Twitter Facebook RSS Feed Print
Your Child

FDA Bans Certain Cough Medicines for Kids

2:30

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA,) has added strict restrictions to the use of children’s cough medicines that contain opioids, such as codeine or oxycodone.

"After safety labeling changes are made, these products will no longer be indicated for use to treat cough in any pediatric population and will be labeled for use only in adults aged 18 years and older," the FDA said in a news release.

The country is in the middle of an opioid abuse epidemic that is devastating families in just about every state. An updated Boxed Warning label will also warn adult users "about the risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death, and slowed or difficult breathing that can result from exposure to codeine or hydrocodone," the agency added.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the agency is concerned about exposing children to opioids unnecessarily.

“We know that any exposure to opioid drugs can lead to future addiction. It's become clear that the use of prescription, opioid-containing medicines to treat cough and cold in children comes with serious risks that don't justify their use in this vulnerable population,” Gottlieb said in the press release.

The new rules announced Thursday were "based on an extensive review of available data and expert advice," the agency said.

They go much further than the 2017 labeling rules -- restricting use of codeine-containing products to everyone under the age of 18, and including cough-and-cold products that contain a second drug, the opioid oxycodone.

In any case, there's little that can or should be done to ease most children's cough and colds, the FDA said.

"Experts indicated that although some pediatric cough symptoms do require treatment, cough due to a cold or upper respiratory infection typically does not require treatment," the agency said. "Moreover, the risks of using prescription opioid cough products in children of all ages generally outweigh the potential benefits."

The press release also pointed to known side effects of opioid medications, "drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, shortness of breath and headache."

The FDA recommends that parents currently using these medications for their child should speak with their child’s doctor about alternative therapies

It's always important to read medicine labeling, too -- even if it's not obtained by prescription.

"Caregivers should also read labels on non-prescription cough and cold products," the FDA said, because "some products sold over-the-counter in a few states may contain codeine or may not be appropriate for young children."

Story source: EJ Mundell, Health Day Reporter, https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/news/20180111/fda-bans-opioid-containing-cough-meds-for-kids#1

Your Child

Protecting Your Child’s Skin in Winter

3:00

Between the cold weather outdoors and the dry heat indoors, your child’s skin can become dry, itchy and irritated.

Dry skin is a common problem in winter because as the humidity level drops and the air cools, the water in your skin evaporates more quickly. Babies and small children’s skin is very delicate and more susceptible to drying out.

As the temperatures drop outside, we naturally tend to spend more time indoors. This time, it’s the heat in the house that sucks the moisture out of the air. Dry indoor air not only dries out your skin, it also dries out your mucous membranes, leading to dry, chapped lips, dry noses (nosebleeds), and dry throat (hoarseness, sore throat).

There are several ways you can help combat these skin irritating scenarios.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The general rule is the thicker the better. If your child's skin is still dry even with daily moisturizing, try switching from a lotion to a thicker cream or ointment. Ointments are best at keeping moisture in the skin, but they can feel greasy. Just use small amounts and gently rub it into the skin. Creams rub in without leaving a greasy feel on the skin.

You might also want to consider moisturizing twice a day – once after bathing and once during the day. If your child doesn't have the patience for a midday slather, you might let them listen to a favorite song or watch a video while you apply the moisturizer. Or, if he or she is old enough, let them do it by themselves, if that makes the routine more agreeable.

Make sure that your child is well hydrated. Dry skin lacks moisture. Offer your child plenty to drink year-round to replace the moisture that's evaporating from his or her skin. If your child is still a baby, stick with breast milk or formula for at least the first six months, unless his doctor advises otherwise.

Keep in mind that drinking a lot of water won't do anything if you don't moisturize as well. It's like pouring water into a bucket with a hole, says Seth Orlow, Director of pediatric dermatology at New York University School of Medicine.

Without moisturizer to hold in the water, your child's skin won't properly hydrate.

