Your Child

Shortage of Liquid Tamiflu for Kids

2.00 to read

With the flu season in full swing, it’s a bad time for a shortage of liquid Tamiflu for kids. The maker of Tamiflu, Genentech, says that manufacturing problems are putting them behind in production. Liquid Tamiflu is often given to children who have a difficult time swallowing capsules.

Fortunately, the shortage doesn't include the capsule form of Tamiflu, which remains in good supply, said Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division.

Flu vaccines also remain widely available and unaffected by shortages, FDA spokesman Eric Pahon said. The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone older than 6 months of age as the best way to try to ward off the flu.

Tamiflu is an anti-viral drug. It works by attacking the flu virus to keep it from multiplying in the body and by reducing the symptoms of the flu. A shortage of the drug can cause some children to be sick with the flu for a longer period of time. The good news is that some pharmacies are able to take the Tamiflu capsule and convert it into a liquid form for children who are very ill.

"For those patients who cannot swallow capsules, the capsules can be opened and the contents may be mixed with chocolate syrup or some other thick, sweet liquid, as directed by a health-care professional," according to the FDA announcement on the shortage.

Jhung added that this is a "spot" shortage that should only affect some parts of the country.

The anti-viral drug can only work to reduce flu symptoms; it’s not a cure. But, if you’ve had the flu, you know any relief from the symptoms is welcomed.

Dr. Robert Wergin, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, has noted that Tamiflu is the only option for treating flu in young children. The other flu antiviral drug, Relenza, is not recommended for children younger than 7 as a flu treatment, and not younger than 5 as a preventive therapy to protect against flu. On the other hand, Tamiflu is approved down to 2 weeks of age, he said.

The FDA says that the shortage is expected to be resolved within a week.

Texas, along with 24 other states is seeing widespread flu activity. Several deaths, including children and adolescents have been linked to the flu already. The dangerous H1N1 strain is responsible for the majority of the cases this year. The current trivalent flu vaccine covers the H1N1 strain as well as the A and B virus.

Flu symptoms can mimic a cold until the virus really takes hold of you. Serious flu symptoms that warrant a trip to the hospital or doctor are shortness of breath, if someone is exhibiting confusion, if a fever is not responding to medication and for infants- a dry diaper for longer than 6 hours.

The best way to avoid the flu or diminish its’ severity is for everyone in the family to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Source: Dennis Thompson, http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/tamiflu-shortage-683683.html

Your Child

Music May Help Children Feel Less Pain

1.00 to read

The modified saying “Music soothes the savage beast” may have new applications in the modern world of medicine. New research suggests that music may help some children experience less discomfort when dealing with low level or moderate pain.

Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have found additional evidence that suggest music decreases people’s perceived sense of pain.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher, Lisa Hartling, led the research team that involved her colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics, as well as fellow researchers from the University of Manitoba and the United States. Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics.

During the research phase, some of the children listened to music while getting an IV, while others did not. The team noted that the children in the music group had less pain than the children in the other group after certain procedures.

Researchers measured the children's distress, perceived pain levels, and heart rates.

They also measured the satisfaction levels of parents, and the satisfaction levels of the healthcare providers who administered the IVs.

"We did find a difference in the children's reported pain -- the children in the music group had less pain immediately after the procedure," says Hartling. "The finding is clinically important and it's a simple intervention that can make a big difference. Playing music for kids during painful medical procedures would be an inexpensive and easy-to-use intervention in clinical settings."

Researchers noted that the children who listened to music reported significantly less pain, some demonstrated significantly less distress, and the children's parents were more satisfied with care.

In the music listening group, 76 per cent of health-care providers said the IVs were very easy to administer -- a markedly higher number than the non-music group where only 38 per cent of health-care providers said the procedure was very easy. Researchers also noticed that the children who had been born premature experienced more distress overall.

The mood of the music, whether it contained lyrics and whether it was familiar to the child also played an important role in how helpful the music intervention was.

"There is growing scientific evidence showing that the brain responds to music and different types of music in very specific ways," said Hartling. "So additional research into how and why music may be a better distraction from pain could help advance this field."

Hartling and her team hope to continue their research in this area, to see if music or other distractions can make a big difference for kids undergoing other painful medical procedures. The pain and distress from medical procedures can have "long-lasting negative effects" for children, the researchers said.

