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Teaching and learning about juvenile arthritis
Student uses own condition as subject for project
A young girl with juvenile arthritis used a science fair project as an opportunity to educate herself and others about the condition.
Naomi Hudson, a nine-year-old Grade 4 student at Heritage School (47 Heritage Blvd.), was one of 180 students from Grades 3 to 12 participating in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division science fair on April 9. The elementary stream was being judged in the afternoon while the secondary stream was judged in the morning. According to Jason Braun, the science fair chair, there were more than 140 projects being judged that day.
Hudson ended up winning a gold ribbon for her project.
Hudson said she was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when she was two-and-a-half years old, as well as uveitis — inflammation inside the eye — when she was four-and-a-half years old.
Hudson wanted to show people through her project that arthritis isn’t something that just affects older people.
"My joints become stiff if I don’t treat them with medicines or ice or heating pads," Hudson said.
Since her diagnosis, Hudson said she’s taken a lot of needles and pills. When her joints start to hurt, she said she goes home to take a hot Epsom salt bath, as Epsom salts contain a lot of magnesium, which is essential for bone growth.
"It also is important to stay active," Hudson said. "Sports are fine, but if I do too much of it, my joints start to hurt."
Hudson also takes methotrexate once a week for her juvenile arthritis.
Hudson’s project provided information about what juvenile arthritis is and different ways to cope with the condition.
"To feel better when you’re sore, just use a heating pad or an ice pack, or a hot bath with Epsom salts," Hudson said.
Hudson also stressed the importance of taking action once diagnosed.
"Once you notice it, you want to get right on the joint injections and steroids right away," Hudson said.
In Manitoba, more than 600 boys and girls under the age of 16 have juvenile arthritis, according to a fact sheet provided by the Arthritis Society.
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