Trim back on bath time. Bathing dries a child's skin because it removes the skin's natural oils along with the dirt. Instead of a 30-minute bath, cut bath time down to about 10 minutes. Use warm water – not hot – and soap up sparingly. In fact, Orlow suggests using a fragrance-free, soap-free cleanser, which is much less harsh than regular soap.

Once you take your child out of the bath, quickly pat him dry with a towel, and then apply moisturizer immediately. Applying the moisturizer within minutes of taking your child out of the tub will seal in the water that's still in his skin from the bath.

To help with the dry air inside the home, make sure that you run a humidifier during the night when your little one is sleeping. Humidifiers can help soothe dry sinuses, bloody noses and cracked lips. They can also help ease symptoms of a cold or another respiratory condition.

When using a humidifier, make sure it is maintained properly and kept clean to avoid bacteria and mold. Find out what humidity levels are recommended by the manufacturer.

When outside, shield your child’s lip with thin layer of petroleum jelly or lip balm to create a barrier against the elements.

Protect against frostbite. Dress your baby in mittens and a hat or hood, and don't stay out too long. Extend the cover on your stroller to block the wind. If your baby's skin looks red, use a warm washcloth to restore circulation. This may take several applications over a period of time. Call your doctor if her skin color isn't normal in a couple hours.

Chapped skin, which gets ruddy, peels, and even cracked, usually strikes the face, bottom, or spots where skin rubs, like the folds at the wrists. "Chapped skin is basically dry skin that has become inflamed," says Peter Lio, MD, attending physician in dermatology at Children's Hospital Boston. Blame anything irritating: wind, friction from clothing, drool on the chin, a runny nose, or a wet diaper.

Spend as little time in the elements as possible, and bundle him up when you do go outside. Using a thick moisturizer such as Eucerin, Aquaphor, or petroleum jelly on your baby's cheeks (or other problem areas) will add to his natural barrier and help treat any skin that's already chapped.

It may be downright cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep your kids indoor 24/7. If you bundle your little one up in layers and cover their head, feet and hands, apply balms and preventative creams– they should be able to be outside for short periods – depending on the temperature and wind chill.

One other little fact that may surprise you, kids can get a heat rash if they become overheated from too many layers of clothing. Make sure to keep an eye on how they are doing and if you think they are getting overheated, have them come inside, rest a bit and remove some of the extra layers.

Story sources: https://www.babycenter.com/0_dry-skin-in-children_1515109.bc

Wendy Toth and Rebecca Felsenthal, https://www.parents.com/baby/care/skin/infant-winter-skin-symptoms/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/humidifiers/art-20048021

Your Child

Can Eating Fish Make Kids Smarter?

2:00

As the New Year approaches and after all the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cookies and cakes– you might be thinking of starting off 2018 a little healthier!

How about starting a family love affair with fish? Myth has it that fish is actually good food for the brain-- but it just might be more than myth, a new study suggests.

Kids who ate fish at least once a week had intelligence quotients, or IQs, that were nearly 5 points higher than the IQs for kids who ate less fish or none at all, the study found. Fish eaters also slept better. How’s that for encouragement?

The study was small and conducted with Chinese children, but American kids are just as likely to benefit from fish, according to lead researcher Jianghong Liu, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.

"If parents want their children to be healthy and higher-performing, they should put fish on the table once a week," Liu said.

Although the study cannot prove that eating fish accounted for the higher IQs and better sleep, they do seem to be associated, she said.

According to the researchers, the benefit in IQ can be pinned to the better sleep afforded by omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish.

To find out if fish was linked to benefits in children's health, Liu and her colleagues studied the eating habits of more than 500 boys and girls in China, 9 to 11 years old. The children completed a questionnaire about how often they'd eaten fish in the past month, with options that ranged from never to at least once a week. 

The kids also took the Chinese version of an IQ test that rates verbal and nonverbal skills, called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised.

In addition, the children's parents answered questions about their child's sleep quality. The information collected included how long kids slept, how often they woke during the night and whether they were sleepy during the day.

