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LIFELINE

Dentists mouth off
The American Dental Association has gone on record firmly and formally against oral piercing.

Piercing the tongue, lips or cheeks so that jewelry may be inserted can lead to numerous health problems and shouldn't be done at all, the association's governing body has concluded, and the organization vows to oppose the practice in any way possible.

"The piercing of oral structures presents risks of infection because of vast amounts of bacteria in the mouth and may cause airway obstruction because of swelling," said Dr. Gary Armitage, chairman of the ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs.

Parking ticket rage
Writing tickets may be a violation of police officers' well-being.

After 115 New York City parking enforcers wore blood pressure monitors for a workday, researchers found that dealing with members of the public raised the officers' blood pressure more than interactions with their co-workers or even supervisors.

And the officers' blood pressure stayed high even after these conversations ended, according to researchers from St. John's University in Jamaica and the State University of New York, whose report appears in this month's issue of the journal Psychophysiology.

Previous studies suggested that the average parking enforcement officer has confrontations with motorists about three times a day in which the ticket writer is harassed, yelled at or threatened. In the new study, though most episodes did not end up hostile, the officers' systolic blood pressure still soared by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury.

Because apprehensive social situations can occur frequently, the authors say, it is plausible that the increases in blood pressure during these incidents "could have a cumulative negative effect on cardiovascular function."

Baby-sitting preparation
"Safe Sitter," a two-part program that teaches adolescents how to handle emergencies when caring for young children, will be held Feb. 13 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

The program for girls and boys ages 11 to 13 includes medical information taught by a certified professional. The class also instructs children on lifesaving techniques, safety precautions to prevent accidents, how and when to summon for help, age-appropriate child care tips, interviewing parents, the baby sitter's personal safety and the business of baby sitting.

A course manual is included in the $30 registration fee. For information or to register, call Sharon Thomas, a registered nurse, at 568-3409.

Expectant parents' retreat
Bed & Breakfast Childbirth Prep Getaway Weekends are being offered by Children's and Millard Fillmore Suburban hospitals. The retreats in Cameo Inn Lewiston/Youngstown are designed for first-time parents and those who have other children and need a refresher class along with a relaxing weekend.

The weekends feature a Friday evening reception and breakfast and lunch on Saturday. They include childbirth courses taught by certified instructors, as well as quiet retreats with a view of the lower Niagara River and Canadian shoreline.

Scheduled weekends are Feb. 5 and 6, March 5 and 6, and April 2 and 3. Registration is limited to seven couples each weekend.

Day care for adults
An Adult Day Health program for adults with special needs will begin Monday and continue weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Weinberg Campus on North Forest Road in Getzville. The community-based long-term care program offers health care services in a congregate day setting.

An individualized plan of care is developed for each participant and is implemented by a team of medical professionals, including the participant's personal community physician. The program also offers banking services, a deli-style restaurant, beauty and barber shop and medical and dental clinic. Transportation by a local carrier is also available. For information or to arrange for an individual assessment, call Kathy Norsen at 639-3311, Ext. 490.

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