From ADHD to Zika: Health News You Can Use

Get helpful info on topics from A to Z to boost your awareness and wellness.


Parents may be all too familiar with easily distracted children, but how do you know whether your little one’s daydreaming and misbehavior are normal youthful antics or signs of a bigger problem?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders in children and can seriously impact both home and school life.

• Signs and symptoms: A 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 10 school-aged children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare provider (that’s 6.4 million kids). Parents who notice an uptick in behaviors such as constant motion and fidgeting, interrupting, and difficulty sitting should consult their primary care provider.

• Co-existing conditions: Many behavioral, mood and learning issues overlap symptoms with ADHD and can often go along with the disorder. One of the most common coexisting conditions is oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Nearly 40 percent of ADHD sufferers have ODD; symptoms include extreme anger and argumentativeness, refusal to follow rules, and vindictiveness.
Co-occurring mood disorders such as depression or mania affect nearly 40 percent of adults with ADHD; children also experience mood disorders and have shown elevated rates of depression as well.
Learning disorders such as dyslexia are a bigger problem for young people, affecting up to 50 percent of children with ADHD. Other issues such as substance abuse, anxiety and sleep problems also have high rates of incidence.

• Treatment options: Treatment can be very effective and varies by age; management with behavioral therapy and medication is most common.

Alcohol Abuse
Identifying patients with alcohol dependence is important to General Hospital and our medical groups. Recognizing patients with alcohol dependence early on and referring them promptly to behavioral health services is a key to the most effective treatment. To ensure members get the help they need, General Hospital and our medical groups are focusing on identifying, referring and following up to confirm alcohol dependence services are received.

According to a 2013 report, asthma results in an estimated 11.8 million days of work/activities missed per year among adults and 1.2 days of school/day care missed per year among children.
General Hospital offers disease management programs to members living with certain chronic conditions at no additional cost. Learn more about General Hospital’s programs here.

With the Centers for Disease Control reporting more than 4,300 Zika cases in the United States, and Congress allocating $1.1 billion to fight the spread and effects of the virus, there is no denying we are dealing with a national public health emergency.

• Cause and effect: Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito—it can be sexually transmitted as well. It poses the biggest threat to pregnant women, who can pass Zika to the fetus, potentially causing a birth defect known as microcephaly, which greatly reduces the size of the infant’s head. Other ramifications of Zika infection during pregnancy include birth defects affecting the child’s brain, vision and joints, as well as impaired movement.

• Symptoms: Zika’s primary symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache, although many infected people won’t present with any symptoms at all.

• Prevention: While scientists are currently working on a vaccine for Zika, the best defense against the virus is prevention of mosquito bites. The CDC recommends pregnant women (and those trying to conceive) avoid travel to areas with reported cases of mosquito-borne Zika.

The CDC advises men who have visited areas with active Zika transmission to refrain from unprotected sex for at least six months after travel; the guideline for women is eight weeks, although the World Health Organization recommends both men and women wait a full six months.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Resource Center on ADHD, World Health Organization