Your Child

Twitter Ringworm Question

A twitter follower ask about treatment of ringworm.We received a "tweet" from a concerned dad.  He writes: I'm sure you receive thousands of questions, but I was wondering if putting a band aid on my daughter's ringworm (on knee) will impede healing?

Ringworm is very contagious and should be treated with an anti-fungal cream.  If you place a band aid over the infected area, it will hasten the healing process. Keep following your doctor's recommendation when using her medication.  Even when the rash appears to be getting better, continue the medication (per doctor's orders) as this will help prevent the fungus from coming back. If it looks like it is not getting better, call your pediatrician.

Your Child

Promising New Peanut Allergy Patch

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Peanut allergies can be life-threatening for some children, but a new “peanut patch” may be the solution their parents have been searching for.

The small skin patch – known as Viaskin® Peanut -is applied to the child’s skin and appears to offer safe and effective protection against this serious condition.

“This is exciting news for families who suffer with peanut allergies because Viaskin represents a new treatment option for patients and physicians,” study author Hugh A. Sampson, a doctor at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai, said in a statement.

Based on the principle of epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT), the patch delivers small doses of peanut proteins when placed on patients’ skin.

The team of researchers completed a double blind, placebo-controlled randomized Phase IIb trial in which 221 individuals with peanut allergies underwent the therapy for a year.

The patch exposed patients to a small dose of peanut protein, ranging from 50 to 250 micrograms, for the course of the study.

The 250 µg peanut patch shows the most promise for researchers. “After one year of therapy, half of the patients treated with the 250 micrograms patch tolerated at least 1 gram of peanut protein – about four peanuts —which is 10 times the dose that they tolerated in their entry oral peanut challenge,” Sampson explained.

Compliance was greater than 95% and less than 1% of the participants dropped out of the study due to adverse symptoms. In fact, there were no serious adverse reactions related to the patch treatment.

Overall, children treated with the larger patch experienced a robust increase (19 fold) in peanut-specific IgG4 levels, the antibody associated with protection following immunotherapy.

“EPIT appears safe, well tolerated and effective. That’s good news for families who suffer from food allergies,” Sampson said.

While the results are promising, researchers will continue to follow the participants for another year. It could be several more years before the patch become available for consumers, but there is hope on the horizon.

Source: http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/news-releases/peanut-patch.aspx

Justin Worland, http://time.com/3718529/peanut-patch-allergy/

Your Child

Bullying Tied to Suicide Thoughts and Attempts

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The emotional pain of being bullied can lead some kids to think about killing themselves and others to follow through with actually attempting suicide. Sadly, far too many young kids and adolescents have succeeded in ending their lives because of the hurtful actions, mean words and cyber aggression of others.

Some people may assume that bullying is just a part of growing up and relatively harmless, but a new analysis of previously published studies on bullying, found that school children who are bullied are more than twice as likely to think about killing themselves and to attempt suicide as children who are not bullied.

Researchers also found that cyber-bullying, such as harassment over the Internet, was more closely linked to suicidal thoughts than in-person bullying.

"We found that suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides are significantly related to bullying, a highly prevalent behavior among adolescents," Mitch van Geel told Reuters Health in an email.

Van Geel is the study's lead author from the Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

He said it's estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of children and teens are involved in bullying as the perpetrator, victim or both.

Studies have discovered links between bullying and suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, but there are still a lot of questions left that need answering.

Cyber-bullying is a relatively new phenomenon, in research and analysis time, so fewer studies have been completed. 

For this latest analysis, published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found 34 studies that examined bullying and suicidal thoughts among 284,375 participants between nine and 21 years old.

They also found nine studies that examined the relationship between bullying and suicide attempts among 70,102 participants of the same age.

Overall, participants who were bullied were more than twice as likely to think about killing themselves. They were also about two and a half times more likely to attempt killing themselves.

In one study included in the analysis, researchers found that about 3 percent of students from New York State who were not bullied thought about or attempted suicide. That compared to 11 percent of students who were frequently bullied.

The extra risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts tied to bullying was similar among participants of different age groups and among boys and girls.

In the handful of studies on cyber-bullying, researchers found that those victims were more likely to have suicidal thoughts than kids who experienced traditional face-to-face bullying.

"At this point, this is speculative and more research is definitely needed on cyber-bullying," van Geel wrote.

It could be, however, that cyber-bullying victims feel belittled in front of a wider audience and may relive the attacks because they are stored on the Internet, he added.

Some experts have cautioned that the studies included in the analysis don’t prove a causal connection between being bullied and suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts among the participants. As one noted researcher explained, it could be, for example, that kids who attempt or think about suicide are more likely to be bullied.