On a more practical daily basis, next time your little one needs a shot or has to undergo something uncomfortable, it might be worth a try to crank up his or her favorite song to see of it relieve some of the pain and anxiety.

You never know, it may just help.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715164803.htm

Your Child

Preventable Sports Injury Knowledge Lacking

2.00 to read

Do you know how much sports safety training your child’s coach has? According to a national survey by Safe Kids, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, only 2 in 5 parents knows how much safety training their kid’s coach has received.

One in 3 American children, who plays team sports suffers injuries severe enough to require medical treatment, according to the survey.

Results also show how little parents understand about sports injuries and the recovery time needed to properly heal. Nine of 10 parents underestimate how long children should refrain from playing any one sport in order to protect them from overuse, overtraining and burnout.

Children need to take two to three months (or a season) away from a specific sport every year in order to avoid those problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

Most parents rely on coaches to keep their child safe while playing sports. But nearly half of all coaches said they have felt pressure to play an injured child in a game. Kids also believe that being injured is not a good reason to stop playing. 3 of 10 children think a good player should keep playing even when they're hurt, unless a coach or other adult makes them stop. 

{C}

Even the well-trained coaches said they would like to receive more training. Costs, lack of time and local resources were the main factors given for not extending their training. 

Other troubling results from the survey revealed that more than half of all coaches believe there is an acceptable amount of head contact during play without potentially causing a serious brain injury. It's difficult to tell the degree of head impact, however, and every precaution should be taken to protect children from head injuries, according to Coaching Our Kids to Fewer Injuries: A Report on Youth Sports Safety.

"The research findings are particularly alarming because experts tell us more than half of these injuries are preventable," Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, said in an organization news release. "There is a gap between what we as coaches and parents can do to keep our kids safe and what we're actually doing. With some simple precautions, we can change these troubling statistics and keep our kids healthy and enjoying the benefits of sports."

"Culturally, there's an attitude that injuries are a natural consequence of sports and that good athletes tough it out when they suffer an injury. But that attitude is hurting our kids," Carr noted.

The survey showed that about four of 10 parents underestimate the amount of fluids a typical youth athlete needs for each hour they play. In order to prevent dehydration, children require fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity.

So, how can parents educate themselves about preventable sports related injuries and safe practices?

Safekids.org outlines sports injury prevention and safety tips for parents and coaches on their website.

Being involved in various sports is a great way for kids to learn how to work together as a team, build stamina, learn leadership skills and have fun. You can’t guarantee a child won’t get injured, and most of the time injuries are not life threatening, but being better educated on preventable injuries can help parents, coaches and kids enjoy the games more.

Sources: http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-guide/sports-safety-guide/for-parents/

http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=664078

Your Child

Fisher Price Toy Recall

The toy giant has recalled toys -- including tricycles and play places -- citing potential dangers from falling onto certain protruding parts and choking hazards from small parts.More than 10 million children's toys have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the toys' manufacturer Fisher Price, the CPSC announced today.

The toy giant has recalled toys -- including tricycles and play places -- citing potential dangers from falling onto certain protruding parts and choking hazards from small parts. "Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed," the CPSC said in a statement. Here's the list of products being recalled in the U.S.: About 7 million Fisher Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles About 950,000 Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs About 100,000 Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway About 2.8 million Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise Playground, Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade, Baby Gymnastics Play Wall, Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball, Bat & Score Goal. "Pegs stick out and children have fallen on these pegs," Inez Tanenbaum, chairwoman of the CSPC told "Good Morning America" of the high chairs. "Several have been injured, and seven required stitches." For the various play place products, including Playzone and Playground, the CPSC and Fisher Price reported they were aware of 46 instances when a small piece came free from the product. In 14 of those cases, the piece was found in the child's mouth. In three of those cases, the piece had caused the child to begin choking. Wheels from other small toy cars can come off and also prevent a choking hazard. Massive Fisher Price Toy Recall "Manufacturers need to build safety into the product from the very beginning so we don't have to recall on the back end," Tanenbaum said. For a complete list of the Fisher Price toy recall products go to http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelsep10.html

Your Child

Home Computers a Growing Source of Injuries

The rate of injuries from computer mishaps has grown as the number of homes with computers has grown a new study shows. Between 1994 and 2006, researchers found there was a seven-fold increase in the number of Americans who visited the ER for a computer-related injury, particularly among children. The most common types of injuries were lacerations, abrasions and bruises.

