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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

What causes strep throat?

Kateland Castol and Tierra Dinkins

Hutchens Elementary School

Mobile, Alabama

Dear Kateland and Tierra:

Strep throat is caused by Group A streptococci (STREP-toe-cock-sigh) bacteria. Most strep throat infections are passed from person to person on droplets of moisture as people breathe.

A person with a strep infection is often "contagious" before he notices any symptoms--one more reason to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and to have good hand-washing habits.

Not everyone who has a sore throat has strep throat. Many sore throats are caused by viruses. Throat cultures show if the sore throat is caused by a bacteria. If it is, then antibiotics will fight the bacteria and cure the infection.

Symptoms such as sore throat, fever, headache, pain with swallowing, nausea, vomiting, and swollen lymph nodes indicate the need for a throat culture.

Dear Dr. Cory:

I am planning to build up muscle for athletics. I am thirteen and weigh 74 pounds. How can I do this in a healthy way?

Walter Foxworth

Dallas, Texas

Dear Walter:

We would suggest that you look at programs at your school, community center, or health club offering strength-training classes that are closely supervised by well-trained adults. These adults should be knowledgeable about appropriate training for your age and stage of physical development. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines strength-training as the use of a variety of methods, including exercises with free weights and weight machines, to increase muscular strength, endurance, and/or power for sports participation or fitness enhancement.

Repetition and proper technique should be the focus rather than the amount of weight lifted. Power lifting should be avoided. Using lighter weights and lifting them at a slow speed forces the muscles you are using to fully contract through their full range of motion. You are also less likely to injure yourself this way.

Strength-training should not be confused with the sports of weight lifting, power lifting, and body building. According to the AAP, until your body has reached full adult development (usually between the ages of fifteen and eighteen) you should avoid the sport of weight lifting, power lifting and body building, as well as the repetitive use of maximal amounts of weight in strength-training programs, because these sports can result in serious injury.

See you next issue!

Your friend,

Cory SerVaas, M.D.

Trading Cards From the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering Series #1 of their Disease Cards Series to children and teens from eleven to sixteen years of age. The cards are a way for the CDC to communicate information about diseases and public health careers. Students, teachers, and parents can receive one free hard copy set by sending their e-mail request to: Subject: Disease Cards. Include: Name and mailing address.

Series #1 features infectious diseases. Each card includes a color photo/graphic on the front with written information about the disease on the back. The set includes "exotic" diseases such as Ebola, but also diseases that routinely affect children like Strep A. There are twenty cards in the series. Series #2 (Immunizations) and Series #3 (Injuries) are in development.

Antibiotic medicine will not work on viruses. They are only effective against bacteria. Unnecessary and improper use of antibiotics can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. This means that the antibiotic will no longer be able to fight the bacteria to get rid of the infection. This is something health care professionals are trying hard to prevent by educating everyone about the appropriate use of antibiotics. You can do your part by remembering to take your antibiotic medicine for the full number of days that have been prescribed for you. Some people think they can stop taking an antibiotic when they start to feel better, but this just gives the bacteria a chance to become stronger and resistant to the antibiotic.

Send your health questions to "Ask Doctor Cory," Children Digest, P.O. Box 567, Indianapolis, IN 46206 or e-mail us at This column does not replace your doctor's advice.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:health questions and news
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Children's Digest
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Previous Article:The Mistaken Valentine.
Next Article:PAGE OF POETRY.

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