Many schools have implemented no-bullying policies and programs to help children who are targets of bullying have a voice and a safe place to talk and receive counseling.

Those steps have helped bring attention to the problem of bullying in some schools. However, it may take a change in adolescent attitude and societal pressure to make bullying lose its power.

"There are now meta-analyses that demonstrate that bullying is related to depression, psychosomatic problems and even suicide attempts, and thus we should conclude that bullying is definitely not harmless," said van Geel.  

Source: Andrew M. Seaman,  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/10/us-bullying-among-kids-idUSBREA291JS20140310

Your Child

Antibiotics Often Prescribed When Not Needed

2.00 to read

By now, most parents understand that antibiotics are not effective for viral infections, only for illnesses caused by bacteria.

However, that hasn’t deterred many physicians from over-prescribing antibiotics for children with ear and throat infections.

More than 11 million antibiotic prescriptions written each year for children and teens may be unnecessary, according to researchers from University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital. This excess antibiotic use not only fails to eradicate children's viral illnesses, researchers said, but also supports the dangerous evolution of bacteria toward antibiotic resistance.

"I think it's well-known that we prescribers overprescribe antibiotics, and our intent was to put a number on how often we're doing that," said study author Dr. Matthew Kronman, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Seattle Children's Hospital.

"But as we found out, there's really been no change in this [situation] over the last decade," added Kronman. "And we don't have easily available tools in the real-world setting to discriminate between infections caused by bacteria or viruses."

 Doctors have limited resources when it comes to differentiating between bacterial or viral infections. Physicians can use the rapid step test to determine if the streptococcus bacteria is the cause of a child’s sore throat, but that is about it for immediate diagnostic tools.

Most colds are virus related and one of the first symptoms will be a sore or scratchy throat. It will typically go away after the first day or so and other cold symptoms will continue. Strep throat is often more severe and persistent.

A virus often causes ear infection as well. Many doctors treat ear infections as though they are bacterial to be on the safe side and avoid serious middle ear infections.

To determine antibiotic prescribing rates, Kronman and his colleagues analyzed a group of English-language studies published between 2000 and 2011 and data on children 18 and younger who were examined in outpatient clinics.

Based on the prevalence of bacteria in ear and throat infections and the introduction of a pneumococcal vaccine that prevents many bacterial infections, the researchers estimated that about 27 percent of U.S. children with infections of the ear, sinus area, throat or upper respiratory tract had illnesses caused by bacteria.

But antibiotics were prescribed for nearly 57 percent of doctors' visits for these infections, the study found.

Kronan hopes that the study’s results will encourage the development of more diagnostic tools and will spur doctors to think more critically about prescribing antibiotics unless clearly needed.

Previous research has shown that parents often pressure their doctor to prescribe an antibiotic to treat their child’s ear or sore throat symptoms. However, when parents are given other suggestions on how to alleviate the symptoms they have been much more receptive than when their doctor just flat out says he won’t prescribe antibiotics.

Many physicians and researchers are concerned that the amount of antibiotics being prescribed these days is setting us all up for future problems when dealing with bacterial infections. Bacteria are adaptable and mutate over time becoming less responsive to antibiotics. When possible, it’s much healthier in the long run to treat your child’s symptoms with simpler therapies. Ask your physican ways you can make your little one more comfortable until the symptoms pass. 

The study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Maureen Salamon, http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/antibiotics-news-30/antibiotics-prescribed-twice-as-often-as-needed-in-children-study-says-691686.html

Your Child

New Guidelines for Ear Infections

2.30 to read

When a child is in pain and crying, a loving parent wants nothing more than to make the pain go away.  Ear infections can be very painful and often a parent will request antibiotics to treat the infection from their pediatrician or family doctor.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new guidelines for identifying and treating childhood ear infections and would like to see fewer antibiotics prescribed.

The guidelines more clearly define the signs and symptoms that indicate an infection that needs treatment. They also encourage more observation, with follow-ups, instead of antibiotics. This would also include some children under the age of two. Most children with ear infections get well on their own and can be safely monitored for a few days.

For children with recurrent infections, the guidelines advise physicians and parents on when it is time to see a specialist.

"Between a more accurate diagnosis and the use of observation, we think we can greatly decrease the use of antibiotics," said the lead author of the new guidelines, Dr. Allan Lieberthal, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City, in Los Angeles, and a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

The guidelines say that there are definitely times when antibiotics should be prescribed such as when children have a severe ear infection. Severe is defined as when a child has either a fever of 102.2 degrees or higher or is in significant pain. He or she has a ruptured ear drum with drainage, or an infection in both ears for kids two years or younger.  These account for fewer cases but studies have shown that children benefit from antibiotics given right away.

