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Your Child

Good Sleep Habits Help Kids Succeed in School

1:30

If you’ve ever been sleep deprived, you know how difficult it can be to focus and get through the demands of the day.

So it’s not surprising that a new study says that children, who have good sleeping habits by the age of five, do better when they start school.

However, what may surprise you is that according to the National Sleep Foundation, a 2004 poll revealed that 69 percent of children 10 and under experience some type of sleep problem such as insomnia, nightmares, restless legs syndrome, sleep terrors, sleepwalking and sleep apnea.

For this study, researchers reviewed the sleep behavior of nearly 2,900 children in Australia from birth until they were 6 or 7. They found that one-third had mounting sleep problems in their first five years that put them at added risk for attention disorders and emotional and behavioral problems in school.

"The overwhelming finding is it's vital to get children's sleep behaviors right by the time they turn five," researcher Kate Williams said in a Queensland University of Technology news release. Williams is on the faculty in its School of Early Childhood.

For many families, today’s social and home environment is a roller coaster ride; creating solid routines, winding down and focusing on good sleep habits has almost become a lost art.

Williams and her team found that children with increasing sleep problems in early childhood were apt to be more hyperactive and to have more emotional outbursts in the classroom.

"If these sleep issues aren't resolved by the time children are 5 years old, then they are at risk of poorer adjustment to school," she noted.

There are lots of online tips for helping children develop good sleeping habits. These are usually in every list:

·      No video games, TV or electronic gadgets for at least an hour before bed.

·      Set a bedtime and stick to it that allows for plenty of sleep.

·      Follow a routine – brush teeth, wash hands and face and settle in for sleep. Reading a book to your little one can help relax them.

·      Make sure their room is dark and cool when it’s time for light’s out.. If your child needs a night light, place it in the hallway or bathroom and leave the door ajar. Turn it off once they are asleep.

·      Avoid giving your child candy or food right before bedtime. Certain foods can be stimulating and creating the habit of eating before bed or during the night is a hard one to break.

·      Make sure your child is comfortable. Pajamas should not restrict movement. Blankets shouldn’t be so heavy as to cause them to be hot or too warm.

Story sources: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/education-news-745/children-sleep-school-qut-release-batch-2570-708848.html

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep

Your Child

Kids Are Consuming Way Too Much Salt

2:00 to read

I don’t think it’s any surprise that American kids are getting way too much salt in their diets. It’s hard for adults to monitor their sodium intake even when they are making an effort, and most kids don’t give a second thought about how much sodium is in that slice of pizza they’re eating.

If children aren’t thinking about their salt intake, their parents should be paying attention to how much their kids are consuming according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reason is that too much daily sodium could be setting their children up for serious health problems as they get older.

The CDC report found that more than 90 percent of American children – ages 6 to 18-ingest too much sodium daily.

Those children eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium daily even before salt is added at the table, according to the CDC study based on national surveys in 2009 and 2010. That exceeds dietary guidelines calling for less than 2,300 mg per day.

The CDC noted that one in six young Americans already has elevated blood pressure - a condition closely linked to high sodium intake and obesity that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Where is all this sodium coming from? Mostly from the 10 most popular types of food. Here’s the list:

  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches like cheeseburgers
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Pasta with sauce
  • Cheese
  • Salty snacks like potato chips
  • Chicken nuggets and patties
  • Tacos and burritos
  • Breads
  • Soup

"Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the saltshaker," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. "Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems."

The largest single servings of sodium occur at dinnertime, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the daily intake.

Where else are kids getting too much sodium? The report said that 65 percent comes from food bought in stores - where salt is already added in the products. 13 percent are getting sodium from meals at fast food restaurants and 9 percent from meals at school.

According to the CDC report, teens are ahead of younger children when it comes to too much daily salt.

Researchers said that there is a need to reduce sodium intake “across multiple foods, venues and eating occasions.” Since so much food is bought at grocery stores, processed foods should have less sodium, the study noted.

