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Archive for the ‘Children's Health’ Category

I was “one of those kids” with a very short attention span and ADHD only really became a common term in my generation when I reached high school. Some people may say that it “wasn’t treated before” and that doctors are just making up new “terms and conditions” for kids being young and energetic, etc., but I really believe in ADHD and how it can affect a child’s life, and especially their education and chances of success later in life. It important to recognize it as a chronic illness.  New Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that children as young as four can be diagnoses and treated for ADHD.

The previous research was more than a decade old and covered children from 6 to 12, but with more research and understanding of the issues surrounding ADHD in children, the upper limit was also expanded to include teenagers to age 18.

Toddlers with ADHD have behavior issues that go beyond the normal challenges of early childhood. Anger is generally a problem, as are tantrums. A toddler with ADHD may refuse to sit in a high chair or stroller, and needs to be in seemingly constant motion. Even at this young age, they struggle with controlling their impulses—they may hit other children and become disruptive while playing with other children.

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Dr. Mark Wolraich, lead author of the report released Sunday at the AAP National Conference in Boston, “There is now enough evidence to address this broader age range,” he said. “We know that identifying and treating kids at a young age is important … because the earlier we can provide treatment, the better chance of success.”

ADHD affects some 8% of children and teens and is the most common neurological disorder in youngsters. Behavior such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, poor social skills and inability to follow directions are the main indicators. It is not thought best to medicate the youngest patients, rather try to help them over come the condition with behavioral therapy and parental training. Showing them consistency and structure around meal, bath and bed times can be important.

However Wolraich, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, who has been studying the condition since the 1970s says low doses of Ritalin can assist even the youngest cases where other therapies do not produce results.

Some studies have shown that those with ADHD are at greater risk of dropping out of school, car accidents, substance abuse and its well known they can be difficult to deal with; subject to tantrums and generally distracted.

For older children who are already in school the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends both medication and behavioral therapy.

Some doctors are applauding these new guidelines because kids who don’t get treated are at a much higher risk for everything from low self-esteem to poor grades to being socially immature. It is sometimes thought that they can go many years with daily reminders that they can’t do what other kids do, which wears them down. Parents have to be their child’s advocate and get them the help they need and get it early.

If you would take a child with a vision problem to an optometrist for glasses, why would we not treat kids who have trouble with their brain circuitry?

Here are some quick facts on ADHD in toddlers according to Reader’s Digest: 

  • Toddlers with ADHD seem to have a low sense of danger, so they require an especially watchful eye to help them avoid accidents.
  • No one knows what causes ADHD.
  • A child with ADHD will show signs of the problem very early on, but you may not realize there’s a problem until your child starts nursery school.
  • Problems with speech or hearing can also mimic ADHD symptoms.
  • Because ADHD symptoms often look like typical toddler behavior, it’s difficult to diagnose the condition in children under five.

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Most men seem okay with changing diapers until the wife or whomever is changing the diaper whips out the ointment and squeezes it on a man’s finger! It can be intimidating – what do you do with this ointment and why is it so important? Well here are some of the benefits of diaper ointment and making your wee-babe as comfy as possible. Did we mention Le Top makes a baby collection in boy, girl and unisex styles? They are awesome for gifts too – and super soft on the skin, another benefit to keeping your baby comfy! 🙂 

The BASICS:
Skin wetness is the common denominator underlying the various causes of diaper rash. Urinary wetness increases skin friction, raises the skin pH, makes the skin less cohesive, and makes it more permeable. These effects combine to intensify the action of stool enzymes or other irritants that then inflame the skin. Diaper rash ointment prevents, treats and comforts your baby’s bottom after it becomes sore, red, itchy or irritated after a wet diaper. There are two types of ointment, petroleum and zinc oxide, and both are useful for certain symptoms. Keep the area dry and healthy with a generous dose of diaper ointment every few diaper changes.

TYPES OF RASHES:
Friction Rash: This is the most common form of diaper rash, and affects almost all babies at some time. It’s common on areas where friction is most pronounced; such as the inner thighs; or under the elastic of diapers that are too tight.

Irritant Rash: This is most conspicuous on the exposed areas, such as the round part of the buttocks. It tends to not appear in skin folds and creases. It’s generally the result of contact with stool enzymes or irritants such as harsh soaps, baby wipes, detergents, or topical medicines.

