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Your Child

Teaching Kids About the Meaning of Memorial Day

2:00

For many kids, Memorial Day is just another three-day weekend celebrated with family bar-b-cues, a visit to the lake or pool, watching the latest action movie or any other of the numerous ways people spend the beginning of warm weather and a holiday. This year it falls on May 29th.

What is often lost in the celebrations is the meaning of Memorial Day and why it is an important reminder of sacrifice and service. Talking to your child about the history of Memorial Day and what it stands for can help them learn about the immeasurable cost of the freedoms they enjoy.

The preamble to Memorial Day was Decoration Day, established in 1868 – three years after the Civil War ended. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Local ceremonies were also held across the northern and southern parts of the United States, honoring union and confederate soldiers.  It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.

In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May.

In December 2000,  “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” was passed to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance asks all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

Memorial Day doesn’t have to be only a day of remembrance for our veterans, but also a day to think about and celebrate the lives of family and friends that have been lost.

Most children learn why we celebrate Christmas and other religious holidays. They learn early about what the July 4th holiday is all about. Many a child’s first play is the re-enactment of the pilgrims and Native American Indians gathering to share food on Thanksgiving. But Memorial Day is sometimes given a vague description or is scrambled in commercials promoting holiday savings.

Enjoy this 3-day holiday break from the stress of school and work but also take a little time to talk about the meaning of Memorial Day with your child. And perhaps, stop for a moment of silence at 3:00 pm in remembrance of those who have lost their lives because of their service to our country.

Story source: https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp

 

 

Your Child

Protecting Your Child From Harmful Sun Rays

2:00

With longer daylight hours and summer knocking at the door, it’s only natural that kids will be spending more time outside in the sun.  With skin cancers on the rise in young people, many parents are concerned about their children getting too much sun exposure.

Parents may be worried, but teens and younger kids often think skin cancer is something that only happens to older adults. But the facts tell a different story.

Melanoma (the most dangerous type of skin cancer) is one of the most common cancers in young adults, especially young women, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). It’s the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25 to 30, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation and since the 1970s, cases of melanoma have increased by 250% in children and young adults, according to a 2011 study.

Skin cancers take time to develop. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don’t have to be at the pool, beach, or on vacation to get too much sun.

Knowing the facts about skin cancer doesn’t mean that your child can’t play or spend time outside, but by following a few simple sun-protection rules kids can still have fun enjoying the great outdoors.

Sunscreen: The number one protection from sunburn and skin damage is sunscreen. An SPF, or sun protection factor, indicates a sunscreen's effectiveness at preventing sunburn. "If your child's skin reddens in 10 minutes without sunscreen, SPF 15 multiplies that time (10 minutes) by 15, meaning she'd be protected from sunburn for approximately 150 minutes or 2 1/2 hours," says Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program at the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

This all depends on good application, so make sure your child’s skin is evenly covered. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using sunscreens with at least an SPF of 15, which blocks 93 percent of UVB rays. Higher SPFs provide even greater protection, but only to a certain point: SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB and SPF 50+ (the maximum SPF you'll find on sunscreen labels due to new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules) blocks 98 percent.

Shade: UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday. If your child is outside during this time, if possible- seek shade under a tree, an umbrella or pop-up tent,

Cover up: When possible wear lightweight long sleeves and pants. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor.

Sunglasses: They protect your child’s eyes from UV rays, which can lead to cataracts later in life. Look for sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.

Wear a hat: The trend in wearing baseball or gimme caps is actually working out in favor of protecting kids’ faces and heads from UV rays. While the caps are helpful, they don’t protect necks and ears, so make sure these areas have plenty of sunscreen as well as the face.

Sunny days are not the only time kids need skin protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays, they filter them—and sometimes only slightly.

And, remember to plan ahead, and keep sun protection handy—in your car, bag, or child’s backpack.

Story sources: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/children.htm

Jeannette Moninger, http://www.parents.com/kids/safety/outdoor/sun-care-basics/

Your Child

Crypto in Swimming Pools Doubles in 2 Years

2:00

Many kids and adults won’t be waiting till the first official day of summer before cooling off in a waterpark or pool. Unfortunately, the chance of getting a pool-linked infection has doubled in the last year.

At least 32 outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis were reported in 2016, compared with 16 outbreaks in 2014, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as "Crypto."

While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite.

Crypto is spread when people come in contact with the feces of an infected person, the CDC says. Not a pleasant thought.

Otherwise healthy people can be sick for up to three weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, the CDC warns. The infection can become life-threatening in people with compromised immune systems.

The cause? Adults or children sick with crypto-caused diarrhea are swimming in public pools despite their illness and further spreading the parasite, said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC's Healthy Swimming Program.