Liu's team also took into account other factors that could influence the findings, such as the parents' education, occupation and marital status and the number of children in the home. 

The team found that children who ate fish at least once a week scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ tests than those who seldom or never ate fish. Kids whose meals sometimes included fish scored slightly more than 3 points higher. 

Moreover, eating more fish was linked with better sleep.

Not everyone is so excited about the study’s results. One U.S. nutritionist says that advice to eat fish should be taken with a grain of salt. 

"It's not that eating fish is unhealthy per se, but there are issues that need to be considered before parents go overboard feeding fish to their kids to make them smarter and sleep better," said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City. She was not involved with the study.

Fish is a good source of lean protein and is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, she said. These acids are highly concentrated in the brain and play important roles in neurological function. They are essential for brain, eye and neurological development in fetuses. They are also necessary for eye, heart and brain health in adults and may reduce systemic inflammation, Heller said.

One concern many people have is the amount of mercury found in some fish. The advice many nutritionists offer is that families should concentrate on eating fish that are low in mercury such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish, according to the FDA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends only one to two 2-ounce servings of low-mercury fish a week for children ages 4 to 7; 3 ounces for children 8 to 10; and 4 ounces for children 11 and older, Heller said.

"A healthy, balanced diet, plenty of exercise and limited computer and screen time can all help kids sleep better and do better in school," Heller noted.

The study was published online Dec. 21,2017, in the journal Scientific Reports.

Story source: Steven Reinberg, https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/can-eating-fish-make-kids-smarter-729613.html

Your Child

Will 60% of U.S. Children be Obese by Age 35?

2:00

As many as six in ten U.S. children could be obese by the time they are 35 years old. That sobering news comes from a study conducted by "Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study" (CHOICES).

The numbers are a result of data entered into a computer. The investigators first combined height and weight data from five studies involving about 41,500 children and adults. The computer then generated a representative sample of 1 million "virtual" children up to the age of 19, living in the year 2016. The model then predicted how obesity rates would unfold until all the virtual children turned 35.

The model indicated that being overweight or obese early in life bumped up the risk for being obese later in life. In addition, the more overweight or obese someone was as a child, the greater the person's chance of being obese by age 35.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 20 percent of American children between the ages of 6 and 19 years of age are currently obese. That reflects a tripling of the number since the 1970s.

The study’s lead author, Zachary Ward, a doctoral candidate in health policy with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health Decision Science, in Boston, noted that the results were not unexpected.

"It should not be surprising that we are heading in this direction. We are already approaching this level of adult obesity for certain subgroups [and] areas of the country." Ward said.

Still, Ward expressed some surprise at how strongly being obese at a very young age predicted obesity decades down the road. 

"For example, we found that three out of four 2-year-olds with obesity will still have obesity at age 35," he said. "For 2-year-olds with severe obesity, that number is four out five."

Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, was also not surprised at the findings.

"Trends show obesity occurring earlier in adulthood, and [the] current level of childhood obesity suggests that the trend will continue," said Sandon, who was not involved with the analysis. 

Because "obesity is difficult to reverse at any age," she said, prevention is key. Parents should not rely solely on public school nutrition and activity programs to do the job.

Earlier studies have suggested that obesity in children may begin in the womb if the mother is obese when she becomes pregnant, and develops gestational diabetes. This combination can produce a large child at birth. Studies have shown that babies born with higher amounts of fat at birth tend to continue having more body fat in childhood and on into adulthood.

Experts recommend that overweight women that are considering becoming pregnant, first lose the extra weight and be tested for type2 diabetes. If they are found to have type2 diabetes before they're pregnant, they should be treated beforehand; this will help their pregnancy and prevent complications.

Sandon also notes that there are other things parents can do to help insure a healthier child. "Concerned parents can make efforts to prepare and provide healthier foods at home, plan regular scheduled mealtimes, limit screen time, encourage participation in sports, encourage participation in active leisure time activities instead of more sedentary activities and, most of all, set an example by being active, having a healthy relationship with their own food choices and having regular mealtimes as well."