Intertrigo: Moist heat causes this common type of diaper rash that occurs deep in the skin folds. The skin looks thin, as if it has lost several layers.

Allergic Rash: This rash looks like poison oak! Ah!

KEEP THE RED AWAY!
Petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointments are useful for preventing diaper rash. They protect your baby’s bottom by creating a barrier between the diaper and the skin. The ointment may not have disappeared by the next diaper change, but it is important that you don’t remove the ointment. Cleaning the diaper area is fine, but excess cleaning can irritate the skin. Allow the diaper ointment to do its job by not rubbing it off at each diaper change.

Some popular over-the-counter ointments are:

  • A + D
  • Balmex
  • Desitin
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Zinc Oxide Paste
  • Butt Paste
  • Aquaphor

To aid the healing of diaper rash, do what you can to increase airflow to the diaper region. These simple suggestions may help: 

  • Let your child go without a diaper for short periods of time.
  • Avoid using plastic or tightfitting diaper covers.
  • Use larger than usual sized diapers until the rash goes away

While your baby has a diaper rash, avoid washing the affected area with soaps and disposable, scented wipes. Alcohol and perfumes in these products can irritate your baby’s skin and aggravate or prolong the rash.

What does it treat?
Diaper ointment is also useful in treating diaper rash. Diaper rash can present itself as red, scaly, bumpy, and may even include blisters. Applying diaper rash ointment at the first sign of diaper rash can prevent the rash from getting worse. If a diaper rash is ignored and left untreated, it can worsen quickly. Diaper rash is especially prevalent in babies who have diarrhea or who do not get frequent diaper changes.

Take note!
Talcum powder and corn starch are not beneficial as diaper ointments, although they are considered traditional cures. The talcum powder can disperse when shaken onto the baby’s skin and can make its way into the baby’s lungs, says Baby Center. Cornstarch will sometimes have the opposite effect on a diaper rash, making it worse. This is especially true if the baby has a yeast-based rash, frequently found on babies who are taking antibiotics, nursing babies whose mothers are taking antibiotics, or babies struggling with oral thrush.

Another non-ointment natural tip to ease diaper rash?

How to do it: Instead of cleaning your baby’s bottom with premoistened wipes, hold her over the sink and let warm water wash over her inflamed skin. Then dry her off using a blow-dryer set on cool.

Why it works: Washing with plain water and drying with air feels good on sore skin. In addition, it speeds healing by decreasing friction on the area. Exposure to the chemicals in baby wipes will only make the irritation worse.

If your baby does have a rash and you’ve already used the suggestions above, they may have a yeast infection and need a prescription from your pediatrician.

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American children miss a total of 22 million school days each year due to the common cold and 38 million days because of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s that time of year again – fall flu season and nasty colds. With the kids going back to school it almost seems inevitable that your child will catch a little something that leads to coughing, running nose and a cold. Here are some great tips of how you can make your child one of the healthiest in his or her class!

Keep Hands Clean
Regular hand-washing dramatically reduces the passing of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness, so get your kids in the habit of scrubbing up (or using a hand sanitizer) when they leave preschool or day care, after every playdate, and before they eat. Teach kids to sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves twice before rinsing — scrubbing for 15-20 seconds is key. Spray kitchen counters, doorknobs and sink handles with disinfectant once a day and remind your child to wash her hands frequently. Covering coughs and sneezes. Teach your youngsters to sneeze and cough into their elbows, rather than onto their hands. Hands will more likely touch toys and other children.

Exercise & Activity
Encourage a healthy lifestyle for your children, and you. A healthy diet, exercise (including playing safely outdoors while wearing sunscreen), and a good night’s sleep go a long way towards preventing illness. Studies indicate that regular, moderate exercise can reduce the number of cold and flu episodes that occur over the course of a year by 25-50 percent, possibly by boosting the circulation of infection-fighting cells. “Exercise is better than any advertised cure or miracle,” says Harley A. Rotbart, M.D., Parents advisor and author of Germ Proof Your Kids: the Complete Guide to Protecting (Without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections (ASM Press, 2007).

Sleepy Time!
Make sure kids stick to an early bedtime. Most babies need approximately 14 hours of sleep a day; preschoolers need 11-13 hours of Z’s.