Of all the age groups, children younger than five had the highest injury rate with many being hurt when they tripped over computer wires. According to findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, home computers were most often to blame, regardless of the victim’s age. More than 90 percent of injuries happened at home, which is notable, researchers say, considering how common computers are in schools and the workplace. According to Dr. Lara B. McKenzie of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, families should take steps to protect themselves. She recommends that parents keep all computer equipment on a stable piece of furniture, away from the edges of the surface and out of the reach of young children. She also suggests that parent’s keep the child’s play area separated from the computer workstation. Keeping the workstation out of walkways and against a wall can minimize the risk of people hitting sharp edges of the equipment or knocking any computer parts off the desk. Families should also make sure the computer wires and cords are organized and secure. McKenzie and her colleagues found that about 43 percent of injuries to children younger than five happened when the child tripped over computer wires.

Your Child

Building Strong Bones in Boys and Girls

2.00 to read

Children that get plenty of physical activity when they are young, tend to develop strong healthy bones. The benefits can last well into young adulthood.

A new study found that as children age into adolescence their physical activity levels drop, but the advantages of early exercise remain.

“What parents do to make sure kids are active today matters down the road,” said Kathleen Janz, the study’s lead author from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

“When you accumulate physical activity as a child, you end up with what looks like better bone as an adolescent,” she told Reuters Health.

Participants in the research were part of the Iowa Bone Development Study, an ongoing study of bone health during childhood and young adulthood. The children had been recruited for that study between 1998 and 2002 when they were about five years old.

At ages five, eight, 11, 13, 15 and 17 years old, the 530 participants wore a device called an accelerometer for four or five consecutive days, including one weekend day, to measure their physical activity whenever they were awake.

When the participants were 17 years old, researchers used bone scans to measure the density, strength and brittleness of their bones. They also used pictures from the scans to estimate the precise geometry of the teenagers’ bone shape, a crucial factor in bone strength.

Researchers found what has sadly become the norm for many kids these days:

-       During childhood, less than 6 percent of the girls were highly active and by their late teens, almost all had become inactive.

-       Boys were more active than girls, but also became much less active as teens.

On average, girls went from being active for 46 to 48 minutes a day in early childhood to being active for just 24 minutes a day as 17-year-olds.

Among boys, activity levels fell from 60 to 65 minutes a day at the beginning of the study to an average of 36 minutes a day by the end.

At age 17, both boys and girls who had been the most active throughout their lives had denser bones and better bone shape than other participants their age that had been less active.

Janz acknowledges that it can be difficult to get teens up and moving.

“In an ideal world, children are active and maintain their activity into retirement, but this activity declines dramatically during adolescence, which is ironically a time when bone is most responsive to activity,” she said.

“It is not all that difficult for kids to be active, whereas sometimes getting adolescents to be active can be more difficult. They have different ideas as to how to spend their leisure time,” Janz said.

What kinds of exercise work best for kids to build strong bones? Janz says that running and jumping are great for building strong bones, but any activity is better than none.

The National Osteoporosis Society UK, also offers these five tips for kid’s bone building activities:

-       Team sports such as football or netball are good for getting children involved in fitness at a young age.

-       Skipping works well because it adds some impact to bones. Aim for 50 jumps a day or skipping for five minutes each day.

-       Jogging builds bone in both the hip and spine in younger people.

-       Tennis or badminton are more high-impact and enjoyable sports that build bone density.

-       Dancing and exercising to music are fun ways to boost bone health as well.

Parents hold the key to helping their children develop good exercise habits. These habits can offer benefits throughout their lives. Study after study reveals that kids are more likely to want to participate in and learn about fitness when they see their parents setting a good example.

Sources: Allison Bond MD, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/05/us-kids-exercise-bone-health-idUSKBN0EG1Q820140605

http://www.nos.org.uk/~/document.doc?id=500

Your Child

Wrigley Stops Production of Caffeine Gum

1.45 to read

Before it has a chance to fly off the shelves, Wrigley has decided to stop production, sales and marketing of their new caffeinated gum. The company’s decision comes after meetings with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The government agency shared its concerns about the possible effects of caffeinated gum on children and adolescents.

Alert Energy Caffeine Gum was introduced into the marketplace less than a month ago. One piece contains 40 milligrams of caffeine, about the same amount that’s typically in a half-cup of coffee.