Many food distributers have started reducing the amount of sodium they put in their products, but increase the amount of sugar to add more flavor.

The best option for reducing daily sodium to healthier levels is to avoid processed foods and replace them with fresh meats, poultry and vegetables when possible. If you tend to use frozen meats or poultry, rinse them after defrosting to get rid of some of the extra salt they are soaked in before freezing.

Source: Letitia Stein, Will Dunham, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/09/us-usa-health-sodium-idUSKBN0H423M20140909

Your Child

Fluids Can Help Fight a Cold or the Flu

1.45 to read

I hear it just about everywhere I go. People telling me that either they’ve just got over a bad cold or their child has. Most parents I know pick up a cold from their child who brings it home after catching it from another child at school. That’s how these things go… you have it, I have it, we all have it. And yes, I just got over a bad cold.

One of the ways you can help your child recover a little faster from a cold is to make sure he or she has plenty of fluids. Fluids can prevent dehydration and thin mucus, helping to unclog a stuffy nose.

What fluids will help? Good choices are:

-       Water. Water is the easiest fluid to offer a sick child. Bottled or tap water is fine.

-       Fruit juices. Fruit juice is also a good choice when your child isn’t feeling well, but remember that some juices can be too acidic on an upset tummy and a little harsh on a sore throat. It’s probably best to hold off on citric juices like orange and pineapple till your little one is well. Apple or grape juice may be more soothing. If your child is dehydrated, get an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte or Infalyte instead. Fruit juice doesn’t have the right mix of sugar and salts to treat dehydration.

-       Decaffeinated tea. Tea is a good choice when your child has a sore throat. A warm cup of tea with a little honey is comforting to a sore throat and can help ease coughing. If you add honey make sure that your child is over 1 year old.

-       Milk. Many people believe that milk can “sour the stomach” when your=’re sick. Not true. Milk does not cause a sour stomach or mucus build-up. In fact, the protein, calories, and fat in milk can help keep up your sick child's strength.

Are there fluids your child should avoid? Caffeinated drinks never good for a child whether they or sick or not. Sugary drinks and sodas are not a first choice, but if that’s all your sick child will drink, it may be ok to make an exception for now – but encourage your child to try one of the alternatives listed above first.

Sometimes being sick and achy can make your appetite for food and drink go away. If that happens you’ll have to get creative. Popsicles are a good alternative to a glass of juice or water. Either make or buy popsicles with real fruit juice instead of sugar water. Use a cookie cutter to make fun gelatin shapes. And then there is the tried and true chicken soup. Some studies also show that chicken soup -- your grandmother's home remedy -- really may fight inflammation and help with colds.

How much fluid does your child need? It really depends on his or her weight and age.

Some experts say that children over age 1 need as many as 4 to 5 cups of fluid a day –with a combination of both drinks and foods. If your child is older or weighs more, she will need more. Also, a dehydrated child will need more fluid. Ask your doctor for advice ideally before your child is sick so you can be prepared.

Dehydration can be a serious side effect from being ill. Some indications that your child may be dehydrated are:

-       Not playing as much as usual.

-       Not urinating as much as usual.

-        Dry mouth.

-        Crying without tears.

-        Sleepiness or listlessness.

-       Fussiness or crying more than usual.

We are in the middle of the flu and cold season, so there’s a good possibility that your child may catch a bug. If you suspect he or she is dehydrated contact your pediatrician or general practitioner to see what treatment is recommended. Otherwise, a glass of fruit juice, water, or a cup of warm tea make just be what the doctor ordered. 

Source: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/treat-symptoms-12/cold-flu-dhydration-f

Your Child

Should Sugar Be Labeled a Toxin?

2.00 to read

Here’s a question for you. Should sugar be labeled a toxin and regulated like alcohol and tobacco? There are some in the scientific community that say absolutely.

