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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Is it true that if you swallow gum, worms will come into your body! If It's not true, does that make it okay to swallow gum?

Lara Simon Playa del Rey, California

Dear Lara:

Nothing that we have ever read or heard supports the idea that swallowing chewing gum causes worms. Gum is made of fiber that cannot be digested. When it is swallowed, the sugar or sugar substitute in it is absorbed and the rest usually passes through the body.

There have been several reported cases of children needing medical treatment to remove wads of gum that have blocked their intestinal tract. For this reason, chewing gum should not be swallowed, and young children should not be given gum until they are old enough to understand the importance of not swallowing it. An occasional, accidentally swallowed piece of gum should not hurt you, as long as it is too small to be a choking hazard.

Dear Dr. Cory:

This is probably not your question, but I am overweight and I was wondering if you could please send me some information about losing weight.

Kayla Motycki Charleroi, Pennsylvania

Dear Kayla:

Preteens often gain weight and look a little chubby. This is in preparation for a big growth spurt. When your growth spurt occurs, you should begin to feel taller and slimmer.

Growth charts help your doctor determine a healthy weight for you. He looks at several factors, including your height, weight, body type, age, and sex.

You do need to watch what foods you eat. Eating more calories than you can use causes weight problems.

Concentrate on eating foods that are low in calories but high in nutrients, like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, and cereals.

Food labels can be helpful. Check them carefully to see just how much fat and how many calories you are eating. Avoid soft drinks and fried foods such as French fries and chips. Drink water often.

Eat lowfat dairy products, such as lowfat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Exercise is an important part of weight control. When muscles are used, they burn calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Children your age need to be physically active every day for at least sixty minutes; several hours would be best. This does not have to be all at once but spread out over the day.

Your exercise should include a wide variety of physical activities, such as bike riding, swimming, or chores around the yard and house. Even little activities are important, like walking to and from school and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It's fine to participate in a team sport, but also find a sport that you can enjoy throughout life, such as tennis.

Dear Dr. Cory:

I would like to know how you get strep throat. Can you tell me? My mom and sister have never had it. I read every issue of Jack and Jill when it comes!

Bridgitt Hidinger Brookville, Pennsylvania

Dear Dr. Cory:

How come strep throat is such a big deal?

Samanta Yuhas Amawalk, New York

Dear Bridgitt and Samanta:

Strep throat is caused by Group A streptococci (STREP-toe-cock-sigh) bacteria. Most strep throat infections are passed around on droplets of breath moisture.

Not everyone who has a sore throat has strep throat. Many sore throats are caused by viruses. Antibiotic medicine fights bacteria and gets rid of strep infections, but does not work on viruses.

It is important to treat strep infections with antibiotics. If it's not or if a person with strep doesn't take all of his medicine, the infection can spread to other parts of the body like the ears, sinuses, or throat. It can even lead to rheumatic (roo-MAT-ick) fever, a disease of the heart and joints. Glomerulonephritis (glow-mer-u-low-ne-FRY-tis), a disease of the kidneys, is another serious, but rare, complication of strep bacteria.

See you next issue! Your friend,
COPYRIGHT 2001 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:brief health notes
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Jack & Jill
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Previous Article:A Scale of One to Ten.
Next Article:Hairy Heads.

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