The gum was available in 2 flavors: mint and fruit. Once someone starts chewing the gum, caffeine is released into the saliva. Some of it is swallowed and some goes directly into the bloodstream through the cheeks or from under the tongue.

"The FDA applauds Wrigley's decision and its recognition that we need to improve understanding and, as needed, strengthen the regulatory framework governing the appropriate levels and uses of caffeine in foods and beverages," said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. "The company's action demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health. We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint."

Wrigley released its own statement about why they made their decision.

"When Wrigley launched Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, we took great strides to ensure that the product was formulated, distributed and marketed in a safe and responsible way to consumers 25 years old and over," Wrigley President Casey Keller said. "After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation's food supply. There is a need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products."

Caffeine seems to be the new marketing chemical of choice for just about anything you can put in your mouth. While Wrigley has made the decision to stop production of its caffeinated gum, other brands are still on the market.

In recent years, “energy” drinks have come under scrutiny by the FDA because of the high levels of caffeine in those products. Many health experts are calling for these drinks to be clearly labeled and health warnings to be added to labels.

Source: Saundra Young,  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/08/health/wrigley-caffeine-gum-production/index.html

Your Child

Can DHA Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills?

2.00 to read

Children whose reading test scores place them in the bottom 20% of their elementary class may benefit from supplements of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, according to a new controlled trial. 

Researchers at Oxford University’s Center for Evidence-Based Intervention studied 362 (7- to 9-year-old) children who had placed in the bottom third of their class in reading scores. For 16 weeks, the children were given either a placebo or 600 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The DHA was extracted from algae, which are the original source of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

Researched then tracked any changes in improvements based on a popular British reading skills test and followed up by asking parents and teachers to rate changes in the children’s behavior, including attention and restlessness. 

Over the 16-week trial, the children receiving placebos progressed in their reading skills as expected. But those students who received DHA and had scored in the bottom 20% of readers at the start of the study advanced by nearly an extra month, while those in the bottom 10% gained nearly two extra months of progress. Students whose reading skills were less impaired — those whose scores had placed them at the highest end of the bottom third — did not see extra improvements with DHA.

Parents of the kids who received DHA also rated their children as more attentive and less restless, as compared with those who got placebo. However, teachers did not report improvement in the children’s behavior.

Other studies have shown that kids with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who were given omega-3 supplements, showed improved behavior. Lead author of the current trial, Alexandra Richardson, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Center notes: “What’s new here is that we’re showing a benefit outside of a clinical population in healthy children, albeit with reading difficulties, and we showed a meaningful improvement.”

DHA is an essential nutrient, which cannot be manufactured by the body, and is used by virtually all cells. It is especially important for vision and brain function, particularly during early development. “DHA is critical for vision and it’s possible that improvements in visual perception might allow children to read better, but it all remains speculative,” says Richardson.

“We focused specifically on reading here,” notes Paul Montgomery, a co-author of the paper and professor of psychosocial interventions at Oxford, explaining that the effects of poor reading in school-age children can be lifelong, contributing to everything from unemployment to the risk of criminal activity down the line. “If reading is not mastered at that stage, how that rattles through and affects children’s life chances later on is profound.”

Not everyone agrees that the statistical analysis used in the study was sufficient. Charles Hulme, professor of psychology at University College London, who was not associated with the new research, expressed some concerns. He called the overall design “good,” but he thinks that the way the data analysis was done may have overstated the effects of DHA. “For children like this, with relatively severe reading problems, [the change seen] is of little, if any, educational significance,” he says, adding, “I think this trial is too brief — only 16 weeks — to have a realistic chance of finding effects on reading, even if they exist.”

Richardson agrees that follow-up research is needed. “We’re the first to say this needs replication,” she says, noting that her group is already working on a larger study that targets only the children with the very lowest reading scores. “We’d like to think it should be taken up by others as well.”

Experts say the best way to make sure that your child is getting enough omega-3s is to improve their diet. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, halibut and tuna  are good sources of DHA and EPA. Fish tacos are an excellent way to add omega-3s to the household menu as well as tuna sandwiches. Many other foods are now fortified with DHA such as yogurt, milk, soymilk, granola bars, bread, pasta, margarine, orange juice, cereal, peanut butter and even eggs. Nuts are also an excellent source.

Whether DHA can help improve your child’s reading skills is not known for sure. But the health benefits of adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet are well researched. 

