Back-to-School: Your Kids Health

back to school photo

 

I both love and loathe this time of year. I love that my kids are excited to see their friends, make new ones, meet their teachers, and have a genuine enthusiasm to learn new things. But…I loathe that the passage of time is staring me squarely in the face, declaring…yes, your kids are growing up and moving on. Get used to it.

via: Back-to-School: On keeping your kids healthy and safe all year long | Confessions of a Dr. Mom.

Back to school, as I said in my last post signals “a new beginning” which is at best bittersweet.

Given my feelings and I am apparently not alone, there are things to keep in mind that may help keep your kids healthy and safe.

My first recommendation is to get enough sleep yourself and make sure your kids get on a back to school sleep schedule and stay on it.

  • Sufficient sleep will help to keep your immune system in its finest form to help ward off the coming colds.
  • Making sure that your kids are up to date on their yearly check-ups and their immunization schedule…I am in favor of vaccinations so no need to chastise me for this.
  • Make sure all of your emergency medications are up to date at home…get rid of expired and near expired meds…make a kit with bandaids, antiseptics for cuts, cleansing cloths etc….keep it in a place that is easily reachable. You should also have one in the car.

Be aware of recommendations when it comes to OTC medications for children.

Be aware of your child’s symptoms and whether they are allergy symptoms or cold symptoms.

Check with your pediatrician if you are not sure.

As a parent or caregiver, you are in charge of your kids’ health. Now that it’s allergy season, your child may be experiencing symptoms from allergies or a common cold – that can strike year-round.

There are many over-the-counter options available to help make your child feel better when he or she has a cold or allergies, but be careful to only use a medicine that treats your child’s specific symptoms. Our “Decrypting Your Child’s Symptoms: Colds vs. Allergies” checklist can help you better understand your child’s symptoms and how to treat with care.

via Medicine Safety | OTCsafety.

Last but not least, keep your child home from school if he/she is sick. If your child has a fever he should not return to school until 24 hours after he is fever free.  

 

 

DIY__Allergy-Friendly, Healthy Ice Cream Treat for Kids

bananas

Every month is another one dedicated to a cause…

this month is …

National Nutrition Month!

Ice cream is one my family’s favorites and…

what better way to celebrate than

to make your own with ONE ingredient

BANANAS!

It’s easy and incredibly delicious…

did you know that if you peel a banana from the opposite end

all the “stringy” stuff comes off with the skin?

monkeys do know something we don’t know…

and they don’t like the “stringies” either!

 

 

It’s National Nutrition Month!  When you think of “healthy”, you don’t normally think of ice cream. This one-ingredient recipe is free of all allergens (except banana) and is free of added sugar and fat. This recipe is great for children with multiple food allergies and/or eosinophilic disorders (if bananas are safe for your child).  We’ve asked Meg Falciani to make the recipe and photograph it for you:

 

Postpartum Depression & Breast Feeding, Infant Sleep, Children & Allergies….

 heart drops

Sleep is so important and so many of us crave it…makes me wonder if it doesn’t start right at the beginning of our lives when we are infants. After all it is one of the topics so hotly discussed among parenting experts.

So how do we manage to get our newborns to sleep thus giving ourselves much needed time to sleep?

 

Nothing can prepare you for the changes in your sleep when you welcome a newborn baby into your family. Experienced parents will issue dire warnings and tell you to sleep while you can during the last few weeks of pregnancy. (And you will think, yeah right, there’s a large boulder resting on my bladder, and sometimes it kicks for good measure.)

 

 

If you breast feed do you have less of a chance of developing PPD (Postpartum Depression)? Here is some interesting facts from FFF (Fearless Formula Feeder) that questions this premise.

The same question holds for the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression. Some researchers have found a correlation between lack of breastfeeding and higher incidence of depression; however, the majority of these studies don’t factor in why the mother isn’t breastfeeding in the first place. A 2009 study found that women who exhibited pregnancy-related anxiety or prenatal depressive symptoms were roughly two times more likely than women without these mood disorders to plan to formula feed. (12) “Prenatal mood disorders may affect a woman’s plans to breastfeed and may be early risk factors for failure to breastfeed,” the researchers point out. And even if the intention to breastfeed is there, multiple factors inform infant-feeding choices once a woman leaves the hospital.

Feeling like a failure, dealing with pain, frustration, and exhaustion, and having a baby who screams at the sight of her, could make any mother feel overwhelmed, let alone one who’s already on the brink of actual PPD. Maybe for those of us more prone to anxiety or depression, the stress of breastfeeding struggles is just the camel’s dreaded straw.

 

Are there allergies in your family, if so, there is a community online for Moms of Allergic Children.  I have also included a link to a mom’s story of her son who has asthma.

 

Moms of kids with allergies have to do double duty to keep their bundles of joy safe, happy, and healthy. In the Moms of Allergic Children community, moms are sharing their concerns and questions about allergies. Here are some quick tips from Dr. Oz for them and others on how to treat — and prevent — some common allergies.