Avoid Touching His or Her Face
Try to avoid rubbing eyes, noses and mouths with dirty hands. However, most of us do so unconsciously — that’s why hand washing is so important. Cold and flu viruses enter the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth, so help your child keep her hands away from those areas. Yes, it can be very difficult to accomplish — hand-washing at strategic moments is all the more important. Teach your child never to share a straw, cup, or toothbrush.

Balanced and Healthy Diet
Meals with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables will help boost your child’s immune system. Look for foods rich in vitamin C (broccoli, strawberries, and oranges) and vitamin D (tuna, fortified milk, and cereals). Eating yogurt with active cultures (probiotics) can also help build defenses. Breastfeeding also helps a child build a strong immune system. A study in the August 2009 “Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics” showed that children age three to five who were given the probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis lactis had fewer fevers, coughs, runny noses and absences from school. If they did get sick, the children got better more quickly and didn’t need antibiotics as much as the children studied who were not given the probiotics.Children who weren’t breastfed get five times more ear infections later in life than those children who were, according to the MedlinePlus online medical encyclopedia, so breastfeed her for as long as possible.

Avoid Sharing Food at School
Avoid sharing food, cups or eating utensils. Pre-schoolers finger-dip and double-dip, so to each his own.

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My nephew recently lost both of his front teeth and is our new little jack-o-lantern of the family. I secretly think he wants the pay out from the tooth fairy – just kidding. However, the tooth fairy (eh-hem, my sister) gave a pretty good “Tooth Fairy gift” of $10! I started to think how some kids don’t react so well to losing teeth and what could be tips to help your child through this process.

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Increasingly, schools are buying up yoga mats the way they once stocked up on dodgeballs. Kids’ yoga is a hot commodity — instructional books and videos aimed at little ones line store shelves. Though statistics aren’t yet available, many believe that many schools nationwide have already incorporated yoga into their curriculum, benefiting hundreds of students. And it’s not just for “big kids” — many preschool programs offer classes for the youngest yogis. Yoga teaches children relaxation while improving coordination and self-esteem. Yoga crafts incorporate elements of the practice into a creative activity. The craft projects enhance a child’s enjoyment of yoga practice, whether she does it regularly or only occasionally. The yoga craft projects are best for children ages 5 and older who are able to handle the craft materials.

Yoga teaches kids ‘alert tranquility.’ The children are relaxed, but not dull, because they concentrate. 🙂

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So I just read about this book that is coming out this fall about dieting for children! Is this what bedtime stories are about  these days?!? This new book is called Maggie Goes On a Diet and instead of teaching your children not to say 4-letter swear words, parents should be more concerned about a scary word to teach them…to….Diet. A pre-school child needs a healthy, balanced diet to fuel his or her active and growing life. Also important is for you, the parent, to give the right foods and model healthy eating habits yourself. This can help your child to ward off any childhood health problems such as obesity or even diabetes.

Maggie Goes On a Diet will be available this fall, and while it’s a book about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet, Amazon is listing the reading level as appropriate for kids ages 4-8.

According to Jezebel, the book is described as follows:

This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self-image.

I understand and agree that many of the kids, especially in the United States, are obese or on their way to being overweight, but reading it in a book at a young age is only going to possibly lead to distorted understanding of body image and even worse, eating disorders. What happened to teaching your kids about making good choices with the food they put into their bodies and exercise??? A chubby girl in a poorly styled and ill-fitting dress is not going to show your child what it means to have a “healthy and active lifestyle.” Do kids so young really need to learn about diets? Would you ever read this book to your preschooler?

Preschool children need healthy foods to meet the demands of their growing, active bodies. Provide your child with a diet full of whole-grain foods, colorful vegetables, fruits and high-protein foods, such as lean meat and beans. Children need foods that are high in calcium and iron. Milk, white beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cheddar cheese, yogurt and fortified orange juice are excellent sources of calcium. Increase your child’s intake of iron with lean meat, fish, nuts, peanut butter, beans, spinach, strawberries and whole-grain bread.

You can give your child a kid’s multivitamin to supplement your kiddo’s balanced diet; however, this should not replace eating healthy foods.

Just Remember…Proper nutrition helps prevent obesity, weak bones, and diabetes. Provide your child with a healthy diet to help prevent diet-related diseases when your kid grows up. A healthy lifestyle will also boost your child’s concentration, provide her or him with genuine energy and just help your child feel good every day!