Not only do humans spread the parasite, but also infected animals. Swimming in ponds or “swimming holes,” or anywhere animals have access, is not a good idea.

You can become infected after accidentally swallowing the parasite. Crypto may be found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces from infected humans or animals. Crypto is not spread by contact with blood.

Once infected, people with decreased immunity are most at risk for severe disease. 

People also can contaminate pool water with crypto through just physical contact, said Lilly Kan, senior director of infectious disease and informatics with the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO).

For example, parents might spread the parasite if they change a child's crypto-contaminated diaper and then hop in the water without properly washing their hands, Kan said.

Hlavsa explained that crypto is resistant to chlorine, and can survive up to 10 days in even properly chlorinated pool water.

Parents should take kids on bathroom breaks often, and shouldn't count on swim diapers protecting other swimmers from exposure to a child's diarrhea, Hlavsa added.

"Swim diapers do not contain diarrhea," she said. "If water is getting into that diaper, then water is getting out."

To protect themselves, swimmers should avoid swallowing any pool water, and make sure that kids don't have pool toys that encourage swallowing the water, Hlavsa said.

While home pools are safer, because of the fewer number of people sharing the water, they are not fool proof. Make sure that no one with diarrhea or a stomach illness has been in the pool before you allow your kids to jump in a friend or family member’s pool. And it goes without saying, make sure your own kids stay out of your pool if they’ve had or have diarrhea. Crypto can easily spread to family and friends.

Good hygiene and common sense should help make this summer’s pool party a special one - where everyone just has a good time and no one goes home with an unwelcomed guest inside them.

Story sources: Dennis Thompson, https://consumer.healthday.com/gastrointestinal-information-15/diarrhea-health-news-186/the-water-s-not-fine-u-s-pool-linked-infection-doubles-in-2-years-722869.html

Https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/infection-sources.html

Your Child

Never Use Q-Tips to Clean Your Child’s Ears

1:45

Parents and caregivers seem compelled to clean their child’s ears with a cotton swab. Despite repeated warnings to not put anything smaller than one’s elbow inside a child’s ear, more than 263,000 U.S. children had to be treated in emergency rooms for ear injuries related to cotton-tip applicators between 1990 and 2010, according to a new study.

Almost three-quarters of the cases — 73 percent — involved ear cleaning. About two-thirds of the patients in the study were younger than 8.

"There's this misconception that people need to clean their ears in the home setting and that this is the product to do that with," Dr. Kris Jatana, senior author of the study and a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told TODAY.

"The ears themselves are typically self-cleaning... It is risky to use cotton-tip applicators in the ear canal across all age groups, and certainly we are seeing way too many injuries as a result of this practice."

The most common incident in the ER was the presence of a foreign body, such as part of the cotton swab and a perforated eardrum, researchers said.

"It's difficult for people to gauge how deep they're putting [the swab]," Jatana said. "Sometimes, it just takes a small movement to puncture the ear drum."

Physicians specializing in ear and throat diseases say that Q-tips and similar products should never be used for cleaning the ears. Not only can they cause ear canal injuries, but can also push ear wax deeper into the canal causing it to become trapped.

Studies have found 90 percent of people believe ears should be cleaned and say they regularly clean their ears or their children’s ears, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Kids also apparently learn to stick Q-tips into their ears by watching their parents: about 77 percent of the injuries in the study happened when the child was handling the swab himself.

If you see earwax on the outer part of your child’s ear, you can clean it with a washcloth or wipe, Jatana suggests. In most cases, earwax is actually beneficial for the ear. It protects, lubricates and cleans the ear canal. Occasionally, children and adults have excessive wax build-up, but a doctor should be consulted about removal.

Hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in the ear or ear pain are symptoms that should be checked out. An ear, nose and throat doctor can remove more stubborn excess wax.

Story source, A. Pawlowski, http://www.today.com/health/cotton-swabs-are-causing-ear-injuries-thousands-kids-t111296

 

Your Child

Mumps Cases on the Rise, 3rd Vaccine Dose May Be Needed

2:00

Mumps is a highly contagious disease that is on the rise.  Symptoms include uncomfortable swelling on one or both sides of the cheeks. These swollen salivary glands are the most characteristic sign of mumps, which is caused by a virus and usually spread through coughing. It occurs most often in children and teenagers 5 to 14 years old but anyone can catch the mumps virus at any age.

In addition to swelling, the region can become painful when touched or while chewing, especially when consuming foods that stimulate the release of salivary juices or drinking orange juice or other juices that are acidic. Other symptoms may include 

  • Fever lasting 3 to 5 days
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Occasional vomiting
  • Weakness
  • A decrease in appetite
  • Swelling and pain in the joints (and in boys, of the testes)

In 1967, the mumps vaccination program started, and then in 1971, a three-vaccine dose called MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) was made available to the public. This had a dramatic impact on reducing the number of reported mumps cases. Unfortunately, mumps cases are on the rise once again.

