumonia, and central nervous system involvement.


Measles has serious medical complications, such as ear infections, pneumonia, which causes most of the deaths from measles, diarrhea and encephalitis (swelling of the lining of the brain), resulting in brain damage. Measles still is one of the most infectious diseases in the world and is frequently imported into the U.S by travelers.

Rubella/German Measles

While rubella is usually mild in children and adults, up to 90 percent of infants born to mothers infected with rubella during the first trimester of pregnancy will develop congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), resulting in heart defects, cataracts, mental retardation, and deafness.

Mumps  is usually a mild viral disease. However, serious complications, such as inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) can occur rarely. Mumps used to be a major cause of deafness in children. Serious side effects of mumps are more common among adults than children.

              To make a sensible decision about whether to give your child a specific vaccine you have to understand the dangers of the disease and the dangers of the vaccine. The risks due to the disease are of course first the risk of catching it and then the seriousness of the disease when you have it. The risks of a vaccine are harder to determine than the risks of a disease. The best thing to do is to BE INFORMED about vaccines. In medicine we always talk about “informed consent.” Part of this is to know what effect the vaccine will have to include their risks and benefits and most importantly their side effects, but also to know what the dangers are if you don’t vaccinate.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disease and can cause abdominal cramping, bloating and a change in bowel habits. No one knows the exact cause of IBS and there is no specific test for IBS. Most people diagnosed with IBS can control their symptoms with diet, stress management and medicine.

It’s clear that there is a connection between IBS and stress and anxiety. Although psychological problems such as anxiety do not cause IBS, people with IBS may be more sensitive to emotional troubles. Stress and anxiety may make the mind more aware of spasms in the colon. IBS may be triggered by the immune system, which is affected by stress.  There's proof that stress management can help prevent or ease

IBS symptoms. Some people use relaxation techniques such a deep breathing or visualization, where they image a peaceful scene. Others reduce stress by doing something enjoyable, such as talking to a friend, reading, listening to music, or shopping.

Two-thirds of IBS sufferers tend to get better with changes in diet and medication. The other third, people with more severe symptoms, are good candidates for psychological help.  Behavioral therapy has been shown to relieve some IBS symptoms in most people who try it. Behavioral therapies include relaxation therapy, biofeedback, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as individual and group psychotherapy. I’m a great fan of self-help group for people with IBS. Members of these groups know what it's like to live with IBS. Sometimes they can offer more meaningful support than you could get from even your closest friends.

Try out different stress management techniques to see which help ease your IBS symptoms. If you still find yourself stressed and anxious, talk with your doctor. Make sure you're getting proper medical treatment for IBS-related constipation and diarrhea. Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating a good diet which is well-balanced and colorful also helps reduce tension. For many adults and children, increasing the amount of fiber in their diets, limiting the amount of sugary and acidic drinks and establishing a regular time to go to the bathroom can also have a great impact on the symptoms of IBS.

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Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

As a subscriber you will be sent announcements of my new books, CD, and seminars at reduced prices and fees. Sign-up now.

You should read my latest book, “Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle.” Please go to the order page and read part of the first chapter. You will learn a lot from this book why everyone has gained weight and the Three Secrets to normalize your weight.


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