The study by Ward and his colleagues appears in the November issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Story sources: Alan Mozes, https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20171129/60-percent-of-us-kids-could-be-obese-by-age-35#1

Lucilla Poston, Professor, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20170111/Childhood-obesity-starts-in-the-womb.aspx

 

 

Your Child

Kids and Holiday Stress

2:00

Adults know that the holidays are most likely going to include several stressors such as never enough time to get everything done, family gatherings, money woes, traffic and gift shopping.

Kids feel stress too during the holiday frenzy, but sometimes they don’t have enough life experiences to know how to handle it or what to call some of the overwhelming feelings they may have.

During the holidays, there are lots of fun activities and events going on, both at home and at school. And while that can be a good thing, the reality is that all that hustle and bustle means schedules are often out of whack, bedtimes get pushed back, and routines are disrupted.

As a result, it’s inevitable that kids may feel some degree of holiday stress.

There are ways you can help your child glide through the holidays with less stress. Number one is to be an example of what you want to child to be. So, being calm is not only going to benefit you, but your child as well. This requires mindfulness about what is actually going on around you, what expectations you have and what you are projecting. As with so many situations, the way parents handle an issue can set the tone for how their kids will behave. If you let holiday stress get to you, your kids will definitely pick up on it, and child anxiety is more likely to be a problem in your house. To minimize anxiety in children during the holidays, take steps to handle your own stress and anxiety.

Overstimulation, tiredness and hunger can cause children to stress-out. It’s hard even for grown-ups to deal with noise and lots of stimulation when they’re not feeling their best; kids get hungry more often and become tired more easily, and may understandably have a tough time being on their best behavior. They are more likely to experience holiday stress when they’re exhausted or hungry. Take healthy snacks with you and schedule breaks to sit, relax and re-group when visiting malls or holiday celebrations.

Children like routine. The holidays can disrupt routines that are comforting and reliable, causing kids to feel anxious. To minimize holiday stress in your kids, try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over. For instance, if a school holiday concert or a church gathering goes past your child’s bedtime, try to stick to quiet, calm activities the next day and get your child to bed on time the next night.

Let’s face it; we all overindulge during the holidays. Too much sugar and simple carbohydrates can play havoc with our moods and weight. Kids are particularly sensitive to these food interruptions. Whenever possible, offer healthy snacks, such as air-popped popcorn or apple slices with cheese and crackers and limit cookies and candy to after-snack treats.

One way for kids to beat stress is to get moving. Fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood and re-setting the spirit, which can alleviate holiday stress and anxiety in children. Make sure you schedule some time to get your child outside to run around and play.

If your child is old enough, ask him or her to join in with decorating and holiday tasks. If you have to shop, ask your child to help you look for an item at the store (fun stocking stuffers for cousins, for example). Giving your child a task will not only boost his or her self-esteem, it’ll help by offering a beneficial distraction.

Creating a little quiet time during the holidays is helpful to parents and kids alike. Find a quiet corner and read a book with your child or create holiday pictures for grandma and grandpa. Take a walk outside in nature, away from noise and crowds and obligations.

A great antidote for holiday stress and the bloated commercialism of the season is helping others, whether it’s by shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk, volunteering or by wrapping presents for needy kids at your local church. The season of giving takes on more meaning when the giving is your time and love.

Story source: Katherine Lee, https://www.verywell.com/holiday-stress-and-anxiety-in-children-620516

Your Child

“Holiday Asthma” and Children

2:00

Mix together a Christmas tree, decorations pulled out of dusty storage; perhaps a new kitten or puppy, plus dry heat in the house from cold temperatures and you’ve got a recipe for “Holiday Asthma.” Those are just a few of the things that can trigger a child’s asthma attack.

“Each individual‘s asthma triggers differ,” says Kristy Miller, a spokesperson for the Environment Protection Agency. "However, from an indoor environmental perspective, the primary asthma triggers include secondhand smoke, pet dander, mold, dust mites, and pest droppings. During the winter months, many people spend more time indoors, so steps should be taken to reduce or eliminate exposures to these environmental asthma triggers."