The typical schedule for the MMR vaccine is:

  • First dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and
  • Second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
  • Teens and adults should also be up to date on MMR vaccinations.

In areas where there is an outbreak, some physicians are recommending that children receive a third dose of the MMR vaccine. States such as Washington, Arkansas, and Missouri have seen a significant increase in mumps in 2016 and early 2017. In Texas, cases are at a 20-year high.

The MMR vaccine protects against currently circulating mumps strains, but the effectiveness of the vaccine may decrease over time. That’s one reason cases may be on the upsurge. Another reason may be that some areas have a higher number of unvaccinated children, allowing the disease to spread quickly throughout a population.

Outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in close-contact settings. In recent years, outbreaks have occurred in schools, colleges, and camps. However, high vaccination coverage helps limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks.

A child with mumps will become contagious beginning a day or two before the swelling begins, and the contagious period will continue for about 5 days after the swelling has started. (It’s interesting to note that approximately one third of those infected with mumps do not show obvious swelling.) As a general guideline, keep your child with mumps away from school and child-care for 9 days after the gland swelling has begun.

If your child has the mumps, notify your doctor if your child’s condition becomes worse, especially if she develops abdominal pain, shows an unusual lack of energy, or (for boys) his testicles become painful.

Story sources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/vaccine-preventable-diseases/Pages/Mumps.aspx

https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html

 

Your Child

What Age Can Your Child Safely Cross the Street Unaccompanied?

1:45

Do you remember what age you were when you were finally allowed to cross the street by yourself? Me neither. A new study finds that crossing a busy street requires calculations that are typically too complex for kids under the age of 14 to master.

In simulated experiments, University of Iowa researchers found children lack the perceptual judgment and physical skills needed to consistently get across safely.

"Some people think younger children may be able to perform like adults when crossing the street," said study corresponding author Jodie Plumert, a professor of psychological and brain sciences.

"Our study shows that's not necessarily the case on busy roads where traffic doesn't stop," Plumert said in a university news release.

There are records that show how dangerous crossing a busy street can be for young ones.  In 2014, there were 8,000 injuries and 207 deaths involving motor vehicles and pedestrians aged 14 and younger in the United States, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

In this study, researchers used a realistic simulated setting to assess the ability of children ages 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 years to cross one lane of a busy road.

The younger children consistently had difficulty crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent among 6-year-olds. Even 10-year-olds were struck 5 percent of the time, and 12-year-olds, 2 percent of the time, the findings showed. 

Only the 14-year-olds consistently crossed the street safely, according to the study authors.

Children have difficulty judging how faraway cars are from them as they look down the street- as well as how fast the car is moving.  The younger the child, the less his or her motor skills are developed, making a misjudgment more likely and a stumble or fall more of a possibility. Excitement or eagerness to get to the other side of the street can also affect their judgment.

"They get the pressure of not wanting to wait combined with these less-mature abilities," Plumert said. "And that's what makes it a risky situation."

Teach your children to be patient and encourage them to choose traffic gaps that are even larger than the gaps adults would choose for themselves, the researchers suggested.

Safekids.org offers these tips for teaching your child how to safely cross the road:

  1. Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
  2. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers.
  3. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. 
  4. Make sure children under 14 cross the street with an adult.
  5. Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.

By age 12, kids are getting the hang of checking and judging distance and speeds – but their maturity level and eagerness to get to the other side still needs working on.

Every child is different and these results indicate an average. 

The study results were published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

Story source: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/child-safety-news-587/at-what-age-can-kids-safely-cross-the-street-721785.html

https://www.safekids.org/walkingsafelytips

Your Child

What’s the Best Way to Teach Children How to Read?

2:00

For many years, there’s been an intense debate on the best way to teach a child to read. A research group in London decided to find the answer to the argument; which is a more effective learning process for kids – teaching “whole-word meanings” or sounding out words (phonics)?

The findings found that the phonics method was the clear winner.  

In order to assess the effectiveness of using phonics the researchers trained adults to read in a new language, printed in unfamiliar symbols, and then measured their learning with reading tests and brain scans.

Professor Kathy Rastle, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway said, "The results were striking; people who had focused on the meanings of the new words were much less accurate in reading aloud and comprehension than those who had used phonics, and our MRI scans revealed that their brains had to work harder to decipher what they were reading."

