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Welcome back to school!

by Drew Werner Special to the Daily

To all our first-time students, welcome and congratulations on embarking on one of the most important journeys of your life.

To all our returning students, welcome back! Your school year will be as great as you make it, so make it a great one.

To all parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, congratulations are in order, too, if you have a student returning to school.



If you are a teacher (like my wife) and have been working hard getting the classroom ready and lesson plans in order, thank you. The time you spend, long hours and hard work are appreciated more than you know. Our students are better people, smarter, stronger and wiser because of you.

To everyone, please be careful. Our sidewalks and intersections are a bit more crowded. School buses are starting and stopping. We need to watch out for them as we move through our daily routines. They may not be watching us as they dart across the street. Equally importantly, they may be watching us even if we’re not on our best behavior. Our example is more important than our words.



Thank you for writing in. Please keep your e-mails or letters coming. Here is a question to start off the school year.

Dear Doc:

My children always get a very red face when their heart rate goes up. This is becoming embarrassing for my older child. They have a “hot” look. They are well hydrated, at the proper weight and are active. The only area to get red is the face. Is this a condition and is there a treatment?



– Seeing red in Gypsum

Dear Red:

Just like the color of your children’s’ hair, number of freckles they have and unmistakable pitch of their voice, facial flushing may be as unique as they are. The good news is the flush they have now may be the glow of rosy cheeks later on. Redness indicates increased blood flow to an area. This could be from injury, inflammation, infection, being overheated, anxiety or exertion.

Facial redness that comes and goes is much more likely from the latter three. As you astutely noticed it is often paired with an elevated heart rate, which is responsible for the increased circulation. Our face is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Along with the high concentration of nerve endings it also has a very high concentration of blood vessels.

Being hot in the sun or stepping out from a hot bath or shower will cause the redness you see and he or she feels. Exercise, playing or running will cause the same thing.

Finally, the redness from being anxious is something many people share. The worst part is the more we think about it often the worse it becomes.

As we get older the problem frequently lessens. Our skin becomes less responsive to the dilatation of our blood vessels. We better sense when we’re overheating and cool down before we get too hot. Confidence grows and lessens the problem, too.

So, in order to help, don’t let your children overheat. Whether playing in the sun, running around with out cool down time and a water break or just stepping out from a hot bath or shower encourage them to break before they get too hot.

If it is “nerves” that set the problem off, minimize it. Paying too much attention will only make it worse. Reassure them that it will get better over time. If certain situations are recurrently stressful role-play to lessen their anxieties. If it is still a problem talk to their doctor or school counselor.

Most importantly, what your describing is not abnormal. It is just a trait or characteristic that a part of your children. Take heart in the reassurance that everything is OK.

Next week we’ll talk about school anxieties and a question from a worried mom. After that Bonnie Baker, a third-year medical student from the University of Rochester, will try to answer our questions, so keep them coming!

As an assistant clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, as well as at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, I often teach residents and students in the office. Bonnie will be with me for the next three weeks, and please join me in welcoming her if you happen to come in the office!

Let me know what’s on your mind at editor@vaildaily.com or write to me c/o Editor, Vail Daily, PO Box 81, Vail, CO 81658.

Remember your health is your responsibility! Health is our greatest asset and it doesn’t happen by accident. If something doesn’t seem right, or questions are left unanswered don’t wait, call your doctor.

Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him c/o Editor, Vail Daily, by e-mail to editor@vaildaily.com or P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.


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