 

How to Clean Your Child’s Pacifier…Parents Saliva

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When your child’s pacifier falls on the floor are you guilty of cleaning it by sucking on it yourself?

Well, no more guilt if this report in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics is correct.

A small study was done to see if sucking on your child’s pacifier may have benefits and the conclusions were somewhat positive.

Recently, it has been published that vaginal deliveries expose the newborn to certain beneficial bacteria that helps their immune system. Now this new evidence that exposure to parent’s saliva may actually be a positive thing should make “germophobes” pause and rethink their position on depriving their babies from developing a certain tolerance to trivial bacteria.

These findings are interesting ones …and the human immune system is truly complex.

I will probably be rethinking the need to boil pacifiers and simply recommend running  them through the dishwasher or washing them with dish soap and hot water. I might even suggest to parents that every once in awhile they should expose their baby to their germs by sucking on their infant’s pacifiers.

My personal approach to hygiene is to try to keep things relatively clean and not to expose my family to bacteria and microbes unnecessarily…I use Lysol and Purell but not to extremes. I know that Lysol is full of chemicals but I do not drink or inhale it so I think I am pretty safe.

Now the questions…what if your baby does not use a pacifier? ….and what if your baby sitter decides to suck on your baby’s pacifier?

Well, there is no evidence to show that pacifiers should be sucked by anyone except the parents to provide any positive benefits so I would keep “pacies” away from other well meaning people and or pets.

And just maybe I would recommend a pacifier for all babies.

 

RESULTS: Children whose parents “cleaned” their pacifier by sucking it (n = 65) were less likely to have asthma (odds ratio [OR] 0.12; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.01–0.99), eczema (OR 0.37; 95% CI 0.15–0.91), and sensitization (OR 0.37; 95% CI 0.10–1.27) at 18 months of age than children whose parents did not use this cleaning technique (n = 58). Protection against eczema remained at age 36 months (hazard ratio 0.51; P = .04). Vaginal delivery and parental pacifier sucking yielded independent and additive protective effects against eczema development. The salivary microbiota differed between children whose parents cleaned their pacifier by sucking it and children whose parents did not use this practice.

CONCLUSIONS: Parental sucking of their infant’s pacifier may reduce the risk of allergy development, possibly via immune stimulation by microbes transferred to the infant via the parent’s saliva.

via Pacifier Cleaning Practices and Risk of Allergy Development.

Sucking Your Child’s Pacifier Clean May Have Benefits – NYTimes.com.

 

 

Does your child have these Non-respiratory signs of worsening asthma?

Lazy summer days...Those of us, who have asthmatic children usually want to know all there is to know about preventing an impending attack or dealing with an asthma attack.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recently published a list of non-respiratory symptoms that may signal an impending asthma attack in your child.

In a small study, these were the reported non-respiratory symptoms that parents reported prior to an asthma attack in their child.

  • paleness,
  • irritability,
  • anxiety,
  • tension,
  • tiredness, and
  • sleeping problems.

Overall, upper respiratory symptoms as a group were not increased in the days prior to uncontrolled asthma.

One specific upper respiratory symptom that was significantly increased was an itchy throat.

via Non-respiratory signs of worsening asthma in children.

Can food allergies be prevented?

Kids eating Lunch

This morning while watching the news, I heard a very sad story of a young adult who died from an allergic reaction to eating a cookie that was cooked in peanut oil…

Allergies can be deadly!

Children with allergies to foods especially peanuts and tree nuts are more common than ever before, so we need to be conscious of kids and adults around us who might have these allergies.

Some schools are dealing with this issue head on but others are not. Apparently, there is no standard among schools when it comes to food allergies. This is dangerous to say the least.

Anaphylactic reactions take no prisoners they take lives and they do it fast unless there is immediate action and an EPI-pen available.

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Surprisingly only eight foods are responsible for most food allergies….hard to believe…right?

These foods are:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat

When you have a food allergy your immune system reacts to a certain protein that is found in that food….you can have a reaction to even a tiny amount of the food.

Of particular concern these days is food allergies in children, even very young toddlers.

Many questions about food allergies are now being answered but there are still so many more questions from parents, that do not have any answers yet.

  • New guidelines by The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:
  • Introducing infants at around 4-6 months of age to the common allergenic foods such as wheat, dairy, eggs, peanut products, and fish  could potentially prevent the development of food allergies in susceptible children. This can be done after infant is introduced to foods such as rice cereal, fruits and veggie
  • The longer an infant is exclusively breastfed, the less risk for development of other allergic diseases such as asthma and eczema.
  • No need for maternal diet restrictions while pregnant or nursing unless  recommended by a doctor for known maternal medical illness/allergy or evidence of allergy in infant.
  • Consultation with an allergist for infants with strong family history of food allergies to determine best/safest way to introduce allergenic foods.
  • More interventional studies are needed (and are under way) before making these suggestions a routine recommendation for all infants.

via Can food allergies be prevented? | Confessions of a Dr. Mom.