Robert Lustig M.D, Laura Schmidt PhD. and Claire Brindis DPH, all researchers in health policy, argue in an opinion piece called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar” in the February issue of the journal Nature that sugar and other sweeteners are so toxic to the human body that access to them should be strictly regulated, especially for children.

Although not calling for a complete ban on sugar, Lustig and his colleagues say there are certain regulations the government could apply.

"For both alcohol and tobacco, there is robust evidence that gentle 'supply side' control strategies which stop short of all-out prohibition -- taxation, distribution controls, age limits -- lower both the consumption of the product and the accompanying health harms," they wrote.

Lustig has long been a proponent of labeling sugar a toxin. Lustig and colleagues noted that sugar poses dangers similar to those of alcohol. Fructose, specifically, can harm the liver, they wrote, and over-consumption has been linked with all the diseases involved with metabolic syndrome: hypertension, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

It also has the potential for abuse, they wrote, as it interferes with the signaling of hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin and tinkers with dopamine pathways. It exacts a great cost, they said, with the U.S. spending $65 billion in lost productivity and $150 billion on healthcare every year for problems related to metabolic syndrome.

Sugar has been called “empty calories” for a long time, but the researchers write it’s more than that. “There is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills—slowly.”

The U.S. population is already more than two-thirds overweight and about 75 percent of U.S. health-are dollars are spent on diet-related diseases, Dr. Lustig explains. The risk of liver failure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes are rising rapidly, and it seems drastic measures needs to take place in order for change.

“We’re not talking prohibition,” Dr. Schmidt says in a statement. “We’re not advocating a major imposition of the government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.”

Other researchers argue that other substances may be the cause of the obesity epidemic.

Some say that saturated fat, not sugar, is the root cause of obesity and chronic disease. Others say that it is highly processed foods with simple carbohydrates. Still others argue that it is a lack of physical exercise. It could, of course, be a matter of all these issues.

Sources: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/30972  /  http://www.parenting.com/blogs/show-and-tell/jordan-parenting/sugar-toxic  / http://www.livescience.com/18244-sugar-toxic-regulations.html

 

Your Child

Children's Sinus Infections

Beginning in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasized amoxicillin as the preferred antibiotic for most children with sinusitis.If your child suffers from sinus infections, there’s good news about a preferred treatment.

A  push to get US doctors to use the antibiotic amoxicillin in children with acute sinus inflammation appears to be paying off a report in Pediatrics indicates. That's the good news. The bad news is that inappropriate prescribing of other, more powerful antibiotics remains "common and unnecessary" in kids with sinus woes, the authors say. Acute sinusitis is very common, accounting for more than 3 million doctor visits annually. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed for this condition. Beginning in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasized amoxicillin as the preferred antibiotic for most children with sinusitis. The new report finds that these efforts have been successful in encouraging use of amoxicillin, instead of other more "broad-spectrum" antibiotics. "This is important," Dr. Adam L. Hersh, an author on the report, told Reuters Health, "because amoxicillin is effective while at the same time, inexpensive and narrow-spectrum. Using broad spectrum antibiotics when narrow-spectrum antibiotics are appropriate may promote drug resistance and increases costs," Hersh explained. Acute sinusitis often begins when a cold, which is caused by a virus, leads to inflammation in the lining of the sinuses. Colds can't be treated with antibiotics - but sometimes the inflammation leads to a bacterial infection. The bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia is a common cause of acute sinusitis and also of ear infections - what doctors call "otitis media." The two are considered similar diseases. In 2000, a "pneumococcal" vaccine against otitis media was introduced, which was followed by a substantial decrease in the number of cases. And in 2004, the AAP recommended that amoxicillin be the "first-line therapy" for these ear infections (meaning that patients with otitis media should take amoxicillin before trying any other antibiotic). The vaccine, and the 2004 recommendation, led to increased use of amoxicillin for ear infections. Back in 2001, the AAP had also recommended that amoxicillin be the first-line therapy for acute sinusitis. But had similar trends occurred in children with acute sinusitis following introduction of the vaccine and the advice to use amoxicillin first? Dr. Hersh, from University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues at University of California, San Francisco addressed this question in their research. They examined time trends in doctor visits and antibiotic prescribing patterns between 1998 and 2007 for a nationally representative sample of 538 children with symptoms of acute sinusitis. Unlike office visits for otitis media, visits for sinusitis did not fall after the vaccine was introduced, they report. In the 10 years spanning 1998 to 2007, trips to the doctor for acute sinusitis held steady; they ranged from 11 to 14 visits for every 1,000 children. The researchers estimate that more than 8.9 million children saw a health care provider for acute sinusitis during the 10-year study period. This reflects an average of 895,000 visits each year. "We were somewhat surprised," Hersh admitted, "that the office visit rate for acute sinusitis did not decline after the pneumococcal vaccine was introduced, as was seen for acute otitis media and pneumonia." "Streptococcus pneumonia, which is the bacteria targeted by this vaccine, is a frequent cause for all three of these conditions," he explained. "That said, our study may not have had sufficient sample size to detect a change in the frequency of sinusitis visits, if one did indeed occur." In a subset of 389 children, the researchers found that 82% left with a prescription for any antibiotic; this figure also held steady throughout the study period.

