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May 30, 2003     Cape Gazette
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May 30, 2003

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"1" HEALTH & CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, May 30 - June 5, 2003 - 65 FITNESS Emergen00 responders honored for service in 2002 By Kerry Kester The annual Sussex County Emergency Medical Services-- (EMS) awards, May 17, were bit- tersweet as emergency responders honored those who performed ex- ceptionally in 2002 and remem- bered a young colleague who died suddenly in January. For his skill with patients, his kindnesses and his quiet way of going beyond the call of duty, Todd Horrocks earned the Emer- gency Medical Technician (EMT) of the Year Award for the Station 103 district. His father-in-law, Sussex EMS Deputy Director Bob Stuart, accepted the award on be- half of Horrocks, who died from surgical complications, Jan. 22, at age 26. Horrocks served as an EMT with Georgetown VFW Ambu- lance and with Sussex County EMS. "He was just a great guy," said Tim Cooper, EMS public in- formation officer. Cooper re- called the last time he worked alongside his son-in-law. It was a particularly challenging weekend, said Cooper. They had responded to several fires, and Beebe Med- ical Center was on a lock-down because of riotous behavior in West Rehoboth following a homi- cide. "And one of our employees was bit. The patient was psychot- ic. It was a very rough weekend, but Todd always had a big smile." Others who worked with Hor- rocks recalled how he encouraged those who were feeling stressed or overwhelmed. They remembered him as a man who was sensitive to the needs of others and was par- Tim Cooper photos Sussex County Emergency Medical Services and the Sussex County Volunteer Ambulance Association held its annual awards banquet, May 17, at the CHEER Center in Georgetown. Officials and awardees shown in back are (l-r) Sussex County Volunteer Fireman's Association President Jerry Johnson, Connie Argo, Doug Boocock, Fred Haas, Bob Mauch, Cathy Der- rickson, Don Weber, Buffy Kemp, Tara Cooper, Dr. Dean Dobbert, Jay Myers. In front are John Argo and Tammy Morrison. ticularly insightful and helpful with elderly patients. Horrocks left his wife Kristi and his daughter Reagan behind. Since Reagan is only 2 years old, colleagues were concerned she would not know what an out- standing man her father was. Sev- eral decided to start a book of memories from colleagues - para- medics, hospital emergency room personnel, fire-and-ambulance personnel. More than 25 people made entries in the book at Beebe Medical Center. Lisa Temple, RN, Beebe Med- ical Center Emergency Depart- ment (ED) charge nurse, said she remembered a time about a week before Christmas when Horrocks took a frail, elderly woman under his wing. The ambulance atten- dants called ahead to Beebe to alert them they were planning to bring in a patient who was making her fourth trip to the ED that week. "There was no real reason for the woman to come to the hospital except she was lonely," said Tem- ple. Horrocks knew the woman had no medical need, so he stayed with the woman for a short while. He fixed the woman something to eat, helped her take down Hal- Continued on page 66 Sussex EMS Director Glenn Luedtke, left, presents the EMT of the Year Award to Deputy Director Bob Stuart, who accepted the award on behalf of his son-in-law Todd Hor- rocks, who died in January. Treatments available for eye irritations during allergy season Flowers blooming, warm weather and more daylight hours signal the arrival of spring, but for many people it also means aller- gies. Fifty percent of Americans suffer some sort of allergy-related symptoms and half of those in- elude ocular allergies. For people who suffer allergy-related eye problems, a number of over-the- counter and new prescription medications are available to pro- vide relief. Common problems related to allergies include itchy, red, wa- tery, burning and swollen eyes. Symptoms can range from subtle irritation to a severe and intolera- ble response. Triggers include pollens from grass, trees and envi- ronmental contaminants, as well as dust, animal hair and yeast. The problem starts when the body's immune system mistakes these substances for unwanted foreign bodies. When the im- mune system overreacts, it trig- gers allergic reactions to protect HEALTH TOPICS Dr. Jay Taylor Dr. Jay Taylor is an op- tometrist at the Delaware Eye Institute in Rehoboth Beach. For more informa- tion, call 645-2300. the eyes from potential injury. The main reaction that occurs is the degranulation of mast cells. Mast cells are stimulated by the allergens. They then try to open up and discharge chemical media- tors into the adjacent tissue, caus- ing the allergy symptoms. If indi- viduals can pinpoint the cause of the allergy and avoid exposure whenever possible, that will help relieve.the eyes the most. Unfor- tunately, this is not always feasi- ble. When their eyes become irritat- ed, people can seek help from their eye-care provider. Depend- ing on the person's discomfort level, eye-care providers can sug- gest over the counter drops or pre- scribe any of several medications to decrease or relieve the symp- toms. We have an array of topical medications that do different things, such as antihistamines, nonsteroidal antiflammatory agents, mast cell stabilizers and corticosteroids. Oral and topical antihistamines work at the level of the blood ves- sels to decrease itching and red- ness. Topical nonsteroidal antiin- flammatories (NSAIDs) actually cause the patient's tolerance or sensitivity to the symptoms to in- crease, therefore making them more comfortable. Currently, mast cell stabilizers are the drugs of choice for most cases. They work at the mast cell itself, preventing it from discharg- ing its histamine and other chemi- cal mediators into the tissue. It has been shown that using these medications before the season starts can greatly reduce the severity of seasonal reaction. For the most stubborn and severe cas- es, we can treat the allergic reac- tion with corticosteroids. Steroids quell the entire inflammatory and allergic response at many differ- ent levels and can offer relief for the worse cases. Although the steroids provide relief, they are used cautiously because of poten- tial side effects. In Delaware, some people may start experiencing symptoms as early as February, but April and May are the most common months for problems to start. Many people see their primary care physician, allergist or other specialist for prescription oral medications, which work well for most but may cause drowsiness in some individuals. Recent studies comparing pa- tients taking a topical mast cell stabilizer, such as eye drops, to patients taking an oral antiallergy medication have shown the pa- tients on the eye drops experi- enced significantly less itching and ocular redness. In some cas- es, the oral medications can cause allergy sufferers to find their eyes drier than normal, causing more irritation or an inability to wear their contact lenses. If this is the case, artificial tears are recom- mended. If you suffer from seasonal ocu- lar allergies and are not finding re- lief from your current therapy, contact your eye-care provider for an appointment. They have many treatment options to make your spring more comfortable.