It’s been since 2004 since the last set of guidelines were issued. Those guidelines stimulated new research that has provided evidence for the new AAP guidelines that will appear in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Lieberthal said the biggest change is the definition of the diagnosis itself. Experts say that the new definition is more precise. Because of the different stages of ear infections, diagnosis can be tricky.

The AAP offers detailed treatment suggestions that encourage observation with close follow-ups as long as the child is not having severe symptoms, but leaves it up to the discretion of the physician whether or not to prescribe antibiotics.  Previous guidelines recommended that antibiotics be prescribed for children under two with ear infections.

Pain management is also an important component of the new guidelines. Antibiotics can take up to 2 days before they start to improve symptoms, so if a child has fever or pain they should be given pain relieving or fever reducing medications.

The new guidelines also state that children, even those with recurrent infections, shouldn't be on long-term daily antibiotics to try to prevent infections from occurring. Long-term antibiotic use has its own downfall. Children can develop a rash and diarrhea (causing dehydration.) The biggest concern is that the child will build up immunity to the antibiotic, making it ineffective over time.

When children have recurrent ear infections they should be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Recurrent is defined as children who have three or more ear infections in a six-month period, or four or more infections in a one-year period (with at least one infection occurring in the previous six months.)

The new guidelines also recommend staying current on your child’s vaccine schedule, especially the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), and the flu shot. "Studies show that anything that decreases viral infection will decrease the incidence of ear infections," Lieberthal said.

Many parents are beginning to see the logic of not over-using antibiotics, but some are still unaware of the dangers. Physicians may now be more assertive about watchful waiting and follow-ups when a child’s ear infection isn’t severe. That may not comfort the parent of a crying child in pain, but it may be the best approach for the child in the long run.

Sources: Serena Gordon http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/news/20130225/pediatrics-group-issues-new-ear-infection-guidelines

Michelle Healy  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/25/ear-infections-new-guidelines/1935493/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+usatoday-NewsTopStories+(News+-+Top+Stories)

Your Child

Recall: Popular Kid's Room Lamps

1.45 to read

Discovery Kids Animated Marine and Safari Lamps are cute and add a little pop to a kid’s room. But they may also short circuit and catch fire.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recalling 300,000 lamps sold at popular shopping outlets. Details are below.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Discovery Kids™ Animated Marine and Safari Lamps

Units: About 300,000

Importer: Innovage LLC, of Foothill Ranch, Calif.

Hazard: The placement of internal wires near the circuit board can cause electrical short-circuiting and sparking, posing a fire and a burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Innovage has received 11 reports of short circuiting. This includes three reports of lamps catching fire, which led to property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Discovery Kids Animated Marine and Safari Lamps that feature rotating films with marine or safari scenes. The words "Discovery Kids" are printed on the front top-left corner of the product. The recalled products have both an 11-digit batch number that begins with either 584894 or 10128 and a model number of 1628626, 1642433, 1641522, 1641523, 1645729, or 1645853. Batch numbers can be found imprinted in the plastic underneath the lamps and on the bottom of the packaging. Model numbers can be found on stickers placed underneath the lamps and on the bottom of the packaging near the barcode.

Sold at: Bed Bath & Beyond, Bonton, JCPenney, Kohls, Office Max, Toys "R" Us stores nationwide as well as the online retailers Amazon, Ideeli, JCPenney, Kohls, Macy's and Overstock from June 2010 through March 2012 for between $10 and $20.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the lamps and contact Innovage for instructions on how to obtain a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information contact Innovage toll-free at (888) 232-1535 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, visit the firm's website at www.innovage.net, www.lamprecall.org or e-mail info@lamprecall.org

Discovery Kids Lamp  Discovery Kids Lamp

Discovery Kids Lamp

Your Child

Study Links Pesticide to Childhood Leukemia

A new study shows that patients with childhood leukemia have elevated levels of household pesticides in their urine. "In our study, we compared urine samples from children with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and their mothers with healthy children and their moms," said study researcher Offie Soldin from the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We found elevated levels of common household pesticides more often in the mother-child pairs affected by cancer," said Soldin, an epidemiologist at the center, who led the research published in August's issue of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring.