Children learning to read in the United Kingdom are required to use the phonics system. The impact of phonics is measured through a screening check administered to children in Year 1 of school. The results of this screening check have shown year-on-year gains in the percentage of children reaching an expected standard -- from 58% in 2012 to 81% in 2016.

Critics of the phonics only system say, while this method may help children read better aloud, it doesn’t necessarily promote reading comprehension. Some educators suggest combining the two methods to help children read aloud well and increase comprehension.

However, the study’s authors say teaching phonics is the most effective.

"There is a long history of debate over which method, or mix of methods, should be used to teach reading," continued Professor Rastle "Some people continue to advocate using a variety of meaning-based cues, such as pictures and sentence context, to guess the meanings of words. However, our research is clear that reading instruction that focuses on teaching the relationship between spelling and sound is most effective. Phonics works."

The paper describes how people who are taught the meanings of whole words don't have any better reading comprehension skills than those who are primarily taught using phonics. In fact, those using phonics are just as good at comprehension, and are significantly better at reading aloud, researchers noted.

The researchers say they will continue investigating how reading expertise develops in the brain.

The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Story source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170420094107.htm

Your Child

Recall: More Than 590,000 Albuterol Inhalers

1:30

Adults and children with breathing problems often rely on metered dose inhalers to open their airways, allowing them to breathe more easily. Albuterol (Proventil, Proair, Ventolin) is a medication called a bronchodilator, commonly found in rescue inhalers for acute asthma attacks.

GlaxoSmithKline is recalling more than 590,000 albuterol inhalers. Three lots of Ventolin HFA 200D inhalers have been voluntarily recalled due to a potential issue with the delivery system, a spokesman for the British pharmaceutical company said.

The affected lot numbers are 6ZP0003, 6ZP9944 and 6ZP9848. The devices have been recalled from hospitals, pharmacies, retailers and wholesalers in the United States.

The recalled inhalers may not release the correct dose of medication due to a defective delivery system. Albuterol opens airways in the lungs to treat common conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The company said it had received an elevated number of product complaints about a bulging of the outside wrapper, indicating a leak of the propellant that delivers the medicine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the voluntary "Level 2" recall, which only affects products in the United States, GSK spokesman Juan Carlos Molina said.

The defect does not pose a danger to patients, so they are not being asked to return inhalers they have already purchased. However, if the devices are not relieving symptoms, patients should seek medical attention right away.

GSK said it was trying to identify the root cause of the problem and would take corrective action. Patients whose inhalers are among the affected lots can contact GSK’s customer service center at 1-888-825-5249.

Story sources: Robert Jimison, http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/06/health/albuterol-inhaler-recall/

Your Child

FDA Warning: Don’t Give Kids Codeine, Tramadol

1:45

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning about the dangers of two popular painkillers and the effects they can have on children. The government agency said that Codeine and Tramadol should not be given to kids under the age of 12 because they can cause life-threatening breathing problems.

Nursing mothers should also avoid using these drugs, since they can pass unsafe levels of opioids to their babies through their breast milk, the agency said.

Some children and adults are genetically predisposed to process opioid drugs more quickly, the FDA said. That can cause the level of narcotics in the bloodstream to rise too high and too quickly, risking overdose in children, due to their smaller size.

"It's very hard to determine which child or mother has this risk, so that's why we've taken this action today," Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy center director for regulatory programs at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a media briefing.

Codeine is often combined with acetaminophen in prescription pain medicines and cough syrups, while Tramadol is only approved to treat pain in adults, the agency said.

The FDA is now warning against children under 12 years old taking either codeine or tramadol.

Kids under 18 also should not be given tramadol to treat pain following surgery to remove the tonsils or adenoids, the agency noted. Codeine labeling already warns against post-surgical use for kids.

In particular, children with sleep apnea, are obese or who have a weakened respiratory system are at a higher risk for dangerous breathing problems from these two drugs.

"Today's actions build on a better understanding of this very serious safety issue, based on the latest evidence," Throckmorton said.

Both of these medications are often prescribed and are in households.  Nearly 1.9 million kids aged 18 or younger received a prescription for a codeine-containing medication in 2014, and nearly 167,000 were prescribed a medication containing tramadol, the FDA said.

Parents should carefully read drug labels to make sure medications don't contain either opioid, the agency stressed. They also can ask their doctor or pharmacist if a specific medication contains codeine or tramadol.

"We understand there are limited options when it comes to treating pain and cough in children," Throckmorton said. "However, after careful review our decision to require these labeling updates was taken because we believe it is a way we can protect children."

The FDA plans to hold a public advisory committee meeting later this year to discuss the broader use of prescription opioid cough and cold medicine in children, he said.

Story source: Dennis Thompson, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20170420/dont-give-kids-medicines-with-codeine-tramadol-fda#1

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