Your Child

Kids May Get Swine Flu Shots First

U.S. schoolchildren may be first in line for swine flu vaccine this fall, and might even be able to get the shot right at school. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is taking that possible scenario to school superintendents around the country, urging them to spend the summer planning what to do if the government decides it needs their buildings for mass vaccinations.

"If you think about vaccinating kids, schools are the logical place," Sebelius told The Associated Press. No decision has been made yet on whether and how to vaccinate millions of Americans against the new flu strain that the World Health Organization has formally dubbed a pandemic, meaning it now is circulating the globe unchecked. Currently, swine flu doesn't appear any more lethal than the regular flu that strikes each winter. But scientists fear it may morph into a more dangerous strain. Regardless, it can kill, and the WHO says about half of the world's more than 140 known deaths so far have been people who were previously young and healthy. If that trend continues, "the target may be school-age children as a first priority" for vaccination, Sebelius said. "That's being watched carefully." Those shots would be in addition to the regular winter-flu shots that will be given as usual. Health officials are working to make people understand who will need which vaccine, or maybe both. "We really just don't know, unfortunately, at this point," Sebelius said, noting that those decisions will be made in part based on how swine flu behaves in the Southern Hemisphere this summer, where flu season is just beginning.

Your Child

It’s Official; CDC Says Flu is Epidemic

2:00

The flu has reached epidemic levels in the United States, with 15 children dead so far this season, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported at the end of December 2014.

Every year, the U.S. reaches a point where the number of flu cases enters the epidemic stage.  There’s no way to tell right now if this year’s flu season will end up being more or less severe than previous ones. Those statistics won’t be available till later in the year.

No state will be spared this season with more flu cases and deaths’ increasing in the next few weeks says Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer in CDC's influenza division. "We are in the middle of flu season," Jhung said. "It's a safe bet that we are going to see flu activity continue to increase for a few more weeks. We are going to see every state in the country affected by flu."

The number of children’s deaths from flu changes every year. The latest victim may be a 17 year-old-girl in Minnesota. She was diagnosed with the flu and sent home to recover. Shanna Zwanziger had the flu for about a week before she died says her family. Her mother said Shanna was given the choice of whether to get the vaccine or not, and she chose not to.

The South, Midwest and Western states have been especially hard hit this flu season. At least six children have died in Tennessee and four in Minnesota, according to published reports.

The predominant flu strain this season is the H3N2 virus, the CDC says. This virus is not well matched to this year's flu vaccine, but what part this mismatch is playing in flu deaths isn't known, Jhung said.