"We shouldn't assume that pesticides caused these cancers, but our findings certainly support the need for more robust research in this area," she said. Between January 2005 and January 2008, the study tested 41 pairs of children with ALL and their mothers, and 41 pairs of healthy children and their mothers. Pesticides were found in the urine of more than half of the study's participants, but levels of two OP metabolites -- diethylthiophosphate (DETP) and diethlydithiophosphate (DEDTP) "were higher in the children with ALL." Pesticides are prevalent in the environment and can easily be absorbed through the skin or through respiration. The participants were asked to provide a family history and details about their home and neighborhood, diet, smoke exposure and use of pesticides in the home. Some 33 percent of women whose children had ALL said they used pesticides at home, as compared with 14 percent among women whose children were healthy. "We know pesticides -- sprays, strips, or 'bombs,' are found in at least 85 percent of households, but obviously not all the children in these homes develop cancer," Soldin said. Previous studies, including in agricultural areas where such chemicals are used frequently, have indicated a link between pesticides and cancer in children, but this study is the first to examine the link between household pesticides and the disease, according to the research's authors. ALL usually affects children between the ages of three and seven years old.

Your Child

Work May Not Be Best for Young Children

A new study found fifth-graders who worked the most at jobs such as your-babysitting and newspaper routes were the most likely to smoke, drink and get into fights.A new study suggests that too much work might turn a child into a juvenile delinquent. Researchers with Rand Corp. found that fifth-graders who worked the most at jobs such as your-babysitting and newspaper routes were the most likely to smoke, drink and get into fights.

Study author Rajeev Ramchand, an associate behavioral scientist at the Rand Corp. said the findings don't prove that overwork directly leads to trouble, but they raise questions about the value of work. "We know working can be positive, but the time they spend working is associated with worse outcomes," he said. Ramchand said that it's possible that parents may stop monitoring their children as much when they're working. "Parents need to keep track of what their kids are doing, ask questions about what they do at work, just stay involved," he said. The results of the study are published in the April 2009 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies children says the study shouldn't make parents fret. "Millions of parents and their school-age children find informal work to be a healthy and productive part of growing up," said Frederick Zimmerman. "Nothing in this study should cause parents any concern about having Billy your-babysit or Susie mow a neighbor's lawn." Still, the study does provide helpful new information professor Zimmerman said. "We know very little about kids and work, especially this kind of informal work. So in that sense, this study may be useful in launching an academic dialogue, though it should not and will not be the last word."

Your Child

Parents Beware! Ads for Concussion Supplements

2.00 to read

Dietary supplement companies are tuned into the concerns parents have about their children and sports related concussions. They often promise that their supplements provide faster brain healing and less time spent away from sport activities.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that dietary supplements that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions are untested, unproven and possibly dangerous.

The agency said in a news release that companies attempting to exploit parents’ increasing concerns about concussions often sell their products on the Internet and in stores.

The products are also being marketed on social media sites.

One common misleading claim is that these dietary supplements promote faster brain healing after a concussion. Even if some of these products don't contain harmful ingredients, the claim itself can be dangerous, explained Gary Coody, National Health Fraud Coordinator at the FDA.

"We're very concerned that false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes of all ages, coaches and even parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are really ready," he said in the news release.

"Also, watch for claims that these products can prevent or lessen the severity of concussions or [traumatic brain injuries]," he added.

Many concussions occur during the time that kids are playing fall sports. Right now is the prime marketing time for these types of products and the FDA wants parents to be aware that replacing medical advice with supplements could lead to serious health problems for their children.

Head injuries require proper diagnosis, treatment and monitoring by a medical professional, the FDA stressed. There is mounting evidence that if concussion patients resume playing sports too soon, they're at increased risk for another concussion.

If a child is on the field and playing too soon after a concussion, repeat concussions are more likely to occur. Repeat concussions can lead to severe problems such as brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disability and death.

"There is simply no scientific evidence to support the use of any dietary supplement for the prevention of concussions or the reduction of post-concussion symptoms that would allow athletes to return to play sooner," Charlotte Christin, acting director of the FDA's division of dietary supplement programs, said in the news release.

Many of the dietary supplements boast omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils and spices, such as turmeric, as their “secret weapon”. While these products may be beneficial for some heath concerns, the FDA wants parents to know that they are not helpful as far as concussions are concerned.

Two companies making false claims about their products changed their websites and labeling after the FDA sent them warning letters in 2012. The FDA issued a warning letter in 2013 to a third company that was doing the same.

"As we continue to work on this problem, we can't guarantee you won't see a claim about [traumatic brain injuries]," Coody said. "But we can promise you this: There is no dietary supplement that has been shown to prevent or treat them. If someone tells you otherwise, walk away."

Source: http://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/concussions-news-733/concussion-products-fda-release-691109.html

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