Supplements are also a good choice for children who have certain food allergies. While there is little danger from getting too many omega-3s in a typical diet, they do have anti-clotting actions and could be dangerous for people with blood clotting disorders or those taking anti-clotting medication.

Talk with your pediatrician or family doctor if you have any concerns about adding DHA to your child’s diet.

The Oxford research was published in the journal PLOS One. It was funded by DSM Nutritional Products, which made the supplement used in the study but was not involved in the data analysis.

Source: http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/07/omega-3s-as-study-aid-dha-may-help-lowest-scoring-readers-improve/#ixzz26ee6yHB3

Your Child

USDA New Rules: Healthier School Lunches

1.45 to read

Government funded school lunches will offer more fruit and vegetables and less fat on their lunch plates starting next September.

New guidelines by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)   were announced Wednesday when First Lady Michelle Obama, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, visited with elementary students.

"Improving the quality of the school meals is a critical step in building a healthy future for our kids," said Vilsack. "When it comes to our children, we must do everything possible to provide them the nutrition they need to be healthy, active and ready to face the future – today we take an important step towards that goal."

It’s been more than 15 years since the school lunch program has had an overhaul. The changes will affect over 32 million kids who eat at school. The new regulations will be phased in over the next three years, starting in the fall.

Under the new regulations, schools will be required to offer fruits and vegetables every day, increase the amount of whole-grain foods and reduce the sodium and fats in the foods served. Schools will also be required to offer only fat-free or low-fat milk. In addition, the menus will pay attention to portion sizes to make sure children receive calories appropriate to their age, according to Kevin Concannon, USDA under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

The new requirements are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed into law last year by President Barack Obama and championed by the First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Let's Move! campaign.

"As parents, we try to prepare decent meals, limit how much junk food our kids eat, and ensure they have a reasonably balanced diet," Mrs. Obama said. "And when we're putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria."

The new guidelines apply to lunches that are subsidized by the federal government. The government will help school districts pay for some of the increased costs. Schools will receive an additional 6 cents per meal in federal funding. The overall cost to implement the changes is expected to be about $3.2 billion. To help with the costs, Concannon said schools will have more flexibility in how the program is administered. Students, for example, will be allowed to pick and choose more items as they move through the line, rather than getting a plate served to them.

Some of the changes will take place as soon as this September; others will be phased in over time. The subsidized meals are served as free and low-cost meals to low-income children. The 2010 law will also extend to nutrition standards of other foods, sold in schools, that aren't subsidized by the federal government. Included will be "a la carte" foods on the lunch line and snacks in vending machines. Those standards will be written separately and have not yet been proposed by the department.

Wendy Weyer, director of nutrition services for Seattle Public Schools, said her district is already complying with many of the new USDA standards, and taking other steps, such as having partnerships with local farmers and planting school gardens. "Seattle has been very progressive with changing the way we offer meals, offering fruits and vegetables every day, as well as whole grain-rich foods," she said.

Weyer said the biggest challenge is reducing sodium content, "while keeping the meals palatable for our students."

Statistics show that about 17 percent of U.S. children and teenagers are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new standards are aimed at providing a higher nutritional content as well as a variety of healthier choices. 

“We strongly support the regulations,” said Diane Pratt-Heavner, spokeswoman for the Maryland-based School Nutrition Association. “The new nutrition standards for school meals are great news for kids.” Pratt-Heavner said parents will play an important role in supporting the new standards.  ”We all have to work to get the kids to make these healthier choices,” she said. “Students are more apt to pick up a fruit or vegetable in the lunch line if they have been introduced to those foods at home.” 

Vilsack said food companies are reformulating many of the foods they sell to schools in anticipation of the changes. "The food industry is already responding," he said. "This is a movement that has started, it's gaining momentum."

The new standards did not come easily. Congress last year blocked the Agriculture Department from making some of the desired changes, including limiting french-fries and pizzas. Conservatives in Congress called the guidelines an overreach and said the government shouldn't tell children what to eat. School districts also objected to some of the requirements, saying they go too far and would cost too much.

Some schools are already making voluntary changes in their menus, but others still serve children meals high in fat, calories and sodium.  The guidelines are designed to combat childhood obesity and are based on 2009 recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sources: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/25/10234671-students-to-see-healthier-school-lunches-under-new-usda-rules,  http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article

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

Why it's important to have your child's blood pressure checked.