How you can you help your child avoid these common holiday triggers? We found helpful information when WebMD turned to an expert for advice.

One dangerous trigger is respiratory infection. Respiratory infections are rampant during the winter months, particularly during the holidays, when families travel around the country, with millions of other sneezing and coughing merry-makers.

“Asthma flair-ups are frequently due to infections,” says Richard Honsinger, MD, of the Los Alamos Medical Care Clinic. “And during the holidays, we see an increased number of respiratory infections with all the traveling and with people sharing their bugs that cause asthma symptoms to worsen.”

How can you avoid these harmful infections? One solution is to avoid traveling during one of the most contagious times of the year. The other is to make sure that your child and other family members properly wash their hands. That may sound too simple, but a good scrubbing with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds--can reduce the number of germs your kids pick up over the course of the day, which in turn helps lowers the risk of catching a cold and triggering asthma.

Many families have switched from using real trees to artificial Christmas trees for convenience and to avoid allergies. However, the actual culprit may be the decorations.

“People get all their ornaments out of their basements and closets and they’re covered in dust,” Honsinger says.

The Christmas tree all lit up with warm lights and decorated with old bulbs is a perfect recipe for asthma trouble in kids, so wipe it down with a damp cloth before you set it up in the middle of your living room to remove outdoor allergens. Before you drag your holiday storage containers out of the basement, give them a good dusting so they’re free of mites, pest droppings and other unpleasant holiday treats, and wash decorations before you put them on the tree.

Roaring fireplaces not only provide a traditional backdrop for the holidays, but also come in handy for warming the house. Unfortunately, fireplaces can trigger asthma.

“Fireplaces and stoves and things that leak smoke are things that increase the asthma response,” says Honsinger. “It’s not a true allergy--you can’t test for smoke allergies on the skin--but we know that particulate matter or burning material in the air causes an increase in asthma symptoms.”

Particulate matter can also mean exhaust and cigarette smoke, explains Honsinger. So before you set off to visit family members or friends that smoke, remember to pack your child’s medicine – and be prepared to head home early if asthma symptoms flare up.

Then there is the new kitty or puppy issue. Giving your child a puppy or kitten for Christmas sounds like an enchanting idea, but don’t forget that that adorable little bundle is covered in dander--a common asthma trigger.

“Parents get their kids a new dog for Christmas, when they don’t know if the kids are allergic or not,” says Honsinger, who is a professor of clinical medicine at the University of New Mexico. “It’s a time of year when its cold, so pets are indoors more often than not, so their dander is inside as well and we see an influx of pet allergies and asthma symptoms.”

If your child has asthma, eczema or other allergies, it’s probably a good idea to have him or her skin tested for animal allergies -before you start picking out a puppy or kitten name.

During the winter months, cold air is something most people aren’t going to be to able to avoid unless you live in a warm region of the world and even then- surprises happen.

“We know that breathing cold, dry air will increase asthma symptoms,” says Honsinger. “It excites the receptors in the lung causing asthma to come on quickly.”

Cold air dries the lungs out, and makes the chest tighten, explains Honsinger. Warm, moist air, however, is just what a kid with asthma needs.

“During cold weather have your child wear a scarf when he’s outside,” says Honsinger. ”They breath through the cloth and it catches moisture. Then they breath back in through it and it warms the air and makes the air moist. Then they’re less likely to get that feeling of tightness.”

To be on the safe side, if your child is playing outside, monitor her peak flow every hour or so. 

“Use a peak flow meter so you can see how fast your child’s air is coming out,” says Honsinger. “Use a set of guidelines that you set up with your physician, so if the peak flow drops below a certain level, use medicine. If it drops further, you better seek help. It’s something to watch.”

Because pharmacies and pediatricians may have irregular hours during the holidays, be prepared in advance. “If your child has asthma, have your medicine supply intact over the holidays when everything closes down,” says Honsinger. “If your child uses an inhaler or a nebulizer, make sure you have these on hand, so if asthma symptoms flare up in the middle of Christmas, you have something at home to start treatment right away.”