It seems like progress is being made concerning the prevention of allergies but what about the children who are already at risk.

In my opinion, there should be a standard policy in all schools for dealing with a potentially deadly allergic reaction to food or even bee stings. Waiting for 911 responders is not enough…precious moments make be lost leading to a child’s death rather than survival!

Do you know whether your school has policies in place to protect children with allergies to foods? or bee stings?

Food Allergies | AAAAI.

Related posts:

Allergies and Kids

Halloween and Kids with Food Allergies

Kids and Asthma…Some interesting facts.

Little girls and an I-pad

Asthma is a scary experience particularly when one of your children has asthma. Sometimes new parents may not even recognize the symptoms, since many times the child will present with only a cough initially.

But if your child is having difficulty breathing or catching his breath you should contact your pediatrician or go to the emergency room as soon as possible…you may not actually hear your child wheezing but he may need emergency treatment.

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) inflammatory disease in which the airways become blocked or narrowed. This is usually temporary, but it causes shortness of breath, trouble breathing, and other symptoms. If asthma becomes severe, the person may need emergency treatment to restore normal breathing.

Colds and allergens are two of the most common triggers of asthma in kids. Children with who have asthma are usually evaluated after infancy.

If left untreated asthma in children can become very problematic especially when they have a cold…colds often go straight to their chests and they may experience wheezing and coughing particularly at night and the child may have difficulty sleeping because of it.

Although asthma can have multiple causes, it is not uncommon to see two or more causes present in one child. These kids can experience recurrent bouts with bronchitis, shortness of breath and wheezing, when exercising, weather can also factor into asthma as well as environmental causes.

Here are 7 Interesting Asthma Facts

  • If your young child is exposed to certain environmental factors, she may develop asthma.
  • Your child could have asthma even if he doesn’t wheeze.
  • A doctor might call your child’s symptoms “reactive airway disease” instead of asthma.
  • If your child had eczema as a baby, she is at higher risk for developing asthma later.
  • Asthma doesn’t need to limit your child’s activities.
  • Even if your child has only mild asthma, you shouldn’t let your guard down.
  • Your child’s treatment plan should be reevaluated every three to six months.

Asthma: 7 Surprising Things You Should Know.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – Information About Asthma, Allergies, Food Allergies and More!.

Childhood Asthma | AAAAI.

 

 

 

Dilemma: “Halloween and Kids with Food Allergies”

As Halloween excitement heightens so can the anxiety of a parent whose child has a food allergy.

Kids with food allergies can feel left out when it comes to parties and activities such as Trick or Treating. With some simple preparation, parents can ease their own anxiety as well as the anxiety of their kids. Who would not want to lessen their child’s anxiety?

Years ago, when my own children were small…we were concerned about candy containing  pins and razor blades. My husband missed our daughter’s first Halloween because he was ex-raying candy at the local hospital, making sure it had no foreign objects in it.

Now it is a combined worry…tainted candy and candy containing food allergens. For contemporary parents, life has become complicated beyond the lives of their own parents.

Here are a few tips for a safe Halloween for children with food allergies.

Teach your child about allergies and Halloween

Chances are very good, you have already talked to your child about his/her food allergy. It may be a good idea to reinforce this information before Halloween and talk about the plan in place to keep them safe from a reaction to any candy. It might be good to tell them, all kids’ candy should be inspected before eating…it is not just because they have allergies that makes inspection necessary. This could help them feel that they are not being singled out because of their allergies.

Sort candy and treats at home

Set up a special place to sort all candy…one by one inspect it carefully for ingredients.

Have emergency medications handy

Have your meds handy while Trick or Treating,  just in case…better to be safe than sorry.

Switch Witch

You might want to adopt the “Switch Witch” in your home. Children pick out a few pieces of candy and leave the rest out overnight for the “Switch Witch,”  who will take it and leave them a present. This gets rid of all unwanted candy and usually makes kids happy to see it go.

 

 

 

 

 

Allergies and Kids

Peanut allergieschildren and pregnancy

About 1 percent of children and adults in the United States are allergic to peanuts and peanut products, including peanut butter and any food containing peanuts (1, 2). For reasons that are not well understood, peanut allergy has doubled in the past decade (3). Individuals with a peanut allergy can have a serious (such as difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness) or even fatal reaction if they eat peanuts. This reaction occurs because the immune system of an affected individual reacts abnormally to usually harmless proteins in peanuts. Children and adults who are allergic to peanuts should not eat them at any time. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent peanut allergy in a child.

Peanut allergies are very frightening and very serious.

I learned this first hand when I witnessed my first peanut allergy reaction.

It was a 2 year old child, who had ingested an extremely small amount of granola and within several minutes she was completely covered in hives. Fortunately, she did not have difficulty breathing and was treated promptly.

A few days ago…I received this peanut allergy update from the March of Dimes.

I am passing it along with the hope that it will help in understanding this potentially life threatening allergic reaction and how it can be avoided.