The CDC acknowledges that that this year’s flu vaccine is not a good match for the most dominant strain of the virus. That’s because there’s not just one type of flu and the virus can mutate. This year’s vaccine was created before one of the viruses mutated. However, experts say that getting this year’s vaccine can still help protect you and can help make symptoms less severe if you get the flu.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot. It's not too late to get vaccinated, Jhung said. More than one type of flu is circulating, and the vaccine protects against at least three strains of circulating virus, he added.

"If you encounter one of those viruses where there is a very good match, then you will be well-protected," he said. "Even if there isn't a great match, the vaccine still provides protection against the virus that's circulating."

Many people get the flu and recover at home. They spend anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks feeling very bad and then start to feel better. But others face life-threatening complications – such as pneumonia- according to the CDC.

Jhung says parents should always take the flu seriously, and get medical help if their child is very sick.

Warning signs might include a cough that disrupts sleep, a fever that doesn't come down with treatment, or increased shortness of breath, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There are treatments for the flu such as Tamiflu and Relenza. "Those work best when they are given very quickly. So if you do have signs and symptoms of flu, reach out to a health care provider and get evaluated," Jhung said.

The flu season moves into its later stage in January and February, with different flu types taking the lead. It’s not too late to get your family the flu shot. They are still available at physician’s offices as well as at many pharmacies and health care centers.

Sources: Steven Reinberg, http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/flu-now-epidemic-in-u-s-with-15-child-deaths-reported-695066.html

Liz Neporent, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/years-subpar-flu-shot-save-life/story?id=27898830

Your Child

Make It a Safe Summer!

2:30

Summer is a time when lots of family create life-long memories. Vacations offer a chance for everyone to get away from the daily grind and explore someplace new. Some families choose to spend the summer closer to home with a “staycation.” You can still relax, have fun and spend time together without the added expense of travel.

One experience a family doesn’t want to have is when someone is injured or worse or falls ill during the summer break. To help make summer is a little safer remember these common sense safety tips.

Water Safety: Probably the number one danger to children in the summer is drowning.

·      Make sure your child learns how to swim.

·      Never leave your child unattended around water. We know it sounds strict, but there is no room for compromise on this one. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.

·      Drowning is silent. Always watch your child when they are in a pool, lake, ocean or pond.

·      Have a flotation device nearby to toss into the water for a child to grab if they are tired or in danger.

·      If you cannot swim, make sure that there is an adult who can swim with you when your children are in the water.

·      Put the cell phone away, forget about all the other things you have to do and give young children 100 percent of your attention when they are near or around water.

·      Keep pool areas fenced and locked when no one is in the pool.

·      Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.

·      Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning. It’s also a good idea to keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed. 

·      Parents have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better.

Hot Cars: Another danger for small children is hot cars. When a child dies or is injured in a hot car, it’s one of the most preventable tragedies. Parents and caregivers can forget they have a small child in the back seat of a car, or they can leave them in the car not realizing how fast the temperature will rise in a very short time. Occasionally, a child will enter a parked car and accidently lock themselves in. 

·      Always look before you lock your car.

•       Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.

•       Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Put something you’ll need in the back seat- like a briefcase or purse.

•       If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

•       Never leave a child unattended in a car. Opening windows will not prevent heatstroke. Heatstroke can happen on cloudy days and when the temperature outside is below 70 degrees.

•       If your traveling with several children, do a head count – see each child- before locking or leaving the car.

•       If your child is missing, check your car first thing.

If you see an unattended child alone in a car, take action!. Don’t wait more than a couple of minutes for the driver to return. If you see a child is unresponsive or in distress; call 911. Get the child out of the car then spray the him or her with cool water (not an ice bath). If the child is responsive, stay with them until help arrives. Send someone else to find the driver.

Food Safety: Who doesn’t love a good picnic or grilled meal? However, food borne illnesses are not something you’ll enjoy.

•       Keep cold foods cold.

•       Don’t keep any foods at room temperature longer than 2 hours -- or 1 hour if it’s warmer than 90 degrees.

