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Rollins sis-boom-bah!

Rollins College is returning to the gridiron!

Certainly not the gridiron it left 63 years ago, and not the Rollins team that beat the Florida Gators in 1907!

The biggest difference is that today’s football requires that each side have both an offensive and a defensive team, instead of the “eleven” that played both offense and defense in the old days.

My father was a language professor at Rollins in those early days and we lived on Fairbanks at Chase Avenue.

I was the center on the Winter Park High School football team in my high school years, and our coach, Jim Mobley, had been a star linesman at Rollins. The Rollins coach, Jack McDowall, had been a well-known football player in the Southeastern Conference.

Rollins played its home games on turf that is now Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, and many of the games were at night — an innovation in those times. Rollins won a great many more games than it lost.

Now that Rollins has decided to enter the intercollegiate football fray once more, the fact that Orlando has no professional team of its own will perhaps provide ardent football support for the Rollins games.

—Louis Roney

Winter Park


Jepson’s column is refreshing

Always enjoy reading the Observer’s “Perspectives” column by Chris Jepson. Especially appreciated his May 5 column about Obama getting Osama. Chris writes so well and his columns are always interesting. Please allow me to commend the Observer for regularly publishing a columnist with such integrity, honesty and class as Jepson. Certainly his reputation will not be ignominious when his name stands in public versus other columnists not as truthful as Chris is. It is refreshing to read a columnist who is so open-minded, receptive to new ideas and not easily put off by the slanted and radical ideas of others.

Thank you again for making Chris Jepson’s column available to me and other readers of the Observer.

—Joe Rizzo

Winter Park


Playing it safe in Florida’s waters

Florida’s warm weather and endless sunshine makes water activities a popular pastime. What many parents forget to think about is the health risks that can stem from water exposure. To ensure your child remains healthy throughout the swimming season, take the proper precautions when playing in the water.

Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal, the tubular opening that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum, and is caused by different types of bacteria or fungi getting into the canal. The infection commonly occurs in children who spend a lot of time in the water. Too much moisture in the ear can irritate and break down the skin in the canal, allowing bacteria or fungi to penetrate and cause your child to complain of pain.

But children don’t have to swim to get swimmer’s ear. Anything that causes a break in the skin of the ear canal can lead to an infection. Dry skin or eczema, scratching the ear canal, vigorous ear cleaning with cotton-tipped applicators, or inserting foreign objects like bobby pins or paper clips into the ear can all increase the risk of developing swimmer’s ear.

How to recognize swimmer’s ear:

• Increasing ear pain

• Pain while chewing

• Itching

• Swelling of the ear canal

• Irritation & swelling of the outer ear

• Swollen/tender lymph nodes around the ear

• Drainage from the ear canal

• Hearing trouble

• Fever is possible but not common

Using over-the-counter drops of a diluted solution of acetic acid or alcohol in the ears after swimming can help prevent swimmer’s ear. These drops are available at pharmacies and should only be used for children who do not have ear tubes or a hole in the eardrum. After time in the water, children should gently dry their ears with a towel and help water run out of their ears by turning their heads to the side. Never put objects into a child’s ear, including cotton-tipped applicators.

Swimmer’s ear should be treated by a doctor. If left untreated, the ear pain will get worse and the infection may spread. To help relieve the pain until your child sees the doctor, you can place a warm washcloth or heating pad against the affected ear. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also ease discomfort. For most cases, your doctor may prescribe eardrops that contain antibiotics to fight the infection, and eardrops are usually given several times a day for seven to 10 days.

The amoeba in our water

Florida’s waters are home to a deadly amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri or N. fowleri. The amoeba causes a rare brain infection that has killed 30 people in Florida including three Central Florida boys in 2007. Amoebas thrive in warm, fresh water around the world, particularly water heated to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Common places in Florida for the amoeba to be present are in the waters of lakes, ponds and poorly maintained pools.

When infected water makes its way into the nose, the amoeba finds its entryway into the human body. The nasal passage permits access to the olfactory nerve, which it follows until reaching the brain. It is in the brain that the deadly infection begins and spreads at a severely rapid pace. Victims typically die seven to 10 days after infection although symptoms may not appear for up to 14 days. Initial symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck. As the infection progresses, symptoms include confusion, inability to pay attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations. Death usually follows the first symptoms by three to seven days. If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms and has recently participated in water activities, seek immediate medical attention.

When you can, try to avoid swimming in warm, fresh water. If you can’t, here are a few tips to help you and your child prevent infection from these deadly amoebas:

• Minimize entry of water into the nose by using nose plugs.

• Avoid digging or stirring up sediment while in warm waters.

• Avoid thermally polluted water, such as water near power plants.

• Learn as much about the species as you can.

For more information on water safety, visit KidsHealth.org

—Catherine Lamprecht, M.D.,

Pediatric infectious disease physician

Nemours Children’s Clinic