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“My stomach hurts,” is a common phrase many parents have heard from their children. A child who has less than three bowel movements per week, has hard and dry stool, or simply has trouble with his bowel movements may be constipated. While it is normal for a child to have a bowel movement only every few days, it is not normal for stool to be anything other than soft and easy to pass through the bowels. If your child is constipated, you may need to make some changes to his diet in order to encourage his bowels to work properly again. My common rule is to make sure your child is getting enough fiber and fluid, and watch the “white” foods.

Here are some Quick Tips: 

Increase Fluid Intake
Increasing your child’s water intake will help to keep her hydrated so that her stools do not become hard and difficult to pass. If your child is an infant, increase her fluid intake by making sure she gets at least 2 to 4 ounces of water or diluted fruit juice at least once or twice every day.

Vegetables
Vegetables that are high in fiber are effective for alleviating constipation as well. Vegetables with moderately high fiber levels include broccoli, carrots, corn, green beans, peas and spinach. Beets, acorn squash, butternut squash and avocado are high in fiber as well. Try adding these foods as an afternoon snack or as side dishes during lunch or dinner.

Bran
Foods containing bran, another high-fiber nutrient, can also help to alleviate constipation. These include cereals such as Bran Flakes, Frosted Mini Wheats, granola and oatmeal. Cereals considered to be even higher in fiber include All Bran, Fiber One and 100% Bran. These foods are great for breakfast and can be easily introduced to the diet alone or with fruits.

Fruits
Fruits are naturally high in fiber and are essential to a healthy diet. Fruits with moderately high fiber content include apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mangoes, raisins and nectarines. If you add raisins or berries to your child’s bran cereal or oatmeal, you’ll be enhancing the flavor of the food while increasing his fiber intake even more.

Meat Alternatives
Children who eat a lot of foods that are high in fat and low in fiber, such as meats, can quickly become constipated.

Why Do Kids Get Constipated?
Constipation is pretty common and different things can cause it. Reasons why kids get constipated include:

  • Unhealthy diet. If you fill your diet with fatty, sugary, or starchy foods and don’t eat enough fiber, your bowels may slow down. Fiber — found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — can keep your poop from getting hard and dry. So reach for an apple!
  • Not enough exercise. Moving around helps food move through your digestive system. If you don’t get enough active playtime — like running around outside — you could get constipated.
  • Not enough fluid. Drinking water and other liquids keeps poop soft as it moves through your intestines. When you don’t drink enough, the poop can get hard and dry and you might get stopped up.
  • Not going to the bathroom when you need to. Sometimes kids don’t go to the bathroom when they have to. But if you make a habit of ignoring your body’s signals that it’s time to go, that might make it harder to go later on.
  • Stress. Kids might get constipated when they’re anxious about school or something at home. This can happen during scary events, like starting at a new school, or even if you’re just worried about a lot of homework and tests coming up. Being away from home for more than a few days may make you feel a little stressed, too.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome. Some kids have a condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It can act up when they’re stressed or when they run into certain triggers, like fatty or spicy foods. A kid who has IBS may have constipation sometimes and diarrhea sometimes, as well as belly pain and gas.

My last tip? I always recommend your child’s teacher be informed of the problem. While you are trying to treat your child’s constipation, he or she may need fairly quick access to a toilet. Delaying will only add to the problems, so make sure the teacher allows your child to excuse him or herself quickly from a classroom or activity.

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Veggie Burger

I was speaking with my friend Dani last night and she used to love meat and especially hearty dishes like ribs. I asked her why she became a vegetarian, she did so for health purposes – many families these days are vegetarian families and there are many great ways to make sure your kiddos get the nutrients they need.

“I can’t eat that, I’m a vegetarian!”

You may have heard kids in the cafeteria or at a birthday party say this as they passed on a burger and grabbed a slice of cheese pizza instead. Did you wonder what a vegetarian is exactly? A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, and mostly eats foods that come from plants, like grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Did you know…there are many types of vegetarians?
Here are some of them:

  • semi-vegetarian: eats meat, but only fish and chicken
  • pesci-vegetarian: eats only fish
  • lacto-ovo vegetarian: eats no meat, but will eat dairy products (milk, butter, cheese) and eggs
  • ovo-vegetarian: eats eggs, but no meat or dairy products
  • vegan (say: vee-gun): eats no meat or animal products

Can Kids Be Vegetarians?
Kids can be vegetarians, but they can’t do it alone. They need grown-ups to help them make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need. Eating a nutritious diet helps kids develop and grow as they should. Meat is a good source of protein, iron, and other important nutrients. So someone who’s a vegetarian needs to take care to replace those nutrients with non-meat foods.