•       Don’t reuse platters that have held raw meat until you wash them thoroughly.

•       Keep your grill away from buildings and branches.

•       Don’t let grease build up.

•       Never leave your grill unattended.

•       Keep kids and pets away.

•       Does yours use propane? Test for leaks before the season starts. If you ever smell gas while you’re cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department.

Bug Bites: Summer brings bugs, ticks, bees, mosquitoes, fire ants, chiggers, spiders and other pests.

Mosquitoes are more than a bother. They can spread West Nile virus. Most people who get the virus have no symptoms at all. But very serious and sometimes fatal illness can happen in less than 1% of those infected.

The only way to avoid West Nile is to avoid mosquito bites. Wear mosquito repellent and, if weather permits, long pants and long sleeves outside from dusk to dawn.

At home, get rid of standing water in birdbaths, buckets, and tire swings. They’re breeding grounds for mosquitos.

A bite from a tick is not usually a big deal, but the wrong type of tick can cause real problems. Ticks can cause diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a bacterial infection that occurs mostly in the South Atlantic region in the U.S. If the family is trekking in wooded areas. Make sure that everyone is: 

•       Wearing light-colored long pants, so it’s easier to spot ticks.

•       Tucks their pants into socks or high-top boots or tape them to boots.

•       Wearing a hat and long-sleeved shirt, tucked in.

•       Sprays or rubs insect repellent on the tops of boots, exposed area of socks, and pants openings (inside cuffs, waistband, and fly).

•       Using insect repellant with DEET on your exposed skin.  For children, choose a repellent with no more than 10% to 30% concentration of DEET. If your pets go outside, check them regularly for ticks so they don't bring them in the house.

Fire ants have a painful bite and some children are allergic to them. Check your yard for fire ant mounds and if you find any, have them removed professionally.

If you’ve ever had chigger bites, you know how miserable they are. Keep your grass cut short and use bug repellent. Shoes and socks also offer some protection.

During bug season, a good repellent is going to be your best bet to protect your child and yourself from many of these pesky critters.

Shark Attacks: If you’re headed to the ocean, sunburn is more likely to be a problem for your child than a shark bite, however, this year is quickly on the way to setting a record for shark attacks. Here are some ways to lessen the risks.

•       Avoid being in the water at twilight, when sharks are most active.

•       Don’t go in the water if you’re bleeding.

•       Don’t wear shiny jewelry when you swim. It could look like fish scales to a shark.

•       Know that sharks are sometimes near the shore. Sandbars can trap them close to the beach at low tide.

•       Skip swimming after heavy rains, which may move some freshwater fish, including sharks, into areas they would not otherwise frequent.

Sunburn: Summertime can mean sunburn time as well. Not only are they painful; but sunburns can do more damage to the skin long after it has healed. Children are more prone to sunburn because of their delicate skin.

Try to keep your child out of the sun when the peak ultraviolet rays occur (between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.).

In addition, follow these guidelines:

•       Always use a sunscreen to block the damaging ultraviolet rays. Choose a sunscreen made for children with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. (Check the label.) Apply the protection 15 to 30 minutes before going out. Keep in mind that no sunscreens are truly waterproof, and thus they need to be reapplied every one and a half to two hours, particularly if your child spends a lot of time in the water. Consult the instructions on the bottle. 

•       Dress your child in lightweight cotton clothing with long sleeves and long pants. 

•       Use a beach umbrella or similar object to keep her in the shade as much as possible. 

•       Have her wear a hat with a wide brim. 

•       Babies under six months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. If adequate clothing and shade are not available, sunscreen may be used on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands.

Heat Exhaustion: Too much heat can make you or your child very sick. Take special care with children and the elderly, because their bodies don’t cool as well. Kids are particularly at risk for heat cramps when they aren't drinking enough fluids.

Although painful, heat cramps on their own aren't serious. Cramps can be the first sign of more serious heat illness, so they should be treated right away to help avoid any problems.