If your child doesn’t respond to available treatment, take him or her to the emergency room. Asthma isn’t something you want to let get the upper hand.

By applying some of these tips, your child may be able to escape “Holiday asthma!”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Kids Doctor!

Story source: Heather Hatfield, https://www.webmd.com/asthma/features/holiday-asthma-triggers-for-kids#1

Your Child

A Short History About Christmas Carols!

2:00

Did you know that Christmas Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago? Early Christian songs were actually hymns, not the carols we know today. They were sung in churches in Latin. Since Latin was a difficult language, people did not understand these hymns very well. It is said that by 12th century, people slowly started losing interest in celebrating Christmas.

But things began to change in the 13th century, when St. Francis of Assisi started a tradition of singing Christmas songs in the native language during Christmas plays. People could understand the songs, participate in singing and enjoy. Soon, the new carols singing tradition spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries. Christmas became popular again!

The word carol comes from the French word “carole” or the Latin word “carula,” meaning a circular dance.

Christmas carols are sung around the world.  In Austria, Belgium and Germany, children dress up as “The Three Kings”. They carry a star on a pole and go from house to house singing religious songs and Christmas carols. 

In Australia and New Zealand, where it is middle of summers in Christmas there is a tradition of singing ‘carols by candlelight’. The event is like a concert and involves people gathering in huge numbers usually outdoors, to sing carols by candlelight.

Some of the more popular Christmas songs have an interesting history!

Did you know that “Jingle Bells ” was created in Boston in 1857 by a man coming up with songs for a Thanksgiving program at his church? James Pierpont’s song became an instant hit at the church, and soon was discovered by the rest of the country.

“Silent Night” was originally a poem written by an Austrian pastor named Joseph Mohr. The Austrian pastor continued his work at the church until two years later, when the organ in the church broke just before the Christmas Mass and Mohr turned his attention back to that poem. Mohr then called on the church organist, a friend, to help him compose a melody that was arranged for a choir and guitar. By the midnight service, there was music – the first performance of Silent Night. Today, there is no Christmas carol that has been performed and recorded more than Silent Night.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” was a children’s book created by Robert L. May, in 1939. He worked for the Montgomery Ward department store in Chicago. The story became very popular and sold 2 million copies in just a couple of years. Then, in 1949, May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, created a song to go with the story. The song was a huge international hit and a movie based on Rudolph also was a big seller when it was released in 1964. Marks also wrote several other Christmas songs that went on to become classics such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

These days, Christmas carols are still sung and listened to on the radio, in grocery and department stores, in churches and living rooms throughout the world.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the staff at the Kids Doctor!

Story sources: http://kinooze.com/all-about-christmas-carols/

https://www.superpages.com/em/fun-facts-christmas-carols/

 

 

Your Child

Flu Shot Cuts Kids’ Risk for Hospital Visit

2:00

Getting your child vaccinated against the flu could substantially cut his or her chances of ending up in the hospital with a flu-related illness, according to a new study.

Canadian researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 10,000 children, ages 6 months to under 5 years, over the four flu seasons between 2010 and 2014.

The results of the study showed that children vaccinated against the flu, ages 2 to 4 years, had a 67 percent reduced risk of hospitalization due to the flu. Children 6 months to 23 months had a 48 percent reduced risk.

Even children with only a partial vaccination (one dose of flu vaccine during their first flu season) still had a lower risk of flu-related hospitalization.

"Influenza can cause serious illness, especially in young children, but there hasn't been a lot of research that has examined the magnitude of the influenza vaccine's effectiveness at preventing kids from getting really sick and being hospitalized," said study senior author Jeff Kwong, a scientist at Public Health Ontario.

"This research paper helps fill that gap by showing how effective the influenza vaccine can be at protecting young kids against serious complications from influenza infections," Kwong said in an agency news release.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.