CLASSIC VEGGIE BURGER RECIPE

These easy meatless burgers are prepared with bulgur wheat, canned pinto beans, grated carrots, and Swiss cheese. Cook the patties in a skillet!

Serving: 4 ppl

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrots (from 2 medium carrots)
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 buns
  • Sprouts, for serving
  • Avocado slices, for serving

DIRECTIONS:
1.  In a large bowl, combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water. Cover tightly and let sit until bulgur is tender, 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to remove liquid, then return bulgur to bowl. In a food processor, pulse pinto beans until coarsely chopped. Add beans to bulgur, along with Swiss cheese, carrots, scallion, and egg. Season with salt and pepper; mix well.

2.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add 1/2 cup bean mixture and press lightly with a spatula to flatten. Make 3 more patties, working in batches if necessary (add more oil for second batch), and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 minutes per side. Serve burgers on buns with sprouts and avocado slices.

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I remember my mom telling me if I swallowed my gum, it would stay in my stomach for 7 years. More and more these days, kids are chewing candy and even gum at young ages. Almost everyone has swallowed a piece of gum, but few kids have ever needed a doctor because of it. According to KidsHealth.org,”Though your stomach can’t break down a piece of gum the same way it breaks down other food, your digestive system can move it along through normal intestinal activity. In other words, it comes out the other end when you have a poop.”

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It is very common for mothers to be taking anti-depressant medication before, during or after a pregnancy. Women with depression who are pregnant or hoping to get pregnant may be alarmed at new research that points to a link between the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of antidepressant, and the occurrence of autism in unborn kids.

In the study, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers led by Lisa Croen of Kaiser Permanente Northern California reviewed the medical records of more than 1,600 children, 298 of whom had autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Essentially the study stated that children whose mothers take Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa or similar antidepressants during pregnancy are twice as likely as other children to have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder. This study is the first to examine the relationship between antidepressants and autism risk within children. But is this study too early to draw direct links? Or is it a step forward in understanding the links to autism and children?

The study, which was published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, is a small initial investigation into what is likely to become a better-studied area of what causes children to develop the group of developmental and cognitive problems known as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In my opinion, there are important limitations to the study, and the clinical implications are not entirely clear. In the general population, the researchers wrote, “the fraction of cases of ASD that may be attributed to use of antidepressants by the mother during pregnancy is less than 3 percent…and it is reasonable to conclude that prenatal SSRI exposure is very unlikely to be a  major risk factor for ASD.” However, while they urged caution in interpreting the results, they said they believe the results do suggest a modest link between SSRIs and autism.

“Poor maternal mental health during pregnancy is a major public health issue,” Tim Oberlander, M.D., a professor of developmental pediatrics at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, told CNN.com. “Nontreatment is not an option.  While some children might be at risk from an SSRI exposure–and we don’t know who, and how that works–there are many mothers and their children as well who will benefit.”

According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, classes of antidepressants, known as  selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be especially risky early on in a pregnancy. Children who were exposed to the drugs during the first trimester were nearly four times as likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with unexposed children, according to the study.

Only 20 of the almost 300 children studied had been exposed to antidepressants in utero, so researchers urged further investigation and study.

Important Note: The study included fewer than 300 children with a diagnosed ASD and does not prove that taking SSRIs during pregnancy directly causes ASDs, which affect approximately 1 percent of children in the U.S. The findings will need to be confirmed in larger studies, and should not dissuade women from starting or continuing to take SSRIs, experts on prenatal drug exposure and mental health say.

I think that it is possible that a very intricate and well-designed study could reveal an even larger association between the use of antidepressants and ASD. Preliminary studies such as this recent one are very influential in research, because they open the door to new ideas and provide a stage for new studies that could provide much better solutions on this issue.

I question — where does this leave women who are pregnant and suffering from depression? I think that those women suffering should seek out help from their doctors and use their judgment in trying to balance the importance of treating depression, while understanding the possibility that using antidepressants could, in some cases, contribute to risk for ASD. All in all? The current research does not provide a definitive answer….but who knows in the future!

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