Don’t let your child play outside during the hottest part of the day. Make sure they have plenty of fluids and a cool place to rest. If you suspect your child is suffering from heat exhaustion, call 911. Symptoms can include:

•       Increased thirst

•       Weakness

•       Fainting

•       Muscle cramps

•       Nausea and/or vomiting

•       Irritability

•       Headache

•       Increase sweating

•       Cool, clammy skin

•       Elevation of body temperature, but less than 104°F (40°C)

Protect Your Feet!

One minute you’re strolling barefoot. The next, you’re in pain. Puncture wounds happen more often in summer, when bare feet meet nails, glass, toothpicks, and seashells. 

The biggest problem is infection. Heat, swelling, and drainage are signs that need quick medical attention. You may also need to update your tetanus shot. 

These are just a few tips to help prevent some serious summertime injuries. Sometimes the problems are just an annoyance, other times they can be fatal. Summer is about fun and family time together. Just use common sense and follow these simple rules for a safer summer.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-summer-health-hazards?print=true

http://www.safekids.org/watersafety

http://www.safercar.gov/parents/InandAroundtheCar/heatstroke.htm

 

Your Child

Melatonin May Help Kids with Eczema Sleep Better

2:00

Eczema is a common skin disease that affects as many as 30 percent of all kids.  It’s an itchy red rash that often causes continuous scratching. Numerous children with eczema have trouble sleeping through the night. A new study suggests that over-the-counter melatonin may help them sleep longer and better.

These sleep problems can be difficult to treat in these children, said Dr. Yung-Sen Chang, an attending physician in pediatrics at Taipei City Hospital Renai Branch in Taiwan. Antihistamines can stop working after a few days, and tranquilizers have potentially serious side effects, Chang said.

But giving children melatonin, his study found, "is safe and effective for helping children with atopic dermatitis fall asleep faster."

The link between the skin condition and insufficient sleep "has an impact on people with eczema at all ages," said Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield, chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at the University of California, San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital.

According to Eichenfield, it's generally established that it’s the itching that keeps people with eczema from getting enough sleep. However, Chang said that may not be the case.

Chang and colleagues discovered that patients with eczema, that had difficulty sleeping, had low levels of nocturnal melatonin. That intrigued Chang and inspired the new study.

"Melatonin is a natural human hormone with minimal adverse effects," Chang said, "so it seemed like a good choice for children."

The study was small and involved 48 children, about 22 months to 18 years old, who had eczema. The children received treatment with either an inactive placebo or a 3-milligram daily dose of melatonin at bedtime for four weeks. Thirty-eight participants then took the alternate treatment (melatonin or placebo) for another four weeks.

When the children took melatonin, the severity of eczema dipped slightly, possibly because melatonin's anti-inflammatory effect improved the skin condition, Chang said.

Also, kids taking melatonin fell asleep about 21 minutes sooner than kids taking the placebo, the findings showed.

Total nightly sleep rose by 10 minutes on average (from 380 to 390 minutes, or 6.5 hours total) in the melatonin group, while it fell by 20 minutes among those who took a placebo, according to the report.

The participants did not report any side effects. Melatonin supplements are inexpensive in the U.S.- typically under 9 cents a pill from one major supplier.

Eichenfield, who wasn't involved in the research, said the study appears to be well-designed. Melatonin hasn't been studied much as a sleep treatment for kids, he cautioned.

While Eichenfield said melatonin may turn out to be helpful, he said there are a broad set of other tools available to treat eczema and minimize its effect on children. He suggested tackling the skin condition first to try to mitigate the sleep issues.

Chang recommended that parents talk to their child's doctor before starting melatonin. As for adults, melatonin may help them, too. But more studies are needed, Chang said.

The study was published in a November online edition of the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Source: Randy Dotinga, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20151124/melatonin-might-help-sleepless-kids-with-eczema-study-finds

 

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