Children, particularly younger than 5 years old, are at a higher risk for serious flu-related complications, the CDC warns.

The flu season in the U.S., on an average, begins in October and is in high gear during December and January; peaking in February. It can last as late as May.

The CDC has issued a few changes in the 2017-2018 flu-season:

  • The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season.
  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses (the influenza A(H1N1) component was updated). Women may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
  • The age recommendation for “Flulaval Quadrivalent” has been changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling.

Other changes in the 2017-2018 flu-season recommendations and vaccines can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm.

Some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Children who have only received one dose in their lifetime also need two doses. Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine.

To protect children younger than 6 months old from getting the flu, the people around them should be vaccinated. Also, studies have shown that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for several months.

Story sources: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/flu-shot-could-help-your-kid-avoid-hospital-728509.html

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm

 

Your Child

Bowlegs and Knock-Knees in Kids

2:00

Parents may be concerned when they notice their toddler seems to be bowlegged or knock-kneed. Typically, there’s nothing to worry about, it’s just part of his or her growth development.

The medical term is genu valgum, but the condition is more commonly called bow-legged or knock-kneed. It usually becomes noticeable when a child is 2 to 3 years old, and it may increase in severity until about age 4. It usually self-corrects by the time a child is about 7 or 8 years old. But if the condition doesn’t appear until a child is 6 or older, it could be a sign that there is an underlying bone disease.

During early childhood, knock-knees actually help a child to maintain balance, particularly when the child begins to walk, or if the foot rolls inward or turns outward. When a child has knock-knees, both knees usually lean inward symmetrically. One knee, however, may "knock" less than the other or may even remain straight.

Sometimes, the condition will persist into the teen years. It’s also more common in girls, although boys can develop it too.

Knock knees are usually part of the normal growth and development of the lower extremities. In some cases, it may be a sign of an underlying bone disease, such as Osteomalacia or rickets.

Obesity can contribute to knock knees—or can cause walking problems that resemble, but aren’t actually, knock-knees. The condition can occasionally result from an injury to the growth area of the shinbone (tibia), which may result in just one knocked knee.

Typically, a child’s legs will straighten naturally by the teen years. Bracing, corrective shoes, and exercise are rarely helpful, and may hinder a child’s physical development and cause unnecessary emotional stress, when the child is very young. Rarely, bowlegs or knock-knees are the result of a disease. Arthritis, injury to the growth plate around the knee, infection, tumor, Blount’s disease (a growth disorder of the shinbone), and rickets all can cause changes in the curvature of the legs. 

There are signs to look for that may indicate that a child’s bowlegs or knock-knees are caused by a more serious medical problem:

·      The curvature is extreme.

·      Only one side is affected.

·      The bowlegs get worse after two years of age.

·      The knock-knees persist after seven years of age.

·      Your child is unusually short for his or her age.

·      There is pain in the knees or in the feet, hips or ankles.

·      Stiff joints.

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, your pediatrician should examine him or her.

The good news is that most cases of knock-knees or bowlegs will resolve before a child reaches adolescence. However, if it doesn’t and is left untreated, it can lead to further health problems with joints and muscles, including osteoporosis.

Treatment will depend on the cause and the severity. If there is an underlying disease present, medications and supplements may help resolve the condition. A physical therapist may be able to offer some simple exercises and stretches that help strengthen the muscles and realign the knees. Weight loss is recommended when obesity is a contributing factor. Extra weight puts additional strain on the legs and knees, which can cause knock-knees to worsen. Surgery is the last line of treatment but is typically only recommended in very severe cases.

Children’s health experts suggests that parents not panic if their little one has knock-knees, but that they keep an eye on the condition and see if it goes away as the child gets older. At times, children may not have straight lower legs until they are nine or ten years old.

Story sources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/orthopedic/Pages/Bowlegs-and-Knock-Knees.aspx

Jenna Fletcher, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319894.php

 

 

Pages

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.

 

DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

What every parent needs to know about teen suicide.

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.

 

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.